Wednesday 11 May 2011

Making a Mungo

Today marks the last Mungo of the 2010/11 football season, and for various reasons which are probably obvious from reading the strip, the last in its current format. So I decided to document the process thus demonstrating my astonishing lack of any conventional ability or artistic training.

Every Mungo starts pretty much this way. The size of the strip has been 18 by 22cm for all of this season's episodes. Next to it is a vague outline for what is going to happen. I don't storyboard, which is what a proper comic book artist would do. This is why each Mungo looks so shoddy. Sometimes I draw the frames before I even know what I'm going to put in them, which is a preposterous thing to do.

The necessary tools. A pencil, eraser and stuff for inking with, plus piece of kitchen paper because dip pens are cruel mistresses and block a lot. The red one is thicker, for lettering and outlines, the blue one thin for fine detail. The brush is for larger areas. You'd probably already worked that out.

This episode of Mungo requires the name of a rival football team, so I pull up the file with all the Mungo information. As you may notice, it is called The Mungobase. I wrote the majority of it, but it was bounced back and forth between me and Ian, the bloke who runs Twohundredpercent, so there's stuff of his in there too.

I am stalling now, and decided to take a picture of the dog that sits on my desk. Later, in a secondary fit of stalling, I realise he does not have a name so I ask Twitter what it should be. His name is now Hamish McSweeney.

I can avoid drawing no longer by about 9 a.m. Here's the first frame in pencil. Notice how it's barely any different from the finished product. There are different schools of thought regarding pencil sketching and how much or little you should do. For me, a black and white picture will be at least 75% working things out in pencil first.

I'm obviously in the zone by this point with the pencil, and I flesh out panel two. I like to do the text first. That's what normally carries the story, so making sure there's enough room to tell it is the most important thing.

Further evidence of that last fact, inked over. I ink directly onto the original pencils because I am brave and foolhardy.

Shit's starting to get real now. I find drawing to the accompaniment of familiar music, TV or films very constructive. Today Sherlock Holmes comes out. I will watch two films before the morning is over, although really I'm only listening to them.

Next I inked over the first panel. The top image is fine-line (blue) pen only, the bottom is the finished one with added thicker lines for definition and black areas.

With the first two panels finished, I moved on to number 3... although I don't always work in strict progression. Up to this point, however, I had. Here's Mungo's first appearance.

With frame 3 inked, I moved on to number five, the big action panel. Just text for now.

And here it is with the drawing added. I realise now I should have taken some interim shots during the inking, but I was in the zone. Besides, if you can't imagine how one goes about inking something over you're probably way beyond my help.

Three hours in and time for lunch. Sometimes it's quicker than this, sometimes it's much much slower. On those days I swear I'm giving it up.

Here's a close-up of panels four and six. Hopefully this should give you some indication as to the relationship between the pencil sketch and the finished product.

I sneak the final frame on later on, whilst watching CSI. I like CSI more than I like Mungo.

Shading time. You will need QUINK, water, brush, something to mix aforementioned things in.

Here I started with panel three. The general idea is to use the shading just to act purely as a contrast, to make the drawing make more sense. Once that is done, I might do a few stupid fiddly bits because I am an arse.

And we're all finished. The only things to do now are a few touch-ups in photoshop (this one didn't need any, bar for adding lettering to the road sign) and then reducing it to standard Mungo size. You can see the finished result at Twohundredpercent by clicking here.

This, and the huge majority of the other 96 editions of Mungo's original artwork are all available to buy. You can email me using the link in the sidebar for more details.

1 comment:

bleep said...

wow. really interesting Dottie. You answered all of the questions I ask myself when I read Mungo.

Excellent stuff.


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