Through Concentrated Breath

the making of images from memory

Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Page Leftover from a Story Idea

23 September 2014 by Rey Armenteros

When you look at old artwork, you find that a novice’s ambitions (perhaps best left alone) coincide with the pleasant sensation of revisiting the novice’s stepping stones. You might recall when and where you did a certain drawing, raising strings of other memories that were somehow connected to this image. Sometimes the technique tells you something of what you were trying to do.

After exploring that clunky technique I had discovered by overloading my pen, I turned around and pursued the fine lines of a crowquill. This was the “style” that would stay with me for the next few years; though I had rejected the obligatory crosshatching of pen and ink just months before, here I was again brought in under its weave, and now with added facility.

Stuck on the thought of someday making it in comics, I was nurturing the idea that comics can be of all types and anything was possible. These notions were coming to me when all that could be reasonably expected from that era were superheroes done up in 64-color murk. Still, I insisted that someone could do something different, like rendering an entire comic in crowquill to be published in nothing but black and white. That was something I had never seen before, and I felt that there might be a place for something so groundbreaking. Looking back at this inchoate artwork, these revolutionary ideas with which I was filling my head may have had little to back them up. Naturally, I was blind to my own work. And even though I was aware of the limitations of the market, I wasn’t going to give up on these new ideas, these new inroads into comics that would be presented one day, even if not by me.

The story behind the page below is now gone to memory; it is not even a completed page. But I do remember some of the decisions made for this page, such as why I chose the angles and considerations around the bricks. On second thought, though I associate this page with a crowquill, a closer look at the marks tell me that it was likely done with a technical pen.Old Page

Leave a comment | Categories: Memory

Copying Your Own Style from Memory

11 September 2014 by Rey Armenteros

What is style and how do you aproach it? I wrestled with this question many years as an artist, without ever reaching an answer, though I went through countless permutations of what I gathered were different styles. As my memory holds it, the first time I consciously sought a stylized approach, I had been working in pen and ink for two years. I was in high school, taking fine art and commercial art classes, and I was getting tired of the crosshatching that we students expected with a pen. In manipulating the pen in different ways, I discovered a way of filling the pen with excess ink, and this gave a wet line that beeded on the paper surface. It was best when the ink was somewhat old in the bottle and in the process of coagulating. Instead of the scratchy feel, these lines glided and felt slippery, almost greasy. And the shading I pursued was a globby scribble, something you’d see in a woodcut though far more contrived and rough. Previous attempts at following a style were nothing more than aping a favorite artist, but this felt like I arrived at it on my own. After pursuing it for no more than several months, I went on to other styles, but this one influenced my idea of authorship over the look of a drawing – what I interpreted as your own personal style.

A couple of months ago, I was thinking about those old images, and I tried to emulate the style with a brush and some paint. In a similar way, I saturated the brush with paint that had the consistency of thick ink and developed the shiny lines I remembered from back in the day. There I was trying to form the memory of an image I had come up with all those years ago. Afterward, I compared the results with one of these old drawings from high school. You can compare the new painting with the original drawing below.

High School Pen & Ink Drawing

High School Pen & Ink Drawing

Recent Painting Copying that Old Style

Recent Painting Copying that Old Style

Comments Off on Copying Your Own Style from Memory | Categories: Memory