Questioning the Crowquill
There is a connection between the last entry and the running thought so far. When you look at the Dragon Lord’s artwork, it shows the same kind of work I was doing then, even if mine lacked the professional polish. Here are a few of the pages I’m talking about. The second and third pages are incredible because they exhibit thirty panels that attempt a crosshatching treatment that actually works in most of the panels. Looking at it now, however, it doesn’t inspire like it once did. If you look long enough, individual panels do curl under sufficient scrutiny – a few of them are hard to read, and throughout the comic book, you won’t find a page without blemishes, such as clumsy forms or strange compositions.
Nevertheless, when I first opened that copy of The Reign of the Dragon Lord as a teenager, I couldn’t help feeling excitement and deflation simultaneously. Here was a published work that had closely mirrored the visual goals I had for my own work. As my young mind must have concluded when I put the comic down, it was a great idea that had already been done, and so I had to find something different. And that might even mean changing my ideals, because when you changed your style, as I must have been contemplating shortly after reading this comic book, you have to change some of the ideology that goes along with it.
In those days, I would deny old styles so fervently, that I hated the previous one as soon as I found a new one. After crosshatching for years, I was toying with alternatives. It may have been that I was already contemplating working in a brush before ever picking up Dragon Lord. But even so, the discovery of this comic would have cemented this search for new possibilities. For me, picking up a brush meant flirting with new strangers (no matter how clumsy the interaction), and that meant ultimately turning my back on the crowquill.