I was intimidated by a Swamp Thing.
However, at times I was intimidated by an aardvark. Who gets to say these things and mean it? Frankly, I didn't want to screw up a Bernie Wrightson drawing—I admire his work. When Charles asked me to ink the figures and fill in the background for The Swamp Thing, he made it clear that he wanted to see my take on the art and make it my own.
I would use 555 shades of grey.
My thinking was to stray as far away from Bernie's style as I could imagine. Bernie creates contrast using one set of lines for tone and shading. It's very black and white. I pictured everything fading into the mist. This lent itself to inking layers of intersecting, overlapping lines to create subtle grey tones much like the Jupiter pages I had done for Cerebus.
First I buried Bernie.
I had to pencil over Bernie's sketch with my own crosshatching to turn it into my interpretation. Now I could carry on as if they were my own pencils. I hadn't done a lot of heavy crosshatching lately and I was curious to see what would happen if I pushed the limit and had the entire page covered in tiny, little lines. Right up until the end, I was convinced I was screwing up.
I didn't film my progress mainly because I didn't want to document me fu**ing this up.
Plus it's incredibly tedious. Nobody really wants to watch that, do they? I took pictures of the sections I had finished to show a time lapse, but didn't set up the camera to take pictures at two minute intervals. I've never been comfortable with people watching me draw.
I like to sit, crammed in my corner, exercising my "I can draw anywhere" option.
I did the best job I could, but reality has a way of creeping in...
The lighting was never going to be right. With the moon behind the characters, they should be in silhouette. Charles came to the rescue with his words of wisdom.
"It's a comic!" he said. "Make it cool."
I am never 100% happy with how things turn out, but this is pretty close to the way I envisioned the end result. I still think Bernie would have done a better job. Now it's up to others to decide if I screwed up.
Watch the time lapse here!