Comic Process

Added on by Francesca Buchko.

Well, The Clearing is completely inked, and the project is well on its way to being completed, and now the bulk of my drawing time is going to my piece for Light Grey Art Lab's Stacks show. I'm creating my zine in homage to the television show Lost, which first aired in my chosen year of the Stacks timeline, 2004. It was difficult choosing something, because whether I knew it at the time or not, 2004 was full of things that are very important to me. In the end making a decision came down to what I'd prefer to draw. Again, very difficult. 

Fortunately, working on The Clearing and having a blast doing it made me realize that I'd probably like to keep drawing some foliage. You'd better believe a tropical island has some foliage. The fun part is going from a north woods forest to a tropical, south pacific forest. 

In the meantime, though, I'd like to share a few process pictures I took with my phone while working on a panel edit to the comic. The one difference between this process and most of the pages is that I sketched directly on the paper--for the rest I blue-lined the pages.

I start with a sketch or drawing. This one is relatively loose, though that is partially because by this point, I'd drawn so many panels of wolves and leaves and that kind of thing, I had a pretty firm idea of what this panel needs to be. 

I start with a sketch or drawing. This one is relatively loose, though that is partially because by this point, I'd drawn so many panels of wolves and leaves and that kind of thing, I had a pretty firm idea of what this panel needs to be. 

I love this part. It's loose, fairly fast-paced drawing, and involves wetting the paper and using copious amounts of ink. By this point, I have a jar of water that has so much ink in it, I can use that water to lay down the lightest greys. Unlike working with watercolor, though, I don't do as much layering. I work from light to dark (like watercolor), but because ink is pretty permanent, I get as much of my business done while the paper is still wet.

I love this part. It's loose, fairly fast-paced drawing, and involves wetting the paper and using copious amounts of ink. By this point, I have a jar of water that has so much ink in it, I can use that water to lay down the lightest greys. Unlike working with watercolor, though, I don't do as much layering. I work from light to dark (like watercolor), but because ink is pretty permanent, I get as much of my business done while the paper is still wet.

Detail time! The trick is to remember what was in the sketch. Again, not a lot to remember here, because the sketch was loose and a lot of the things I need to know is apparent from the washes, but in some previous panels, I would have been lost if I hadn't documented my first sketches. Always keep track of your process!

Detail time! The trick is to remember what was in the sketch. Again, not a lot to remember here, because the sketch was loose and a lot of the things I need to know is apparent from the washes, but in some previous panels, I would have been lost if I hadn't documented my first sketches. Always keep track of your process!

The last thing I do (outside of the computer, which is a pretty important step in itself) is go back in with a brush and add any darks that I might need. Sometimes they help clean up a composition, sometimes they add texture...I like to work this way because it gives me room to be fluid and creative within the boundaries of my sketch.

The last thing I do (outside of the computer, which is a pretty important step in itself) is go back in with a brush and add any darks that I might need. Sometimes they help clean up a composition, sometimes they add texture...I like to work this way because it gives me room to be fluid and creative within the boundaries of my sketch.

One thing I have to mention, because I believe it has a huge role on the outcome of a project, is how amazing it has been working with a great writer/client. Keith had a very clear (and wonderful) vision for The Clearing, and it was a pleasure to start working with such a clear plan.  At the same time, he has been open and encouraging to the visual ideas I've provided. Love this project so much <3. Peace out.

Multi-Project Ballet

Added on by Francesca Buchko.

Yow! It's the middle of June already?! Every time I look up I get to change the page on my calendar. I always liked changing the page, though. Hate New Year, like changing the calendar pages. 

My list of projects isn't really shrinking, but it's moving along steadily. I thought I'd share a few bits and pieces of things I've been doing. 

Character Collabs are popping up all over on Twitter, and my friend Katy organized one for the new(ish) cartoon, Steven Universe. The whole thing will be coming together towards the end of July, but if you check the tag #SUCollab, you can see a few of the pieces that have been completed. I illustrated Amethyst! She's my favorite! 

Loved drawing her hair :>

Loved drawing her hair :>

"The Clearing" is coming along–the inks are in progress. This is it. This is the part where I can break out the brushes and create some panels that I'm really proud of.  There's more things I'd like to post about in the works, so stay tuned in the near future!

Transient

Spring

Added on by Francesca Buchko.
"If you've been up all night and cried til you have no more tears left in you—you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as though nothing was ever going to happen again."
–C.S. Lewis
She's not actually crying about the weather.

She's not actually crying about the weather.

This is another new piece from my Spyhouse show. This one was already in the works when I was inspired by Jen Mundy and Tyler Bartel's Bi-Weekly Challenge. The last challenge topic was "Spring", and that topic provided another layer to work with. It resulted in an image I'm really happy with.

Resting

Added on by Francesca Buchko.
I'm exhibiting at the Spyhouse from April 8th through May 26th! I've made a few new pieces, which I'll be sharing here throughout the next few weeks. Some of my favorites from the Icelandic Sketchbook project are also on display. Each piece is a framed, digital print, and available for purchase.
Transient
Now that winter is (very probably) over, it's a lot easier to get up in the morning and just go and do things. When winter was at its worst, I tended to reflect on (rose-tinted) memories of pleasant times. Memories are very interesting to me, and I think a lot of my work is heavily influenced by memory. My self-started illustrations—even the pieces that include personified animals—are created because of a positive reaction to a place and time.

It's also interesting to me that it has to be both: Place and Time. Being in the right place at the wrong time affects how you feel about that place. If your strongest impression of San Francisco was the one time you spent a day there and had your bag stolen, your impression may be that San Francisco sucks. I really enjoy Los Angeles and I think that is in part because my first experience there was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Which brings in my third element of memory (and most definitely my illustration work): the individual that is experiencing the place and time.

Objectively, LA is a city. It has a high population for a city in the United States, and it is sunny for the majority of the year. I have friends who can't stand it and friends that love it for the same observations I have just stated. They could be there at the same time, in the same location, and still have opposing reactions.

The piece I've shared above isn't any particular memory of mine, but it is based on my own idyllic recollections of rain and resting. I love that illustration in general draws from the illustrator and their references, but results in new content. Despite the planning and process that goes into a piece, I still am either pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised by the result. Even when every element (color, composition, value, texture, etc.) has been accounted for!

If you'd like to see my show in person, and visit one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities, stop by Spyhouse Coffee on Nicollet!

Edison (ENFJ)

Added on by Francesca Buchko.
Lately, at Light Grey Art Lab, we've been spending a lot of time thinking and talking about the Meyers-Briggs personality test. Most of us have been into it for years–it's funny because now every popular IP has a Meyers-Briggs rubric, in case you want to know which Lord of the Rings character you are most like.

Edison is a character I made up for Light Grey's "Great Personality" show, which combines the Meyers-Briggs personality types with dating sims. You can download and play the games for free on Light Grey Art Lab's website. Right now, there's one game, featuring the "Guardians" group of characters, but throughout the upcoming weeks games will be released for the "Rationals", "Artisans", and "Idealists" (Edison is in the Idealists category).

For the game, each artist made a pinup...
Of course he's pouring tea.

Of course he's pouring tea.

...and a set of full-body poses, including a couple different outfits and a bunch of different expressions. Below are a couple of my favorites.
Transient
Transient
The pinup is available for sale as a print here!

Bridgette

Added on by Francesca Buchko.

Merry Christmas! I hope everybody has had a great one!

This year I drew my sister Anna's name for our family gift exchange, which is excellent, because my sister Anna loves stories and adventures. I made her a painting of a character that has thus far has been dubbed "the Ginger Warrior", but now is officially named Bridgette. I've been working on a project with her (and her companion, the Winter Girl). More of that in 2014!

Going overboard with the gold gouache, but it's hard to resist in gift paintings.

Going overboard with the gold gouache, but it's hard to resist in gift paintings.

I've been up north for the past few days visiting my family, and it's awesome. We have our differences, but I'm always impressed and comforted by the willingness each one of them has to be present and loving. I think it's hard! I know I have trouble with it. It's easier to get trapped up and have self-pity tunnel vision, or to find reasons to argue. But this has been excellent. They never fail to remind me why I make things in the first place.

Here's to a New Year, and all of your families :)