Okay, back to our regularly-scheduled self-aggrandizement. While I was moving piles of stuff in my office over to other piles of stuff in my office, I found more ENCHANTED drawings. The first are just some character sketches I did while I was bored at work one night. Epok was my favorite character in the story and I was always drawing and redesigning him. I could never get it right and was always tempted to ask Mike to design my characters for me. But then my pride would get in the way (“That’s pride...f***in’ witchoo.”) and I’d go back to the drawing board. Mike also encouraged me to just collaborate with an artist to get it done if I didn’t have confidence in my drawing ability (I didn’t) but, again, that danged pride...
When I did the sketches a few years ago, I had just gotten a bunch of different sizes of Pigma Micron markers. I’d read somewhere that Frank Cho uses them and I really digged his line work. (Who doesn’t?) I asked Mike if he knew about them and he said, “Oh, yeah. They’re great! I love ‘em.” That’s all I needed to hear. Since I was always trying to do everything exactly like Mike did, I immediately went out and bought a ton of them. Later on, I decided the brush marker was really great but that it was a little floppy for my needs. I asked Mike what he thought about it and he said something like, “How should I know? I use Pitt pens when I ink.” Aaargh!!! (Anyone want to guess how many Pitt pens I have now?)
Anyway, these sketches show me two things. First, my style is inconsistent at best. The big Epok is most like my typical style. The full-figure Epok is close but my small figures always fall apart at the end. I’ve never been able to draw small for some reason. Guys like Mike and John Byrne have always made me crazy with envy because they could always control just how much detail was needed to “sell” a small figure as really being there. If you put in too much detail, as I do, it looks weird. Second, I draws sum ugly wimmens. That headshot of Wendy looks like a dude in the process of sexual reassignment. I think it may be the chin. And it unintentionally looks like Ernie Colon drew it which goes to my point about how my style shifts constantly. (And that’s no knock on the great Ernie Colon, who is one of my artistic idols.)
The page art is my first attempt, many years ago, to actually produce the comic. At this point, I wasn’t working from a script and was just winging it. This was going to be part of a framing sequence in which the guy on the porch of the general store is interviewed by the reporter in the Volkswagen about what “went down” in the forest. Later, I ditched this scene in favor of a more “twist-filled” framing sequence but I still liked the reporter angle. I foolishly didn’t do character studies for these two guys in advance so the guy on the porch doesn’t really look too convincing but I like the reporter. He was based on Mike’s friend that he created comics with in high school, Carlton Hill. Charlton was an interesting guy that had a great imagination and wrote a ton of ten-page comics that Mike would then draw. I eventually ended up taking over for Mike when he started trying to break in to Marvel and DC and even got to draw one issue of Carlton’s favorite comic, THE AMAZING PIGGY. (I hope Carlton doesn’t mind me posting that.) Carlton usually let me do whatever I wanted but he was very protective of the Piggy and even redrew a lot of the faces and even an entire page when he felt I hadn’t captured the essence of the book. He also “inked” my pages which, back then, meant he went over them again in darker pencil. Ah, my only artistic collaboration.
I kind of like the page except for a couple of things. I really can’t draw cars for shit and it shows here. I was using a model of a VW to draw by but it wasn’t a GOOD model and I wish I’d worked out the perspective better before I drew the page. I didn’t do any layouts beforehand. Just drew right on the board. Big mistake. Also, those trees in the first panel are weird. The needles on the evergreens must be, like, three feet long! And this was before I’d tried using “real” drawing tools like crow quills or brushes or even the Microns. I think, on this, I ended up using some half-depleted Pentel markers left over from high school and some Sharpies. But, as they say, it is a poor craftsman that blames his tools.