An Unhealthy Love for Double Page Spreads
I’ve been working on this double page spread as the splash page for the first chapter in my book and it got me to thinking – “This is incredibly difficult. Why am I doing this to myself?”
I spent all morning refining the sketch and making sure the perspective was decent. I also tweaked the figures and made sure they were proportional in relation to each other as well as the distance they are positioned in. Then, I proceeded to ink this mammoth on my light table the rest of the afternoon after an extended break.
For some reason, the middle section of my right index finger just above the mid-joint feels bruised and curling it in all the way results in an upsetting sort of pain. I’m worried it’s the way I’m holding either my inking pen or my Wacom stylus and the death grip pressure is simply too much. I’ve modified my pen to have a fatter grip by taping paper around it but my stylus’ faux grip has been worn back to its original size.
It’s fairly late in the night as I’m typing this and I’m still not done inking.
Art has a fairly masochistic component to it, huh?
I suppose it has something to do with this burning desire to produce work that is remarkable and stands out in some way. We know it’s hard, we know it takes a long time to do and in the process, we start questioning ourselves frustratedly about putting ourselves in this position. In some cases, we operate on fear of being called lazy or stagnant and throw ourselves to our work, as if to prove over and over again – we are competent.
The average reader probably will not linger too long on this spread. Perhaps, they will glance at it for two seconds and then move on to the next page. Professional manga artists have the benefit of multiple assistants helping them with backgrounds and extra details so the work I’m attempting to emulate all by my lonesome takes 10 times longer to produce.
So, is this spread and subsequent pages of equal complexity, worth hours and hours of my precious time on Earth? Time which can be spent enjoying less herculean pursuits?
My argument is a resounding yes because the bloody page looks fantastic. They remind me of the feeling I get encountering these spreads as I read the works of my favorite comic artists and the excitement of seeing their vision brought to life by humble ink. It speaks to the magic of the medium and the infinite possibilities within. It’s quite inspiring and that’s a standard I’m setting for my own work. It will take more time, more practice and many more pages or illustrations to reach this but with that in mind, I can justify the hours.
As for the pain, I will definitely address it immediately as I cannot afford for anything to happen to my potential source of livelihood. I may be slightly off-kilter obsessing over my art but if the results end up looking pretty cool, maybe that’s okay, right?