Near Sharkey’s Ridge

(Click on the image to MONSTER size it, or click here to read from the beginning!)
I like this panel. 
 I don’t know if I mentioned it, but when I was growing up on the farm, I used to love taking regular walks out into the fields at night.  Sometimes, as I’d be making my way from one place to another, I’d be down by the road that went by when a car would come along.  It’s quiet out there, so you heard them coming for a half mile, which presented me with a decision: do I stand there and wave at the lights as they go by, or do I hide in the tall weeds and wait for them to pass?  Well, more often than not, I’d opt for hiding….which is actually a pretty cool feeling… it’s close to being invisible, you know?  The possibility of being spotted was a tiny thrill, and I suddenly felt like a spy (or like Snoopy, imagining he was a downed WWI fighter pilot trying to get back across enemy lines to safety).  Hey, I was a kid.
Anyway, this panel reminds me of that feeling, and the decision to duck or wave at the anonymous, passing lights.
It was the kind of quality that I like about rural situations….the feeling of isolation…leaving civilization behind and trekking into the wild unknown.
On the art side of my thinking, a quote from the inspirational Alex Toth is stuck in my mind: “Draw only what you need to.”  That’s a powerful quote, and one that, if you keep throwing it at your work, is bound to change things.  Keep in mind, that saying isn’t an excuse to be lazy….it just means to keep in mind what is essential in the scene and focus on that.  Don’t get caught up in drawing tons of floorboard lines if just suggesting it would do.  Most of what is up there in that panel above is suggested…but isn’t it powerful?  The viewer takes their experiences and fills in the missing bits and pieces until they construct a scene in their mind that is much more than I could draw.  Remember, storytelling requires the imagination of the viewer to work.  Make use of it.
I also managed to pick up a really great score…an original page of Tom Strong, drawn by Chris Sprouse and inked by Karl Story.  Here’s what it looks like:
It’s my new favorite thing…..’cause it makes me feel like I don’t know anything about drawing or inking.
Till next time,



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