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Earth PD Comic Book

In the spring of 2016 I decided to take up a project that was suggested to me over 50 years ago by a lifelong friend. I was going to write, draw, ink, color, and letter my own comic book. But I decided to do something different. I had been studying public domain properties and how people have been using them.

Most of the artists took the comic book characters and brought them into the present and did them in modern painterly art styles. But I wanted to use these characters using the ancient four-color press colors. And I would be doing this using Illustrator, not Photoshop. My reasoning was the four-color process printed four flat tone plates of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black and Illustrator would be exactly what I needed.

I developed a system of drawing 20% translucent lines akin to a 2H pencil which build up into darker areas. I use my knowledge of drawing on paper and replicate this on a layer in Illustrator. When I get my pencil layer finished I can move onto the inking.

Inking is accomplished with a set of brushes which attempt to duplicate the effects of my nibs and brushes. It's not an exact recreation but it's close enough. Again, an entirely new set of skills was needed to be learned to duplicate that look from the 1940s.

After the inking if done, I create layers underneath the black layer and begin laying in the various colors.

To these flat tones I then add their mode of shading using a system of patterns I developed to replicate the look of the Ben-Day dots and lines. this is what gave those comics the illusion of an almost infinite variety of colors. Placing patterns of lines and dots of various colors on top of flat colors can achieve nearly any color imaginable.

Next, I create the word balloons and write the text.

Lastly is the distressing process. All inside pages need a certain amount of distressing to simulate printing ink onto cheap, pulpy newsprint paper.

The book is published as a web comic. This issue, and all further issues, will be available at Comicfury