spqrblues: (Blues 5 ROMA)
The images are larger than I used to post, and there are two different sizes below. I’ll tweak formatting if I continue to update here. Feedback welcome!

comics below the cut )

New comics

Monday, 17 December 2018 08:36 am
spqrblues: (Ave Sweetums)
Hi - I’m not sure who’s still following the comic on this site, but there are a bunch of December updates, and they’ll be posted later today. I’d love to hear from any readers who are over here on Dreamwidth—I’ll decide this month whether it makes sense to keep posting here, and on spqrblues.com, and on Patreon in 2019. I know I’m extremely irregular in updating the story, but I’d like to make it easy and convenient for readers to catch up when I do.

Io Saturnalia and Happy Holidays!
spqrblues: (Blues 5 Felix colour)
Back again, after the break for getting the printed book sorted out.

For the month of October, I've decided to try drawing the comic digitally, since I planned to be on the road a lot this month (and sort of on the road, at NY Comic Con). There may be a bit of a learning curve, and some panels may end up being tweaked (by which I mean, "obsessively fussed with") after posting. So far, though, the learning curve isn't as severe as the last time I tried drawing the comic digitally. I think that's because of an improvement in the tech, not me.

click to see the comic )

I find that drawing digitally makes my line a lot looser--not necessarily evident in this comic, since I forced the line into line--so we'll see how that develops.
spqrblues: (Domitian forgets)
I'd forgotten I'd meant to put something like this in the printed book for Chapters I-IV. I was flipping through some printer's proof pages and remembered all the future emperors Felix stumbles across in Chapter II.

The fact that one person can meet, say, 7 emperors in a single lifetime doesn't say much for imperial longevity, does it...

Year of the Four Emperors-to-be

Testing new tech

Saturday, 9 September 2017 10:28 am
spqrblues: (Antikythera hands)
I've heard wild and wonderful things about drawing comics on the new iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil (and an app called ProCreate--yikes). Maybe someday some new tech can join the art-supplies arsenal.

This test drawing is of a mishmash because I used about six different digital brushes/pens/pencils all on top of one another. I can see doing pencils and inking for the comic digitally, but I'll always be devoted to working with my actual ancient palette and its assorted exciting poisonous pigments.

In other news, any of you who supported the Kickstarter should have gotten both a backer survey and a download link by now; please let me know if you haven't received both.

Volcano Day!

Thursday, 24 August 2017 01:01 pm
spqrblues: Ave Sweetums Rose (Default)

It’s volcano day, the “official” pub date of the printed SPQR Blues chapters I-IV book. Happy end of the world (temporarily and only locally)!

I’ll try to put some new art up today!
spqrblues: (Antikythera hands)
After doodling a bee, I got it in my head I'd draw Wonder Woman in the leftover space, but somehow ended up turning her into Venus (the "on the battlefield with Felix" version), as you do. The greens and yellows are modern-style paints; the rest are from the ancient palette.

The sample paper--you can see its specs in the image--is Canson's Moulin du Roy. I have a sketch pad with their Montval watercolour paper, and don't like the way it handles water, and I think paints look dull on it. This is a higher-end paper, while Montval is meant to be student grade.

I like this Moulin du Roy paper a lot. It's less textured than some cold press papers (fine grain); it feels smooth and easy to work on. Buckling/warping, when not taped down, is minimal. It was happy to let me do a light pencil sketch, erase it, do another, erase it, about 10 times. The inked line was done with a 005 (very fine) Micron pen, which went down okay, considering this is textured paper and not the best surface for a pen like that.

There's something...I dunno...a little bit dirty about the surface, as if it had been left out to collect dust, but I'm not sure whether that's literally true, whether it picked up dirt in my bag, or whether there are grey fibers or other particles in the paper itself. I didn't notice it until I was peering at the art close up. I feel like the colours lose some of their vividness on this paper, but the fine-grain texture might be a fair trade off.

Update after holding it up to an east-facing window: Actually, colours look very vivid in the sort of direct bright sunlight one isn't supposed to expose one's paintings to.

Non-staining colours don't lift off this paper with the breezy ease of the previous papers I've tested this month. Paints seem to dry more quickly, which is good if you're impatient like me. My homemade earth-tone paints blend and layer easily on it. I have another sample sheet of the cold press, and I'd like to do more tests with it, and I'd like to try the heavier weight version. It makes me want to go out and do architectural paintings, of ruined temples and tumbled columns....

Read more... )
spqrblues: (arch scribe)
This is another paper made by St Cuthberts Mill, called Bockingford. It's 140lb cold press, like the Millford paper, though it feels ever so slightly stiffer, and the texture is ever so slightly rougher. When doused with the same amount of water as I put on the Millford, it warped and didn't dry back flat on its own like the Millford--but it flattened out after I forgot it in the scanner for a while. Layering on this paper is easier; I've been adding layer after layer on the skin tone, and not only didn't accidentally scrub off the previous layers of paint (as with the Millford), but see no damage to the paper.

The manufacturer says: "traditionally made on a cylinder mould machine...surface is created using natural woollen felts that give it a distinctive random texture. Appreciated for its excellent colour lifting abilities. This is an extremely forgiving watercolour paper."

Read more... )
spqrblues: (arch scribe)
(Also today, because I accidentally didn't post it: daily watercolour #3)

I let this dry a few days before going back to it so I could try layering paint. In the meantime I seem to have forgotten how I was doing the ponytail so that style could be continued for the rest of her hair. Lots of tweaking and changing is still in progress.

Still, every time I think I've pushed the paper too far with corrections and new layers, it puts up with me.

Read more... )
spqrblues: (Antikythera hands)
Today's test paper is Daler-Rowney's Langton Prestige, 140lb/300gsm cold press/"not."

I didn't like it all that much. This drawing incorporates homemade paints, Indigo, Japanese-style Kuretake Gansai Tambi paint (did not play well with the paper), and various commercial-brand watercolours (Sennelier, M Graham, MaimeriBlu, & Daniel Smith). The paper holds up perfectly fine to lots of water (which seems to dry oddly quickly), to lifting/scrubbing off paint, and layering. I think the various paints look a bit lifeless in a way that's hard to quantify.
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