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Illustrated Story vs Graphic Novel

October 9, 2020

Yep, it’s been a long time, but I’ve been working on a long-range project and things change. For years, the main focus of this blog was the use of gouache. It even spawned a book about gouache: However, if there are any of you left who read the blog in the past, you know that I have a tendency to wander into different artistic territory from time to time, exploring different media and different subject matter.

For many months now, I have been working on a graphic novel, which has taken most of my attention. I did a lot of research into comic art and techniques and getting my pen and ink hand back. I have a 3 ring binder with over 130 pages of comic style story sketches in pencil. It’s all in sketch form, although there are a lot of practice and test pages in full ink and watercolor. A lot of work.

And the more I did the more I wondered if I have the temperament to sustain the work that needs to be done. When I combine that with the small, detailed work that pen & ink requires for this project, I’m questioning whether there is another way.

I spent several years learning to paint with gouache, developing my own techniques and styles because at the time, I found very few examples of people using it. Today there are a ton of people using it. I do miss painting. Yes, I love pencil and pen & ink, but my style of ink is very time-consuming and produces a lot of eye fatigue. Gouache has some distinct advantages for my project. I can screw up as much as I want and still make corrections. I can alter colors to change moods. I can make changes in figures and faces and clothing and a whole bunch of things without having to start over.

At the moment, I’m shifting my approach a bit, moving toward an illustrated book rather than a graphic novel, producing larger images with less detail and text on the facing page. Or some variation of that. Maybe I’ll find a way to mix different sizes and media on the same page.. We shall see. In addition, I’ve ordered James Gurney’s book Imaginative Realism for inspiration.

The experiment continues.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sita R permalink
    October 9, 2020 4:09 pm

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Temporary left WordPress, but wanted to send a ‘like‘ so am sending it this way) Inspiring work! Thnx.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone


  2. mhquin permalink
    October 9, 2020 6:56 pm

    Hi Ralph,
    Love to see your new ideas & drawings/paintings/ & stories!

    Do hope you all are doing well and enjoying living your dream!!

    Don’t think you know, but Bob passed away April 13, this year. He had battled advanced pancreatic cancer for nearly two years. He was nearly 83 years old.

    The grief has been surprisingly hard, painful, and long lasting!

    I cared for him for 19 months, until I had to get help for the last 3 months. We we’re married almost 56 years. I miss him terribly, but I am glad he is HOME WITH THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY❣️ He is done with his suffering❣️
    My plan is to move near my din and Church in Richardson.
    Margaret Quin
    Sent from my iPhone

    • October 11, 2020 8:17 am

      Margaret, we were so sorry to hear about Bob. I’ve sent you a private message.

  3. MARSHA E LAYMAN permalink
    October 10, 2020 9:04 am

    Good to hear from you again. Interesting post. I would think in today’s world that the inclusion of color is important, anyways. So you may be on the better track.

    • October 11, 2020 8:00 am

      Hi Meg! I’m in the “nothing but play” stage of my life, and I may have bitten off more than I can chew this time, but I’m having fun. The ink work was the base for watercolor, so there would still have been color. But my old eyes aren’t happy with the close work. What are you up to these days?

  4. November 29, 2020 11:55 am

    That James Gurney book looks fantastic. I’ve only recently realized there are books called Graphic Novels. They seem to draw heavily on comic book style illustrations with more in-depth, adult themes at work. How/where does an illustrated novel fall on that spectrum? Any examples out there you can reference? This is really a great idea. I hope you are able to find an efficient way to bring it to life~

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