ver y Sl ow, meticulous and timeconsuming
Greg explains why this technique to create smokey, spectral figures is well worth the effort
“This is a test sample for a forthcoming graphic novel about ghosts. I wanted to further explore a new smokey effect that I’ve been developing. I used graphite pencils, mostly Blackwing Palomino, but also Staedtler All X-Write, for the softer undertones. With my natural tendency to tighten up on the details, it was a challenge to see if I could somehow depict the fluidity of rising smoke.
I tend to be very immediate with my drawing, getting right down and dirty with a piece in full, but this kind of drawing required the kind of layering I used to deal with in painting. It took a light touch to map out the contrails of the smoke, how they move, rise and twist around objects and invisible air currents, before bearing down harder onto the specifics.
I wanted Flora’s form to sort of emerge from the smoke, but also be part of it, so there’s a need to illustrate both solid form and be true to the gossamer qualities of the spectral smoke she inhabits. A lot of the blending and defocusing came from a very light approach, vigorously rubbed into blurs, using my index finger. I later used an eraser to attack some of the hard edges of the smoke forms. I’ll likely only use this technique for the cover as it’s very time-consuming.”
TH IS IS FLORA “This was the horse that lost the race against Meadowlark for my next graphic novel project – delayed but not forgotten. It’s a portrait of Flora, one of the two main characters as I played around with the style of the book.”