Today was the second day of intense work, smashing out page after page on the riso. There’s not much to report! It was so exciting seeing the multi-coloured pages slowly coming together. I’ve only ever really worked in black and white, but this residency has changed everything. I’m inspired to produce colour comics from the ground up using everything I’ve learned, this is the next level, and it’s achievable with a bit of experimentation and practice.
After an intense day yesterday there wasn’t too much left to do, the majority of the book was printed and stacked, looking crisp. I jumped into printing the yellow and red layers of the last four pages, as well as the title page which I’d left designing to the last minute. Sam advised that we print the red and yellow layers on top of the dried blue layer, and in the order yellow then red. His knowledge of and experience with the machines was invaluable, as instead of experimenting with layer orders we could discuss how the final image should look - striking and bold, muted, darker or lighter - and he’d have the recipe to get there. Depending on when you lay the darkest colour, at the bottom or on top of the other colours, can greatly affect the end result.
We also printed the covers today. I took the scanned pencils from the fruit print and rearranged the composition a bit in photoshop, softened the blue and red in places, upped the yellow, and added a soft gradient at the bottom of the red and yellow layers.
I reckon the final result is perfect, and I’m grateful we had time to experiment and make modifications over the week.
Here are some of the pencil layers, to give you an idea of how each colour was conceived.
I first shaded the printed ink layer, which would be printed as blue, then used an A3 portable lightbox to trace the other two layers. These were scanned into Photoshop and properly aligned over one another before being sent to the riso.
And here is the development of the ‘Food is Magik, Baby’ print.
We managed to make it to Saturday afternoon with everything printed except the inside cover. Oh well, there are still a couple of weeks before Homecooked Comics Festival, no rush at all.
I want to thank Sam Emery for giving me the opportunity to take part in the residency. It was a hugely enlightening and inspiring experience. I can’t wait to get back on the riso machine, after a week of creative freedom and necessary guidance the possibilities seem endless!