Thursday, November 13, 2008


The Hound of the Baskervilles © 2008 SelfMadeHero


Unknown said...

Enjoying these glimpses into 'Hound', and getting to see the underlying drawing too. How are you finding drawing such iconic characters as Holmes & Watson and were you in any way daunted by the history of it and all the previous incarnations?

I. N. J. Culbard said...

Excellent question.


I had a moment like this when I started Dorian Gray. For fourteen pages the characters are talking about this portrait that has yet to be revealed saying things like “It is your best work” and “It’s one of the greatest things in modern art”. And I was going to have to paint this blasted thing! So, at the suggestion of a friend of mine, I painted a silly looking stick man in its place as a filler till I’d finished painting the portrait proper. And that was a great relief and of great amusement of course. I printed the page off and pinned it above my desk as a lesson to myself that really I needed to have a little more faith in myself and that this was just my interpretation.

What helps with Holmes is that there have been so many interpretations. From Sidney Paget’s illustrations to Jeremy Brett and soon even Robert Downey Jr. At the heart of all of these however is Conan Doyle and the stories he wrote. And that’s really what we, (Edginton and I) have concerned ourselves with most. When I started out it was a muddle to find my feet because there have been so many visual variations. Rich pickings basically. Going back to the source seemed like the only sensible thing to do.

What’s also been important to me, since I have to draw these chaps, is that whilst Hound of the Baskervilles may be a 144 page graphic novel, to me its really a 576 page body of work over two years. Because it’s not one book, it’s four. So Holmes and Watson have had to be very much how I see them when I read what Doyle has written because that's always got to be my first point of reference.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the in depth reply Ian, with the amount of pages to get done it's amazing you have any time at all. I'm working on a 24 page strip and I'm finding that daunting and it's slow going but I think you've helped put things into perspective a little there!

I was worried, in hindsight, that my question might have seemed rude or suggested that you somehow ought ought to be daunted, which wasn't what I intended. Yours and Ian Edginton's approach seems to be the best, most sensible one to take and the work looks great.

That stick man idea is fantastic, I'll have to bear that in mind when I come up against something problematic, it's better to carry on and come back to it later than get all hung up about it, which is often what I end up doing.

I look forward to seeing more as things progress!

I. N. J. Culbard said...

No, not at all rude. I thought it was an excellent question. I SHOULD be daunted. And am, often. I mean this month for example, when I've not been drawing Holmes I've been following D'Israeli on Stickleback!!! No pressure!

And I'm glad you like what you've seen of our approach so far. Thank you.

Fortunately I get the script in bite size chunks, not all at once, which helps to make it less daunting.

In terms of dealing with things that are problematic, I've learned from working on Dorian and now working on Holmes to approach the script like someone filling in an exam paper. If you don't know the answer then move on to the next question. So if you're stuck on a panel, move on to the next one and simply come back to it later. I find that putting it to the back of my mind and moving on often figures the problem out for me.

As for 24 pages being daunting... here's one way to make it less daunting. what I tend to do is take an A4 sheet of copy paper. Draw four boxes. That's four pages. I thumbnail out each of those. I then treat those four pages as one page and I work on that chunk of the story. And I repeat the process till I'm through. That way you're not looking at the abyss of 24 pages. You're just taking it a step at a time in manageable chunks. Only ever, even with 576 pages, bite off as much as you can chew for the time being and then move on. I currently work at 2 pages a day. And on the day I'm working on those pages, I don't think about anything BUT those pages. Sure I know where the story is going and where the story's come from, I have drawings printed out for locations and characters so I know what I'm drawing and what everything looks like. But in essence my job that day isn't 24 pages or 576 pages. It's just 2. Or 1 even. 1's a good pace. 1 page every two days. However you break it down, whatever your pace, that's all you're really doing that day. So just break it down to what you need to be thinking about day by day. It's way less daunting that way.