Newsagents in Colour

Here’s the coloured version of Kershaw’s Newsagents, now no. 7, Queen Street, Horbury.

I’ve been able to narrow down the dates of the postcard that I drew this detail from to 1938-1939, so immediately before World War II.

The Savoy Cinema

It was the cinema poster than gave me my first clue. The Savoy was an out-of-town cinema, latterly a bingo hall, next to the Whinney Moor Hotel on Horbury Road, Wakefield.

I walked past it on what turned out to be its last night, walking back from an evening class in Wakefield. It burnt down that night and was eventually replaced by the Lupset Medical Centre. My evening class ran from September 1990 to June 1991, but I can’t remember the date of the fire.

Anyway, getting back to dating that poster:

Bank Holiday was a British drama film directed by Carol Reed and starring John Lodge and Margaret Lockwood. It was released 27 January, 1938. Being out-of-town, I suspect that the Savoy showed movies a week or two after their initial release.

Love Under Fire must have been showing well after its first screening on 20 August, 1937. An American drama, set during the Spanish Civil War, it starred Loretta Young and Don Ameche. Don Ameche had a long film career; he starred in Cocoon: The Return in 1988.

Radio Times

Despite being able to browse through every copy of The Radio Times for that period (see link below), I haven’t been able to spot a specific issue which featured the first broadcast of Elizabeth, the Queen Consort, (better remembered by my generation as The Queen Mother).

There was a lot of coverage of various royal visits in the Radio Times during 1938. This was probably due to the Government and Buckingham Palace trying to undo the potential damage caused by the recently abdicated Edward VIII and his wife (Wallis Simpson, as was), visiting the German Chancellor, Adolf Hitler, and his Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, in October 1937.

If you do take a look through the Radio Times for that period and you spot a broadcast billed as Elizabeth’s first, please let me know.

Pearson’s Magazine

I can only decipher the title of one of the periodicals on display, Pearson’s, a magazine of speculative fiction and predominantly left wing political comment, which at that time was edited by John Reed Wade, who had been in charge since 1920. W.E. Johns, author of the Biggles stories, took over as editor in May the following year but the magazine ceased publication in November, which confirms that the photograph must have been taken pre-war.

The magazine or poster to the left of the news-rack, in the doorway, which is also visible in the window, shows a large ship with a crane in the background, so I’d guess that this is a feature about the building of the liner RMS Queen Elizabeth, which was launched by Elizabeth, the Queen Consort, at Clydebank, Scotland, on 27 September, 1938.

There’s what could be a comic in the middle of window. The Beano was already established at the time (although Leo Baxendale’s Bash Street Kids wouldn’t appear for another fifteen years, so probably not worth bothering with).

Queen Street Today


The Kershaw’s Newsagents is now Bike Medic, but there’s still a barber’s, Mister Lister’s next door. The shop fronts have changed a little but the drain pipe – and its top funnel – is still the original!

Before taking the photograph, Barbara and I had called for coffee and freshly baked scones (cherry, this morning) at the Rich & Fancy cafe, three doors up from the bike repair shop.

Local Colour

I couldn’t find any colour reference so I decided to try a bottle green for the newsagent’s, which I believe was a popular colour at that time.

For me it doesn’t ring true, even though I’ve faded it out a bit in my colour image (top), however the advantage of having drawn it as a digital image is that I could change the colours on the paint layer if I wished, without damaging my line drawing in any way.

I can also easily output the drawing in line, black and white half-tone or sepia.

I like the sepia but it does make the scene look too cosily Victorian, rather than Britain on the eve of war.

Links

Savoy Cinema

Bank Holiday, film, 1938.

Love Under Fire, film, 1937

Radio Times, the 1930s

Pearson’s Magazine

Newsagents in Pen

I’ve used the pen tool with the G-pen nib in Clip Studio Paint in this drawing of  Kershaw’s Newsagents, Horbury, in 1938. The effect is very similar to my regular pen and ink drawings, although bringing the whole drawing together wasn’t so straightforward; although I appreciated being able to zoom in on the different sections of the drawing as I worked, this did mean that it felt a bit like working on a jigsaw: I’d concentrate on one area, such as an edge, but I’d lose sight of the picture of a whole as I did that.

Adding colour was also unfamiliar to me, compared with using my watercolours. I’ve stuck to one brush to get the feel for that particular setting, but the result feels like colouring using a felt-tip pen.

The whole exercise has been useful for getting used to the range of marks that I can produce with pen and brush in the program. I’m sure that I’ll find it useful.

Coxley Beck

This digital painting has turned out looking like the starting point for one of my acrylic on hardboard paintings, before I’d started adding details of tree, water and ferns.

Coxley Beck is running opaque with sediment where it passes through an old mill race at Horbury Bridge. I’ve draw this on my iPad Pro, using an Apple Pencil in the Clip Studio Paint program.

I pasted a photograph that I’d taken this afternoon into the lowest layer of my Clip Studio Paint document, then added a layer for pencil above it. So that I could see where I was going with the pencil, I partially faded out  the photograph by using the opacity slider for that layer.

I traced the trees and the line of the beck in pencil, then hid the photograph by clicking its eye symbol in the layer palette and drew using the pen tool, using my pencil tracing as a guide.

Paint Layer

Once I’d finished with the pencil layer, I hid it and added a new layer for paint. In order not to paint over my pen lines, I added the paint layer below the pen layer.

As I worked, I kept referring back to the photograph layer, now with the opacity slider set back at 100%, and used the eye-dropper tool to sample colour. I couldn’t always get the colour that I wanted, so I also used some of the standard swatches and the colour wheel.

In the odd spots that I hadn’t painted, the default white background of what Clip Studio refers to as ‘paper’ showed through, making Coxley Beck look more sparkly than it actually does this afternoon, so I added a background layer of a suitably muddy brown.

Pen, initial pencil sketch and first attempts at adding colour.

It reminds me of when I painted in acrylic and I’d start by painting the whole canvas in a neutral light grey, so that I wasn’t misled when mixing tones by a brilliant white background.

I used various digital pens, finishing up with the textured pen and various versions of the watercolour brush, including dense watercolour.

I look forward to trying the technique with another subject.

Links

Clip Studio Paint

iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

Borders

Pencil, ink, colour and layout produced using an Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro in the Clip Studio Paint program. I’d struggle to draw frames as neatly as this by hand.

Continuing on my learning curve with Clip Studio Paint, this doodle is a real achievement as I’ve now worked out how to lay out a comic strip using the program on the iPad. As you create the frames, you can set it so that the program creates a separate image folder for each frame.

Why should that be an advantage? Well, if you’ve ever drawn a comic strip by hand, using a ruling pen to draw the borders, you’ll know that you have to take care not to go over the line when you’re drawing, otherwise you’re giving yourself extra work going round with the Tippex to clean things up before publication (or the Photoshop equivalent of Tippex).

If you need a drawing to run through adjacent frames – for instance in a scene where figures move through a landscape – you can set things up so that several frames, or the whole page, share the same folder.

Cookbooks

Drawing all those frames for my flick-book cartoons has helped me to feel at ease using Clip Studio Paint on the iPad. One advantage the iPad is that you can zoom in to work on details with a pinching movement of two fingers and you can rotate the whole drawing, simply by rotating two fingers. These two actions were useful when it came to writing in all the titles of the books.

Once the iPad knows that you’re drawing with an Apple Pencil, it rejects any finger movements it detects as drawing but still responds to any gestures, such as rotation and zooming in.

Paper, Pen & Pencil

There are four layers in my original Clip Studio file: the default paper background (plain white); pencil, for my initial drawing; colour, using the watercolour brush and pen, using the ‘real G-pen’.

To make it more like a real sketchbook drawing, I left my original pencil lines visible. If I’d been aiming for finished-looking illustration, I could have removed all the pencil work with a single click of the mouse: no meticulous rubbing out with a soft art eraser.

Blazer Man

I’ve learnt a lot since my first attempt at a flick-book style animation using Clip Studio Paint. It’s such a versatile program, something like Photoshop but aimed specifically at comic artists illustrators but, with so many possibilities, I  can’t hope become familiar with it all in just a few sessions.

Mugshot

I’m sticking to the basic process that worked for me in the first animation and gradually building up my skills from there. My main advance here was adding the coloured background.

As I experimented with the settings of the animation cels, the ‘undo’ button came in handy or more than one occasion but that’s a good way to discover aspects of the program: for instance its ability to output drawings as a half-tone made up of dots. It would be great for a wanted poster or a newspaper cutting in a comic strip story. Judging by that photograph, he’s definitely guilty.

Animated Head

Clip Studio Paint offers the possibility of animating drawings and, since there’s now a new version of the program for the iPad, I thought that it was time to give it a go.

This rotating head is my first attempt. The layers have a degree of transparency, so that I can see my previous drawing, as a fainter, bluer image, as I start on the next frame.

Onion Skinning

It’s like the traditional animator’s light-box, what’s sometimes referred to as onion skinning: viewing several frames at once.

I drew the animation test (above) using the Clip Studio pencil tool then went over it with the pen tool (right) trying to make a few corrections as I went.

As I’m still not up to speed in Clip Studio Paint, I export an animated GIF from Clip Studio to Adobe Photoshop CS5 for the final adjustments of repeating the eight frames in reverse order to make a continuous loop and cropping the final image.

I still need to work out the best way to add pen and colour layer to each frame, but that’s as far as I’m going with this head: something went wrong with the eyes!

Link

Clip Studio Paint

Ash Tree on the iPad

As the light faded, I drew one of the ash trees at the edge of the wood using a new version of Clip Studio Paint for iPad. For the next few weeks, there’s an opportunity to give it a six month free trial.

It feels so much more direct than using the iPad with a wifi link to the same program running on my main computer and I appreciate the thought that has gone into redesigning the interface to make it more suitable for a tablet.

I started with a pencil drawing then, on a new layer, added a suggestion of colour, finishing with an ink layer for drawing with the G-pen.

Link

Clip Studio Paint for iPad on iTunes

Desk Top

It’s been a month since we had a weekend at home and my desk top is in need of sorting out but how could I resist drawing these tottering piles of books and magazines?

I’ve drawn it with an Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro. I’m using is Clip Studio Paint EX on my iMac, which is connected to the iPad by wifi through the program Astropad 3. Sometimes pen and sketchbook just isn’t enough!

I like trying to learn new programs and I thought that the best way was just to launch into it and do the simplest of drawings. I say ‘new’ programs but I’ve been trying to get proficient in Clip Studio Paint, formerly Manga Studio for the last five years.

Links

Clip Studio Paint EX

Astropad

Digital Turnip Pen

I’ve often drawn the view from my studio window before but this is the first time I’ve drawn it using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

Once again I’ve got it connected to my iMac and the point of the exercise is to become more familiar with the comic drawing program Clip Studio Paint. So, I’m using a different virtual nib with the pen tool today; the turnip pen, which I leave set to size 5.

I add the watercolour on its own layer, which I keep behind the pen layer.

I add the colour using the brush tool set to transparent watercolour. The way I’m using the brush tool makes it feel more like a marker pen filled with watercolour. I notice that if I hold the Apple Pencil at an angle I can get a blended effect and tone down my initial brushstrokes.

Autodesk SketchBook

I drew the vase using Autodesk SketchBook. It’s designed with a touchscreen in mind which is probably why I find that colour selection is more intuitive than Clip Studio Paint but I want to stick with the latter as it offers so much more when it comes to page layout for comic strips.

Links

Clip Studio Paint

Autodesk SketchBook