Panels 1 and 2: Sadly, my rather limited pencil-rendering schemes are notso-hotso at depicting low-light scenes like this. Back in the Dirty Pair days of inked B&W artwork, I could’ve just slapped down a 10% or 20% screen tone over the entire panel, then scraped off some highlit edge-lighting on the characters with an X-Acto knife or ink eraser. Trying to emulate the same effect with a pencil is, alas, not something I can pull off to my own satisfaction.
Panel 3: Thugboy, naked and driving a car! Yeahp, for once I was attempting to depict a reasonably surreal dream sequence here, as opposed to the unrealistically linear and coherent—and, importantly, narratively convenient—dream sequences I’d depicted in my earlier work.
Panels 3 and 5: Once again, we see the peculiar Thugboy equivalent of the Mysteriously Intermittent Post-Millennial Torso Glitch that so often plagued my drawings of Emp in early Empowered. Namely, without purposely intending to, I would often draw Thugboy with exaggeratedly pronounced trapezoid muscles, as much of the time I was whimsically sketching his musculature purely out of my head, without recourse to photoreference. Part of this is due to the ethos of “just get on the page, fast” that underlies the freewheeling, high-speed, damn-those-pesky-torpedoes creative approach inherent to pounding out Empowered pages, sure. In truth, though, I’ve never bothered to do much detailed anatomical study, so I simply didn’t—and still don’t—know all that much about how to accurately draw the male—or female!—physique. Until my recent life-drawing Instagram kick, during pretty much my entire adult life I’ve done almost no figure studies or developmental sketching outside my comics work, as I felt that any time spent at the drawing board should be invested in advancing one of my stories. Bit of a missed opportunity on my part, to be honest; what I’m learning now from my latter-day figure-study work, I could’ve learned ten or twenty years ago—or thirty, or forty, though that’s a bit of a stretch.
In retrospect, though, I kinda wish that, instead of drawing Thugboy with scrupulously detailed and more reality-based, bodybuilder-worthy musculature, I’d depicted him with a still-realistic but much less “pumped and jacked” (to quote Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll) physique. That would, I think, have helped differentiate him from the physically idealized bodies of the male superheroes. Another missed opportunity, folks! Oh, well.
For the record, as time is short at present due to crushing deadlines, I was trying to crank out a shorter commentary for this page—but still wound up cranking out 413 words in the previous four paragraphs! Oh, well, again.