Volume 2 Page 35
Posted July 22, 2016 at 12:01 am

Enjoy a rare 9-panel Empowered page, folks! No, let me amend that to “incredibly rare 9-panel page,” as I’m not sure that another one with this many panels occurs during all 2000-odd pages of the series—and if so, it certainly isn’t laid out on a grid like today’s installment. Note that this is—technically, at least—the “9-panel grid” of Watchmen fame, but the squatter proportions of the Empowered format reduce the panels’ vertical dimensions considerably.

Er, got nuthin’ else to say about this page, so I figured I might as well paste in a completely unrelated Twitter ramble about black & white versus color artwork. So, er, enjoy…?

Puzzled by artists whose full-color work is spectacular, yet whose black & white artwork is mediocre at best. Different skills, I know, but still…

In fact, I’m frustrated by several artists I know who keep plugging doggedly away at weak B&W work, when they could be killing it in color.

Likewise, another friend of mine who also does spectacular color work has told me he wants to do a B&W comic. Why, dammit, why?

Believe me, if I had the requisite skills, I would absolutely be doing Empowered—or another comic, perhaps—in luxurious full color. 

In theory, at least, I’m capable of learning how to work in color. I’d have to take at least 6-12 months off to practice painting, though.

If I were 10 or 15 years younger, I’d consider taking the time off to learn color. As is, though, the clock is running, kids. Time is short.

I have only so many years left during which A) my drawing hand still works, more or less, and B) I’m still semi-employable in my field.

“Semi-employable” in this context meaning that I’ve not been able to get mainstream comics work in over a decade. Ehh, so it goes, folks.

In the direct market at least, Empowered has definitely been harmed by the lengthening gap between volumes. Can’t afford another year off.

Not only would the hit to Empowered’s sales and long-term future be severe, but I certainly couldn’t afford the loss of income, either.  

During the first 4 or 5 ultra-lean years of working on Empowered, I was still coasting off the money I’d earned from mainstream comics work.

Not having worked any high-paying art or writing jobs in quite some time, I have no such “mainstream cushion” remaining to me presently.

Besides, the only value that color work would hold for me is if I could then create full-color comics on a timely basis. OUTCOME: UNCERTAIN.

I was none too speedy when I still worked in color media; my watercolor-dye Dirty Pair covers were maddeningly slow and time-consuming.

Working in digital color would clearly be faster than the “wet-on-wet” watercolor rendering I once did, but maybe not all THAT much faster.

I know several reasonably speedy artists with advanced color skills who nonetheless tell me they’re far too slow to do a full-color comic.

If I were a dormant Stjepan Sejic, capable of blindingly fast full-color comic production, learning digital painting would be worthwhile.

I suspect, alas, that I would never be remotely as fast as Stjepan Sejic in the medium of digital color. He is unique in our field, folks.

The last thing I’d want would be to develop painting skills only fast enough for doing illustration work, which generally bores me to tears.

Remember, Empowered came about in the first place solely because I tired of drawing “superdamsel in distress” pin-up illos; I needed to tell a g-d story.

While I do quite appreciate the novelty of cranking out con sketches, that only lasts for a few days. Come Monday, I’m back at my REAL work.

In my strongly narrative-biased opinion, a good story in comic form is worth a hundred pretty pin-ups, if not a thousand.

While I admire both Sakimi-chan’s art and her ability to get paid, the idea of cranking out fan art as a fulltime job seems stultifying as hell.

Plus, depending on other people’s characters for your livelihood can have serious—even dire—long-term consequences, folks. 

More on this topic later!

-Adam Warren

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