September 9th, 2004

2020 lack of vision

this week's strip - faceted plastic tears

It was going to be a few lightweight, funny weeks -- I had a great script lined up about gerbils -- but part of the thing of the weekly strip is that it's what I need to write this week. Brilliant ideas be damned, these strips are of the time, and this week I've not been in a joking mood. [distressing news stories, hovering over the link should tell you which ones, if you can't guess]

Initially I wasn't going to produce a strip at all this week, I was going to colour in a picture of the characters from The Company of Dead Poets, but I wasn't even feeling much like that. So instead I decided to try experimenting with combining the sequins I bought from Selfridges with artwork. (They had stocked them in the run up to Notting Hill Carnival; I found them on the day of the carnival, all on sale, surrounded by women on their knees, going through the tiny sparkling packets while their husbands stood by patiently, think I was the only white women there.)

I thought the glass pen with coloured ink was least likely to be overpowered by the sequins, and decided to use up a bundle of tiny slips of absorbant hand-made paper I'd gotten free with a pen. The first picture I drew was panel 8 of this week's strip. If you look at it closely, you can see that I changed the words. Originally it said, "if I start crying I will never stop"; but the lettering was scratchy and didn't say what I wanted it to. By the time I drew panel 2, I knew I was writing this week's strip whether I wanted to or no; and on panel 7, I found its name, refrain -- with the double meaning of chorus and stop; words you repeat again and again until the meaning is gone.

I'm still uncertain about the final panel. The words were going to be "but don't go blind from crying.", then "but don't go blind from it." before I settled on the final wording. I'm not altogether sure it's an improvement, but it is more refrain-like. It also scored the highest number of redraws (I can't pencil on this paper so it all has to be drawn directly freehand), second after panel 6.

Inks used are sandalwood, orange, lily-of-the-valley, lily, rose, musk and pine green. The linework is mostly sandalwood, with a little violet and calligraphy blue-black for emphasis.
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