Penciling and Inking Tests for
The art side of pre-production for "Runaway Weer" began in 2014 April and entered full production during that same month. The initial pencil-testing was concerned with the anatomy and clothing of Aspynn and Lindynn, giving little attention to facial features. At this point, color was used only for the sake of distinguishing bodies from garments from text; "Runaway Weer" was designed for binary black-on-white, nor for color. Aspynn and Lindynn's garments were mostly a combination of medieval European and Joseon-era Korean ("Hanbok") styles, because Charles Shearer himself tends to wear his own blending of the two.
The very first pencil-testing for "Runaway Weer."
The invented word "Treefoke" meant "human," but neither word is used in the three volumes.
Foundational guidelines for physically distinguishing Aspynn and Lindynn from each other.
Includes some concepts that were later invalidated by stylistic decisions and plot points:
the final inked drawings were too small for much details in eyes, and the idea of archery being culturally enforced
as male-exclusive was deemed unnecessary and therefore abandoned.
Lindynn's hood was modeled after a medieval-ish hood that Charles had hand-made in South Korea,
but Aspynn's top was only hypothetical, having never been sewn or tested for real.
Charles would be interested in making an actual prototype, but the garment is exclusively feminine, and
is necessarily paired with a specific bottom-garment that was also never made for real.
An appropriate model or recipient would also be required, or else the expense of time and labour would not be worth it.
Devising the panel-grid and doing the first thumbnailing.
As such, the first pencil-drawn boards ended up being "Runaway Weer in Custody," pages 4 and 5.
Since the clothing and anatomy had been mostly decided by this point, color was no longer needed.
Page 5 of "Runaway Weer in Custody" originally ended with Aspynn and Lindynn sitting on the opposite bank of the river,
but logically still being unclothed below their tops from having just crossed the river
made their poses/angle difficult to draw without either appearing unnatural/uncomfortable or being gratuitously nude,
so the panel was changed to something less problematic, in the final version.
The dog-eared and often consulted reference for how Ashwood Village was laid out,
though there ended up being changes to how the houses themselves were designed.
No ink touched the boards until all of the pencil-work had been completed for the three volumes, meaning that even though the story and plot were finished and tangible by then, the final look of "Runaway Weer" was yet undecided. Even the exact facial features of the characters had not yet been finalized, but rather, were only vaguely suggested via placeholder marks for expressions, looking much like "Li'l Lynn" faces. While awaiting a trip to South Korea, to retrieve inking brushes and dip-pens that had been left there, Charles did some ink-testing with inferior tools that were presently available. These experiments with facial features and hair texture/value unexpectedly ended up adjusting the ethnicity of Aspynn and Lindynn; as they would be part of one ethnic group in a primeval setting, it stood to reason that they would have similar traits, but from a narrative standpoint, they also needed to be visually distinct from each other.
Some experiments with facial features, to get a more complex and variable look than "Li'l Lynn" had.
The value (meaning "lightness or darkness" rather than "quality") of Lindynn's hair was a point of long indecision,
as black would have been graphically bold and easy to ink-draw, as well as conducive to suggesting an ethnic group,
but struck Charles as making Lindynn look too different from her counterpart Lynn Herr in "Li'l Lynn."
He eventually got accustomed to this, accepting that the two are parallels to each other, rather than the same person.
The ink-drawn look was beginning to come together.
Lindynn, especially, was starting to look more like herself.
Experimenting with textures, which were important to the narrative by visually distinguishing types of fabric:
herringbone weave was specific to the Imperials (the Commandant's people),
various basket-style weaves and single/cross-hatches were akin to the humans,
straightforward black was used by both species, and clean white material was rarely ever seen.
There were cases in the plot in which certain fabric-made goods were turned into other items,
so for the sake of good continuity, decisions about fabric patterns had to be consistently enforced.
As the ink-drawn look was being decided, there was also the question of which tools would be most conducive to it.
Charles had several types of old dip-pens that worked well for this purpose, but they unfortunately
had been discontinued by the manufacturer, while some types of dip-pens that had worked for him
years ago in previous projects ended up being unsuitable for "Runaway Weer."
Also of consideration is that as free-hand parallel lines are made longer, they also become more irregular,
therefore patterns of texture, no matter how complex, needed to be constructed of short marks.
Still having trouble with the textures and value-scemes of Aspynn and Lindynn's clothing for the first two feature stories.
These scans are from a sketchbook, the paper of which was thin and cheap, resulting in certain inks bleeding through.
White acrylic paint was used for corrections, but was inadequate for this purpose, despite being labeled as "opaque."
This page was also an experiment in efficiency: the two-mark basket weave has a nice appearance when done carefully,
but is difficult to prevent from becoming irregular, whereas the four-mark basket weave was easier to draw.
Whether or not to blacken the gutters (i.e. the spaces between panels) was another point of long indecision.
Ink-drawing for black gutters has different requirements than ink-drawing for typical black borders separated by white space:
black drawing elements and black gutters might look alike, resulting in visual confusion.
However, none of the drawings on the "Runaway Weer" boards had yet been inked, so they could be easily optimized for either choice.
The final decision was for black gutters, because even though this required more work, it had the worthy benefit of
making the white areas appear luminous in the darkness, and established a more appropriate mood.
Solving one problem caused others to arise, and solutions that seemed to have been found were not always kept.
This page, in particular, was concerned with visually distinguishing Aspynn and Lindynn, while they are both in uniform.
This was the final page of testing in the sketchbook, before beginning the ink-drawing process in earnest.
By this point, the three volumes had been entirely penciled and lettered, a state which was visually decipherable only to Charles himself.
Though not feeling quite ready for the ordeal of ink-drawing the three volumes back-to-back, after relatively little preparatory experiments,
he was anxious to finally begin bringing "Runaway Weer" into a presentable state.
"Runaway Weer: A Primeval Parallel to Li'l Lynn" and "Li'l Lynn: The Joy of Childhood and Other Myths" © Charles Shearer.
"Runaway Weer the Burdened" (ISBN 978-0-9984798-2-8), "Runaway Weer the Corrupted" (ISBN 978-0-9984798-3-5), and "Runaway Weer the Accused" (ISBN 978-0-9984798-4-2) original art production:
2014 May, 2014 August through 2015 February, 2015 April through 2015 August, 2015 October in Decatur, GA, USA.
Personal: "charlesjshearer (at) gmail (dot) com." Business: "theauthor (at) charlesshearer (dot) info."