Another character in the Spam and the Sasquatch graphic novel that I’m working on, in partnership with author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, is Renfrew the Raccoon. (see yesterday’s post for links to catch up if you’re just tuning in) He’s rather a felonious fellow, who just can’t resist picking up anything shiny to make his very own. But he is Spam’s good friend and assistant detective, and can usually be counted on to join in on an adventure and lend the advantage of his opposable thumbs to the cause, as long as it doesn’t get too scary.
I used to draw raccoons quite a lot in my days of doing wildlife art, but that was long ago, and I wanted to refresh my skills. So today I pulled out some of my old reference photos and books and started doing some sketches, trying for a lot more simplification than I used to do; after all, this is going to be a comic book character! I love drawing raccoons in detail; the patterns in their fur are really quite wonderful, but I wanted to keep the drawings simple because I’m going to watercolour them.
I have a triple agenda in mind for these; in addition to the design itself, I’m doing materials research — yesterday I tore down some sheets of five different kinds of paper that I’m thinking of using for the novel. When you’re doing 64 pages — OK, it’s a short novel, but I don’t think anyone calls them graphic novellas; I could be wrong there — anyway, as I was saying, 64 pages is a lot, and I wanted to have paper that I was going to be happy to work on the whole way through. So each of these is done on a different type of paper, for a total of four kinds, and the Sasquatch from yesterday makes the fifth type.
I’m also practicing drawing with a brush in India Ink, because I’d like to use that as my primary drawing tool for the book. I found that all the papers performed well with the brush and ink, so the decision will be which one handles the watercolour in the way that I like best.
So here are the results — they look kind of odd at this stage because I haven’t filled in the darks, which will happen when I watercolour them.