Creating JOYRIDE Part 2

Images © Todd Klein and Gene Ha.

Here’s the top half of the print completely lettered, though the lettering overlay is not correctly positioned on the art. The top line, a floating “time and place” caption in uncial style didn’t come out quite as I wanted the first time, so I lettered parts of it twice more. With that, I felt this part was complete enough to scan.


Lettering the bottom half of the print was next, and here I had two floating captions and a large title and credits. The title was the most important part of the print lettering artistically, and I gave it a lot of thought. Should I go with something Greek-looking? I felt that wouldn’t blend well with the art, I wanted something more rounded. In the end I came up with a style that is essentially Roman letter forms but with an Art Nouveau feel of organic curves and playful curls on the ends of some elements. I wanted to have a place for spot color inside the J, so I planned an opening inside the vertical stroke. While the title is large, I didn’t want it to steal too much attention from Gene’s wonderful flying horse, so I planned to have the letters go behind that. For the credits I went back to an Uncial style to match the time and place caption at the top.


I began inking the title outlines with my size 2 tech pen, using circle and oval templates where possible to keep the curves even and consistent, and a straight edge for the straight lines. While the shapes are worked out in pencil, I continue to make decisions about the final shape while inking, and can make further adjustments later after scanning if necessary.


Here’s the entire finished lettering for the bottom half of the print. I was happy with the title outlines, and planned to fill them in after scanning. Everything else here is final. Next I erased all the pencil lines and scanned each lettering vellum.


Here’s one section of the scanned lettering. As I’d hoped, working larger allowed me to be less fussy with touching up and correcting the scans. I did some of that where the pen hadn’t quite gone where I’d wanted, or the ink was a little too light or too heavy, but much less than usual. (All such corrections are made in Photoshop using the eraser and pencil tools mainly.)


Here’s the title and credits scanned and cleaned up. With all the lettering scanned, I was ready to digitally combine it with Gene’s finished art scan in Photoshop. There was some juggling of sizes to get everything to match up, but that didn’t take too long to work out.


Here’s the first panel completed, not as clear as the original, but the best I can do here on the blog. The top caption has been assembled from the best elements of the three versions I lettered. The narrative captions have a thin open drop shadow to which I’ve added a gray tone. This gives them a little more weight on the page. Notice that, while Philona’s caption narration is italic, Bell’s quoted speech is not. The pronunciation note is upper and lower case, and lettered a little smaller to fit into the gutter between panels.


And this is the entire print with lettering added. For the title I decided the filled letters should be gray to keep them from battling the horse for attention. The curl on the E was moved to the right a little for better balance. The open area of the J, where I would add a painted spot color, was made narrower so the vertical strokes on each side of it came closer to matching the size of the other letter strokes. In tiny gray type at bottom left is a link to the full text of the stories on my website, and running up the side at top right is the copyright and printing info, also in gray. I printed this on 11 by 17-inch white card stock, as I had planned for this print, and scanned it, that’s what we’re looking at here. My printer would trim off the edges of Pegasus’s wings about a quarter inch from the edge of the paper, which was fine. Having them go right to the edge of the paper would create problems for anyone wanting to frame the print. I sent this image to Gene, and he liked it, so I was ready to get printing!


My print run this time, as with my last print, would be 300, plus some personal copies for Gene and myself. I ran these on my 11 by 17-inch capable Xerox printer with no problems, and then it was time to think about the spot color that I wanted to add, as I do with all my prints. I decided a pale pink would look good inside the J, I’ve always liked pink and gray together. I use Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolors, and I did some tests with a variety of different reds in my color sets. I wanted a warm red, not a cooler magenta pink.


The winner was Brilliant Cad Red diluted to one drop per 12 drops of water. It looked fine to me inside the J, but somehow the print didn’t seem quite complete and balanced with only one area of color. Most of my prints have at least two. I had already thought about another place in the art where I could put a bit of pale pink, but didn’t see any appropriate place.

Then I thought about adding a bit of color to the lettering somewhere, and the obvious place was in this small balloon in panel 2. It’s one I added after seeing Gene’s art. He did a very convincing job of showing Philona suddenly noticing the approaching Pegasus, and I felt I needed to acknowledge that with this balloon. It’s a pivotal point in this brief story where her gloom and sadness is suddenly transformed to joy by what she sees, so I thought it was an appropriate place for the happy spot color as well.


Here’s the final print painted, needing only the signatures of Gene and myself to be finished, and by the time you read this, they’ll be in place. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the creation of this print. More about all my prints can be found on the SIGNED PRINTS page of my blog, where you’ll also find links to purchase them. All my items for sale are together on my BUY STUFF page, too.

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