Thank you for your patience as the “mid-July” return of the comic turns into an August start. For your amusement: my very, very crude first attempt-in-progress at working in encaustics.
Encaustic is the wax-based painting method of the Greeks and Romans that was used for, among other things, portraits on wood, some of which would have been framed and hung on walls in homes. There was both a cold-wax and a hot-wax method, and I’m trying the hot version. And doing a profile, because that was the easiest. Luckily, you can get started in encaustics by re-purposing some household and art-supply items (hot plate, grill thermometer, natural-bristle brushes, paint-stripping heat gun) instead of having to invest in a lot of pricey new art supplies (other than the wax paint itself). But it’s going to take a lot of practice to match the skill of the ancient masters of portraiture.
The convenient thing about this medium (as opposed to pen and ink or watercolour) is that I can keep fussing with it and redoing bits pretty much indefinitely.
Searching for “Fayum portraits” will show many stunning examples that have survived. Some show the brush/tool strokes, some have heavy impasto (thick, sculpted paint), some are smoothly blended. Here are a few from during or around Felix’s day:
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At the comic shop last Friday, I worked on commissions and—probably because I was in a comic shop surrounded by comics and paintings of superheroes—several of the sketch cards took a turn toward the superheroic. A couple of them just flat out wanted to be other characters, so I let them. Then, because I’d ended up turning a Felix sketch into Wonder Woman… twice… I let him have a try at being Superman. I wasn’t satisfied with how the colours turned out, so I played with it in Photoshop.
In high school, I used to enjoy doing stippling effects by hand. Nowadays, I am not so patient.
Since I used a different pen to write the body of the mini-review, I changed it to blue after scanning to distinguish it from the brush pen samples.
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Although the Kuretake pens are probably the best ones in my arsenal, I’ve also enjoyed a lot of the Sailor pens I’ve tried. This double-sided Sailor Fude Nagomi Brush Pen is US$3.55 from JetPens. Most of the single-sided Sailor Fude Nagomi pens are $2.65. They come in Extra Fine, Fine, and Medium; and the “Honzukuri Hair” models are $6.25. According to the description, “the term ‘Honzukuri’ means that the pen was carefully made with the highest quality materials.” When I put together enough for a new order, I’d like to test the difference between the ordinary and Honzukuri tips.
After writing this review I spent an afternoon drawing sketch cards with this pen and a set of Copic markers. I still find the medium tip a little too broad for how I’d like to draw the comic, but overall I enjoyed working with the two tips. This pen is going into my “daily carry” pen roll.