14 Drawing

He sketches quickly, using the writer's frame descriptions as a guide. A film that he has seen a thousand times before plays on the television, providing the white noise that he needs in order to concentrate. On the drawing board in front of him is a piece of crisp, white paper with a number of frames already laid out. The first contains a pencilled image of a man seen from behind pushing open a bar door. Happy that the first frame is complete, he moves on to the next.

        PAGE 5 – FRAME 2

        View over Mike's shoulder as he walks into the bar. Half a dozen tables visible ahead, mostly occupied; long bar to the left; barman at far end polishing              glass.

        No dialogue.

He likes drawing for this writer. The descriptions are clear, concise. As soon as he reads it, he gets a clear view of what the writer intended, yet with freedom for some decisions of his own. 'Occupied' could mean anything from one to six people. But he keeps the numbers down for this one – two girls chatting on one table; a girl and a guy making eyes at each other at the second; three men at a third all focussing on their drinks and ignoring each other.

There is a satisfaction to his work, to being able to suggest a human form with just a few pencil strokes; a dozen human forms, each noticeably different from each other, yet without details. The writer provides a snapshot of the action in words; he translates that back into visuals. He sometimes feels sorry for the people he draws for. The writer comes up with the story, the characters, the action, but the reader only sees his art work. There is little enough money in the comic book industry but there is more for the artists than the writers.

He curses. The thought about money has distracted him and one of the girls is now wearing what look like platforms instead of the stilettos that he intended. He grabs his eraser and delicately wipes away the offending shoes. The girl's feet are near the middle of the page and he is careful not to disturb the rest of what he has drawn. After blowing away the bits of rubber, he tries again. There, now she has a believable pair of shoes.

Another reason that he likes this writer is that he often finds himself lost in the story. It is almost as if he is drawing from life rather than from printed words. This is the fifth 'Mike Moran, PI' book that he has worked on, all gritty thrillers with interesting characters and exciting plot twists. He has a clear image of Mike Moran in his head and a collection of reference sketches in case memory fails. When he shared them with the writer via email, the reply was, “Wow!!! That's just how I saw him in my head. Thank you for bringing Mike to life!”

He has never met the writer; he wonders if that would be a good idea? The studio encourages its employees to get to know each other and he has met the owner and editors, a few other pencillers, a random collection of inkers, colourers and letterers, and even a couple of the writers that he has drawn for. But this writer seems to be a mystery to everyone.

Going by the name 'JB Whiting', there is no indication that the writer is male or female, what age they are... The character, Mike Moran, is white, male, straight and able-bodied but that does not preclude the possibility that his creator is a black lesbian in a wheelchair.

He sketches in the edge of a table, the rest of which is outside the frame and sits back to view the completed image. On the face of it, there is nothing about Mike Moran that should make him at all interesting and yet he looks forward to these scripts arriving in his inbox. In fact, he has rushed through a couple of other jobs just to give himself time and space to concentrate on Mike.

With a sigh, he reaches for his pencil again. The third frame is a big one, taking up most of the page. This is where the real fun will begin, for both the story and his drawing skills.


14 Drawing

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