Becky's Reviews > Copper

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi
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Mar 17, 10

bookshelves: kid-graphic-novels, graphic-novels, visualstorytelling, art-medium-digital
Read in March, 2010

I adore Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series, so I was excited to read this full-color print collection of his webcomics. Copper the boy and Fred the dog have many small adventures together while discussing life in a futuristic world. I agree with the reviewer who called it "Calvin and Hobbes in Wonderland." Everyone should read the long strip "Mushrooms," but I also liked "Climbing," "Fall," "Dive," and "Jump Station."

I also really liked the "Behind the Scenes" section beginning on p. 85 and detailing Kabuishi's artisitic process, an interesting mix of old-school (he uses a dip pen for line work!) and new (coloring via Adobe Photoshop).

"I believe that limitations can be very effective in fostering creativity, and these simpler methods force me to do more with less."

"I like keeping most of my office very clean, but my desk is the one place where I let loose. I love creative messes. Seeing all kinds of information around me gets my creativity flowing."

"I draw with a Prismacolor Col-Erase blue pencil. I find this pencil easy to use and the resulting lines easy to read. The blue color makes the lines invisible to a photocopier and can also be easily removed when scanned into a computer. Plus, it's erasable, so I don't have to worry about making mistakes."

"when I'm about halfway finished with the pencils, I also round the corners of the panels. For some reason, corner rounding gives me a sense of accomplishment and helps get me excited about finishing the rest of the strip. It's all about inspiring -- or tricking -- yourself into getting things done..."

"0.3 Staedtler pigment liner pen" for lettering

"Hunt No. 102 Crow Quill dip pen" for inking. "If there is a pen out there with better natural line variation, I have yet to see it. The ink is Higgins Black Magic India Ink by Sandford."

digital tools: tablet screen, regular drawing tablet, Adobe Photoshop, large-format scanner (300 dpi or higher)

Photoshop: "Using the Hue/Saturation and Level adjusts, I can cancel out the blue lines and the paper texture, cleaning the image and leaving me with only the black lines to work with. The linework is left on its own layer, set to multiply (which allows you to see through the white portions of the page), and I will begin painting on separate layers underneath the linework."

"I start by selecting the panels and coloring them with a neutral value (i.e. gray). This allows for the color palette of the entire piece to remain balanced and cohesive. Painters call this applying a 'key' color to the image."



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