SAM KIETH FANS! WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO WORK WITH SAM?
Sam and I had a fairly non-standard, and constantly altering (as we realized this or that wasn’t working), method for doing the art for “Ojo.” We had two things in mind. First of all, speed, because the first issue was already at the printer, when his previous artist, Alex Pardee, suddenly was unable to continue working on the project, and I came on board. Second of all, since I was the third artist aboard, with a completely different third style than the other two, we wanted to try and keep some consistency in the look from page to page.
When we first began, Sam planned to continue drawing about a third of the art. He sent me small layout sketches for the pages I would do. He would do two pages worth, on 8 ˝” by 11” pieces of typing paper. I would then use these as reference to re-draw “finished” pencils and inks on 11” x17” Bristol. For reasons of speed, Sam asked me not to do cross-hatchings and shadings. He then, for consistency of the overall look, took my “finished” pages and added his own cross-hatches, shadings, speckles and sprays and chicken-scratchings. He also altered noses or faces or body positions or shadows, as he saw fit, and even completely redrew a panel here and there.
It wasn’t long before Sam realized he was taking as much time to draw the layouts for me as if he just drew the whole page, so that stopped pretty quickly. He continued to touch up my “finished” pages, but I no longer had the crutch of getting an idea what he had in mind.
By issue three, again for reasons of speed, Sam asked that I start drawing two pages on an 11” by 17” board. He continued to touch up as we went.
By the time the comics came out, I knew the pages Sam did (because I’d never seen them), but couldn’t remember, looking at my pages, what I’d drawn, and what Sam had done. Luckily I scanned most (but damnit, how’d I miss some of them??!) of the pages before I passed them on.
Following are some samples of our process, before the letterer got hold of the pages.