“Monsters on Comics” has been one of the names of a series of drawings that I’ve made. I take an old comic book, tear out the pages, and use charcoal, a black marker, white conte crayon, and a white pastel to draw the face of a monster on that torn out page. I felt like doing some more drawings on comic pages but not monsters for some reason.

I draw faces all the time. They’re one of my favorite things to draw. I like drawing weird facers with strange features. I’m always looking for new ways to draw eyes, mouths, and hair. For some reason the noses I draw aren’t as weird. There is not much I can do with a nose. Though I have a few different ways to draw them they’re all kind of the same. I find them less expressive than eyes or mouths.

I’ve drawn a couple of my weird faces on comic book pages but not many. I’m not sure why but I’ve almost always stuck to monsters on those comic book pages. Maybe it’s because charcoal, ink, and rough paper lend themselves more to scary drawings. Why swim against the tide?

When I’m making a monster face drawing it’s fairly easy to start. I use a black marker or piece of charcoal to start sketching out the face. I’m not worried too much about making a mistake because I’ll be going over the sketchy black lines with white pastel. I work back and forth between black and white building up layers as I go. There is no erasing but I can black or white something out. At least little somethings.

That isn’t how I normally draw my face drawings so the first thing I had to do on these comic book pages was to figure out how to draw a face on that paper. This is old yellowed comic book paper from the 1970s and it’s delicate. It can’t take a lot of drawing work on it and even handling it I can feel how fragile it is.

For the first drawing I decided to be as spontaneous as I am with the monster faces. It turned out that was pretty hard to do. I immediately ran into problems fitting the hair on the page and the face was coming out pretty generic. I managed to add some interest to the face with spirals and little tick marks but it was tough to get into. In the end I liked the way it came out but not the process.

For the second face I decided to be more deliberate with the drawing. I sketched it out the best I could with both a white and black charcoal pencil. I was easier than the first one but it took a lot more time to draw. I still wasn’t happy with the process.

With the third face I decided I may as well dig into my backlog of face drawings. I checked my digital files for a series of faces that I drew back in 2006. Why was I trying to reinvent the wheel? I could just pick a face that I already drew and draw it on a comic book page. But how should I transfer the face over?

Normally I transfer a drawing one of two ways. I run the paper through my printer and print a copy right on the paper or I use graphite paper to transfer a drawing. I have both white and black graphite transfer paper so I decided to try them. Both were failures in this case. Neither black nor white showed up well enough on the a page that was already full of ink.

I then tried to run a sheet of the comic book paper trough my printer. I knew the paper was too old old and delicate by itself to run trough so I taped a piece of it to a sheet of plain inkjet paper. I tried to print on it but the paper got caught in the printer. It crumpled it all up. That was a no go.

The next method was the old fashioned way. I just put the old face drawing next to me and looked at it as I worked on the comic book paper. After all I wasn’t making an exact copy of it. I just needed it as a guide so I wasn’t inventing everything about the face as I was drawing on delicate paper. This worked out pretty well.

I’ve decided to stick with this method. I think I’m going to dig into my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic stip and mind some faces from it. I’ve been making that strip for years now and have binders full of art cards. This are baseball card size drawings of the talking heads I use for that strip. I’ve got well over a thousand faces drawn for that strip so there is no need to kill myself trying to create new faces on delicate paper.

That brings me to another subject. Paper. I’m a bit of a paper snob. At least I like to draw on nice paper. It makes drawing so much easier. Drawing on a comic book is kind of a gimmick, and I’m okay with that, but it makes it harder to draw. I almost always draw on Bristol board rather than even a basic drawing paper. Bristol holds up better. I even us it for sketches. That how much I like a good paper. It amazes me that not every artist is like that.

I have some friends who are professional artists and they do a lot of their drawing on typing or inkjet paper. It’s almost all preliminary stuff but even then I don’t know how they draw on such bad drawing paper. But they like its thinness because it’s easy to light-box and its disposability because they don’t have to be so precious about the drawing. I find that paper to cheap and I don’t like the surface of it but to each his own. That’s why we’re all always searching for solutions.