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Walk at Dusk

posted in Home Jabber on March 14, 2005

The furrowed-brow boy from the top floor apartment emerges for the second time today, hood slung over head, obviously in shock at the temperature change from his earlier foray. A slight wisp of visible breath trails behind him as he makes his way up the hill.

The ancient lady and her ancient dog who live across the street in the oldest house in Astoria have also emerged, and make their way up the hill at an even slower pace. They both exhibit a careless, stuttering gait: minimum momentum. Where is there to go? Maybe they'll check the mail again.

Children in newly acquired Walmart jackets with a fashionable poof factor as though stuffed with fiberglass cotton candy make their obligatory racket at the bottom of the hill. Screams of excitement at the release from school, at the changing of the seasons, nearing that eternal release of summer. The weather lately has been a tease, feeling like summer is but a few weekends away. Now, however, it's returned to it's proper late winter chill, reminding that it's actually spring which is a weekend away. Not nearly as exciting.

All the plants are excited, however. Blooms blossom, leaf sprigs sprout, and the skeletal landscape begins to fill out with promising plant flesh. Time for rebirth, the awakening from winter, gloom and gray giving way to Safeway easter displays and crisp sunshine.

Citizens oblivious to the newly-scented plants drive overpowered, cumbersome vehicles back and forth across the isolated fishing town. Picking up kids. Driving grocery bags home. Sneaking five minutes of solace between the dull grind of work and the family chaos of home.

An awkwardly tie-dyed teenager sneaks away from his house as dusk settles in, comfortably obscure in the reddening light, and smokes a deliciously rebellious cigarette in the vacant playground.

The scowling boy returns from his 10 minute adventure outside, slips back inside the gilded Home Apartments, and makes his way up the flights of stairs.

6 comments on this entry

WOW! I really love this one! The red is so great... it puts you right there! I think I smell like cigarette smoke after looking at this picture. GOTTA WASH MY SHIRT!!!

rn rnr 3/15/05

damn, thanks aaron. it's really hard for me to tell how something looks (especially when red's the primary color, ha!) until i hear from a color-enabled human. also didn't know if it was too dark (damn laptop screen has it's *own* color-weirdness), but it's a BAR, right? they're all dismally dark.

nate 3/15/05

nate--tell us a bit about how you make these color drawings. are you drawing b/w and then p-shopping? anyway, they look awesome. put them into a story and you'd be published tout de suite....

scott 3/15/05

yeah, you got it: draw in b&w, color in photoshop. main trick i've learned is to scan at high dpi to separate the linework before coloring.. here's a quick version:

scan at 600dpi bitmap (i save a TIF of this version), convert to grayscale, use Select / Color Range.. with black at 180 fuzziness or so, copy and paste the linework to a new layer. THEN you resize image to 800px wide or so, convert to RGB color, fill the background layer white (or at a midtone, which i've been doing lately), add a layer between the bg and linework, and do the coloring there.

i figure if i ever wanted to print this in color at a higher resolution, i could just enlarge the low dpi color layer and put it behind the previously saved 600dpi linework, because the color doesn't need to retain any definition.

a luxururious yet now seemingly indispensable element is a Wacom graphics tablet for the coloring layer. it's REALLY nice for any sort of photo editing .. especially with the varying brush size with different pressure.

goddamn that was longwinded. i have plans for a HowTo section in brainfag SOMEday (been a long time brewing), and this will definitely be one of the howtos, since i've had a few requests for it (and because it took me 3 years to find this method).

nate 3/15/05

just spend all your time doing a graphic novel in this style and that would be more of a favor than any how-to stuff. nice work.....

oh, by the way, coolest site i've seen in a while.....

scott 3/15/05

i LOVED the prose, beautifully and smoothly written. incredible choice of words, i.e. "a careless, stuttering gait: minimum momentum." thanks for a nice read!

jude 3/16/05

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