Nagah: "Gaboon Nagah"
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This book is the second time I opted to use pencil for the final technique. The first time was for the eight-page comic story for the Uktena tribe book. I have no real reason I wanted to use pencil other than I was probably sick of inking at the time.
I really enjoyed the process even though you have to take care not to smudge (which you have to do with inks – until they dry, of course). Then, in the end, you put on five or six coats of spray fix and get nice and sick from the toxic fumes (no, you don’t get high, you just feel like a turd). I used only two graphite pencil leads for these – an HB for the darks and middle tones and a 2H for the lights. The softer graphites like 2B and 4B are unnecessary especially since you can darken the darks after scanning them. And the originals have some rich darks anyway.
The pencil artwork I enjoy the most is when the artist builds values and texture with layers of cross-hatching so I did the same with pleasing results. And I like working with subtle half tones anyway – I love soft lighting when I can use it.
Applying pencil to creating the illusion of shiny scales like a Black Mamba or a King Cobra was interesting and I think I got lucky as much as anything else. The scales on the “hydra” warrior really look great (I love that piece).
My very favorite snake is the Gaboon Viper – cool name and exceptionally cool looking. Suffice it to say, I absolutely had to work a Gaboon in there.
Drawing were-snakes was oddly uncomfortable at first. They have no hind legs – just a long snake body – their arms can twist and turn like their body, they all have hoods like Cobras, and their hides are covered in scales which turns out to be the hardest thing to do – design scale patterns that run smoothly all over their bodies!! But it all came together…….thankfully!