Odori Park, by Chris Watkins Odori Park - Blog


Yesterday, MTV Geek posted the second part of my two-part interview with Sean Kleefeld, for their Kleefeld on Webcomics series. Sean and I dug deeper into the ways my art style has evolved over the past four years of Odori Park, both organically and by design. Here’s a link to part one of the interview:
Kleefeld on Webcomics 88
and here’s part two:
Kleefeld on Webcomics 89

I thought it might be interesting for anyone who enjoyed that interview to have something of an index to the various artistic experiments I’ve done over the years, including the recent “artsperiments.” To that end, here’s a relatively complete listing of the wackier and/or experimental things I’ve done in Odori Park to date:

  • Evil Finger - The first strip, drawn in ink on paper, with very little sense of how I’d want to draw the characters going forward.
  • In the Red - The first strip after I decided to take OP online. Note the start of sepia tones here. I was also doing all my inking digitally by now.
  • Utility - I did some streamlining of character head designs starting here, to make them faster and easier to draw.
  • Ocean Lullaby - My first crayon strip. A crayonstraveganza. I got the idea while drawing pictures with my son.
  • Ring 1 - The start of my Ring parody. I wanted a scratchy horrorific look, so I drew these in ballpoint pen on bristol board.
  • Intermission - A pen-drawn strip I did as a filler. I still like the gag, but I shouldn’t have tried to save time by drawing as small as I did.
  • Saccharintastic - One of the few strips with color after my initial run of syndicate submission strips. I felt it needed the color to sell the gag. Being in grayscale the first two panels gives it even more punch.
  • The Beholder - My son did an awesome pirate drawing, and I wanted to include it in the comic.
  • Arts and Cramps - Back to the crayons for this and the strip that follows it. It’s a ubiquitous medium in a house with l’il ‘uns.
  • Little Frog - I played with a brush pen in this story, to give parts a storybook feel. I think my handling of the tool has improved, but it was still a fun experiment.
  • TWCL Awards - A full color strip I did for The Web Comic List Awards. Very shiny.
  • Fright or Flight - A real departure in medium: black house paint on a wall, done as part of a gallery installation.
  • Got the Time - Done as part of the same gallery mural. Maybe the first time I really ignored traditional comic strip boundaries.
  • Daikaiju - I was inspired by the last experiment to break boundaries again.
  • Sketchbook: Fired Up - My first sketchbook run, done very “low-fi” to keep updates rolling while I was traveling with my family in Japan.
  • Quit While You’re Ahead - Crayons, Post-It Notes, and a bunch of other odd materials in this storyline. It started as a way to catch up on time, but turned into a household media exploration.
  • Thoroughly Appalled - This one’s a little more subtle. I tried getting a bit looser in my drawing around this time.
  • The Proposal, Part 1 - I drew this storyline in a book page format, with the longer overall story in mind. I’d planned it for my first book, but couldn’t get it finished in time, so I ran it on the site, instead.
  • In His House at R’leyh - A bit of brush pen and textured paper in this one.
  • The Trouble with Ninjas - More of my son’s handiwork. I couldn’t resist putting this in a strip.
  • Learn Japanese, Part 1 - Inspired by the Draw Something app, I tried fast and loose drawing with blocks of sepia first, then sketchy ink lines over top. I carried aspects of this forward with me, like the rough brush toning.
  • The Yawn of Adventure - To make this storyline look like an amalgam of classic video games, I played with angles and art styles throughout. It was fun, but referencing other art styles always takes me time.
  • Summer Sketchbook: I Don’t Care - Another sketchbook run, but more full strips this time. We had a busy summer this year, after our state to state move, so I played with pencils for a while to catch up. I toyed with the idea of carrying on permanently with pencil, but I like the look of ink lines too much.
  • Fails from the Crypt - I went back to the old ballpoint for this Halloween story, but added in some textured backgrounds for a creepy feel. Note the several font changes throughout the story–byproducts of computer troubles.
  • L’impertinente Lemure - And here’s the start of November’s artsperimentation set. See the blog posts marked “artsperiment” for what I took away from the process!

Hope that was interesting for you. Any thoughts about the choices I’ve made, or suggestions for future experiments? Please leave a comment or drop a line and let me know!

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