WITCHES, MONKEYS AND TALKING HEADS

WITCHES, MONKEYS AND TALKING HEADS

By DCE Editorial Monday, December 13th, 2010
The WITCHES story arc of FABLES was enormous fun. Firstly, it gave us a chance to focus on the Witches, previously residents of the thirteenth floor of the Woodland building in Fabletown, and chart important changes in the life of Frau Totenkinder. It also saw a plot line I had suggested begin to take shape in the lives of Beauty and Beast. More importantly for me, however, was the opportunity to discover what became of the Business Office after it disappeared into limbo midway through the Dark Ages story. Why? Well simply because it allowed me five whole issues to indulge my love of drawing Bufkin, Frankie, the Magic Mirror, and all the terrifying creatures trapped with them. As is often the case for me with my ongoing work on FABLES, if I know in advance that particular characters are to be prominent in a new story, I take advantage of that to re-examine the way I draw them. So for WITCHES I produced new model sheets for Bufkin and Frankie, as well as designs for a fully restored Baba Yaga. You’ll see my initial sketches for her below. fabblog1babayaga002 For Bufkin I choose to go slightly simpler and more cartoony to make him more expressive. I’m always happiest drawing the animals in FABLES and I spent a lot of time refining the way I draw him for this story. fabblog1bufkin002 With Frankie, Bill Willingham had expressed a desire to give him a headshape slightly closer to a classic movie Frankenstein, whilst maintaining all the distinctive elements from his previous appearances as designed by Tony Akins. fabblog1frankie002 I had originally intended to create a series of full page Business office backgrounds for WITCHES that I could reuse where appropriate over the story arc. The only one I actually used was for page one. It was drawn only slightly larger than print size and with my home made zip tones used to add shading. My tones are created by enlarging a piece of newsprint photo until they degrade into an irregular dot screen, giving a slightly more organic feel than commercial zip tones. fabblog1office002 I had so much fun drawing all the elements in the business office, and Bill’s scripts moved us around the office so much, that it simple proved unnecessary to repeat any backgrounds. Which suited me fine. I loved drawing all this stuff from scratch! WITCHES ranks high in my list of personal favorites and I was particularly happy with the final episode. I hope you’ll love it too! Mark Buckingham