Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Otto the Friendly Childhood TraumaBear"


The infamous mount on display up at the University of Alaska's Museum of the North, aka "Otto." who, at 8'9" is actually drawn pretty much to scale. Pro-tip: if you stand around long enough next to it, pretty much guaranteed that you'll wind up taking group pictures of the herds of tourists who have no compunction interrupting you. Actually it's okay once you take admission fees from them or at least sell some sketches (read more on the semesterly safari for dead, hairy animals here, here, and here).

But seriously, this scenario recalled my very first encounter in the wild with a grizzly (recounted on this post), along with pointing up the comparative irony in how there was a warning sign posted about potentially offensive artwork on display. Fortunately we shall at long last be able to carry firearms at the museum, which ought to placate the paranoid. At least it was one of the few models that I didn't have to worry about smelling like a bear while drawing it.

A reminder that this and many other whimsical images are now housed over on my Flickr folio.

Friday, May 27, 2016

CARTOON NORTH II: Sequential Art of Interior Alaska (next week!)



Fairbanks Arts Association and Curator Jamie Smith present
Cartoon North 2016: Sequential Art of the Interior
The Bear Gallery, 3rd Floor Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts,
Pioneer Park (2300 Airport Rd.) 907 456-6485

Event Schedule

Friday, June 3rd 4-8pm: First Friday Opening Reception
Individual artist tables will have creator works for sale!

Saturday, June 4th 1-3pm: Intro to Comics + Cartoons
A look at some historical, classic and contemporary cartoons, with demonstrations in process and techniques by curator Jamie Smith, creator of the Nuggets feature in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Monday, June 6th, 7-8pm in the Blue Room: Juror's Lecture
An overview of some of the comics and cartooning events in the community, highlighting some of the creator’s works on display for the exhibition.

Sat, June 11th, 1-3pm: Intro to the Graphic Novel
With Greg Hill, former director of the Noel Wien library, and other special guests culled from the exhibitors. A great sampling of books of interest to educators, parents, literacy advocates and enthusiasts. Bring a book to share!

Saturday, June 18th 1-3pm: Open Cartoon Jam
Join some of the folks from the show for some fun, fast-paced group exercises in generating ideas for cartoons and comic strips. Pen and paper provided!

Saturday, June 25th 1-3pm: Minicomics
A hands-on workshop about “a common inexpensive way for those who want to make their own comics on a very small budget, with mostly informal means of distribution.” Explore alternative ways of producing these photocopied DIY comics!



Over the years I’ve been incredibly fortunate to host and participate in many cartoon and comics art-related events, like presentations, workshops, and residencies throughout our community. Along with having my own feature run in the local paper for decades, and teaching comics courses at the college level, it’s given me the unique opportunity to be exposed to countless aspiring and accomplished talents.

From single-panel gags and syndicated strips to webcomics, alternative to mainstream comic books, storyboards and character design to graphic novels and humorous illustration, the medium of sequential art is not only incredibly popular but has gained in critical recognition. Comics are now accepted as a legitimate and uniquely engaging interdisciplinary educational tool for both literacy and the visual arts, and are a growing presence in classrooms, galleries and bookstores. Contemporary comic art offers so many different styles and subject matter with tremendous, inclusive appeal to all ages and interests, attracting wide interest from diverse audiences.

Back in 2007 I juried the first Cartoon North invitational at The Annex Gallery: statewide in scale and covering historical pieces, it was an outstanding experience that was very well received. This show by contrast is narrower in scope, but comparatively deeper in content, and primarily showcases the outstanding work of alumni from my classes along with fellow professional practitioners of the craft in the Interior.

Thank you for taking the time to look at and read the pieces on display. Please feel free to avail yourself of the additional resources listed on the handout with contact information for many of the exhibitors. And remember to visit and support your local library and independent bookshops to check out even more comics!



Exhibitors Include:
Anna Bongiovanni annabongiovanni.com
Brianna Reagan http://www.briannareaganart.com/
Chaweinta Hale http://run3ll.tumblr.com/
Olen Seim http://ink361.com/app/users/ig-291053547/oeseim/photos
Lucas Elliott http://www.lucaselliottart.com/
Christopher Green http://www.mumblethief.com/
Maria Frantz http://bluestreetcomic.com/
James Kelly https://www.etsy.com/shop/DecaffeinatedDesigns/items
Hannah Foss http://inkydragon.blogspot.com/
Jose F. Mojica http://jeffandtaylorcomic.com/
Tara Maricle http://taraandbunbun.blogspot.com/
Shannon Waterbury http://corruptedcartoonist.wix.com/corruptedcartoonist
Ellen Million http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/
Bethany Eisenman http://bethany-eisenman-art.tumblr.com/
Layla Lawlor http://laylalawlor.com/wordpress/
Anita Ashbaugh http://anitaashbaugh.tumblr.com/
Lucas Cheek http://lmcheek.deviantart.com/
Alex Luebke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNVMxF5kWFs
Dani Cash http://www.danicashillustration.com/comics/
Amy Huff http://shotguns4legs.deviantart.com/
Ryan Pierce https://www.facebook.com/ripped.art?fref=ts
Hannah Beck http://dailydelilahdog.tumblr.com/
Melanie Post http://dreadpiratekat.tumblr.com/
Shannon Hammond http://mercurialhelle.tumblr.com/
Johnny Stickman
Jeanne Armstrong
Robin Feinman
Geo Yi
Mason Shoemaker
Heidi Collins
Conor Esslemont
Crieghton Beshears
Jack Kendall
Antonio Arenas
Ignatious Runfola
Norma Charlie-Runfola

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"Homer Joke"


This one works on so many levels I love it: we have here your basic mythology gag involving mistaken identity between the Greek versus the Roman incarnation of the aquatic deity, juxtaposed with the double entendre in a caption between authorship and a local/Alaskan reference.


This particular panel also serves as an instance where another attempt at tweaking via Photoshop so as to adjust the elements into a better composition was called for. This can be seen below by comparing the scan of the line art on the right versus the panel on the left, which has considerable more visual breathing room - things aren't so compositionally cramped + the god is shifted in size , rotation and placement (ever so slightly brought up into the foreground with the angler).


So yeah, this is also a lesson in pole-vaulting over a mouse turd moose nugget, as in the end I wound up going with the color wash version, abandoning the digitally "corrected" edit before shading in with the usual halftones. Besides, even if it doesn't run in the newspaper in color, it still works as a black & white image.


But it just goes to show you that what at first seems to be Olympian-caliber concerns are only tiny little bubbles in the champagne of the joke. Sometimes nobody really cares about the fine details about the glass okay? Use a mug.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

BLM Artist-In-Residency


Got some fabulous news just the other day: I was awarded the 2016 Artist-In-Residency from the Bureau of Land Management's Eastern Interior Field Office. The program hosts two separate opportunities for artists: one is in the White Mountains National Recreation Area, and the second, up in the town of Eagle + the Fortymile River wild and scenic river corridor.

I've had a lot of experience up in the White Mountains before - see here for an article that documented one of my more crazier solo hikes - so the second, more comparatively urban location was where I was keen on applying for. Not to mention the romantic appeal of rustic living in a cabin kinda rubs off a wee bit when you already live in one. In particular the Eagle setting will hopefully be a chance to interact with the community as there's both a library and a school there, which means I can take my usual show + tell on the road.

Another exciting aspect is how, despite all my adventures across Alaska, there's just so many places left yet to explore: having never migrated up this neck of the woods there's adventures like the infamous "Top of the World" Taylor Highway, not to mention interesting events like Chickenstock. But the wealth of history, culture and wilderness that's available around Eagle is what I'm excited about. Also I didn't pitch any of the "Fine Art" on the proposal - just straight-up cartooning, which is a refreshing change of pace, and another example of how comics can stand on their own as a legitimate medium and, as well as artistically inspiring, be a potentially valuable tool for literacy.

In the meantime I better buy some new sketchbooks: the gig is for two weeks in the fall, sandwiched inbetween teaching at the Visual Art Academy/Summer Sessions and the start of the fall semester. See here for more information on this outstanding artistic opportunity with BLM.

Friday, May 20, 2016

CARTOON NORTH II: Sequential Art of Interior Alaska



Fairbanks Arts Association and Curator Jamie Smith present
Cartoon North 2016: Sequential Art of the Interior
The Bear Gallery, 3rd Floor Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts,
Pioneer Park (2300 Airport Rd.) 907 456-6485

Event Schedule

Friday, June 3rd 4-8pm: First Friday Opening Reception
Individual artist tables will have creator works for sale!

Saturday, June 4th 1-3pm: Intro to Comics + Cartoons
A look at some historical, classic and contemporary cartoons, with demonstrations in process and techniques by curator Jamie Smith, creator of the Nuggets feature in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Monday, June 6th, 7-8pm in the Blue Room: Juror's Lecture
An overview of some of the comics and cartooning events in the community, highlighting some of the creator’s works on display for the exhibition.

Sat, June 11th, 1-3pm: Intro to the Graphic Novel
With Greg Hill, former director of the Noel Wien library, and other special guests culled from the exhibitors. A great sampling of books of interest to educators, parents, literacy advocates and enthusiasts. Bring a book to share!

Saturday, June 18th 1-3pm: Open Cartoon Jam
Join some of the folks from the show for some fun, fast-paced group exercises in generating ideas for cartoons and comic strips. Pen and paper provided!

Saturday, June 25th 1-3pm: Minicomics
A hands-on workshop about “a common inexpensive way for those who want to make their own comics on a very small budget, with mostly informal means of distribution.” Explore alternative ways of producing these photocopied DIY comics!



Over the years I’ve been incredibly fortunate to host and participate in many cartoon and comics art-related events, like presentations, workshops, and residencies throughout our community. Along with having my own feature run in the local paper for decades, and teaching comics courses at the college level, it’s given me the unique opportunity to be exposed to countless aspiring and accomplished talents.

From single-panel gags and syndicated strips to webcomics, alternative to mainstream comic books, storyboards and character design to graphic novels and humorous illustration, the medium of sequential art is not only incredibly popular but has gained in critical recognition. Comics are now accepted as a legitimate and uniquely engaging interdisciplinary educational tool for both literacy and the visual arts, and are a growing presence in classrooms, galleries and bookstores. Contemporary comic art offers so many different styles and subject matter with tremendous, inclusive appeal to all ages and interests, attracting wide interest from diverse audiences.

Back in 2007 I juried the first Cartoon North invitational at The Annex Gallery: statewide in scale and covering historical pieces, it was an outstanding experience that was very well received. This show by contrast is narrower in scope, but comparatively deeper in content, and primarily showcases the outstanding work of alumni from my classes along with fellow professional practitioners of the craft in the Interior.

Thank you for taking the time to look at and read the pieces on display. Please feel free to avail yourself of the additional resources listed on the handout with contact information for many of the exhibitors. And remember to visit and support your local library and independent bookshops to check out even more comics!



Exhibitors Include:
Anna Bongiovanni annabongiovanni.com
Brianna Reagan http://www.briannareaganart.com/
Chaweinta Hale http://run3ll.tumblr.com/
Olen Seim http://ink361.com/app/users/ig-291053547/oeseim/photos
Lucas Elliott http://www.lucaselliottart.com/
Christopher Green http://www.mumblethief.com/
Maria Frantz http://bluestreetcomic.com/
James Kelly https://www.etsy.com/shop/DecaffeinatedDesigns/items
Hannah Foss http://inkydragon.blogspot.com/
Jose F. Mojica http://jeffandtaylorcomic.com/
Tara Maricle http://taraandbunbun.blogspot.com/
Shannon Waterbury http://corruptedcartoonist.wix.com/corruptedcartoonist
Ellen Million http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/
Bethany Eisenman http://bethany-eisenman-art.tumblr.com/
Layla Lawlor http://laylalawlor.com/wordpress/
Anita Ashbaugh http://anitaashbaugh.tumblr.com/
Lucas Cheek http://lmcheek.deviantart.com/
Alex Luebke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNVMxF5kWFs
Dani Cash http://www.danicashillustration.com/comics/
Amy Huff http://shotguns4legs.deviantart.com/
Ryan Pierce https://www.facebook.com/ripped.art?fref=ts
Hannah Beck http://dailydelilahdog.tumblr.com/
Melanie Post http://dreadpiratekat.tumblr.com/
Shannon Hammond http://mercurialhelle.tumblr.com/
Johnny Stickman
Jeanne Armstrong
Robin Feinman
Geo Yi
Mason Shoemaker
Heidi Collins
Conor Esslemont
Crieghton Beshears
Jack Kendall
Antonio Arenas
Ignatious Runfola
Norma Charlie-Runfola

Sunday, May 15, 2016

"Voldemort" + Teaser Swatches


This is one that I didn't even tweak as the raw scan from the sketchbook nailed it. Composer Alexandre Desplat's score for Deathly Hallows Part Two is on my go-to studio mix of soundtracks, and "Courtyard Apocalypse" is a favorite to cue up for classroom critiques (along with the "Imperial March Theme").


Teaser swatches/All in a weekend’s’s work: Zeta males, buff halibuts, moose luggage claim, blowin’ coats, chillin’ cats, desert island beavers, teddy bear trauma, sourdough sommeliers, barfing owls, crying koalas, hypochondriac huskies, vocal salmon fry and farting whales. Sometimes you just gotta love this job: "oh the places you'll go" even if it's all just inside your head, and the eclectic range of topics to explore… it’s gonna be a weird + wonderful few months ahead in the funny papers.
These snapshots are from a recent binge session at the drawing table trying to get ahead of the curve on pieces in the pipeline for publication in the paper. It's a prudent buffer zone to have when other events conspire to keep me out of the studio for a spell, so being at least several months ahead with material all ready to go is a sort of artistic insurance policy. I’ve actually been well into the seasonal winter gags, which is I start getting SAD about this time of the year. Paradoxically (perversely?) it cheers me up somewhat to have my headspace in the summer during the depths of subzero darkness.

Another thing is how hard it is sometimes to sit on what you're convinced is just about the funniest thing you've ever drawn: knowing way ahead of time what's in the works and wishing everyone all at once and everywhere could see it. It's especially tough nowadays what with the instantaneous transmission across social media and the instinct to share everything as it happens. But this is kinda like the flipside of my 48-hour rule on never, ever reacting to things online (tends to weed out a lot of the huff + puff)... and tempered by the objective observation over the years that what I might personally think is so incredibly awesome right now, is more often than not average material - at best - when seen in retrospect. But the meta-lesson here really is that regardless of either extreme in the love/hate or ecstasy/despair continuum of creativity the overall balance only comes about after keeping one's head down and focused on the task at hand. Back to that blank sheet of paper.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Ever-Hastening Decline of the American Editorial Cartoonist

Excerpted from panel by Rick Friday

By way of a sobering depressing bookend to National Cartoonists Day, there has been a lot of recent attention dedicated to the firing of Iowan editorial cartoonist (and farmer) Rick Friday.
“I did my research and only submitted the facts in my cartoon.”
At the end of April he drew a panel criticizing the obscene contrast between CEOs and the average farmer, which was published in Farm News, which prompted the withdrawal of one of the paper's advertisers in protest, which in turn resulted in the shitcanning of Friday.
“A freelance cartoonist says he was fired for drawing an editorial cartoon that bemoaned Iowa farmers' dwindling profits while CEOs at large agricultural corporations earn millions of dollars.” - Des Moines Register
This has attracted extensive media coverage, extending even to an article in the New York Times:
When he paused to talk, he revealed he was leaning against a fence, and the heifers were staring at him, hard. […] He agreed to talk after the cows were fed. - Christine Hauser
Largely the accounts hinge on the David vs Goliath theme of a rural champion slinging ink against the corporate giants, more of a novelty piece rather than a clarion call against any erosion of journalistic integrity and rights of the press. However here's one solid article: "Why the controversy over an Iowa cartoonist is no laughing matter” by Jack Murtha of Columbia Journalism Review:
The message will get out. This week, Friday began independently publishing cartoons for his newfound fans, drawing eyeballs he never would have if not for this debacle. The sketches still feature farmers and Big Ag. But Friday is also hammering a new target: the press. One drawing depicts an editor hunched over his desk, talking to a confused farmer who’s holding a newspaper: “We edited your opinion to please our masters.” 
*Note: Neither the Des Moines Register, New York Times or Columbia Journalism Review employs any staff cartoonists by the way.


This has direct bearing on current events right here in Alaska, as we have now lost our sole remaining editorial cartoonist officially associated with a state newspaper. At the start of May, Chuck Legge was let go from the Frontiersman, who recently hired a new publisher (imported from Colorado), even as they are themselves are, ironically enough, owned by Wick Communications, which is... wait for it... based in Arizona. All of which adds an Orwellian dimension to the doublespeak they offered in their defense:
“While this is sometimes interesting, it does not fit with the Frontiersman’s philosophy of delivering the best hyper-local content for our readers.”
Take a minute to let that staggeringly myopic statement settle in. The pure hypocrisy of it is simply baffling, but actually is on par with pretty much anything uttered by conservative leaders these days. Indeed, the key hallmarks of editorial cartoons are irony, parody and satire, and one of the limitations of conservative thinking is the fundamental inability to comprehend the subtle nuance of said characteristics (an example of which was taking Colbert’s persona on The Colbert Report seriously). Thus anything that even remotely causes cognitive dissonance will be summarily rejected. Trouble is, you just can't top the naked self-parody and unintended irony which passes for commentary and opinion from these folks, as in, this is a joke, right?
Here's a letter to the editor via Peter Dunlap-Shohl that sums up the resultant effect this gutless move will have:
Dear Editor,
   Many years ago I taught a journalism class to my high school students in Texas. I taught about independence, about the journalist's duty to follow a story where the facts lead--not where the writer wants them to lead. I taught them about the necessity of maintaining a strong wall between the business side and the editorial side. I lectured long and hard about the need to resist intimidation. Those ideas seem so quaint now, after seeing your May 3 editorial, "Cartoonist's departure will allow paper greater flexibility to provide local content." 
   In this editorial, you justified sacking an award-winning cartoonist because he upset some of your more vocal readers. You announced to the world that you will be intimidated. You announced to the world that if someone doesn't like the news you report, all they have to do is threaten to quit you, and you'll pull a story, or pull back on a story, no matter how legitimate, no matter how well-researched. Both Dan Grota and Chuck Legge will be missed. Even more so, what will be missed is the trust in the newspaper's integrity. – David Cheezem

Update: Here's "Another One Bites the Dust," a summary from Craig Medred on Legge being dropped:
The Fontiersman’s response to controversy differs signficantly from that of the Fairbanks New-Miner, which saw cartoonist Jamie Smith come under intense fire last fall for a cartoon questioning guns on university campuses. The editors of the News-Miner defended the cartoon, arguing that “We strive to provide readers a mix of views, including those the editorial board disagrees with. […] That is a noble, old media view. Whether it and Smith, who appears to be the last newspaper cartoonist standing in the 49th state, can survive the shifting media landscape of today – an virtual landscape sliding toward the political poles – remains to be seen.


In closing, and to put all of this in context, recall the survey reported on by the Herb Block Foundation titled “The Golden Age for Editorial Cartoonists at the Nation’s Newspapers is Over” (PDF):
“At the start of the 20th century, there were approximately 2,000 editorial cartoonists employed by newspapers in the United States. Today there are fewer than 40 staff cartoonists, and that number continues to shrink.”
That was six years ago. Last year, in “Editors, not terrorists, killed U.S. political cartoonists ” Ted Rall claimed there was less than thirty left. The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists claims “With nearly 300 members, it is the world's largest organization of political cartoonists” (Wikipedia), although there are only 148 currently listed on its Profiles page, and of those, only the barest fraction are professionally associated with a newspaper, let alone employed by one as staff with salary and benefits. Most tend to freelance, self-syndicate, or go with a syndicate like Cagle Cartoons above, which carries with it another equally dismaying, corresponding set of issues. Again, from the Herb Block survey:
“Fewer than half the respondents said they earned more than 50 percent of their income from their primary employer and 45 percent said they earned less than 25 percent of their income from their primary employer.
More than half of the people surveyed reported income from syndication, but more than a third of the respondents said they earned less than 20 percent of their income from syndication. And three quarters of the respondents reported earning income from other work.”
And as much as all politics is local, and it's also personal. Since my last infamous editorial panel published back in October, I've submitted one every month to the local paper, which rejected five of the six. While it's not an unreasonable assumption that, since they also happened to specifically target local politicians and vested interests in the status quo, it was safer to decline them than run the risk of arousing readership wrath, it's also quite possible that they simply sucked. More likely the case that they weren't effective enough in their message, which for today's informed populace has to exceptionally clear, and repeated often. In my humble opinion, afflicting the comfortable/comforting the afflicted and all.


Consider these two recent panels: the first (above) depicts the uncomfortable fact that the sociopathic candidate Trump only got one less delegate than Cruz from Alaskan Republicans after their primary back in March.
The second (below) illustrates the irony in how the very same politicians who constantly decry the intrusive and abusive overreach of the evil Federal Government all roll right over and sing a completely different tune about the incoming F-35s soon to be housed at Eielson Air Force base. Fifty-four problematic aircraft, each at an estimated cost of 162 million (to as high as $335 million) per plane (the helmets alone cost $400k each), means well over eight+ billion dollars of war toys in a state that is currently economically imploding. Priorities.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Just Seine"


Just for the record here, I'm not kidding about the occasional serendipitous inspiration as a direct result of "en plein air doodling"... otherwise known as eavesdropping at the cafe with pen-in-hand. I was reading up on fishing industry in Alaska while sitting next to some kids and their conversation superimposed itself on the topic at hand. Not so much trolling for ideas as it is really more like snagging... not to mention chumming the proverbial waters with a combination of sleep deprivation, caffeine and random literature.


Here I'll spotlight an occasional event, known as completely botching up a drawing: while doing a demo of this particular panel, the first inked version went horribly wrong, which is rare enough to still be a surprise to see come out the other end of the pen - but happens enough that it ain't no big deal. Mostly a matter of composition, and the linear perspective of the mesh in the net + the ellipse of the bobbers was all wonky as well. Later that same evening I attempted a digital resurrection ie Photoshop salvage, but it just kept looking off. So I did what I frequently admonish students to try doing... give up and start over. Should also have paid closer attention to the initial doodle, as all the elements were present + in place as it was originally sketched out. Sometimes simpler is so much better and overworking flogging it death it won't necessarily make it any better, and in fact - this one being a case in point - maybe even make it worse. I even tweaked a scan of the line art on the second version, and abandoned it after doing a color wash, opting instead to go with the more raw rendering: which calls up another aspect of process that's important as well - sometimes trusting your instinct is as equally rewarding as slogging through endless revisions.

*Update: Seaking of revisions... hat-tip to cafiend for catching the typo!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

National Cartoonists Day!


Well, day before yesterday actually. But then, everyday is cartoonists day for a cartoonist. Not sure about the official rules, but I think that's when you buy your favorite punster their favorite beverage? Seriously though, the event celebrates the first full-color appearance of the seminal character created by Richard F. Outcault (1863-1928) which made its first full-color debut on May 5th, 1895.
“At The Circus in Hoogan’s Alley” The Clown – Ladies and gents, please note der marvelous grace wid which Herr Svengeli sweeps troo der paper disc – please keep yer seats fur next comes Madame Sans Jane der champion bare- (I mean dog-back) rider of der world.
For more history on the feature, read this New York Times article, and peruse the archive of high-resolution scans via Ohio State University's Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and Library here. Hat-tip to Zinc Comics creator Brian Payne for the reminder - CHEERS!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

"Relapse"


Ever get that gnawing feeling deep down inside? My take on the well-worn "psychiatrist couch" gag. Sometimes I think I need help, someone to talk to... but remember: it's just one day joke at a time. 


What with such a relatively complicated/detailed background, the process of preserving clarity in the composition was of concern. So various tricks of the trade are employed, like for example varying line weight (relative thickness/boldness of lines) to demarcate areas of different depth in the picture plane. Another technique is using a “broken line” in inking so as to help set foreground objects off against the cluttered backdrop, though this subtle method effectively vanishes with the application of shading. 


The value process works in successive waves of applying areas of tone: after establishing the values in the foreground objects, 1st lay down a neutral 50% tone, a really big, discreet area, then push back a couple layers of values, using polygonal lasso tool and working only on areas as opposed to individual shapes (objects). Since the details (individual objects) aren’t clearly delineated, more sketched, suggestive lines as opposed to closed areas which would be simple to click on and adjust shading relative to surrounding values (ie contrast), it’s easier to treat the panel in terms of areas. This in theory maintains an overall value to the entire composition., so as to facilitate easier an visual “reading” of the panel. Then pull out selected highlights, and finally drop in some gradients for finishing touches as detail work.