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This panel uses 2B pencil, a Blackwing Matte pencil, and ink. Can you spot what is ink and what is pencil. A clue would be in the thinness of the line. I am still experimenting and learning how to sharpen and use pencils (of all types) with very fine points. "B" lead is softer and darker. "B" pencils are picked up better than "H" pencils by the scanner (like ink), but "B" lead, being softer, is more labor intensive to establish and maintain a very fine point. "H" lead is great for a razor sharp point...but it is often far to light to be picked up in a scan.

Of course, "HB" lead plays a role...but it usually only serves me in an early stage. I have been sketching with a combination with non-photo blue and "HB"...then going over in "2B", Blackwing, and ink.

Two-thirds of the comic I am working on this morning...all Blackwing pencil and a Raffine 2B.

Some of the comics in my next edition of Big Chooch are related to the Jersey Shore. I wanted to do something with the beach but not just the beach. Collectively, the comics remain a mix of diary comics from today and memoir comics from my and my family's past. So, just to start somewhere, I begin penciling pigeons and seagulls. Not everything looked like a pigeon or gull initially.

Pigeons and gulls are the two birds I encountered the most as an adolescent, but as I sketched I knew I needed a stand-alone story...a gag...something. The gull and pigeon has a loose connection to the many of the comics inside (city and beach), but I wanted a little more juice out of it.

For example, my first cover was a family member shooshing a butterfly and subsequent covers were fragments from comics inside those editions.

But I have no pigeon or seagull story for this I needed the cover to stand alone as its own one-panel comic.

I drew a gull and a pigeon facing one another and the gag began to come out of the act of drawing...drawing is thinking.

Side Note: the scan on the right is graphite pencil, not ink. But it is what pencil can look like scanned...a lot like ink.

As I drew, my gull looked pissy right from the beginning and the pigeon...indifferent. But that wasn't enough for a stand-alone, one-panel comic. What would a gull be pissy about?

Why is the gull pissy? Is the gull a gull...or is the gull a metaphor?

I remember being called a shoobie at the beach...and not knowing what it meant--a derisive sneery label for people who go to the beach for a vacation or brief visit. Ok, so the gull is a Jersey shore resident and the pigeon is city kid.

Still, it's not quite's barely a story...and certainly not a gag. So, I added some cigarette butts and ash around the pigeon--litter left behind.

How many vacationers leave trash on the beach in their awful, self-absorbed wake?

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