In the silent frames of Pawel Mildner’s comics, you may have to edge a little closer to absorb all the details and understand the narrative. However, it’s all for the better, expressing nuance and atmosphere. He even refers to one as a “quasi-comic” (Rodin, second to last image below), told in a few short frames, many in extreme close-up. The tones are subtle and give his work a more layered flavour.
His stripped back palettes and general aesthetic is also something we like. Below, he talks about early inspiration from old children’s book, where cheap printing had added texture. It’s an influence that definitely comes across.
Even when his work is finished digitally, you can tell that an analog feel is something that he leans towards. He tells us a little more about this inspiration and his process.
In my work, I try to concentrate mostly on the pre-digital phase, doing as much as I can on paper, then scan it and color digitally. My usual tools are pencils of various hardness (that pre-school vibe!) and a drawing pen (great precision).
Technically, my personal work is really simple: without a requested theme it starts with ideas which come to me at various moments and places, and I really don’t know where they come from.
Then it’s time for doodling, making out the composition. When I’m clear about what I want to do, I start making sketches for the final drawing, sometimes practising separately with particular elements. For pen drawing, I sometimes add some pencil shades using a light table.
I scan the drawing in black and white. Sometimes, I would cut out something that I find unnecessary but I really don’t like to correct the finished drawing (in an interview with Piet Parra that I read some time ago, there was a quote saying, “Draw one line, and if it’s not good— do it again”. Cool quote, isn’t it?).
I use a computer for colouring (formerly, I used to redraw scanned doodles but I hated sitting there for hours, staring at the screen), and although picking colours can be hard, I enjoy it.
I always use a set of 2-3 colours which are multiplaying between layers, like in the printing process which I’m also interested in (in my childhood I used to be surrounded by tons of children’s books that my family had collected over the years, all of which were wonderfully designed and badly printed, misplaced color spots is something that I feel sentimental about).
© Pawel Mildner, 2013