My original idea was to draw it in the style of Vermeer, and I think I succeeded in the 4-page sample. I had originally intended to have the constraint of every image being derived from a contemporary source - I didn’t quite achieve that, and in fact I now think the art most comes to life when I wasn’t so constrained, e.g. the last row of page two.
I wanted to create a’painted’ look, with images being defined by colour and tone without outlines. I created these by building up vector layers of colour, and different levels of opacity. This was, I think, pretty effective, but was cumbersome and time-consuming to do: because each panel was a a separate entity in Manga Studio they had to be coloured separately, with each panel containing dozens of layers, and therefore hundred on a single page.
I need a more efficient method of colouring. I took an evening class in Photoshop, and the story I am working on I am just doing on B&W in Manga Studio, with a view to colouring it in Photoshop. Though that may bring it’s own set of problems: for example I find it hard without the colour to decide if the line drawing is finished/good enough.
Latterly I have had the idea that the story might reflect his developing artwork, letting scenes from earlier in his career, be drawn more simply. Some of the early paintings are fairly monochrome, with limited colour, so would lend themselves to being created in mono (perhaps sepia?) with simple colour added in Photoshop.
i think it still needs a style not carried by outlines, and I am thinking of the Gene Colan and Tom Palmer artwork, on e.g. Marvel’s 1970s Tomb of Dracula as a model. It’s loosely inked mostly in areas of shadow. (Frank Miller did a more extreme version of this in Sin City) While as an idea that sounds good - it is deceptively simply and probably in practice hard to emulate so well.
I am wondering whether to produce the inked pages on paper, as pen lines on Manga Studio can be a bit mannered.
On the other hand, I have created my versions of some of the Vermeer paintings in colour vector layers, so doing it in Manga Studio lets me import and modify elements of these. However thew proposed first chapter doesn't include any of his paintings, so this is a medium term issue.