Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Update 5: Above the Timberline

Greg Manchess

I've flown back to Oregon to hole up in my studio for a major push on Timberline.

Just past the mid-point, I'd hoped to be farther along by now. Certain distractions were inevitable, like teaching at the Illustration Master Class, which I wouldn't miss. Even though I painted on a couple of the spreads while there, it still was enough time away from focused painting that I got somewhat behind.

So I'm here and sequestered with my tea maker, peanut butter, and sacks of oatmeal. Staple food for staying at the board for all hours. Music, podcasts, audio books, NPR, and silence when needed.

I spent the first week back drawing, projecting, redrawing, researching, tracing, and generally preparing about 10 spreads. I brought 6 back out with me that I'd started in NYC. While I was hoping to paint each spread as one-offs, or one at a time, I've found that the job looks too daunting that way. I need to see progress as I go, and I also need to allow my different moods for painting to stretch across the entire book.

In other words, I allow for the days when I'm not sure what I want to paint, so I have some easier pieces ready to go for those moods, and on the days when my energy is high, I tackle some of the more visually complex spreads. On most days, I still encounter the occasional question arising, like, 'why did I ever start this?' But that usually only happens when I'm generating a new image or caught in the dilemma of whether a spread needs to change or not.

At this point, I'm discovering that the most efficient way to conquer these paintings is to start as many as possible; to keep 15 or so going at all times. Then on certain days, I can plow through quite a few to finish up the last parts. And all the while they are on the walls for me to study for final touches and some minor changes.

My push is to get 30 rolling this month. They don't have to be finished, but mostly started or hopefully well on the way. My honest desire is to get 40 established. That would give me 20 to finish in August.  A formidable task.

As I keep doing the math and projections, I believe I can do that. But at times I'm fighting physical fatigue. Just losing energy when I least expect to. So we'll see. I'll let you know how the next two weeks goes!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey Greg!
    I still can't believe how huge your project is and i can't imagine the amount of work it involves. Everything you're showing from the book looks absolutely amazing, and i can't wait for when i can buy a copy, or three. But don't get burned out! I hope you can find time to enjoy the process too.
    Also, I just got contracted to make a 120 page fully painted (guache) graphic novel before christmas, and every time i feel like i'm not going to make it in time, i just think about your project, and then i stop complaining. So thanks for the push! And thank you for sharing the process, it is both inspiring and educational.

  3. Wow! Your work is so inspiring.

  4. You are a beast Greg. You're head may look like mine when all is said and done but it will be worth it.

  5. Is Dave Palumbo the model for the Wilkes piece? Looks quite a bit like him!

    Keep going, you'll make it!

  6. Looks great! Nice to hear about your workflow. I have heard that working on many pages at once and seeing the progression helps insure that the story is told well and that all the art is at a similar level. Best way to work is the way that works best for you. I would recommend some books I think you would like to read on comics and making sequences but I think you have your hands full at the moment! Good luck on hitting the deadline and Love the Mingola cameo!

  7. Thanks, you guys!

    Not, Dave, Dave! When I painted it, I realized it does resemble him, but it's a condition of the dark, combed back hair, coupled with the black beard....and the cheek bones. Actually, it's Brad Kunkle modeling!

    Congratulations, Adam! You can do it, man! Almost 6 months to go! Unfortunately, gouache is about as fast as oil. You still have a lot of work ahead. Let's compare notes when you get through it. Will be thinking of you and not complaining on this end either. : )

    Mike was an excellent model, Matt! I was surprised. He took on the character with minimal direction. Pretty fun to put friends in there, but sometimes I see them as the friend, and not the character. Gah. Hope that works out!

    I am a beast, Bill. The Beast from 120, Double-Page Spreads. Just hope this doesn't make me a dinosaur. I'll just have to welcome the new hairstyle. pull that off so well. I wouldn't have your cool. Maybe a Silver Mohawk?

  8. It is fantastic that you can work so quickly and turn out paintings that are this gorgeous. Can't wait to see it all finished!

  9. Love this! Can't wait to see it complete. Keep it up Greg!

  10. Your paintings are alive, Greg. ...Wonderful.

  11. Keep at it Greg! All paintings you've shown so far look great.. I love the last portrait especially. Can't wait for this book and hopefully the bts videos too! I like your strategy for painting management anyway.. very clever, so you can spend more time on paintings without actually spending more time on them.. cool

  12. Greg, so much character coming thru in the faces without even a word spoken! Don't know how you've managed such quality/quantity in such a short time: truly inspired ye must be! Eagerly awaiting the finish! Terence McVicker. p.s. Thought the grumpy looking old dude in the hat looked familiar.

  13. Real love spell that work fast to fix your marriage and relationship after a divorce or breakup Recommended by Sonia from USA...My husband left me for no reason on 13th of June 2016. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself and I've tried so many ways and so many spell casters but all to no avail. My life was very bitter and sorrowful. Then one day, a friend of mine told me about this spell caster called Dr Unity who helped him on his own situation when his wife left him. But at first i didn't believe it because i' ve tested so many of them and it didn't work.he begged me further and told me that Dr Unity will never disappoint me, he cast real spell that work fast, so I decided to try this spell caster called Dr Unity. I contacted him and i told him my problems and gave him all the necessary information he required. He just laughed and told me never to worry that my husband will call me back in less than 28hours and i believed and he told me what to do and i did it, and after he has finished casting the spell my husband called me and started begging. He apologized and came back to me crying for a second chance. Today i and my husband live happily like never before. I can really say that this spell caster is powerful because of his work my husband is home again. I'm now the happiest woman in USA and ever since he has shown me love like never before. Thank you Dr Unity I will forever be grateful to you. You can reach him on his email: or call him on his mobile number: +2348072370762 if you have any problem you are facing now Just contact him and he will help you, i give you 100% guarantee . once again thank you Dr Unity

  14. Each one here is great. I love your portrait work.