This Friday, December 11, 2009, “The Life and Art of Francisco Coching”, a full color coffeetable book on Coching will be launched at the National Library. The book is published by the Vibal Foundation, the same foundation that published EL INDIO.
It had been decided that the book will have a wraparound cover based on one of Coching’s illustrations. I actually asked if I could work on the cover, as I was already working on the EL INDIO cover restoration. Vibal sent me the black and white file (below) to work from. At the time, we were as yet unaware that it was the artwork used for the cover of an issue of “Hiwaga Komiks”, depicting a scene from “Ang Limbas at Ang Lawin”. (above) Thanks to Erwin Cruz for providing us with this cover!
The black and white file was probably the best copy that the Coching family have in their possession. Like many of Coching’s originals, the original to this particular artwork was most likely destroyed a long time ago. The copy was far from ideal, as many of the finer lines are graying and fading.
The first thing to do was to strengthen and solidify the black linework. This could be more accurately done after the artwork was boosted to 600dpi. Fading lines were treated to a variety of burning, curving, leveling and contrasting to bring them out. Sometimes, some lines had to be recreated, based on existing lines.
Once the black and line artwork was strengthened, the resolution was brought down to 400dpi, ready for coloring. Since I haven’t seen the original cover (top), I made the decision of which colors to use. After seeing many of Coching’s colored covers, I based my color choices and shading choices on those.
I’ve had to continue coloring an inch or so beyond the original boundaries of the drawing just to give Vibal a certain amount of contingency in laying out the cover.
I’m excited to finally see this cover in print. I wish I could go to the launch and right now I’m really aiming to. But I’m still recovering from the exhausting Comics Festival week. The day after the festival I had to go to Manila and when I came back home I was literally reduced to a throbbing painful mass of a bag of flesh and bones.