Krackle Abstract #6


Forgot about this, too! After I’d done the black and white Krackle pages, I began to think the flaming symbols could be interpreted as some sort of arcane knowledge thrown to us by the gods. I was sitting on my deck on a warm summer night when I thought how the symbols, in color, might make interesting big canvases. As this thought crossed my mind, I kid you not, a shooting star trailing bright green fire went right across the sky!

This particular piece wasn’t meant to be a finished painting but a smaller mule to help me solve technical problems. The hardest part was laying down the little circles that make up the Krackle so they were nicely round. By thinning acrylic with India ink I was able to do it with quarter inch circles. But the larger, inch wide circles I needed for the final piece never came out right. Also, the tediousness of the technique lost the spontaneity that makes the Kirby Krackle really work

  1. Andrei October 31st, 2009 11:41 pm

    Here’s a question, Rick–do you think “krackle” has to be circles? I’m asking because I’ve been studying a lot of Kirby’s originals recently, and especially the photostats of his pencils in TJKC, and it seems to me that his penciled krackle was much more irregular–blots, ovals, what have you–and was usually regularized into circles by the inkers. Do you know if that was his intention, or was it just easier for the inkers to do circles rather than follow his every idiosyncratic blot? I’m also asking because, a year ago, I began inking (digitally) a piece based on one of his most complex pencil drawings; and while I never finished it (I’m still planning to, some day), I did most of the krackle in it, and tried to keep it irregular. more like his own pencils. Here it is:

  2. Rick November 1st, 2009 11:51 am

    Good point, Andrei. Of course the “krackle” doesn’t have to be built of circles. Vince Colletta took a rougher approach to it when inking Kirby. But there is something about the circles that I really like, perhaps because they are such a strong abstract component, perhaps because they are easily laid down with a loaded Speedball.

    I don’t know if anyone has ever done a history of the Kirby Krackle. But I’ve seen Roy Crane originals where he used the same effect for the surface of water, as did Wally Wood. Might Kirby and Wood’s SKY MASTERS collaboration been the point where Kirby made the Krackle his own?