|Description of Carol Day Original Art|
Of the 3250 episodes of Carol Day produced by David Wright, the
original art is known to exist for the vast majority of the strip.
Private collectors hold most of the art, but a couple of museums
have a relatively small percentage of it.
Art BoardsDavid Wright drew the Carol Day art on Colyer and Southey CS2 Fashion Board, a fairly heavy illustration board. The art board is still intact on the originals. Unlike some other strips, such as Jim Holdaway's Modesty Blaise, Carol Day originals were not back-stripped, or "skimmed" or "skinned" as it is sometimes called, to save storage space. Very few of the original boards show crumbling or other deterioration. In general, they are in very good to fine condition with the expected edge soiling, corner bumps from being handled and moved, and the occasional pin-hole. A relatively small number show some foxing and minor moisture exposure. Only a few are in poor condition due to water damage or other problems.
David Wright's Carol Day art is unsigned.
The image size of Carol Day originals varies little. In general, through most of the run it was about 5.25 x 17 inches. Some later examples are a bit smaller at 4.875 x 17 inches. The final boards of the strip, such as the Uncle Richard story, are 5.25 x 18.5 inches.
The board sizes vary, depending mostly on how closely they are trimmed to the art. The largest are the late boards, at around 8.25 x 20.75 inches. The smallest are around 5.5 x 19 inches.
Art ProductionDavid Wright produced the Carol Day art with great care and took enormous pride in his work.
Carol Day originals are remarkably free of pasteup and whiteout. Caption and dialogue paste-ups were used extensively during some periods of the strip. When used, they are nearly always very neatly and unobtrusively done, and in general show no sign of lifting. As Patrick Wright, David's son, described it: "The early pages have dialogue and caption paste-ups. All these are in place and none show signs of lifting. As the production of Carol progressed, David was able to take full control. He quickly got rid of the fellow who lettered and pasted-up the dialogue and captions and did them himself. This ensured that none of the drawing he wanted in was taken out by indifferent placing of a balloon or box. David also did his own lettering. Basically, he hated the idea of others touching his work."
In later strips, foreign language translations of the dialogue balloons are occasionally pasted-up over the original dialog. In some cases these have been partially or wholly removed with some damage, usually not extensive, to the original dialog. Occasionally the pasted-up dialogue ballons are lifting, revealing the rough dialog written underneath.
Whiteout corrections are usually very minor, and Wright sometimes used whiteout for effect. When used, the whiteout corrections tend to be unobtrusive and most commonly involve modifying the borders of dialog balloons. It is very rare to see more extensive whiteout, such as in #40. As Patrick Wright said, "this is a remarkable feature given that he produced so many of these pages. It was a matter of some pride to DW that he so rarely used process white."
Outside of dialog and captions, paste-up is rare in Carol Day originals. In the rare cases when corrections were needed to a panel, Wright would replace the entire panel by razoring out the unwanted panel and gluing in a new panel. Except in a few cases where these replacement panels are separating from the underlying board, they are virtually unnoticeable. Rarely, Wright would cut through a board and tape up a new segment of the board. You can see this in #45 and 66, example.
Zip-a-tone doesn't appear on Carol Day originals until the numbers well above 2000. The amazing textures and cross-hatching that distinguish so many of the strips are all hand-done pen and ink. When he needed the printer to apply a tint, Wright would color the area with blue pencil and indicate in a marginal note what tint to apply.