Monday, February 28, 2011

Buttons and Yeti-centaurs.

I'm part way through our first mini-comic and it is taking longer than I'd like. The good news is that Nathan should have a script for me as of tonight and I have finished buttons:

The other good news is that my sweet Star Wars headphone arrived and they are just as cool as I'd hoped.

No really, the good news is that I've been getting a lot of little things accomplished and I'm looking forward to seeing my buddy Nathan for our fun excursion north to that gem on the Puget sound. We will have at least one (but maybe two) mini comics in print to promote our big sprawling online comic. The first of them is the side adventure of the troll brothers and the second will be based on our Gnome protagonist.

This is a set of non-sequential pages from the min which will measure, roughly, 5.5 by 4.25 inches when properly sized and collated in finished form. I'm going to produce a cover for them too but that will come at the end of finishing all the interior art. Nathan will be here soon so I'm hoping, once he arrives, to see this whole little side project come together in a brilliant flash of bro-hugs and late-night snacking.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emeralds On The Horizon

Nathan is frantic with school. I'm busy depicting a galaxy far far away but I am excited that no matter what happens in the next few days, we will both be in Seattle as of March 4th. Since I'm working on some little mini comics for the con that I mentioned in the previous post and I finished a Mario Kart tribute piece but since neither of those are really ready I'll show you this Drawing I did on the bus.

Good Old Number 9 Line

It was packed and the driver kept shouting "All the way to the back people... all the way back." I liked that the people sitting in front of me had interesting heads. I did not use an eraser!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Projects And More!

I am waiting for the bus which is the only reason I have time to write this now. As the month draws to a close I am still faced with a mountain of tasks and a limited capacity to accomplish them all. It was mentioned to me this morning that, as a freelancer, my taxes are going to be hellish and I've been avoiding that whole hornets nest till now too! I don't have new art to share because I'm doing a long run of pages for a book that I've mentioned in previous posts but I will post a crop from a piece of promotional art I did for a client. You can guess what it's about!

I'm envious of those people who take their time producing work. I tend to feel like I've got one arm tied behind my back because, seemingly, the number of things I'm trying to accomplish stops me from expressing the full range of my skill set. I'm trying to take on fewer jobs so maybe some day soon I'll really get to stretch my legs and run on a project that perfectly suits what I can do with a more flexible deadline. Till then you'll probably keep getting these weird little snippets!

Here's a crop of another piece done for a book:

On the upside we have this awesome lecture by Professor Brian Cox that will henceforth also be included in my links on the right side of the blog under Science and Philosophy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Funday

I did this drawing of Lindsey with a handful of old oil pastels that I found in a box while cleaning/rearranging. It turned out OK, which is more than I can say for our breakfast.

We went to a place on Hawthorne street that we had been talking about checking out and it was lame-sauce. I'm not picky either but if you strike out on taste, expense and portion then I can't pretend to like it. I try not to complain about things on the lighter third of the scale between 'I lost limbs and my vision via civil war and racial genocide' to 'this isn't the color tote-bag they usually give out at this kind of thing' with 'my pet died' somewhere around the middle. I have a good life and I think about that every day. That said; this Muffin I had was definitely closer to 'sorry champ... rocket got run over' than 'this free popcorn sucks.'

Why Go to Hawthorne for breakfast when you can go to Tom's?

I like our Sunday breakfast adventures to far flung locales (of more than a block away) but I'm going to stick to Tom's for a while because the coffee is perfectly watery, the pancakes are cheap and plentiful and the waitresses all seem to have names from the 19th century.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yes I'm Obsessed.

Lindsey Showed me these the other night:

Even as I sat today drawing Star Wars comics, thinking about these headphones and having just watched the original theatrical cuts of episodes 4 and 5 the previous night I still did not feel over-saturated.

They make Carl Sagan merch too and I want this just as much:

I'll post some art tomorrow; tonight my inner materialist is on display.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Behind The Scenes Of TFTWP

I thought I'd share some aspects of how I put a recent page together. You can see the script here below. I start by printing out what Nathan sends me (which is his distillation of ideas that we've talked out or things he has a firm grasp on that will move the story forward.) I highlight the relevant parts of the script so that I can keep track of what I'm supposed to keep in mind for dialogue and description.

In this case I had some elaborate descriptions to work off of and some other panel descriptions that leave a lot of room for interpretation. You can compare the script with the thumbnail layout I did and then the finished page (here or seen below) that Nathan is working on (lettering as) I type this. It is also interesting to see how he will sometimes alter the interchanges based on things I've drawn or new ideas he has.

I've been trying to finish my pages really fast because I have a serious work load to catch up on but I don't want to neglect our beloved web strip. I've taken to using methods that I've seen Terry Dodson and Mike Mignola employ. One of those tools is the use of an establishing shot followed by several images that either only hint at or neglect the background when it is not necessary for telling the story. I rely on the mind of the reader to fill in the parameters of the location once I've given them the prompt.

This is a sketch of some possible banners for the revamped website. Nathan and I have been trying to do this for a while and with the approach of the Emerald City Comics Convention (where we'll both be in attendance) we have a concrete deadline for the launch. The only problem is that I have, literally, a dozen other White Pony related art projects to finish in the same time frame. This would all be in addition to the ongoing story (which is getting better and better; you guys just wait and see!)

I'm also drawing an 80 pg. Star Wars GN for Darkhorse (as I've mentioned before) so February is going to be one busy little month. Wish me luck friends!

Monday, February 7, 2011

LindseyAnne Improves My Future

As I may have mentioned, Lindsey doesn't draw much voluntarily but somehow I got her to agree to produce images to go with her frequently staggered blog posts. We reinforce each other by performing complimentary and or equivalent tasks.

I have been trying to do an image of her at least once a week. Sunday is often my day for that little event and I decide after this last, particularly lazy Sunday, that I want to implement a similar goal for my long neglected board game design. I want other people to have the chance to play my sweet games and until I set time aside they just exist as rough prototypes.

Here's to a future full of productive Sundays!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Return Of The Thumbnails

I'm working on a Star Wars GN for Darkhorse and since my thumbnails don't reveal any dialogue or give any plot points away I'll post a couple here so you can see my process. I usually take a few minutes to look over the script, write down any specific reference I need and then sketch out my initial impression on printer paper.

The hardest part of comics is the problem solving; choosing the best framing, angles and panel size to clearly evoke the atmosphere that the writer intends. Storytelling isn't about how well you draw. It is about how you think.

My favorite comics artists consistently try to serve the script more than the vague notion of what the fans might want. My hopeful assumption is that fans respect a well crafted script and an artist who can bring that script to life in such a way that never leaves them feeling overly distracted by the flourish of the drawing. I am continually refining my approach to have a balance between allegiance to story and quietly compelling image-craft.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dinner Portraits: For Life!

I frequently ask Lindsey to do drawings for me and she won't because she's self conscious; I suppose that has something to do with my job and whatnot but I just want her make lines on paper to describe what she sees. It helps you visualize the world in a degree of detail that most people ignore.

I think drawing is a great skill for everyone because, given enough time and a little (genuine) interest, you can master it regardless of your general physical state. Most kids love to draw at least a little (in my experience) and it makes me sad that many people stop at some point (usually middle school) because they begin making comparisons between their skill level and those other kids or grown ups who seemingly have an easier time of it. It's never too late though. If you are 'old' you can still draw and have fun doing it unlike skiing or something of that sort and yet most people won't. I say they should just listen to Yoda:

You have the entirety of your time on this planet to get good. Even if you never 'get good' then you can least play around with it and have some fun; so why not give it a shot? I want Lindsey to have the option to explore her life with a creative visual outlet because I know how wonderful and instructive it can be.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Screen Tone Situation

My Friend Ben Bates and I had a discussion about The difference between the Screen Tone that gets used in Manga and the halftone feature in photoshop. I have been using the half tone dot pattern that is found under Filter> Pixelate> Color Halftone. You can see the results below. What I like about it is that it approximates the look of vintage coloring/toning processes. What I don't like about it is that at different scales on a computer monitor it has the tendency to moiré.

This is an image from a short story I'm doing for an anthology. It is full of all kinds of crazy imagery, and even with my best efforts to separate forms with careful design, I still want to use a middle tone of some sort to help direct the eye. The dots print perfect in black and white because that's all they are; just spaced at different intervals. I'll post a screen of the same image and those of you who feel like commenting can give me a thumbs up or down.