Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Work in Progress: The Carnival #2 page 12

Working hard on finishing the second issue of The Carnival, titled Den of Thieves. It will be come apparent when you read the damn thing. Finally, finally when you can read the damn thing. Its been a long time coming, this I know.

Just to share a little bit of work in progress, here is the top half of page 12, while it was still in pencil form, about to be lettered.

Yes, I'm hand lettering these on the pages. After looking at original comic artwork for so many years, I've begun to realize how much the panels need the word balloons on the page. What moves the piece of artwork from being simply illustration and into comics, is the fusion of words and text together to form a cohesive artistic whole. Besides, their position also effects the negative/positive of the artwork, adding white into black and visa versa. so expect fully hand lettered balloons and captions on this one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Anatomy of A Panel: Sandman #16 by Neil Gaiman & Mike Dringenberg - page 1

in the quest to know what a comic page looks like, it used to be that one had only to refer to How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way. Fortunately, there were other approaches to be had, and certainly DC and Karen Berger exploited in the '80's, establishing an entirely new version of art for sequential comics.

It was an interesting time to be alive.

Here is the first page to the classic conclusion of The Doll's House storyline which, when collected, would be the trade to launch a hundred thousand fangirls into loving comics, when the industry, in every possible way, had ignored them for more than two generations.

It was an interesting time to be alive.

Mike Dringenberg was a classically trained artist who had no business putting his admirable skills into a monthly book, but he did anyway. His work, seen especially in the pencils, shows just how experimental and innovative he was off of Neil's scripts. Gaiman was not writing classic comic scripts, and the art had to reflect that. So, for likely the first time anywhere outside of the late Malcolm Jones' art table, here are the pencils to Sandman #16, as well as the recolored version printing in the Absolute Sandman #1.

As for me, I'm working away at The Carnival #2 for APE 2014 and looking forward to talking comics with everyone there. I'll have a new printing of  Carnival #1, as well as some prints of the Dick Sprang/yoakum collaboration of the 1950's Batman!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Carnival You Didn't Read - "The Hotel Disaster"

Found this piece in the archives, and had forgotten about it completely. This was the title page to an unfinished story called "The Hotel Disaster" that i had started to write only to find that i didn't have nearly the skill to bring it off. There are also a few things about this piece that bug the heck out of me now.

Take a look and then move on, that's what i say.

Working away, can't wait til APE 2014 at Fort M
ason in San Francisco.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ginny Deathface from Pretty Deadly by Yoakum

I was reminded by someone today that i had forgotten to post the color version of my Pretty Deadly piece. Feeling a little less insecure with my coloring, so here it is.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Carnival #2 - A Panel In Process & APE SF

Working away on getting The Carnival #2 to press for APE in San Francisco on October 3rd & 4th! Wanted to document the creation of a panel early on in the process, in case there is some idea that comics are easy and simple. Perhaps for some, but not for me...

Thumbnail stage - here is where i write most of the story, on these stupid little sheets of printer paper and some thin Copic SP markers. rough little squiggles aren't they?

Then I sketch the page out full size on tracing paper in very rough, quick form. I'm trying to capture some of the energy of the initial sketch and at the same time, capture the angle that i see in my head, not always an easy thing to do.

A second piece of tracing paper over to make the work more concrete, add guide lines for the anatomy on the face, draw through the figures. From here, if i can see the drawing in my head, I'll pencil this on the final page.

In this case, the lighting was important to get right, so i pulled out the trusty copic Multiliner pen, and a thicker marker to work the shadows until i got the right. I'd prefer to waste a few more square inches of the tracing paper than have to rework the thing on Bristol in the supposedly final stages.

The second issue of The Carnival! coming to APE in 2014! Alex Sheikman and I will be at booth 724. I will be there on Sunday only (owing to them scheduling the Con on Yom Kippur), but Alex will be there selling Dark Crystal work and his sketchbooks both days!

Below is the rough for the second cover...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ginny from Pretty Deadly by Yoakum

Inspired to do a little something on my favorite series on the stands right now: Pretty Deadly. Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios have created a beautiful, haunting mythological western horror that is completely captivating. If you haven't read it yet, get out and find a copy of the first 5 issues...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sketch A Day #12 - Adam Hughes Tonal Study

Found a great Captain Marvel piece by Adam Hughes on the web, and wanted to do a version with some of the similar tones on the toned paper to see how it would work. This uses both cool grey Copic markers and warm grey Copic markers on tonal paper with pencil, india ink and PH Martins white ink. While not entirely successful, this was an interesting experiment. thanks Adam for all the advice on working wet on wet with the Copic markers.

And please note that I believe Adam's piece to be infinitely better than mine, in both design and execution. He's a master at this stuff, so its just nice to have someone so solid in this type of work to look after for some ideas.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sketch A Day #11 - Nude Figure Study

another figure sketch on the toned paper. still working out ways to play with the midtones, but I've not really done one to my satisfaction yet. Second half of this sketch done with my cat Voldemort curled up on my lap and occasionally pawing at the sketchbook.

I do NOT recommend this for beginners.

toned paper, Mirado Black Warrior HB, Generals White Charcoal pencil

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Sketch A Day #9 - Miscellaneous Stuff

... drawn in a car while waiting for my daughter. Drawing by car light and with a steering wheel in the way is harder than i thought!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

In Which I Describe the Comics Business

I had to try to describe the comics business to someone today, to someone who was a fan, but was not an artist, who had no inclinations to be an artist, and would likely never have to work with an editor. And it was difficult. Not because he wasn’t an intelligent individual, but because almost didn’t want to disabuse him of the notion of how comics were created.

I almost wanted to enable him to live in the fantasy.

After all that’s why we read comics, right? To be able to live in the fantasy world for a while, to imagine that we’re Iron Man or Captain Marvel or Thor or whoever, and try to make the same good choices that they’ve made.

In the end, however, I asked him what he did for a living. He was a chemist he said. I asked him if, once he got in the job, it was filled with the same stupid office politics that all jobs had. He shook his head yes. And I replied, yeah, comics are like that too.

And it makes me sad, to see how many people of my generation have been hurt by comics, by a business that spits people out like a meat grinder on “high”. I’m thinking of multiple suicides over the last decade, so many lost along the highway, and all for a four color printed fantasy that seems to take over our minds somehow when we’re young and won’t release us as we get older.            

I used to feel sad when I realized that the vast majority of the people around me didn’t know what they wanted to do when they “grew up”. How could they not have the interest, the passion in something? How could the not be consumed by the overwhelming love of something, that something that they could carry forward into the world, into their life in a way? Do what you love the money will come is the bumper stick philosophy, but sometimes trite becomes true.

Now I wonder if I had it backwards. If that passion is an addiction or an obsession that rules us, making us make choices against our best judgment. After all, no one would trust a drug addict to make that best choices in their own lives, perhaps its time to admit that we dreamers (as Will Eisner called us) live for too long with our head in the clouds, and that we’re not always the best advocates for being released on our own recognizance.

I’ve been reading  “Woodwork”, the hardcover Wally Wood exhibition book that does such a brilliant job of showcasing the work of one of the most brilliant shooting stars in American illustration of the last century, and making the case that we simply don’t, in any way, value the work, dedication, vision that it takes to produce work of that quality. And so, it asks us, in its own between the lines kind of way, why would any of us want to dedicate ourselves to that sort of life? To learning that kind of skill and spending the hours that it would take to perfect that level of craft? Because it seems, when all is said and done (and there has been a lot of ink spilled over the rise and fall of comics prodigal son, a man of such skill in every area that he, like Jack Cole, could excel in literally every arena in which he was asked to work) that there is little or no reward until you’re over the rainbow. Woody would never see it in his lifetime. And yet, the work endures. People who see it full size continue to be blown away by what Wally did with a brush and some duo-tone board.

Is the work enough?

For the vast majority of us, yes, the work has to be enough. 

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Sketch A Day #7 - Stuff on a Legal Pad

... drawn with a dull number #2 pencil that i found in someone's misc drawer.

Sketchs drawn out in Bolinas Ca, while visiting friends and hanging around the living room as the sun set over the water. Found a legal pad and an ancient Ticonderoga pencil and drew a bit. Then is was time for artichoke pasta and salad. Lovely evening.

And, again, is there anything here that i love? No, but then i promised to show the good with the bad, and this is bad. so be it, on to others.