PIGMEN ABOUND!


EGADS! It has been a very long time since I have done one of these. A lot of changes have occurred in the last few months. One, I have decided to change my books name from Seeker, to Spirit Diver. Largely on accounts of Seeker being used in a few too many titles already. The new title doesn't seem to bring anything else up on Google, so I feel like that is one problem averted.

Two, I am still working on my script for issue one, largely due to some realizations about what I want this book to be like.
Originally It was going to be short stories of random sizes and lengths and then collected similarly to what Mike Mignola has done with some of his Hellboy trades.  I have since decided to make every issue 32 to 48 pages and be generally be self contained stories, ala TV shows like Kolchak: the Night Stalker, or Star Trek. I've also opted to take this series into a much more comedic territory.

I plan on making each episode weave subplots together almost like an episode of Seinfeld, or Curb Your Enthusiasm. I suppose I could also liken it to Shows like Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo in terms of story structure. My ultimate goal for this restructuring is so that each issue feels rewarding to someone buying it. No cliffhangers to get them to come back the next month, just the promise of another full length story. I feel like comics are so expensive nowadays that they need to feel like they are worth $2.99 or $3.99. All these Decompressed stories for those prices that run over 5 or 6 issues just feel cheap to me when they could have been told in one or two issues.

I have also been busy solidifying a lot of the rules that the world of Spirit Diver functions with, which has called for a few edits to the first script - ever nearing completion... for real this time. I've also decided to add orcs to this world. But they are old school pig men styled orcs like the ones in above picture. I've also decided to have them not be brutish, warrior like monsters, but more like... Second class citizens that are not particularly cheery. I also thought having pigmen scattered in backgrounds in towns and crowded scenes would be fun to draw. Sometimes working in fun things like that helps the process for me.

Anyway, a few other things. I have switched from drawing with microns to using a rapidograph and have been enjoying the hell out of it. Here is a quick sketch for a character that I have been loving to write. Cant say much else about him yet though.

I feel like i bit off a big chunk of Strago from FF6 for this guy. I'll post subsequent costume alterations that I have made already next time I scan some stuff.

And here was a test page I made last month trying to hit the size I feel comfortable drawing at.

This was done pretty much straight in pen over about four hours. no writing involved, and no purpose other than testing format. I think I overdid the halftones and a lot of things are not particularly well defined. Halftone can be tricky if the linework isn't up to snuff.

This was done at 9.5x14. I tend to draw best fairly small, but i think i might have to step it up to 10x15 or man up to 11x17. Largely just to fit my wordbubbles in. I like my bubbles big and my fonts nice and legible so the eye never gets bogged down from panel to panel.

I have also noticed my biggest enemy is learning to actually pencil things out. I only really feel comfortable drawing in ink. Whenever I plan things out too much in my col-erase pencils, when I go to ink them it doesn't feel like I am drawing, more like just trying not to mess up the good drawing I already made in indigo or whatever color I am using. So I have been using my pencils only for very basic structuring now and then heading straight to the inks to keep that gestural freshness going. I have a feeling this will lead to redoing many panels in the process, but as long as they look like they have some energy in them that is cool with me.

Anyway, I have been collecting more rad stuff from books I have been reading in order to talk about them here (in a vain attempt to be as cool as Mr. Brandon Grahams livejournal) but I am too lazy to get into that tonight.

So I will leave off with some rad music from the rarely remembered video game, Troddlers.


God this music is so happy. Always puts me in a better mood. Till next time internets.

Theraputics



Hello internet. I finally found a cheap drafting table with a nice sliding rule attached. Decided to just draw for fun on it last night since all I have been drawing lately is page layouts, which are (spoiler alert) boring and tedious to make.

Sometimes it is nice just to draw for the sheer joy of making lines on paper with no purpose. As such, I have entire sketchbooks full of these sorts of sketches with heads just floating about aimlessly and eventually making some sort of composition. If I could get paid to make these, I am not sure I could ever focus myself enough to make a comic. I added some sloppy halftone to this just to see how it would look.

Anyway, I am finally, actually almost done scripting and laying out the first episode of Seeker and I am feeling quite good about where the world it takes place in is shaping up for future ideas. The deadline that I have set for myself to finish the first full draft is the 25th. After that comes a quick second draft edit and then I will actually begin drawing the pages.

Ta boyos, here is some music with a nice vocal harmony intro. Rip slyme is some goofy shit but they grow on me.






Update



I drew this since I haven't been able to draw much lately. Felt kind of good that it was just a straight pen sketch, was afraid I'd been getting rusty. Was flipping through some Akira to try and find some mark making techs that I like. So the smoke is a partial reference from a panel out of that, the outfit is kind of as well. I think i prefer flat screen tones over trying to add value changes in them. Just let the pen do the rest of the work.

Been busy converting the pit that I called my room into a place where I can actually draw. It feels good to have thrown out so much junk I didn't need, so much open space now it kind of feels like a different place.  The final piece is finding a decent drafting table at the moment.

The script to Seeker as well as the page layouts are getting closer to finished, I am disappointed in how long its taken me to finish it, but I think its turning out nicely, and I have come up with a lot of plot points for future episodes featuring this character in the process.

I also found a digital distribution system called Longbox Digital that is supposed to be the itunes of comics. I am thinking it might be a good solution for self publishing instead of going for pamphlet publishing. While I love print over digital, monthlies are just too costly nowadays. This way I can try and publish Seeker in episodes via digital distribution and then attempt to publish them  in trades later for my physical desires.

Anyway, That's really all there is to report at the moment. Next post will surely be of Seeker pages now that so little stands in my way.

Do you remember... That old Lullaby? Every man is a lonely Soldier boy

Hello internets... Big news for me this week, bur first, here is a new thing.

After being informed that the most amazing space trucker cooking odyssey by the name of Won Ton Soup exists, I knew i had to have them. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting a hold of volumes 1 and 2, but luckily my comic shop is full of helpful folks that hunted it down for me. However they were unaware that the series even existed at first. They were also unaware that they had a copy of volume 2 in the shop when I asked for it, but I digress.

Point being, after seeing Mr. Stokoe's work, I was prompted to mess around with gradients more. Which is something I normally avoid altogether (that ken drawing being the first attempt.) I like how this one came out a bit better than old Ken, particularly the demon. Although... I am not sold on all the color choices. I wanted orange to relate a bit to the outfits that Shaolin monks wear but I normally just dislike the color. The book will be in Black and white anyway so this isn't too important really.

This is pretty much the final design for Ohmu and the demon that he encounters in what I am now calling the origin chapter of Seeker.

I plan on doing self contained stories whenever I manage to think of a good plotline until I have enough for a full collected volume. I rather like the idea of journeyman stories... a bit like Cowboy Bebop. A full volume of Seeker is not my priority, but I like world that I am building around this character a lot more than most ideas I have had lately, so I don't think I can leave it at just one short comic. However, this first episode is specifically for my joint project with my two Sleepyhead Collective brethren, Ryan Lowrider and Chris Ironlung.

The overall story is finished and I had scripted/thumbnailed a few pages but they felt a bit off, so I reworked the outline just a bit and plan on hacking the final script and thumbnails this weekend so that I can make good on my promise to actually start drawing comic pages before this month is over.

In other news. PONYO LOVES SOSUKE!

My pal Chris and I  went and saw Ponyo last weekend. It is a good deal more Totoro than Mononoke. A great film for the wee children.

This scene was histerically animated and Dustin Nguyen did an awesome interperetation of it. You can find more of his work here http://duss005.deviantart.com/  What is wierd is how much I love his water color sketches and how much I dislike seeing his work inked and colored by other people. They just take all the freshness out of his lines.

The last bit of big news for me is...


Both me and Chris got part time jobs as Rick Kirkman's (Artist of Babyblues - http://babyblues.com/) assistants. It is mostly just sorting and filing and all that, but we are also going to be doing a bit of photoshoppery for him as well. It is also nice to just get to be around a guy who has been published daily for just about 20 years now.  We both owe this to our friend Ryan who would be doing this job if it weren't for the fact that he moved to the ice planet Hoth in the galaxy of Minnesota.

Anyway, on to some Mospeada. I ran into this silly artbook, the likes of which I have never seen for any old mecha show.

Basically it reads like a scientists log of the designing of the mospeada bikes... presumably from the perspective of the fictional scientists on the Mars base in the show. I am just speculating this because it is all in Japanese and my knowledge is rather limited there. But I really enjoyed how the style looks nothing liek the show. As though they were trying to mimic black and white photos rather than use the anime's actual style. I have cropped all these, but the pages they are from were walls of text talking about one of these images per page.

You can almost readily see in a few of these images that they were referencing heavily from photos of superbike races and motocross events. Maybe even lightboxing from such photos.


There was a section that showed a lot of the riders training on Mars out in the wastes but I thought these were the funniest from that section.


I dont know why they would leave a place with a name as awesome as Hamama. I also think its funny to see them all ready for battle on the right, since 90% of them die in the opening scene of the show. Look at them, so proud.... Ignorant fools.

Then there were some cool images showcasing some of the internals of the bike/suit.

I think that is supposed to be the HBT fuel... thing....

Then it moved onto what I think are supposed to be some of the first production tests with real live fictional people.

It seems so funny to me that they spent so much time trying to make this bike/suit seem plausable.



And what is really strange is they even put in some photos of people who were actually messing with robotics to lend some bizarre air of credibiltiy to it all.

And then finished it all of with a shot of what I am guessing is the real live fictional developement team.

I have an unhealthy attachment to Mospeada. By all accounts it is actually not that good a show, but I saw it when my mind was soft and sponge like, so it is quite dear to my nostolgic heart.

For I am Mechanism Fan, and this was produced for the likes of me.


And that's about it this time. This post felt long enough that I will probably wait until I have a few pages done on Seeker to post again. Despite all the other big news, it was not the most important to me, so I'll leave off with what always drives my attention everytime it pops up. My musical overlords, Dragon Ash, once again have a new single. I quite enjoy it and I hope others do as well.




CAN I KICK IT?


I have still been playing SF4 like no tomorrow. Despite the fact that I main Dhalsim, I still enjoy Ken, for sporting that wafty, Macross style hairdo. Speaking of which, I found a macross art book.


Hair is too spikey nowadays in anime/manga. I miss those curlier dos from the 70's and 80's.



Uniforms are hot pretty hot in the future. Well I guess the super dimensional fortress hits the earth in like what? 2001. So, I guess uniforms are hot in alternate future's past.

Anyway, In other news. I wrote out an outline for a 15-20 page story that I am scripting while I make this post. It is about an exorcist that I dubbed, a Seeker. Which also happens to be the title of the story. Did another test drawing to try and think about the look of things.

I kind of really like how this came out. I wish I drew this on an actual page since this looks like it could be a panel. I plan to make the story like a cross between Hellboy short stories, but set an an almost cutesy, Ghibli style, steampunk countryside. I wish I was better at hand made sound effects. I tried on that laughter as best I could.

I feel like this will be a nice way to prepare for the much larger task of making FUTURE CITY WALTZ. I hope to start illustrating during this month.

I was gonna post about Mospeada this time, but I figure I'll save that for next post which will be quite large. Gotta get scripting. So, I leave you with my favorite hip hop collaboration of the Steady and Co. Stay Gold.

Shinobi Jams, and Pork love


Hello Internet,
I decided it has been a very long time since I made a post about artists that influence my day to day. I have been too busy playing SF4 since it was released on PC, but now that my initial obsession is dying down I can concentrate again. I also don't know how that guy is supposed to pull that sword from that curved scabbard, but I don't really care either.

I have been messing around with Manga Studio in the hopes that it would answer my prayers for a cheap alternative to buying actual screen tones. However, the powers that be, and Manga Studio's horrendous interface have blocked my hopes. What I was doing before was quick gray tones and converting them to bitmap to mimic screentones digitally in photoshop, but that looks a good deal uglier than normal tones.

So, I tried doing my grey tones on seperate layers and then importing the image to Manga studio in order to be able to make simple selections and drop the tones I desire right under the linework layer.

This seemed to be working beautifully at first. It let me use Manga Studio tones without having to actually deal with its obnoxious interface for longer than I could stand. However, if you look close, you can see that not only did it drop in the tones, but it converted my linework to halftone dots as well. I am not sure why, and I don't know what to do to avoid this, so I am just going to stick to photoshop and bite the bullet. I will just buy actual tones and scan them to use digitally from now on. Problem solved.

I still don't have much in the way of finished looking art but here are some fun sketches for now. I really enjoy drawing these sausage-like fingers lately.

In other news, I have finished scripting and thumbnailing about 30 pages of FUTURE CITY WALTZ as well, but then SF4 hit me and disrupted my flow.

Anyway, Incoming Miyazaki Bomb. This guy remains one of the most influential people in the world for me.

I found this awesome Miyazaki and Moebius collaboration attached to an interview between the two of them.  It is like clash of th titans on that little drawing.

I found an awesome Blogspot, http://archive-scans.blogspot.com/,  that posts tons of artbooks from anime/manga artists and my mind completely blown at this Miyazaki book that was posted there called Daydream Note. It is mostly filled with crazy cut away shots of planes, tanks and boats from WW2. It also has a bunch of strange little comics, and finishes off with a short comic that is basically a truncated form of Porco Rosso.




My god these pages are insane. And there are just tons of pages like these in this book.

Here is a page from some random comic section. I swear, Miyazaki must average 12 to 15 panels per page in all of his comics. It is like the opposite of all other manga that decompresses to like 4 to 6 panels per page. A large panel for him is like the equivalent of a splash page for anyone else.


And here is the some select pages from the Porco Rosso Section. These are just awesome.


That Top panel is just too cool, I love the grin on that gunner's face. And in case you were wondering what the interior of Porco's plane looks like there is this page.


And the Champion with a girl and a bag of money at the end. Truly a happy ending.

here was my favorite sequence in the entirety of this book. I didn't notice it at first since reading this on a computer does not give you the full two page spread at times. So here is page 1:

And Page 2


And here is the sequence that make me chortle heartily after going through the book a second time.

Oh the tragedy when pork loves =(

Well, I think this post has grown large enough. Next time I will post some Macross and Genesis Climber Mospeada art that I found. Hopefully I will also have more of my own stuff as well. Time to outro on some "Let Yourself Go, Let Myself Go" by  my musical overlords, Dragon Ash. YES YES YO!

Eyebrow? Eyebrows.



This is the first thing I have done in color in a while and I didn't even really plan on doing it. Just felt like testing how this style I am developing looks in technicolor. So I scanned in this sketch and realized that I dislike coloring in photoshop compared to traditional media. But this turned out okay. I just don't have the patience for layers and selections, just gotta take a brush and go at it.

In other big news. the first draft of FUTURE CITY WALTZ, my short comic (that is no longer so short) is finished. What started out as a 15 page short comic turned into a 100 page short story pretty easily. I am shooting to have the final draft done in a week or two and then start at the pages before the end of the month.

eyebrows.

Testing, Three Four



Just another quick test. I am knee deep in writing my short comic (which is rapidly turning into a not so short comic) FUTURE CITY WALTZ.  Which shall henceforth only be spelled in all capitals for maximum effect.

This old dude is going to be a sort of comic relief in a brief scene in which i tries and fails to burn himself in protest. This little sketch was a number of firsts. The list of things I had not tried before:

- Non Photo Blue Col-Erase Pencils. I always felt these things were gimmicky, but having no clean-up step for the scan is amazing. They are kind of annoying to actually draw with though. Luckily, I normally only do very very loose, ill defined pencil work, so it works out ok. I do the bulk of my details straight in ink with few to no pencil guidelines, unless it is for something that is meant to be in accurate perspective.

- Multiple shades of grey in Photoshop before converting it to half tone. That last drawing was just single shade tones. I just use a nice painter like brush in PS and use no selections. That way adding the greyscale tones feels more like doing an ink wash than it does something rigidly planned with selections. It also saves huge amounts of time. Converting those didgital grey tones with the half tone filter really makes the tones look less digital, which is what I am desperately seeking.

- Going back into the half tones with a low opacity eraser. This adds a decent effect for highlights and midtones and gets some soft transitions that actual screentoning gets. Using a high opacity eraser just looks kind of fugly I found which is unforunate because I'd like to figure out a way to mimic scratching actual tones. Which gets nice sharp highlights and textures. It just gives away that this was a digital toning job if the eraser is at a high opacity. But I can dig this softer touch.

Going to have to get a different filter for making the greyscale into tones though, since the plug in I am using is not in English. I am pretty much just guessing with it. Anyway, I guess I spouted enough on this one little sketch. I hope to be done witht he writing phase for the story entirely this week, so I can move on to some full fledge character model sheets for my own reference. Then I can actually start on some pages.