Category: Comics

100 Days of Comic Creation – Days 5-8

 

I had a few days of testing out various media to see how i want to get this comic to look. Still not 100% decided, but it’s getting there. After much fiddling around with pencils and charcoal I reverted back to my usual suspects- ink and watercolor. 

 

 

I just got my copy of Black Monday Murders: Volume 2 in the mail yesterday. When I was putting it on my bookshelf I saw my copy of Empty Zone and it reminded me of the fan art I did last summer. I really liked the gouache painted foreground with the watercolor in the background. I decided to play around with that for a while today and see what happened. 

 

I am not posting art I am using in the comic. I am working on the project indirectly by testing media, but I am using ideas generated from the June 2018 Art Prompts

I sketched out my pencil sketch on 220 gram craft paper. I wanted to test it and see if it would spot when it got wet. It actually holds up very well. No spotting and it stays very flat. I’m using the expensive block. I have a cheap block that looks the same but the paper quality is inferior and it gets little grey spots on it when it I apply washes to it. 

 

 

I like to work from dark to light so I apply my ink first. I plan to test out some more sketches tomorrow using a pen or no ink. In this sketch I used a brush and 75% black india. Diluting it slightly takes the shine out. I brushed on a very diluted wash of ink to suggest trees in the background and to indicate shadows. This process is called grisaille. It will influence the color of the paint applied on top. 

This is my finished painting. I painted the background first using very light washes of watercolor to indicate trees and a hint of color. 

The tree in the foreground is painted with gouache. Gouache is opaque watercolor paint. It is cool because you can paint light over dark. However, it is not permanent and will lift. You have one shot to get it right, maybe two if your brush isn’t that wet. Takes some practice, but you can get some cool effects with it. 

I painted the mountain lion last. The darkest paint is undiluted gouache. The lighter parts are very diluted gouache. Some people say you can’t thin it that much or it powders off. I use Windsor Newton and Royal Talens paints and have never had that problem. 

Overall I am pretty happy with this result. I think it is definitely in the direction I am wanting to go. I like the effect of the lighter washes going into the background and the thicker gouache bringing the foreground forward. It gives it a very 3D feeling without having to try really hard. 

Ok, so that’s where I am right now. More to come in the near future. 

100 Days of Making Comics – Days 3&4

I think as far as challenge rules go I am supposed to update every day. If I don’t post here I will probably mention something on Twitter. Yesterday I worked on the project for about 2 hours or so and finished the script and thumbnails.   

The story(s) I am working on for this project are short. If I post every little thing it’s going to kind of give it all away.  I already feel like I am in Spoiler Hell, but here goes with some of the doodles I was working on today. I worked on it for about 2 hours off and on, doing sketches and coming up with references. 

I settled on a name for my story today- “1917”.  It is set in rural Arkansas in the year 1917. I’m from Arkansas. Write about what you know, right? Stephen King has Castle Rock, I have Ravenden. Quite a few of my spooky stories take place there. Well, it was kind of a spooky place to grow up.

 

 

I’m starting to think about the layout of the farm and the style of the barn and farmhouse. 

 

 

 

I’m still working on character design. I’m also playing around with different media trying to establish a feel. Had a fleeting moment today where I debated on doing it in black and white, but I decided to go with color, although it will probably be a fairly muted palette.  

For a horror fan I am actually kind of squeamish. I love (sarcasm) finding reference material for all of my gory death scenes.  In this case I was already prepared. There is a well known case in the town where I was born, about a man named George Cheverie.  He was hanged without a trial, by an angry mob after he shot the town marshal  during a dispute where he was accused of stealing a log.  The event was photographed by the locals and copies are a matter of public record. Not even the most sinister or weird thing to happen there. Told you it was a creepy place to grow up.  I have lots of material to work with. 

 

 

So that’s where I am for today. probably post an update in a few days. Don’t forget to check back on the 1st for the new list of art prompts. 

100 Days of Making Comics – Day 2

This is going to be short and sweet. I managed to get some progress done on the thumbnailing today. Rearranged some of the story info. I spent just about 30 minutes on the project today this morning before I went out. I had intended to spend a few hours on it tonight, but my oldest (grown) daughter needed some mom time. She lives in the states and I don’t get to see her much. When she needs me I make a point to be there for her. She might be 27, but she will always be my baby.

The rest of my day was spent on an epic 40 mile (round trip) bicycle ride to a neighboring town to see a dinosaur museum with my  little kids. I think I had more fun than they did. I came away with a ton of pics. Some I am sure will come in handy as reference pics for future projects. James Gurney eat your heart out! 

I think the collest thing about these pictures is the scale. The statues are to scale of the real dinos. The skeleton is real. This was my first time seeing a real T-Rex skeleton so it was pretty exciting. 

100 Days of Making Comics Challenge #1

Today marks, what I am considering, my first official day of the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge. First order of business- clean up my studio. I haven’t been in here much in the last few months. Mostly I have been working at the computer downstairs. Art supplies get tracked up and down. Usually instead of being put away they get piled on the lightbox or in my chair. My kids love to ransack this room for my pens and paint brushes. There is a fine layer of dust on everything.  And most of all,  I noticed the windows are absolutely filthy. 

After an hour of organizing and dusting I finally managed to get to work on the actual comic.  I know I said a few posts back I was done with the script and the thumbnailing, but I decided I wanted to flesh out the story more. Ghastly McNasty’s comment on my Halloween comic, “Java Dreams”, was streaming through my head, “Girl walks into restaurant, girl dies. But it’s weird enough to work.” This is a Southern Gothic tale. It needs some atmosphere and a bit of back story. 

Sometimes I write my script on my computer. Especially if it’s going to be long. I usually write them out in three acts, like a movie script, and plan my plot points and action accordingly. For short stories I work a little differently. Usually I do the script and thumbnails at the same time.

This sketchbook is my travel doodles book. I carry it around with me. The paper is thin and crappy and the cover is Pepto pink.  I am not precious about the stuff that goes in this book. I scribble story ideas and super rough sketches in it. When I get an idea of where I am going I switch to (I wrote typing lol – old af!)  copy paper.  Then I start fiddling with page layout, turns and script changes.

Now I am setting up my drawing board with some of the sketches I worked on previously. I want to work on my character designs some more. Do some turn arounds. Plan the look of the farm. I have created a mood board on Pinterest and have started stashing some reference pictures. 

My kids just went to bed (hallelujah). Without interruptions every five minutes maybe I can actually get into the zone and work some more on the thumbnails before I go to bed. I just wanted to get this blog post done so I don’t break the challenge rules on day 1. So far today my total time invested working just on the comic is about an hour.

100 Days of Making Comics

 I was perusing YouTube today and came across this awesome video by illustrator/ comic artist, Kevin Cross. He is the creator of 100 Days of Making Comics challengeA comics creation challenge you say? Where do I sign up? Facebook, actually – but there are rules. 

 – Challenge Requirements –

1. Comic Project that you haven’t been making enough time for.

2. At least 30-minutes of work towards the comic each day.

3. Everyday for 100 Consecutive Days. (100 days in a row).

4. Make a daily video/blog to hold yourself accountable.

5. Post it in the group.

You can see the full write up for the challenge on their Facebook page in the “About This Group” section.

I have several projects hanging around here collecting dust. My biggest problem is that I put way too much pressure on myself to deliver the exact perfect artwork, perfect page layout and perfect story. The inner critic takes over and pretty soon I am paralyzed with questions and doubt:

Is my story too much like someone else’s?

Does this artwork suck?

Is this the right style for the project?

Are my page layouts boring?

Are my character poses and scenes boring/ predictable?  

Ok, enough of this shit. Get a grip, already! It probably does suck and it’s not going to get better without practice. That’s what this site is all about- accountability, daily practice, reaching goals. My ultimate goal: create comics.  So what’s the problem? No excuses. I’m doing this!

This is a character sketch for the comic I want to start working on. I mentioned it in my last blog post, but then inner critic. I have the story complete, sans script changes. I have made a few revisions already and fleshed the story out a little more. I still haven’t come up with a title. It is a short horror story, taking place on a farm in rural Arkansas 1917. 

As a last thought, I still have the monthly prompt coming up on June 1st. The post is already written. For those of you not interested in doing comic art, fear not! I will keep up with the art prompt lists as I work on the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge. 

The Pines #1

    I am happy to announce I’ve finally published the first installment of The Pines. You can check it out here, in the gallery.  As opposed to other web comics that update a page a week I have decided to update in chunks of a few pages every couple of weeks.  I think the story will flow better that way. 

    I hope you enjoy the story. If you have questions or comments I would love to read them. Feel free to post them on the blog or send me an email. 

The Pines: Reboot

    Now that I have my script for Colony: Origins completed, and have been hard at work improving my drawing and painting skills, I have come to the conclusion I need to work on comic creation and hone my skills. 

    I have been trying to come up with some story ideas. One of them was Java Dreams, the other is reworking a story I wrote several years ago called The Pines.  The Pines is a Southern Gothic horror story. I’m still hammering out details. I am making a lot of changes to the story. I liked the basic plot of the story but there was something really wrong with it.

    After going over all the notes I can find (my original complete script is lost so I only have first attempt artwork and 25 pages of thumbnails with dialogue to work from) I came to the conclusion that the pacing is really manic. It almost goes Once upon a time – the end. What was I thinking?  Most of the time you have to cut parts of a story to make it more coherent, I actually have to add more story to my story.

    

Original Artwork

    The next thing to tackle is the artwork. With the original comic I spent very little time in character design and really rushed my page output. The result was really terrible artwork. 

    This time I am spending more time developing the look of the characters. Overall, fairly similar in general appearance, but more cleaned up, and tighter drawing. The original scratchy pencils weren’t doing it for me. I think I was trying to go for a grunge look.

    Another thing I’ve discovered is that, after years of avoiding trying it, I love inking with a brush. I think initially the notion that I wouldn’t be able to make fine lines or that I wouldn’t have as much control kept me from giving it a go. Now i’m wishing I would have tried it years ago. My new best friends are Chinese calligraphy brushes.  

    

       Recently I joined the Comic Fury community. I’ve been picking up quite a bit of info on comic creation from those guys. One of the most important topics touched on was output. The standard output for an online comic seems to be about a page a week. I was rushing doing the penciling trying to put out at least three pages a day.

    Now that I feel like I can slow it down and do it right. I am more likely to publish my comic in coherent chunks. I don’t want to publish something in mid thought. That’s not my idea of a cliffhanger. My aim is to update weekly, but if it takes longer that’s ok. I really am more interested in doing as good a job as I can rather than having a huge output of rubbish.  

    So script writing is where I am right now. Once I have the script completed I will begin updating the comic once every week or so until the story is complete. Stay tuned. 

New Look

Comics Are Coming

It is finally happening! Last October I decided I was going to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a comic creator. Since then I have been doing a lot of drawing and painting courses to get myself moving in the direction I wanted to go. Recently I realized if I want to improve at comics I was going to have to stop beating around the bush and start drawing comics. 

    Last month I contacted the guys over at Back From the Depths and submitted a script and some art for consideration in Hallowscream 2017. If you are unfamiliar with Hallowscream you can download past issues for free. I am happy to announce my work was accepted and my strip will be included! However, since my readership here is small, I decided to go ahead and publish it here in my gallery. You will find it under the title Java Dreams. I hope you will still download the completed free comic book this October. I will post a link when it is published. 

    I really enjoyed working on this comic, but it proved to me I still have loads to learn. With that in mind I’ve decided to focus on creating other comics and publish them here on the site in preparation for working on my graphic novel.  So stay tuned. I have some horror stuff and a fantasy strip in mind that I want to update in installments. I am working on the storyline as we speak. More to come on that soon!