Thursday, January 13, 2005

Cover Story (part I)

This is a cover design in the early stages for Johnny Justice. I posted the pencils because I want people who don’t necessarily know the process of a typical comic book page/image to better understand that it’s not only a one or two step process.

The pencils are laid out first, followed by the inks, and then the color process begins (obviously this process stops at step two if the book is in black and white). The inked version will be posted in part II, and then I’ll take a stab at the colors for part III.

A little on the costume: the mask and shirt are made of a Kevlar/silk polymer that is not quite bulletproof, but is able to withstand even the toughest stains. The neck (see previous post entitled “First Attempt” for a better glimpse) and the pants are neoprene. Why neoprene, you ask? Because it’s more practical than tights, but still retains the same “slimming” effect =) No, really, the practicality plays a huge role in his costume design, and neoprene is warm, waterproof, and extremely flexible – makes good sense when you think about it. The boots, well, they are nonexistent in this drawing (come to think of it, they’re nonexistent in the other post as well!), and I’ll have to find a page in my sketchbook to show them. I’ll explain them when an image is posted. This brings us to the “SATCHCAN” on his back, which is an amalgamation of “satchel” and “canister”. It’s a satchel because when opened, there are pouches for storage. It’s a canister simply because it looks like one, complete with screw top “lids” on the sides. Oh, and by the way, the elongated rectangle on the side is not for decoration. It’s where the glider wings snap out by pressing the button on the strap (positioned on the side of his body). Makes jumping from the tops of buildings a lot safer! The sunglasses, er, “protective eyewear” utilizes the typical run-of-the-mill polarized, polycarbonate lens. The lenses flip forward from back-to-front in case he is inside or out at night. This is a feature on the new Oakley Thump.

Hopefully, you won’t have to wait too incredibly long for the rest of the image and the inks.

J out.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Second Time's a Charm!

Johnny Justice is one of those "could really happen" stories in that the characters have no "superpowers" per se (not saying that people with superpowers don't exist!). Each character is handled and treated individually and with thorough research in order to establish a proper realistic connection to the reader.

The main character, John Justice works as museum curator, and the above pic of LP9 (short for Love Potion Number 9) works for the Department of Homeland Security. Her role is an important one, and she shares a little of the spotlight in the book.

On the original drawing, there is a wall behind her and she's about to round the corner. In the background we see a torn-to-pieces Middle East, as if she's in the middle of a warzone. I thought it appropriate since she works for the Dept. of Homeland Security. All of this is still pencilled in, but I haven't sat down to finish the inks yet.

This is a second attempt at an ink wash, and the more I play around with this technique, the more I want to incorporate it into the book. Who knows, all the pages may be redone to incorporate this theme. Aside from the ink washes in Jim Lee's "Hush" storyline, I have not seen it used extensively. In speaking with others, the general consensus has been to use this method for the entire book. I've even had a suggestion to use the ink wash with consistent spots of color ala Frank Miller's "Sin City" which would be really neat, providing I can afford the press bill! I actually used a tad of Photoshop on this piece for a "sepia" tone which is reminiscent of photographs taken in the old west.

I'm indifferent as to whether or not I like it more than the traditional b/w, but it looks unique nonetheless and adds more personality in my opinion.

J out.

Waiting Room

One of my pet peeves has always been doctors’ offices inability to efficiently schedule appointments for their patients. For some reason, this occurs with any type of practice. I especially love it when my name is called and I get to wait in another room for half an hour. It definitely pays to bring ample reading material or a sketchbook.

This particular sketch was done as a “warm up” drawing when I anticipated an hour-long wait to see my optometrist. Surprisingly enough, I was admitted in less than ten minutes so I wasn’t able to sketch the other people around me or the nice fica tree in the corner =) The rest of the image was rendered in photoshop one day when I was bored.

I like the concept of mixing old and new, but tweaking it to make something original, all the while retaining elements from the past and the present. That’s why I incorporated the halftone pattern in photoshop to give a Lichtenstein-feel to the drawing.

J out.

Shake Yo' Thang

Music plays a huge role in mood setting and inspiration. Although I've found myself recently not listening to anything while I draw, there have been times when I was going for a certain mood in a piece and finding the right soundtrack or album to listen to was the ticket. It's amazing how (I suppose it's subconscious) a song can find its way onto the Bristol board!

This was part of a cover design of a debut CD (appropriately entitled "issue 1") for a local band, Rosenthal, here in Louisiana. I did this drawing a year or so ago one night when I didn't feel like working on any pages. This drawing was actually done prior to me knowing they needed a cover for their CD, but when I found the band was comprise of college-aged members, I felt that the "bubbly personality" of this character fit rather nicely along with their music.

Their music can be heard here.

J out.

Fanboy (part I)

I actually scribbled this bust of Supes waiting in line to meet Jim in hopes that he would do a quick inking over it, but he didn’t have the time due to the impromptu “second signing” that he agreed to do. The concept of “first come, first serve” for hopes of getting tickets to a signing makes sense in theory, but disappoints a lot of fans like myself who are not waiting outside the gates of the convention at 4:30 in the morning. Adding the second signing made the entire trip worthwhile a hundred times over.

J out.

Trial and Error

It’s actually a pretty good brain exercise to draw in a different style or format than you are used to doing. I’ve taken only one formal art class in college and there was an exercise in which we could only draw for the entire day with our opposite drawing hand. The prof told us about a guy who had drawn with his right hand his entire life and then switched to his left for a month. He put up two slides of the same portrait. The first was done with his right hand, the second his left. There was a very distinct difference in the two. The original portrait was off balance when compared with the second. Within a month this guy realized that for some left side/right side brain reason he was able to convey things more symmetrically if he drew with his “opposite” hand. Interesting.

What relevance does this have to the above drawing? None whatsoever, but I have attempted once or twice since that art class to draw with my left hand; it’s awkward at first, but it became surprisingly more comfortable pretty quickly after several attempts. I’m positive that I will post some left-handed drawings in the future, it’s just a matter of digging them up =)

So I tell this to you, grasshopper: Don’t become complacent with the style you feel most comfortable with as an artist. No, that’s not Confucius, that’s practical.

Onto the drawing above…This was done one evening about a year and a half ago when I decided to experiment with brushes. Prior to this, I had inked exclusively with a Hunt 102 pen nib – no brushes unless there was a huge spot of black. Now, I ink exclusively with a brush, I think it’s a 0 or something like that. I’m not good enough yet to ink exclusively with a number 3 or 4 like Klaus Jansen or other professional inkers. I also found out that for me it’s not necessary to use the best brushes such as Windsor & Newton, or other expensive sable-tipped brushes. I say this only because I had a less than good experience with an expensive brush. After waiting for the brush to come off the backorder list (the local art stores don’t carry Windsor & Newton) it wasn’t longer than a month and the tip started fraying out. I take great care of my stuff, always rinsing, etc. as soon as I finish so I can’t understand why this happened. Now, I go to my local retail store, buy six or seven non-expensive sable-tipped brushes for the same price as one good one. I typically get about four to five months of usage from each. Maybe one day I’ll splurge on another good brush, but for now the poor man’s method seems to work out fine.

But then again, I could use a stick from the backyard and be satisfied. I’ll find a way to get ink to paper regardless.

J out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Name Says It All

This is an old logo design I dug up that was to be used as our company logo for distribution of "Johnny Justice". The actual color is not represented here - just all the colors of the "printing press rainbow", C, M, Y, and K (that's Mr. CMYK to you, buddy).

Being a marketing student, I've found myself constantly critiquing other companies' logos. It's amazing to witness the effects a logo has as far as striking that "first impression", and how some companies can project a theme with simply a good logo design. I guess that's why all those marketing researchers get paid the big bucks =)

I wanted to use a name for our company that was relevant to comic books, and not something random or non-comic oriented (sorry, Kitchen Sink Press!). It was either adjectives or sound effects (Biff! Bam! Pow! Comics has a nice ring to it...), and the former won the coin toss although the latter may be used in the future. This, of course, is provided that no one else wants to publish our book, but I have above average expectations on that subject...

J out.

All Star Squad

This is a sketch of what to expect from Lee in Batman and Robin: Allstars.

The news is true...Jim Lee and Frank Miller will be collaborating on a title called Batman and Robin: Allstars.

"If there was one creator I wanted to work with when I was a fan, it would have been Frank Miller," says Lee, "so after this project, I think I'm going to be ready to retire! Seriously, it will be the pinnacle of my career so far, and I can't wait to get started. Frank and I have had a couple of meetings about the story, and it's going to rock!"

Miller says, "This is Dick Grayson's initiation and he's dealing with a very stern teacher. Batman is a hard teacher — unforgiving. Brutal. At the same time, Grayson is watching Batman come into his full power. Me and Jim Lee get to play with all of DC's toys. It'll be a romp. It'll be a lot of fun. I plan on raiding DC's treasury of characters. There won't be a Black Canary or a Wonder Woman unused."

You can read the rest of the article here. This promises to be a big one, folks, so don't say I didn't warn ya! The title is scheduled for a July 2005 release in the wake of the Batman Begins movie so hopefully a new batch of readers and demographic will be reached for DC.

J out.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Getting Personal

This is a picture of Hootie from "Hootie and the Blowfish", and he looks as though he wants his Top 40 single back.

Things are great here in the south.

I've been drawing since I could hold a crayon, and although I am "all grown up", I still have the very same goal - draw and publish my very own comic book. It all started waaaay back in junior high school when I met a couple very talented guys named Michael Rawls and Matt Lord who shared the same passion for comics as I. We even attended a "How to Draw Comics" workshop which was held in the back room of our local comic book shop. We actually made the front page of our local paper as well. I'll have to dig that clipping up sometime and post it. I was quoted in the article, but my name was spelled incorrectly (as was my buddy's) in the photo caption. Neither one of my buddies do any type of comic art anymore, which gives me no competition to worry with =) All the best, guys.

Anytime I run into former classmates, I am always asked, "Are you still drawing comic book stuff?" or "I remember you used to sit behind me and always draw in your notebook during class..." It never fails. The answer, of course is, "Absolutely."

J out.

Secret Identity

For those of you that didn't read DC Comics' "Identity Crisis", I have this to say, "Shame, shame, shame..." You only missed out on literally the largest event of the year. In fact, more than one DC employee got a little emotional over it...

DC Comics' forthcoming "Identity Crisis" event may not remake the DC Universe, but it should shake things up. At least, it's shaking up employees at the company: One veteran staffer recounted reading the script for first four issues, punching the wall and then calling up series writer Brad Meltzer to curse him out for ripping the reader's heart out. And when said staffer later read the finished pages, it provoked the same reaction all over again. -CBR

According to Bob Wayne, VP of Sales and Marketing at DC, the trade paperback will not be released until at least a year after the hardcover. The hardcover is scheduled for late 2005. Can't wait? Too bad, that's the way it is.

You can preview a couple of pages from issue #5 here.

J out.

Outside Resources

I must mention that I found inspiration for this site from Jim Lee's blog "Gelatometti" (a consolidation of "gelato", or ice cream, and "fumetti", or comics. Obviously, one cannot find these words in Webster's wonderful book of words unless your version includes Italian translations. Ah, the love of ice cream and comics have been officially joined in holy matrimony...

For those who are unfamiliar with Jim Lee, click here.

Also, from time to time, news releases, etc. will be posted. These will mainly come from sites such as Comic Book Resources, Pop Culture Shock, DC Comics, etc. These sites can be viewed here, here, and here, respectively. I can't promise the latest and greatest when it comes to information which is why I am posting these links.

J out.