Monday, May 18, 2015

Redrawing Pages (Because They Have to be Perfect)(Or at Least Decent)




The idea for this page is that this space god shrinks from giant size to normal-human-being size, which is represented by the circles of shrinking size, and with this project I'm okay with it being a little bit difficult for the reader to understand. It's like a puzzle, what's the point if it's too easy? But what's the point if it's impossible? And this page is pretty near impossible. The main problem is that there is no background (at all!!!) to give context. You can't tell that he's changed size because you don't see him in relation to anything else. All you have are these circles.

So back to the drawing board.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Old Books





I want my next book to look as cool as these. I'm not sure about the processes used to create this kind of cover, but I think something similar could be done with stamps. Some hand cut rubber stamps with golden ink, a little purple to set it off, maybe a little embossing powder thrown on top to make it stick out (the inverse of the impressions on these covers), ooh, it'd be sweet.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Taking that Ride to Nowhere








I draw a lot, but most of the time when I'm drawing there is a lot of intention in it. I'm doing sketches for a page. I'm doing character design. I'm trying to figure out how to get it so a giant who has been shot by some sort of bazooka looks right while he's falling. I hesitate to say that doing such things is serious, but it's not really playing when I'm putting the lines on paper. I have purpose. It's very adult.

And what's really sad, is that when I sit down with a piece of paper to draw with no intention whatsoever, it's a struggle. Taking a walk with a line and just seeing where it goes has become particularly difficult. I spend so much of the time knowing where the line is going, and it's just hard to let go.

But I'd like to.

I've worked hard to get whatever skill and style I have, but sometimes it feels a little bit like I'm trapped by them.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I'm not dead.

These are the pages for my sci-fantasy comic Hedra that I did this week (in various states of completeditude). 









Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Current Process

I have a fear of routine. There's something numbing about it. Walking the same way to work every day, you stop noticing anything about the walk. It disappears, in a day or two you won't even remember it. You'll only know it happened because it's what you always do. If you walk down a different side of the street, you suddenly notice new things. The walk becomes memorable.

And maybe because of this fear of routine, I've never found a method of comics that I stick with. Some people have a locked-down process, but mine has remained loose. In fact, it constantly changes. I don't work the way I did last year, and the way I worked last year was different from the way I worked the year before.

My current project, a space-fantasy called Hedra, is heavily focused on the design of the page. The goal is for an interesting page that forces the eye to go in different directions than it normally would. Each page is something of a puzzle. The plot is very simple, which allows the telling to be complex. My hope is that the book will be something of a riddle, perhaps confusing, but enjoyably so.

There is no written script, just a loose plot in my head. My documentable process begins with layouts on 3x5 notecards, which are small enough to let me keep the whole of the page in my head. A page will often go through a number of iterations.



After I've found a design for the page I like,  I work on 11x17 bristol.


For the straight lines I use Microns or Faber Castell PITT artist pens. For characters I'll use a Pentel brush pen. This page is heavy on the geometric, so there was almost no need for the brush pen.

I color the page in Photoshop. My intention is to self-publish this book with Risograph, so I've been working on trying to create a full color feeling with only two colors. I'm not sure why, but pink and blue have just felt right to me.



Monday, February 9, 2015

Dot Dot Dot

I was recently asked how to create this cute little Zip-A-Tone dot effect using Photoshop. Here's a detailed guide. It's super easy!



A. You need to make sure the image mode is on Grayscale. 




B. Throw some grays down (you can also take a photo and blow it up to create some interesting effects).




C. Go to Filters, Pixelate, Color Halftone.




D. Fiddle with the pixel radius to get the right size dots. It depends on the dpi you are using and how big you want the dots to be. 




E. Presto!




You can create similar effects in color, but when you do that it gives you CMYK dots, and I kind of feel like you have less control. When I've been working in color, I've created the dots in grayscale first, and then switched to RGB or CMYK.

YEAH DOTS!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Buzz and The Boxer


The Boxer by Reinhard Kleist is an excellent comic that came out last year, yet it didn't seem to get much buzz. I don't know how one quantifies buzz, but looking at Amazon, The Boxer has three reviews. Andre the Giant by Box Brown has seventy-nine. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll has seventy-three. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki has fifty-five. I chose these books because they all came out last year.

And I can't help asking why those books were big, while The Boxer wasn't (at least in the U.S.)(it's won all kinds of awards in Europe).

And there are ton of possible reasons: web presence, luck, promotion, hustle on the part of the creator, connections, subject matter, etcetera, and etcetera.

But I think one reason might be that The Boxer's not particularly timely. There's nothing about this book that says, "This is comics now." The story and the art could have been written any time in the last thirty years. Kleist's artwork reminds me a lot of Will Eisner. His panels are a little more rigid, but his line work and his characters, though never as cartoony as Eisner, have a very similar quality. It looks a lot like A Contract with God, which came out in 1978.

This doesn't matter to me, but I feel like it does have an effect.

And I also think this is true with the story to some extent as well. A book like Andre the Giant touches on things that I remember. It hits that nostalgia button, while The Boxer takes place before my time. It's a story of my grandparent's generation, and there is less of direct connection.

Deep down I hope these things don't really. I hope this is just me being silly and overthinking it, but I worry.

Anyway, it's a great book, one of the most satisfying I've read in a while.


I love the brush dot heads in the rows of prisoners. It's so simple, yet so effective. There's such confidence in the artwork. It's art magic.