Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time to Retire

The new job consumes my time. I can't believe its been two weeks since I posted last. My current comics project is going slower then I would like. Something's got to give, and this blog is going to be part of it. Yes, with a few books read I was going to comment on, and a thought here or there consuming my mind, and drawings being drawn... I leave them unshared.

160+ posts in a bit over a year. Hardly a record, but not bad. But that's it for the foreseeable future. I don't think many people have been following this, but there seem to be a few of you. Even more, for the sake of my own satisfaction and some kind of weird sense of obligation to the blog itself, I needed to check in and say goodbye.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Around Old Boise Town.

In Boise, the river is high. The ducks love it. But north of Boise just a few miles, we can see that it truly is the high desert here. In between, in Eagle Idaho, there is a charming coffee house in and old church building.

I've been back three times.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Comics in Boise?

So here I am in Boise, driving down Fairview, which is a super busy main arterial into the downtown area. (So busy that I was only able to get on it to inspect the distresses between 6-7 AM. I'd have gotten on earlier if the sun was up) and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature LCS, (and used book store). I went in.

Interesting. Total Android's Dungeon. Dingy, dark, and EVERY comic book was pre-bagged. Shades of 1995! Overheard a comment between the clerk (owner) and a customer, "Do comics still sell?"

"They're 80% of our business."

This amused me because 80% of his floor space was given over to used paperbacks. Hmmm?

I bought four books. Two from IDW and two from Image. I had never heard of any of them before.

They ALL were perfect manifestations of why comics have trouble pulling the casual reader. Each was part of some longer story... each a part of a story without providing a beginning nor an ending.... just a bunch of act two. And all were obviously a part of some large, complex story that the respective writers had worked out in great and loving detail in their heads... and probably should have written as a novel, rather then a comic book. All had sharp graphics, professional and contemporary cover design. All had seen an enormous amount of love and attention to detail in their execution.

I'll start with IDW.

Locke&Key by Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez and Jay Fotos. This was the 6th of 13 issues. The art was careful and well detailed, and if not quite the sort of high energy line work I prefer, I recognize it was very professional. Its about some kind of body jumping demon, and given that its the middle of a story, not too hard to pick up on. They do provide a handy-dandy precis/intro on the inside front cover... but still, its the middle of a long story, and if you're going to hook people at this point, you need a catch. The art was professional, but not seductive enough.The hook in the story was, I guess, the mutilations. So daring. But not for me. Not world I care to re-visit.

Infestation by Abnett and Lanning, with art by David Messina and various helpers. Issue 2. This had more of a big two kind of feel to the art with the colorist dominating the linework, as has so often become the case these days. More careful, if staid, artwork. And even more pseudo-mysticism here with some kind of vampire-zombie mash-up/ secret organization and a big red guy with horns who wasn't Hellboy and managed to be utterly bland visually and in his personality. They seem intent of stopping some sort of hot chick bent on destroying four universes by becoming the same sort of combo vampire/zombie that evidently she is. Yeahhhh... no.


These were better, but ultimately suffered from the same sorts of problems.

Blue Estate by Victor Kalvachev predominately, with a couple of other writers and artists lending a hand. There's a beautiful painted cover that doesn't look like the artwork inside, although its by the same artist. The interior has the kind of quirky energetic art I favor and features imaginative color that doesn't overwhelm, and some memorable characters, or at least character designs. No mystical shit from what I can see. It seems to be about crime and sex and an inheritance. I might read another issue if I happened to see it again... on the other hand, its still only a few scenes of a story for $3.99. See more at their website www.BlueEstateComic.com

CarbonGrey by a whole bunch of people and I can't tell who is the driver, but this one I liked the best, although again, and more story for your 4 bux, but still only an episode. The painted interior art matched the cover and both were truly lovely. The digital lettering looked totally out of place and rather then puuling you into the story, it is distancing, reminding you that the images are paintings. I use digital lettering and its a godsend for me but it does have limitations and they are fully on display here. I was engaged and intrigued, but more than any other, this should have been a fantasy novel or video game. oh yes, its an alternate reality history of WW I with a quartet of (magical?) sisters engaged to protect the Kaiser.

I'd read the novel.

So. What have you read lately?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time to Pay Attention

If I'm to do this, I should pay attention to it. I'd thought, in coming to Idaho, I'd post about the last book I read, and I brought it with to have it available. I will get to it, I like to post comments about what I've read, and this book made an impression. But not yet. I'll post again.

What's like in Idaho? Less attractive than I had expected. I thought it would be hillier and more trees. Its flat, high desert. Its isolating as well. I work "with" other techs, but we work individually, and only communicate for reasons of work. No socializing.

I have work to do, outside of the work I'm here for. I"ve some comics projects and I'm pleased that I have managed to pencil 9 pages of a 22 page story in the first ten days. If I push, I may have it penciled when I go home at the end of the month. I also wrote a story, and found a publisher and artist for it in a matter of a few days.

I'm about finished with my first book, and have a second larger one to get started with. We will be going from four to one tech in a matter of a few weeks. Or maybe not. There will be others coming and I may not be alone long. But if I am, that's fine.

Getting to the gym regularly as well and I had a nice weekend with some in-laws. I'm learning my way around the town. I need to get out into the country sometime as well.

And now finding time to post. Things get better.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Greetings from Boise!

I am, barring a few weekend trips home re-located to a long-stay suite in Boise Idaho, from the San Francisco Bay Area where I have so long lingered. This is for work... I'll be counting the cracks in all of the roads of Ada County for the next ten weeks. And trying to get a 22 page story drawn while I'm up here. No scanner, I don't think, so no art to be seen. I will get home for Memorial Day, and my daughter's graduation from College.
The little kitchenette is about as much of a kitchen as I would want. I do have 30+ years of experiance in food and beverage, and can work in cramped quarters as I am very organized and clean as I go. I also have a very limited repertoire of food I can cook.It'll mostly be salads, sandwiches and oatmeal... but I have to reduce my blood sugar and boost my HDL anyway.

I have two laptops with me. One for work, and the other for this stuff. I have drawing paper, pencils and markers etc, and few distractions so no excuses for not doing the work.

Which I haven't yet done today.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Gatsby Samples Improving?

The bottom three look good, the top one is OK, the middle two need work. They become a muddle. But this is better then the character samples below. Improvement on the way.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gatsby Character Designs_ a Start

An early pas at chacater designs for The Great Gatsby. can you tell who is who? These could change quite a bit before being finalized, and I'm anxious for the writer's feedback.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Job

There's much about this new job I like, and with my first paycheck coming, I expect to like it more. But I am working long hours and don't have the energy I'd like to get some creative work done... and here I am screwing around writing e-mails and The Facebooking and writing a blog when I should be drawing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Advice To Comic Writers

I got a lovely script tonight. It was lovely for several reasons, but one of them is something that has been floating around the back of my mind, but had never articulated it before.

Most of the pages featured an even number of panels.

Let me explain. I often, so often, get scripts that predominately have five panels to a page. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily. My sense is that writers are striking some compromise between density and decompressed comics. An odd number of panels provides flexibility. It can work very well, but...

An odd number of panels requires the artist to make one(or more) panels larger and therefor more important than the others. And it may be that the one you have to give prominence to may not warrant it.

Whereas, and even number of panels gives you the option to make equal sized panels, or to make one larger as required. In the absence of some compelling reason to use a specific number of panels, an even number actually provides more flexibility.

One of my tricks for visualizing a page is to make a note to myself on the script at the beginning of each page. Many writers will indicate how many panels there are, but I go further and make a note as to how many panels there are in each tier, row, of panels. So: 2-2-2, or 3-2-2, or 1-2-3.

It may be necessary to make a panel larger because of heavy dialogue, more participants, it's an establishing shot, or a place for the key action. Whatever the reason, its good for the writer to be aware of these things, and plan for it. In the absence of this awareness, if a writer wants to leave this to the artist, then its more flexible to go with an even number of panels, rather than odd.

Or so it seems to me.

My Day At Work

Most of the time I'm looking for cracks and potholes, but today I got to look at this during work. Sweet! The Northern California countryside is quite green in the spring. Of course I screwed up again, and did and hour and a half of work that had to be redone. Paying attention at the beginning sure can help. A lesson to learn again the hard way. Fortunately was able to use the mistakes later in correcting them, which saved me time. I just counted the mistake time as my lunch hour. I don't charge for my screw-ups.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bluetick and Redbone Character Designs

I was asked to sex up the female lead in this story, from my earlier version. Well, she is a stripper in the story. I continue to be optimistic about this new marker technique. It incorporates the color into the drawing, and will save me scads of time doing the digital coloring.

Black Flies Hello Again

I looked up and JH and RH (no relation) came back to me with a proposal to provide 3d models of the spaceships to be rendered and used in the comic. It actually sounds like it could be feasible. Lets see what the models look like.

I've worked with 3d digital assets before in comics. I don't think they usually look very good for doing people, but for spaceships... it seems like a natural. Looks like I'm back in.