Saturday, August 28, 2010

First Okita Review

can be found here

From In the Belly of the Whale_01

This is an excerpt from a thread at PnP about being at a cross-roads with comics. I haven't cross posted all of my thoughts from there to here, but it seemed that this one might be worthwhile as a stand alone.


I wonder how much of this, "what do I want from comics?" has to do with slamming your (meaning the collective our) heads against the direct market? Without going into all the issues surrounding the DM, it is a most curious place and not at all what it was 20+ years ago.

There is more variety available than ever before, yet the promise of making a living as an independent creator seems more closed off. The possibility of printing your own book and getting it out there to meet success seems a much longer shot then previously.

Digital offers the new ease of access: beginning with the web and now adding the various digital readers. Is the iPad and its successors become the most accessible path to publication? What are the barriers here?

Is this the best venue to produce a work that entertains but also is more and have it find its readership.


Maybe that's a key phrase here. Rather than talk about commercial vs artistic success, what we really want is to find our readership. Appreciation and (some measure) of commercial success will surely follow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Digital Okita

Okita and the Cat is now available at iTunes for your iPhone. This 48 pp graphic novella translates to the iPhone as 176 screen shots, a nice value for $1.99.

Written by Josh Hechinger, (Bear Beater Bunyan and The Grave Doug Freshley) and drawn by meself, Okita and the Cat tells of the final days of Souji Okita, the beau sabreur of the... Shinsengumi, who dies much too young of tuberculosis. Josh uses sly humor to take us through the frustrating final days of his era's most lethal swordsman, now too weak to kill a pesky cat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Digital Comics Apps

Trying to figure this digital app thing for comics out.

I got an iTunes account. Looks like that may be worthless. But I don't have any kind of iDevice, nor even a smart phone and the comics apps I downloaded don't work on my computer, so...

I signed up with which my publisher Archaia seems to be going with... the two free comics I downloaded were garbage, but they were from Top Cow, so that's to be expected from my perspective. Not that I have any personal problem with Top Cow but I'm just not their target audience.

There's also Panelfly and Comixology to investigate. It would be good if I could get my hands on an app itself and figure out how to import comics to it. If an app is affordable, it seems like a pretty good way to self-publish.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1640 BC

When you get into bed with me, I put the moves on you. I was excited to start drawing SH's script set in ancient Crete, featuring minotaurs/bulls, satyrs and nymphs. I got right on it. But as I got about 2/3 through the inking I had grown dissatisfied. The results were okay, but just sort of okay.

It looked like this.

The problem is, that what I had in my mind was more like this.

Picasso. Hey, aim high, right? And Picasso's minotaurs so often have an anguish that seemed just right for this brief tale of a "man" whose anger triggers an impulsive and fatal act in which he must traduce the dead to hide his own guilt.

I thought that it might be cool to do a single illustration that would contain all of the required elements to tell the story, and then cut them up and collage them into place. I couldn't get it down to one drawing, but I did mange four. See?

And I used this reference pic SH sent me, setting the scene indoors rather then outside, because the visuals of the composition seemed to work better for me.

And what I came up with was this.

There is sometimes in Picasso's work a kind of frozen quality that I thought would work perfectly for this story. This is a highly compacted tale, a moment, and coming back to that moment over and over again by reusing the same art made sense to me.

The overall effect feels like one of Picasso's fractured compositions, wherein a single scene is viewed from differing perspectives. And it feels very much like cartoons to me.

So I didn't give SH quite what he was expecting, but then it wasn't what I was expecting when I started. But I like it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Big Gummint

I find it curious that people want government to be run like a business. Business is expected to run on naked self-interest. Is that what we want from government? Usually we complain when we see it.

We want government to balance income and outflow. But in business, if you want to spend more you try to earn more... sometimes even borrowing money to do this. Yet the people who cry loudest about government spending don't want it to bring in more money, just spend less.

Do they know how business works?

Monday, August 9, 2010

L'ange de Bastogne_05

I posted a bit of an e-mail I had written outlining a few ideas about one of the characters at a comics website where we have a thread running. My partner requested politely that I not do that with ideas that are under conception. Yet he had no objection to my posting the character drawings I had made. Those were every bit as speculative and intended to provoke ideas. Indeed, the vampire drawing has provoked more thought and ideas about what the vampire should be like then the few thoughts I had jotted down. Picture worth a 1000 words and all that. Seems a little unequal. Oh well.

Friday, August 6, 2010

L'ange de Bastogne_04

Also from last evening, I realized that I was making her kerchief too complex and simplified it. This is also a brush heavy drawing and I think I'd like to go more with a pen for this.

As in this second drawing of Sophie and her friend Annaliese.

L'ange de Bastogne_03

I worked on the vampire last night. This first image is a little too naturalistic for what I want.

But this second one nails it!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

L'ange de Bastogne_02

This will look probably like a mess, but here are some preliminary sketches of key characters from this project.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

L'ange de Bastogne_01

A new project is percolating. RL,who is one of my collaborators, has sucked me in again. Sophie Leger, a Belgian nurse working in a cathedral cum field hospital at the Battle of the Bulge must find and destroy a vampire feasting on the near dead.

Part of the fun is that we are developing the idea together, and have worked through several notions before settling on this. There was another variation of this that I think we both liked better, but didn't really agree on the approach and both of us may wind up developing it according to our own ideas, which itself is kind of exciting.

This story, however, is likely to be a more straight forward adventure with some challenging things to draw.