Sunday, September 29, 2013

Page 12 Done!

So page 12 is done. It wraps up the scene at the school that began a couple pages ago. Again, this is inspired by the frequent local bomb threats just after Columbine and how they always ended up on the local news. Here's some panels from the page...
The two kids on the right are based on characters from the same unpublished superhero concept I took a couple kids from for the music store scene. These two always wear black, so the color choices where easy there. I love how the guy is about to walk past the news camera while smoking.

The rest of the walking kids are generic designs. The reporter is again just an attempt to make an interesting looking character. I love her hair. And then there's her interviewee...

He's inspired by Bobby from King of the Hill. Read his dialog with a Texas accent for full effect.
And then we have what I would think is the more typical reaction to school getting dismissed...

The kid in the white jacket is the last one based on my unpublished heroes. I don't think it was intentional, but his power is flight so it's appropriate he's the one in midair. The kid in the darker clothes is inspired by Alexander Darque in Unity 2000, a miniseries that Jim Shooter was writing at the time. 
Meanwhile, inside the school...
Not cracking on cops, obviously they're obligated to check schools for real every time there's a threat, and do so in real life. I suppose this is what I thought they should be doing instead, since it always turned out to be a stupid hoax. I was all kinds of happy when I found the perfect orange for their vest. And while figuring out the colors for the donut box, I realized my 20 year-old self had intended for it to be a Krispy Kreme box and that brought a big smile to my face for some reason.
So that's it for page 12. Next, the final scene begins! 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

My first flyers for surprise comic conventions!

Page 12 is finished but I don't have time to post panels or write about it. I've got a morning assignment, followed by a race to get to a comic convention in Archdale to deliver this flyer (shown below) I hastily made and put together yesterday.
As far as I knew the only local con this Fall was one in Winston-Salem at the end of October by Burke Street Comics. Well Burke Street is instead doing one tomorrow, which I only found out about a few days ago. That gave me way too little lead time to see if I could go as a comic creator, but I could at least print flyers for their handout table. I figured I could just get the flyers printed Saturday, no sweat. Then Thursday night I saw was there was a convention by Stormcrow Comics in Archdale today.
So I slapped this flyer together between work and finishing page 12 yesterday and called the first print shop that was still open after five to see if I could get it printed (the UPS Store, which did a good job for a reasonable price). Doing color was a bit more expensive than I would've liked but I didn't have time to design something in black and white. Maybe next time. I've got 200 of these little flyers printed up. Hopefully they'll get the attention of some folks around here.
I'll be posting the finished art from page 12 with commentary tomorrow before hitting the convention right down the street from me. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Page 12 Colored

Between work and making College Follies fliers for two(!) local comic conventions I just found out about, I'm running behind. Just finished with the colors for page 12 and I'm getting ready to letter it...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Page 12 Touched up inks

Just finished touching up the inks on page 12 and I'll start coloring the page this evening.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Touching up the inks on page 12

I just touched up the inks on part of page 12. I'll do the rest of the touch ups tomorrow.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Turning the blogging down half a notch

So the pace I've been doing the comic and everything related to it has been pretty grueling. When I said I was doing this in my spare time, I didn't realize it was going to take up practically all my spare time.
I work a job that already gives me more than fulltime hours. Monday and Tuesday from the time I wake and eat breakfast to the time I go to sleep is spent at work. Tuesday is usually a double shift until about 2-5 a.m.  with me going back in by about 11 that same morning on Wednesday. I'm usually too tired to do much else that day after I finish my work so I go home and crash (though often doing social media in my sleep deprived stupor or even attempting to do a little on the comic sometimes). Then Thursday and Friday almost all my waking hours are either consumed by my job or working on the comic. Often times it'll spill over into 4-6 hours of work on the comic on Saturday (and sometimes a weekend assignment at work), though sometimes I'll have the weekend off. So the weekend gives me somewhere between a day and half to two days to type up my blogs for that weekend and the first half of the week, do social media stuff and do life maintenance (chores, errands, grocery shopping, washing clothes, fishing the bills out of my junk mail, etc). And sometimes I'll try to squeeze in watching a movie or something.
Obviously, this pace is not sustainable but I think I can keep it up for one more month to finish the first issue. After that the pace on producing pages will slacken and hopefully I can do it in my actual real spare time, not taking up all my non-working hours.
I say all this to illustrate that I just haven't had time to do much for the comic outside of producing actual pages, blogging and limited social media. YouTube videos, promotional art and a lot of the more extensive social media stuff has slowed to a bare trickle. I haven't put pencil or pen to paper in more than two months and in several weeks I'm going to have to ink the second story, which I penciled back in 2000, which has a high level of difficulty with lots of lots of panels, characters and tiny lines per page to ink. So I really need to free up time to get some inking experience by doing promotional art and do some of the other things I have planned to promote the comic.
Thus, I'll no longer be blogging everyday. After 77 consecutive daily blog posts, I feel it's time to turn it down a half a notch. I'll only be blogging when I have something new to report like an announcement, new art or progress on a page. For now I won't be doing the time-consuming posts showcasing my previous art, which requires scanning, image adjustments and sometimes lengthy commentary. I've showcased just about everything I have that's relevant to the first issue and my introduction video, which can always be found under "Categories" on the sidebar of the blog.
There should always be blog posts on Thursday-Saturday as I work on the comic itself and if I get to make new art, videos, etc those may end up as posts on Sunday and Monday. Following me on the social media also listed on the blog's sidebar is the best way to keep abreast of when I'm posting.

Thanks you guys for continuing to read this blog and please comment or drop me a line to let me know you're out there and what you think!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Page 11 is finished!

Page 11 is done.
Again, I'm only featuring part of it to avoid spoilers. This was a quicker page because most of it was taken up by the big panel below. Bigger panels require a lot less work and I can kind of understand why a lot of modern comics are so reliant on them. If I made the rest of the series one panel a page close ups of Stickboy's face it would cut down on the workload. But here I felt a bigger image was justified to show how many news vans and such were closing in on the school. And yes, our overly excited principal is saying something in the corner panel, but I've taken it out  so as not to spoil the scene.
This big panel is dealing with how newscasters would flock to schools that dismissed due to threats (which were always hoaxes where I lived) just after Columbine. I've always liked the line about not wanting to get blocked in by CNN. Incidentally, now that I'm a newspaper reporter, I have had to do an extra circle around the block when news vans take up all the parking around a heavily covered event. It's life imitating art or something like that.
Only four pages to go in the first story!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Page 11 Colored

Here's the colors for some of page 11. Finished up the whole thing last night, but I'll post the completed art when I get time to write about it tomorrow. I'm taking a day off to run some belated errands today.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Still working on page 11...

A busy day at work has caused me to get a late start, but I'm finally working on page 11. Should get the ink touch ups done tonight at the very least.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beginning ink touch ups on page 11...

I've started doing ink touch ups on page 11. I'll probably finish cleaning it up tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Political Cartoon-Palooza! Cross the Road! (We Dare You!)

So for the final appearance of Stickboy in the UNCP student newspaper, The Pine Needle, here's a cartoon I did after I graduated for a special issue of the paper. I can't remember, maybe it was homecoming or something, but they contacted me and asked for one last cartoon so I obliged. This one is on a road between the college and a nearby McDonald's that had high number of accidents on it. They requested I make a Frogger-like game out of it and that was a lot of fun (even snuck the pizza delivery golf cart in there from the last cartoon).  And thus ends Stickboy's short but eventful career as political cartoon character...

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hey, I made another talkie! It's a YouTube update!

Fans of moving pictures with sound, rejoice! At long last I've done my second YouTube video! This one features completed images from the comic with commentary about my progress and pace in putting it out thus far. It's nothing new for those who've been following my blog, but it lets people know in a different way how it's been going and will hopefully reach a few people who haven't been on the blog.

I can't say I'm any better at speaking into my computer's built-in microphone than I was in the first video, but the sound is louder and better quality, at least. Once again it's HD and closed captioned. And I've tried to monetize it. I did get ten second commercials in front of it a couple times I watched it. Let me know if the commercials are an issue or a deterrent for any of you.

It is very short and put together relatively quickly. Squeezing it in on top of work, doing the comic, blogging and social media has been very challenging. I planned to do more videos by now but it's hard to find the time. At the moment, I'm planning to do another update when I'm done with the comic  and, if all goes well, they'll be a video announcing something special before then. Videos on how I make the comic and other extras are still planned but have been pushed back until after I finish issue one. Once I get this first story done, I plan to slacken the pace a little on putting out pages and hopefully that'll give me some time to do more outside of just the comic itself.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Page Ten Complete!

Page ten is done and I'm two-thirds of the way through the first story! As I said, I'll only be showing some of the finished panels from the remaining pages of issue one from here on out so as not to spoil the whole thing before it's released.

So our heroes finally reach their destination...

The car was just something that was easy to draw back when I did the comic originally. I sort of wish I'd come up with a stranger car for Psycho now, but it's only one panel and he'll have a completely different vehicle next time you see him. He'll probably be keeping the license plate though.

So they're at a high school dressed in black trench coats? Nothing could go wrong there, could it?

Hey, look, it's a good guy with a gun! Our hapless school resource officer is inspired by Officer Barbrady from South Park. Again just a passing resemblance, I wasn't going for anything precise, though I do hear his voice every time I read this guy's dialog.

Well things just keep getting better, huh? The principal isn't modeled after anyone, she's just what came to mind when I thought about a frantic principal. I really like a lot of the designs on these one gag bit characters. Maybe I can think of an excuse for some of them to show up in a later story.

On no, not a "Bom"! I tried making this restroom look as rundown and disgusting as possible. I'm pretty sure it violates the Geneva Convention or something. The letter here is my own scanned-in handwriting.  This page was inspired by a real local incident where a school was evacuated shortly after Columbine when a threatening note was found in the boy's restroom, which is the strangest place I can think of to put one (it, unsurprisingly, turned out to be a hoax).

So that's it for this page. You'll have to wait a bit to see how that little gag is resolved, but you will get to see what happened to Stick and Psycho afterwards as I tackle page 11 next week. 

Until then, people, move along, there's nothing to see here...

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tackling Page Ten Tomorrow...

Hitting some snags on page ten. I accidentally scanned it in at the wrong resolution yesterday and I haven't been doing myself any favors in my attempts to touch it up just now. I'm discovering four hours of sleep is not sufficient to the task at hand so I'm going home and I'll start fresh on it tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Poltical Cartoon-Palooza! Pizza Delivery

So this is my final political cartoon I did as the official political cartoonist for UNCPembroke's student newspaper, The Pine Needle, in 2005. This was on the college finally getting pizza delivery from the campus food court. I always get a chuckle out of on-campus pizza delivery at any college since a lot of students live within a five to ten minute walking distance from the place doing the pizza.

This particular cartoon was about  delivery drivers using the little golf carts that all the staff used to zip around campus. It was getting crowded on the sidewalks with students and the carts competing for space. A lot of students felt they were having to look out or get run over by the carts as it was, and now we've got speedy pizza delivery man to dodge too...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dragon Rider

So in the final bit of commentary on the art in my YouTube intro video, we take a look at the
comic I drew as a high school freshman that was shown in there: Dragon Rider.

Now when I drew comics in high school,  I was doing whatever came to me with pencil on paper. No script, no Bristol board, no rulers, usually no design sketches done was just me putting whatever came out of my head on to the page.

One of two things tended to happen with those comics: either I'd find something in it I'd like and keep going with it, creating a lot of pages and a fully fleshed out story (though I almost never finished a whole story) or I'd get a few pages in, realize this wasn't happening, and move on to something else.

The later was the case with Dragon Rider. I got three pages in on this one, quitting on the final panel of page three. Hence, why I chose it for the video.  I wasn't really looking to show properties I had any intention of using other then College Follies.

It was one of the few fantasy comics I've done. The premise is that there is a series of mountaintop cities above the clouds. Their defenders are knights who ride dragons, so they're guessed it...Dragon Riders.

I only used the first two panels of it in the video because they required minimal clean up and had the smallest amount of embarrassing dialog. I'm including the rest here for the sake of illustrating what I'm talking about. They're presented here with no touch up, so I apologize for their crudeness (I didn't even draw the hero holding his hammer correctly in the third panel, shown below!).

 This is by no means a good comic. If you want to try and read the dialog feel free, but  essentially it opens with a blacksmith named Abraham (yeah, horrible name) in his shop complaining to his friend and Dragon Rider, Sirus, about his lot in life. He whines about a girl he likes named Tala who seems real cozy with a Dragon Rider. Then the city is attacked by dragons on the final panel.

Had it continued, Abraham would've had to go on a quest to fight the attackers and save Tala, while becoming a Dragon Rider himself. It was very typical stuff, with lots of asinine dialog and a type of story I'd beaten to death already, so I didn't go any further with it.

I haven't thought about it in the years since until I put it in the video. That did get the wheels turning. I do have an idea of how I could turn into a decent story if I ever found a fantasy-style comic artist to illustrate it. Though if that ever happens, old Abraham is definitely getting  a
                                                                          new name.

I have no desire to do a comic with a character named Abe the Barbarian.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Page Nine Complete!

Okay, so I've already posted the complete pages for a little more than half of the first issue. At some point I'll gather these into one place for an easy to view preview of the story. But in the interest of not giving away the entire thing before it's digitally published on Comixology or whoever takes it, I'll be posting samples of the pages from here on out instead of the whole thing.
So as I said, page nine is done. And this one takes us to the traditional mall stop of the music store...
Okay, not MY usual stop (probably why I show Psycho looking at the music while Stick's chilling), but a common one, none the less. The store name was basically inspired by how expensive music (and just about everything else) is at the mall.
For the kids, the two boys are just generic kids (I love my little 90's skate punk rocking the green mohawk). For the two girls on the right, they're based off of two characters from my all-time favorite superhero concept that I created, imagining them here as little kids. The one with her hair down tends to wear black and white so I went with a white dress (figured there was enough people dressed in black already). The other character is inspired by a girl I knew in high school who wore a red jacket and the character usually wears pink with the jacket. Even if it's kiddie versions there as an inside joke, it's still really, really cool to see them in color.
On the CDs in the background (those are thicker, multi-disc ones on the back row), I used a coloring technique I've avoided thus far of making background objects one color. When I started this, I thought colorists only did that to either be lazy or because their brushes weren't fine enough to color very tiny details. But when I was doing this panel, I remembered a blog Jim Shooter did on coloring in which he said that color (like inks or pencils) should create depth by having things that are more specific and detailed in the front and things that are less so in the back. So it occurred to me coloring each individual CD and the cover art on each might make the background too busy in an already busy panel and distract from Stick and the characters the reader needs to focus on. If Jim Shooter says it's okay to do it, that's the final authority to me.
And then we have Stick talk to the music store clerk...

 The design on him was just me trying to figure out how to make a music store clerk look interesting. Nine Inch Nails is one of favorite bands, so putting its logo on his shirt was the first thing that came to mind. It was a lot of fun creating the logo since, like I said, I love the Nails.
There were A LOT of false alarms sent to schools nationwide after the Columbine shootings that I'm lampooning here. It turned out children weren't homicidal mass murders, but a lot of them were insensitive pricks who thought something like that was funny.
And that's it for the preview of this page. I promise you'll be able to read the whole page (and the rest of the comic) once it's released.  Let me know what you think of the new commentary format here.
So next up is page ten, when our heroes finally arrive at the county high school...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Page Nine Colored

So here's page nine colored. I actually managed to completely finish the page but I'll post finished panels when I get time tomorrow. For today, I'm just going to relax. I could use a break.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Touching up inks on page nine...

Touching up inks on page nine at the moment. Not sure if I'll be able to complete the page this week but we'll see.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Social Media on Parade: The Arcade Guys on Google+

Hey, looks like those guys from page seven took the Space Chicken Massacre game right past the claw machine in my Google+ image. This is my first update on that image. Like I said, I'll have some dolls getting plucked up in there from time to time. Hopefully, it'll be something different every month, so stay tuned! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Political Cartoon-Palooza! Ready for some UNCP Football?

So this political cartoon with Stickboy, done for UNCPembroke's student newspaper. is about the college finally getting a football team.  The college prided itself on its small class sizes and intimate learning environment. Its motto in its advertising was "Where learning gets personal." Getting a football program was supposed to spur growth and a massive influx of new students. Not sure how that worked out since I graduated before the team started, but this cartoon imagines how it would change their advertising at the very least if it did became a larger college.
Worth noting is that Bigirl is included in here.  The larger kid is my first attempt at one of "The Guys" who lives in Stickboy's dorm (who I haven't settled on a name for) though if he appears in the comic, he'll be much taller.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Battlestar Galactica Theatre by Me (Age 5)

Continuing my commentary on images in my YouTube intro video, today I'll talk about the "comic" I did in crayon at age five. I used the first few panels from this story I drew to illustrate in the video that I'd been making sequential art all my life.

This particular story was based on the original Battlestar Galactica. I was a huge fan of the show when I was a kid. so one summer I filled most of a 70 sheet spiral bound notebook with two Battlestar "comics" with one or two panels a page, using both sides of each sheet. The stories are pretty simple. In the first one the heroes meet Cylons and have a series of fights, the Imperious Leader yells at the Cylons when they lose, and eventually it escalates into a big battle with a bunch of Base Ships the good guys blow up. They end up back on the Galactica talking and playing games and then we finish with the shot of the fleet in space that ends every episode

The second one I'm a little less sure what's going, but there's definitely battles and somehow there's also a game of Pyramid (Galactica's version of Basketball) and cameos by Daggit the robot dog, Baltar and the freaky Satan guy who appeared in that two-parter. 

Crudely drawn in crayon but a lot of fun to look at, these are honestly some of my favorite images in the video. Maybe some day I'll have time to scan more of them and show the whole story.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

Page Eight Finished!

Page eight is a rap! I've reached the staples down the middle of issue one...I'm half way through the first story!
This page is one where color becomes a gag in itself. Cheap Ass Video is inspired by a locally owned video rental store that was near my college, Cheap-O-Video. I could never remember its exact name, so I always called it Cheap Ass Video. Its interiors had a dull and bland color scheme so I planned to do the same for its fictional counterpart.
But then I got to thinking about how I modeled the clerk after Dante Hicks in Kevin Smith's amazing first movie, Clerks. It's just a passing  physical resemblance based off memory,  but I still liked the idea that maybe this guy's Dante (after all, he did have to run the video rental place when Randal didn't show up). So it occurred to me not to just make it dull, but do it in all whites and grays so it looks like it's right out of Clerks (which was a black and white movie). And I love the results. It looks like my guys got lost and wondered into a cut scene from the movie.
As for the video references: The Matrix was super hot at the time. The Crow is one of my favorite movies and this gag is assuming the Crow sequels were actually good too (yeah, I'm using A LOT of artist license there, "Would You Stay Dead Already?" would've actually been an appropriate title for the real Crow 4 that came out later).
And I'm not knocking Power Rangers: the Movie. It was actually an enjoyable, fun, action flick but it was old by then and Stick and Psycho had watched it to death at that point (as had I) and it's just not on the same level as the other movies mentioned (again, assuming The Crow sequels lived up to the original, in actuality the Power Rangers movie kicks the crap out of Crow 2-4).
So now there's only seven pages to go in the first story! Snootchie Bootchies!