Friday, February 28, 2014

Page Three Pencils...It's Exploding Time!

I've been busy with work up til today so I'm running a little behind but here's the pencils for page 3.

Here's some shots of Psycho's intro...

And then the big panel with an explosion in the background when he says his name. Wouldn't life be cooler if things blew up when you introduced yourself?

And there's the bottom of the page with Stick's reaction. Psycho should really be more careful where he introduces himself...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Page Two Pencils...It's Morphin Time!

Page two is penciled! This features Stick's morphing into a ranger, which was awesome to draw.

The bottom half has Stick's post morph pose followed by Psychoboy teleporting in... 

I'll be drawing more later in the week!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Page One Pencils...Ready!

The pencils for page one are done. I'll show it in two parts. Here's the top half:
I'll be copying Stickboy's body and the background from the first panel into the second one when I ink/color the issue digitally. This technique saves time and helps with consistency between panels.
Here's the bottom panel:
Here we get to meet the monster of the story: Killamari. He likes to eat people, destroy buildings and pick on super heroes who've killed every monster they've ever encountered. I'm sure this will work out just swimmingly for him.
I'll talk most about Killamari when I complete the page in a few weeks but right now I'll just say that I drew a lot of monsters in my super hero comics in high school but most were based on human anatomy, just with claws, horns, etc. added. Trying to figure out how a fish's head would fit on a man's body is whole 'nother level of crazy. It's challenging, but I think he turned out okay for his first panel.
Next up, drawing page two!


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Still Pencilin'

I'm pretty much done with page one's pencils but since I won't have access to a scanner until late tonight, I can't show it to you guys until tomorrow. In the meantime, here's some pencils of Stickboy getting in some...exercise on the title page.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Issue Three Penciling...Start!

So I've started drawing issue three. Right now my tentative plans are to draw it all first before doing anything else. In theory this should help with consistency and story flow but plans are always subject to change.

I've drawn the elements for the title page, which is  probably the only page in there I'm doing piece meal by drawing the different images in it and laying them out in Photoshop. The rest of the comic will be drawn as full pages on bristol board.

I'll leave you guys with one of the images from the title page, which features the "show opening" for Super Rangers. Now when I was thinking of this image I wanted to show Psychoboy aka Lavender Ranger using his Ranger weapon. What would it be? A sword? A crossbow? A hair dryer that shoots flames? A loud speaker? (All those have actually been weapons on Power Rangers, I'm not even kidding). No Psychoboy deserved something that matched his style and personality...The Chainsaw of Justice!

C'mon Bandai, make this into a toy! You know children chasing each other around with bright purple chainsaws would awesome!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Issue Three Script...Ready!

I wrote the script for the third issue last night. It's the first comic script I've written since 2000 and it was
a lot of fun, I can write this stuff all day.

I wrote it all in one sitting while the TV played my VHS recording of  the original airing of Green with Evil, the epic five part Power Ranger miniseries that introduced Tommy the Green Ranger (played by Jason David Frank), which to me and a lot viewers, is what defined the series. VCRs are wonderful things. While you can which it on Netflix, you don't get the iconic "Today on Power Rangers" introduction before each episode that was so associated with the show, which I've incorporated into the story (see page below). The end credits of each episode even included the Green Ranger telling viewers to tune in tomorrow as he destroys the Power Rangers. How could you not watch?

So that made for great reference material. I sketched out the panel layout as I wrote to make sure what I was writing was physically possible to draw and flowed correctly. The plot came out of my head in the same form it's existed for the last few months, though my guestimate of 8 pages was off.

The amount of panels a scene takes in your head can be a little different when you start writing it down. The story itself ended up being 11 pages long. That combined with the title page, which will be the "show opening" for Super Rangers, and a one page gag related to the story I really want to do, will bring it to 13 pages of story.  I'm rethinking the 99 cent price tag I originally said when I thought it was around eight pages. The first issue with 15 pages will be $1.99, so maybe I should go with that price tag out of consistency? Let me know what you guys think.

While the plot hasn't changed since I first thought of it, the dialog for the story has evolved in the last few months as clever lines came to me over time and even as I was writing the script. Purely functional dialog for visual gags turned into verbal gags added on top of the craziness already present in the panel. It's like painting with words, putting layer after layer of story and humor into each scene.  

And I love Psychoboy. The stuff that comes out of his mouth is just awesome. I can't wait to start drawing this

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

So I'm Making a Power Ranger Parody, Part 2

So starting a new story from scratch requires designs. Since the ranger outfits that Stickboy and Psychoboy would be wearing for most of the issue would be so important, I decided to start with them. The teasers I've done let me work out the designs and see them in color and in context with each other, which will help when I'm doing the story.

The first teaser, which I put at the end of issue two let me design the helmets, even if they were mostly hidden in darkness. This is of course a parody of the posters for Power Rangers the Movie. I would've preferred an image that was a bit more lit, but it's such a famous image, I had to take a go at it.

The design sheets for the outfits let me work out the whole suits, and take a first stab at the Morphers.
These design sheets are something of a tradition for the series. Every actor that's appeared on the series has one. If Stick and Psycho are going to be rangers they had to have one.

Since this is a parody, and they're not literally joining the Power Rangers, I came up with the name Terrific Transformin Super Rangers for the their team and the "show" they're on. The logo will be incorporated into the cover and title page. It's very closely modeled after the original Power Ranger logo with most of it drawn in Photoshop.

So I've got the costumes and logo down. I used tons of references (pictures, an S.H. Figuarts figure and of course, the show itself) and really had to get into all the intricacies of the design work in the show. I'll probably do a separate post just on designing the characters, but lets just say I now appreciate all the craftsmanship that went into creating the show.

Next up,  writing the script!

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's Talkin Time! My YouTube Video On Issue Three!

This video was made in the exact same way as the one I made a week ago to announce that issue two was done. The only difference is that I basically just sat there and talked into the microphone. I wasn't matching my voiceover to the images for the most part. Just me talking off the top of my head with very few edits or do-overs.

I was originally thinking of doing this as just me talking into a camera but the pain of setting it up combined with any art I put on the wall behind me being too small to see made me decide to go with this format instead. Then I ended up with the problem of having too little artwork to show since I've only done the preliminary design work for the issue, so forgive me for reusing the same images over and over (it is like an old episode of Power Rangers!).

I probably will be turning the camera on myself for some more editorial style videos on the franchise if I can get time.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

So I'm Doing a Power Ranger Parody, Part I

The logo for my parody team!
So every story in College Follies is different. Issue one is based on a current event (or one that was
current when it was originally done in 1999). The second issue is a slice of life story. And the third will be the series' first pop culture parody, lampooning  Power Rangers!
This is the first new story for the series in 13 years and will have a completely new plot. Power Rangers, having had the height of it's popularity in the 90s fits in perfectly with the first two issues, which were set in the late 90s.

I hadn't watched the series much in the last decade but it's 20th anniversary caught my attention. I looked into what happened to the original cast, the story behind the series itself and how it's survived 20 years. I started thinking about the impact it's had on television, pop culture and people's lives.  It was all pretty inspiring and caused a series of short parody stories about the series to pop in my head.
I'll be doing one of these stories. It's a short story solely focused on Stickboy and Psychoboy as  rangers using giant robots to battle an oversized monster. Though only focused on one aspect of the show, I'll work in a lot of the show's structure and conventions. I haven't written the script yet, but I'm guestimating it'll be an eight page story that I'll be putting out as a 99 cent digital comic. Putting it out in my spare time is a slow process, but I'm hoping to have it wrapped up by May.

I do have plots for numerous other Power Ranger parody shorts in my head on other aspects of the show, like lame Zords, morphing mishaps, etc. so if you want to see more, let me know and maybe I can do a follow up issue next year.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Issue Three Teaser: Go, Go Stickboy!

Stickboy's teaser for issue three is done. Yup, issue three will be a Power Ranger parody! I'll go into more detail in my next blog post, but until then enjoy some shots of Stickboy in spandex.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Issue Three Teaser: Go, Psychoboy, Go!

Here's the teaser for Psychoboy in issue three. By now it should be "Eek the Cat's girlfriend is fat" level of obvious what I'm doing a satire of, but I'll wait until after I finish Stickboy's teaser to talk about it in detail.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A teaser for a teaser of issue three...

Is posting a teaser for a teaser too much? Here's part of  the teaser for issue three I'm working on. It helps me get my character design down for Stick and Psycho's new threads before I start the comic itself. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Look what's on the Tube, it's a video for issue two!

Alright so another video down. This is the first one I did at home using the movie software that came on my computer and a CAD U1 USB Recording Microphone I got recently. The sound quality is different with the mic. Not sure if it's better or worse. Let me know what you guys think of the sound quality and volume.

I tried speaking unscripted into the mic for this video, hoping it would sound more natural. Not sure if that worked, but it's okay. Since I didn't script it, I forgot to mention that this was the first comic I inked digitally in the video, but I'll probably be devoting some later videos to process, so it's alright.

Unsurprisingly, it's a lot more difficult to do it with free software than the type you pay for. I used Windows Live Movie Maker to create the slideshow since it can export HD video but doesn't have the ability to record a voice over. So I used Cyberlink Director (which can record voice overs but can't output HD video) to record little snip-its of sound, which I then brought into Movie Maker. Trimming the sound clips and slides in Movie Maker isn't as easy as I'm used to, but it gets the job done. The only real restriction is it will only let me determine the general direction of a slide's movement and gives me no control over anything else (now fast it moves, how much it moves, exactly where it moves, ect) so I don't think the slide movements are quite as nice. The Intro clip is taken from previous videos and put in there using YouTube's video editor since videos with sound already in them won't work when I drag them into Windows Live Movie Maker. It's a longer, more convoluted process, but it gets the job done.

And with that, I'm off to issue three!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Currently working on a video...

Currently working on a YouTube video for the second issue using my new microphone and some video software I have at home. It should be up at some point tomorrow!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Second Issue: The Lessons Learned

Learning to create is an ongoing process. Here's what I learned making the second issue:

Pencils- You just got to get in there and do it. This was my first time drawing for an actual comic in 13 years and I just had to start drawing to get over the intimidation factor. Don't think something is outside your skill level until you actually try to draw it. You'll often surprise yourself.

And doing sketches before you try to do it on the page and working off models helps. I used a lot of photo references off the internet for objects and photos of myself to get anatomy, poses, etc correct.

Inks- First off never say, "I'll fix it in the inks" and then hack the pencils. Good precise lines are a lot easier to ink. You can make a straighter line in a computer, but it really helps to start off with one that's practically straight to begin with.

Secondly, inking digitally has a lot of advantages. Computers are awesome at making straight lines and geometric shapes. Inking overlapping objects on different layers allows you to erase lines of one object without worrying about messing up what it's overlapping. Plus you can transfer identical portions of panels (backgrounds, bodies, static objects, etc) instead of re-inking them every time. And erasing is a god send!

Digital inking is easier but it's not a cure all and still takes a long time. I'll be getting better as time goes on.

Colors- Like inks, transferring colors between panels on identical character bodies, objects and backgrounds is a real timesaver.

Letters- Lettering can be an important part of storytelling and making the art look good. The logos, labels and even the numbers on a clock are as much a part of the composition and look of an image as anything you draw.
Next up, I'll be doing that video I promised on issue two and then...on to issue issue three!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Second Issue Uploaded!!!

This is how I feel right now....
I'm tired. But it's a good tired. I just finished the final round of proofing and uploaded the comic to Amusedom. I got positively giddy when I saw it in virtual comic form. The second issue is now "done done!"
I don't have a release date for it yet. After I hear back from Comixology on if they want to carry College Follies, I'll be making release plans for the series.
I'm super excited issue two is done and I'll will soon be beginning issue three, the first new College Follies story in 13 years!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Letter Column and Teaser Finished! Second Issue Complete!!!

Alright so I just did the editorial on the letter page and laid in the teaser for next issue, so now the second issue is done!

Now it's not yet ready to uploaded yet. I'm still going to do one last round of proofing on it first. then it'll  be uploaded to Amusedom and I'll have the PDFs ready for if Comixology picks me up. I'm still waiting on Comixology to get back to me before setting any release schedules.

So I'm going to leave you with the teaser for issue three. I'll discuss it more when I begin work on the issue, but let me just say if you ever want to truly appreciate the design of something, trying creating a parody of it. It forces you to examine every little bit of design work to mimic it, even in a superficial way. Even the subtle shape of a visor can speak volumes. The amount of work that goes into this stuff is tremendous.

And it's not always easier to do something in shadow. It can be harder since there's so little visual information to communicate with and getting the shadows and highlights right can be challenging. I'm actually glad it's the only time you'll see these guys in shadow but I couldn't resist lampoon this particular image.

Anyway, just designing the helmets for this got me super excited. I can't wait to get started on next issue!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Issue Two...The Random Tribute Variant Cover!

A variant cover for a digital comic??? I'm not sure if that even makes sense, but inspiration hit me and I just had to do it.

So when I was creating issue two's cover, one of the references I used was the Captain Power card
back pictured to the right. As I was doing the cover, I spotted a font in Photoshop Elements pretty darn close to the Captain Power logo. I'm a huge fan of the old show and toy line and the idea of doing the cover styled after Captain Power packaging just popped in my head.

It was an irresistible force, I found myself just fumbling around with the cover one morning changing the  background color to red, redoing the logo in that font and making a few other minor changes...and it looked great!

I wanted to take it further and actually mimic the circuit board and sparks in the background.  I put that part off because it would be time consuming to do so, but I knew if I didn't complete the variant, it would feel like I was leaving the issue unfinished. So there it is below. I got to say I love it to death. Say what you will about Mattel in the 1980s, but their package artists and designers were second to none.

I'm calling this a "Random Tribute Cover" since it pretty much makes no sense with the series or story for the issue...just like most variant covers! I've got an idea for a variant for the first issue too I'll do at some point. I'll try to do one per issue as a way to lampoon variant covers.

I should be able to put it up on Amusedom at the very least for anyone who'd rather have this cover when it's released. Even if no one buys it, it's still too much fun not to publish.