Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Title page done! A letter from the office of Psychoboy!

Alright so here's the title page or inside cover for issue five...

So it's a combo of photos, a scan of my writing (for the signature) and a congressional letterhead I found online with some type superimposed on it. Since every issue is self contained up until now, I haven't needed to do recaps, but since this issue five is a follow up for issue four, well I had to do one. I don't think it's needed necessarily, there's enough to orient the reader in the story, but I couldn't resist Stickboy showing his exasperation over the voters'...eccentric tastes.

Title pages are fun and quick ways to feel like you've accomplished something (maybe I should just fill an entire issue with them at some point) but I am also currently working on the fourth page in which Psychoboy meets a certain President of United States. More on that soon...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Page Three Complete! Psychoboy meets Washington!

Okay, so first a correction. I actually left out Stickboy's final line from the final panel of page two....

And now without further ado, page three with commentary below...

So tons of cameos here: Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (who I picked because his turtle-like features would be fun to draw), a custodian who looks suspiciously like Stan the Janitor from Ultimate Spider-man (it's a Stan Lee cameo) and a generic dog and fire hydrant.

I actually completed this page last weekend but am just now posting it because of a bit of drama this week. Life is...difficult at the moment, so that's going to slow production down. But it won't stop it. I'm tied of being stopped. I'm going to keep working on this issue as much as I can as long as I can keep my lights on.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Page three inked: Psychoboy and his amazing one panel acquaintances!

Drew page three during the week and inked it yesterday. I drew/inked Psychoboy one time and will be duplicating him in the other panels talking to the people (or dog or fire hydrant) in the panel. Drawing cameos is fun, hopefully even without the colors they'll look familiar to you. Excelsior!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

About those delays....

First off, let me apologize for the delay on the series. Issue five should've been done months ago and instead I've only just begun on the issue. I'm backed up by nearly a year, so the earliest I'll have all 16 pages done would be next year.

Comics, like anything else in life, get delayed for many reasons. Big companies might have logistical train wrecks that cause production delays. But oftentimes they can find pinch hitters to fill-in for the weak links in the chain and get the series back on track quickly.

For comics that come revolve around one person, usually it's something more personal. Maybe something happened in their lives. Maybe another job came up that tied up all their time. Maybe the demand just wasn't there and they had to do other things to pay their rent, after all, art  is wonderful but it won't keep your lights on if no one buys it.

For me it's all the above. And unlike a company, I have no pinch hitters to help. It's just me putting out a full color comic by myself. This took up all my free time during a relatively stable time in my life. The last year however, has been anything but stable.

So when the poo hit the fan for me in January, just as I was supposed to start work on the series again after a much needed holiday break, it really made it tough to get back into it. The time I usually worked on the series was gone. Work was taking up everything I had and then some. 

Sometimes your daily life just takes up everything you got, emotionally and physically. Sometimes it takes all the hope you muster just to get up and get through the day.

So I rarely worked on the comic. The reaction to the series has been minimal to say the least. I love each and every one of you who've bought it or had kind words to say about the series, but I can fit all of you in my living room, and my living room ain't that big. There's just a handful of people who could possibly be waiting for the conclusion of "Psychoboy Goes to Washington."

So this has pretty been demoted to a hobby for me. I can't make any money off it. I want to finish the story for myself and for the couple people who might actually be wondering what did happen to dear old Psychoboy.  And it's a great story that deserves to be told. It's amazing what you say about the country in just 16 pages.

So with that in mind, I took advantage of a lull between instances of feces flying towards fans in my life to start working on the comic again. I'm going to try my darndest to work on it in some way, no matter what happens, no matter how many turd storms are in the forecast. I can't promise anything, but I'm going to try. The issue will be completed at some point. 

Both Kevin Smith and J. Michael Straczynski came back and finished comic series that had been delayed for years. Rob Schrab had everything fall apart in the 90s and came back 10 years later to finish Scud the Disposable Assassin. And none of their works were any worse for the delays, once they were completed.

The point of me typing all this isn't to say it's okay to give up on your dream, but to know that if it gets put on pause or gets set back, that it's not the end. You own that story you want to tell. It's not going anywhere. It'll be waiting for you when you're ready to tell it. Never give up. There's always going to be another chance. 

Creativity isn't a race. It took Da Vinci years to finish the Mona Lisa. It's the creation that exists at the end that's what matters. Make it good no matter how long it takes.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Hail Hydra! Page two is done!

Alright, here's page two of issue five with commentary below...

So of course, if Psychoboy went to Washington, he'd go around seeing if anyone was a member of Hydra. Duh. It's, of course, a play on the viral Hail Hydra stuff from Captain America: Winter Soldier. I know there was a jogger who may or my not have been Steve Rogers on the first page, but I tend to lean on the "may not" end of that spectrum. On the other hand, maybe it was Steve, Hydra is real and Psychoboy is a genius. You never know.

For John Boehner's tan, that is actually a color I sampled from a photo of him. Fun fact, his skin really is on the orange spectrum. But if you push the color too far towards orange, he starts looking like an Oompa Lumpa, so I decided to stick with  his real-life skin tone.

I'm having to letter this issue in Photoshop. My best advice on lettering in Photoshop is to buy Illustrator and use that instead. Unfortunately, I no longer have that option. It got a little easier once I got past the first panel with it's wondrous exposition dump, but it's still a long process with Photoshop, even when using old word balloon shapes I created in illustrator. You don't have the precise control over the shape of the balloons in Photoshop like you do in Illustrator, but I made it work.

So next up is page three where we see some of the other folks Psycho been testing his Hydra theory on. It'll be fun. And until then, remember to hail Hydra early and often. 

A tanned man in a wooden room...colors for page two are done!

Finished the colors on page two, complete with John Beohner's eternal tan. I'll be lettering it and finishing it today.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Page two inked and ready to be sworn in...

Finished inking all the elements on page two for issue five and I'll be coloring, lettering and hopefully finishing it this weekend. I'll be trying to find just the right shade of orange for the Speaker of the House...

Thursday, September 10, 2015

On your left! Page one is done!

At long last, here's page one of issue five with commentary below...

There is no more recognizable staple of a show or movie set in Washington, DC than jogging around the National Mall. If you're a fictional character and you're in the nation's capital, it's practically a requirement.

And of course, one of the greatest jogging sequences ever is in "Captain America: Winter Soldier." I couldn't resist a jogger who may or may or not be Steve Rogers blowing past our heroes.

I drew Stickboy and Psychoboy once for the opening four panel sequence and moved their arms and legs around and altered their expressions when needed.

And so the last panel had to pan out to show the Capitol building, Psychoboy's new stomping grounds, for an epic establishing shots. At first, I wanted our tiny heroes against a photo of the Capitol. Heck, I originally wanted to do the whole issue with photo backgrounds, the idea that this is the one story where they're actually in a real place (as opposed to the unnamed fictional settings of past issues). But as I did research, I found that it would require a trip up to D.C. and taking the photos myself, and even then there would be some backgrounds I just physically wouldn't be able to get shots of (like the House floor).

So the photo background issue idea was dropped, but I still thought for this one panel it would've been awesome. I had a great public domain shot picked out. And then after inking and coloring the figures in the panel, I put them against the photo...and it didn't work. They were giants compared to the far shot of the building or, if shrunk down to near proper size, they appeared as no more than dots on the page.

With no other choice, I decided to create my own Capitol building. The only way I could pull it off  (having never drawn real buildings before) was to simply trace over it in Photoshop, using the computer's ability to create straight lines and other shapes to my advantage. Almost every curve is an ellipse I cut in half.

It's a simplified version with a bit artist license, but there was only so much detail that would show up when the building was printed. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome. I now have a deeper appreciation of the architecture of our nation's capital, and I pray I don't have to draw any of it again anytime soon.

So next up, a nice indoor scene in page two. Now if you'll excuse me, I think Claire Underwood and Sgt. Nicholas Brody are coming up on Psychoboy's left. Pick up the pace, Psycho!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Page One Update: Our heroes jog..in color!

So page one for issue five is done! I'll post the finished page when I have time to write a bit of commentary about it. But for right now, feat your eyes on the colored page, including the shot of the Capitol building, which I had to draw/ink on the spot on the computer when a photo background I was going to use didn't work out. Needless to say, that panel took a little longer than expected, but I'm happy with the results.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Return of the Son of the Winston-Salem Comic-Con

Not a lot to report from Winston-Salem Comic Con. Seems like there was a decent crowd at times. I was in between two people selling crafts, but I did have some comic creators on my isle who I heard had a good day. I sold a couple comics and talked to a few folks. It was more than the last show, but that's not saying a whole lot. The monitor set up that let people see me color a page didn't make much of a difference, but it did catch a few people's attention. I was basically just there to give folks the chance to pick up the comic if they wanted and work on issue five, so I'm not sweating it. I've got bigger concerns in life at the moment, and my main focus with the comic right now is just squeezing in the time to work on it. 

I got page one mostly colored and would've had it completed, but I hit a snag when my plan for the last panel didn't work out. I'll go into that when I finish the page (hopefully today).