Process: Ship Wrecked cover

Hey all! Thought I’d walk you through my process for the Ship Wrecked vol.1 cover that was released a few days ago.

  1. Know your subject and brainstorm ideas!

First thing I wanted to do was read through all of the Ship Wrecked webcomic and get a feel for the material. I had read a bit, but shamefully, not all of it! I sketched out a few ideas as I read and then set aside an evening to work out cover options. These are my notes, click the images for higher res ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

I felt really strongly about #1 being the most eye catching and exciting one and thankfully Aaron felt the same! ūüôā

2. Just draw it!

I never scan my pencils so this in an in-between shot. I really wanted to add a bunch of easter eggs from the volume 1 run so I scoured the webcomic pages and picked out a few!

3. Scanned inks!

4. Photoshop magic!

Adjusted the levels to make it darker and fixed the curves of the ship which I inked a bit wobbly. Then I wanted to clear off the bottom of the page to make way for the speed lines so I rearranged a few things (ah, the magic of Photoshop!). Added some stars and drew in the speed lines on my Intuos.

5. Colors by Dearbhla Kelly to make it all better!

Dearbhla worked her magic and really brought it to a new level! ♥ Magic I tell you!Be sure to pick up a print copy at Small Press Day (Saturday July 8th in Dublin) or any events that Aaron is at!

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What I’m Reading/Playing June 17 Edition

Hi all! I went on a short break to Brussels at the start of June and it was pretty great! Got to root around in like 5 comics shops and picked up some BD so let’s see what I got to reading this month!

READING

More Papyrus by Lucien de Gieter

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I really have a soft spot for this series and was glad to pick up a few more volumes. It’s light-hearted and just FUN to read! I have to mention though that the Imhotep one was VERY confusing. There are like 3 Imhoteps in it and it’s hard to keep track of which one characters are talking about. But, as usual, the artwork is just gorgeous and colored beautifully. The Ramses’ Revenge in particular has some stunning work involving a sand storm. Just lovely stuff!

Yoko Tsuno by Roger Leloup

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This one came recommended to me by a friend and it looked interesting, plus female protagonist! Who is an engineer! And Chinese-Japanese! It’s quite a lot of fun, but the plots are at times convoluted I thought. Didn’t really click with me as much as Papyrus did, but I do want to read more of the series (which is still going since 1970!). And the inking in this is just so, so lovely, I’d pick it up based solely on that!

More Assassination Classroom!

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I have no idea how I fell behind on this, it being my favorite series at the moment! Lots of stuff to do and I lost track of when the english volumes were coming out! Anyway, LOTS of good stuff in the last two volumes. We got a twist regarding one character and then we FINALLY learn Koro Sensei’s back story! Literally so much excitement going on! And now the classroom faces a choice and ARGH I cannot wait for the next volume! ‚ô•

Josephine Baker by Catel and Bocquet

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Ok y’all, this one is a MUST BUY. Seriously. Nearly 500 pages of lovely black and white work by Catel documenting the amazing life of Josephine Baker. If you don’t know her name, do look her up. She was a fantastic woman, dancer, singer, actress, civil rights activist, who lived with immense passion and courage. You need this book, it was made with love and it’s a joy to read!

PLAYING

I’ve been rubbish at finishing games lately. Still need to beat the final boss in Legend of Heroes Trails in the Sky 3rd and finish some of these other games too!

Never Alone

This game has been on my wish list for AGES and I finally picked it up in the Steam summer sale. It is lovely. Plus educational! The artwork is beautiful and you unlock video insights into the culture of the native Alaskan Inupiat people as you play. I was super impressed with this game and pretty much played it in two sittings. And you have a fox companion! It’s just a really nice game. Need to finish the DLC for it at some point!

Oxenfree

Heard great things about this adventure game and the artwork just drew me in so I picked it up in the sale. It is….not for the scardy-cats like me haha. I won’t say much about it other than be prepared for things to be MESSED UP. It has a Stranger Things vibe to it even if it’s set in current day. Definitely an interesting game, the radio mechanic is super cool and you get to know the characters quite well throughout the game. Top notch voice acting. I got near the end of the game in one sitting but I need to find a time of day to actually finish it! It is pretty scary (for me) haha.

Her Story

I was waiting to pick this up as well because everyone I heard talking about it said it’s excellent. And after 3 solid hours of being glued to my laptop, I agree! I have a few things to finish up but I’m very close to the end. It’s been really great unraveling just what the heck happened and I’d really recommend it. Quite a unique game, relying on short video recordings of police interviews to tell its story that you have to pick up clues from and search in an old database for the rest of the clips and the rest of the story. The actress playing her is phenomenal, she really brings the role to life. Just excellent all around.

Final Fantasy XIII

I was hungry for a pretty game to take full advantage of my new gaming laptop and FFXIII was it. Heard mixed reviews for it and it wasn’t on the top of my to-play list but really, I was just in the mood for something nice and light and pretty. The fight mechanics are more cinematic in this one, as they’re moving away from turn-based to more action oriented. It’s fun, even if I mostly look at the ATB gauge instead of the actual fight scenes. You only control the leader of the group while the other two are on autoplay. The level up mechanic is similar to FFX but so far I see less options. And the story is pretty melodramatic so far, with a TON of cutscenes, albeit visually pretty ones. It’s just fine. It’s fun and pretty and not massively addictive. Good game for just decompressing after a day’s work.

Ok that was a pretty solid month for reading/gaming!

In other news, did you miss this cover I did for the wonderfully funny webcomic Ship Wrecked? Colors by the very awesome Dearbhla Kelly, the first print volume of the webcomic written by Aaron Fever with art by Triona Farrell and letters by Zakk Samm is out this weekend at Small Press Day. Go pick it up if you can!

Until next time!

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2017 Work schedule check-in

Hey all, so 2017 has not gone as smoothly as I’d hoped comics-wise and I thought I’d write up this check-in post just to keep you updated and keep myself accountable too!

Pulp Stories vol. 2

So far, 2017 has been ALL cover work for me and let me tell you, comics are one thing but covers are gosh-darn exhausting to make. You think “oh, yay, it’s just one page, not 20” but a lot of thought goes into covers and they always end up taking way longer than I planned. Maybe they’re just more challenging for me!

Anyway, the covers for PS Vol. 2 are done-zo and I’m quite happy with them. I say covers because I went with one for each story, same as in Vol.1 (although those were more like pin-ups really), for a total of 5, including the book cover. I ended up having to re-do one of the story ones as I was really unhappy with it and I’ll let you have a look at both later on, so you can see why.

You might be getting a look at the volume cover next month and hopefully the short stories will not be too far behind, so stay tuned.

Other projects

I did a few things for other people which will see the light of day soon-ish. Things are heating up for con season and it’s super cool to be asked to work on other people’s projects. I’m happy to have the opportunity to dip my toes into other genres and stories and hope you’ll like the stuff I made ūüôā

Apart from that, I’ve started dabbling in coloring as well and was super fortunate to be accepted into Jordie’s Red Cube 1 day colorist workshop taking place later this month. I fully expect to be worked to the bone and revel in each moment! The reason why I took up coloring is because I really feel there’s a piece missing in my work and I think color is it. I’m not a big fan of shading and I like my lines to be clean and flowy, so I think color will fill that missing piece of light and texture. It’ll be a looooooooong and winding road before I’m any good at it, but I’m determined to practice once a week.

Writing-wise, I am working on a story that I’d like to draw next year. I’m currently on the fifth draft and I imagine it’ll change some more just as soon as I get around to reading those writing craft books I bought ages ago. Sigh. So much to do, so little time. It’ll be a very different kind of project for me and I am very, very excited about doing something totally different to Pulp Stories.

Apart from all that, I’m also doing regular ink sketches, but I just wish I had more finished work to post, especially comics! Such is life with a full-time job.

So lots of things are in motion and looking back on 2017 so far, I only really had a few months of slacking off (January – cause that’s always tough- and the month I got my gaming laptop hehe).

2017 GOALS

For the rest of year I’d like to focus on Pulp Stories vol. 2. It’s been written for a while and I’d just like to get it drawn already. It’s a more ambitious writing project than the first volume and I would really like to finish it this year and move on to other projects.

CONVENTIONS

I won’t be exhibiting at Dublin Comic Con this year (dun-dun-DUUUN!) but you’ll still get more pulp, not to worry! I’ll be at the Dublin 8 Comics Art Festival events as much as I can and you’ll be able to get any new merch there!

I leave you with this ever-so-relatable shot of Undertale.

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What I’m Reading/Playing May 17 Edition

Ok, it’s been ages since my last post! I’ve been so rubbish at everything lately that there’s been no point in posting anything since I haven’t really read much!¬†ūüėstBut anyway, here goes!

READING

32273165Future Quest, Vol. 1 by Jeff Parker, Evan Shaner, Steve Rude, Ron Randall, Craig Rousseau.

I LOVED the Hanna-Barbera cartoons growing up, especially Johnny Quest and with Doc Shaner on art (a favorite of mine), I was excited to pick this up! I enjoyed this book a lot, but it’s a bit overwhelming, especially if you haven’t been familiar with these characters for uhm, 15 years now? There’s also so many characters in it, I found it a very dense first volume. I wasn’t expecting another artist either and that was a bit of a letdown, but oh well. It wasn’t as excellent as the Flash Gordon run with (nearly) the same team (minus colorist extraordinaire, Jordie Bellaire) and I doubt I’ll pick up the second volume.

118944American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Finally got around to reading this seminal work and I really enjoyed it. It exemplifies what comics do best and that’s to make you experience someone else’s narrative and empathize with another’s point of view. Quick read, highly recommend it, especially for younger readers.

(Still reading, haven’t finished)

31415835The Ghost in the Shell, deluxe edition by Masamune Shirow

I’m slowly making my way through this and finding it quite a different experience than I expected. It’s a lot funnier than I though it’d be, having only ever seen the animated movie which isn’t all that funny. I especially love the worker robots, they’re hilarious. Really enjoying it, even if I do roll my eyes from time to time at some sexist crap. It’s also extremely beautiful.

 

Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy, edited by Josef Steiff and Tristan D. Tamplin

This is a super interesting collection of essays exploring the philosophical and social themes of the 2004 series (plus the mini series and movies and games). Having never read philosophy before, I’m a bit obsessed with this book, but making myself read it thoughtfully. I’m about 1/2 through it now and especially loved the essays on The Avatar and the Ego: Reconciling ourselves with video games;¬†¬†Some cylons are more equal than others (about the constructed cylon social structure);¬†¬†They evolved, but do they deserve consideration (about assigning moral status)¬†and ¬†The Razor’s Edge, Galactica, Pegassus and Lakoff (about Com. Adama and Adm. Cain as parental figures). It’s gotten me excited about reading more philosophy books!

PLAYING

I got a new laptop (finally!) and am able to play some newer games! Well, ok, it’s a pretty sweet spec and I could play ALL the games, but I try not to think about that on account of my wallet and limited time.

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Mass Effect 1 & 2

Only just got into ME and really just blew through the first one so fast. And then immediately got the second one, which I still need to finish. I love it a lot and my female Cmd. Shepard kicks ass. I like the dialogue and romance options and, although it can be cumbersome, I like the combat too! Wasn’t a fan of the Mako combat in the first one which was kind of a drag.

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The Talos Principle

Excellent puzzle game that exceeded my expectations. It has a wonderful story line woven through it that completely engrossed me. I found myself playing it so much just to see how it ended. Would definitely replay it to see the other endings, just as soon as I forget how to solve the puzzles.

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Legend of Heroes games, replaying the First Chapter and also playing the recently released 3rd Chapter.

Listen, it’s no secret I love these games, they’re my heart and happy place. I love all the characters and it’s so rewarding to see them grow across three games. I don’t think I’ll ever stop replaying them just for the fun of the gameplay and dialogue. The 3rd one is a bit weird though, feels more like a welcome addition rather than an actual mandatory game in the trilogy story line. I mean, it’s nice and all, you get the same characters, you have all these bonus memories of them doing stuff outside of the story line, but I feel it’s just not along the same lines as the other two. Also, so much grinding in this one. The other two have lots of side quests for EXP, mira (money) and sepith (natural gems) so you’re never really wanting for any of it. The structure of the 3rd one does have side-quests, but they’re bonus character memories with mira and an item at the end of it, but no EXP or sepith, which you end up having to grind.

Right, anyway, I’m done rambling. I promise to read more. And draw more. And maybe sleep.

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C4C 2016 Submission

Hey all! Thought it might be cool to show you my submission for the Creators For Creators grant last year.

I learned A TON while putting the pitch together and while I didn’t win the grant, I’m very happy with the progress I made in my work and super grateful for the kick in the butt!

This is a project I’ve been developing for a while now (code name: RoN) and shocker, it’s a pulp one! I won’t have time to develop it further, at least this year, and by the time I do get around to it, I’ll probably want to change everything. So here you go, the first 6 pages of the story (as it stands now).

Let me know what you think over on Twitter!

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What I’m Reading Feb 17 Edition

Had lots to do in February, so not that much time for reading. Still, managed to get in a few books!

Sunstone, Vol. 5, Stjepan Sejic

I got into this series because I really like Sejic’s work. I’ve been following him since my dA days, way before I got into comics so I thought, hey why not pick it up? I ‚ô• this series a lot. Yes, it deals with kink (get over it), but its true strength is Sejic’s character development and comedic writing. He draws facial expressions like no one’s business, but what really took me by surprise is the genuine thoughtfulness that went into the character arcs. His final volume doesn’t disappoint, ending Lisa and Ally’s story perfectly.

The Lighthouse, Paco Roca

My first time reading Roca’s work and I quite enjoyed this short graphic novel. The artwork is a lovely black and white, with grey shading and the pure-hearted adventure¬†made me want to read Jules Verne novels ‚ô•

Francisco, a wounded, despairing sixteen-year-old Republican guard in the Spanish Civil War, is trying to flee to freedom by crossing the French border. In his escape, he encounters an old remote lighthouse, far from the warring factions. He is granted shelter by Telmo, the aging operator of the lighthouse. As Francisco recuperates, Telmo’s tales of epic adventurers who sailed the lost seas and discovered worlds unknown reignite the spark of life in the young soldier.

Postcards from the Edge, Carrie Fischer

I listened to the audio book, read by Carrie herself and really loved it. It’s hearbreakingly funny, as only Carrie could write. I really recommend getting it and then watching the movie with Meryl Streep and Shirley McLaine. I really loved both and they’re not the same material. The movie was also scripted by Carrie.

‚ô•

Love vol 4: The Dinosaur,  Frederic Brremaud, Federico Bertolucci

I like this series. Each book is beautifully illustrated, as only French books have the time to be. This volume didn’t really grab me or tug at my heartstrings the way previous ones did, though. Brownie points for depicting the dinos with feathers!

 

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, Rachel Ignotofsky

Ignotofsky highlights 50 women pioneers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through her joyous illustrations. It takes you from Ancient to modern times, stopping to illustrate things like what tools you might find in a laboratory, or statistics for women working in STEM. Ignotofsky’s love for all the advancements these pioneering women made shines through her wonderful book. I love this book and all the courageous, amazing, rad women in it and I want to buy more copies so I can donate them¬†to the nearest library!

Assassination Classroom vol. 14,¬†YŇęsei Matsui

I unapologetically love this series. ¬†I saw a still of¬†the live action movie adaptation during the Japanese Film Festival here in 2016 and while I didn’t go see it, the image stuck with me. It had this giant yellow octopus-like creature with the head of a smiley in a Japanese classroom and I was instantly hooked. When I saw the manga in my LCS, I picked up the first volume thinking I’d give it a shot. It was the first manga I read and I fell head over heels for it.

It’s a bit crazy and weird, but then the best things are. This class of school rejects gets assigned a new teacher, the octopus, and are tasked with assassinating him by the end of the school year. He’s super fast and near indestructible so, of course, the governments of the world task these kids to kill him before he blows up the Earth! You get to see this bunch of misfits grow individually and start to form a family of sorts while working to refine their skills as assassins.

It has its flaws (sometimes sexist and male-gazey, in relation to one character in particular), but it’s got a lot of heart and it’s the only series that makes me laugh out loud with every volume. ¬†After an action-packed few¬†books, vol 14 focuses more on the school events, but it’s still every bit as enjoyable.

The series also got adapted into an anime (2 seasons) and the above mentioned live action movie. I’ve seen part of the anime as I’m determined to hold off on the rest until I read the manga, which I find more enjoyable. At one new volume every 2 months and 7 volumes left, it’ll be a while!

Drawing in ink, Harry Borgman

This is a really helpful book for artists. It definitely changed how I think about inking, more so than any How to Ink Comics books. It’s a bit out of date (published in 1977), but it has a lot of good exercises for control, creating values and simplifying a drawing. Lots of different examples of hatching too, not just the diagonal crisscross I’ve been seeing. Maybe that’s just my limited exposure! Had to track down a used copy, but it’s not that expensive.

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What I’m Reading – Jan 17 Edition

Hey all. Like many nerds, books are my comfort zone, so I read and buy a lot of them. I thought I might do these monthly recaps to share with you what I’ve been reading. Length will vary.

January was a slow enough month and I was away for 2 weeks. Contrary to every other holiday ever, I actually read the books I brought with me. Well, most of them! So let’s get to it.

Proto Anime Cut Archive, Stefan Riekeles

I visited Berlin last year specifically to see the Anime Architecture exhibit the Tchoban Foundation had on. Once there, I had to buy the book that went along with it (although it was initially published in 2011).

It’s an interesting book that explores the work of 5 Japanese visual artists for¬†such movies as Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell and Evangelion. The book focuses on those 3 movies (and their subsequent sequels) and sheds a bit of light on the production process and the role of each artist. For instance, concept photographer Haruhiko Higami scouted and photographed locations for Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor much like one would for a live-action movie.

After the storyboard and the first designs for a film have been produced, Haruhiko Higami’s job is to find and photograph appropriate landscapes and city-scapes to underpin the film’s vision. Higami makes images that form the basis for the final design. Some of his photos are used directly for layout drawings or as models for inspiring the production design.

The book features concept designs, layout drawings, photographs and painted backgrounds from the movies mentioned.

Was surprised to see that most of the hand-painted artwork these artists created were actually a composite of ¬†a background painted in gouache and other elements in middle or foreground painted on transparent film (also gouache). The originals were also smaller than an A4 sheet of paper and while the book reproduces them larger than that (so you can take in all that ridiculous detail), it sadly doesn’t really capture their exquisite color.

Very interesting book and not to take away from the brilliance of the artists featured and their legacy, but I really wish the author would have included at least one female artist.

Clear Blue Tomorrows, Fabien Vehlmann, Ralph Meyer and Bruno Gazzotti

I picked this up along with the two below at the Cinebook stand at the 2016 Thought Bubble Festival. I read about it from Comics&Cola and it really intrigued me so I picked it up. I love that cover, by the way.

It’s an impressive book written by Fabien Vehlmann and illustrated by two artists, Ralph Meyer and Bruno Gazzotti. Nolan Ska travels to the past to stop a megalomaniac from starting down the path that will doom mankind and instead push him towards his first love: writing. But, of course, things aren’t as easy as that.

It’s an interesting premise (and timely, isn’t it?), executed well (in my humble opinion) and I thoroughly enjoyed the overall thread Vehlmann weaves as well as the imaginative self-contained short stories, often humorously illustrated. It could have just been an anthology of shorts and still been excellent, but the creative team goes one step further with an overall story that gives them purpose. I feel this is a book I’ll go back to frequently. Highly recommend it!

Berlin: The Seven Dwarves 1943, Marvano

I have mixed feeling about this book. As you might know, I’m interested in stories that take place during WW2 and Marvano delivers a touching¬†story. It is very well researched, painfully beautiful in the way that only franco-belgian comics can be and the writing is top notch as well. The story is well paced and flashes back and forth between a peaceful present and the war of the past. The colouring ¬†by Claude Legris is exquisite and full of subtle changes. Sadly, I found a few¬†of the page layouts confusing and that took away from my enjoyment of the book.

I do love some of the things Marvano does visually, like these panels and pages:
   

The Amulet of the Great Pyramid, Lucien De Gieter

This is a really fun book! Set in Ancient Egypt, it’s an adventure book that follows the lead, Papyrus, and his friends as they solve the plot. Simple, fun and so enjoyable! What really impressed me about this book is how¬†De Gieter approaches some of the pages and the inventive and fun ways he leads the reader across the page.

 

I love, love, love the arrows, such a fun thing to do in a comic! Safe to say, I’m gonna be buying all of the books in this series!

I’ve also been reading the sci-fi noir novel Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (soon on Netflix!), but haven’t¬†finished it yet.

And that’s it for now. Until next month!

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2017 Sketchbook 1

Hi all!

I’ve decided to put together pdf sketchbooks from time to time, free to download right here! The goal is to motivate me to fill up those empty sketchbooks and draw without reference more often. Depending on deadlines, these will be more or less frequent.

Here’s the first one with my favourite sketches from January.

JN_Sketchbook1_2017

Give me a shout on Twitter if you want to let me know what you think!

Until next time!

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Pulp Stories: Process

You can read Pulp Stories for free here and if you like it, you can vote for me in the ICN 2016 Awards here.

Inspiration

Like all projects, Pulp Stories was born out of research. I hadn’t set out to create it, but somehow in between reading about the pulp genre (which was for another project) and about women’s roles in World War 2, it just came to life.

I toyed with creating a pulp hero for a while, like¬†Francesco Francavilla‘s Black Beetle, but short stories¬†about different protagonists appealed to me more.

Character Designs

While not being based on, the two characters that appear in Pulp Stories were inspired by real people.

Edith in Fighting Time was inspired by two rad ladies: Bessie Coleman,¬†the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license and amazing aerial daredevil, ¬†and Nancy Leftenant-Colon: first black woman in the US Army Nurse Corps and former (and, so far as I can tell, the only female) president of the Tuskegee Airmen. Click those link to read a bit about them!

I put Edith in a uniform from the UK Glider Pilot Regiment, simply because it seemed practical for her story.

Nancy in Running Start was (more noticeably) inspired by the badass that was Nancy Wake. Seriously, click the link and read the whole obituary, she was amazing and did a lot of work for the Allies throughout WW2.

I wanted the bad guys to be pretty generic so they all look the same, dressed in a Nazi Elite Honor Guard uniform (simply because I liked the design of it!). The masks are extrapolated from gas masks designs, minus the tubing. Pinterest is great for researching historically accurate stuff, you can view the board I set up for the project here.

Script and layouts

Fighting Time started with the idea of a runaway train. I wanted to ramp up the action with each page up until the final page which releases the tension and concludes the short story.

Layouts-wise, I was directly inspired by the work of Bernie Krigstein, whom I had just discovered at the time. I loved that he opened some stories with this 3/4 of a page splash, but still had other panels at the bottom. It felt to me like you still get the impact of the splash page, but can squeeze in more information as well, like I tried to do in both stories.

If you’re not familiar with his work, I highly recommend getting Messages in a Bottle, which collects some of his comics, from early on up until his more famous works, like The Master Race. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from studying his work and I’ve just barely scratched the surface myself! Excerpt from that New Yorker article by ¬†I liked to above:

‚ÄúLook at all that dramatic action that one never gets a chance to see. It’s between these panels that the fascinating stuff takes place. And unless the artist would be permitted to delve into that, the form must remain infantile.‚ÄĚ

An artist after my own heart! I also looked at the modern master that is David Aja and how he does action and fight scenes, since I’d never drawn them! His work on Hawkeye with Matt Fraction and Matt Hollingsworth is a constant inspiration and you all know how freaking good he is, yes?

I tend to keep my scripts very loose and work out most of the stuff in the layouts. Sometimes I just write what’s happening and what I want to achieve on the page, like “play with negative space”. ¬†I’m a visual person, so I’d rather work with pictures!

For Running Start, I definitely wanted a sneaky story culminating in a gunfight . If you have a keen eye, you’ll notice that the two page spread changed significantly. Initially, I wanted to do a sort of birds eye view of the castle layouts, almost like a map. It turned out to be problematic when roughing it out, not to mention extremely flat, so I went with a more video game approach, like from my favorite series, Trails in the Sky:

Any time, Estelle! Page 5 also changed when I went to pencil it. The L shaped panel was going to be another map view, but it really uninspired me so I changed it on the page. It happens! The bottom of page 5 was probably the most challenging to draw. It’s one thing to draw someone taking a piece of clothing off, but doing it for 4 consecutive panels is…something else! (You’ll notice that I ¬†also removed one of the panels from the layouts, like enough already!)

Page 6 is my favorite and probably the only one I wouldn’t sell. Basically, I didn’t want to draw a huge splash page of an explosion (the one in Fighting Time was like pulling teeth for me, I hate drawing debris!) so I had the brilliant idea of this huge BOOM and then we see the aftermath. I think it works!

Method in the madness

From then on it’s pretty straightforward. Draw the pencils, ink them, scan and edit. And then you have a comic book!

I usually take lots of reference photos of myself and then rough out the pencils, often times combining two of the best ones. I try to keep it really loose at this stage. If it’s a particularly tough angle, I use action figures to see what the body looks like.

If you ever need to draw a train, a really helpful thing I found is to look at train simulators gameplay on youtube and at walkthroughs, as they often have helpful screenshots! And they¬†usually put a lot of research into them so they’re really accurate!

For military reference, a great site is Military Factory, lots of photos of historically accurate military stuff from different angles.

Tools

To pencil, I just use a regular HB pencil which I like because it’s light enough to not leave a trace when erased.

I usually ink over the pencils using a Japanese Deleter brush. I use the large one, which took a bit of getting used to but it allows for a wide range of marks, from thin to very thick. As for ink, I’ve been using W&N India Ink for years, but have now switched to Deleter brand. They’re pricey but the blacks are super black! Fine details are inked with technical pens. I do washes with the same brush, or even a larger one, if necessary!

I always scan at 600 dpi in grayscale and then use Photoshop to adjust the levels since the scan tends to take some of the black away. I add the gutters in Photoshop and make sure everything is properly spaced on the page. Export as PDF and then merge everything for the print file.

And that’s it! Hope it was interesting! Anything else you wanna know about my process, give me a shout on Twitter!

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Coloring progress

Hey folks, I’m hard at work writing the next volume of Pulp Stories, but thought I’d post about coloring.

Recently I’ve felt an urge to work with color so here’s a bit of practice. For my first attempt, I tried picking the colors myself. It. Is. Hard. Second attempt I worked with a color palette I found online to which I added a few light/dark values.

Definitely like the second one better (even with my sorry attempt at texture) as it has much nicer contrast. And overall, I’d like to lean towards blues, not purples. Might stick with preset palettes from now on until I have a bit more experience with color. Aiming to dedicate¬†an evening a week to color practice so we’ll see how it goes! Weirdly enough, I now see stories I work on in color, which never used to happen before.

Onward!

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