Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Post of 2010: Let's Rock 2011

I figured for my last image of 2010, I'd leave with a sharp looking picture of Ace:

Oh how I dig playing card designs, and this image is a good way for me to sum up where 2010 ended and where 2011 will go. Here's to another year of cupcakes, comics and cocktails!

Speaking of New Years, something I'd started back in 2009 was to give myself a "motto" for the year that would push me towards achieving my goals.

2009's motto was "don't hold back", which for me meant that I needed to push myself with challenges. Do what needed to be done to get where I needed to be. Go the extra mile.

2010's motto was "fuck it". Crude as it is, it's helped me a lot. Much like 2009, part of this was me telling myself that when I was faced with a challenge, to say "fuck it" and do it, even if it hurt. If it meant long hours of drawing and redrawing, that's what it would take. If my idea seemed beyond my capabilities, then "fuck it" and do it anyway, whatever the results. This also has helped me with my writing. The stories I want to tell are the stories I want to tell, so "fuck it", I am who I am, my art is my art, whatever comes of it comes of it. It's time to stop hiding, or, well, holding back.

2011 is going to continue on this theme. 2011's motto is "don't look down". I'm sure like the previous mottoes this one will probably mean a lot more to me as the year progresses, but right now it's about not having time for regrets or to be embarrassed all the time. It's done, it's gone, it's out there. The only direction is forward, or more hopefully, up. My time at CCS is coming to an end and there's no looking back.

So here's to a year of looking up. May our past simply be the footfalls that have guided us towards the unknown precipice and not the dizzying, vertigo inducing distance that threatens to immobilize us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Just Feeling Grateful: Comics and Censorship

So recently a censorship bill was passed in Tokyo and it was one of those moments that hits me when I realize how lucky I am to be able to make my art and express my beliefs openly and freely and how valuable that right really is. Over the next months I'll be following what happens with the law and its effects on the comic market in Japan.

While I generally try to distance my work from manga, I love and appreciate the works of artists all over the world and censorship is something that is relevant to anyone trying to express themselves through any medium in any language.

I've often battled with myself over content in my comics, but the fact that I even have that choice is a true blessing.

That said, I'm taking a break from the process posts and I'll get back to that next week. In the mean time, here's a quick cute drawing I did of Ace and Plato fighting ghosts complete with swear words and cheesy, somewhat confusing text:

Nothing beats freedom of speech, even if all it does is allow someone to have a lot of good, pointless fun. Hell, freedom of speech is awesome BECAUSE it allows me to make pointless posts like this.

And I realize that not everything is perfect here, but my quality of life is so high because I can have open discussions and make art. This is a gift that I value very highly and am happy to be able to reap the benefits of not just in my own art, but in that I can be exposed the thoughts and feelings, good bad whatever, of those around me, especially those of my fellow cartoonists. Thanks CCS for constantly reminding me of what I've got.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Process 2: Pencils

Sorry it's been taking me so long to get to updates, I've been busy thumbnailing all of Chapter Two, which I can NOT wait to start penciling. No, I'm not done with Chapter One, but I'm pretty close to being done with the pencils and I need to get moving. Starting Chapter Two will help.

Also, cupcakes?

I ordered the playing card pieces off of a baking site, but it was totally worth it.

Anyway, onto my penciling process. The real insanity, and yet streamlining, of my process has been how I now do pretty much ALL my rough pencils on separate pieces of paper and then light box them onto 11x17 artboard:

Or something like that. I'll also use Manga Studio's perspective rulers to make grids or check for perspective errors during this process. This can mean that I end up with like, three pieces of paper layered on top of each other to get something done but hey, it's worth it, right?

And this is generally what a finished page of pencils will look like, complete with a few notations on my part to note where an image will need to be moved, shrunk, enlarged, whatever when I get to the inking phase:

It's not magic, really. You don't always get everything right the first time and it's all about tweaking constantly till the final image is what you want. Penciling is by far the most labored part of my process. I hate to use that term, but I mean that in the sense that it's the part of the process that I spend the most time and thought in and it's where I try to capture my story before polishing it with inks and tones.

Other than that, the new Superboy comic is pretty good only two issues in. The covers are GORGEOUS and I'm not usually someone that cares too much about the cover so long as the inside is good, but the story is fun even if I'm not totally sold on the interior art. Too much detail with the coloring when I can see so much potential in the pencils and inks.

Which reminds me, I'm still reading the Flash and await Francis Manapul's return to the title. That man's art is inspiring.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Process 1: Development

So this past week I had to do a progress report for my classmates and the faculty here at CCS and part of that report had me breaking down and explaining my process. The next round of posts here on this blog will be me elaborating on what I said.

But first, a sketch of Trump:

So yeah, first things first, I write a script. The script that I’m working with is something I’ve been revising for about two years now, but even then it’s open to editing till final production. Once I talk to my advisor I make any necessary revisions and begin thumbnailing.  Here's a bit of what I get back from my advisor:

My advisor's feedback is great and we spend a lot of time fine-tuning the script trying to get it so that all the points I'm trying to get across are really clear. In fact, we're still working on some parts of Chapter One even though I'm starting to work on Chapter Two as well.

I do my thumbnails in two parts. First, I do a set of small thumbnails that is pretty much just panels. I do this so I have a sense of how the pages look altogether and so that the layouts themselves aren’t too repetitive.

After that, I do my final thumbs at something like, 1/2-1/3 scale on halves of 8.5x11 paper in spreads where I knock in the details and start to see how it’ll really look.

This is about the most readable my thumbs get. They're not always this clear, but I tend to make them fairly readable. I will photocopy enlarge certain thumbs and lightbox those for pencils sometimes.

Anyway, that's just the first steps to working out a page. I like having all my writing just about done before I start working out pages. I like getting things as polished as possible, which since we'll be covering pencils next time, I'll be able to elaborate on even more.

Woo, sorry for covering old ground for some of you, but I know I enjoy reading about other people's processes. I might upload photos of the food I've been cooking lately, like uhh, magical playing card inspired cupcakes? Aww yeah~