Been a while folks. Been extremely busy getting Victus #2 ready (I know I know… you’re tired of hearing it). But the files are at the printer and I should be getting a proof this week. Hopefully, pre-order options will be available next week. In the meantime, I wanted to post some of the imagery I’ve used as reference in creating the visuals of Victus.
I discovered Franklin Booth when researching. Check Him Out!
Coat of arms design has always intrigued me.
In a perfect world, this is how the Victus covers would be printed. Hand bound and embossed with beautiful rich colors. I long for the days when books are once again regarded as precious objects to be treasured by the maker and the reader.
I wanted the city to dance between feeling realistic in perspective and having the flat quality of 16th century paintings.
The mood and presence captured in Ernst Oehme’s paintings are incredibly striking. You get a sense of a place, a time, and an emotion in every painting. Check Him Out too!
An early rendition of Nuremberg. This is exactly the kind of city I wanted to emulate in Victus, historically and visually.
Issue #3 will feature something to tie this in…
I encourage everyone to look at as many works of art and nature as you can when preparing for a project. I love the process of discovery that accompanies visual research. It’s like falling in love for the first time. But without the inevitable nasty breakup.
IDEAS MADE OF LIGHT: KATSUHIRO OTOMO
I was honored to be a guest blogger on Ideas Made of Light, hosted by the great Scott McD. Here is a link to my post where I take a close look at this Akira title page by manga-god Katsuhiro Otomo:
Scott’s blog analyzes all different types of artwork. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend you do so. Every artist or art enthusiast can learn something from Scott’s insights.
If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I’ll be doing a reading at the wold famous Brain Frame in January. I’m composing a performance specifically for the show, so I encourage anyone in the Chicago area that to come out for comics chaos! I’ll have more details closer to the date, but here are some of the sketches I’m working on, along with some Prophet fan art and a creepy pic of me lightboxing:
I have more exciting news on the way, but I can’t quite announce it yet. But if you like Sci-fi, you’ll want to stayed tuned.
Been busy with Victus #2. I’m happy to say there is only 1 page left to draw. But don’t hold your breath just yet. I have to finish the covers and title pages. Here are some peeks:
Last weekend I recorded a time-lapse video of me inking a page from Victus #2. Check it out:
Oh hey, a vague release date! Way to go me. More video content is on the way next week!
Stuff I have been looking at:
Wally Wood tearin’ it up on Weird Science
I love the way Gary Erskine draws wolverine. Check out his ‘disguise’.
I met this dude named Dave Chisholm at SPX who is working on an awesome comic about a guy with a magic trumpet. This is one of the more interesting and well-made comics I’ve seen lately. It’s got the energy of Pope and Jeff Smith. I highly recommend you check it out!
PHOTOS I TOOK
A panoramic of me and Mrs. T’s studio
Some donuts from Do-Rite Donuts!
And of course, I always need to throw some clouds in there.
I have some more exciting projects/announcements on the way. Stay tuned!
Been a while. Sorry about that, but I assure you I’ve been busy. So let’s get to it!
8 THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF IN COMICS
I became aware of this topic via a tweet by Brandon “I will use my comics powers for good” Graham, then followed up on a couple other bloggers thoughts on it…
And immediately I was thinking about how I always complain about comics, but rarely do I say what we really need more of to improve the medium as a whole. All of the above gents make great points, so I’ll try not to just list the exact same things as them (though some of mine are similar). In no particular order:
1. Stylistic Diversity in Artwork
I’d like to see more artists who don’t just ‘look like (name other artist)’. Mainstream comics are like that movie Wrong Turn. They have been inbreeding so long that you end up with deformed characters drawn by artists with no sense of real anatomy and proportion. It’s like an exaggeration of an exaggeration. I don’t want to see a comic and immediately think of another comic book artist. Artists should strive not only to stand out from each other, but to make each work feel unique from the previous one.
Positive Example: Katsuhiro Otomo. We all know him for Akira, but the dude’s short stories span all genre’s and styles.
2. Influences from mediums outside of comics
We need to reach outside of the medium for influence, reference, and inspiration. If you are working on a new project and the only thing you are looking at is other comics, you are failing. We have 100′s of years of art, music, and literature to look back on, so why is it that every sci-fi comic looks like Blade Runner and every Superhero comic looks like Superman? I want to see comics influenced by Davinci! By the Venus of Willendorf or the Lascaux cave paintings! By Brahm’s Requiem and Jackson Pollock!
Positive Example: Reid Psaltis takes a very direct influence like natural history illustration and runs with it!
3. Hand Lettering
The lettering of a comic is not something that should feel pre-packaged. It’s another aspect that gives a creator a chance to literally make their mark. Hand lettered speech, thoughts, and sound effects should feel unique to the story being told and unique to that specific artist. We use hand-writing to identify people in court cases, for crying out loud! What’s more YOU than your handwriting?
Positive Example: Sam Alden (see above) uses a variety of fonts, balloons and sound effects which are tailored to each story.
4. Diversity of genres
Comics should not be a section of the book store next to Romance, History, Philosophy. Romance, History, Philosophy should be sections IN THE COMIC BOOK STORE! We all want to be taken seriously, but the extremely narrow amount of genres and topics covered in mainstream (and indie) comics is absurd. When’s the last time you read a comic about philosophy? Or religion? Or Australian Aborigine tribes? Or history that didn’t involve zombies? AND WHY ARE THERE NO ROMANCE COMICS ANYMORE?
Positive Examples: Rinko Endo makes comics about mental health issues (pictured above). They are absolutely stunning.
5. Odd shaped and non-traditional comics
Comics don’t have to be ‘standard’ sized. Especially independent comics! Why are most comics the same size as the latest issue of X-men? Why are most comics rectangles and squares? Why don’t comics fold out in multiple directions? Why are they all on paper? If a standard size comic can be read on an ipad, why should I buy the physical copy? Comics should be unique objects whenever possible, to give the potential reader a reason to buy a physical object that will take up space in their home.
Positive Examples: Beth Hetland’s ‘Hay!’ comics are unique objects AND choose your own adventure comics
6. Special Features
I love to see the process behind any piece of art. It’s interesting and gives insight into the artist’s thought process. Seeing how others make or struggle to make their work inspires me to continue on in my struggle as a creator. I’m not just talking about some sketches in the back of a trade paperback (though that’s a start). I’m talking blogs that explain how my favorite book of the year was lettered. I’m talking audio commentaries for the comic that can be downloaded and listened to while you read it. I’m talking video time-lapses of the pages being created. There are some folks that do give peeks into their process, but it’s rarely project specific and isn’t usually tied to the release or post-release of the work.
Positive Example: Kenan Rubenstein has a SLICK interface for his webcomic Last Train to Old Town, which shares insight into each pages creation and allows for readers to interact.
7. Digital Comics that take advantage of being digital
Most ‘motion comics’ are absolutely terrible. Just the worst thing that could possibly be done to a comic book. I want to see artists that choose to work in the digital medium take full advantage of it. The tablet devices are full of functionality and features. I want the digital comics to show me that they can ONLY exist digitally. Colors that change in panel. Word balloons that pop in or out depending on where you tap. Sound! And I don’t mean cheesy sound effects, I mean ambience and music.
Positive Example/s: Kenan (mentioned above) and the now-extinct Double Feature from Four Star Studios are both good examples. But my favorite digital comic is hands down Ezra Clayton Daniel’s Upgrade Soul (see above). It’s a tour-de-force in digital comics!
8. Cross-promotion between creators
Comics should feel like a community. Just like anything else we buy, you’re more likely to pick something up if it’s recommended to you by someone you trust or respect. All the advertising in the world won’t help niche weirdo comics (like everything I’m asking for above) get into a reader’s hands. But if they are at a convention, speaking with a creator, and that person is aware of the rest of the community, they can point the potential reader in the right direction. People buying ANY COMICS is good for everyone MAKING comics. So what if they don’t want to buy my book about a serial killer? They might be really interested in Gina Wynbrandt’s Tiger Beat Exclusive. So SEND EM OVER TO HER! We need to promote eachother, not just ourselves.
Positive Example: Brandon Graham is constantly pimping cool creators on his blog and in backup stories in Prophet. Can you imagine if all high-profile creators were taking time to show us the new people whose work they love?
That’s my thoughts on what we need more of. What do YOU think?
NEW BACK ISSUES PODCAST
Justin and I sat down to analyze Sam Keith’s The Maxx on the latest Back Issues. This dude was on the edge at Image, with a bizarre book that took on rape, dreams, and comics industry tropes. Oh… and there was the Crappon. We loved it. Please listen:
VICTUS #2 & SIMON: PUGILIST UPDATES
Still Plugging away at Victus #2, but getting closer every day. Here are some sneak peeks:
And Simon: Pugilist has made some great headway, with my bro really stepping it up on the writing. PEEKS:
Here are some random things I looked at lately:
Got some cool comics over the last couple weeks. Have had ZERO time to actually read them. Kirby’s 2001, Reid Psaltis Panic, Pope’s Battling Boy, Brandon Graham’s Multiple Warhedz, Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, Sam Bosman’s Fantasy Basketball, and some Grendels I got from DWJ.
Found this acorn nut thing on one of my walks.
Had some delicious Sukiyaki from one of my all-time favorite places, Sunshine Cafe.
That’s all for now folks!
Hello out there!
Well SPX 2013 has come and gone. I’m very glad to have finally participated in this show, after years of hearing about it.
A commission I did for a Hellboy sketchbook (I cheated and did Amazing Screw-On Head)
Original Pancake House w/Josh Shalek (nicest guy in comics)
Everyone was extremely kind in Bathesda, MD. Thanks to everyone who came by the table to say hi and bought some comics!
So… I had the chance to do a nice interview with the folks over at IndieReader.com. We talked a bit about my process, why I make comics, stuff I’m reading, etc. Take a gander:
Thanks to Steve Urena for the fantastic interview questions!
So hey. I finally broke down and did it. I got a Twitter. And a Tumblr. If you are someone who follows those things, please follow me. Be gentle though… I’m new at this.
And some links should be showing up at the bottom of this page now… I think?
MOMENT of ZEN
Thanks ya’ll for reading!
Quick post here to let everyone know I’ll be at Small Press eXpo this weekend in Bathseda, Maryland! I’m very excited, as I’ve heard great things about this show ever since I started exhibiting at cons. It also helps that it’ll be a room full of amazing artists whose work I love and respect. It’s especially good to see some of the Panel Savants there:
Along with my good pals:
Here is a map of where to find us this weekend:
Please come by and say hi! If you mention the blog, I’ll have some free swag for you!
New episode of Back Issues is up! Justin and I put a bullet in the head of Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt. Well worth a listen, as it’s the first book we didn’t gush over:
Yeah, still plugging away. Here is today’s snippet:
A new pal, Scott Kroll, posted a very cool short sci fi story. Please take a look:
I really like this:
Hope to see some of you this weekend! A full report will follow after the show!
Geez, where did August go?
Sorry for the lack up updates. It’s been a busy month of drawing, work, drawing, concerts, drawing, friends, and drawing. Couple neat things…
9 QUESTIONS WITH MAX MILLER
The extremely talented Max Miller was kind enough to ask me 9 questions on his blog, which I did my best to answer:
Wizard World Chicago has come and gone. Though I think the show itself is not fantastic, I did get a chance to hang with pals Daniel Warren Johnson (Space-Mullet) and Mike Mano (Princess Bride illustrator). It was good times. And I had the fortune of meeting a new artist whose work impressed me a lot:
We had a good chat about Durer, engravings, and medieval art in general. Check his stuff out!
Other than that, I’ve been working on Victus #2 and enjoying the summer. Here is my life in pictures:
Said hi to Hokusai too
Made a couple trips to Doughnut Vault this month… drool…Enjoying the cloudy days in Chicago lately
Thanks for checking in ya’ll! Some new stuff is headed your way next week so come back and visit!
Hey hey! Been a while! Sorry for the silence. Things have been busy, but good! I wanted to take a minute and give some quick updates, and post some pics of what’s happenin’…
New Episode of Back Issues Podcast is up!
Justin and I spend some time analyzing Geof Darrow and Frank Miller’s Big Guy and Rusty, but also proclaim our love for Pacific Rim! Check it out:
Subscribe if you haven’t already:
COMIC ART BATTLE @ MCA
So, yesterday I was in the ultimate comic art battle at MCA! Hosted by the great Ezra Clayton Daniels! Here are some pics:
Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis happened to be there too. Sorry I was too busy to get a pic of them.
Victus #2 is coming along. Here are some peeks…
John has finished layouts for all of issue #1. Here is a snap of some pages…
Here’s some stuff I’ve been looking at lately…
Been Re-watching Neon Genesis Evangelion. Amazing stuff.
A leaf I found on one of my walks.
Thanks for reading ya’ll! More news coming!