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  • Recovery Inc - Issue 1 - Page 2 process

    Page 2 gets into saying one thing with the words and saying a different thing with the visuals - nothing contrary, just making sure the words aren't redundant to the visuals. Mia's internal monologue delves into her history a little, while the visuals have here finding what she came here for. I very much wanted to have her walking right past a person sleeping. She's doing all of this right under the guy's nose. Of course this sets us up for what will happen soon (like on the next page). Layout:

    Not much to say about the pencils - they're pretty straight forward, except...

    for the spotted blacks. Sometimes I do this before hand, sometimes I don't. I should probably do it all the time, but I struggle with "time" too much already. 

    Inks:

    And finally, inks with text. Again, I share these because it's really important, where text goes on a page. Look at the inks alone, then again with the text - notice how the text changes how your eyes flow through a page. They lead your eye more than the visuals do. Btw, the sound effects are in red simple so you can see them better here - they'd get lost, black on black. Duh (as in duh, you know this, why am I telling you?).

    Cheers!

  • The Best Laid Plans...

    of Mice and Men. Right? Due to fortunate events, I'm having to switch gears from Simon Brizdale to Recovery, Incorporated. I finished issue 1 of Recovery, Inc (RI for short) a while back, but never shared any process images, so I'm going to start doing that as I finish writing chores on the first story arc of RI and get into new pages. So we start off with the layout. I don't usually have the letters here, but someone I no longer have a version of the layout without them. 

    Issue 1, page 1. Introduction of our protagonist. Who is she? What does she do? Why is it interesting? What kind of visuals do we deliver so that you can recognize our heroine? All this on page 1, as well as a crisp statement on her character. That was the goal; I think we did alright. 

    Next: my penicls, in this case done in Photoshop (I'm now an ardent suporter and user of Clip Studio Paint, formerly known as Manga Studio). I prefer doing my roughs digitally because of how editable they are. Draw a great hand but it's a little too big? Instead of erasing it and drawing it over, just lasso it, reduce it, and keep moving. Same for flipping figures, which is great to check the accuracy of your drawing, and can also be used to help the clarity of storytelling. On this page you'll notice that I redraw the figures in panels 2 and 4, for clarity, and reverse the figures in panels 5 and 8 for storytelling flow. All a snap when you're working digitally.

    This story was originally intended to be 8 page segments in an anthology magazine, so from a writing point of view, each set of 8 pages has a very clear set of intentions. I learned pretty quickly that I love working like this - it really forces you to trim the fat. The story stays very taught and rewards the studious reader. It's like one of those movies where you've got to pay attention all the way through it. It's dense.

    Next up: inks. This page was also drawn (inked, they are interchangable when you're working digitally) in Photoshop. I usually go back and forth between old fashioned paper/ink and digital. I need the change of pace from time to time. Hopefully the different methods blend together well enough that most people will never which pages were done in which format. 

    One of the main things I wanted to do for this comic is base all the technology off of either existing technology or technology that is very, very near to reality. The glass cutter on page 1 here is the only real exception. It's not a gargantuan stretch, but to the best of my knowledge there's no laser strong enough to cut glass (currently) that's also this compact and mobile. 

    The city shot in panel 1 is really Hong Kong. I didn't go with a shot of any particular piece of iconic architecture, but it's still the correct location. That's the other thing we really wanted to do in this comic: make all the locations real locations. That means a lot of research on google maps. A lot!

    Finally: letters. I know, you saw them earlier, but here they are anyways. :-)

    Want to see the finished version of this page? You can see it on our website that hosts all our comics: LUXcomics Just look for the Recovery Inc menu tab. Cheers!

  • Style

    Style

    Style. Know what style is? It's a pain in the ass, that's what it is!

    I had a wise teacher one tell me that you should never bother with style - you're style is there simply by the way you interpret the world and communicate it through your arm, hand, and drawing utensil. I think it's more complicated than that though. 

    There's comes a point in every young artist's life where they really start to notice other artists and how they draw. Something about the work draws them in, connects with them on a deep level. That's when we start emulating those artists, studying their work to see how they solve problems. I think those early influences have a profound impact on what our individual styles end up looking like. 

    Eventually we learn to put away the reference material, to stop looking at other art while we draw. It's from this point that we begin to evolve into our own thing. We still look at inspiring art all the time, just not while we're actually drawing. Other influences begin to creep in while at the same time we start to do our own problem solving

    Problem solving, btw, is what artists do every time they put an art tool to a surface. How do I make these lines, these strokes, convey this feeling or vision I have in my head? 

    I'm 46. I've been drawing a long time, and I have to admit, I have no idea what my style is. I feel like I still struggle with it every day. I enjoy drawing differently - sometimes realistic, sometimes cartoony, sometimes experimenting with something new, or something classic. How, then, am I ever supposed to have one definable look? By seeking variety though, am I creating an endless amount of work for myself, to try and excel at many different styles? Do I become a jack of all trades and master of none? I'm not sure I want that, and yet I've never been able to lock myself into one technique, one style, one whatever. I admire those who can. 

    So these are just some sketches to get back into the groove of drawing after going on a family vacation. It's some feeble attempt to explore what I loosely envision to be a comic book style I hope to eventually settle on, and yet just saying that seems weird to me. Like I said, it's a pain in the ass.

  • LUX Comics

    My website for reading all my web comics is now live. Have a visit: LUX Comics

    And, as always, you can support my efforts via my PATREON page. These comics are free to read. That's right: free! If you like what you read and would like me to be able to continue making them, especially if you'd like to see more pages posted each month, support my work so I don't have to do other work at the same time!

  • A Silver Lining

    The one silver lining I’ve taken from being stupid sick for the past week and a half has been the amount of time I've had to just lie there and let my mind wander. Luckily, it wandered to a story I’ve been working on for about 7 or 8 years. It started out as a short story, then evolved into something bigger and more interesting, then evolved again to become something very large in scope. The two smaller ideas are still completely in tact, they’re just a part of something bigger now.

    The problem, however, was in telling the story in the most effective, entertaining manner. Chronological order wasn’t going to cut it. It took me a couple of years to figure that out. Mind you, I'm not working on these stories all the time; it's a bit here, a bit there - whenever inspiration strikes. So I was having real trouble figuring out how to make all the pieces work in the most effective, dramatic way. I wanted to keep the reveals that each of the smaller versions had at their hearts.

    In my stupor this past week came clarification. The first thing I did when i was strong enough to do anything was sit down and write everything down. I have to say, I'm pretty excited about this story now. I mean I was before, but the problem was becoming quite daunting, so thanks, fever, thanks cold, for helping me see the path through.

    The story is called ITERATION 37 and hopefully it'll be one of the many projects I'm able to get going through my Patreon page. Here's a teaser page I drew (well, didn't draw, actually - it's all black/darkness) 6 years ago!

  • SBatGoK Bk01 pg001

    SBatGoK Bk01 pg001

    "Sbat•gok," heh heh. That's the new short version of Simon Brizdale and the Gauntlet of Kings. Book 1, page 1. Every fantasy world needs a map, right?

    Support me on Patreon if you like what you see!

  • First original post?

    First original post?

    I posted this on my Patreon page yesterday, but here it is, well... here. Cover for the first issue of Simon Brizdale and the Gauntlet of Kings. Just like it says on the cover. Yippie.

  • Even more Patreon stuff

    Yet another header image. This is a story based on an 8 page short I wrote and drew way back in... heck, I don't know exactly - '98 or '99 maybe? The expanded version was initially going to be a 12 issue mini-series, but I think I can tighten it down to 9 or 10 issues now. That often comes with getting better at writing: you learn to keep things shorter and more to the point (but still leave ample room for characters to breathe, etc...).

    It's also gone through a name change. It was originally Take That Job and Shove It, but it was too similar, I think, to the well known song. This title is far better fitting for the story, which is about a guy who learns he has super powers and the life that happens around him while he's obsessed with chasing his dream of becoming a well known hero. You know how all those Disney films tell you to follow your dreams? And how the protagonist in those stories always succeeds in the end? Well, this ain't one of those stories. This is a story that resonates with the other 99% out there.

  • More Patreon stuff

    Another header image for my upcoming Patreon page. Forgot to add this one last time. Recovery Incorporated - another story long in the making. Not as long as Simon Brizdale, but long enough. This one was originally commissioned for a british comics anthology magazine, but they ran into financial troubles early on. Not getting paid meant, for me anyways, not continuing to draw and submit the art for publication. I was pretty sad to see this project fall through and will be pretty happy to finally get it out into the world.

    If you like Rene Russo's character from The Thomas Crown Affair, then you'll like this story. Mia Raven is very much like her character, but with a little more action added in. Kind of a mix of Thomas Crown Affair and La Femme Nakita (the original french version, thank you very much).

  • Patron stuff

    Headers for the three stories I'm going to be starting out with on my upcoming Patreon site. More details to follow. First up:
    Simon Brizdale and the Gauntlet of Kings - a fantasy adventure, my love letter to the stories I love, like Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Firefly, Lord of the Rings, Buckaroo Bonzai, The Rocketeer, etc...
    Next:
    Bimbo - an action superhero satire about a tomboy who gets unwanted powers and is forced to cope with the changes it forces in her life. The story takes a hard look at a lot of social codes we live by.
    Third:
    ONE - a modern drama about how we treat each other as human beings. My buddy Dean Deckard wrote this as a screenplay and I knew I had to adapt it into graphic novel form the instant I read it.
    I'll also be updating my website soon, using one of the newer sites that do all the heavy lifting for a person - I've spent too much time learning and relearning web design. No more. My blog will be incorporated into that site once I make the switch. Everything will be consolodated and more regularly updated once that happens. Yippie!