So this is kind of weird thing for many reasons. You ready TRUE CONFESSION: I used to buy Teen Beat and Tiger Beat magazine…well, my Mom would buy it because I was insane about a band called KISS. If you don’t know who they are…they’re the comic book equivalent of hard rock from the 70s. The album covers (music discs that measured 12″ x 12″) were the bomb! Ken Kelly’s DESTROYER cover was one of the best covers for one of the best albums in their canon of work. Love Gun was pretty snazzy too, but nothing compared to its predesessor. Anyway, I wall-papered my walls with their images, I redrew the album covers, and I would listen to their music like any crazed middle-school kid can get about something that they can call all their own.
Then they broke up. I think that’s when the innocence was gone and I realized there were men behind the costumes and make-up and they didn’t like hanging out and rocking. So I tore down all the ephemera, gave it away and was left with a blank wall to ponder upon. I think it was about that time I started getting serious about art.
Another reason this is weird is my book THINGS UNDONE a dark comedy about a guy who turns into a zombie because his life is starting to avalanche, comes out 2 days after my birthday on August 26th! Yay me, <snore>zzzzzzzz.
Next…the header is appropriate because what better way to present creator information and inner workings of the mind than through an interview that I did at ComicsCareer.com earlier this year. Generally this is pretty cheesy stuff, but if you can bear it there might be something worth a damn in there.
Finally it is true. If you order 1000 of THINGS UNDONE for your store, I will make you a Special Love Calendar out of dried animal pelts, glue and tchotkes. I’ll even personalize it for you…whatever that means.
This is not THINGS UNDONE. It’s one of the last sketches I did for myself at the Fremont Zombie walk. I’m using a similar inking style in my next book and wanted to see if I could hold back on over-coloring it.
Almost a week away before San Diego Comicon. I haven’t been there in about 3 or 4 years. It just became to expensive and truth be told the purpose of going never really manifested itself; which was trying to find work. With a crush of media and people you’re lucky enough to find the exit to a restaurant that will actually serve dinner without a two-hour wait.
Anyway I’ve got some survival gear I need to get ready for the show.
I have a new interview up at Newsarama for THINGS UNDONE. Oh and this image is one of the other sketches I developed further from last Friday’s Fremont Zombie Walk. These were some of the better photos.
Last night was the Fremont Zombie Walk here in Seattle. They were attempting to break the world record for the most zombies gathered in one area and according to early later reports I think they achieved this. So like a busker I cobbled together this idea at the last minute thinking that this might be a great opportunity to A) Promote my website and book, THINGS UNDONE B) Draw from life (or from death whichever you prefer) and get paid a little C) Draw zombies so that if I messed up, nobody would know and D) Get out into the public and mix it up a little. I mean, I figured why not try it at least once?
So how did it go?
I worked my ass off!
It was a non-stop flow of people from 6:30-7 until 9:30. I never looked beyond the clients I was drawing and so I really couldn’t tell what the heck was going on. It was a blur. I so wanted to chill afterwords but was too damn tired so I left the masses to feed on themselves.
Ryan Reiter and the people that volunteered were real pros. They were organized, friendly and really had their act together. To be honest though I stood out like a sore thumb. I think I was the only person there who wasn’t covered in blood or viscera.
Anyways, thanks to those who stopped by.
It helped to establish the character shapes in THINGS UNDONE so that their personalities could be clearer to read in their body language. In some cases it worked out clearly in others like the two toward the end they’re very similar. It more or less worked to my advantage as the last three characters in this line-up moved as one and kind of book-ended the squatty fellow.
If you’re in San Diego for the Comicon, I’ll be there on Friday & possibly Saturday. I’ll have to look at my schedule, but stop on by we should have advanced copies of the book there.
Oftentimes I have trouble drawing consistently from panel to panel and page to page. It’s more apparent when I draw realistically. I wish I had the skills of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, but I don’t. What I found for me is creating model sheets helps, especially when the characters are really shape-based and have strong silhouettes. Things Undone was a way for me to experiment with shapes and to get better at consistency.
Though the next time I do a realistic project I think I’ll probably find actors and actresses to create the characters from. At least there’ll be more reference and lighting conditions to choose from. I’m sure everyone already does this…even to the point of just tracing off photos. Still, I’d rather do the character sheets based off of the reference I’ve gathered and my initial designs.
This was something I considered as well something a little more broad to evoke atmosphere. Color shifts and temperature changes would have been fun and kept things simple, but in the end I decided to go with this:
Next week I’ll get back to talking about character development for THINGS UNDONE.
This was my first attempt at coloring Things Undone. It was a test page synopsis that I made up on the fly. I wanted to see how whacked out, relaxed and anachronistic I could color it without any hard and fast rules. While fun, it also seemed like it would still take longer than I wanted to spend on it.
All told it didn’t really add much to the story.
Okay I’ll admit…it was just too damn time-consuming!
THINGS UNDONE was conceived while I was neck deep in coloring =THE OVERMAN=. Considering this was a labor of love I really wanted to have an easier project that I could rip through in no time that would be a lot of fun. I’m not a comic book colorist, I can’t crank out a page a day. I’m more like a painter who has to deliberate on all the possibilities.
I’m a big fan of printing processes from days of old. I like the way things looked whether it be in old magazines, illustrated books or even packaging. Oftentimes I take my direction from such ephemera when it comes to the overall look and feel of a project. I try to distill down how it can help give the atmosphere of a by-gone era through printing if not artistic style. Sometimes I succeed and even if I don’t at least it looks interesting to me and not typical of what’s out there.
It’s about the layers for me. Usually at first glance people will judge a book or anything by the way it looks or feels. If I can provide richness that’s worth drilling down to I hope that in some ways people my not realize what they’re responding to, especially if it’s a whole cohesive package. I think it was David Mazzuchelli’s Rubber Blanket books that really appealed to me early one. Just the quality of the packaging as well as how he and Richmond Lewis treated the art really felt special.
Here again with another installment about all THINGS UNDONE.
This time I’m sharing an example of the inkline I was looking for in the process of developing this book. The cartooning wasn’t in the bag either. I was pushing for more of a big-head-cutesy-kind-of-thing. The purpose behind it, well I really wanted to show that I can cartoon. I wanted my characters to have the flexibility and strong silhouettes that I think help me express their emotions if in almost an iconic kind of way.
There was no doubt I’d be inking this with a brush, but unlike earlier books I wanted to it feel easy and breezy. Just strong shapely information without a lot of noodling.
The main characters Rick Watts and Natalie Meade are in one of those long-term relationships…like 7 years long. Just in time for things to start getting a little weird.