Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I managed to squeeze in a little sketch during lunch yesterday so that I could actually post something new for Halloween. I haven't drawn in my poor man's Mike Mignola style in a long time, so it was fun to tap into that for a bit:

Have a horrifically happy Halloween and don't eat too much candy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monster Mash-up

Some more Halloweeny stuff from the archives:

Who would win in a fight between Frankenstein and the Werewolf? I don't know, but I'd pay to see the fight. Poor Dracula didn't even make it past the first round.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Countdown

I usually like to do some special posts for Halloween, but this year I'm very busy - there's a lot going on at work and the second page of Badge is behind schedule but almost done. Luckily, I've got some stuff in the archives that hasn't been posted yet, so I'm going to run that stuff this week:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"Call it my woman's intuition."

This past weekend I got to see the newly restored version of North by Northwest that was shown as part of the Chicago Film Festival. The new print was made for the Blu Ray release of the movie and Martin Landau was at the screening and answered some questions afterwards (the title of this post is a quote from his character in the film).

I always enjoy seeing old movies in the theater, especially anything from a master like Hitchcock. It's amazing how modern the movie feels. The opening credits were designed by Saul Bass, one of the graphic design pioneers who helped create what we think of as modern style. In fact, the opening credits to Mad Men (my favorite TV show after the Venture Bros.) are inspired by the credits in North by Northwest. I was inspired to try my hand at that clean design style and whipped this up during lunch:

Graphic design isn't really my strong suit, but it was fun to try play around in that style.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

BADGE - page 1

Alright, here's page one of "Badge", my western story. The plan is to post pages as I finish them, with no set schedule. Once I have a decent number of pages done to act as a buffer, I'll create a site for the strip and make it a proper web comic. Right now, I'm just trying to get into a production groove, see if the story has any legs, and to get some feedback (good or bad):

I'm producing the pages at full print resolution in the event that the story ever goes to print. Here's a full rez shot of panel three as an example:

I thought I'd go over my process (which is still evolving), in case there's any interest. I'm working from a loose outline which should honestly be tighter than it is, but I want to get this story rolling before I find more excuses not to do it. I'm drawing thumbnails for each page at about 2"x3", scanning them in, then printing them out at 6"x9" and penciling over that:

The finished art is all done in Photoshop to save time and to allow for more experimentation. The goal is to build up several simple techniques to get an illustrative look in a relatively short amount of time. The first step is the inking, which is primarily focused on form and laying in the graphical black elements. I want the story to have a bit of a rough edge, so I created a brush that gives me a look similar to black Prismacolor pencil on textured paper:

Next, I go in an lay in some medium greys, mostly flat with a few gradients:

After that, I go back in with a brush I made that has an ink wash feel to it to give the page some extra texture and tonal value:

One all that is in, I go back and do a polishing pass with digital screens (like the old zip-a-tone patterns that old comics used) for more tone and texture, some digital spatter (which I used to do with an old toothbrush back in the day), and finally, just going in and punching out some white highlights on things:

After the lettering is done, I overlay a scan of old parchment paper to give everything an antiqued look and I'm pretty much done. It sounds like a lot, but really, I'm just building up several simple steps that add up to (I hope) a lush, finished look.

When I post the second page, I'll re-post page one without all of the blabbing.

Thanks for taking a look. Like I said, any comments, good or bad, are appreciated.

Logo Loco

I'm working on some logo ideas for one of the stories I'm trying to get off the ground. It's a western called "Badge" (the first page is done and will be posted later this week) and it's very much influenced by a lot of the classic western films. There have been some other western comics that have come out in the last few years, but a lot of them are either very modern feeling stories with a lot of graphic language and violence or they are "westerns plus", i.e. westerns + horror, westerns + scifi. I don't have a problem with either approach, I just thought I'd try some thing different, something more old fashioned.

A lot of old movies (not just westerns) had really great hand painted titles, like these examples:

Lettering is not really my thing, so my results in trying to get that look are mixed, but here's some raw lettering that came out OK (by raw I mean that I haven't done any aging or outlining or anything):

I'd like to avoid using any sort of stereotypical western fonts, but I found a few that had a nice feel without looking like the Purina Chuck Wagon logo:

I've also messed around with the idea of replacing the A with an actual sheriff's badge, but that might be too cutesy:

No final decisions yet, but as the art for the story starts to develop, all of this other stuff will fall into place.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Funny but true

I realized I haven't posted anything in a while which is ironic since I've been very busy with a lot of different art projects. One of which is this Fear Agent pin-up I've been chipping away at during lunch. I wasn't going to post it until I inked it, but what the Don Heck.

A few weeks ago I was at the 2nd annual Windy City ComicCon and went out to dinner with a group that included Tony Moore, artist on lots of cool stuff but probably best known for his work on Fear Agent with writer Rick Remender. I've always liked Fear Agent - it's right up my retro alley - but I had never drawn Heath Huston or anything else from it, so that's where this sketch comes in: