Monday, October 31, 2011

Super Love People, Page 14

This week, Superstalker bows to the inevitable.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moon Prince Page 84: A Sad Realization.

This week, a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

After Picasso

This is a digital composite from 1998 based on an old Picasso painting of a couple of Amazons running down a beach. I used barbie dolls for the bodies and my wife and her sister posed for the faces, hands and feet (I used my wife's boob for both of them, reshaping it so it wouldn't be too repetitive. Is that wrong?).

Click on the image to see it bigger.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Super Love People, Page Thirteen

This week, just when it was looking sort of, possibly, romantic, things change again.

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Moon Prince Page 83: Aughhh! The MOON!

This week, Max and Molly are in dire peril! Still!

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sneak Peek

Anyone out there who might have wondered what happens to poor deranged Adam after Fantastic Life will surely be thrilled to hear that a sequel is in the works, picking up on the story about 12 years later. It's tentatively titled The Rough Pearl, and I'm going to start serializing it here in a few weeks (after Super Love People wends its way to some sort of baffling conclusion) but in the meantime here's a little sneak peek:

You'll notice it's sort of rough looking - that's because I'm also doing The Moon Prince right now and I don't have time to polish up the drawings and add full color. A couple of my cartoonist friends have sworn to me that they like this loose look just fine, so I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there, with my fingers crossed that you'll like it too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

BAC at B&N

Here's a couple of pix from the Best American Comics event last night at Barnes and Noble in Union Square. I'm the dude with a microphone stuck to his head, and that's fearless editor Alison Bechdel in the middle, and the redoubtable Gabrielle Bell on the left.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Super Love People, Page Twelve

This week, the Superstalker gets brought down to size.

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Moon Prince Page 82: Decisive Action Must Be Taken!

This week, the queen stands up for once!

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Swipe Comics

Back in the early 90's I was involved with an "artist-run center" up in Winnipeg, Canada, called "Plug-In". We mostly showed Conceptually based paintings, installation and performance art, but we tried to liven things up from time to time, so we brought in Fantagraphics' touring "Misfit Lit" show of original comics art. 

We flew Chester Brown, Charles Burns and Mary Fleener in for the occasion, and afterwards, Chester was kind enough to send me a copy of his graphic novel Ed the Happy Clown, which had one or two panels in it based on old comics panels which he had used as a "point of departure" - more or less "sampling" them, in other words. I loved this approach (I was doing big paintings based on found images at the time) and wondered if it would be possible to make a whole story that way.  

I went and bought a huge stack of old comics and cut them all up to make a big pile of panels, then fished around in them and pulled pieces out at random to try and collage a story together. The result was a comic called Captain Adam, which you can read here (if you click on the pages you'll also see the collages each page was based on). Here's the collage I made for the cover:

And here's the ink drawing I made from it:

Here's the pencil crayon on Xerox color study I did for the company (Digital Chameleon, operated by Winnipeg's own Lovern Kindzierski, one of the pioneers of digital coloring) which created the original digital separations:

and finally, here's the cover with digital color recreated by me a few years ago (I couldn't find Digital Chameleon's version) for a revised version put out by Blurred Books here in NYC:

(Click on the images to see larger versions)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Barnes and Noble Panel

I'm going to be on a panel discussion for Best American Comics 2011 next Tuesday, Oct. 18th, at the Union Square Barnes and Noble in Manhattan, with this year's editor Alison Bechdel and Gabrielle Bell, who's also in the book. Since both of them are vastly better known than me, I'll mostly just try not to say anything stupid.

The info for it is here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Super Love People, Page Eleven

This week, the Blue Siren begins her song.

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Best American Comics 2011

Houghton Mifflin's The Best American Comics 2011 showed up in the mail yesterday:

Lemme just take a peek inside here and... hey! How about that? Sixteen pages from Fantastic Life!

My old Winnipeg pals might be interested to know that it's a "Blue Note Cafe" scene, crawling with thinly disguised (or undisguised) characters from back in the day.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moon Prince Page 81: Startling Revelations from a couple of Slippery Characters

This week, the Inquisitor and the Captain of the Guard put two and two together.

Click on the image to see the whole page.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Animated Example

After I posted yesterday about different versions of the first page of my Fantastic Life comic I noticed it was a bit hard to see much difference between the last two (color) versions, although I remembered making lots of little changes, so just for fun here's an animated GIF to show them better (I turned off the "color holds" in the first version to make it easier to see the changes to the drawings):

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

OCD Comics

So my book Fantastic Life is starting to make its way into a few stores, courtesy of indie distro maven Tony Shenton, and I thought I'd put up one of those "process" posts that comics artists sometimes do for the benefit of anyone who might be curious about how they make these things.

When I started Fantastic Life in the summer of 2006 I hadn't drawn any comics in more than twenty years (I did Captain Adam in 1993, but I don't count that as "drawing" because it was a "sampled" comic, more like a collage). Needless to say, I was really rusty. Here's the first page of Fantastic Life just as I drew it then, using pencil on a 16 x 20" sheet of bristol board (click on the images to see a larger version):

I didn't want to finish the drawing the traditional way, using India ink applied with sable watercolor brushes or nib pens, because I remembered how frustrating that process was for me when I was young - I'm a little obsessive-compulsive, and I hated how hard it was to rework ink drawings.

So instead, I figured I'd clean it up in Photoshop and just add a lot of contrast (using color correction curves) to the grey pencil lines to make them more "graphic", and adding tones by painting them in on a Layer set to "Multiply". I also decided my hand lettering looked too messy and was too tedious to fix, so I typeset the texts using a comic book style font I downloaded.

Here's what I came up with (this version was published in Blurred Vision #3):

I thought this was reasonably okay - although I was a little disappointed in the "scratchiness" of the overall look. I kept forging ahead, and after about ten months I was forty pages into the book. By this point, I'd started manipulating the drawings a lot in Photoshop - distorting and reshaping them a lot to improve anatomy and perspective using the Liquify filter and Transform command. This was terrific, and made me much happier with the look of the pages - except for one problem. The pencil marks were starting to look really fuzzy and beaten up from all this reworking.

It occurred to me that I could "ink" these mushy drawings using the pencil tool in Photoshop and have a much cleaner - and less scratchy - result, so I gave that shot, and came up with this (notice all the changes to the layout I was able to do digitally):

This looked considerably better to me, although it meant I had to go back and redo more than forty pages! To make matters worse, I decided I wanted to work in color, since I was uploading each page to my website as I completed them. So, for about six months I redid the old pages while still trying to keep up with my page-a-week schedule of new pages. I also had a font made from my own lettering, and replaced the old font in all of the texts. By January of 2010, I finally had all 121 pages done. Here's the result (notice I was using colored outlines - in comics these are called "color holds"- which I later discarded):

Then I found out the book had won a Xeric award. Suddenly I was faced with the prospect of publishing all of these pages as a single book - and I was mortified by how much my drawings had changed (improved, I hope) over the course of the four years I'd been working on the story. So I went back and reworked every single page again, to try and make the style and quality more consistent. I also realized that all of the music I'd been quoting (for this page it was originally "Chinese Rocks" by the Heartbreakers, which was later changed to "Running Free" by the Buzzcocks) was probably copyright infringement, so I changed it all - in this case to something I made up.  All of this took another six months! And here's the final, final result:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Super Love People, Page Ten

This week, the Blue Siren returns!

Click on the image to see the whole page.