Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Comic Challenge!

Dave Piper, over at Sunday Ink, was kind enough to spend Christmas with me via offering a comic challenge through an online 'art jam' collaboration. We had a goal of 8 panels, taking turns drawing one panel each hour. Here are the results (click to enlarge).

Let me first tell you a little about Dave. Almost 4 years ago I was taking a week long Japanese course in Tokyo, so I lived at a hostel in Asakusa during that time. There's certainly a lot to do in Tokyo and a week doing all those things could add up to expensive. That's why most of my free time was spent hanging out in the Hostel's lounge studying Japanese or doodling in my sketch book. That's where Dave and I met, hanging out on a couch, chitchatting about comics. We went out for a beer, swapped some sketches, and made plans to meet up for the World Anime Fair that weekend. So, I ended up getting lost at the convention and we went our separate ways. Fortunately we swapped e-mail addresses and have been in contact ever since!

I have my emotional highs and lows, battling my inner daemons, struggling to constantly produce art while confronting everyday stress. Dave has continuously been there for me. He has always been a great source of motivation as well as a superb source of inspiration.

Ok, let's talk more about the comic!

I've never done an Art Jam before, but I've always wanted to. I didn't know what to expect. It was Christmas morning, Rie was getting ready for work, family wanted to talk to me, I had to water my co-workers plants, and the 8am start time was quickly approaching.

The first panel came in and it was gorgeous! Dave's hours spent laboring over reproductions of still life in various mediums certainly shows. I was instantly intimidated and didn't know what to do. I had the idea that the house was floating in space, but thought it to be a better story telling element to show the character first (after drawing panel 2, I later had the idea of making the guy at the window a monologuing bond villain, staring out at his tropical island, while a 00 agent is being tortured in the BG. Maybe next time). My panic lead me to split this panel into two and it ended up being like 40-45 minutes late... for various reasons.

I didn't know what to draw (at first). The key is to just go with what ever pops into your mind first, because you don't really have much time other wise. If half of your time has gone by and you're not already inking, you're kinda screwed.

Another thing was, I didn't know what materials to use. I'm use to doing most of my inking by crow quill pen, which is kinda slow and meticulous. It was maybe in panel 4 where I switched to using a technical pen more often, still trying to figure out a nice balance.

Then there was the question on how to letter. You may notice that my lettering changes throughout each panel. Lettering is something that I need to practice more, and I've been going at it with an Ames lettering guide and a crow quill a few times over the past week or so. Problem is, I haven't lettered any comics recently, so I wasn't sure of what size to use, etc... Also, under such tight time restraints, it's probably not practical to use a crow quill for lettering.

His panel 3 came an hour later. The imagery and text both suggested things for me to play off of. The space ant thing could have gone two ways; either he really wanted to play this game with her or there really were space ants out there. I chose the latter because it sounded like fun. Also, even Dave's choice of the window shape help influence me to make their 'compound' dome shaped rather than an ordinary looking villa.

This turned into a nice game of comic ping pong and I became less self critical and more confident in my choices.

Page 2 panel 1 Dave really gave the girl a personality with his selection of dialogue, and I wanted to play off this in panel 2 by having her more excited that there really are flesh eating space ants. I also decided in this panel that she was a robot (she's got a little plug on her neck), but we never did anything with that.

Page 2 panel 3 really looked great! From the dynamic angle and the great lettering, to the little air poofts from the helmet opening. He even passed me the ball by having the little girl say "Hey!"

It was my job to finish this thing. I slapstick gag seemed like the best route to take.

Well, we finished it, and I thought it was incredibly rewarding. You learn so much about yourself as well as learn a lot from your partner. But, working under such quick deadlines, I am constantly reminded of my faults. Which I guess is what makes it such a good exercise. One practices and practices. This challenge is like going out on the field and seeing how your practice payed off.

Man, so I definitely found out what I need to work more on... which is everything. It's my dream to have my comics published. I'm turning 30 next year and I always wonder if I can still do it. I certainly hope so... but I have to work so much harder. Dave, thank you so much for doing this challenge with me. I'd love to do it again sometime. Also, thank you so much for your support and motivation. I am blessed to have someone like you in my life.

Thank you all for reading and see you next week!
Oh yeah! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron and Other Stuff/Whatnot

Yes! It has become a recent attempt of mine to write a 'what's going on' at least once a week and hopefully have some new artwork to talk about. If not new art, for the sake of writing, I'll post something old and discuss that.

To the left we have a Tron inspired self-portrait. My buddy Dave Piper was kind enough to jog my juices and give me the challenge. I really do love the original movie and was highly anticipating the long awaited sequel. This became a fun little project.

The figure and the background were inked on paper separately, then merged via computer. All the color was done using Photoshop. Doing this helped me figure out a few neat things about computer coloring, such as the nice little lettering effect in the bottom right corner of the picture.

By the way, Tron Legacy was a fun movie. I'd like to see it again, but I'll most likely wait until a home viewing release has been made available. I can't tell you clearly whether or not it was a 'good' movie due to my affection for the original. There were many scenes of exposition which seemed a bit shoddy, but not as horrible as that other movie people seem to be comparing it to.

The Daft Punk soundtrack is getting mixed reviews. Music people seem to be disappointed while Movie people seem to praise it. I fall in the latter category, being that I see a really solid film score that's all over the place with its inspiration and homage. From Vangelis to 8-bit consoles to the scores of epic films such as Lawrence of Arabia, many things will come to mind when listening to this score. Daft Punk really does put together a nice vehicle to help us drift through this transient film.

Other stuff, below is a meme called an 'influence map' which has been floating around Deviant Art for the past few months. Because a few of my friends put one together, I was motivated to do one as well.

First, my friends are more inspiration to me than the above. So this happens to be a collage of crap I like... thus influencing me.

Second, I cheated. This was only 5x6 and I made it 6x9. There are just so many amazing artist and different works out there I had to make it a little bigger, otherwise I'd just fill up every little square with a different picture and leave nothing to composition.

This is probably not complete/inaccurate, but I put a grip of time into it so I'm sure it's approximate. You can try and make your own by downloading the meme here.

Finally, the whatnot is my collection of unfinished projects. Below is a preview pic of the 10 pages I'm making for my fiancee, Rie. It's simply titled "Rie Kills a Ghost". It's, however, still being penciled.

So, the list of projects in progress by priority:
  1. Rie Kills a Ghost
  2. Place in the Sun (with Phoenix)
  3. 's 5-track Challenge
  4. Untitled Blarg! Script
  5. Oni Land Comic
  6. Untitled Zombie Comic
  7. Possibly Others that I forgot about
Ok, so now this is where you bombard me with musings, inspiration, strategy, and motivation!

Thanks all. This entry took me way too long to write and it's a bit wordy, so here's to my attempts at making better/more entertaining bolg entries.

Rock on!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Walking With Zombies #003

(Click for a larger image)

Took me long enough to finish this. I made the first few WWZ comics for my buddy Drew's webcomic site. Well, they posted the first comic and never posted the 2nd. Halfway through the making the 3rd I said "What the F--K?!" and put it on the back burner. The site was then swallowed up by 'the Nothing' and that's the end of that story.

I wanted to finish WWZ #003 for a while now, so here's a close to complete version I touched up this morning.

However, Kidd-Zero and her zombie buddies might be put on hold for a while. After going over a potential story-arc at a writing group, I came to the realization that it would be somewhat difficult to produce a spin-off of a comic that isn't even developed yet.

(Have you hugged your zombie today?)

Therefore, I've started working on a new script for "BLARG! Comics." It might be a little while until you see actual pages from that script, but they will rock!

Prior to that, I'm finishing up 3 - 5 other comics, so there will be lots of fun stuff to look at soon enough. Please enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Of course I'm Yakko!

So I've been distracted by another Facebook trend. People have been asking each other to make their profile picture a cartoon character from your childhood. There were several characters I could have chosen but I feel Yakko Warner is the perfect character to serve as my profile.

That is until I finish my recent (quickly) challenge!

Actually this post is in attempts of making posting a better habit of mine. I've some meager work I've been producing since I've last updated this site. Should be putting up some 'in progress' sketches or my random doodles just for the sake of it.

Anyway, here's some news:
Planet Eigo is finally finished and if you'd like a copy go here.

It was an interesting experience, and I hope I didn't f-up my chances as helping out A-Jet with future publications.

Thanks to everyone who helped out in the making of this book!

Below are a few samples of my art submissions:

Ok, Blogger is starting to piss me off because of its incredibly shitty interface so...

On an end note, I just bought two sand timers. A 5 minute one and a 3 minute one. The five minute one is for gesture drawing warm-ups in the morning before I leave for work. The 3 minute one is for brushing my teeth. It's amazing how quickly the 5 minute one finishes and how
the 3 minute one takes forever.

Ok folks, I'm outta here! See ya next time!