Monday, October 13, 2014

Nova, The Human Rocket!

Last week while I was stuck in a comic book store for 24 hours doing the 24 Hour Comic Book Challenge I couldn't help but look through a few books to see if anything caught my eye. And, what do you know? I found a few!

The new Nova books from Marvel Comics caught my eye on the regular issue racks. It was cartoony, had some great art, great character design, and my brother had collected the original comic back when we were kids. I put the book down and went over to the collected trade editions to see if the individual issues had been collected yet. Lucky me, I found three of them. I took advantage of one of the store's many sales that day and picked them up.

The books were a lot of fun. The first issue had my imagination running and I found it was like a mix of the movies The Last Starfighter and Back To The Future along with a healthy dose of Marvel Comics super heroes. I've said I'd never work in comics again but, honestly, if I did want to work for a mainstream comic company again, this is the kind of book I'd want to work on.

So, of course, I had to draw something Nova related. During lunch last Friday, as a warm up, I sketched out this piece in blue pencil.

I love that this version of Nova is a fifteen year old teenage boy and he is actually drawn like a boy, not a small version of a muscle bound man. The image of him mixes my love of drawing children's books along with my love of comic book super heroics.

I detailed the pencils over the weekend and, if I can find the time this week, I want to lay some ink on this piece and go to color.

And, if all goes well, who knows, I may even do a few Nova sample pages, send them to a few people I know up at Marvel, and see what happens. But, first, let's see how this piece turns out.

Inks soon, color later. Have a great week and I'll see you all soon!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sports Illustrated Kids September

Oops, September got so busy around here what with road trips, plane trips, trips to Maine, a failing computer, and getting ready for the 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge, that I totally forgot to show off the "What's The Call" illustrations for the September issue of Sports Illustrated Kids.

Sorry about that but, here I am, in the early days of October, ready to make it up to you.

September was a fun month for the WTC illustrations. I got to draw a little bit of football without having to draw two complete teams squaring off, a little bit of lacrosse, and a baseball piece that had a fun challenging background I needed to create to fill the space.

On the baseball piece I also laid in the text to show my art director how I thought the piece might lay out in the final print on the magazine page. It gives you a good idea of the things I have to think about when creating these pieces. Not only do I have to do a decent piece, showing off the action of each scenario, but I have to make sure they all fit right into the magazine page. Sometimes, given the situations, it can be a challenge.

But, I am guessing, because they keep coming to me each month, that I am doing a pretty good job so far.

I am starting the illustrations for the year end December issue today and, after having thumbnailed the pieces out and getting approval, I am really looking forward to starting them.

So, it's back to the drawing board for me to tackle the new Sports Illustrated pieces, script and letter my 24 Hour Comic Day story, ink the next page of OilCan Drive, and maybe start a new piece that I've been inspired to do just for the fun of it.

I hope you're all doing great and I'll talk to you soon!

Monday, October 6, 2014

24 Hour Comic Day Wrap Up

So, I finally did it. I finally sat down and took the 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge and I finally feel like I succeeded!

The challenge was created years ago by comic artist Scott McCloud and the idea is to write, draw, ink, and finish a complete 24 page comic book story in one 24 hour period.

I tried the challenge once a few years ago in my home with a bunch of friends. I think I got through five pages and four hours before everyone started giving up. It's always been something that bugged me, not actually getting my comic done for the challenge. So, this year, I tried it again.

I joined a bunch of local artists at my local comic book shop, Time Warp Comics, for their annual 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge. The owner of Time Warp, Wayne, is generous enough every year to turn his store over to a bunch of artists and keep the store open for 24 hours while everyone works on their stories. So, on Saturday morning, at 10am, I entered the store with my paper and supplies, found a seat next to my friend, Liam, and got to work.

The good thing about attempting the challenge before is that it gave me some insight and ideas into how I would go about tackling it this time. This time I wanted to have a really good idea for the story already figured out and thumbnailed before starting. It might be against the rules to even think about your story before you start but I figure this whole thing is a personal quest and there aren't any cash prizes or gold medals on the line so who is anyone else to tell me how I should tackle the challenge? Plus, I really enjoy figuring a story out and I wanted to enjoy the process instead of freaking out and feeling pressured once I was on the clock.

I also decided to draw the pages smaller than I had the last time. The first time around I drew the pages the same size I draw pages professionally, about 150% larger. With speed being the key having less space to fill up really helped and I didn't have lay down nearly as much Sharpie marker to get the job done.

And, finally, I decided I would draw and ink the pages during the 24 hour period and leave the lettering until I could scan the pages into the computer and letter digitally. I'm a competent letterer, meaning you can read what I write, but I really don't enjoy it and I can do a lot better job on the computer.

With those guidelines in mind, I got to work.

I'd love to say it was easy for me, that I just breezed through it, but it was a real ordeal. I honestly don't know if I've ever actually stayed awake that many hours in a row much less spent the majority of those hours working. During the process time felt like it was flying by while, at the same time, it felt like the ordeal would never end. I remember at one point, in the wee hours of the morning, wondering what lesson I was learning by doing this process. At the time all I could think of was, "I never ever ever want to do another comic book again EVER!"

Ha ha! Oh the things we think of when we are sleep deprived.

In the end, of the ten artists we started out with, only five stayed the entire time. Of the five of us, I think only three of us got even close to completing 24 pages. I am happy to say that I was one of the people who got all of his pages done the way he wanted to get them done.

I did it.

I scratched that itch. I no longer need to wonder if I can do it because I just did it. One of the things that kept me going when I wanted to quit is that I knew it was better to grind it out this time than to quit and still wonder if I could do it right the next time.

After some breakfast and a nice long nap I feel extremely proud of myself for what I accomplished. I did a decent job in the time I had and I am really proud of the results. In the middle of the challenge I thought that there is no way I am ever doing this again.

But, now, with a little rest, I know I will do it again. Except next time I might throttle back a bit and only do an eight page story and see how detailed I can get in a 24 hour period. Because, you know, I already proved to myself I could do the 24 page thing in the time I was given. And that feels great.

In the coming weeks I'll scan the pages in to the computer and clean them up. I'll letter them, get them set up, and submit them to the store's printed anthology book which should be released before Christmas. And I'll make sure to post the pages on the OilCan Drive website. The story might not be as good or as well drawn as the regular pages I do but I think they definitely deserve to be seen. And the story does fit into and sheds light on a bit more of the OilCan Drive world.

For now, I am off to bed for real. It's been a VERY long weekend but I am glad I participated in the event and that I succeeded.

One more thing to cross off the list of "Things To Do!" Yeah me!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

24 Hour Comic Day Challenge!

At 10am on Saturday, October 4th, I'll be taking part in the annual 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge where I'll be doing a 24 page OilCan Drive story in 24 Hours.

You can watch the fun as I do the work on Instagram and Twitter! Leave some comments and give your boy a little support! I'm sure I'll need it!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Happy October!

Happy October, everyone. September was definitely a whirlwind for me with false road trips to the east coast, plane trips to Maine, and coming home to Colorado only to have to deal with a computer dying on me and trying to get something new up and working as soon as possible.

Through it all, while it seemed busy, I didn't really get much creatively done. I did really enjoy the way the cover I did for the24 Hour Comic Day came out so at least I got something done last month. And while right now it feels like I am lazy and a slacker I know in the next few days things are going to really ramp up and I'll wonder why I ever felt guilty about sitting on the couch and watching a TV show.

In the next few days I'll be participating in the 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge at Time Warp Comics here in Boulder from 10am, Saturday, October 4th, until 10am, Sunday, October 5th. In that time I'll be doing my best to complete a full 24 page comic book. Oh, and I got some client work I've committed to completing this weekend as well so it will be interesting to throw that into the mix. And next week I'll be starting the next round of the Sports Illustrated Kids "What's The Call" articles.

So, I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about taking it easy for the rest of the day. It's about to get a lot busier around here really soon.

So maybe one more TV show today won't hurt me.

Happy October, everyone! I hope yours is going great so far!

Monday, September 29, 2014

24 Hour Comic Day Challenge!

 I am finally back from my trip to Maine and the East Coast to see my family, catch up with some friends, and recharge my batteries.

The trip went great but it started with a bit of a hiccup. Originally I planned on driving thirty one hours from Colorado to Maine. I started well enough, got out of Colorado, and headed into Nebraska. Around four hours in I started getting a bad feeling. I gave it another two hours before saying, screw it, and I turned around and headed back to Colorado. I don't know if I had some premonition of impending doom that I saved myself from or if I simply wasn't enjoying myself six hours into the journey and couldn't imagine sitting in a car for another fifty eight hours. But, I got back to Boulder, got some sleep, and booked myself a flight for the next day. From there, the trip went great and I had a lot of fun.

I'll definitely be putting some photos from my trip up but, first, I wanted to show you what I've been working on since I got back.

This coming weekend, October 4th and 5th, I'll be participating in my first official 24 Hour Comic Challenge. It's an annual event that has been going on for years and is the brain child of comic book great Scott McCloud. The idea is that you sit down for 24 hours and, in that time, you complete a fully finished 24 page comic book. I've tried it once by myself with disasterous results but I am hoping that first attempt will give me some insight on how to succeed this time around. I told a friend my ideas on how I was going to go about it this time and he commented, "it's great that you have it all planned out." My response was, "I always have a plan...whether it works or not remains to be seen."

So, we'll see how it goes.

The story I plan on working on is OilCan Drive related and, if all goes well, it will fit into the regular OCD continuity and I will post the pages on the OilCan Drive web comic site soon enough. But, because I am participating in an event with multiple artists, the event coordinator asked for submissions for the anthology book cover he is planning to put together of everyone's work. This being my first time attending I wanted to give him a cover and do the best I could to make an impression.

The event will be taking place at my local comic shop, Time Warp Comics. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary and requested that the cover feature their store mascot and a few of the characters that have appeared in their newsletters comic strip over the years. So, here is my rendition of Tommy Timewarp and his friends!

I created the piece in the same way I plan on doing the 24 hour comic to test out the process. I sketched the whole piece out with a non-repo blue pencil and went right to ink using only Sharpie and Micron markers. It's pretty much the same way I do a lot of my advertising work that usually has super tight deadlines. From there I scanned the piece into the computer and added color and text.

While I won't be doing any color on the actual 24 hour comic my plan is to get all of the art for the story done in 24 hours and ready for scanning and lettering. My hand lettering leaves a lot to be desired and the pages for the anthology aren't due for two weeks after the event so I figured I'd give myself some time to letter the story in a way that looks pleasing and I am happy with. Is it cheating? Maybe. But, I guess that will put me out of the running for the gold medal and the million dollar cash prize (ha ha ha.)

So, if anyone is in Boulder, Colorado next weekend and wants to come check it out I'll be at Time Warp Comics starting at 10am on Saturday, October 4th.

And I will definitely be posting progress photos and updates on my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. So, even if you're not in the area you can follow along and see how I'm doing. I'll make sure to put links up on Friday so everyone knows where to follow along.

Have a great week everyone. It's good to be back and I'll talk to you all soon!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Road Trip

I am packing up and heading off on a cross country road trip tomorrow. I am hoping I can get from here in Colorado to the coast of Maine in about four days or so with a planned day of hanging out with my friend Thom in Cleveland (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here I come!)

It's been a while since I attempted something like this so I'm both excited and a little nervous. But, one thing I know for sure is that my new little Fiat will probably do a lot better on a cross country trip than my old Jeep Wrangler did when I first moved to Colorado from the east coast all those years ago.

I'll make sure to take a bunch of pictures from the road and keep the updates coming.

Have a great week everyone and I'll be talking to you from the middle of America the next time we talk!

See ya soon!