Tuesday, October 6, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Aftermath

Well, this year's 24 Hour Comic Day has come and gone and, overall, I'm not happy with how I performed. I did a lot of things wrong from the start and they just seemed to snowball out of control from there.

First off, after doing the full 24 pages last year to prove to myself I could do it I thought I'd give myself a break this year and do, at most, 12 pages. After coming up with a story and laying out the pages I had a total of 22 pages and two covers to draw. Instead of stepping back and rethinking the story or ditching it entirely, I jumped in and never looked back.

I felt like I'd been exhausted for weeks and I should have gotten more rest before Saturday. I should have gotten more sleep Friday night before the even but, no matter how tired I was, I couldn't sleep. If I was in bed I just laid there with my eyes closed and my mind racing. If I did actually get any sleep it couldn't have been more than two hours. Only two hours of sleep really isn't the way you should start a 24 hour marathon of doing anything. But, I showed up at 10am anyway and started drawing.

I penciled out the whole story by 5pm and started inking. And that's when I hit the wall. My head was aching and my back hurt. I could barely focus and I even had trouble making simple conversation with people. I was actually forgetting words as I talked. It wasn't good.

Finally, at 2am, I called it and stopped working. Monika tried to get me to keep going but I just couldn't. She actually badgered me to stay but nothing worked. I was done. I was the first artist to leave the event while everyone else kept working. In the end I had 24 pages penciled and 7 inked.

As tired as I was and as much as I understand why I stopped I still feel like a failure.

Part of me really doesn't know why. It's not like there was money involved or a job at stake or the chance of me being fired from anything if I failed. And, if I succeeded it didn't really matter either. It's not like there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or really any recognition if I pulled it off again.

Still, not making it this year is weighing heavily on me.

I had planned on trying to finish the pages in the coming weeks. I liked the way the story had come out and I really liked the way I had told the story. It really has promise. And I know I have some time to finish it before they put the call out for the finished art for the anthology. But now I don't know.

As you know, I spent the week prior to the event getting a cover done for the anthology book cover contest. I penciled, inked, colored, and laid out a cover because I thought more people would participate. But, as the day began, I was the only one who had printed a cover. One of the other artists actually called me a "brown noser" for doing a cover before the event. Later at least my friend Liam had a cover up in the voting next to mine and, by the end of the day, the guy who made the snide remark to me also had a cover up in the running (he had penciled it while another artist inked it.) On Sunday I found out I hadn't gotten the cover and the snide remarker had won. On his Facebook post where they announced the winner he actually wrote, "your reign of terror is over Mr. Tiffany!"

I'm sure he meant the remark in good humor but, with the way I am feeling now, it is cutting deeper than it probably should. It might have been because I was tired but I really felt like an outcast there this year, like I just didn't belong.

So, now I am not so sure about finishing up this story...or finishing up much of anything personal right now. I inked one page today at lunch and then came home and cleaned the house because it was something to do that seemed more productive than any piece of art on my table. I'll complete the client jobs I have in front of me, of course, but, after that, I don't know. And I really don't know if I would attend the next 24 Hour Comic Day.

If anyone has any advice on which way to go I'd love to hear it. 

We'll see what happens over the next few days. Right now I just hope tomorrow is better than the last few days have been.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Anthology Cover

Here is my finished cover submission for the 2015 24 Hour Comic Challenge Anthology bookas well as the digitally revised black and white version.

If you're anywhere near Boulder, Colorado tomorrow (Saturday to me) come on over to Time Warp Comics and say hi. Bring me some coffee while you're at it. I have a feeling I'm going to need it!

I don't think I am as ready for this year as I was last year so I have no idea how this is all going to go. I know I can quit any time I want but I have a feeling I'll be just stubborn enough to make it through another one of these things. We'll see what happens.

For now, I am off to bed. I have a long day tomorrow.

See you on the other side!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Tiger Blood!

I finished up my cover for the 24 Hour Comic Day tonight but I've decided to hold off until tomorrow to post it. I think it came out okay but I am still a little too close to the final piece to really know. You can decide for yourself soon enough.

So, while I have a break from the more recent things, I've decided to show off a few things I did this past summer.

I was contacted earlier this summer by a website called Zooppa. They seem to run various ad campaigns for big name clients but run them as contests. Now, I know as a professional artist I'm supposed to frown on this sort of thing but it seemed like stupid fun so I decided to give it a try. But, I also decided to take as little time on it as possible.

The campaign I joined was for a new Mike's Hard line of drinks called Tiger's Blood. The first thing that sprung into my mind was, of course, Charlie Sheen. I also figured that more than enough people would simply draw tigers. So, I came up with the weird idea of a Charlie Sheen kid wearing a Calvin and Hobbes type tiger costume with a little Adventure Time flair thrown in.

I figured, if nothing else, there would probably not be one other person who contributed to the campaign who would have a Tiger Boy on the can. If Mike's Hard liked the Tiger Boy I would have the market cornered.

I actually drew all of these pieces while at lunch with friends, brought them home, scanned them into the computer, and quickly colored them. I think I was done before dinner.

Of course I didn't win. The winners' cans all had beautiful tigers painted on them in elegant ways. But, in my opinion, none of them were as fun as the Tiger Boy.

Looking back, maybe I shouldn't have entered a contest meant merely to find a cheap way to get some art on a product at a discounted cost. At the time I didn't think it would do any harm. But, now, I am thinking stuff like this may be one of the reasons I haven't had too many new clients this past year. "Contests" like these definitely cheapen the art and the people who create for a living and make it harder for people to do this as a career. So, I don't see myself doing anything like this again anytime soon.

I keep going back to an old mantra I took away from my years of trying to work on other people's comic books. "If there is a project that I may or may not get paid for I'd rather work on my own project. At least that way if I don't get paid I still had fun doing the work and much more control." (not to mention I'd own the project.)

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the lessons we've taught ourselves over the years.

But I still like the Tiger Boy. I may need to use him again sometime!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Cover Inks!

Here is the inked cover I am working on for this Saturday's 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge.

I thought I was done with the piece but, once I scanned it into the computer and started working on the color, I realized I really wasn't happy with the way Ryan came out. So, tonight, I did a new image of Ryan and digitally put him into the cover. I think it is working out so far but I have had my moments of doubt.

In keeping with my 24 Hour Comic Day tradition I inked both of these pieces using only Sharpie Markers and Micron Pens. They don't have the detail I usually get from a brush and ink but they are a lot faster and with 24 Hour Comic Day fast is what it's all about. Hopefully this technique will serve me well yet again when I sit down to do my comic on Saturday.

I haven't even started the actual comic yet and I already feel exhausted. I am definitely having one of those nights where I feel everything I do is pointless and useless and maybe I should hang up this art thing once and for all. But, I just keep on working no matter how bad I feel about it.

I'm sure I am just tired and things will look better in the morning over a bowl of cereal.

I sure hope so...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

24 Hour Comic Day Anthology Cover

Today I got a bit further along on the new cover for the 24 Hour Comic Day anthology book. I spent most of today inking the piece but I thought I'd show off the pencil sketch first.

In order to streamline the process for the 24 Hour Comic Day and, because I wanted to create the cover in the same way I'll be tackling the event this Saturday, I penciled the cover in non-repo blue pencil. The idea is that, once I am done inking the page, there will be no need to erase any pencil marks before I finish and scan the piece to the computer for touch ups and lettering.

The problem with the non-repo blue pencil is it is a bit harder to capture with a photo than if I had penciled it my usual way. But, hopefully you get the idea.

I'll show of the final inks tomorrow!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Saturdays are Music Days!

I spent most of the day today working on music with Lou. I thought we were going to work on a song we had previously recorded but we ended up recording something new and playing around with how many instruments and sounds we could get out of the midi player. I wouldn't say we came away with an actual song but more of a pattern with different instruments coming in and out of the mix. If nothing else, it was a great way to get myself more acquainted working with midi files and I did find a really beautiful sounding violin patch.

I just wish I could spend as much time on my own music as I do on Lou's. But, I am finding it's sometimes easier to help someone out with their own dream than working on your own all by yourself. And, if nothing else, it is fun hanging out on a Saturday afternoon with a friend, having a few drinks, and making a bit of noise.

I also finally found some time tonight to make a quick video and upload both the raw files I received and the mix I came up with for my friend Adam's new music track, "Little White Sermon." Since Adam is being super sneaky about this project and in the past few years has done his best to erase all traces of himself from the internet I am only sharing these mixes here on my blog.

The first half of the video is the raw recordings of the session I got from Adam and, from about 5:10 on, it's the mix I came up with. I hope it's fun to listen to the differences side by side and I really hope I did a somewhat decent job.

Saturdays have definitely become music days here around the studio!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Space Girls and Bike Rides!

Most nights I have free I'll wind the day down by taking a bike ride around town. I used to take my old heavy cruiser bike out for a loop but, since I've gotten a new and lighter road bike, I've been taking longer rides that total around fourteen miles. I basically ride from one end of town to the other and loop back taking a different route that takes me close to the foothills and back to my house.

Last night I was on this run and I thought I was either tired or getting old because peddling seemed a bit harder than normal. But, I kept chugging along, listening to a podcast and letting my mind wander. Around the ten mile mark, when I was going down a hill, I tried to change my front gears from the usual mid-gear I cruise along in to the harder gear. It was then I realized I had done most of my route in the harder gear. So, I wasn't too tired or too old, I had just forgotten to check the gear under my left hand.

I didn't think it wore me out too much as I got home but my aching legs and sleeping in until 1:30 this afternoon say different. Still, I got back on the bike tonight, made sure I was in the right gear, and gave myself a break by doing my old eight mile route.

I got the newest page for OilCan Drive finished and posted tonight. You can check it out HERE. This will probably be the last new one for Track Three for a bit as I get ready for the 24 Hour Comic Day Challenge. But, I am sure I'll get back to it as soon as I can. I am pretty much at the half way point of this chapter and I can't wait to keep going and tell more of the story in my head.

Also, the pin-up piece I did for The Specialists Kickstarter campaign was featured today. The guys gave me a really nice little write up and featured both my piece and the cover of OilCan Drive Track One. I really hope they are successful with their campaign. I would love to have one of those hardcover books on my shelf. You can check out both the write up and the campaign HERE.

I listened to the Avs again tonight as I worked but they couldn't pull it out this time. They lost 1-0. Ah well, pre-season is where you're supposed to work all the bugs out of the system. But, it was fun to listen to the game again on the radio. I am looking forward to watching them again on TV but there is really something nice and nostalgic about simply listening to a game while you work. It somehow makes me feel like a kid again.

And, finally, the piece above is the character of another artist who I met at Denver Comic Con. He asked me if I would do some sketches of her and I liked her so much I had to say yes. The little black and white piece I did as a warm-up to start the day a while ago while the pencil sketch was my first attempt at figuring the character out. I don't think I've quite got her yet and I haven't heard from him lately so I really don't know what will happen with this project. Still, she is fun to draw so I am hoping we can do something together with her soon.