Thursday, May 30, 2013

Work In Progress: October Girl #5 cover...

A sneak peek at work on the cover for October Girl #5. Can't show the whole thing without revealing some big spoilers, but I can tell you one thing... there's a lot of blue on this cover.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

So You Wanna' Be a Comic Book Artist, Part Two...

I'll be honest, for a shamefully long period of my career, I wanted to be rich and famous. I'm not proud of that, but it is what it is, and what it is existed for a reason -- Image Comics.

At some point in the comic book boom of the late 80s and early 90s, when sales were going through the roof, something unexpected happened... people were making lots of money making comics. If you were drawing a big book like X-Men or Superman, you were getting royalty checks with a previously unheard of - in the comic book industry, at least - numbers of zeroes on the end.

Some of those artists with all the zeroes decided that it would be better if instead of some of the zeroes going to the companies that were publishing the comics they were getting royalties from, they started their own companies, made their own comics and got all of the zeroes themselves.

There was more to than just money, of course - creative control, owning the characters you created - but the end result is that they made a lot of money. Lots and lots of money.

And suddenly, they were rockstars.

There'd been superstar creators in comics before, but not like this. These were gods, with big houses and flash cars. Well, I'm assuming flash cars, but you get the point. To comic book fans, they were celebrities, and they were getting a lot richer than the generations of creators that came before them.

Soon, the superstars who created Image started creating superstars of their own, a new generation of talent that were becoming nearly as famous as the creators they worked for, and with page rates that would make most people blush. You started seeing creators described as "Hot New Artist" and "Superstar Creator", you saw them mobbed at signings and conventions, and they saw their bank balances grow.

It was a time of rockstars, but like the voice always says in those old "Behind The Music" documentaries, the good times wouldn't last long.

Friday, May 24, 2013

So You Wanna' Be a Comic Book Artist, Part One...

There are two questions people ask me at conventions more than any others -- "Is it weird drawing Matt Smith as the Doctor?" and "How do I break into comics?".

I usually answer the first question with a joke about how funny people at the BBC think it is to have Matt Smith drawing Matt Smith, but the more honest answer is simply, "No weirder than being a life-long Doctor Who fan who wakes up one day and discovers the actor now playing the Doctor has the same name as you do".

And believe me, that's a little weird. But then it's also weird to me that anyone let me draw Doctor Who at all (and occasionally write him), so the fact that the character is being played by another Matt Smith just adds to the general background weirdness.

The answer to the second question is a little more complicated. What I normally tell people is that the best way to break into comics is by networking. And the truth is that's a major part of it. You have to meet working comic book people -- whether online, at conventions, or in some random social setting where working comic book people are present -- hang out with them, get to know them, and eventually someday, if you're lucky, you'll be in the right place at the right time and fall into a job drawing (or writing) a comic. Turning your lucky break into a full-time career is a whole other story.

But the thing I really want to say when people ask me how to break into comics isn't "do A, B or C", it's a question -- "Why do you want to work in comics?"

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be a jerk or take a swipe at an industry that has kept a roof over my head for almost 20 years now. But there's more to being a comic book artist than just being able to draw well, and for most people, the reality of doing it for a living is a lot different than the fantasy most people seem to have in their heads.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sneak Peek: October Girl #3, revised cover...

One more take on a cover for October Girl #3. Still wasn't quite satisfied with my earlier attempts, so I took one more run at it. This one, I'm satisfied with. Or at least as satisfied as I ever am with anything I draw.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sneak Peek: October Girl cover, colors...

Final colors, with the title lettering treatment added. In the end, I decided to go with this image for the issue 3 cover instead of my earlier take.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Original Art For Sale...

Just put more pages up for sale over at my original art blog, including pages from Doctor Who, Blackburn Burrow, and The October Girl!

Work In Progress: October Girl cover, rough pencils...

Here's a sneak peek at another October Girl cover in the rough pencil stage. I wasn't quite satisfied with my color treatments for the cover to #3, so I started playing around with color sketches in Manga Studio last night, trying to find some combinations that I liked. You'll see one of them below. I liked the color scheme, but the pose wasn't wasn't hitting the magical note I aim for on these covers, so I roughed out the more dynamic, windy pose above.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Sneak Peek: October Girl #3 cover, color treatment...

Playing around with possible color treatments for the October Girl #3 cover. Here's a very red and pink take.

UPDATE: And here's another possible treatment I'm playing with. More red and purple.

Sneak Peek: October Girl #3 cover, inks...

And now, a sneak peek at the inks for the cover to October Girl #2.

Sneak Peek: October Girl #3 cover, pencils...

A quick sneak peek at the pencils for the cover to chapter three of the October Girl. More sneak peeks coming soon!