Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 14

I've been working pretty much every day since convention season started in March.  It's just a busy time of year and as a freelancer, I have to get in there and take paying jobs while the getting's good in order to make projects like Over the Surface possible.  I took this weekend off, though, kind of on accident.  Fun things came up and I did them?  I didn't make it to work Saturday or Sunday.  It was nice!  It's good to recharge, be more social, and rest my drawing hand now and then.

Also, artists, I cannot stress how important regular exercise is for us.  Cardiovascular exercise improves circulation, which improves our endurance at the drafting table and makes it less likely that we'll injure ourselves.  Just gonna keep harping on that now and then...

So I got less done than I wanted this week, but I'm alright with it:

I was going to prepare an inking video for this update, but that'll have to come later.  I can't do it alone: I need a buddy to hold the camera!  Gonna have to bug one of the Periscope interns.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 13

 Chapter 1 is coming along!  8 pages penciled and inked.

For inking, I've decided to go with a brush for main characters/foregrounds, and a G-pen nib for backgrounds/details.  I'm a fan of inking everything with the same tool--it looks consistent and it's faster if you don't switch tools in the middle of a page--but letting myself use a tool like the G-pen allows me to draw very fine lines and make backgrounds more detailed and delicate.  I'm really happy with how the environments are turning out.  Slowing down and taking the time to look up reference have also helped a lot with that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Week 12

I went and bought cheap sculpting clay and made Victor's face.  It was really fun!  I used fake pearl earrings I never wear for his eyes, so he has this haunting, 1,000-mile stare.  He's very creepy, but I think he is going to help.

Here are some reference photos I took for chapter one:

^This was the closest I could come to Ava's outfit.  Getting an approximation of what the clothes do helps, even if it's not perfect.

And yeah, I'm out of the gates on the final artwork!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 11

I'm back from TCAF!  It was a great reminder that there is some seriously awesome stuff out there and I need to be continually upping my game.  In that spirit, I'm back at it this week; tomorrow I'll be starting the final artwork for chapter one.

For now, here are some sketches I did over the weekend:
I still draw Victor differently every time.  I think I'm going to have to buy some sculpey and MAKE his face so I can understand how the bridge of his nose and eye sockets interact. :-/

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week 10

Same deal as last week.  Stumptown was great (recap here), and I'm getting ready for TCAF this weekend (details here).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 9

Thumbnails are in with my lovely editor for review and I am taking 1-2 weeks off to do other jobs. 

If you'd like some new Tally art, check out my Tumblr!  I've been doing Legend of Korra reaction comics and other fan art.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week 8

I finished the thumbnails yesterday! :D And immediately went shopping. (You've gotta treat yo self when you hit milestones or they become meaningless!)

On to the final artwork!!!!!! I'm a little nervous to start...making an irreversible mark and all that...(meta moment: it's the exact same feeling as the first time I drew Over the Surface, which I talk about in this Between Gears page)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 7

I'm about 1/3 of the way through the thumbnails.

I am 90% sure I will be digitally coloring this book. I'll test the waters with the first chapter pretty soon, and make sure it's working.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 6

I'm working on thumbnails this week. It's slow going, as I'm still recovering from Emerald City ComiCon, but I'm really excited to be drawing the book (drawing! DRAWING!!). I printed out my template onto bristol yesterday, so in my mind I have officially begun the final artwork. 8-D

It's really interesting to me that after 2 years off from the story, rewriting the script, and re-thumbnailing the first chapter, there are some sequences that I think work exactly how I drew them the first time.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Week 5

Last week I made some test pages to see how different combinations of tools would look. I printed out a loosely penciled page twice and inked it 2 different ways, then tried toning and coloring each of those. Results:

1) Inked with a metal nib

2) Metal nib inking + flat graytones

3) Metal nib inking + color

4) Inked with a brush

5) Brush inking + halftones

6) Brush inking + color

I also got positive feedback on the watercolor sketches last week, and suggestions that I watercolor the entire book. I am preeeeeetty sure that is not going to happen, because it would be difficult to correct mistakes without redrawing pages (or at least panels) from scratch. On the other hand, I LOVE watercolor comics and I think I might actually be faster at watercoloring than digital coloring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Week 4

Great news: I have my script for the first book. I started thumbnails yesterday!

Here are some watercolor sketches I did last week:


These were fun! I'd like to do more the next time I have a spare afternoon.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Week 3

I just finished the first draft of the script for the first book! Whoo! It took me several weeks to turn an outline into a script and it feels like an accomplishment. Lots more work to do, but I'm getting closer to the drawing part~

Here are some more sources of inspiration I scanned in since my last post. Again, there are possibly spoilers:

Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi

I really like that tree, and the clear illustration in the second panel of how high up Ranma is without even drawing the ground.

Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi

This comic is goooooorgeouuuuus. I love the loose, frenetic line art, shadows composed of hatching, and the successful combination of this style with halftones. I'm afraid you have to draw a lot of crappy comic pages before you can pull off this style, but I'm tempted to try.

Dragon Ball by Akira Toriyama

I really like Toriyama's effective simplification of things like boats and motorcycles.

Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto

I like the balance of black and white on this page; there's minimal toning and everything you need to know about weight and distance from the viewer is communicated by the line art.


Pluto by Naoki Urasawa

I looooove Urasawa's ability to draw tons of different face shapes from any angle and wearing any expression. He's a fantastic storyteller, which is difficult to show in sample, but he's just fantastic at choosing his shots.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Week 2

This week I found a good recipe for writing:

I clear my desk except for my laptop, my sketchbook, and a few drawing utensils. I set to work writing, and I switch to doodling Over the Surface characters/settings/props whenever I get stuck. Pretty soon, whatever problem was stopping me in the script just unravels itself (it’s like I have to gently coax the solution out by not directly thinking about it). I set my sketchbook aside and start typing again.
On Wednesday, Erika Moen told me about a place near Periscope where she has had good luck writing. It’s very empty and easy to focus. There’s a loud mechanical hum that is actually really great and removes the need for music, which can be distracting. She also reminded me that it's helpful to set small goals, like writing for 1 hour at a time and taking breaks to refresh yourself.
All of my studiomates have been really helpful in this writing phase. They ask how it’s going and have lots of good tips for a stage of making comics I’m not so familiar with.

Paul Guinan has helped a lot with historical specifics. He's a buff from his research for Boilerplate and Frank Reade. He lent me this gem from his and Anina Bennett's collection:

It's copyrighted 1931! It is gorgeous and has been invaluably helpful to me.

The other big thing I did this week was pinpoint art/writing styles I want to emulate in this project and what specifically it is about them that I like (some spoilers for other books):

Yotsuba by Kiyohiko Azuma

I like the environments a lot in these books; Azuma (or his assistants) can pull out realism when required, but know when to simplify as well. Backgrounds never detract from the action.

The War at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks

The pacing and page turns in this book are really excellent. I like a lot of the panels for the way the line art does most of the work and tones are pretty minimal.

Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley

Striking just the right mood in every single goddamn panel. Again, backgrounds omitted when they would only clutter a panel.

Nausicaa by Hayao Miyazaki

Line art descriptive enough to make tones unnecessary except for simple clarifying shapes or drawing attention to something. Great aerial action sequences.

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura

Combining inking tools effectively, strong black shapes, not afraid to leave white space when appropriate, good acting.

Demo by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan

Nice moody panels. I like a lot of the establishing shots and quiet panels drawn with solid black shapes.

Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

A talky comic that manages to be engaging through character acting and interspersed aspect-to-aspect transitions with conversations continuing in voice-over.

Cross Game by Mitsuru Adachi

This comic is very clear. Some panels seems inconsequential or like strange choices, but there is often a specific reason for their inclusion. Sometimes it's just to slow the pace of a page or transition smoothly to a later time. Adachi is not afraid of quiet beats or pauses in conversation. I like the expressive/simplified characters and realistic environments; this can be done poorly but it meshes well in Cross Game.

Courtney Crumrin by Ted Naifeh

Cool depictions of environments in various lighting; lots of good tricks for drawing attention to characters and placing them in the proper plane. All with black and white line art alone!

Confidential Confessions by Reiko Momochi

Interspersion of illustrative panels- - close-ups of the computer or a razor blade, etc. -- to break up conversation and be clear. Plenty of breathing room, creative page layouts. Some panels are completely filled with dialogue or toning effects, but they help the storytelling, like the gravity conveyed by a pitch black panel with the word 'cyanide'.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Gorgeous establishing shots, good use of brush textures, no need for tones. I also like the way he draws things like the truck and power line poles without a ruler. They're allowed to stretch and convey motion.

Angelic Layer by CLAMP

Fantastic action sequences, use of speed lines (sometimes used in shadow areas or what would otherwise be a spot black). Sound effects as part of the panel, directing the eye and taking on descriptive shapes/textures for what they are mimicking. In the last example, I like how some black shapes have no defining interior lines in white; they're just a bold black shape, but it works.

Oh! My Goddess! by KĊsuke Fujishima

Great action sequences and depictions of machines like motor bikes.