Up next on the drawing board

Hi, welcome back and if you’re a new reader, welcome. Come in, take a seat up by my drawing board and listen as I rabbit on about comic projects, digital art vs traditional and attempts at writing.

Last time I was discussing what I’ve been up to this year, mainly The Chimera Factor. Not being one to rest on my laurels, I already have a few other projects lined up.

Coming up first, I have a short story that’s going to be published in 100% Biodegradable written by Chris Sides and coloured by Liam O’Connor “Off The Reservation”.

Aliens exist. And they’re two-faced bastards. After doing a deal with the US military, the little green (or is it grey?) folk have gone back on their word and are abducting Earth’s cows. Enter Captain Jerry Kowalski – pilot, escape artist and utterly certifiable…

It’s the first time that I’ll be having my pages coloured and I can’t wait to see it. Here’s a great Halloween themed piece of art that Liam coloured for me. Do yourself a favour and check out his webpage.

In December, I’ll be starting production on “The Gunrunner”, again written by Chris, lettered by Ken Reynolds and with colour by Liam.

2028. Tali Clarke, a disgraced marine, now a civilian gunrunner for a private security firm, is subcontracted by the military to transport a reinforced, unmarked car to the south coast. Called in on her day off and offered triple time for the inconvenience, Tali is told that the mysterious cargo she’s transporting is of the utmost importance. But when her car is attacked by well-prepared assailants who’ll do anything to secure the payload, Tali is forced to think on her feet and break all the rules if she’s to survive this run…

This is the 2nd book set in Chris’s world focused around the Frostbyte corporation, “Impossible” is the first. “Impossible” (Sides, Rowlinson, Franco) is an amazing book. Excellent pacing, great story and some truly gorgeous artwork. Well worth the read and great fun to boot.

impossible

The team of Sides, et all have done a great job on “Impossible” so it’ll be a good challenge to try and hit the high level set by that team.

One of the ways that’ll I’ll be looking to improve my work for “The Gunrunner” is using some traditional media.

Historically I’ve been purely digital. On more than one occasion I’ve had feedback at portfolio reviews that whilst my pencils have a lot of life, when it came to the inks, something was missing, something looked… too digital.

Based on this feedback I’ll be producing my pencils digitally and then printing the pages onto A3 paper in blue, inking traditionally then scanning back in.

Why blue specifically? A little while back, artists would sketch with “non-photo blue” pencils because it’s more or less invisible when using a photocopier. Since most people scan and adjust digitally, “blue-line” sketching is still used, it remains a great and easy way to draw over the top of your sketch.

Once happy with a rough layout done in blue, I can print it out then add black ink lines. I’ll then scan into Photoshop and by adjusting colour channels, I can easily get rid of the original pencil sketch, leaving only the cleaned-up black lines of the artwork ready to be sent to Liam to colour.

Working traditionally has proved some getting used too. I’ve recently completed a strip for Futurequake which will be appearing in a forthcoming issue of “Something Wicked”. Below you can see one of the pages from the story that demonstrates the blue pencil > ink workflow.

02_Page_pencils

 

02_Page_inks

 

Finding the right pens to work with is proving a challenge. I’m quite a clumsy person by nature and work from my living room table. We have a nice laminated wood floor and naturally want it to stay that way. So dip pens, brushes and bottled inks aren’t part of the equation.

There are options however, you can get some really nice disposable brushes and pens. Though that could turn out prohibitively expensive as “The Gunrunner” is an 81-page book and these would need replacing about every 10 or so pages.

That leaves me on the hunt for refillable pens and brushes. I’ve recently purchased a Rotring art pen, which from using briefly seems to be the closest thing to a traditional dip pen.

You can read more about that pen here.

In regards to brushes, I’ve tried to use the Pentel pocket brush pen. Though a great brush with a lovely flow, I find this quite a difficult brush to control. So currently I’m using a non-refillable Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen along with the Kuretake Japanese Bimoji Fude Felt Tip Brush Pens.

Watch this space to see how I get on with it. Updates to follow as my hunt and experimentations continue.

When I meet new people and the conversation comes around to me drawing comics (normally within 5 minutes or so) the often asked question is whether I also write them.

Ironically considering you’re reading my blog, I don’t actually consider myself a writer. I have made attempts at writing comic scripts. I thought I’d post one this week to see what people thought.

The script is a one-page story, set in the future where cloning is perfected and the existence of the soul and the idea of reincarnation is a matter of fact rather than speculation.

Waiting 

Setting:

The story is set about 150 years in the future. Humans have advanced enough so that we can now clone ourselves fully. We can also transfer the whole of our memories and experience to the new body. Along with these developments in Science, we have also discovered that reincarnation is fully real and eventually people souls actually come back to bodies. Though this can be an indeterminate amount of time.

PANEL 1.

Old male hands hold a photo frame. The photo frame contains a picture of a young girl in her 20’s taken in what looks like the 1970’s.Something similar to this photo:

CAPTION:

“I KNOW YOU’LL BE REBORN. SOMEDAY..”

“I’VE LOST COUNT OF HOW MANY TIMES I HAVE BEEN”

PANEL 2.

A futuristic hospital. Two beds lay next to each other. Bed 1 contains the old man still holding the photo frame. Bed 2 contains the same man but 50 years younger. At the top of the bed is a robot doctor (humanoid looking but still a robot think C3PO). In the background a screen can be seen similar to a sales chart there are three metrics being measured “souls transferred” “souls stored” and “souls lost”

CAPTION:

“THE WORLD HAS CHANGED SO MUCH SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE.”

“WE’VE PROVEN THE EXISTENCE OF THE SOUL. WE CAN TRACK THE TRANSFER OF THESE AND PLACE THEM WHERE WE WANT”

“IF IT’S RECORDED IN TIME”

PANEL 3.

The robot doctor places the photo frame into the hands of the body on bed 2. In the background, we can see an ECG machine has flat lined on the body in bed 1. Under the heart rate line, there is also an upload bar which is at 100%.

ROBOT DOCTOR:

“TRANSFER COMPLETE”

CAPTION:

“MY REINCARNATION TAKES SECONDS”

“YOUR’S IS MORE NATURAL. IT COULD TAKE YEARS OR EVEN CENTURIES…”

PANEL 4

The younger hands now hold the photo frame from Panel 1.

CAPTION:

“…IT ALREADY HAS”

“ONE DAY I’LL FIND YOUR SOUL AND WE CAN BE TOGETHER”

“UNTIL THEN I’LL BE HERE WAITING”

 

This is one of the first comic scripts I’ve written and it was an interesting experiment. I’m slowly working on a short five-page story in between the day job, comic work and general life. So it may be some time till this is completed.

Let me know what you think of the above script in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter or just ping me an email 🙂

So that’s it this time around. If you have anything you’d like me to blather on about in regards to comics and making art. Let me know on the channels mentioned above.

Next time I’ll be talking about figure drawing, my working practices and how I approach breaking down comic scripts.

Thanks for reading and see you in seven 🙂

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