Staying on Model

A must have item for any project.
A must have item for any project.

Oftentimes I have trouble drawing consistently from panel to panel and page to page. It’s more apparent when I draw realistically. I wish I had the skills of Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, but I don’t. What I found for me is creating model sheets helps, especially when the characters are really shape-based and have strong silhouettes. Things Undone was a way for me to experiment with shapes and to get better at consistency.

Though the next time I do a realistic project I think I’ll probably find actors and actresses to create the characters from. At least there’ll be more reference and lighting conditions to choose from. I’m sure everyone already does this…even to the point of just tracing off photos. Still, I’d rather do the character sheets based off of the reference I’ve gathered and my initial designs.

=s=

Too Much Thinking Going On

This was my first attempt at coloring Things Undone. It was a test page synopsis that I made up on the fly. I wanted to see how whacked out, relaxed and anachronistic I could color it without any hard and fast rules. While fun, it also seemed like it would still take longer than I wanted to spend on it.
All told it didn’t really add much to the story.

Okay I’ll admit…it was just too damn time-consuming!

=s=

Color Can Overstate Its Welcome

How am I going to color this thing?

THINGS UNDONE was conceived while I was neck deep in coloring =THE OVERMAN=. Considering this was a labor of love I really wanted to have an easier project that I could rip through in no time that would be a lot of fun. I’m not a comic book colorist, I can’t crank out a page a day. I’m more like a painter who has to deliberate on all the possibilities.

I’m a big fan of printing processes from days of old. I like the way things looked whether it be in old magazines, illustrated books or even packaging. Oftentimes I take my direction from such ephemera when it comes to the overall look and feel of a project. I try to distill down how it can help give the atmosphere of a by-gone era through printing if not artistic style. Sometimes I succeed and even if I don’t at least it looks interesting to me and not typical of what’s out there.

It’s about the layers for me.  Usually at first glance people will judge a book or anything by the way it looks or feels. If I can provide richness that’s worth drilling down to I hope that in some ways people my not realize what they’re responding to, especially if it’s a whole cohesive package. I think it was David Mazzuchelli’s Rubber Blanket books that really appealed to me early one. Just the quality of the packaging as well as how he and Richmond Lewis treated the art really felt special.

By the way I updated my website to reflect my latest book, THINGS UNDONE which will be out in August.

=s=

NBM in August: Things Undone and Dungeon

Here’s what we’re soliciting for in comics stores right now!

First up, the great artist Shane (North Country) White is back with:

THINGS UNDONE
Foreword by Robert Kirkman
The author of the acclaimed “North Country” is back with a dark comedy. Despite Rick Watt’s best efforts to keep it together, he feels his life is falling apart, turning him into a zombie. After a cross-country move with girlfriend in tow, his fresh start turns into a festering mess. As a video game artist, Rick is subjected to the incompetence of three bosses and a kinky art director. His overactive imagination helps him cope until… his seven-year relationship tailspins and his ex takes flight with the guy across the parking lot. Other jobs and a new GF don’t look any better. Caught between his fantasy world and reality, Rick decides to pull the trigger.
With a foreword by Robert Kirkman, creator of the Walking Dead.
6×9, 80pp., 2 color trade pb.: $12.95, ISBN 978-1-56163-563-4

This is in radically different style than North Country which shows off Shane’s incredible range. See the preview pages and then compare with preview pages of North Country, you’ll see what we mean.

Also in August a new Dungeon book:

DUNGEON The Early Years
Vol.2: Innocence Lost
Christophe BLAIN • Joann SFAR • Lewis TRONDHEIM
Hyacinthe, Dungeon Keeper to be, continues to render justice in a cloak nightly as The Night Shirt and stumbles upon the one he pines for, Alexandra, an assassin, about to be raped! After his valiant and heroic rescue, his wettest dreams come true… with dire consequences. In the second story which happens quite a few years later, he’s married and a poor husband, worse even, a poor lover, until Alexandra plots to gain him back. Cloak and dagger with romantic bravura! And you thought he didn’t have it in him. Art by Eisner nominated Blain (Gus) and story by legendary Trondheim and Eisner nominated Sfar (Rabbi’s Cat).
6 1/2x 9, 96pp., full color trade pb.: $12.95, ISBN 978-1-56163-564-1

Also, Eurotica presents its next issue of Sizzle:

SIZZLE # 43
Kevin Taylor is back with the final installment of “Girl, Second Coming”! Plus Omaha the Cat Dancer, Barbarian Chicks, Casa Howhard and more!
Quarterly adult comics magazine, $5.95

So reserve your copies now at your favorite comics store!

Desperately Seeking: Energetic Simple Lineweight

Searching for the right line weight.
Searching for the right line weight.

Here again with another installment about all THINGS UNDONE.

This time I’m sharing an example of the inkline I was looking for in the process of developing this book. The cartooning wasn’t in the bag either. I was pushing for more of a big-head-cutesy-kind-of-thing. The purpose behind it, well I really wanted to show that I can cartoon. I wanted my characters to have the flexibility and strong silhouettes that I think help me express their emotions if in almost an iconic kind of way.

There was no doubt I’d be inking this with a brush, but unlike earlier books I wanted to it feel easy and breezy. Just strong shapely information without a lot of noodling.

The main characters Rick Watts and Natalie Meade are in one of those long-term relationships…like 7 years long. Just in time for things to start getting a little weird.

=s=

Searching for Character

Searching for character!
Searching for character!

Whether I’m writing or drawing I tend to take my characters for a walk to see how they interact with their environment. It’s the quickest way for me to get an idea of their personality. I’ll do little vignettes and see what they see and how they may act given the perception of who I think they might be.

Eventually with enough perseverance they’re telling me where they want to go.

It’s important to me to have backstory and a lot of side elements that won’t go in the final product, much like when preparing for an acting role. Everything informs the characters decisions of how they’ll act and react. Then the hard part really is getting the dialogue to sound natural and consistent with who they are.

So I don’t forget to mention it, Things Undone will be out in August at your favorite local comics shop…and the general public I believe by October/November. If you like what you see ask your favorite store to order it ahead of time.

=s=

Welcome, Shane

And as you said in your entry below, welcome back… um… from the dead? Well I guess that’s in tune with the new book you’ve got coming in August.

Wait, everyone, to see when he posts some pages, this is in a completely different more cartoony style than he used in North Country (where he already varied styles somewhat depending on circumstance). Shane is a remarkably talented guy!!

Back from the Dead

Hi.

It’s been awhile since my last graphic novel, North Country in 2005.

Almost 4 years to the day all this will be coming together again. Unlike North Country though, Things Undone is a dark comedy. The story at it’s core is about change, and how people have a hard time dealing with it.

In the next several weeks I’ll share a little bit about the process with you as well as some of the preproduction art.

=s=