Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 - Year In Review

One of my favorite things to do in life is to look back on all that has transpired over the course of a year and assess where things are in relation to goals, new goals, enjoyment and other of life's fun things. So here is my list for favorite things in this past year, beginning with something fun.

5 Favorite Movies of the Year

5. Coraline
4. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
3. Star Trek
2. District 9
1. Up

5 Books I Most Enjoyed This Year (In No Particular Order)

5. Found
4. The Lightning Thief
3. Ultimate Galactus
2. Amulet 2
1. 100 Cupboards

Biggest Lessons Learned This Year

- To Be thankful for all of the great blessings God has blessed me with today, and not spend so much time thinking on the future.
- Dreams are great to have, and should be worked diligently towards, but they pale in comparison to many other things like family, friends and service towards others. They must be kept in their proper place.
- The publishing world requires a lot of patience. Publishing on the web, just requires my time. Both of which I am fine with.
- Parenting is both a joyous and hard task. I can only pray I'm doing a good job.

10 Favorite Moments of the Year (In No Particular Order)

10. Writing a complete script for a graphic novel, The Unknowns books 1.
9. Finishing all of the line art for From Death Til Now volume 1.
8. Going on our first family trip to Disney.
7. Finding out I'll be an uncle again. Twice!

6. Getting promoted at work.
5. Watching my daughter grow up all year long.
4. Signing with my literary agent, pitching our first book and seeing doors open for the future.
3. Seeing my name in print on a comic book. Check out the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi to see my name bringing the supporting role, beginning with volume 2.
2. Going up to NYC to visit my father.
1. Celebrating another year with my amazing wife.

So this is a bit of an abbreviated list. I do a lot more thinking on things, especially on New Year's Eve night. I'm a bit of a resolution setter. I think having goals and working towards them is a great thing for anyone to do. They should be goals that you really do care about though. Not throw offs that you just put down on paper to say you did it. I think long and hard about what those things are and if they are obtainable. If they aren't I try and set stepping stones to get the process started. So, I hope you enjoyed my look back at the year. Feel free to share your favorite moments here too!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Awesome Video Interview With N. D. Wilson

My favorite children's author has an interview that was posted up on youtube recently. Thought I'd share it. Again he brings some awesome words of wisdom on the craft:

Also, check out an interview he did about his other book called Notes From The Tilt-A-Whirl, a compilation of thoughts and essays on God and His world. Also great reading:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Peek At "THE KING'S GAME" - Page Process

So, I have been working on another pitch for a graphic novel that is under the working title of The King's Game. I thought it would be fun to share with you all the first completed page and show you how I did it. Let's start with the original image:

This was my first concept of what the page would look like. I had the idea of it being a small coliseum with a water pit and you wouldn't see any of the creatures in the water until later when our hero's ended up in it. The image was useful for the the intimacy of the event, but eventually I thought (and with other great input from friends and artists) it needed to be more epic feeling. I then got the idea of putting the whole thing out on an open ocean with a coliseum built on the edge of a rock face which lead to this:

These are my original pencils for the page. I do this all on 8.5 paper. It helps me see the scope of everything in a smaller way. I get lost on a larger format. I take these loose scribblings and scan them into the computer.

As you may have seen in an earlier post on my Bounty Hunter drawing, I then convert these lines to red line art in PS using a fill layer and set the layer to Screen. This will turn all of my lines into the shade of red I want. From there I print this out on two pieces of bristol card stock and tap the pages together so I can do the inks. I stick to this format for now because its what my printer handles with ease and I don't think it hurts the final product.

After I've inked the whole thing I scan it into PS and removed the red line art using the Hue/Saturation tool. Then I do some clean ups using a soft white airbrush set to color dodge nd the opacity turned down to 14. This lets me pick up small artifacts that remain after the red has been pulled out and holds up the darker intended lines.
The next step is to Flat the page. This is basically breaking down all of the shapes into layer groups for easy selection. I can then paint freely on one object without fear of it impacting the others around it.

Even more important than color in a painting is the values of the colors. These help things recede and push forward. You can use temperatures to do this as well, but value that works well can create just as stunning of an image as one with vibrant color. Even more so if the artist has no sense of values. So what I've done is started using a fill layer set to a middle gray tone and the layer set to color. I put this on top of everything and will constantly toggle back to it as a way of checking if things are separating like they should and if my focal point is working correctly. I caught a lot of stuff this way.

And finally:

I complete the painting. This thing kicked my butt. I pushed myself hard on this and I think the result is better than I imagined. Its got me excited for the rest of the scene coming up and with this image in place, I'm set to start painting the rest of the scene.