Monday, September 8, 2014

Saved by the Bell #4 ANNOTATED

I was originally slated to draw every third issue; but not long after I completed the art for "Fashion Don't," I was informed it would be used as issue 2, and I was asked if I could draw issue 4 post haste. Ask any fellow I've dated—I never say "no" so away we went consuming the better part of February.

Enjoy the cover and stock art from Chynna, and settle back for "Screech-a-Date."

As often as I could in this story, I tried to create visual symmetry with the panel layout. I thook the challenge to myself very seriously. You won't get a sense of it in digital, but hopefully it will be very apparent when the stories are in print. 

PAGE 1, panel 3 we have a poster for the Brontë sisters—all three! You know me, I love their depressing novels...Jane Eyre, Tennant of Wildfell Hall, Wuthering Heights, all among my favs.

PAGE 2, Slater is wearing the t-shirt I designed and available on my website "Haifischbaby" though it's colored here as light blue.

PAGE 2, panel 1 features the indie gay boy, Jeff, that I drew into the backgrounds of issue 2 at the left of the panel. At the right of the panel, we see Cannonball, Danielle Moonstar, Magma, and some other girl I intended to represent as The New Mutants.

PAGE 3, panel 1 we have a poster for a big fight, Northstar vs. Kyle, Marvel's out gay couple I drew in Nation X.

PAGE 4, I added Lisa's unscripted stretches to add interest for me.

PAGE 4, panel 6, the PSA "check yourself" was inspired by the girls in my high school graduating class. What they said was a lot nastier, so I cleaned it up for Bayside.

PAGE 5, panel 4 I got to use my favorite explosion effect that has been in use since 1998.

PAGE 5, panel 6 was quite a controversy—you see draft 3 published. I was really happy with the first version, but it didn't capture the spirit of the joke. Ultimately I downloaded this app developed by a university in Vienna that maps combined expressions. I drew it just as the app shows but the result has a Kelly that looked old and hag-like. No one was happy with that, so on to draft 3, a wildly exaggerated goofy expression. Good enough.

PAGE 6, etc. Originally, the Max was not going to be styled after the TV show's set. After I submitted inks, there was a change of plans. So, I had to draw new backgrounds, digitally wipe out the existing backgrounds and layer in the new. 

I love the way PAGE 7 turned out! I did a nice job on the trees and particularly like panel 5.

Nice perspective work on PAGE 8.

PAGE 9, though in the background, Jeff's reading and stretching is far more interesting than the conversation in the foreground. Also, we see a flyer for Jimmy James' trivia at the Precinct Bar, Tuesday nights. Just after I submitted inks, Precinct shut down for renovations. When it re-opened 6 months later as the upscale hipster dive bar Brass, they eliminated the trivia night.

PAGE 10, panel 6. I had suggested placement for the word balloons which never came to be. So the pacing feels off to me, and there is a lot of white space.

PAGE 11, ha, Van Gogh and You.  Panels 5 and 6 I drew as scripted, but then everyone realized that the joke needed either Lisa worked into panel 5 or to be edited. As it was already colored and I was leaving on a business trip, I wasn't game to re-draw it. So it's an edited joke.

PAGE 12, panel 3, Jeff is wearing a beaver bullet T-shirt also available on my site. Panel 4, random dude wearing another of my Ts, Johnny's Magnet, sadly colored in green.

Overall, a better output from me than #2...fewer smudges to correct, fewer edits to make, felt like I was back in the groove! Onward!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Hrm—Let's say "January Update"

Completing SBTB #2, thinking, that was fun, it probably won't repeat, I turned back to my own comics with the verve that New Year's brings. Over the next few weeks, I finished annotating THE COMPLETE (AND ANNOTATED) ARCHE-LADY VOLUME 1, all 556 pages! The series, more or less, from 1991-1996.

This is not complicated, but labor intensive. In 2011, I scanned (tedious) all 1000+ pages of the art from the series that I drew from 1991-2001. Then, I had to place and resize the files (tedious) from V1 into InDesign. Then, add my notes (fun!), and export (tedious).

So, 3/4 of the process is tedious x 556 for V1. I was about to turn to the annotation of V2 late January, when my SBTB editor contacted me and advance the work of my next assignment. I was glad it was going to happen, and sooner than expected! 

Here's the draft of the cover for V1. More soon—

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saved by the Bell #2 ANNOTATED

I finished inking this New Year's Day, and make some edits to the inks once the colors were complete. Lots of consistency errors, such as Lisa would be wearing some jewelry on page 2, but not page 3, etc. 

It had been a while since I had drawn a comic, and I was definitely rusty, despite my warm up period. Inking especially, was a smudgy experience. Lots of correction fluid on the pages of Saved by the Bell #2!

But here's an inside look at the issue. You'll have to buy it to follow along, which I hope you did on March 4!

The cover is by Chynna Clugston. She draws the odd-numbered issues of the series, and the covers, as well as setting the character style guide. She is amazing, and I am honored to be such a close part of a project that she's on. I've been a fan of her solo series Blue Monday for a long time.


Lisa's outfits here and the whole issue, are ripped from the pages of Seventeen magazine. I hadn't ever looked at Seventeen!

Shout-outs on the posters hanging to Marvel, my series Cavalcade of Boys, and an ad for French Club as I've studied French (poorly) for many years. Colorist got the flag wrong though.


Shout-out to my OGN Strugglers, though obstructed by the letterer.


Ha, Jessie's book is titled, Subject.


Had to research random teachers that appeared on the show for this page.

Panel 2, first appearance of, let's call him Jeff, the gay indie boy that is a recurring background character in my art.

Panel 4, I forget what this was supposed to be a shout-out to.

Panel 5, Jeff panel-bombing again.


At first, there was no style set for the MAX. By the end of the issue, it was decided to go with the TV show set, as if anyone would hang out there present day. But it was too late to change for this issue.


Possibly the only full page I really like of this issue.


Panel 1 is nice. My Co-worker Rosheen, a huge SBTB fan, is there, as is my friend Adam, who lent me some pens for inking this. I couldn't find them locally, couldn't wait for an online order, yet I had a deadline. Thanks, Adam!


Jeff panel-bombs panel 2.

PAGE 10—awful!


Fashion channel's offices utilize Saarinen Tulip Chairs, designed in 1953.

Panel 4, poster for the Jane Austen Society.


Panel 3, Jeff's reading in the background.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oops—mid-year updates

Ok, looking back to my ambitions for 2014, I was rather too ambitious for who I am today.

I've kept up with my Saved by the Bell assignment, which has been fantastic. I have a great editor, the script is fun to draw, and it's an important step for my comics, professionally speaking. Great, yes? Yes.

Each 12 page shortie takes me about a month to complete (pencil, edit, ink, edit) before and after working at MIT. The assignment is the series' even-numbered issues—more or less—one month on, one month off.

I'd thought I could keep pace on my off-months with my own pet projects (Arche-Lady compilation; Arche-Lady SPECIAL #s 13, 14; Cavalcade mini, Baby Makes Three). Nope. 

Sadly, the assignment comes to me about 5 years too late, both in terms of the peak of my production capabilities, drive, and draftsmanship. While I think my art is still solid, and I've not faltered on the deadline, I'm simply not able to keep burning the candle at both ends. 

In short, I love the assignment, and I love my down time.

In the coming weeks, I'll offer up some details about how I've spent 2014, but in the meantime, here's a quick update on all my boastful New Year's plans:
  •  Saved by the Bell —issues 2, 4, 6 e-published and TPB due soon. Issue 8 inks submitted. PASS
  • Sign up for New York Comic Con—applied but rejected. FAIL
  • Cavalcade of Boys "Quickies" mini—3 of 8 pages drawn; won't have in time for Boston Comic Con. FAIL
  • Baby Makes Three—no progress. FAIL
  • Arche-Lady compilation—completed V1, V2 not yet started. FAIL
  • ArcheLady SPECIAL #s 13, 14—no progress. FAIL
  • Make new business cards—complete. PASS
  • Make new convention banner—incomplete, not likely to have in time for Boston Comic Con. FAIL
Oh well. In the meantime, enjoy this sketch of Kelly Kapowski, which was one of 3 final character sketches that got me the SBTB job.

UPDATE: I just finished and uploaded my new banner. If it functions properly, I will have it in time for Boston Comic Con. Might just be a PASS after all!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saved by the Bell

Secret revealed! It's Saved by the Bell

Lion Forge Comics acquired the right to do a SBTB comic, and hired Chynna Clugston as lead artist. Right time, right place, with me at NYCC and Greg pimping me over to Lion Forge. Yay!

I'll be a regular back up story artist, with my first story slated for issue 3. Not sure if it'll be precisely monthly after that or a bit random but regular. 

Was a lot of fun sketching the characters, pushing closer to Chynna's style guide. The series is set in present day, so I spent a lot of time looking at Seventeen magazine for the latest teen girl fashions.

That's all I'll say for now. I'm excited to get the next script late this month. In the meantime, more work on the Arche-Lady compilation!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Damn you, Monica Gallagher!

Monica just posted her ambitious (doable, knowing her!) comics goals for 2014. She didn't mean it, but the gauntlet was thrown down! Here we go with my art goals for this year:

Secret Shorties

After I picked up a last-minute cancelled booth in artist alley during New York Comic Con in October, I was approached for an ongoing comics project.

The publisher wouldn't like me to  say much about it yet, but more or less, I'd be doing a 12 page shortie per month. It's a nice pace, a nice page rate, and fun subject matter. 

I just completed the inks for the first shortie yesterday. To the right is a awkward slicing from page 9 panel 3. If you can guess what the assignment is from this, you will earn the page as a prize. Good luck!

I don't know how long the series will last, or even if I will be picked up after this shortie...but, if I am, and the series isn't cancelled, my first goal is to stick with this for a year, all 2014, 12 pages per month of the secret shorties.

Baby OGN

If I can ramp up to something of my former pace through 2010, then I should be able to get in a few pages per month of my half-finished OGN about the straight people and their baby. Greg offered to edit the second half so it could be pushed into a better place. If I can get a few pages in per month from March-August, I could have it in time for NYCC.

Arche-Lady compilation

I abandoned this after scanning all 1000 pages of the series which I worked on from 1992-2002. After I got all jazzed about comics post-NYCC, I started with the annotation of the series, and got through about 400 pages. Obviously, 2 500-page books intended only as xmas 2014 gifts for my friends is a high-effort low-impact project, but I want to do it, damn it. You won't want to buy this, trust me.

Cavalcade mini

I've got one page completed, and 7 more scripted. Cover planned out and everything. Seems reasonable to have in time for NYCC and Angouleme, yes?

New York Comic Con

If I have a new OGN and a collection of secret shorties (as the publisher plans to have) then it'll be totally worth it to do NYCC in October. So on the goals list are cards (I didn't have any last year!), and a new banner thingie. 

Angouleme Festival

Ok, technically, that'll be January 2015, but all the commitment and prep will have to occur in 2014. I'll need to have a little French mini, a poster, and I hope to finish the faux magazine cover I started when I last attended the festival, as a freebie handout.

Ok, this list is absurd. Unless the secret shorties fall through and then there's room to spare for some unforeseen project. 

Yay, 2014! Yay, Monica!

Oh—since she asked, I will too: do you have anything you want to see from me in 2014? Blog entries? Pics of me in undies? etc.?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Doctor and Rose

When Doctor Who was rebooted, I caught a few episodes, but too busy drawing, I wasn't motivated to follow the series until Catherine Tate joined up as Donna. Huge Catherine Tate fan here.

Along the way, I saw all the 10th Doctor episodes, and some of the 9th Doctor. I hated Rose with the 10th Doctor, but really like her with the 9th. Their chemistry was much better, I think. 

As you know from my last post, I've been spending more time in NH with my family lately. One of the few nice benefits is I caught up on all the 9th Doctor episodes. Aside from his finale, I love that series, and Christopher Eggleston as The Doctor. 

So here's the 9th Doctor and Rose. I'm a bit inspired to draw the others with companions now. Follow the tags for the 3rd with Sarah Jane, the 10th with Donna, and the 11th with River Song, and then make your requests!

By the way, Happy New Year.