Saturday, January 24, 2009

Issue #5 gets Wicked

I've been waiting forever to do this cover.  This is one of my favorite covers I've ever done.  The source material has a ton to do with that.  Who doesn't want to draw the Wicked Witch of the West.  

Issue #2 Back to Press

The second issue of Oz has sold out at Diamond in the first week and is going back to press for a second printing.  That's 2 in a row.   Not too shabby.  Read more on that below.  First, I've got to put some M F'er's on blast... haha.

I've read a few things on the internets and some people ask why would anyone want to read a Wizard of Oz comic.  Why is it worth it?  It's a funny question to come from a comic book reader.
As comic book fans, we read stories about the same characters over and over.  Every few years those stories start over and they re-tell the origin or put someone else in the costume.  This fools us into thinking something has happened or something has changed.  Some of these stories are great, some are just o.k., and some are just page fillers.  Very few of them will be remembered 5, 10, 15 years from now.  I don't think that a kid in 2057 is going to be talking randomly about the days of X-Men's Manifest Destiny, or the lasting impact of the days of Dark Reign.  Now, before anyone gets their panties ruffled, I'm not taking a shot at those books.  Hell, I wrote a story for the Manifest Destiny line.  I'm just using these as 2 examples as their the most fresh in our mind.

But The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is something different.  Not because I'm drawing it.  If I wasn't working on it, I would wish I was and think the same thing.  Most people love the movie, and the movie is loved because it's an adaption of one of the best selling children's books of all time.  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900.  Don't get me wrong, Spiderman is cool and all, but Dorothy has a few years on him... haha.  We tend to throw the world Classic around a lot these days, but Oz is exactly that.  

Why should one read the comic book adaption of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz?  Because it's a faithful visual retelling of a story that created generations of imagination and wonder.  It inspired people thru the years to then craft a movie that would go to inspire even more and introducing those people to the source material.  It's not anything more than it is, a adventurous tale of a 6 year old girl who finds herself in a world unknown to any of us.  

And you know what the best part of all of this is.  I'm getting my inbox, Myspace, and Facebook filled with messages of people who are sharing this with their kids.  Their kids are reading a comic and wanting to read the next one when it comes out.  As some of you may know, that is not an easy task these days.  Hopefully, I can be apart of a few kids reading Oz and sticking around long enough to read our other stories when they get older.  If you don't know why to read it, buy a copy, give it to a kid, and you'll understand.

One of 2008's hottest—and most acclaimed—new series continues into 2009 even hotter than before, as THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ #2 has sold out at Diamond (though copies may be available at the retail level). THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ #2 SECOND PRINTING VARIANT, from the Oz dream team of Eric Shanower and Skottie Young continue Dororthy's adventures in this strange new world—and brings her face to face with some new allies!

"Eric Shanower presents Oz as the fable that it's intended to be…the aesthetic appeal of this book is nearly unrivaled in terms of a product perfectly matching its aura with its basic design."—Daniel Crown, IGN.Com

"It really is as beautiful as any of the best illustrated children books you'd find, and tells a story in way that pages that all look like they should be framed should never be able to."—Jan-Ken-Pon, BookSpotCentral.Com

"Shanower and Young just don't do Baum's book justice, they in some ways make it even better. I absolutely adore this adaptation, and give high marks for all involved."-- Greg McElhatton, ComicBookResources.Com

With two quick sell outs and loads of acclaim, Marvel urges retailers to check their orders on upcoming issues of THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ!

Pencils & Cover by SKOTTIE YOUNG
All Ages …$3.99
FOC – 2/5/09 ON SALE – 2/25/09

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oz & More for Sale at Cadence Comic Art

Hey everyone,

I've received a ton of emails asking about Oz pages for sale.  The first 2 issues are on stands and now those pages are for sale at my new art dealers website.   Paolo at Cadence Comic Art handling all original art sales from now on.  He's already been kicking much ass and moving pages quick.  I sent him 2 FedEx boxes full of art.  We're talking about pages in the hundreds.  

Thanks one more time to my main man Joe who has been taking care of my for so long.  You really were a saviour my man and you're like a brother to me!  I love ya!

Ok, go buy my art...NOW!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Break it down

Wonderful Wizard of Oz #2 is in stores today.  Go grab your copy!

This has been a very interesting ride so far, and we've got along time yet to go.  I've been drawing monthly comics for the last 8 years and I this project is a big first.  Despite how fun it can be to draw Spidey, Wolverine, or any other classic comic, the thrill always seems to simmer down.  Don't get me wrong, drawing comics is always fun.  But sometimes you may think a project will be the perfect one, and something always seems to change your mind.  We all have specific tastes.  Sometimes my tastes don't mix with the style of story I work on.  Sometimes my skills weren't ready to achieve the goals of the project.  Oz has changed all that.  I'm almost done with issue 5, and I've not gotten bored, frustrated, or stuck at all.  Every page feels like the first day a job you've always wanted.  It really doest go to show that unless you find the thing out there that fits who you are, it won't meet your expectations no matter how cool it seems.

The best thing about being a few years away from the 10 year mark in comics is the comfort in the process.  The first 4 or 5 years I spent hours trying to figure out the process of getting to a final page.  Now the process is like walking, it just comes natural.  It was hard road getting here, but it was worth it.  Here are a few things that I've learned over the years and you'll see them at work on these examples.

1.  The thumbnail is your friend.  I layout an entire of issue before I start penciling.  If you take your time and really think about the page in the thumbnail stage, the rest of the work will run very smooth.  I like to keep things breaking into the gutters.  Keep it clean and tell the story inside the box.  This lets the reader stay focused and it really lets me focus on telling a story and not creating a puzzle of drawings.  

2. If you are an all around illustrator who pencils and inks, then this is a biggie.  Keep your pencils loose.  Go in and start to hammer out details, but don't over do it.  I like to keep the energy flowing around the page and never try to pretend that my pencil is a brush or pen.  It's not.  Building a line with a pencil tends to deaden the line.  I just "jot" down the information.  I don't want to spent too much time on the page.  Too much time equals too much thought and then I start to second guess myself.  I tend to push things far.  If I think about them too much, I will scale back and get boring.  

3.  Inking is fun.  I leave things loose in the pencil stage so that I can still make creative choices while inking.  I'm not a technical person.  I hate rulers and I loathe repeating myself.  When I used to try and pencil tight, inking felt suicidal.  Why would I choose to be an artist for a living and spend the majority of my workday doing non creative things.  Every stage needs to feel like things are being creative, not just redone.  Inking has become very fun for me and I look forward to that part of the process.

If you notice these two examples, my process has allowed me to move from the thumbnail to final with very little change.  Once you have your own process down you'll start to trust yourself more and know what you'll be capable off in the later steps.  Drawing should be fun.  Find a process that keeps it fun for you.  For me, illustrating comics isn't about the finished, printed product.  I rarely even look at that stage.  It's about he ride to get there.  I barely remember my graduation fro highschool, but I sure as hell remember the four years I spent getting there.  

Thanks again for all the support on this book everyone!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Oz, One more time again!

CBR has preview of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz issue #2, coming out next week.  

I just got word that less then a month after the release of the first issue of Oz, Marvel is going back for a second printing.  So, for those people that went to your local comic shop to find that they hadn't ordered enough copies, go let them know and they can get a second chance.  Thanks to all of you for buying the copies out there and giving us a little longer life!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I got Jokes

The Joker will always be one of the coolest characters to draw.  It would be fun to just do a full book of different Joker drawings.  This was me practicing with Painter.  I'm still learning a lot... well, mostly still learning everything about the program.  But I'm sure that I'll start to grasp it even more as I start using it more.  I really want to master the look of a layered oil painting.  A new friend of mine, Nic Klein  is a master of this.  He can expect me to suck out his power via his brain box very soon!

Thanks to everyone for all the time commenting on Oz.  It's great to hear from everyone.