Tuesday, November 29, 2011

See ya Dad

We lost my Dad on Thanksgiving. It was unexpected and quite a shock to us all. He was only 56 and much too young.

He was a good man, and as a Thor lover from childhood he was very proud that I hang my hat at Marvel drawing comics. There wasn't a person he came in contact with he didn't mention it to. When I bought my car, he mentioned it to the dealer as if Spider-Man would inspire them to cut a couple thousand off the price. Ha ha. He was proud of me. He was a husband and father of four who worked at CAT for 34 years so I don't have say that I am proud of him, but... I am very proud of him. 

He was a music lover, and grew up in a family of musicians. He could play most instruments but he was a drummer at the heart of it. He gave all that up when I was young so I didn't see him play much thru his life. But about 4 years ago the music returned. He found that young man again and assembled a kit and shortly after that had a full blown, 6 piece band ready to play shows. My better half Casey McCauley was asked to sing for the band. I had the chance to see my dad rediscover his love of music with Casey by his side. The man who led me here and the woman to will walk with me the rest of the way. That's a pretty special thing to get to watch.

I'm glad my son had the chance to meet his Poppy and spend a few years with him. He'll hear stories for years to come and has his Grandma, aunts and uncles to fill in the gaps that will be there. I'm thankful for that. 

I'm also thankful for all of you who have reached out in the past few days to show your love and support. From my close friends to the fans out there, you all have warmed my heart and given me the brief getaway that has helped over the last few days. Your words are strong and they are appreciated. 

I'll be taking a small break from my blog, but rest assured that it will be small. After all, I am my father's son and we all knew that guy would never just sit the f down. ha ha. 

See ya later Dad. We'll miss you. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Daily Sketch: Usagi Yojimbo

Stan Sakai is one of the nicest guys I've ever met and a true inspiration. He's been drawing his own character in volume after volume of his comic for years.

Today is his character USAGI YOJIMBO.

6x9 bristol
Brush, pen, ink


Monday, November 14, 2011

Daily Sketch: Wormwood Gentlemen Corpse

My friend Ben Templesmith is one of those guys that knows who he is as a storyteller and artist and has built up a stack of books that hammer that home. WormWood: Gentlemen corpse is a fun mixture of grimy dead things and humor and the thing Ben loves most... tentacles.

Here's my 15 pen sketch of The Gentlemen Corpse. 6x9 bristol, pen and ink.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Daily Sketch: Creed

When you ask creators about their influences you will find many of the same names on everyones lists. But there's one name that pops up on my list that played a big role in my early years of wanting to draw comics. Trent Kaniuga.

I discovered his book CREED around 1996, the year I graduated high school. Wizard Magazine was promoting the book a bit and I remember being blown away by how different it was. I read the standard superhero stuff but I never really drew like that. All of the sudden there was this guy around my age publishing his own comic and he drew in more graffiti like, fantasy style. I fell in love with it. I grabbed onto the idea that someone my age was doing comics books, his own comics books, and it gave me the thoughts that I might be able to do it to. 

Trent brought Creed back a few more times over the years and recently released a Omnibus of all his Creed adventures.

Most people have Watchmen. I have Creed. 

Today's sketch is Mark from CREED. 6x9 bristol, brush, pen and ink. About 25 minutes.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Daily Sketch: Maxx

Sam Keith played a HUGE role in my young artistic development. I really look up to him for his freedom of expression in his shapes and lines. So fun.

Maxx is 6x9 bristol, pen and ink.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Daily Sketch: Mouse Guard

After doing the Goon yesterday I thought it would be fun to do a few days featuring more of my friends creator owned books. People like Eric Powell and David Peterson are very inspiring for me. They've created their own worlds and great characters that live in them. One day I hope to be there with them.

Today is a MOUSE GUARD sketch from the David Peterson's great comics.

6x9 bristol
Pen, Brush and Ink


Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Daily Sketch: THE GOON

Eric Powell is one of those guys that nailed a character so hard that he'll stick in our heads forever. Today's sketch is THE GOON.

9x12 bristol, pen and ink.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Daily Sketch: Where the Wild Things Are

After a month of moving my family into a new house and setting up a new studio outside the house, I am getting back normal slowly but surely.

I'll be jumping back on my morning warm-up sketches but I'll be keeping them a black and white this time around. I'm really interested in playing with black and white pen sketching so I'll be using these to study and explore a few new styles.

Today is Max from WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. 6x9 bristol board, pen and ink

Friday, October 14, 2011

Out of commission

Hey all. I realize it's been over a month since I've posted anything. I will be back to graphic novel updates and Daily Doodles soon. My family and I are in the middle of moving into a new house and I'm getting a studio outside of the house for the first time in 10 years. Things are a bit all over the place at the moment but I'll be back to posting in the next month.

Thanks for the patience everyone!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Finding The End Part 5: Found the Beginning

Today was an amazing day. Ever since I decided to start writing in a bit more of a traditional way I've had a few starts that just weren't sitting right. Today that all changed.

Each time I would finish the first scene of my story I would step back and shake my head. It started out so right but by the end of the opening it was nothing but wrong. The various starts felt too formula, like here's the intro now we're heading to Plot Point 1 then we'll roll into Act 2. That's movie stuff. I'm not saying that's the wrong way to approach a comic, but it's not the kind of story I'm trying to tell. I'm attempting to look at different points of my life and see if I can inject them into a story. A graphic novel to be more precise. I want to take advantage of the NOVEL in graphic novel and let the story tell itself however it sees fit and not get lost in the three act structure that we all usually fall into. Again, I'm not dissing that method and I'll probably tell many stories in my life using it.

After a few days of missing the mark of my opening, I decided to pack up my laptop and sketchbook and change my environment. Maybe getting out of the same old same old office space here at home will get me out of the rut of repeating the same mistakes. Change the scenery and maybe I'll rattle something loose. That's exactly what happened. I setup shop at the local library and after firing up Samurai Champloo (I like background chatter) and chugging a latte I was typing away. After a few hours I was floored at my progress.

Instead of thinking of the opening scene, I just wrote ANY scene. I dropped into the middle of a situation and wrote myself out of it. I did that a few times and then I started seeing the whole picture. I realized it didn't want to be and A, B, C story. I wanted to drop in around C, leave and then come back around E or F. The story started capturing moments and I could figure which order they need to be in later. Just grab the emotion now and piece it together later.

Writing at the library and having a completely different focus in a new location was so good I did want it to stop. Having a family, I do my best to keep regular working hours of 9 to 5 and 5 was coming up fast. I decided to meet Casey and my son Baxter at the park after work and use all this positive energy to wear the kid out on the slide. After that we took care of the two dogs, Casey cooked up some yummy salmon and then I decided to head back to library to keep the momentum. A few more hours and I shut the place down and now I'm typing this. My excitement is through the roof because not only have I found the path but I feel I'm jogging down it at a good pace now.

Thanks for following along. Next time we'll check in on my main character, Boy.

Daily Doodle 13: Typhoid Mary

6x9 bristol board
Brush and ink
white out pen

Original art for sale in my ONLINE STORE

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Daily Doodle 12: Storm

Mohawk Storm is the best!

6x9 bristol board
Brush and Ink
Whiteout pen


Monday, September 05, 2011

New OLD Art for Sale

I was going thru an old portfolio and came across some of my warm-up sketch from 3 or 4 years ago and though I'd put them up for sale. CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE STORE

Daily Doodle 11: X-23


6x9 bristol board
Brush and Ink


Friday, September 02, 2011

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Daily Doodle 8: Mojo

This is the creepiest looking character. I love the whole idea of this guy. I would love to do a story with him one day.

6x9 Bristol, brush, ink, watercolor


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daily Doodle 7: 90's Cyclops

This will probably be what Scott Summers looks like to me. I love that useless yellow buckle situation. :)

6x9 Bristol, brush, ink, watercolor


Monday, August 29, 2011

Daily Doodle 6: Warlock

This would be the best character to draw on a regular basis. There are just no rules for him. I love it.

6x9 Bristol, brush, ink, watercolor

I'm going to do things a bit different this week. I'm going to post each piece for sale in my store as I post it here on the blog. My goal is to post every morning right around 10am central time.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Daily Doodle 5: Apocalypse

I loved the shape I went with here but I tried to use my Copic markers and things didn't go over as well as I wanted. They're not great on rough bristol board, and my markers were sooooo old that I couldn't use half the colors I wanted to use. I still like the outcome over all. I may buy a new set of Copic marker and see if I can't make them work properly next time.

6x9 bristol, brush and ink, watercolor.

UPDATE: All Daily Doodles from this week have been sold. More next week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daily Doodle 4: Doc Oc

I don't know why but the classic shapes of Doc Oc always get me. He's oddest looking villain. It may be the hair. Anyway, this will always be the Octavius that I lean towards.

6x9, brush and ink, watercolor, on bristol.

All Daily Doodles will be for sale for $100 each and will be made available every Friday in my Online Store.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Daily Doodle 3: The Vulture

All I had in mind was trying to get the silhouette of a vulture. Usually people go with the long nose but I figured if I really widened it up it would help create the head and beak shape of a vulture. Hey, whatever, it was a sketch, what do you want from me? :)

6x9, Brush and ink, watercolor.

All Daily Doodles will be for sale for $100 each and will be made available every Friday in my Online Store.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finding The End Part 4: Bring It On Back

I have hit a slow pocket over the last four days. My writing as I draw it process is proving to be a bit of a hurdle. When I began down this path I had a specific scene in mind so the momentum was strong. I hit the ground running with what was in my head so the layouts were coming along quickly. Once that scene was put together I found myself staring blankly at the screen of my Cintiq trying to decide what would come next. I have the ending and I know how I want to get there but with out a bit of a road map I'm starting to loose my sense of direction.

Tonight was the fourth night in a row of me not actually producing any page layouts so it was time to switch it up. I'm going pull the laptop back out and start writing to find my way again. I'm going to give myself a very loose outline, index card style and then break down a few scenes into plot and dialog. We'll see if this helps me get back on track.

I'm going to give myself two weeks to have this stage done. If I get done earlier than that fine, but I'm going to really push myself to hit this mark. Since I have the major beats in my head I don't think this is that big of a challenge, but we'll see in two weeks. 

Next time I'll talk a little more about the actual story and Boy, my main character.

Daily Doodle 2: Juggernaut

My goal with these Daily Doodles is to see just how far I can push shape while still maintaining the character. Hopefully as time goes on I'll push them to crazy places.

Brush, ink, watercolor. 6x9 bristol.

I'll be adding all the Daily Doodles to my store each Friday for those that want to buy them. First come, first serve.

And a reminder that my out of print art book JUNK ONE  is now available as a PDF download. Click here to visit my digital store. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Daily Doodle 1: Ghost Rider

Ok, since Scott and I are going to doing an actual story at SkottieScott it I'm going to be doing some warm-ups here at my blog. They would be as involved or as big as I was doing at our blog but I'll keep the energy flowing. I'm going to stick with Marvel characters for a bit, and who knows, you may see a collection of them.

I'll be doing 6x9 bristol board sketches. I will be selling them. But instead of the lottery style that I did at the blog I'll be adding them to my store. I'll wait until Friday and then add that weeks sketches to my store and it will be first come first serve.

Here we go on the first one. Ghost Rider. Brush, ink and water color. 6x9, bristol.

Friday, August 19, 2011

JUNK ONE is now available DIGITALY

If you missed your chance to buy my art book JUNK ONE in print, you can now purchase a PDF download for you iPhone, iPad, laptop, desktop or any other device capable of reading PDF's.


Running Low on Stuff

I started selling STUFF Book One about 7 months ago and I'm nearing the end of the print run of 1000. There are only around 200 copies left. You can order them thru MY STORE.

Retailers, if you order 10 or more I'll give you a 50% discount. If you're interested in this EMAIL Casey and we'll see it up.

7.5x7.5 hardcover
48 page
full color

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding The End Part 3:The Jump Off

The last few projects I've started all went the same. I had an idea that I committed to and was excited to write and draw. I'd pull out the sketchbook and start looking for the character and style of the book. After a week or more of that I'd hit on something and then move over to the laptop where I'd spend a few weeks plotting an outline. I followed the screenplay structure. Act I, Act II, Act III complete with properly placed plot points, mind points... you get the points.

Next up,  I would start writing. My structure consisted of detailed plot with full character dialog. I didn't bother breaking it down into pages or panels because I was doing graphic novels, I could do that in the layout stage. A few projects didn't make it to the end of this step. My last project did. I finished the full script.

It was a few months after having the initial idea that I was ready to finally start doing thumbnails ands laying out the book. I finished layouts in about 5 days and the book ended up being 124 pages long. I jumped right into drawing and inking pages. I was around 90 days into creating my OGN and I had only spent 20 of them drawing so far. I felt burnt out and hit the wall that mentioned in the previous posts.

Flash forward a year later and I'm writing this post. What's different this time around? Everything.

There's the content which we covered in the last post. I'm playing in made up world but telling a personal story with it. But most of all, I'm already drawing. That's the big difference. The idea started to form in SDCC around 3 weeks ago, 2 weeks of discussing options with my trusted crew of art junkies and now I'm laying out pages.

I decided to skip that whole pesky writing step. Well, okay, not really. I'm just "writing" differently. Instead of sitting at a laptop and using all that energy and motivation that I have for this story, I'm just going for it. I'm writing with thumbnails. Letting the story breath and grow in the direction it wants to go with the art. I have the major beats I want to head towards and most of all, I have the ending. So with those milestones in mind, I'm putting lines down and going for it. The thumbnail stage is my version of a first draft. I'll be able to step back at the end of that and edit all I want before going into the 2nd draft of finishing the art. I'm just combining all the steps into one.

I try to be honest with myself. I could come up with a million great reasons why I've stopped every project I've started. Most people would say I already do a monthly book, that should be enough. But that's no excuse. I'm dying to tell my own stories, and I've just flat out dropped the ball each time. But I think that it's because I try to go about it the way I THINK it's suppose to be done. Graphic novels are written and then drawn, right. Well, the more I look into some of my favorite storytellers you begin to find out that's not always the case. I was happy to know that find out that Jeff Smith knew where Bone was going, but he didn't have it blocked out before hand. He just drew his story. I liked the idea of this because it would allow me to use that new energy and motivation I have on actual pages where as before I was burnt out before even getting to the art stage.

I'm 10 pages into this new process and I'm as excited today as I was on the day I started to form the concept.  I'm determined to not repeat the past this time and hopefully with in the next year you'll be holding this book in your hands.

Thanks to all of you who have been following along and leaving your comments. Pass the word, retweet, post away. The more eyes that are reading the more people that will keep me in check.

See you in the next post.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Finding The End Part 2: Happy Accidents

Here's a little on how I found my story.

As I mentioned in the last post, I'd been brainstorming story ideas since I put my last OGN on pause. I needed to make sure I really hit on the content and story I wanted to tell. The frustrating thing was I would love an idea for a two days and then somehow I would convince myself that the idea was done. Simply being that excited about it would bring it to life and play the story out in my head saving me the trouble of having to actually make this pesky thing. I'd just talk about it for a few days and that would be all I needed. Except I still had this burning desire to create a graphic novel. After running through four or five ideas I found myself back at square one. No progress had been made. Sure I had a lot of material to mold at some point but they weren't connecting with me now.

I didn't have time to stress about it because SDCC was looming off in the distance. Getting ready for that is harder than most jobs so I doubled up on work and got things ahead so I could hit San Diego with a running start. The weather was great, the fans were AWESOME and over at TR!CKSTER, Scott Morse, Scott Campbell and myself got ready for our first Symposium (art workshop). Forty plus people in a room watching Skottie, Scott and Scott paint was fantastic. The thing that worked out best for me was the way we came about our subject. The room called out words and we combined them and start drawing and painting. Apocalypse and Bunny. These two words led me to the pages I'm working on now.

I met up with Jason Howard after the show and showed him the painting. I hadn't thought much of it. Just another random piece for fun. Jason said "You should do that as a book. Apocalypse Bunny." I thought about it for a second and agreed. It was on!!! Once we were back from SDCC I would jump online with my Skype Crew of Jake Parker, Ryan Stegman and Jason Howard and they all offered up advice on different aspects. Story ideas, business plans, publishing options, etc. I was getting hype. Now I need to start it.

I drew character designs, ideas for logos, and a rock solid idea for a symbol that would be a sick t-shirt. FALLOUT BUNNY was born. I grabbed the laptop and started plotting out scenes that I had in my head. They were fun, funny and filled with a bunny killing fools. It was happening, I was doing it. After writing a 4 scenes I hit a bump. The scenes were good but they didn't really help tell a story. They were more like gags stuck together, which is fine but not for what i wanted to do. I realized that the goal of my character was a bit of a gag and so all actions on the way to that goal would be gags. So I started to modify the goal. What does Bunny want? And as I thought about it the goal changed from a gag to something much more personal, something that I myself had been thru. This was an interesting turn.

Whenever things like this happen, I pull out my sketchbook and try to scribble my way to the answer. So many choices of mine have been made out of happy accidents drawn in a sketchbook. I drew another version of the bunny. this time with a gas mask on. I drew him a few times and then hit on one that looked haunting. It was ALMOST there. Just one thing needed to be fixed.

I pulled out a white out pen and erased the bunny ears.

Now it was a boy. A young boy in a mask. Whats he hiding? Why is he hurting? These questions started forming and the answers were coming from my life and the places that I've been. It's not about me but it will be have A LOT of me in there. And who knows, when it's all done, it might feel EXACTLY like me. We'll see. I just love that a art workshop brought me to a action/comedy bunny book and that led me to a boys journey thru a post apocalyptic world that will touch on things from my life. Happy accidents.

Next I'll dive into my process and how I'm changing it up on this book compared to my previous attempts.

p.s.- the bunny book will happen one day!