Thursday, December 12


And with 78,467 words, my first draft of the NaNoWriMo story is done. I have to proof it, and that will surely result in additional writing beyond all the repairs. I still have a character named "XX" because I couldn't cook up a proper name.

Yes, National Novel Writing Month ended 12 days ago. I just finished. But I stuck with it, and dammit that's a victorious victory for my first time. In 12-point Times, single-spaced, it's 181 pages, almost 100 pages for double-sided sheets. Not bad, says I.

Monday, December 2

NaNoWriMo Is Done

But I'm not.

Even with 63,000 words, I haven't finished the story. Maybe another week or two. I hope to be done by year's end, including the first revision.

I really didn't think I could manage the 50,000-word minimum, and I'm glad I tried this. Next year, maybe I'll go back to designing a new cover for an existing book. I remembered one of my favorite books needs new art very badly.

Friday, November 22

NaNoWriMo Day 22

I hit 50,714 words at the end of today's writing, and it was at the end of a monster vomit of writing. Or vomit of monster writing, given the genre. I have 8 days left to keep chugging past the 50,000-word minimum, and I'll then edit it to a clean draft before wondering why I bothered.

I wanted to know if I could produce such a volume of text, and I did. And it almost kinda tells a story of slight worth to one or two people. You know, for a sequel to a horror movie from 27 years ago, that is. Total schlock. Gore, smut, goo, all the fun stuff. I can write that all day. Literally, it seems.

Wednesday, November 20

New Shirt Design

I'm friends with the folks at PostAtomic Horror, the weekly Star Trek review podcast. I even sat in with them for a few Next Generation episodes. They just recently moved onto Deep Space Nine, and they're loving how quickly the characters are rubbing each other the wrong way. The Roddenberry Mandate blocked internal conflict in the franchise, but after his death, DSP was based on interlaced conflicts, particularly between Quark the businessman and Odo the cop. Longtime contributor Scott Ziolko had a running gag on Twitter about their relationship, and I made a shirt out of it.This is my second PAH shirt design.

You can order your shirt here, if you so desire.

Monday, November 18

NaNoWriMo Day 18

I passed 40,000 words yesterday, and I'm probably two-thirds of the way through the story. I think I need to alter the setting of the second half of the book from a small office building to a very tall one to make the big horrible chaos even bigger and more horrible and potentially more chaotic. I know I'll be tweaking and editing and changing after all the words are set down, and hopefully changing the building layout will be the biggest alteration.

It's clear this will go on longer than 50,000 words, which is the goal of the exercise -- could I hit that mark and stick with the effort for a month? Looks like that's a yes. Question is how much do I mold this story after the end of the month.

Making comics has helped me approach this with thumbnails and storyboards. The last section of the book will be a horrific climax in an office building, and that will require some choreography to move between floors and determine who dies and how (hint: very very badly).

Friday, November 8

NaNoWriMo Day Eight

I just hit 23,000 words this afternoon. I'm halfway through the minimum word count of 50,000 with less than a third of the month gone. That's pretty good.

Now some of that is a cheat. Because it's a sequel to a horror movie, I'm recapping the events of the movies. This gives me a chance to patch some plotholes, and the film I picked has very large plotholes. The recent commentary track of the movie features the cast and director pointing out story weaknesses, and I wanted to clean those up in this project. I also wanted to of course build on the movie's story and follow the progress of one of the movie's leads. That's where the story idea came from: Ok, that's pretty horrible, but what happened the next day. The movie came out 27 years ago. What happened since then? That's how I got here, 23,000 words into a novel. I'm actually writing an f'ing novel. Golly.

You can follow me or make me a buddy at the November project website. I'm listed as heygregory.

Friday, November 1

NaNoWriMo Day One

After weeks of casual research and drafts of notes, I started my novel experiment today. To get 50,000 words in 30 days, I figured I'd need to hit roughly 1,700 words a day. That's what I had in mind as I wrote. When I was done with my first pass at the first chapter, I had right under 3,000.

It took some doing to get started, and that was after I found the right "camera angle" for the first scene. The first few paragraphs were slow to form, and I moved some sentences around. My initial first sentence moved to the third paragraph, and that felt liberating. it gave me a style direction to follow. I probably overdid the style, but it created sentence fragments, and I realized at the conclusion of the first pass that I could flesh those out and probably add 15% more words to my daily count.

That's a good start, I think.

Thursday, October 17

NaNoWriMO 2013 Announcement

Last year, instead of making a story for National Novel Writing Month, I made a new cover (actually 3) for a favorite book of mine. You can read all about it here or by clicking the November 2012 links to the right. 

This year, as I considered what book needed a new cover (or three), I decided I had enough of a story idea to try to make a novel out of it. I signed up with the website linked above to help me hit 50,000 words in 30 days. That averages out to 1,700 words a day. I'm not sure if I can manage that. I'll give it a shot. And if I can't hack it (in all meanings of the word), I'll instead make a cover/poster for the book/movie that inspired it. I'll let you know how it goes. And if you decide to try the novel effort, good luck.

The above paragraphs total 152 words, so I'll have to write that much 11 times a day. That seems doable.

Thursday, September 26

ACE 2013 and After

Lunch Break Drawings were supposed to help me loosen up my style, but it also imposed a short drawing window, forcing me to commit too soon to a sketch. I worked up these two slowly, returning to them throughout the days to whittle them into shape. They turned out much better.

ACE was a booming show, seemingly non-stop from the moment the doors opened. I did a slew of commissions, large and small, and saw a wide variety of costumes. It was also a nice debut for the latest Sinclair comic. This is a good convention, and you should swing by if you get the chance next year. You can see my photos at Flickr.

Thursday, September 12

Here Come the Heroes

And here's the cover to the Sinclair Superheroes comic debuting at the Asheville Comic Expo Sept. 21. 

This is the shortest Sinclair comic, but it's the biggest in scope. Armory takes Parkour for his first outing as a hero, and they stumble into a big villainous plot. Really big. Cosmic, even. It also sets up the next big arc for the series, and it's the first to feature neither Focus nor eMMA. The comic is $2 for 16 pages.

The comic will be available online or at Comic Envy and Downtown Books & News, both in Asheville. We're also very close to getting on Comixology.

Thursday, September 5

ACE 2013

I'll be at the Asheville Comic Expo Sept. 21. I'm debuting the newest issue in the Sinclair Superheroes line and offering $3 and $5 sketch cards and customizable Loki prints for $5 --  you can make him say anything in a word balloon if you like. Below is the HeroesCon version. The ACE will feature that show's logo and date.

I'm also taking commission requests. You can see the work I did during HeroesCon in June. There's also process blogs (here and here) for two DC heroes commissions done this summer.

I am offering inked commissions (3-character limit) in three sizes:
11 x 14 - $35 (Color $45)
9 x 12 - $30 (Color $40)
7 x 10 - $25 (Color $35)
If you have any questions about ordering your piece(s), please email me.The examples shown are in varying sizes and are available for purchase (email or respond to this post below with inquiries).

This offer isn't limited to ACE. If you're a regular customer of Comic Envy, you can arrange to get pick up your commission there after ACE. Everyone else can arrange for shipment nationwide via PayPal. At ACE, I can take payments or cash or by  credit/debit cards through Square.
+ + +

These prices including shipping costs.

Wednesday, August 28

The Groomsmen

I was approached at my HeroesCon table back in June by a gentleman who had an idea for a commission. (I do fantastic commissions, I hear. Look to the right.) He's getting married in October and wanted to have a piece drawn of his groomsmen as heroes on a comic book cover. I told him, sure, I could do that, and we traded contact info. After a few emails, we got to work.

To be fair to all in the party, I decided against an action pose. Figures would have to be foreshortened, and some would be made smaller in the background. Instead I thought of this cover.
This is an iconic cover from the 1980s. Probably one of the top three from that decade, along these two:

So I sketched out a quick image for approval.

When the idea was OKed, I took his list of heroes for each member of his party and arranged them in the sketch positions.

I then took the reference photos to see how the heads would work on the bodies. We decided to pull back all the masks so the party members would all be identifiable.

We played with positioning the logo as part of the fake cover elements he would add after I finished the image. I didn't like my Superman's rather flat pose, and I liked the crossed arms of Green Lantern. I lowered the camera a tad because the faces wouldn't match the angle of the bodies' original positions. It would make them look like they had cricks in their necks. 

I printed that sketch at a much larger size and lightboxed it to position on my comic page. I detailed the costumes and sent it off for approval.

Then it was inked. The Jor-El costume was simply not made to be drawn. I leaned hard on multiple reference images for that design. Also, contrary to all logic, I inked the faces last.

Once the inks were OKed, I got to coloring.

I tweaked the shield a bit from the original inks and gave everyone the same skin tone. to better suggest a consistent light source. I used Photoshop's brush scatter option for the Superman and Jor-El costumes, and I ditched Captain Planet's face coloring and green hair.

He liked it. He liked it a lot. Mazel tov, good sir.

Friday, August 2

Lunch Break Drawing: Hulk

I had no idea what to draw for today’s Lunch Break Drawing, so I fell back on my cardinal rule of sketching — When in doubt: Hulk.

Thursday, August 1

Lunch Break Drawings

I started making something more than pin-ups for my drawing efforts during my lunch. These are what came up so far. The She-Hulk took longer than one break, but everything else was cranked out in an hour (and I added the letters to the Hawkgirl/Marvel image immediately after). It's an exercise to come up with the image, pencil, and ink it in that time.

Tuesday, July 23

Shirts A'Poppin'

I was inspired or something.

These are on These are not on although I have do designs there. CafePress is mucho skittish about copyrights.

Wednesday, July 10

Buy My Shirts!

You can now shop for a variety of shirts and hoodies adorned with my designs. Shop and The only difference is CafePress wouldn't carry the design inspired  on NBC's Hannibal. They got nervous.

Monday, June 24

Starting The Next Comic

I'm aiming to debut a new minicomic for the Asheville Comic Expo in September. Seeing as how I'm starting as of last week, that'll make for a quick turnaround. But I'm hoping to do a snappy story, something a little more fun that I let myself do both in story structure and the characters.

I wrote the script last week, and starting thumbnailing today at lunch. If I can nail down the page layouts now, the penciling and inking will be much easier. Again I made proportional miniatures of the planned 5.5 x 8.5 inch comic so I can quickly sketch the page borders and get to the important stuff.

Monday, June 10

HeroesCon 2013 Happened

After playing an hour of Saint's Row 3 on Thursday to kill time before leaving for Charlotte, I decided I'd rather be there now. I got to town at 1:30, and as soon as I turned onto College Street, the sky opened up. I drove straight for the convention center to unload in the handy-dandy loading zone that surrounds the convention. I unloaded the car, set up the table to the minimal degree, and checked into the hotel. I went back to the center to tighten up the table layout and met my tablemate, Pat Loika. He grabbed his booth badge and met with other folks while I zoomed like the Flash for Five Guys Burgers. I went back to the hotel room to make more face cards.

Got to the center around 8:30 Friday morning to tidy up the table before the 11:00 opening. I got my sales pitch down within 20 minutes of meeting the first people who walked by. The first cards I sold were a pair of Cumberbatches.

This gent really wanted a drawing of himself as Nick Fury, but his phone wouldn't email a photo to me for reference. Instead I took his picture and Fury-ed him out as he shopped along the aisle. He really liked it.

Convention requests often involve characters I've never tried before. it's a fantastic drawing exercise, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their artwork. By the end of Sunday, I could draw anything. Like video-game Harley.

Like a Sexy Red Skull.

Or a Sexy Hannibal.

Or Sexy Matt Fraction.

The sexy requests became a running joke with my booth neighbors, and one (The Girl Named Kyle, dressed here as Marceline) drew me a Sexy Sharpie.

I also got to draw in some theme sketchbooks.

Speaking of Captain Marvel, I handed out Captain Marvel prints to to the Carol Corps members during the show.
I sold some customizable Loki prints too.

I didn't see anywhere near the number of costumes I hoped to, but I photographed as many as I could when I wasn't drawing requests.

This was the most fun I've had at a HeroesCon, what with my good booth neighbors (Welcome to Creepyville sat on my right) and my running buddies and meeting the CarolCorps and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick being very nice to me each time we ran into each other.

I intend to have at least one new comic for next year's show (you can see my others at Robot Wonderboy), and I still want to make an art piece that makes the cut for the Saturday night auction.

It's now Monday, one day later. I haven't unpacked the crates or counted the money or eaten a decent meal. But I am giddy and deservedly exhausted and ready to do it again right now.

Weirdest moment during a three-day pop-culture party: Watching Karl Rove argue with another GOP convention attendee about the 2010 election. And then seeing that woman's husband tell him, "You see what I have to live with every day." Way to go, ass. Not everyone cane dethrone Karl Rove as Worse Person In An Elevator.