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.

Wednesday, June 5

HeroesCon Captain Marvel Print (And The Other One Too)

As soon as I sat in my booth at 2012 HeroesCon, I felt like I hadn't done enough for the show.

I had my comics to sell. I had some "face cards." I had some larger sketches in my portfolio to sell. I had a big image to submit for the auction. But I didn't have high-end stuff. Nothing with the polish I wanted. I couldn't in good conscience ask for substantial money for these things. And, in a dollop of irony, I had my best piece, a Captain Marvel, signed by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick after I promised her it would never thereafter leave my house. Sure, I could sell that with the signature. I could also kick dogs.

So when I considered what to make for the 2013 show, I scheduled them between HeroesCons and somehow got them finished well before the 2013 show. Then I learned that the ringleader of the Galactic Captain Marvel Appreciation Society (the CarolCorps) worked at my local comic store. She was planning an inaugural meet-up at the convention. And I thought those people needed a souvenir for the occasion. I had the time. I clearly like drawing the character. (Notice in that 2011 comment section who I suggested should write her in a new comic. So close.) I got to work.
I did this piece last year(ish) and used it as a starting point for the meet-up print.

I considered a tagline harkening back to her Air Force days, but that threatened to make the figure smaller. No woids then.

Here's an early sketch at a larger size.

I cleaned that up a bit in a new sketch. My wife modeled the foreground arm because she'll make a fist at the drop of a hat because she hates it when people drop hats or something.

When I was happy with the pencils, I lightboxed it onto bristol board and inked it.

I worked up the figure blacks and planet lines before I tackled the star field. Notice the double outline around the figure.
(Is that earth? Maybe. Why isn't she wearing her helmet? Who are you?)

Using Sharpies the size of a toilet roll, I inked the background and added dots with a Wite-Out pen.

I colored it in Photoshop, made the print layout in Illustrator, and tried to print it through InDesign. This is what my printer gave me after it decided it was an Atari. I made that into a PDF to print again, and it looked like this:

And that's not bad. 

They're about 5.5 by 7.5 on cardstock, and the supply is limited. This is for the CarolCorps folks, and I hope they like it.

Oh, I also made this print to sell.

The hook here is that I'll letter a word balloon in the bottom right-hand corner, so Loki will say whatever you like. It's $5 each at 8.5 x 11. I haven't used this much crosshatching in years, and it kinda works a lot. The original art is going to the friend who let me design a hero for her son and then use him in my comic (the character's name has changed since then from Arsenal to Armory).

Like I said, I wanted to offer better stuff this year. I think I managed that.