Archives: News

Burning through Moleskines

Time to open a new notebook. A fresh, Hobbit Moleskine. For the most part I'm writing this novel longhand. Means quite the workout for the Lamy. The advantage to pen and paper is the ability to write anywhere, anytime. Gotten used to that over the years. This also means a chance for some chunky editing when I transcribe the words into the computer. I used to try avoiding the whole transcribing process. Save time. But really, it's a huge advantage. Mainly, by not getting into the habit of having to sit at the laptop to work, I can squeeze a lot more words out of the day.

 

Religion in the Conjurian

Religion in the Conjurian

Here's a quick concept sketch for the Dedites, a religious order that believes Dedi created the Conjurian. They sprang up when I worked on the origins for this world. Their counterparts would be the growing majority that Dedi merely discovered the Conjurian. However, as you'll see in the first novel, the truths behind their beliefs will play a huge part in the future of both worlds.

The monk pictured here is loosely based on another of my favorite magicians, Kenton Knepper. A brilliant thinker and a major influence on many of the effects I perform.

 

Some Novel Concepts

I take breaks from writing to doodle out concepts. Mainly for two reasons. One, the book will have illustrations, and two, it helps me visualize the character or scene. Scribbled up the first new concepts for the Grubians Brothers. They were two of the first characters to pop up in my original Conjurers sketchbook way back when. Roughly based on Penn and Teller, they were originally my Shakespearean clowns. Now, they are so much more. Much more than I ever expected.

Concept art from the Conjurers novel.

The Grubrian Brothers

 

 

Big News for the Conjurers Novels

I’m thrilled to officially announce that the Conjuers novels have found a home.  You can read the details here:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/book-deals/article/60195-book-deals-week-of-december-2-2013.html

A lot of hard work has payed off. A mega, huge thank you to my agent, Rosemary, for finding the perfect home. Of course, a ton more work is ahead. There’s some work to do on this site too. I think I’ll just link to the comic on gocomics instead of running it on both sites. This site will then be my journal for creating the comic and the novels. It will also house all the backstory stuff and a few other cool surprises along the way.

Thanks to all of you have been riding this rollercoaster from the get-go. So, so much more to come.

Pencilling the next page.

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Here we go on the start of the next page. Script is done, and you can see some of the thumbnails in the sketchbook. Thumb nailing from the script is always another rewrite.

As you can see I’m going long form again with this page. In fact, I think, from here on out, all pages will be this size. Cuts down on speed but makes a lot more room for storytelling. And I’m continuing to evolve the style. On this page, my main focus will be form and value. Cutting waaaay back on the heavy atmospheres. Only when necessary. I’ll post more steps along the way.

A glimpse at the novel.

Right, since this site is still relatively young in terms of pages of story, I thought now would be a good time to share the first look at the novel. It’s very brief. And of course, it will more than likely change as I go along, mostly because there are no rules to how I’m writing and drawing this book. It a graphic novel in the truest sense of the term.

I’m posting it as a PDF to keep the layout fixed. Ya, that will be an interesting hurdle in the ebook realm of things. Tackle that later.

So if you feel inclined, take a peek at these few pages and let me know what you think. Do you find a book done in this fashion interesting?

Here’s the the PDF. There’s a little icon in the top right hand corner of the viewer which will open the PDF in a new window. Lot easier to read. And there’s a download link below the viewer if you’d rather avoid the low resolution images.

[gview file="http://theconjurers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Conjurers_novel_sample_091013.pdf"]

Illustration from the novel.

Illustration from the novel.

Finished this one up this morning. Getting the hang of this relatively sloppy style. I think it adds more mood and character to the story. Now of course, in lighter parts of the novel, the illustrations won’t be so shadow heavy. This fits the opening of the book and also sets up a big contrast change in the fourth chapter.

Rough art for the novel cover.

book cover for "The Conjurers"

cover for the novel

Here’s a slightly rough cover mock up for the novel.  As a magician, I adore playing cards and especially the wave of brilliantly designed custom decks that have come along in recent years. Especially this one. I knew early on that I wanted to do a relatively simple yet striking cover. Coming up with my own spade design was the hard part. Didn’t want to just buy or download some clipart and slap it on there. The solution was a lot of fun. I doodled the spade, very small, in my sketchbook. By keeping it small, it made it very easy to get the shape I wanted.

Then I scanned the doodle in and used that as the template to draw the spade in more detail in Photoshop. The face in the center needs some work. That’s the Shadow Conjurer. The main baddy. No eyes, no nose. Just three red scars running down his face.

For fun, I want to work up a fantasy, collage style wrap around cover too. If anything, it would make a cool poster. So, would you pick up a book with a cover like this?

 

 

Illustrating the novel.

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First up, the pencils. I rough this out with blue lead first focusing on the flow of the eye across the page. Also, I try to keep in mind where the text will go.

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Here’s the first light water color wash. Again, here I’m forcing myself to stay zoomed out and not get into any detail. Just laying down super light washes along the eye flow lines of the page.

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This is another round of washes. Starting to darling things a little. It’s hard to stay patient in this process. I’m used to pencils then ink then done. Gotta let these sit a bit between layers.

The rest of the process is coming!

Preview of an illustration from the novel.

book illustration

 Here’s a two page spread from the book. Some pages will be just text. Some will have background images like this with the text overlayed. And some of the story will be told sequentially, in panels. Kind of going on instinct as I write the book. Little different than rewriting only prose. Not only do I have to focus on the emotional impact and rhythms of the words, but I need the art to not just be cute little decorations here and there.

It’s all new and a whopper of an experiment. However, it is still a story. I’m going to try and tell it the most exciting way possible.

The Conjurian: Origins of the World

The Conjurian: Origins

I. Dedi

This being one of several interpretations of the Conjurian’s creation. I say “interpretation” as it is still hotly debated as to whether Dedi in fact created this world or merely discovered its existence.

Dedi lived in Ded-Snefru and was said to be one hundred and ten years of age. When King Khufu’s[1] wife died, his son told a tale of a man who could grant life to the dead. Khufu sent the prince to fetch this magician.

Dedi accepted the request to appear in the royal court. He brought with him his family[2] and his entire library on a separate ship.

After demonstrating his resurrection abilities on an ox and a goose, the Pharaoh commanded Dedi to perform this magic on his deceased wife.

Blindsided, Dedi refused. It was against the natural laws of magic to return a man or woman from the realm of the dead.

Angered, Khufu imprisoned Dedi and his family. Every week the Pharaoh summoned Dedi and ordered him to bring his wife back to the living world. The old magician remained defiantly steadfast. so every week Khufu executed a member of Dedi’s family.

Even to the staunchest Dedite[3], what transpired next remains a mystery. What is known from surviving texts is that Dedi escaped with his surviving family into the Conjurian.

The monks of the order of Dedi[4] teach that after witnessing each execution, Dedi entered a deep trance and constructed a Utopian sanctuary for magicians in his mind. Depleting his powers almost entirely, he transferred this world into a single pebble on his cell floor.

After several months and the loss of over half his family, Dedi used the rock as a portal into this new world which has come to be known as the Conjurian. This day is celebrated throughout the Conjurian by Dedites ( and non-believers as well) on the fifth day of October .

What follows is a brief summary of this unmatched vanishing act taken from the Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden[5]:

As had become the custom, the Pharaoh paraded Dedi’s family into the court and then ordered the Magician to resuscitate his wife. And also per the new custom, Dedi denied the request and a family member was selected for beheading. It was at that moment, after twenty three weeks of captivity and twenty three executions that Dedi spat the small rock from his mouth. The pebble spun wildly and a raging vortex opened. When the paralyzing lights vanished, so had Dedi and his family.

A note on the pebble

The pebble that Dedi spat from his mouth has come to be known as “The Eye of Dedi” for it was through this rock that Dedi entered his own vision of paradise.

It is this stone that the Shadow Conjurer seeks in order to gain supreme power over the Conjurian and eventually the Flat World[6]. Many researches believe the stone passed into the Conjurian with Dedi and that it still contains most if not all of his power.

The Cups and Balls

Another of the ancient legends from the Conjurian centers around the oldest trick in magic: the cups and balls. This effect, wherein a small ball vanishes from, reappears under and penetrates three cups was a staple in Dedi’s repertoire.

It is said that before Dedi fled Egypt he hid his powers of Resurrection in one of his three cups. To further safeguard this power, he infused the other two cups with his power to kill. In this manner, the Dedite Monks believe Dedi purified his soul before entering the Conjurian.

The cups combined with the “Eye of Dedi” would give a magician power over life, death and all of creation. These relics have been hunted for centuries, both by those who wish to keep them safe and those who would use them for their own maniacal gains.

Further Reading

More information on these quests and the history of the Conjurian can be found in Zig Malfundy’s excellent tomb, “A Long and Torturous History of the Conjurian”. And be sure to check out Zig’s new cookbook[7], “A Magician in the Kitchen: Recipes from the Conjurian”.


[1]Khufu ruled Egypt  from around 2589 to 2566 BC 

[2]Being that Dedi was one hundred and ten, he had quite a large family. Twenty five sons and fifteen daughters. Needless to say his family tree is more of a forest.

[3]This term refers to anyone who believes Dedi created the Conjurian.

[4]Also known as the Acetabulari

[5]This section was stolen from the original book during the middle ages in order to protect the Conjurian. How I gained access to this missing fragment of the book is a tale for another time or best not told at all.

[6]A derogatory term used by magicians when referring to the world outside of the Conjurian. Magicians were persecuted for millennia by the same ignorance that led people to believe the world was flat.

[7]An unsolicited plug, as Zig is quite poor. However he is a brilliant chef.

Painted page before scanning

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Here’s a page before I scan it in. I try to keep everything loose. Almost like an under painting. Then I can shape it and paint some more layers over it in photoshop. The main focus is on value. Something I need to work on. Always reminding myself to not jump ahead and just get the lights and shadows to a place where I like them. Then I add in details. Subtle stuff goes a long way. That’s another hard lesson for me.

An old draft before a new direction.

2page_spread

Since I’m going in a completely different direction for the novel, I’d thought I’d share an early layout mockup. This is more of a traditional style for combining graphics and text. It’s fun, and I love getting to do spot drawings here and there, however, the new direction, I think, is infinitely more exciting. I’ll have some completed samples of that soon.