Quick peek at some art from page 40 of the webcomic. For this project I have to work fast and small. Usually on letter size paper. And fast. Did I mention fast?
One draw back: after a time, I tend to suffocate my work under those constraints. Panels become flat, emotionless. So, to break out of that, I draw the shots and scenes on larger paper. Let my hand move further, wilder. That lets me work fast and punch in some emotion.
After the shots are drawn, I’ll composite them in photoshop in their letter sized pixel cell.
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.
Here’ a picture from the opening of the novel. Yep, that’s a panel. Which will be followed by several other panels and then a fade right into prose.
So yes, I’m doing something different. An experiment of sorts. Kind of risky, but, what really helps is having confidence in this world, this story and most importantly, the characters. It’s all there. Just comes down to execution.
I know the site has been stagnant for a bit. And it’s about time I posted something as to why. The Conjurers webcomic has not gone away. In fact I’m still working on it…at an intensely slow pace. The first story is written but due to my new book, the strip and “The Conjurers” novel, I haven’t been able to get a new page up. Also, we’re moving and packing and taping boxes eats up a lot of time.
The good news is that talks for the novel are moving forward. Also at an intensely slow pace, however that’s due to what myself and my editor are trying to do. Which is something completely different. And when you try to do something completely different you don’t know exactly what it is you’re trying to do util you figure it out. And we’re close to figuring it out. And during the time away from producing pages for the webcomic, I’ve re-thought the art a bit and will take the upcoming pages in a slightly different direction. I’m enjoying the techniques I’m using, and I’ll keep using those. The changes will come in the form of a more realized style for the drawings. Which, if you flip back through the comic so far, you can tell the base layer of art (i.e. the pencils) wander a bit between comic book style and cartoony. I’m zeroing in on a set look.
Thanks to all who have come along this far and the comic will return soon.
Here’s another look behind the curtain on making a webcomic, or at least on how I do it. This is the grey stage. It’s the hardest part for me as I always want to charge ahead and splash colors all over everything and be done with it. That always ends in a mess.
Not that this won’t end in a mess, but by having a process in place, I’ll be able to improve the art over time and get it to where I want it. In this step I flatted all the figures. That means coloring them in with just grey.
After that, I throw in some subtle shadows and highlights. Subtle is the key word and it’s the hardest part of this hardest part.
The backgrounds are combos of vectorized photos and some square brush work. I’m trying to push the style towards something I’m not comfortable with which means further away from attempting to draw pure realism. A little abstraction adds some energy methinks.
And you can see just the inks in this post from a few days ago: http://theconjurers.com/the-webcomic-is-real/
And here is a sample illustration for the webcomic. Not that webcomics have covers, but I plan on fleshing this out into a fully rendered painting and using to promote the comic side of things.
Now I just have to put the title of the first story arc on this one and it’s good to go…for now.
Finally, a few finished (but still rough) pieces to show you. This is just a sample cover idea. I think, for the final color illustrations, I’ll be doing a more involved, painted style. For now, it remains in the comic book realm.
As most of you know, I’m hard at work on polishing up the pitch for the novel. At the same time I am also working on the webcomic side of things, simply because A: I want to launch the comic this year, and B: I want to include a sample in the novel pitch.
So I thought I’d share the inks to page one of episode one. I’m not completely sold on the style, but I think I’ll let it improve and grow organically from here on out. Also, haven’t made the final decisions on colors, but I do know I want a painterly effect for the backgrounds (that’s why I haven’t drawn backgrounds in some of the panels.
And on a side note, I need to go clarify the about page. Bit confusing on what exactly “The Conjurers” is.
In this step I dropped in subtle shadows and highlights. Keyword “subtle”. I always make the mistake of hacking in shadows and highlights and the end result is usually a horrid mess. Over the years, I’ve studied other painters and comic colorists and learned how just a slight color change makes a huge difference. For now the name of the game is control and preventing myself from rushing.
This step will get some more tweaks until I’m relatively happy. Then on to texturing.
I have a few processes going on right now because, well, I’m working on a bunch of them right now. This is a step from the sample cover illustration from the novel. At this stage, I’ve laid down all the flats. So now, I can focus in on specific areas one at a time.
It also makes it easy to select certain areas later on. If I want to lay in lighting effects behind the playing card, I can click on that layer and use it to mask out whatever is supposed to be behind the car.
In the next update, I’ll show you what it looks like with all the grey shadows and highlights finished.
And here are the finished inks for the first cover to the webcomic. The next step is the coloring and some digital renderings of antique playing cards. Hopefully the finished product will pop.
Rough photo of the rough pencils for the webcomic cover. This is Savachia, the star of the first story arc in the comic. He’s a secondary character in the novel (an important one though) and we’ll get to see how he ended up in the Conjurian in the first webcomic series.
He’s a little bit of David Blaine and a dash of Criss Angel. More importantly, he’s not what you initially think.
Here it is. The first sample illustration for the novel:
Hark! A new post! Indeed it is. Rather staggering when I look back at when I first started “The Conjurers”. It has been a wild road. Between then and now, I’ve published two books and have another picture book wrapped and ready for release next fall. Wedged in their also is book one for “Fussbucket” and of course the daily chronicles of Doug and Sophie.
So where am I now? In short I’m finishing up another from scratch pitch for “The Conjurers”. It consists of three chapters of text and a few sample illustrations. And that is what I’ll be documenting here, starting now. There’ll be posts on the re-writing process and, once my agent has something to show, bits and pieces about the hopeful sale of the novel.
Let’s kick it off with the most recent piece of art. These are the preliminary inks for an illustration of the mansion at the beginning of the book. I’ve gone around the block multiple times on what style i want to use, and I think I’m close. The initial drawings are loose, sketchy but detailed inks. From there I’ll scan it in, add some grey washes in photoshop and a stylized border to fit the tone of the book. Seems like a lot of work to make a drawing look relatively haphazard and a touch sloppy.
Stay tuned. Lots more to come.
Just a little bit of the first page. Not colored yet.
Work is under way for the webcomic. Here’s a sample piece in progress.