New Conjurers Comic

And wham! Something has popped out of the Conjurian. Ya, I know we’re not heading directly into the Conjurian for a good while, but I wanted elements from that world to crossover into Savachia’s story.  Things are picking up some steam, and there’s more complications to come for the poor street hustler. He’s stepped into a dandy of a wasps’ nest.

Also, I have some ultra cool news coming about the webcomic’s future. Should be able to announce it very soon.

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.

New Conjurers Comic

And he’s back! Remember? The creepy dude, sitting in the tree outside the magic shop? Eating doughnuts? Well, I hadn’t forgotten him and goodness knows he was dieing to get back in the action.

This is where the fun of writing happens. In my outline, I had a few notes for this page. Firstly, bring back the doughnut eating Watcher (and his crow). Second, I knew the scene was going to be creepy, him standing over Savachia’s Mom and all. What I didn’t know, till he started talking, was that he has a history with dear Mrs. Savachia. Well, that threw me. So, I still have my outline. I know where all this ends because of Savachia’s role in the novel. However, some of the stuff coming will be as much a surprise to me as for you.  Kinda cool.

What I do know is that things are going to escalate faster and faster. There be some battlin’ a comin’. Nothing is ever what it seems when dealing with magicians.

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.

New Conjurers Comic

A ticking clock. The pressure’s ratcheting up on Savachia. He’s going to have to move fast and bold. Might be a few unexpected happenings in his way.

On a side note, I’ll start posting other materials related to the Conjurian this week. A brief history of the secret world and also a new ongoing feature. I think you’ll enjoy them.

And as always, there are so many surprises coming! Leave a comment and let me know what you think so far.

 

An old draft before a new direction.

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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.

Peek under the cover of the novel.

Opening page of the novel.

This is the rough art for the opening to the novel. It opens with news coverage of a live escape by world famous magician, Angel Xavier. So yes, the book opens with sequential art. I’ll post some more as the pages progress and add a look at how it will phase into the prose. I’m sure there’ll be a few bugs to work out.Opening page of the novel.

A different sort of novel.

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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.

New Conjurers Comic

Who’s this guy? He is based on a real magician and it is based, loosely, on a real experience. Same as this shop is inspired by my old magic shop back in Mass.  One Saturday at the shop I had the wonderful happenstance to pick through spirit slates with thee Eugene Burger. My fellow magicians know who he is. Now if you haven’t heard of him, pop his name into Youtube and I’m sure one of his mesmerizing performances will kick up.

Making the Comic

Since I’m a bit more comfortable with how I’m making this comic, thought I’d share my process. And it is now a process. A changing one, but far from the muddled series of penciling and ink wash methods it started out as. Right, here a pic of the scanned in art:

Comic process

Comic process

Now the original page is actually a piece of heavy bond, gray printer paper. Kind of starts you off with a nice tone. On top of that I pencil in the art. Smudge some of the pencil. Add some watercolor washes on top to build up some volume. Sometimes I add ink to some parts, usually things I want to have stand out. I’ll do some finishes with white paint or a few more texture washes. Then I scan the whole mess in. Truthfully, I am forcing myself to stay loose and keep it messy.

Once I have it scanned in, I duplicate the original art. This new layer becomes my smudge painting. In essence, via the magic of photoshop, I use the pencil, ink and watercolors as an underpainting. And after smushing things about I get this:

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And that’s where I am on this page right now. I’ll post the next few steps once I get them done.

New Conjurers Comic

Now he’s getting somewhere. However, things are going to get a wee bit more complicated. You might notice the art changing a bit. That’s because it is. I’m letting it develop organically. Don’t think it will shift dramatically. That would be distracting to the story. I am starting to get a feel for this style.

Let me know what you think so far!

New Conjurers Comic

Aaaaaaand I’m back. Yup, been quite awhile. Things on the novel side of “The Conjurers” are mired in some circle of development purgatory. However, I love this world and of course I love magic. So, I scraped the cobwebs off my legs and got off the publishing waiting room couch (which is oddly similar to the waiting room in Beetlejuice sans the shrinking head guy) and stormed back to the drawing table to tell this story.

The comic will update once a week, for now. I’ve written up an actual production schedule. If that goes well, and I can keep up with my other projects, I’ll increase updates to twice a week. We’ll see. The main thing is that I got the train creaking along again. There are way to many stories swirling around The Conjurian to let fade away.