A New Day

Nine pages in and I’m still on deadline. And back on deadline for Dog eat Doug too. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to hack another strip, even if it was only once a week. So far, fingers crossed. It’s mostly due to having the writing and plotting done. Then it’s just a matter of producing the art and I’m getting the process down for this style slowly but surely.

Would love to here what you think so far in the blank little comment section below, or on twitter, or facebook, or G+ or…right, too much socializing might be a bad thing. Please just drop a note below.

Oh, and how many magic/magician allusions have you picked up on?

New Year, New Choices

Already on page eight. Just about at the end of act one, which simply means that in the coming pages the plot thickens. A lot. And, from an art perspective, I think the pages will lighten up a tad. Not sooo much heavy texture in the background.

Speaking of the art, I’ll take some pics of the process for the next page. Experimenting as I go, but I have a relatively simple process so far. It’s a messy process which is as I intended. And I need to fill out more of the site. Some pieces on magic and my research for the novel.

Any magicians reading? Bet you recognized one at least one of the names I’ve slipped in so far huh?

The Magic of Mac

A day ate on this one. The holiday and my other strip slowed me down a bit. Yet here it is! Hope this page doesn’t feel too crowded. In the original scripts, this bit of exposition took up two pages. I dislike heavy exposition. Especially flashbacks. However, in this case, I felt I had to dip a bit into the past to set the emotional drive for the old couple. Tugs on the heart strings a bit? I hope.

The True Lords of Sin City

And ever so slowly another layer is peeled back. Hope you’re still intrigued. Might run a little contest soon, before I start promoting the strip. Just a thank you for everyone who has come through the doors early and slumped down in a chair for a spell to see what this is all about. Think I’ll pull out an original drawing to put up for grabs.

Oh, and see those to gents escorting Mac in the last panel? Look familiar? Have a browse back through the archives. I’ve posted some images of them before. They come up a lot in the novel. It’s a lot of fun building something that is interwoven from one end to the other. A bit like building a puzzle from the inside out. Won’t really get to piece together the edges until the first novel comes out.

An offer you should refuse.

The plot thickens, which also slows down the art production. The next few pages will be interesting. A few glimpses of the shadowy side of magicians. Just a glimpse mind you.

In the meantime, if you want a complete story to read (or to read to someone), my new picture book came out last week. It’s dark too, so if you like this art I think you’ll love “The Prince’s New Pet“:

The Prince’s New Pet

Opportunity Knocks

Episode four, here we are. What say you? Does it have at least a tiny crab claw on your curiosity? The pace does seem oh so slow for me, but I’ve always had a tendency to info dump waaay to early in my writing and it’s a habit I’ve worked hard to break. Promise, there are so many cool things to come and I guarantee you won’t see them till they are three blocks away with your wallet or purse securely in hand. I kid of course, just had to toss a street con allusion in there.

And thanks to all the early readers and the word spreading on twitter and such. I’m holding off on any kind of marketing until I have a stable full of pages. So the fact that you’re reading this right now means a ton.

Running Home Again

Well, here we are. Page two. Sorry if this updating schedule feels like a slow crawl down an up escalator. I truly hope I’ll be able to up the production line by next year. It’s also the reason why I’m not revving up the PR machine for this one. It’s a bit hard to ask people to swing by the site and check out one or two pages. However, I truly appreciate all the re-tweets and stumbles over the past week.

The Story Begins

And so it finally begins. This is the first page of the Conjurers webcomic. And a new page shall follow every Monday. Thanks to all who waited an awfully long time for me to get my duff of the fence and get this webcomic part started.

And, as this arc is obviously named “Savachia’s Tale”, this first chapter of comics will follow the young street magician right up to his journey to the Conjurian. Which is to say this first story leads right into the first prose novel.

Once a week is not much of an updating schedule, but between cranking out another daily strip and a couple other book projects, it’s about all I can swing…for now. Rest assured, this first arc is plotted and revised so I know where we’re going. And there will be twists. Not everything is as it appears. This is the world of magicians after all.

Some pages from the Moleskine

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Thought I’d post some quick thumbnails from the sketchbook. Currently I’m scripting the entire story arc for the first episode of the webcomic. Once that’s done I’ll start the breakdowns for each page.

The above image is a definite scene from page two. I’m learning as I go that I’m just not going to get as much into each page as I thought. Taking a cue from Freakangels, I’m going for bigger panels with concentrated drama. Originally I thought the panel above would be on the first page. Not the case. Pacing will be key, as will character development. The trick is to hook the reader enough to come back without becoming a melodramatic cliffhanger.

The image below is a quick sketch of one of my favorite creatures from the story. It appears in the opening chapters of the Novel, and will also appear in the webcomic. It’s just a skull, spine and arms shrouded in decaying robes:

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I’ll keep posting images from the sketchbook along with my initial outlines for the webcomic. Try to document my process, including all the horrendous errors and wrong turns the writing will initially take.

Webcomic Process: Grayscale

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/

The Webcomic is Real!

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.

Cover Process – greys

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.

Book Cover Process

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.