Wednesday, October 28, 2009

workspace and watercolor board

I"ve been stretching my watercolor out on art boards, which are not meant to withstand the pressure of watercolor paper. They are too weak and warp once the watercolor paper gets wet. But I wasn't wiling to pay $40 for a watercolor board. It's justa piece of wood with a finish on it. So instead of buying a watercolor board, I made one. Well, two, actually.

I went to OSH and bought a piece of birch plywood which I cut to make two 20x24 boards. I lightly sanded the plywood on all sides, as I don't want splinters when handling the watercolor board. Then I dusted off one of the surfaces and applied a coat of waterbased finish (Minwax Polycrilic Protective Finish) to the dusted surface. After allowing to dry for a few hours I applied a second coat. Let sit for a day and voila! I've got two watercolor boards for a total of $13. I like to have two pages on boards at a time so I can make changes to the previous page based on how the painting on the current page is going. I can't tell you how glad I've been to have kept a page on the board after starting the next one.

I began drawing page 4 while I let page 3 stretch on the board. As you can see from my photo here I've got the pages I've completed on the wall along with some character designs of the characters appearing on page 4. Then I've got my reference photos and my layout version of the comic so I know what the hell I'm going to draw.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Page 3 pencils

Here are the pencils for page 3. On this page Kodo has caught his fall, while his grandfather watches from below. Then Kodo sees the beehive. He moves in closer to examine the hive. The hive sits on the edge of a crack, or cave in the cliff wall. Kodo begins stabbing at the hive and peeling away the protective wax.

The panel on the bottom right and the bottom left are opposite framings, one from below and one from above, yet Kodo is the same size in both panels. I'd rather they weren't the same size. Whenever possible I try to avoid drawing a character the same size in two panels. But I'm happy with the drawings, so I'm going to leave them as is.

I ended up adding a jewel hanging from the old man's forehead that I will have to add into page 2. It was actually part of the man's design, but I'd overlooked it. I haven't cut Page 2 off the board yet, so it should be ok to add it.

I'm going to try and pick up a better surface to tape my paintings to as an art board is not really sturdy enough. I want to try something that's cheaper than the watercolor board you buy for $40 at Blicks. Seems like a ripoff. But I need something that will be sturdy enough, will not stain my paper if it gets wet, and preferably isn't too heavy. Someone at APE said he uses masonite, but that sounds like it'd be really heavy. I'll check out OSH tomorrow and see if there's anything that looks promising.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Page 2 complete

I painted page 2 at APE, but was too tired to finish it up Sunday night, so I sat down with it Monday night and gave it a good lookover. There were many pencil lines still showing through and I hadn't really darkened many areas, so I went through and did a tightening up pass. I went over all the pencil lines with a darker color of whatever object I was painting. Dark reddish brown on the skin (burnt sienna and cadmium red), and a more wheat brown on the robes (burnt sienna and yellow ochre). I think the whole thing looks much more cohesive now. I found a new dark brown by mixing sap green with burnt sienna. It gives a nice rich brown that isn't too red. I used it on the boy's cloth that cross his chest.

It's pretty late, so I won't cut the painting off the board tonight. One last glance at it tomorrow woth fresh eyes, then I'm on to penciling the next page.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

APE. Day 1

Had a great first day at APE. I'm sitting next to a guy named Nate Powell. He's done a ton of work and I picked up his most recent book, Swallow Me Whole. I just started reading it tonight, and it is great.

I missed the Jeff Smith panel today which bummed me out, because I hear it was great. He'll be back tomorrow to sign autographs and what-not, so I'm going to meet up with him to get my RASL #1 signed. My son Kodo's going to bring his complete Bone volume (which he's read so much it's in two pieces) to get it signed.

People seem to like my style and I'm coming along with the painting for page 2. I didn't quite finish today, but I will definitely finish tomorrow as I'm that close.

APE today

If you've got time over the weekend, come on down to 620 7th St, San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo. It's a good time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Darn Photos

I've been having trouble taking photos of my artwork to create prints from. The photo on the top is one I took a few months back when I was almost finished with the cover. The photo looks nice, with natural white and good darks, but the painting was not complete at the time I took the photo. The photo on the bottom is of the completed painting as it is currently, but the photo is washed out and yellow and looks like crap because I couldn't get decent natural lighting. The one on the top was taken on a sunny day with some nice indirect light. I can't make prints of the Xiola cover from the photos I have of the final piece, nor can I get the correct lighting with my crappy lamps I've got at my house. Tomorrow would be the last day for getting prints made, so it looks like I won't have any Xiola prints for sale at APE. dammit.

I hate not having the proper tools.


APE approacheth!

Well, I have been frantically trying to get some stuff together for APE this weekend. I am in the process of getting some prints made up of my cover art, but can't get a good photo to print from. I need to take a photo during the day so I get good lighting, but I leave for work while it's still dark out, and I get home after sundown. Perhaps it'll be clear enough and bright enough tomorrow morning before I leave for work to take a good shot. Then I can send it to my printer and get the prints made by Friday.

I'm also trying to design my booth. I'd like to get an Uncommon Comics sign made, and create some way fo displaying it. Perhaps with PVC piping I can build some sort of stand. I just don't want it to look shoddy. And I'd like to display some of my original artwork, but don't really know how that would work. Should I frame them? They are weird sizes that would need custom frames, so that's out of the question as I don't have enough time. I need to make a stand of some kind for the posters. Probably out of gator or cardboard. I really ought to have started my booth planning much earlier. I think of myself as a doer, but I'm also a planner, and like to do things the right way... which takes a while.

So here's what I've got planned for my booth. I'll be selling Wanderings books for $1 a pop, just like at Comic Con. I will have a bunch of business cards to give away. I'll have a notebook of Xiola sketches for people to look through. I'll have original artwork posted up somehow. I'd like to have prints of both my Wanderings, and Xiola cover available. I may just print up 10 of each and sell them for $5 and see how that goes. But what size do I print them at? 12x16? Smething smaller? Argh! So many variables. I can't find anywhere to buy mylar bags except online, which would have to be overnighted, so I may go without.

I have always been more used to working with others and didn't realize how much I relied on other people's input. When I'm left on my own I've got a lot of self doubt. Somehow or other, though, I'll have a booth at APE, then Wondercon and so on until I have a system to the madness. Once I've got a system, I'm cool. I like to be organized and efficient. I may just say f-it and go the simple route, just like I did at Comic Con. I'll just hang at my table selling Wanderings, and promoting Xiola. I need to make a decision.

I also need some sleep.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Page 2 painting coming along

I stretched my watercolor paper out on an art board. Check out how warped the board is because of the paper tightening. I really ought to get a real watercolor board, but I hate the idea of paying $40 for a piece of wood. I think I'm going to hit up OSH and see if I can buy a piece of wood for cheaper. Or maybe I can use an old ikea desk top from work.

I am choosing to use 1 palette for the book so that the entire book will have a similar feel. But I do feel limited at times. I mean, I'm basically painting a book where most backgrounds are going to be variations on browns, with people with browns and their clothes which are shades of brown. I'm putting some color here and there, but I sure seem to use a lot of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Cadmium Yellow. I throw in a little Cadmium Red and Sap Green here and there, and use Cerulean Blue and Ultramarine Blue for shadows and to darken my browns. I've got a Purple Madder for the smoke and I keep Sepia on my palette whenever I want a real dark something, but I use it sparingly as it kills all the color beneath it.

I'm going to try and finish this page by the weekend, and get the next page penciled so I can start painting it while at APE on the 17th and 18th.