Zuda’s October competition ends in a coupla days. Things have been crazy exciting so far, so I figured I’d do a bit more blabbing about what qualified as work behind our entry… just to take my mind off things for a bit.
I was honestly thinking about showing a bit more of action in this page, like an actual sequence of moves, but space constraints would have forced me to make them too small and possibly a bit muddled. Instead, I settled for showing key snippets of how violent the battle was, because that’s all we needed to know anyway.
This page required a different approach than the first five because it’s the first daytime sequence in the comic thus far. Not being too comfortable with it all being too bright, I made sure to play with line weights to at least hint at a sense of depth. There’s an occasional big black shape to add character to each panel, but having to limit my use of them took a bit of doing.
I walk away from this page fairly pleased with myself and my use of the hand as a gestural tool. To be totally honest, as I was just learning to draw, I was one of those guys who would use any and every excuse to obscure a character’s hand because I dreaded having to draw them in. Not saying that I draw hands perfectly now, but I’ve surrendered to them often being a indispensable tool for expression sans dialogue.
Let’s just ignore my failed attempt at a Bryan Hitch-style camera lens flare and move on to panels 4 and 5, shall we? The thumbnail will tell you that i planned for the characters to appear a lot bigger in the middle panel, but it killed too much of the castle’s… regalness (yes, that’s a word now)… if you can call it that. Not too happy about how those small figures ended up looking, but I guess it carries the action across.
The last panel was actually a bit of an issue because Gabe and I needed it to act as a strong enough hook to make people want to read more… but without over-dramatizing the scene. The script actually had the king saying something to Pluck, and we also thought of Pluck sheepishly introducing himself. Ultimately, we decided that a relatively subtle one-point perspective shot would emphasize that all eyes were on Pluck, and his looking up would show that not only is he being looked at… but actually looked down upon. Fidgety hands and a sheepish grin helped bring the panel home.
Anyway yeah, that’s what went into the PLUCK Zuda entry and my layout process in general. Was it good for you too? *huff
You can read the first part of this commentary here.
If you haven’t yet read the comic, I’d really appreciate it if you checked us out and dropped us a vote. Enjoy the comic here.
Scripts. I have to admit to at least one thing I hadn’t prepared for when building my doomed comics career over the past year and a half or so, and that is the amount of script reading I’d actually have to do. I mean… that’s precisely why a handful of us drawhappy types become artists in the first place, yeah? So we don’t need to read? Hehah! Welcome to the half-movie, half-book medium… care for a brain smothering with miles of text? No. Ellis was once asked at a con about how Darrick came up with the idea for Spider’s glasses, after which Warren explained that most artists can actually only express themselves in pictures and grunts. “…guhh… colors… STAR WARS!” Hilarious business, that. Sad part is I know exactly what he meant.
But yeah, I’ve had to read. And I don’t just mean reading so I can put it on paper… I mean reading to find out if I even want to put it on paper. Know what I mean? I get a healthy stack of scripts to choose from every couple of months, and I get my next project from this pile.
But I need to be smart about it… because if I’m not, I’m gonna be stuck with something I don’t love for what will seem like too fucking long. Whore yourself out just a bit too much and you risk committing to something you’re not sure your creative attention span can handle.
Son, when choosing a gig — big or small — you gotta be excited about it, because if you aren’t it will show in the pages, and that will make the book an ugly part of your portfolio… assuming you even manage to finish it.
It’s the irony of ironies, really — having worked so hard to get to a place where you don’t need to kill yourself pimping anymore, just to learn how to turn things down.
Bowing out of a project is easily one of my least favorite things about working freelance, because not a lot of writers take it very gracefully. Too many assume that the reason why a project is declined owes a lot to the story’s quality… even when you make it clear that you just don’t feel you’re right for it. Comes with the territory, I guess… an insensitive writer probably isn’t really much of one, I’m inclined to imagine. But what do I know?
All the same, it all boils down to decision making and having the balls to stick to it. Gladly grown a pair, hoping it lasts through harsh winters.
Posted by johnamor | Filed under Photos
Posted by johnamor | Filed under Work
Llama: Well then, have you guys met face to face?
John: Haha…no, we have not. The magic and wonder of the interwebz. Pluck was like starting a family without the joy of childbirth.
Gabe and I were recently interviewed about PLUCK over at pop culture Ezine Rocket Llama HQ. I somehow got around to actually talking about the comic…
Check out the full interview here.
As most of you guys have probably already gotten sick of used to by now, I like to post sketches and such just to share a bit of the process behind certain projects. Here are the rough thumbnails for PLUCK, along with the finished fully inked renderings.
Though the roughs for page one were pretty much what I wanted to go with fairly early on, this still took a bit longer than I wanted because I was actually designing the characters right on the page. I had done a handful of prelim sketches to get some looks down, but I wasn’t really happy with any of them. I’m a big fan of HBO’s Entourage though, and it may not be apparent to anyone other than myself, but I imagine Pluck’s mannerisms and speech to resemble that of a young Kevin Connoly.
The black outlines for clouds in panels 2 and 3 were afterthoughts, but I hope they helped to add a bit of weight as well as frame those beats in the story.I imagined Dreda to have black hair initially, but I found it fit the character better to have her be a dirty blonde. The negative silhouette of the knight on the horse was a late addition to this page, as I felt the thumbnail needed a bit of clarity.
This was easily one of my favorite pages to do, since it’s the first time it becomes apparent that we’re dealing with a fantasy story. And I gotta say… nothing pisses me off more than pretty boy knights, so I was just snickering as I was putting this together.
A coupla big influences on how the art for PLUCK came together was Mignola’s Baltimore and Tony Moore’s run on Walking Dead. I don’t have any grays in it at all, but I thought this a threshold version of a grayscale image. Granted that most black and white stories are either horror or crime, a comedic fantasy needed a bit more hatching for some midtones, so I looked at some old copies Xenozoic Tales I still have. It’d be great to come back to this and slap down some gray tones myself though, so I guess we’ll see…
I hope you guys found this interesting. I’ll post the second half of the commentary in a coupla days.
You can read the actual comic here. We’d really appreciate your votes!
It’s been a bit of a headnoisey day, comic work-wise, so I’ll just drop some notes about a side project and may seem a bit more schizo than usual. Starting to type this just as I hear Brubaker say to Siuntres that he loves the fact that whoever follows him on DD is fucked. I’m loving the Thunderbolts, but good luck, Diggle. Just saw the season finale of Entourage and still can’t buy that Sloan’s marrying E. No. Planetary #27 just came out and I want to re-read the whole thing all over again. Yes.
As I’ve probably spilled once before, I’ve been slowly piecing together this flash-animated online RPG with Tres Komikeros accomplice Alex Cipriano; and it’s taken months to get to the place we’re at now, but I can honestly say that it’s been a fun and interesting experience. It’s a breath of fresh air, literally just being given lists and write-ups of creatures and environments to design, with free reign to just go nuts with every detail. Hell of a fun gig. I’ve never been much of a gamer though, so Alex has been indispensable in helping me understand just what the client’s been asking for. We’ve worked out a sophisticated system of chirps and grunts to suit my specific comprehension skills… or lack thereof.
Half way through the creature design phase though, it dawned on us that we simply couldn’t still have lives and do this well… so about two months ago, our buddy Leandro Panganiban came on board as a colorist, with Michael Dizon following shortly after. So what started out as two guys pooling Mignola and Madureira influences spread out into this Falcoon and Phil Noto mishmash. Between the four of us, we’ve magically got everyone believing that we know what we’re doing. Go us!
Naturally, it’s a bit of a pain playing the wrangler in any bunch, and this herd can wander like nobody’s business, but seeing the work just come together is just a thing of beauty — certainly not bad for my first experience in game design. I hope to be allowed to share actual designs from the game soon, but until then it’ll have to be vagaries and hush-hushitudes.
Comic talk in a coupla days.
Posted by johnamor | Filed under Work
Gabe White and I collaborated a few months back on a little sword and sorcery tale entitled PLUCK, and now we’ve found our way into Zuda’s October competition. I’ve always enjoyed the fantasy genre, but this project was a joy to work on because of how offbeat it is. I approached it as Lord of the Rings meets Huck Finn.
Come check it out >>> http://zudacomics.com/node/1488
If you guys wanna read more of our webcomic, we need y’all to vote. Here’s how:
1. Register an account at Zuda. It’s quick and free, and a confirmation email takes you right back to the site.
2. Go to PLUCK, and click on the VOTE button. It’ll change from Red to Tan.
3. Finally, add the comic to your favorites — this helps with the final tally as well.
4. Tell your friends!
Much appreciated, guys!