Joe-Cat Juju

Been getting a lot of helpful feedback from editors lately. Stuff I should continue doing, stuff I should develop (a.k.a. “just toss out and replace with something better”). They tell me via chat and email that I am among the top twenty-to-fifteen artists that stood out in Chesterquest. Encouraging news, that. Comforting, at least. I’ll keep it as a blanket for a while. Am now in a list of “alternates” who are waiting for projects to be tossed our way. They’re real friendly about it and making sure I know that I’m being considered for future projects. You guuuuuyysss…

I receive my copies of Wonderlost 2 in the mail. My first published semi-pro work. My goose pimples get heart attacks. I read it on my way to work and am slightly humbled by all of C.B. Cebulski’s women. Way to live, Ceeb. Who says comic geeks don’t get any???

Lovin’.

I jump into more sequential samples. Write a six-page Nextwave sample plot (not a script per se) that test a lot of the artist’s group interaction illustration skills. I’ll be posting the script here once I’m done with page three. I’ll be posting the pages thereafter.
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I recently finished a requested piece (via DA) for a friend over in Taiwan. He dared me to draw some G.I. Joe characters fighting some WildC.A.T.s. Here’s a very concise peek at what went into that.

I decided to use Cats Warblade, Zealot, and Grifter, since they are the most combat-ready of the group; while from the Joes I chose Scarlett, Snake Eyes, and Tunnel Rat (initially). Below is the thumbnail I made to visualize the image. I always find it very helpful to do about two or three variations of the image I have in my head. This was the most decent of the three.

Not to get too artsy-fartsy, but whenever I know I have a large composition for a cover or pin-up, I always fall back onto the Rule of Thirds. This allows for a really balanced and (at least) professional-looking compo. You’ll notice that each character is more or less in a sector of his/her own.

The final piece, though essentially true to the thumbnail I used, had a lot of modifications. Snake Eyes’s arms are different, because I realized half way through the drawing process that his right wrist (in the thumbnail) looked like it was about to break. Not good. I scrapped Tunnel Rat and went for Beach Head, coz the latter’s lack of gear allowed for a more dynamic pose. Plus he’s a much better opponent for Grifter.

Lastly, I sorta stretched Zealot out a bit more to make her look more like she was straining. Buscema’s lessons from the good book came in handy there. Lotsa stuff I ended up unhappy with in this piece, but it’s generally decent, I think, and it was a good fun trip down fanboy country. Where them senseless crossovers happen.

Back to them Nextwave pages.

Under the Influence(s)

For a good while now, Sundays have meant Drink and Draw Sessions for me and a couple of fellow artists here in Cebu. It’s always good to be able to take a break from the work week with fellow bastards, yeah? It’s also healthy to mix two of your favorite activities into an afternoon of decadence, yeah? If i knew any cute female artists who drank as much as me and the boys, my life would be complete. Sorta. Kat‘s not here anymore, and she’s married! Damn it!

Viking Gamer Man can’t make it on account of his being a tool who prefers to drink with officemates after spending the whole week with them already. Mike and Leandro show up. We pick up pencils and spend the afternoon drawing crap and making fun of things — each other’s art not excluded.

Along the way, Leandro points out to me that perhaps it would be best if i ditched the Madureira flavor my art as it is tends to scream. I can’t help it. Joe Mad was practically the first artist I really noticed as I was getting serious about my craft. Him and Jason Pearson.

And it makes me sick sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love their styles. They will always be my favorite artists, but in a medium as fickle and shallow as comic books, I have to admit that Leandro’s words rang back and forth on my braintongue as I tried to justify why I was drawing how I was drawing what i was drawing.

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Influences are healthy… just as idolizing is healthy. And though I don’t see myself as a clone, I’m definitely trying to distance myself as much as possible so as not to make the influence so obvious that even my originals and non-referenced stuff look like swipes. I’ve seen it happen to other people, it’s not pretty.

Been studying and digesting a lot of Immonen, Ottley, and the guy who does Brit lately (I’m sorry, I’m sorry…), and if all goes well, I’ll end up with a manga-esque style that’s blocky yet smooth (it’ll be that weird) and comes across as high-energy. A pinch of Gabriel Ba wouldn’t hurt. Middleton for sure. Leinil and Mignola’s black-spotting for good measure. Hughes’s women. Maybe even Campbell’s acting. Coz, well, all this reminds me of a question a friend asked me back in high school. He asked if I wanted to be the next Jim Lee. And I don’t know. I guess It’d just be nice to at least maybe be the first and only “John Amor” so to speak.

Nightcrawler studies from yesterday.