Overthrow! Page 3

Pretty much the first time we get a look at the hero of this series written by Justin Jordan. I made a conscious decision not to show the main character’s face. I’m just weird like that.

I still don’t love inking. But there’s definitely something to be said about a high-contrast image.

Seedling of Wisdom for the Day: Wu-Tang is for the children.

Week One

So I’m alive… after my first week of working on my first actual books. It’s funny doing this instead of an actual day job coz you realize how terrible a manager you’d end up being. Essentially been picking up the pencils right after lunch and working non-stop till about three in the morning the following day. Then sleep till about lunchtime, and the cycle begins anew. The schedule is actually not as bad as it sounds, but sometimes I just roll back over and go back to sleep, wishing I was Travis Charest. That being said though, I finished five pages and a cover this past week. So yeah. Not terrible.

It’s interesting having two books to work on that are so different from each other. And I don’t even mean story-wise either. See, MASK of MANOLO is fully intended to be a black and white book, whereas OVERTHROW! is going to be colored. And as I’m working on these pages throughout the week and alternating which books to work on and when… I realize that it’s a different set of artistic muscles that gets exercised every time.

When I know that a book is going to be black and white, I’m very generous with my hatching. There are lines literally all over the place. Even if I know that I’m going to apply tones to every single page later on, I still apply my hatch lines. That might very well be a waste of time, but it just helps me put it in a different place, y’know, mentally as well as visually.

OVERTHROW! is going to be colored, and I’m helping Justin scout for a colorist. I think I’ve already spotted one, but I’ll let you guys know when it’s solid. I’m not very hatchy when working on this book. My blacks are quite a bit more solid and defined, and I leave a lot of space for a colorist to interpret slight tonal shifts. For instance, while I would apply hatching to a slightly darker (read: midtoned) side of a rock in a black and white book… I would leave it untouched in a colored book and leave it to the colorist to give it a shaded hue. Color me noobish, but I feel like overdoing hatch lines muddles the colors quite a bit.  But when used right and just suggestive enough, it can be a powerful unifier for when a colorist does his magic.

I don’t know if I’m doing it right yet though, but the colorist candidate guy says I’m on the right track, which is encouraging. Go me.

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Eno’s Oblique Strategy Card says: Cluster Analysis

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For those of you who missed it, a coupla friends and myself have decided to kill what little free time we have left to do a comics review show. It’s in the journal entry right before this ‘un. Tres Komikeros is/was/will be a podcast hosted both here and on The Independent Comic Site. ICS has pretty much identified itself as Newsarama’s evil twin, which I think is a really fresh take on comics journalism. Matt Brady meets Maddox.  I have great respect for Dominik, the EIC, and I just know that site’s just waiting to explode. I can feel it in my amateur podcaster loins.

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I’m not allowed to show anyone any MANOLO stuff till November, but Justin’s been posting some previews of OVERTHROW! at his work blog. Go check ’em out. Laterz!

Tres Komikeros 01

EJ, Alex, and myself were a bit bored, so we decided to put together a podcast about comics. It’s essentially a comic review show. Hope you guys enjoy it.


If we sound all chipmunky, I advise you to use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. In any case, here’s the download link for the first episode.

And thanks, Clint and Jaan, for providing the great track.

The Comic Book Club on Kirkman

Most of my friends know that I enjoy listening to podcasts and watching video reviews about comic books. A coupla weeks ago, I emailed the guys on the Comic Book Club (formerly The Stack guys on Next New Networks). Since everyone from Millar to Bendis was talking about Kirkman’s recently released mission statement about comics, I was interested about what the comic book club guys had to say. Here’s the video of the episode they decided to answer my viewer mail in, it’s the second question asked in the show:

You can catch more Comic Book Club shows here and download an mp3 file of the Kirkman message here.

My Strange Friends

The traffic over in my part of town is still shitty. It’s so shitty you’d need a ladder to get knee-high. Damn overpass. The mall’s relatively welcoming, at least. School day and all. I FedEx some important documents to LA, those should get to the right hands by the time I start putting pencil to paper next week. Spend the rest of the morning going over some scripts. All the reading bleeds into lunch time, which is fine. Lunch meeting fell through anyway. Good scripts. Me likey. Should totally get some thumbnails in the can over the weekend, keep ‘em happy.

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Question: Lady, if you wear a blouse with a plunging neckline but walk around the mall all self-conscious with a soft fist on your chest, why bother?

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I run into Bleedman and Jeffrey playing Tekken as I walk out of Sbarro’s. I realize I stink coz of all the spices I put in my zitti and meat sauce… so I intentionally breathe heavily upon them. Take that anime freaks. But no, yeah… nothing but love, really.

And a mint. After.

I do some preliminary sketches for Manolo over coffee. Nothing I can share, but I will say that I’m excited as hell over the existentialism theme running through the first issue. Almost Omega the Unknown-esque, but with more Zorro… I don’t know what that means.

I find out my… sizeable… friend from a call center I used to work got the hot HR chick knocked up. The. Hot. H. R. Chick.

I’m half way through my Dracula study for Horror Classics when Viking Alex shows up and talks comics and draws with me. I still haven’t gotten him to read Fear Agent. He still hasn’t gotten me to read Criminal. We both go nuts about Walking Dead #51.

Fucking nerds.

The coffeeshop is a nice place to ogle MILFs.

Tankman Jeff shows up and chats me up on the perils of freelance payments, how to build robots, and why he liked Val Kilmer as Batman. I swear the baristas stop what they’re doing and just look at him all WTF when he says that last part out loud. Val Kilmer. Please. Also, he hasn’t seen Iron Man yet. Fail. But go easy on him. He’s got this DVD laser thing… burn your eye out, no shit. Tankman Jeff can hurt you.

It’s good to have strange friends.


My brother’s artistic influences

Viking Alex’s sketches from earlier

Leandro’s Twelfth Sinister Six drawing, I think (Me no count)

Suede Monkey Rey does a Hewlett-esque Hulk


The traffic over in my part of town is still shitty.


Horror Classics: The Cursed King

I grew up watching Harryhausen films and Rankin Bass cartoons, so I really enjoy drawing classic monsters and otherwordly creatures. Discovering Frank Frazetta’s art in Mad Magazine (the Blecch parody ad) at an early age led me to hunt down his stuff wherever I could, and that only fed the monster jonesing. About a year ago, I decided to pay tribute to a cartoon I grew up on by drawing some of the key villains in very “Concept Artsy” styles. Here are those pieces:

Thundercats Legends got a good dose of positive feedback on my DeviantArt account and practically got me enough attention to start doing some commissions. I’m no Bleedman, but it was great to be able to receive the appreciation.

Anyway… now, just about a year after I started Thundercats Legends, I’m starting Horror Classics, which will showcase my take on the classic icons of horror. This’ll allow me to both quench my desire to pay some sort of tribute to the monster movies I grew up with and use the techniques I learned from doing the Legends set.

The line art for this piece took pretty quick. I was worried at first that all the bandages would be a lot of work, but once I noted the overlaps and the contours of the form, it went somewhat smoothly.

I’ve recently gotten into the habit of toning my line art as well, so I can take cues as I proceed with the actual coloring process. This stage of preparation gives me a sense of where I’m going and enables me to not lose sight of my goal with the piece. Also, it just looks nice.

The actual coloring of the character involved a layer of noise that was blurred just enough so it looked like the actual drawing was uniformly shaded with a pencil. I essentially peeled away at this layer to “sculpt” the form, then applied some color overlays to apply tones. Finishing touches were mainly just dodge and burn tools. Getting the mouth to be the main focus, and not the golden snake, was a bit of a doozy… but I think it came out well. The burn tool also allowed me to emphasize some dark areas around his mouth — as a result, it looks kinda like he’s smiling if you look at him from a distance.

I applied a paper-ish texture as the background, since I want this set to seem like it’s all wanted posters or, failing that, old-style illustrations on scrolls.

The Cursed King is but the first in a seven-piece set. It is available as a print on my DeviantArt store.

Donning the Mask of Manolo

Just posting some process screenshots of the little online poster I did for Alveraz Ricardez’s MASK of MANOLO. I’m incredibly unorganized when I work in Photoshop, which is probably why I don’t do it very often, but I’m happy with how this piece came out.

Anyone see what I was listening to on Winamp? Haha.


Anyway, the final piece can be viewed (along with other Patchwork Comic covers) here.

Must… earn… KEEP!

September’s looking to be a busy month for me as I have four projects coming down the pipelines. I know that sounds like a heck of a lot of work for a guy who took a whole month to finish six Next Wave sample pages, but I had a day job when I was working on those. Which I’ve thankfully quit since. So… yeah. (That’s right, Johnny. Repeat it like a mantra. You might even end up convincing yourself.) But yeah, this is what I do now, and this is probably the best I’ve felt since I started taking commissions on my DA a whole year ago.

A new publisher called Patchwork Comics is gunning for a January 2009 release date for about four titles, and I got lucky enough to be chosen by the head honcho to take part in that. My own original story pitches — ICELANDER, WOLF PACK SESSIONS, and BEAST BOY JOE (all just working titles) — have been shelved for the moment, but Alveraz Ricardez was kind enough to throw me a bone in the form of one of his own original stories.  MASK of MANOLO will be about a Don Quixote-esque child-hero in a more or less fantasy setting. And the best part? I’ve been granted a window of three days to finish each page! Schwing!

Also on my plate starting next month is a pitch issue for a series entitled OVERTHROW!, with an exclamation point.  Writer Justin Jordan, whose webcomic Junk is up on Zuda this month,  picked me to illustrate the story of a villain who has already won and a hero who has to face a sort of moral dillema about taking him down. Justin’s first e-mail to me had the word kicksplode. That pretty much won me over from the get go. You can view his work log here.

And the final comic project I was lucky enough to get chosen for is another pitch deal with Jared Koon. It’s a yet-untitled Sword and Sorcery story that I’m not allowed to really talk about just yet, so I’ll leave it at that for now

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So yeah. Whew.

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On the local front, co-genius Matt is slaving away, wrapping up the script for the first twelve-issue arc of our comic INSTRUMENTS, which we will be pitching to Image and whoever else when it’s all tight and shiny. Been talking to Derrick Fish a lot about exactly how this is done, but I’ll probably learn a lot from my current collaborators as well.

So I guess those Thor pages will have to wait. They were exciting as fuck, and I got goosebumps when I saw Asgard smoking in Secret Invasion: Thor #1, but I gotta pay the bills first. Still in contact with Cebulski though, which never hurts.

Anyway, a few random and recent sketches I did to warm up in the mornings:

About a year ago I did a fan-art series of portraits entitled Thundercats Legends. It was pretty much a labor of love in that they weren’t commissioned or anything, and I couldn’t sell them coz they were copyrighted. In the same vein as those pieces though, I’m working on a series tentatively titled Horror Classics, and you can pretty much guess what it’s gonna be about. I’ll be doing my takes on the classic monsters. ( Dracula, the Wolfman, etc., Thank you, Wikipedia, for your list of public domain characters. Heh. ) So I’m looking forward to those as breaks between the comic pages I’ll doubtless be swamped with. Here’s a preview of some studies though. Click big.

That’s it for now, guys. Wish me luck.

EDIT: Whoops! I almost forgot. I haz a new computarrr!

Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.53 GHz; 2 Gb of RAM. I am yet to get a new hard drive and maybe a new video card for… stuff… but this is the best PC I’ve ever had the privilege to use. Hands down. My buddy since frickin’ elementary school Andy Tan helped me get the individual parts from three different stores. Thanks, bud!

That blue light is uhmm… my biggest fan. No, really.

Oh, You Bitch!

Either I’ve actually managed to get some attention with some sequentials, or I’ve been enough of a loudmouth on the internet that some people just decided to give me some projects to shut me the hell up. Either way, I win.

But I fail, because my desktop has somehow detected my slight change in fortune and has so sonuvabitchingly decided to pay a little tribute to Murphy’s Law by developing narcolepsy. I shit you not. It’s not quite as bad as the blue screen of death, but it’s pretty damn close — my PC just shuts down without warning. No trigger. No detectable pattern to the instances. She’s just that big of a bitch.

So as great as it is having scripts on the way, having no way of actually working sucks. I’m on my brother’s laptop right now. Fine, I guess I could get some drawings down… but I’d get palpitations without music, and considering I got an ulcer last time I tried it… it’s probably not a very good idea now that people are actually paying me to do it. It’s my one quirk, okay? Shut up. I need music to work, and all my music is… you guessed it… in my computer. Which! Dies! At! Random!

I’ll probably do some sketches though, and tell you guys more about the writer(s) and project(s) in the coming days. But I will say that it’s not quite Marvel or DC just yet. But It’s a start, right? Oh also, I gotta ask how much I’m allowed to talk about here on Border Break. Gotta play these things close to our chests, yeah?

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My brother just started his own work journal. It’s still pretty much a skeleton right now (and he’s using the same theme as me, the bastard), but pay him a visit and say hi —> clicky

For the Kingdom

Letting my big brother, Roby, have a bit of the spotlight today. Here’s a huge tribute piece he did a while back, which has elements from covers one thru three of Waid and Ross’s Kingdom Come series under DC’s Elseworlds imprint. My teeth would probably melt if I tried something like this, so props to the man.

Hello, all. I did this piece ten years ago, a couple of months after KC came out. A real big fan of Alex Ross, I loved the way he did the covers for the first three books of his classic series. The way he decided to pose all major characters in one shot, as if done in a studio, added even more depth to already incredible artwork. It’s as if they all decided to take time out from their busy “superhero” lives just to pose for one iconic photo op. It made the whole piece come alive.    – Roby