Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Cover Mock-Ups

The cloth-bound foil covers were going to cost twice what we thought, so it looks like that's out, which means back to the drawing board (literally!) on cover designs. Now, it's more than likely that Keith Wood will do the actual cover design, but I still like to hash out ideas and hopefully push it in the direction that I feel is right for the books. I can't wait to see what he does with it, but until then, here's some mock-ups that I sent James this evening.

Also, don't worry, the books WILL still be hardcover, and Crogan's Vengeance is still available for preorder through you local comic shop, bookstore, or through Amazon. And don't let that "152 pages" fool you. This is one-NINETY-two, I think.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chris Wright's Inkweed

I read Inkweed yesterday. I picked up at HeroesCon, and though I've read some of the stories contained therein before, reading them in one volume was an entirely different experience - you notice reoccuring themes, rhythms... it was wonderful. I hate to use the term "literary" when describing comics, because it insinuates that other comics generally aren't... the old expressio unius exclusio alterius rule applies, and I don't mean to say that.  But something - perhaps the subject matter, perhaps the visual style, perhaps both - makes me put it more with the early twentieth century short story canon writers that with other comics. 

It's late for me, and I feel ill-equipped to delve into trying to explain my reactions to the book at this time (I'll eventually write an Amazon review, or something) but anyone who's a fan of Faulkner or Fitzgerald, pick up this book.  It's beautiful and tragic and you just feel like a better person having read it. 

Anyway, I felt like drawing one of Chris's more physically grounded characters (the designs in this book are just astounding), so here 'tis.

Chris's website is godbuckle.com  and if you want to see how far the medium can be stretched and still prove a rollicking good read, give his work a try.  He's got loads and loads of comics up for folks to read.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Usagi Drawing

Got a request for a drawing of Usagi Yojimbo and Gen the Bounty Hunter. I forgot to scan the final version before mailing it off (stupid me!), but here are the pencils. Rest assured that Gen was suitable bumpy.

Though I've said it here before, I hope that anyone out there unfamiliar with the Usagi Yojimbo series pick it up ASAP. Chances are decent that your local library has at least one book (there are twenty-two), and you can always get issues at your local comic shop. With the rare story-arc exception, most Usagi issues can stand alone as incredibly well-told, self-contained stories... a trait that most comics fail at (and, whether they are aiming for an overarching narrative or not, if a comic isn't a satisfying read giving you at least a story within a story with each installment, then it IS failing at its job).

Sorry for the rant. I just see so many people (understandable when it's kids who don't know better, disappointing when it's pros) who will put out issues in which nothing at all happens. Pure exposition. Some action must be conceived of and followed through to an emotionally satisfactory conclusion (even if that conclusion is failure) with each installment of a narrative. If folks can't do that, they should hold off releasing the material until the entire narrative is completed. Serialized novels a la Dickens or Dumas had the good sense to have mini-stories that created a longer narrative, not two or three chapters of character development. There's nothing wrong with thoise chapters, provided that they're released as part of an entire book and NOT individually.

Anyway, the point is that Sakai is a master of the short-form narrative, creating a nuanced, overarching epic while simultaneously giving us great short story after great short story. Would but all comics be this good.

Also, went to Florida! Pictures likely forthcoming.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Some character design sketches

Crazy busy the last couple of weeks, with teaching and a lot of freelance illustration jobs. Sorry for not posting more regularly.

Here's some character design sketches (everything's still in the very rough stages right now) for the next Crogan Book, Crogan's March.

Hope everyone has fun in San Diego!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Crogan Family Tree

Cory at Oni is putting together the press release stuff for Crogan's, so I redid the family tree to hopefully better reflect the design sensibilities of the characters, as my drawing style has changed a lot in the past two years or so (actually, most of the family tree figures are more like three and a half years, old, before I ever really thought of doing them as comics). Anyway, here it is - click it for a bigger version.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sketch Dump

What a week! No sooner did I get back from Heroes than Liz and I started packing up our things. We've been living smack dab in the middle of Atlanta, and it's been a headache - our apartment complex had gone downhill fast, with rent climbing, extremely loud and inconsiderate neighbors, and a general lack of maintenance - a shame, considering how great it was when we first moved there two years ago.

We found a great place - half of an older duplex - that we love. We like our neighbors, we like the landlord, it's a block from a train station, we have a yard, we've got an attic, all wood floors, an extra room for my studio, and it's in Decatur, just outside Atlanta proper, right near downtown. Decatur is an AMAZING little city, with all the charm of a small town but the economy of a bigger city able to support cool specialty shops and restaurants. We're about a mile from downtown Decatur on one side and a mile from the International Farmers Market - what Epcot would be were it a grocery store - on the other. Lots of shade and trees, people out walking their dogs, jogging, pushing strollers - it's idelic. Add to that that we're close to a lot of my cartoonist friends who live in the vicinity, and it's a place just made for us.

Anyway, we moved over the weekend and are still only about half unpacked, so if I'm slow in replying to e-mails, I apologize.

I did quite a few sketches just prior to moving, but didn't have a chance to scan and post them - here they are now. None of these are any characters in particular - just drawing/coloring practice, I guess.

And here's what Mourning Star cartoonist Kaz Strzepek would look like with a handlebar moustache:

Lastly, I've been watching old X-Files episodes because the fabulously talented Lucy Knisely got me all antsy with her great series of X-Files monster drawings. I did this one, a really creepy character named Eugene Tooms, who can stretch and get into places through tiny A/C vents and the like because he's a hundred year-old hibernating genetic mutant who steals people's livers. Ewwww.