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Archive for the ‘Process & Techniques’ Category

Loose Ends!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

I went down a bit of a rabbit-hole lately, going through my stacks and stacks of old comic art and stories going back to my earliest months in High School. I was looking for stories and art to include in pdf anthologies I was putting together as bonus rewards for the Wahoo Morris Kickstarter.

One thing that struck me during the process was how prolific and full of ideas I was at a younger age. I would start multiple stories at the same time, finishing some, abandoning others.

The better I got, and the more ambitious I got, the greater the tendency to abandon a project and start over from scratch or move on.

Honestly, that didn’t change much as I turned pro, except that I’ve never had problems finishing if there is an outside influence, like a deadline or paycheck!

And I no longer start the same idea over from scratch again and again.

But my archives are full of half-done or briefly sketched out ideas for short stories and pin-ups I never quite got around to finishing.

Though, lately, I seem to have reversed my inclinations.

I’ve been stalled out on starting something new for ages. And the ideas just are not flowing.

But, after a slow startup, I seem to find it easy to finish off old loose ends.

I’ve been sick this week, and unable to concentrate through the fog and fever, I’ve tried to keep productive with some busy work.

I started by fleshing out my sketch for the back-cover portion of an intended wraparound cover to Sîan #1 and then picking away at the inks until it was completed. This one has been on the to-do list for awhile as one of my next to-be-published projects is a full-colour single issue of Sîan. Drawing a billion coins on the floor of a treasure vault was a little challenging while dizzy with a fever!

I then pulled out a sketch I had started as a potential cover to a planned pin-up/art book before changing my mind and abandoning it. I originally started drawing it last fall, so it’s not that old of a project, but it was based on a doodle I made on the back of a Katie & Orbie location design from around 15 years ago! I finished penciling it, then inked it, and will probably end up using it as the back cover to that proposed book.

Then, wanting to keep busy, I pulled out this abandoned pin-up I started over 10 years ago for an Edgar Rice Burroughs Fanzine a colleague was involved in at the time. It was of a scene from the novel the Cave Girl, and I was trying to do my best J. Allen St. John impersonation!

Deadlines got in the way and it sat unfinished until now.

I imported it into Clip Studio yesterday and inked it from scratch just for the hell of it. It really has no purpose, but it can replace the pencil and partially inked version that was going to go in the Art Book.

And to keep the momentum going, today, I pulled out 3 other old pin-up sketches and started fleshing them out as well as pulling out a 3 page story I started in 1997 that was supposed to be my first submission to Mythography but was abandoned when I couldn’t shoe-horn the plot into the allotted 3 pages. If I can flesh it out to 4 pages, then the planned anthology book of my Mythography and Forbidden Book stories will be a few pages longer.

And maybe, just maybe, getting a bunch of finished art done in a short period of time just might start to knock loose some of those mental blocks that are still getting in the way of the new ideas starting to flow again!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Happy New Year to one and all!

I’ve been back at work for a week and have been ticking tasks off the to-do list for getting the Wahoo Morris Kickstarter fulfilled.

The bookmarks arrived yesterday to go alongside the Bookplates that arrived before Christmas.


I think the actual book itself is done, as of yesterday.

Though I will probably triple check all the files a couple more times before sending everything to the printer. It’s been a while since I’ve done this so I want to make sure the colour separations and trapping is all done properly. I don’t want any spelling mistakes or printing boo-boos to suddenly appear when i get the book back from the printer.



After I send the book to the printer, the mini-poster will be the only physical thing left to get done before shipping out rewards to the Kickstarter backers.

It’s getting close!

Colouring Practice

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

I have had a very sporadic experience with color.

I have primarily worked in black and white comics. The real exception has been for covers and I haven’t had the opportunity to do that many of them. So when I have had the opportunity/need, it seems like I am re-learning a new method each time.

Way back in the stone age at Aircel Publishing, the method everyone in the studio was using for colouring was to colour directly on the inked original art using Markers and coloured pencils. There was an air brush attachment nozzle for using the markers with a can of compressed air even.

1987_MayanStory_Pg_02     1989_DinosaursForHireGN2     1988_DinosaursForHire07

I used that technique on a back cover for Samurai #11, two covers for Dinosaurs For Hire (Graphic Novel Vol. 2 shown), as well as two unpublished short stories, and most of an issue of a comic I ended up scrapping when Aircel stopped publishing colour comics.

And that was it for colour for a loooong time. I just didn’t have the need.

When I started self-publishing Wahoo Morris I did a lot of research trying to find out what the best method for colouring was. Digital was still not the norm, especially for self-published books. Influenced by artists like Michael W. Kaluta and Charles Vess, I decided to go with a combination of painting with Dr. Martin and Kohinoor water colour dyes.

For the first issue I photo copied the line art at print size onto a small sheet of bristol paper and coloured in the hopes of getting sharper black lines. I wasn’t crazy about the results, but it sufficed. I continued the next 3 covers (the last one shown unpublished) by painting directly on the original art.
WahooMorris_01_ColourCVrArt     WM_02_Cvr_Scan    WahooMorris_03_ColourCVrArt     WM_05_AliciaCvr

I went digital shortly after this using Photoshop. I didn’t have trouble with the flatting process (picking the basic colours), and adding a few gradients and highlights here and there,  but I would always then freeze, unsure of what to do next.
WM_01_(i)_cvr     WM_vol2_01_Cvr1

For the cover for Wahoo Morris Vol. 2 # 1 (issue 4) a did a few colour holds, turning black lines into colour lines which made the colour job look a little fancier, but the technique still remained pretty flat.

For my story (with Jim Bricker) in the Image Anthology Comic Book Tattoo,  again, I coloured it using a pretty flat technique. In that story’s case I was going for a bit of a Tintin lingue claire style, so flat colours were appropriate.
God_PAGE01     God_PAGE02

After that, I didn’t need to colour again until I decided to start publishing Wahoo Morris digitally on Comixology as singles and I ran out of left over covers to use.

I have had a number of finished B&W covers waiting in line to get coloured for several months.

The biggest change came a couple of months ago when  I switched my drawing software from Manga Studio 4 EX to Clip Studio (Manga Studio 5). It has all the functionality of Manga Studio for Black & White line art, but it adds the functionality of really good painting software. And the Ray Frenden Brushes are the most natural feeling digital brushes I have tried yet. I’ve been itching to try them out for colour for awhile now.

And, about two weeks ago, wanting to add new comics to my email newsletter opt-in sequence, I quickly coloured the front cover to Sîan #1. While I’m not unhappy with how it turned out, it probably won’t make it to print as the cover was drawn as a wrap-around and I haven’t finished inking the back portion and that might change the colour choices.

A few days later, needing a piece of art for a new convention banner and cover art for the Kickstarter page, I forced myself to sit down and colour the wrap around cover art to Wahoo Morris #10 (Comixology Edition).

I’m actually semi-pleased with how this turned out, though I will probably go in and fix a few details before it gets used in print. I feel I’m starting to get the soft modeling and more painterly approach that I was able to get with Dr. Martins and water colours fairly easily.

I have continued to get a bit more colouring practice in over the next few weeks, finishing the covers for Wahoo Morris #8 and #9, the front cover of my Unknown Vistas One Shot, and I have begun colouring the interior pages of Sîan. Though for that I am using a simper technique, as the water colour painting technique I have been using for covers would be too time consuming for an entire book!

WM_08_Cvr_01NoLogo     WM_09_Cvr_01     UnkownVistas_CVR_Colour     Sian_01_pg01_RGB

I’m going to continue picking away at colouring Sîan over the next few weeks, and I have a few other Wahoo Morris goodies that need colouring, so I should be posting more soon!

Throwback Thursday: Slice and Dice!

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

It’s been 9 years since this project was shelved, so I’m guessing it’s okay to show by now!

After The Mighty Motor Sapiens wrapped, Mark Wheatley was trying to secure a follow up project to keep the team employed. He secured interest from a Horror website for a daily webcomic and we put together the following pitch.


We got a greenlight, but before we could celebrate, in fact the very next day, we got word the guy who greenlit the project was fired and the project was dead!

While I was disappointment I wouldn’t keep working with Mark, MJ, and Jerry, I’ll admit I was a little… unhappy…. with the movies we were planning on parodying. I’m not a fan of slasher flicks and I’m not sure what it would have done to my psyche to have to sit through multiple viewings of movies like Hostel every week!

Still, I miss getting to cartoon in this style.

Covers and More Covers!

Monday, September 25th, 2017

I’m working my way through a back-log of covers.

I’ve had multiple books ready to go but just waiting for a cover.

I have finished the line art for the  final 3 issues of digital Wahoo Morris comics and a collection of some Weird Science-Fantasy short stories for Comixology.


Now I need to colour these…. and I still need a cover for a print book collecting my random short stories and a cover to a book collection of pin-ups, art, and sketches.


Covers unfortunately are not my favorite task!