Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We Are Made of Star Stuff

I'm a big fan of science. I really enjoy reading books about future science, breakdowns of theory, and larger metaphors that science brings to humanity and life. Last year for APE I wanted to create some scientist portraits for prints but didn't have enough time. It shan't be so this year! I just finished the first in the series... one of my all-time favorite scientists, writers, and thinkers... Carl Sagan.

get them thoughts on paper

First was a lot of research and ideas. I had just finished reading Pale Blue Dot, so Sagan's voice and ideas were fresh in my brain. I also watched a ton of Cosmos while sketching.

notes and sketching

draw all the Sagans!

Once I had the idea down and drew Sagan a bunch of times to get a feel for his facial features and attitude, I settled on a pose and layout. Time for drawing and inking!

finished pencil drawing

After I settled on the drawing and liked how he looked, it was time to transfer to some bristol and get to inking.

love me some croquill dip pens... Hunt 102 for life!

completed inked portrait

There were other elements I needed to execute traditionally before getting digital. I painted a watercolor space sky with stars and a violet/red color scheme. I also wanted to have a border for the illustration with icons from the scientist's work and interests.

billions and billions....

After I had all the elements traditionally inked and painted, the power of Photoshop was needed. I colored digitally, messed around with a few different concepts, and settled on the final illustration.

I'll have prints this October at APE (Alternative Press Expo) so come out if you want one! Next on the roster... Neil deGrasse Tyson, of course!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Faith and Fear

I've mentioned before on my blog about my War Days comic project which will explore my time growing up at a very strict Catholic grammar school and how I became an atheist. I've been kicking this idea around for quite a few years now (since undergrad actually! Yikes!) and it's finally time! The first issue of War Days will be available at APE (Alternative Press Expo) in San Jose, Oct. 3rd-4th.

I may change the title before then, but then again I always struggle with titles so it may just stick. In case you're curious, the title War Days comes from how my sister and I would refer to our time at the school after leaving it and talking to friends about it. "Back in our war days..." Sometimes it really felt that hostile. Although, I'm not sure I'll keep it since it may elicit too many other thoughts and be confusing to potential readers. Let me know what you think of the title!

A lot of planning goes into making the comics. I have a notebook full of notes on my memories as well as some my sister shared with me. I then broke those up into sections and panel lengths. I'm trying to approach the actual comic creation a little more exploratory and freeform, but I can't help but plan beforehand.

Sketches for this comic's characters

I've drawn a lot of character sketches already to get a feel for how I want the comic to look, but also decided to sketch the characters that would appear in this comic so I could tape that up in front of me while I worked and have a reference point.

Finished pencils

After penciling the page out, I then transferred the drawing to bristol with a lighbox. I may try using blue pencils and then inking directly ontop next time, but there's a certain freedom I have when I know I'm drawing a separate pencils page. I don't feel bad if I make dark pencil marks or erase a lot, whereas if I was drawing directly on the bristol I might be more paranoid about drawing something wrong and take less risks.

After transferring the drawing, the laboring love of inking begins. I use dip pens and india ink--currently enjoying the Black Cat brand since it's very opaque.

Much coffee is had and reference is all in mah face

And the final comic page!

I have quite a few more pages to finish by October, so I will definitely be sharing more of them, but not all. You'll have to buy the comic to read them all!

Don't worry... there will be plenty of nuns...