Distractable

posted in: odds and ends, Stuff I Like | 0

I know I get distracted easily, but I meant to tell y’all that I saw this neat youtube cartoon called RWBY while at my friends’ house!

It really makes me want to learn how to make little animated shorts so that I could do my own Maude series, but I know that it’s all harder to do than it looks.

I’ve only seen up to episode 8, but it’s pretty awesome. I guess there are all sorts of hidden clues and hidden stories within the stories, with themes and… er… thingies? Literary thingies? Thingies that after you find out about them, add depth to the story itself. I don’t know what that stuff is called.

Anyways, they’re there if you know to look for them. My friends are really smart though, so they pointed a few of the ones out that I didn’t pick up on.

(And by “few” I mean everything except the red riding hood parallel.)

MOAR Monsters!

I’m constantly hearing people talk about “branding,” and several friends have even tried to hammer the concept into my thick skull. I’m still not sure what branding is exactly, but in the interest in keeping everyone up to date with the crazy stuff I’m working on, I thought I’d share my plans for a new website design.

First off, I love love love comic easel, and I’m a bit afraid to use another wordpress theme, but the more I think about the design I want, the more I think I’m going to have to make the jump to something a little more customizable.

(Now would be a good time to show you the sketch of the website I want, but I didn’t scan it in. Sorry.)

I want to have a big banner across the top, with monsters that says “TypodMary” and then under it, something that says either “indie comics” or “subversive comics.”

One of the more interesting exersizes I’ve done is where you list ten words that “sum up” your product (which I guess is… me? Or my art? Or my comics? See – still not certain of stuff.)

When I think of the work that John and I do (and a few friends who are interested in collaborating with us,) I tend to be pretty boring and literal.

“Indie”

“Comics”

“Friendly”

“Goofy”

“Monsters”

“Unexpected” which then led me to “Subversive.”

After I hit “subversive,” I started phoning it in. I think a lot of our work IS subversive. It’s rarely what anyone ever suspects it to be. All the Growing Things isn’t just about a goofy granny fighting monsters in her garden, but rather a psychological examination of (self) forgiveness and (possibly) redemption.

Vagus Street isn’t just a story about a haunted housing project, it’s a story that examines the way things fall apart, and the apathy of decay that people permit.

Era of Great Wonders isn’t just about people surviving in a world torn apart by giant monsters, it’s about people coming to grips with their lives, and who they thought they were, and who they hope to be. (I think it’s also about the failures of systems and how decay always settles into things, because those are themes that John tends to hit.)

Era is also (if I want to get heavy handed with it) about how many people aren’t all that different from giant monsters: some things are destroyed through accident, negligence, and apathy; other things are destroyed through outright willfulness and forethought.

Our comics aren’t always what they say on the box, but there IS a certain amount of that as well. Maude does fight a lot of monsters. Vagus is a haunted place. The kids in Pangaea do live in a world torn apart by giant monsters.

So… that’s all a long-winded way of saying that I’m slowly going to be redoing the site. Right now I’m working on a banner that contains a few “keywords.” The exercise suggested taking those ten descriptions, and boiling them down to five words, and then three, and then one.

I’m wavering between “indie comics” and “Subversive comics” for the banner, and who knows, maybe I’ll do both. Either way, I think there’s going to be some more monsters, as well as some flowers, because I am into drawing monsters with flowers.

Here are some sketches of what I’ve been up to:

typobannerwip1
Monday’s sketch & start of inking

and after a little bit of work today:

Tuesday's work with more inking
Tuesday’s work with more inking

I hope to finish this soon (I’m not above cutting and pasting flowers from one end of the banner to the other!) and then I’ll be sort of ready to switch everything over to a new theme (I’m looking at the Virtue theme right now.)

Also: this is kind of a bummer, but I thought you could click to see the images big, but it’s… not… doing that. So instead, if you’re curious, you can still left click the image, and then select “view image” to see it somewhat larger. Sorry about that extra step there.

Dead but Not

Sort of occurred to me that while I’ve been pretty crazy industrious over on my side of the internet, I’ve not really shown anyone much of it. I thought I’d give y’all a sneak peak of the next cover for All the Growing Things (and if you saw the one I posted on twitter, these are fuller, more finished versions of that work in progress photo!)

Here’s the finished line art:

deadbutnot2

Start of color (with flats):

deadbutnot-color

The color that you see here (except for the stone background) are considered “flats” – which is to say, flatly applied without any shading. Later when I go to add the actual colors, I’ll use the flat colors as an easy way of selecting things and then work on another layer to give it a painterly look, hiding the coloring book style layer.

Hm. I need to write up a “how I color stuff” post. I will add that to the ever expanding list!

100th Post

posted in: Art Making, comics, Conventions | 2

…which was a bit surprising to see when I logged on today.

I’ve been silent, but it’s not because I’ve not been around. More that I’ve been frantically working, and am sort of in a peculiar mode of panic that boils down to me doing about twelve different projects, but finishing none of them. Or at least, it feels as if I’m not finishing anything.

I’ve been crazy busy trying to get Era of Great Wonders compiled into issues so that we can have something to show for ourselves at the upcoming comic conventions that are (surprisingly!) right around the corner! I’ve also been scrambling to get the next installment of pages ready for All the Growing Things so that I can have an issue of that as well.

I’ve also been helping color some of Josh’s Rhinestone Ronin pages, and it turns out that Josh draws really incredibly detailed pages, with lots of fiddly little details. Also, his ability to draw hands is crazy good! I’m sort of really jealous!

Beautiful hand by Josh McCoy
Beautiful hands by Josh McCoy

(Some above samples of my half-finished coloring… but instead, look at the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful hands!)

I’ve also been working on turning art into banners, so that when we’re at the conventions people will be able to find us. Usually I use a ragged little canvas banner (which I find charming) but I am thinking it’s time to upgrade towards something a little more professional.

I’ve also been working on a couple of commission pieces, but they’re not really comic related, so I’m not sure anyone would be interested in that, but they are things that’ve been taking up a bit of time.

I’ve also been working on making videos for podcasts, but I’m really bad at it. I’ve managed to figure out how to use screen captures (for a given value of “use” because they tend to crash my computer if I leave it on too long.. but still, I’m trying!) and I’m slowly making progress to where I can have something (maybe?) to show for myself.

As it is, this is now reading a bit boring for a 100th post. It should have more fireworks and explosions in it.

Dang it.

Sorry.

 

Need a Little Help From My Friends

posted in: Uncategorized | 3

Hey! So I’ve been kicking  around the idea of doing a podcast. I imagine you’d all LOVE to hear my stammer and muttering over some poor audio and skipping/poorly edited video, right? So I was thinking, I’d try to do some “how to/how I do stuff” sort of podcasts, about my process and how I create stuff. I was thinking, if you have any questions or there’s anything that you’d like to see me try to do (keep it clean people!) I’d try.

Ben “Neb” Girven was mentioning I should do something about how I color my comics (when I get around to it) and how I go about drawing plants… so with that in mind, I’m going to see if I can get over my fear of video cameras!

Drop me a line if there’s something you’d want to see!

Captain Pangaea – WIP

posted in: Art Making, Era of Great Wonders | 0

This’ll be posted in a finished state later in the day at the Era of Great Wonders site, but for now, this is where I’m at. Sometimes I enjoy the half finished art better than the finished art, but sometimes, the finished stuff isn’t so bad. I have a feeling that this is going to be the rare piece that I’ll really like both ways.

If you look closely, you can see that I’ve adopted the “dot” technique that I used for Maya on the good Capt’n.

captainpangaea-wip

Fun fact: I used my maiden name, and John’s mom’s maiden name for the artist/author credits on this piece! I think they look nice together. Maybe for our 25th anniversary (or any nice “round” number) we can change our last names back. Or maybe I’ll take his mom’s and he can take my old name! That’d be bizarre-yet-neat!

Or maybe after the 10 year mark, we can both switch to another name, and then 10 years after that, switch to yet another! That’d be super fun for the NSA I imagine!

Maya

posted in: Art Making, video games | 4

I’m slowly going through all the Borderlands characters that I really -really- like playing. Next up is either the Gunzerker or Gaige. I’m not sure – I’m tied on those two.

maya
Stay Still

Also, I really need to learn to sign art with my name. I can’t seem to figure out how to do that consistently.

Gratuitous Krieg Art

posted in: Art Making, video games | 0

…and I just can’t really believe that’s how you spell “gratuitous,” but I guess that’s how it goes. Staring at the word won’t make it any better.

I met with my friend The Red Neb yesterday, and talked comic business with him and John. I’m fairly certain that they were supposed to talk about the upcoming TerraFarmer’s issue, but Neb and I ended up talking Cintiqs and software instead. He’s been doing a bunch of poster art, getting ready for the convention season, where as I… have not.

I’ve avoided doing it for so long, and art is so difficult when my heart isn’t in it, but John talked me into doing posters of things I like, so I’ve been drawing up a few video game related pieces. (I think I started in November?)

One of the ones that I (finally!) finished last night (although, looking at it in the cold light of morning, I think it needs some more shadows and highlights brushed in) is a picture of Krieg from borderlands. He’s one of my favorites and he’s changed my gaming style for the worst, I think. I’ve recently been replaying Fallout3, and wow, it’s a different game when you’re playing as if you’re still Krieg!

kriegsitting
PAINT IT RED!

I think the other nice thing about working on poster art is that it gives you (meaning “me”)  a sense of accomplishment that I don’t have as much as when I work on pages and pages of comics. With the actual comic art, there’s always another page, always another formatting issue to be dealt with, always some marketing thing to think about. With a poster, you just draw it up and show it to people, and if you’re lucky they’ll put it up on the fridge and give you a cookie.

I’m working on a “sexy” Poison Ivy poster too, but I’m not so sure about it. I’m not good at “sexy,” and I’m also not all that great at drawing women. BUT, I DO LIKE DRAWING PLANTS, so there’s that. Did you know that Poison Ivy was originally designed after Bettie Page? I had not known that. I also had not known that it was “Bettie” with an “ie” at the end either, so yesterday was full of learning moments for me.

Which is always kind of nice.

Schedules…

posted in: writing | 0

…and the inability to meet them.

If I’m to finish this dang steampunk/lovecraftian mythos novel before Feb 1st I need to write out 2500 words a day, and that’s NOT including how many of the dang words I’ve been chopping out. It seems that if you write 3k and then delete 1k, you should be good for the day, but those damn deletions keep cutting the book length down – who knew?! So it seems that I need a net gain of 2.5k words a day, and that’s just a bit intimidating.

Another part that is intimidating is that I’m cutting scenes that just aren’t working. Some don’t line up with where the new draft is going, and some just seem stupid. You know: the way only something you create can seem utterly pointless and without any redeeming qualities.

I ran into a professional writer friend who assured me that self-doubt is all a part of the process, and weirdly enough, that helped shut up my inner critic, and I’ve been writing a little easier lately, but still, 2.5k seems to be a lot to ask for!

I know that deadlines are arbitrary (how often has that philosophy put me in trouble with professors?!) but I also know that if I don’t set them, I’ll fiddle around and do little-to-nothing if left to my own.

I’m pretty excited though. I’m excited to finish the dang book, I’m excited to send it to an editor, I’m excited to make changes and edits, I’m excited draw up a cover for it, and I’m excited to share it. I’m especially excited to share it!

I just have to finish this despite myself, I think!

 

Technical Difficulties

posted in: comics, Web Development Struggles | 0

I don’t know what happened.

There was a fizzle, a pop, and then suddenly everything went dark. If I had to guess, I’d say I blew out my video card, so… uh… the long and short of it is that my work computer is busted, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to drawing comics again. I will try to use my little scrappy “barely connects to the internet” computer to post any updates about what’s going on, but there’s no way in heck we’re getting any images from this thing. I’m sort of grounded, I guess.

Um, everything also started shocking me when I unplugged things from the work computer too, so with any luck, it’s ONLY the video card that’s damaged.

I guess I’ll see everyone on the other side?

Sorry. Wow, what a bummer!

Wow, drawing with a pen and paper until this gets fixed. No Photoshop. No Manga Studio. What am I, some sorta savage?!

[EDIT: John was able to get my computer running with one gentle touch. He’s like the frigging computer whisperer, and they all love him. Me? I come into a room and things start sparking, which… when you’re having a bad day, is kind of hurtful!]
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