Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I want to set the record straight about the Joe Kubert School.
In an earlier post (see ENOK cover) I may have poked a little too much fun at the Joe Kubert School in a sarcastic effort to be self effacing. In point of fact Joe Kubert and his school have been influencing comics and comic artists for generations. It is a terrific school and I would gladly give my left testicle to attend, if I were only able to. Nuff said.
Back to my pathetic little comic... yes we have reached a great milestone, our first in fact. In just 9 work days, using coffee and lunch breaks, we have produced enough raw material for an 8 page mini! Think about it. Total drawing time less than 16hrs.
I am pleased so many of you have written to say how much you are enjoying this series, and I hope a great many of you will join me in the challenge. I have greatly benifited from each and every page, ( for details see previous posts) and the work I think is begining to reflect that. Most importantly it is fun, and that's what drawing should be for all of us.
In the coming day's I will discuss options for what can be done with "Monster Disco" . There are several choices available, and the best part is they are NOT mutually exclusive. Every artist no matter how accomplished should have some play time to keep their motor running, and that's what this is ultimetly about. So, skip that favorite back to back Sinefeld repeat, Pull out your sketch pad at MacDonalds, Have your nieghboor drive the kid's to soccer practice, tell 'em all Your Busy............Busy making comics!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Here it is folk's Tuesdays coffee break comic, a real cliff hanger!
And you see...this one's not half bad. I am pleased with all the positive reactions from everyone about this series, and I hope others take up the challenge as well.
The point is not to create a masterpiece, it's rather a creative excersise, a fun challenge, a way to get back to that space in time when you first decided to try drawing comics.
Limiting yourself to only using what otherwise would've been wasted time forces you to be creative and inovative. Remember even I don't know what's going to happen on the next page of Monster Disco.
Finally the rough nature of the excercise allows you to loosen up and try new ideas and methods You never tried before. Since it seem's like play time you find yourself playing with the page and the storytelling in way's you probably would'nt with your
regular comics. Go on.... MAKE YOUR OWN COMICS!!! (Jack Kirby say's so!)
NOTE: Due to the recent worldwide shortage of tomatoes FREE PIZZA TUESDAY has been posponed.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I am pleased to inform you that he has been captured by the gorrilla task squad headed by corporal Brutus. Furthermore, he is en-route to the Forbidden Zone and measures have been taken by deputy of science minister Claudious to ensure he never again escapes to terrorize this blog."
The Great Lawgiver went on to say that all regular installment features of this blog will be reinstated beginning tomorrow evening . Tuesday May 30th.
In a final note to the crowd L.G. reminded everyone not to fill-up, because Tuesday is FREE pizza day.
I remember getting the call that my wife's mother had fallen into a comma and wasn't expected to make it. I was numb. I still hadn't gotten over the shock of my own dad's passing just one year prior. Crystal was a fine human being. She was always sunny and bright, and warm as a summers day.
Her grandkid's all loved her dearly, she was one of those grandma's, you know the one's. The type of grandma that will take you shopping all day for your favorite things, then rent your favorite movies, buy you a pizza, and let you help her make cookies later. Yeah, that kind of grandma.
She was just as good a mother, and an even better wife.
On the day she lay dying the entire family was there. They had been so supportive during my dad's passing, that I wanted to help. "What can I do?" I asked. "Distract the
Grandkid's Mike." I was told. So I went to the car and got my kit and drew this page, while they watched with interest. Before long they were coloring and doodling too. It's kindda silly I know, but it did help a little on that sad, sad, day.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
The only compliment I ever got on it was when I begged my wife to figure out how to get this on a t-shirt, which I then wore to my first ever comicbook show down in Baltimore 2003. Some big guy in a booth yelled over. "Yeah bring back ENOK!!!!" then turned to his friend who say's "Whoda-hell es ENOKS mahn?" to which he replied, " You don't remember that dude? It was like the best 70's Hannah Barberra cartoon EVER!!!" When really I just made it up myself.
Take that Joe Kubert's school of sequential false hopes and dreams!!!!! Oh yeah...I'm supposed to tell you that there's a hidden message in the piece also which Joe and the gang did'nt find too funny.
We will be posting ALL holiday week-end to correct this matter. Please stay alert. Some of the art that is about to be posted is good...some of it is verr-r-r-r-ry bad. Only you can decide, how often to visit.
Please stay in your tree-houses and play quietly with your human untill you are given further instructions by the Law-giver. That is all end transmition.
One day, however,(late into his cancer treatments), he said; "Michael, don't ever stop trying to be a comicbook artist if that's what you want." I cried because I knew he'd never live to see it.
A month or so after he passed I did this cover and four pages of outline in order to honor his request...............but I was too sad....and gave up.
Happy Memorial Day Daddy....This Blog's for you.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Awwwww, and I had such high hopes for this one too. Oh well no tears now remember this is only practice. I am beginning to wish I had never launched this public display of my artistic shortcomings.
Nevertheless, here it is page 6 already. Roughly 8hrs of formally wasted time,( since starting on the cover) applied to good old fasion comicbook silliness.
Along about now you can see the heavy influences Mad magazine had on my youth. We had an already absurd premise to begin with, and now we have the Frankenstien monster belting out disco tunes in a liesure suit with wolves as his back-up singers. Okay?? I'm game.
If your new to this blog your going to have to scroll down a bunch to catch-up on what's happenning. This is'nt my best work believe me!!!!!!
Thursday, May 25, 2006
You are now free to leave your seat, and roam ordily about the blog.
Hello everyone, here is today's post in the Coffee Break series.
I am really starting to loossen-up, and have fun with this now.
don't be alarmed that each new page is showing less detail, in fact sometimes that can be a good sign early in the creation process. Elaborate backgrounds, heavy blacks, lighting effects, ect can sometimes mean an artist is compensating. He/she may not feel comfortable with the story and so going heavy into detail can make them feel better about the work.
I am very comfortable with this story. I know today's page is basicly only a loose outline, blah, blah, blah. Hey what do you want from a 45 minute sketch? In this page I stretched myself with some hand gestures, facial expresions, emotion, mood, and I did it all with a few small lines.
Sure it will need a great amount of finishing,(heck the bottom right panel is still in pencil) but the basic idea is there, and after all this is just practice. MAKE ME A COMIC...PLEASE?
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Commitment is a good thing. Take this page I did last night.
Alright, I know it's probably the stinker of the group. I had less than 40 interrupted minutes to work on the thing, and okay it needs alot of work, but let's focus on the positives here.
Look at what we got. We got a cover and four pages in less than a week, total drawing time, less than 6hrs. Not too shabby eh?
Sure we need a lot of clean-up, corrections, and embelishment, but, the lettering is there, most of the spot blacks are done, and most importantly our story is coming along nicely.
Nobody said making comics was easy... However by staying commited to doing one page a day during coffee/lunch break I was able to pound out this nifty little story using time I had previously thought of as wasted. Mark my words, come July 4th this puppy is going to be in the bag and looking sweet.
GRAB A COFFEE, IT'S TIME TO MAKE COMICS!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
(if you don't know about the coffee break comic series you may want to scroll down three or four posts and work your wasy back) YOU MAY NOW PROCEEDE.
okay so it needs lot's of finishing, and it's sloppy, yeah that too! and there are spelling corrections throughout,ect..ect.
Hey lighten-up. We're practicing okay? Having fun flexing some comicbook muscles right?
The funny thing is I was not into this today at first. I was tired, and not feeling well, but I pushed through and got'er dunn.
And challenging? Boy I'll tell you whut! At one point I was outside, wind just-a-blowin, sittin at the smoke break table, coffee in one hand, holding down my page with the other, puffing a cigar, and trying to place spot blacks before my last ten minute break was finished. Now that right thar is dedication! Anyways all of a sudden I spill my coffee, and reach for a rag,(letting go of the page) the wind kicks up and WHOOSH, coffee stain upper right panel. Next thing I know Z-Z-Z-ZING, , the page sails off the table cartwheeling toward a puddle. Me chasing after it, arms outstretched, with a cigar firmly enclenched in my mouth. You think you have challenges?
Despite everything I think it to be the most fluid, dynamic, and expressive of the pages thusfar. Now c'mon Won't some of you wannabee's out there join me? Ya taint gunna let me have All the fun now are ya?
MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN COMICS........OKAY? And let me see them please?
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Alright folks here it is my coffee break page for today. Not a whole lot to say, mostly cause I'm reallllllly fricken tired today. need sleep must get slepfghzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz huh oh sorry. anyway hopefully by now you know what this project is about if not you'll have to scroll down and get edju-kat-ted, duh-huh. The only ground I could cover about this excercise that differs from the other posts in this series is a brief word about lettering by hand versus computer lettering.
There are very few folks in the hand lettering camp today but I for one am a staunch believer that everyone should practice it, even if they ultimetly go with computer lettering anyway. Why you ask? I don't know go ask your mother (just kidding) I get goofy when I'm tired. Seriously hand lettering is just another of the many tools a comic book artist can use to make that extra personel connection with the viewer.
Like so many other computer applications tied to modern comics, the sameness, and ultra perfection of form has to a degree lessened the conection between artist and viewer. I picked up a comic once ( and I'm sure you've had this happen) and it was totaly digital. Yes it was beautiful, and perfect, and correct in everyway,............BUT! it left me dead cold man. It was if someone had taken stills of a videogame and pluged in fonts.
I understand I'm like an old teastement prophet here preaching for a return to mosaic law, however there is a danger of loosing the original art form of comics if we don't pull back just a weensy bit from the digital devide. I recently met several comic pro's, young guy's mind you, who told me they not only did'nt know how to letter, they actually had never seen it done before. These guys were hovering around my comicon booth praising my lettering like I was Artie simenk, Ya see thats what I mean...you probably never heard of him didja?
Aw forget it. Who am I kidding....I'm to tired to preach GO MAKE SOME COMICS WILLYA?
Friday, May 19, 2006
If you scroll down you will learn more about the "Coffee Break Comics" project and the challenge it represents. I have decided to enter a post with each page I do. Hopefully it will inspire other non-pro comic artists,(like myself),to see just how much can be accomplished when you devote your coffee/lunch breaks to drawing comics.
Let me say that this is by no means meant to be an example of my best work. It is simply practice, however it does still have great value. It is very libirating to let your mind go wild and not have to worry about producing a masterpiece.
The idea is simple. Take a sheet of copy paper, rule to comic book size, and draw a comic page during breaktime at work. My only rule was that I restricted myself to one page, and that I would NOT embellish when work was through. WHATCH-YA-SEE...ISWAT...CHAGET!!!
For the inquisitive among you I will tell you that this piece took roughly one hour start to finish. That's three ten minute coffee breaks and a 1/2 hour lunch break. For the entire project I will only be using a #2 pencil, a 6" plastic ruler, and a twin tip sharpie. I wanted to stick with materials you could find in just about any work enviroment.
Now that you know the score get busy.....GO MAKE COMICS!
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Last night, at work, I made a decision. I am not going to waste time anymore. I am going to use every spare moment to work on my comicbook skills. Then an Idea sprang to life. Why not use my coffee/lunch break periods at work to try and draw a comic? I'll call it coffee break comics and I'll make it fun. I work 12hr rotating shifts in a paper mill, so I need a little fun, and who knows what will become of it.
When I thought about what kind of comic it would be I thought of all my favorite types of comics from when I was a kid. My favorites were Marvels Howard the duck, the D.C. house of horror stuff, the charlton romance junk, MAD, and the Warren B&W Mags. Then I decided in a burst of energy to squash them all together for fun and slapped on the title "MONSTER DISCO"
I am going to post my progress with this little scheme of doing a page a day at work. I will only work on this comic while I'm at work. When I'm at home I have to be a dad, husband, and produce/promote Zombie Boy. I started last night, and I hope to finish by July 4th, just after I finish Issue #2 of ZB. If I can acomplish this goal I will have doubled my comicbook output, without interfearing with my other commitments, including the commitment to my employer since it's time others use to smoke, read, eat, ect....so whats wrong with doodling?
I hope you are inspired to take up the challenge as well. Share your samples with me please, I'd love to see them and maybe we can publish an anthology of the results. Happy drawing everyone,....and KEEP PUSHING!!!!!!!
This is my feeble attempt to emulate the king of all comicdom, the late but always great Jack Kirby. The two pages were done seperately between Christmas and New Years of 05-06.
At the time I was searching for inspiration for my next comic and decided to channel my mentor Kirby for help. I was pleased with the results. I did the pencils, inks, and lettering by hand on 11x17 boards then shrunk them to 81/2x11 to color them, then copied them to newsprint to make them look even more vintage. Thank you Jack...the world misses you greatly.
Friday, May 12, 2006
The intent is to squeeze all of my Zombie boy promo stuff into one post
untill I can get some help creating a better presentation.
These cliped panels are segments from Zombie boy #2 which is being inked now, and readied for release next month. The second issue introduces a new and problemsome character for Ronnie Butler to contend with. Lot's of raw emotion, action, and gothic romance in a horror title like you've never seen before. Pre-orders being accepted now. $3.00 shipping, bag, board, autograph, and zombie sticker included.
Free stickers of each cover of ZB, for your lunchbox, locker, or fridge available
Here are some pages in sequence from Zombie Boy #1. Issue one of course is an "origin" story and as such we meet many of the characters who make up Ronnie Butlers world, that is,.... the world he used to belong to.
You see Ronnies been dead nearly a year and things have changed. His girlfriend Jasmine seem's to have moved on and replaced him as the love of her life. With no hope of ever being a part of her life, yet still in love, Ronnie resigns himself to the role of gaurdian angel.
At least that is untill the Judge arrives. This mysterious Man with ties to the underworld informs Ronnie that his new mission on Earth is not that of a Gaurdian angel, but an angel of doom.
Monday, May 08, 2006
Okay! so here I am in my studio. This photo is about a year old, but things have'nt changed too much. I'll try to get a more recent photo soon.
To the left of the drawing board you can see a smaller copy of a portrait I did for Linda Harrison. Linda was the actress who played Nova on the original Planet of the Apes movies. I did a number of 70's icon drawings during this period but have since moved on to my own comicbook ZOMBIE BOY.
This is the cover of my first crack at drawing comics since high school. It is an 8-page mini-comic I whipped up in fall of 2005. I took it to Wizard World in Boston that year. I did'nt get a booth, just sort of wandered around giving them to folks I thought were cool, independent artist types mostly.
The art and lettering is a little "bunchy" because I drew it actual comic size as opposed to using pro-boards. I don't recomend working this way since it looks really cheesy, but it is still fun and gives you a chance to acquire experience, and practice.
For 20 years a had an image of myself that went something like this: Man, I wish I was a comic book artist. I could get paid for drawing. Too bad I got this regular factory job instead of a job that will mold and shape my natural talent of drawing. Why did I drop out of art school? How can a guy like me ever break into comics. I'm too busy. If I did'nt have so many commitments, I could pursue my passion, WHHHHHAAAAAHHHHHH....... BOOO-frickity-HOOOO.
Sound familiar? Yeah, that was me alright. Then, not too long ago ,I had a mid-life crisis. My father passed on. My mother-in-law, just one year later. I realized, the end is coming for us all, and rather quickly. When I prossesed that bombshell, I decided to roll up my sleeves, drop the excuses, live the fantasy. Pursue my passion.
The only way to draw comics....is to draw them. Think about that. You will never work in comics, unless you work in comics. Whatttt? In other words if this is your passion, don't think someone is going to reward you (especially in America) for simply having an interest in something. You have to pursue that passion every day. For You that means drawing every day. Draw in the car,(if your a passenger) or while you wait at the DMV, or at little league when your son's not at bat....I don't even know the score at my son's games. My wife will nudge me when he takes the field, I stand up, cheer like hell, and when he's off the field I sit back down and take out my sketch pad.
What you think you are is what you will become. I used to think I was someone who's boat had sailed, now I think of myself as swimming to catch up with it. Soon I will realize I was in the boat the entire time.