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Monday, May 11, 2015

The Suicide Squad (some of them at least)

   I'm really looking forward to Batman v Superman. But I was pleasantly surprised that the next movie in the DC universe was going to be the Suicide Squad! After the excellent Batman: Assault on Arkham (which barely has any Batman, but a lot of the Suicide Squad), I'm quite excited to see these guys on the big screen.

SKETCH PHASE
   Drew up something really quickly, I wasn't really focused on getting Deadshot's costume details, or even Killer Croc's design specific... I was just going for something that was fun to draw. I have another sketch of Croc I forgot to scan, but I started getting into drawing the details of his scales. So much so, that I had to stop myself so I could save that 'energy' for the final drawing instead. I usually lose a lot of wind when I redraw the same thing over and over again.

DIGITAL INKS
   I barely do tight digital 'pencils', like I said, I'm very lazy when it comes to re-drawing or tracing over something. Doing that has been good and bad at the same time. Sometimes I get lucky and going straight to 'inks' gets me something passable. Most times, especially on my comic book, it can lead to some issues with composition and storytelling. But if it's a pin-upy, fan arty thing? It's not a problem!

COLORS
   Deadshot and Croc's inks look good enough to me, but they seemed to like in two different universes of finish. One guy is rendered with a stipple kind of finish and the other guy with a looser 'brush'. What can usually save me has been the coloring stage.So I add some flat colors into it, and because I'm a sucker for complimentary colors, I'm using a red and green scheme. The two areas of red I have I split up with Croc's green, and the bursts of yellow from Deadshot. I really cannot get away from the pink-ish red I always use. I still haven't gotten sick of it, though I'm sure it must annoy somebody...

SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS
   The last pass I do is to add shadows. But in the case of this, I ended up adding a lot of highlights back in instead. I initially started coloring with Photoshop. I'd use the lasso tool and draw out crisp shapes and filled them in. As I got to coloring more however, I found my usual way of coloring wasn't really a fit with what I inked. So I went back to Manga Studio and started coloring the highlights and shadows in with a brush and left it more messy.

   That's it for today! Bring on the Suicide Squad David Ayer!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Being a DC fan in the Marvel age and my Inktober 2014 (Part 2 of 2)

Sigh. Another post being triggered by the general public's blind hate towards anything DC and extreme love for anything Marvel.

So a couple things just happened. A leaked cellphone video of the Batman v Superman teaser went viral on the internet and everybody took to their soapboxes to make sure everybody else knew it sucked. I was really looking forward to seeing the IMAX trailer, and even though I tried to keep positive, the relentless barrage of hate on my social feeds was intense. The HD version was soon released and even though I was holding off, because I wanted to save it for when I went to the theater, all the hate about it that day, made me buckle and I decided to watch it. 

IT WAS AWESOME.

My inner fan was rejuvenated! But it definitely made me realize just how right I was about people hating anything DC. I thought I was just paranoid, but everybody wants a Marvel movie. It wasn't over yet though, the hate train was still running.


Just recently, there was a video claiming how much better The Man of Steel movie would be with color added back in. I disagreed with the video in general (and again, it's an example of people wanting to "Marvel-ify" the DC movies). It was revealed that the people who made that video also dimmed the original version a little in their 'comparison screens' to make their re-colored work look better. That's a good example there of DC hate, if anything, but what made it worse was everybody's willingness to share that to everybody and jump on the hate.

I'm not sure what DC/WB could do to try to get out of the negative PR hole they've been in, but as a fan, it's very hard to take when everybody's favorite pastime is poo pooing on the things you love.

Anyway. End rant! Back to Inktober part 2!


Sketch phase for Pluto. I liked how his face
came out on the bottom right, but the final sketch didn't need it.
I love Astroboy. Osamu Tezuka's most popular work is one of the driving influences I have now as I make my own comic book. There was no way I could let an inktober go without calling attention to one of my all-time favorite creators.

Final inktober sketch for Pluto.
I didn't stumble across Shotaro Ishinimori's Cyborg 009 until way later, but I think it was one of the driving books to get me moving on drawing The Bomb Squad. I really loved his very simple panel compositions and the empty spaces he loved to put some of his establishing shots in.

Sketch phase: I got the pose dialed in pretty quick, but I had no
idea how to treat the background. There was a lot of experimenting and tracing over that went on.

Final inktober Sketch for Jet of Cyborg 009.
Next up, I return to my DC fan roots with a sketch from the CW's Arrow series. I didn't really expect much for CW shows even though you'd think as a DC fan I would. I skipped that whole time with it's Smallville series and almost skipped over all of Arrow until, I stumbled on it midway through season one. What a great show! What's sad to me is that even now 3 seasons in with 2 really solid previous seasons, people in general still don't seem to watch it. Anyhow, this sketch was my bid to let the world know just how cool of a show it was!

Sketch Phase: I just went straight in, but a few things about proportions and
relationships of shape within his face were not working for me.

Final sketch: I like how his face turned out here and he didn't seem so
 elongated this time around. I kinda liked how some of the shadows were working better.
 Another opportunity presented itself to wave my DC nerd flag at everybody: The Constantine TV show was about to start up. I wasn't really that well acquainted with the character, but I did like what few stories I read him in (his landmark battle with cancer storyline was great!). I like where that show was headed, so it's kind of disappointing when NBC didn't order more episodes for the first season.

Final Inktober Sketch. He's a little stiff, but the brush I was working with was starting to fray
and started to make all sorts of interesting marks as I drew.
The drybrush effect would carry onto my last few inktober drawings.



I never really watched Teen Titans, but I recorded a few on cable just out of curiosity. What few I did get to watch though was great! The Red X was a no-brainer for inktober! Armed with my scraggly drybrush technique, this sketch was a lot of fun to do!


Last, but certainly not the least in my inktober run was the Spirit. I ran across a majority of Will Eisner's work when it was being re-printed by DC. I have a few prints from the Kitchen Sink runs as well, and I have the whole Darwyn Cooke run as well. His "Life on Another Planet" is one of my favorite books. I'd like to think that his work has some influence in my work, but it's definitely not in a stylistic sense. I'd like to think it's storytelling-wise, but to be honest, what Will Eisner does with storytelling, acting, panel placement is so advanced and above what I could do, I'd be lying to myself if I thought it did!

I had a LOT of head sketches of the Spirit before I arrived at this last sketch. I'm not putting it into this post, because there's SO many that I can't be bothered to scan them all in!

I wanted to do a simple nice drawing of his face, but I just couldn't get it right, no matter how hard I tried. I think the issue was that I simply wasn't interested in drawing his face, but I didn't realize it. When I decided to draw an full body action shot, the drawing went by much quicker.

Anyway, that's it for Inktober! More of my own work in the next post! Before I go, I'll leave you with a screencap I made comparing the original Man of Steel footage I took and the VideoLab (the company that tried to "color correct" Man of Steel) corrections.

I have no idea why ANYONE would want that puke green color in a movie for grass.
But apparently the Man of Steel haters want that.
It's not easy being a DC fan nowadays. But still the neverending battle continues!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Being a DC fan in the Marvel age and my Inktober 2014 (Part 1 of 2)

Seems appropriate for me to start posting up my inktober drawings now (as well as ranting as a DC fan). Daredevil just hit Netflix last week and EVERYBODY is going gaga over it. I mean literally fans crying watching episodes because it's SO good (I'm not kidding). And while I think it's pretty well done (I'm about 5 episodes in), but I still think Arrow and the Flash are tops and Gotham with it's imperfections and quirky-ness is still more engaging. But again, that's my opinion. By the way, I'm re-watching the Arrow pilot again and it's absolutely great!

Anyhow, a few Marvel zombies took to the DC fan pages and started bagging on all the DC shows. And sure, just like my opinion they can have their own... but really? I'm not going to Marvel boards bagging on Marvel movies or shows now am I?

A couple of posts ago I remarked how difficult it has been to maintain my... composure... in this Marvel age since I'm a pretty hardcore DC fan. Anyhow, you can read my rambling here, but I essentially said the answer to combat negative fandom is not with hate but with positive fandom. In my case, it's by posting up DC fan art or liking and sharing DC comics, shows or movies that I like. It's certainly a lot more productive (and it feels better) than going into a flame war with another fan (or usually in my case, a marvel zombie)!

So when Inktober rolled along last year, and everybody was drawing their favorite Marvel heroes and villains (and a ton of rocket racoons), I decided to let my own voice get heard (And this is ironic since the guy who started Inktober seems to be a Marvelite himself and has drawn Rocket Racoon professionally!)

So of course the first drawing had to be Superman! And if you've read or seen any of my posts of Supes, you'll know that I have always had a hard time figuring out my 'take ' on the character.

a few bad head sketches of Supes. With coloring assists from my daughter.

The final inktober sketch. This was the only face I was actually happy with.
The next sketch I did was of the shadow. I had a very specific drawing in my head that I simply could not 'draw' out.
That first sketch was almost right, until I got too lazy to try to redraw his left hand.
The initial sketch felt like I was inking too tight. I messed up his left hand's placement and really got too lazy to try to fix it. So I just started to keep sketching and trying to get loose. Along the way, Darkseid and Mister Miracle showed up! 

Final Shadow sketch.
 I was introduced to the Shadow when through Frank Robbins' run when the Shadow was with DC. That run is still one of my favorite books. Fantastic art and fun stories. I felt I had to try to honor that with this sketch.

Stemming from the previous ink sketches, I was trying to figure out my next sketch.

The final Martian Manhunter inktober sketch.

The next sketch I thought I was going to do Mister Miracle for sure. But I was just unhappy with it. I did like the face shape so  tried to apply it toDeadman. But I didn't like that either. However J'onn J'onzz fit the bill! It's a simple drawing but I liked how it turned out.

Final Mister Miracle Inktober Sketch 
Maybe since I've been sketching and re-sketching Mister Miracle previously it made it easy for me to do this one. As a kid, I was exposed to Mister Miracle and Jack Kirby and I had absolutely no idea how to react to it! In fact, his drawings kinda weirded me out! I suppose reading about a character called Madame Evil Eyes and her Satan's Club would do that! But I still kept going back to his work! Jack Kirby's DC work is one of my favorite things that he did. Of course all of his Marvel creations are fantastic (pun intended), but his DC work was just absolutely nuts!

That's it for this post. I still have a few more inktober drawing to post up, but it's time to call it a night!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Jeans and T-Shirt Superman

DC had shown some images of Superman's new costume a few weeks back, and I have to say, I'm quite excited to see what stories they'll do connected with his new look. I actually like Jeans and T-shirt Superman from Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics, so it's nice to see it come back with a few changes.

 I started off with a pencil sketch. It's basically a riff of of the original cover to Superman #1.
Pencil Sketch

As I went to digital inks, I noticed that his leg and also his hand just weren't working out so good. I was able to shorten his leg, but his arm/hand needed some help. So I bring out the trusty iphone and selfie my arm in a few poses. This one won out:
Photo Reference of my arm

I digitally inked it in Manga Studio and found a cool brush for the speed lines and I messed with Mange Studios perspective tool to keep the action lines going in a uniform direction. That point-perspective tool, by the way, is really awesome.
Digital inks in Manga studio

I slapped on some colors to get Supes to pop from the background more.
Final colors in Manga Studio
I'm finally starting to get a little more comfortable drawing Superman! I need to jump start my artistic juices again though. I'm hitting a wall with my output for my own comic book lately. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Being a DC fan in the Marvel age (as well as my Wonder Woman drawing!)

I think the title for this post sums it all up. I am a DC fan. It is incredibly tough to be a DC fan when everybody on the planet loves Marvel.

I'm not sure why, but DC comics has become everybody's favorite whipping boy. There is a lot of hate for anything that DC comes out with nowadays. The movie Man of Steel got absolutely hated on by everybody when it came out, but Iron man 2 and Thor 2 got good reviews and even made a TON more money. And personally I didn't think those movies could hold a candle to Man of Steel.

On the comics side, everybody loves to trash the new 52. And while there were bad titles there were also quite a few great ones form the batch. Just like Marvel comics. But everybody's so deeply in love with Marvel nowadays and the "Marvel zombie" infestation has been sky high. The "Marvel-blindness" as I think of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for Marvel, and the things they do. Good for them and their astronomical popularity.

But why must everybody say DC needs to be doing it like marvel? Can't I have another option on how superheroes are depicted? (SIDENOTE: The 'grim' and 'grittyness' of Man of Steel isn't any more or less 'gritty' than what I read in the Superman books. Tony Stark in the comics was never anything even as remotely interesting as Robert Downey Jr. portrayed him in the movie).

DC TV alone is proving the deep, deep well of stories that it has much more than marvel has in my opinion. Look at the television line up, you have straight up pop superhero with the Flash. Creepy, quirky, cop drama with Gotham, gritty street level heroes with Arrow, supernatural horror with Constantine. And soon, comedy horror with iZombie. Why must all my superheroes come in the same flavor like the Marvel movies??

ANYWAY.

If you STILL can't tell, I'm an avid DC comics fan. I've made the mistake of voicing out my defense for DC on comic book sites (and the popular ones always have a hate for DC). I've noticed my favorite podcasts in general take a negative stance on DC movies, and even one of my favorites has gone so far as to state that Thor 2 is what the Man of Steel should have been. And opinions are fine of course, and everybody is entitled to hate on DC... but as a fan, I just got sick of hearing it and reading about it from everybody.

It wasn't until later that I realized the solution was simple. I needed to stop reading from those sites and listening to those podcasts. I started actively searching out DC centric fansites, podcasts and websites. The negativity was just eating away at me as a fan. And it was really making me grumpy!

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Instead of being a jaded little troll and going through every marvel site (which is now basically almost every big comic book site) and starting flame wars on the comments, I can do a better job of sharing my love of DC by doing just that! I'm now focusing on sharing articles promoting DC TV shows or comic book storylines.

I've also taken a page out of my favorite comic book artists (who all by the way seem to have ended working at marvel so now my tumblr feed is full of marvel character pin-up art) and decided to be a fan through my art. I see nothing bur Rocket Racoon and Groot and marvel hero sketches incessantly on my feeds. Instead of being a whiner and getting irked by it, I've been drawing DC fan art of MY favorite superheroes and posting it on all my social media outlets. There's no need to hate, not when I do a more effective job spreading the love! Through Art!

Which now leads us to today's post: Wonder Woman!

quick sketch: started out as WW blocking bullets, but I wasn't sure if I could pull off that action clearly.

Digital Inking stage (Done with Krita), I got a little nutty with her arm.
The more I looked at it the weirder it seemed being that huge.

Tweaked her arm size and lasso with Manga studio and Photoshop.
I actually like the Black and White version as much as the color version. Maybe a little more.

Final colors! The pink is a little nuts, but I can live with it.
And so there you have it! How does a DC fan survive the marvel age? By being a GOOD fan. No hate, just more love. Just like how Wonder Woman would want it.

Next post will be my inktober drawings, and you'll see there's a lot of DC love there too! Until next time! Up, up and away!
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