Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 12 - Page 22

Well. This is it. Sniff. Sniff. My final day of the 13 day PTO that my company had given me is over! 13 days of just keeping 8 hour days to work on my comic book. 1 day had to be spent on my car ol' Betsy, of course, but generally I kept to it.

What a day this was too! With only one panel to solve, I was able to have a good final day of vacation. I played some video games, bought some comic books, ate lunch with friends, bought a video game, and oh yeah, I saw a baby on the first day it was born! How's that for a day?! So tomorrow I go back to work. Unfortunately that means my posts will have to slow down too. But that won't mean I'll stop working on my book! I added 2 more pages to this first issue, so maybe I'll post those up as I progress.

But that's the future, for now, onto the finish of page 22!

My friend Roque had made 2 suggestions before I put this page to it's finished form. One was to add a background to panels 4 and 5, giving the reader a visual 'constant' that lets the reader 'animate' the robot's tilt backward when reading the panels. The second suggestion was to create a more dynamic angle for panel 6. The old one from the layout pages was a little boring, and didn't seem very exciting at all.

I think what happens to me most of the time is that my brain gets so heavy into trying to solve the problem of storytelling that the 'fun' factor goes away. I end up being able to tell the story, but it can mean ending up with stale compositions (If I remember, I'll post up a splash page I did early on in the book, where I have a ton of stale compositions just because I wanted to page to be done already! Luckily, I had my other friend Shanth give me some constructive feedback). I usually have to step back from the drawing for awhile to be snapped out of boring compositions. I have to remember "Hey! Comic books are fun! Dynamic compositions are cool! I have to look at Jack Kirby's work and get recharged!"

That panel (panel 6) gave me some difficulty trying to figure out, but I think I drew something that I'm fairly happy with. Good suggestions from the Rock man and all in all, I'm pretty happy with how this page turned out.

So 5 pages in 2 and a half weeks. Wow that's slow! I gotta figure out how to go faster! This experience was very educational, it taught me a lot about the characters in my book, who they are, what they look like from various angles, the world they live in, what methods are faster to draw them and just generally how I tend to work. I've got a total of 22 pages finished for my book... only two more to go! I'm pretty excited to finish it off!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by! I will now go back to my regular slow posting speed! Until my next post! Good night and God Bless!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 11 - Page 22

Almost there! I thought I was going to take it easy today, but instead I ended up working on this page for a bit. I took a long dinner break but then I came back in to finish off what I had done non-photo blues for yesterday. This means I technically just have one more panel to worry about for tomorrow before the page is done.
I was pretty tired though, so the finishes aren't quite as tight as I'd want them.

When I ran my thumbnails by Roque on this page awhile back, he had commented that initially panels 1 and 2 were too alike in composition, and that perhaps changing up the composition in panel 2 would help the storytelling. He added though that maybe that was too much in the line of storyboard thinking, like in TV or movies. He had a point about the composition being too close to each other, but also a good point about maybe that was a storyboard thing.

Movies and comic books share many common grounds; but because movies are shown only through one 'panel' (the screen) and comic books show them in multiple panels side by side they are also two different beasts.

I did something that I think would probably be a confusing thing to do in film format thinking, but might actually work if it was in the comic book format.

I mirrored panels 1 and 2, so it's almost treated like a schematic of some sort or maybe like those cheesy t-shirts with a characters' front view on the front side and the backside appropriately enough, on the back. I made sure to tilt the angle of the view as well, to make it extra clear that these were the opposite views of the same scene. I'm hoping that the blatant symmetry in the angles of the two panels makes the mind of the reader set up this space faster than usual. Hopehopehope.

The 'phobia panel' of panel 6 is looming, but hey that's for tomorrow! I'm outta here! God Bless and good night!

Monday, September 18, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 10 - Page 22

I had a few errands to run today so I had a pretty short work day. Maybe 4 hours. Tops. And not even a very concentrated 4 hours at that.

Though I feel like I slacked off, I was very surprised at how quickly I was able to get the shapes blocked in today for this page. I think because a lot of thinking is already finished in the thumbnail stage, this laying out process actually goes by fast. Definitely my choice to keep the style very simple, affords me to focus on my storytelling more.

Unfortunately, I have a 'phobia panel' in this page, and that's going to be panel 6. It's a shot of the defunct robot falling on top of the main character. Fortunately, I got a bunch of other panels to keep me busy. I think my hands will be pretty tired after this page too: there's going to be a lot of lettering involved.

I think with my vacation wrapping up, I'm feeling more of a need to relax a little. So this page I think I'll stretch out until Wednesday to finish up. In the meantime, I can catch up on laundry, some doing-nothing-time and just enjoying the rest of my vacation. Though I'm not going to finish my book by the end of vacation, I'm still going to hit my 22 pages mark! Aaaand that's it for tonight! Paalam and aydeeeyos!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 9.25 - Page 20 and 21

Reading my last post, apparently I planned on writing something up for the next day: on the day I got my new car... Fool! I tried working on that day but I just had car on the brain. I had to run a few errands to get myself ready to drive, and I had to wait up until 9 o'clock in the evening to get it! But I got it! And unfortunately my comic book got pushed to the side; and I was doing so good too!

Nevertheless I have snapped back and will try to resume the schedule! I took photocopies of my pages yesterday and today I had Bucket Phil ink in pages 20 and 21. I have to say, Photoshops' magic wand, expand selection then ctrl delete functions are Phil's best friends. It makes it easier to block in those blacks without being so anal with the lasso tool about it.

Tomorrow, unfortunately, will be a half day. I've got to get parking permits for Ol' Betsy (that's the name I've given my ride!) ASAP or else parking in my area for more than 2 hours gets her towed! But as far as my 22 pages schedule goes, I'm pretty steady. My vacation of 2 and a half weeks is about to end! Great Ceasar's Ghost! Holy Moley!

Hanggang sa susunod! God Bless and Good Night!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 9 - Page 21

Hoo-RAH! I finished page 21! I really pushed it today, but I definitely worked more than 8 hours. It was good because I got this page out of the way, but bad because I still took longer than 8 hours to finish it, from blue pencil layouts to finished pencils! I left more spaces for ol' Phil to darken in, giving me more time to focus on line weight than manually trying to pencil in my darks (I end up doing some that way anyways).

Most of my day was spent on refining this page from the layouts, and the character clutching the wire on panel 3 was the hardest one for me to do. Actually there are many inconsistencies I can see throughout the book, and things I'd like to go back in and fix. But I figure, instead of going back, I'll move forward and get better with practice and just sheer quantity of drawing. I see alot of comic book artists that start out with me not liking their stuff at all, but because they're always working, always drawing they become these amazing artists. And why? Not cuz they spend eternity nit picking their page to death, but because they just simply keep drawing and moving forward. Hmmm... that's a good excuse for me to keep being careless and going off model!

Some of today was spent with me trying to find car insurance and talking to the dealership! Just think, tomorrow I will be a car-less wonder no more! And also tomorrow, I will most probably be doing the biggest slacking off of my comic book ever! Ah well, can't win them all! Until tomorrows' post!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 8 - Page 20

So I'm posting up the new page 20 pencils and it turned out I finished this pretty fast. I had finished penciling this page by noon today and the thing that sped it up was me leaving all the blacks to be digitally inked in later. I would've been able to finish laying out page 21 today too but alas, I had to go to the car dealership today and arrange to get a car! So, by Friday I should be driving around town in my brand new Toyota Yaris Sedan! Whoo!

Okay, but I'm still left with the fact that I didn't do too much today. So, I vow on great Rao, that I will work like a madman tomorrow on the next few pages! Uh, mainly 'cuz on Friday I might be driving around doing car crap too.

Okay so let me talk about some of the things that happened on this page. Yesterday, I was pretty disappointed with how the figure on panel 4 was ending up and it's readability. Today, I realized that the figure was too stiff. It just didn't seem like she was in action enough to flip around and get into the position she's in in panel 5. I changed her to be more bent, flexible so she looks like she's in the process of flipping. Added to that I made her kinda mirror the arch of the doorway behind her as I was using that as a device to point the eye downward to the figure in panel 5. Also, by doing this, I'm hoping that repetition implies motion to the reader. On top of this I turn her face so that she's looking at the wall she's going to land on, just to emphasize the fact that she'll be flipping and landing onto it.

I still am not to keen on the read of that panel but definitely feel good enough that it'll get the job done as to not confuse the reader. The rest of the pencils went by without a big problem. Anyway, I'm hoping tomorrow I'll have pages 20 and 21 inked (gulp). I was really hoping to get all 3 layouts done by the end of this week... but hey, I gotta buy a car!

Comic book day was today, I picked up 52, Ex Machina, Casanova, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. 52 has it's ups and downs in the storylines but this week's (nineteen) is one of it's ups, the series has a lot more personality in it than Infinite Crisis.
Gabriel Ba amazes me at how fast and consistent he can draw Casanova (definitely pointers to me!), though Matt Fraction's writing in the first issues confused me a lot, he seems to be getting better. The Green Lantern books I have on hold because I got into the whole 'Hal-Jordan-returning' thing, and Jeff Johns always seems to be able to get me coming back for more. Ex Machina is always a good read, I've been a fan of Tony Harris since Starman and Brian K Vaughan's writing had me hooked on Y (never read Runaways though). I picked up Martian Manhunter mainly 'cuz I'm a sucker and I'm curious to see where DC's gonna take the character instead of his usual green Superman phase.

And to top it off? I hear Adam Hughes is going to be doing comics again with his new All-Star Wonder Woman! Whoo!

So that's it! Sa susunod na kabanatan! Good night and God bless!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 7- Page 20

Here's a work in progress of the pencil work I'm doing to page 20. Panel 4 has always been problematic, but the solution that Roque suggested was to cut out the multiple figures that denoted her flipping in mid air.

While the final solution may not be as cool as the multiple action poses (I'm a sucker for that stuff), it does do 2 things for me. One, it establishes where the characters are in relationship to each other and two because the figure flying through the air is singular, the read from right to left isn't as tricky to do. That and I made the panel tilt downwards to help with the read. That said, I'm still unsure about the figure in that panel.

I've started to leave more work for Bucket Phil in my pencil stage, just to save me some time. The downer is that I can't quite see my blacks spotted in so any problems that may occur I won't be able to tackle early. Today, I also blew up 2 more of my layouts to 11 x 17 working size so I should be stocked up with plenty of work to be done for this week.

Anyway, for some odd reason I'm pretty tired out today so no meaningless ranting tonight! I'm outta here!

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 6- Page 20, 21 and 22

I spent all of today thumbnailing, and trying to get these sequences right. I thought because last week I was only working a page from thumbnail to finish, I might not be seeing the whole narrative picture (and I wasn't).

So, this time I tried to tackle more in one go, to see the sequences work together. Not really too sure if the sequence reads all that well, and I'm asking a lot from the reader on page 20 panel 4 because I'm making them read right to left. This was actually a pretty tough one to set up, I wanted to make things dynamic, large and just more frenetic than the early pages, and at the same time readable.

It was really tough to do this so if you look at the thumbnails they're pretty well erased. I pushed it a little more today ('cuz I felt guilty only doing two pages of thumbs) so I thumbnailed page 22 as well. I think my fear in my comic book (as a whole) is that I'll try to be so clear in a sequence that I lose the 'fun' that I like to see in comic books. In pages 20-21, though I'm afraid I may have gone over to the 'fun' side too much? Anyway, I've sent some of them over to my friend Roque, so he can be my guinea pig for readability.

Today's Sept 11th and it's funny working in the vacuum of my apartment: I'm so out of touch with seeing how the world's mourning on this day. I actually went to Yahoo to see some video
s about 911 like presidents' speech and the memorial they had in New York. They had some snippets on ABC and CNN as well and it was good that I could search it out and watch them. Though, I have to admit I had to force myself to do so, simply because I just didn't want to face that sadness again.

I remember that month was a very odd month, almost like a weird haze was over my brain the whole time. I remember trying to piece together what just happened in my head. I remember being worried because I couldn't get in touch with my friends in New York on the phone. Seeing those images on TV is something I won't forget.

The strange thing too is, (now looking back at it) the beginnings of this comic book was my own way of dealing with the 911 incident. I made a group of heroes to fight that kind of evil. Drawing comics allows me to escape, maybe even to right some wrongs in my own world, so I guess it was a logical coping mechanism? Of course, 911 isn't the sole thing that drives the book, but It's definitely in there. I think in time, I'll start figuring out the other subconscious things I've buried into this book!

Anyway, that's it for tonight. Good night and God Bless.

P.S. Just got off the phone with El Rock man, and he added some great comments to help out my pages, featuring some comp changes in page 19 to make the sequence work better. But---! That's for tomorrow, which is actually almost today!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 5.25 - Page 19

Well I did a quick kinko's run and here's what the final page ought to look like. I Can't really classify today a full work day (hence the title) as all I did was a couple hours or so of line tweaks and photocopying!

Right now my head is trying to figure out how to layout the last 5 pages of the book without it feeling too rushed. It'll be a juggling act next week as I'm trying to buy a car and do this comic at the same time! I feel some late hours happening! Man, I'm such a slave driver! Aydeeeeyos!

Friday, September 08, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 5 - Page 19

Hooray! It's the end of my first week keeping eight hour days to work on my comic book, and I actually maintained it!

Okay... maybe-sorta-kinda!

This page turned out easy to produce and though I'm still going to tweak a few things here and there, I thought I'd post up what I had. My biggest gripes are on the 'readability' of panel 3 and the face of the character on panel 4, but in all, I think it turned out fine. I think I may be able to solve panel 3's problem with colors, but we'll see.

I just have to run over to kinko's tomorrow and have ol' Bucket Phil fix anything I may have missed and I can file this away 'til the coloring stage. This page may be an easy one for Phil to tweak as I think I went a little lead happy and shaded everything in.

Anyways, I'm off to my weekend! I'll post the final blacks tomorrow, but otherwise, it's time to relax! God Bless and magkita tayo ulit!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 4 - Page 19

This will be a pretty quick post.

Today, I hardly had any serious problems and everything pretty much just fell into place. The only real problem I ran across was I finally figured out the profile shot of one of my characters (uhhh, shouldn't I have figured that out before I started the comic???). It was good to figure this out, but bad at the same time because I may have to go back to some of my pages and fix her to match this profile. Still, I'm not doing that now, maybe once all the pages are completed, I'll do a general 'model' pass. Maybe.

I even slacked off today for a few hours playing video games. Makes me wonder how much I could've really gotten done! I had to adjust the brightness and contrast of this scan so that the non-photo blue would show up, it's probably a nonsensical mess right now, but trust me it's all going according to plan! Mwooohahaha! Anyways, tomorrow I believe I can take this to finish relatively easy (famous last words)! Until next we meet! God Bless and good evening!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 3 - Page 19 (the non-photo blues)

Okay, so I knew this day wouldn't be as comparably productive as days 1 and 2, but I got some good things done today. On my list for the day were: have lunch with the gang from Ghostbot, make a comic book run, go downtown to buy some non-photo blue pencils and of course buy a video game to make me even more non-productive!

But amidst all this malarky, I still did get layouts done for page 19 of my book! This page I've scanned in has two variations of layouts for page 19 (one on the top left and one on the top right). The page layout on the right is what I'm most likely going to end up doing,
but there were some quirks about both layouts initially that I needed resolved.

So I enlisted the aid of Roque Ballesteros (he of Ghostbot fame) to be another eye to have a look at this page. He suggested to cut out a panel and add one in, to clarify some storytelling issues (the panel cut out is panel 2 on the left page layout and the new added panel, is panel 4 on the right page layout). Both very good suggestions, and he also suggested I go with panel 5's figure on the right page layout instead of the one on the left. A big thanks to the Rock man for giving me some good feedback! With this resolved, I'm a whole lot more confident about tackling this page tomorrow.

Now onto the REAL meat of this blog!

Yesterday I was out of non-photo blue pencils so I went to Pearl's in downtown to get my favorite col-erase pencils. Just my luck, they didn't have any. So I picked up Steadler and Prismacolor brand non-photo blue pencils to give them a try. I stopped by Kinko's on the way home to give these pencils a little 'taste test'. But first, if you don't know how I use these pencils here's a little quick summary. I do layouts onto bristol paper purely with non-photo blue pencil. Once I have the layout I want, I go over them with a normal pencil; choosing the right line, adding line weight and generally bringing it to finish. I go over to Kinko's, photocopy the art, and voila! The non-photo blue pencil marks go away like a bad dream, and I'm left with a clean, stark dark line. Okay? So now back to the pencil test, here's what I got:

Steadler non-photo blue

Prismacolor non-photo blue

Nothing beats the ol' col erase because that stuff really doesn't show up when I photo copy it, but the runner up is Prismacolor. But what the heck is up with the Steadler brand?? That stuff doesn't even drop out! False advertising I say! So if you ever need to go for non-photo blue pencils and Sanford's col erase is nowhere to be found? Go for the hard lead prismacolor ones. The softer prismas don't drop out too well and actually end up worse than the steadler brand.

And that's today's boring consumer lesson! Until tomorrow, good night and good luck!

P.S. Comic books weren't shipped today because of Labor day so another trip to the store tommorow is needed!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 2 - Page 17

Hooray! It's all done! The 4th panel definitely did me in as it took me most of the day to figure out how to draw that one measly panel! I duplicated the binoculars' images in panels 1 and 2 and had bucket Phil hook up the blacks on the first panel (though admittedly I should do digital filling more often in order to save time!

Whew, I'm beat! Tomorrow I don't think I'll get as much done since I have to run some errands around town, but nonetheless, I can thumbnail like a madman for
the next few pages while taking the bus to said errands! Am I slacking off you say?

Well... kinda. The official reason for one of the errands is picking up some supplies for the comic book, I was killing myself today trying to draw with what little non-photo blue pencil I had!

The slacking off part is because there's a video game coming out tomorrow that I want to pick-up (Yakuza from Sega) and since it's on the way to the art store... I may get distracted! That and hey it's comic book day tomorrow! So for now, God Bless and hanggang bukas!

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Comic Book - Day 1 - Page 17

So it begins! This is the first day that I'm doing a normal 8 hour day onto my comic book, and what did I learn from it? I'm really crazy slow! I need to get faster! Especially since I'm drawing some pretty simple characters. Makes me want to try using inks somehow... who am I kidding! My inks suck! I scanned in a few pages from my sketchbook, some of the drawings are from a while back, but these pages actually have some horrible scribbles of my thumbnails and early bits of the script (oh and some people on the BART).

I was working from a script that I wrote, which kept changing and changing even as I was drawing the page! Luckily, I work for myself, otherwise I would've hated me for making so many changes! The word bubble of the character going: "Status!" on panel 3, was actually a last minute addition, done as I was drawing him. It works for the characterization, (I think) but definitely something not possible to do if I was part of a larger team.

I'm finding I'm getting really stuck with some of the backgrounds, peripheral characters and props a lot, since I'm still trying to figure out the overall style as I draw. Definitely not an advisable route to go when jumping into a page! Also, I'm finding as I work there's always that one panel, in every page, that scares me to draw. So, what I'll end up doing is drawing everything else, hoping that when I get to that panel, I'm really warmed up and ready to tackle it.

I think my pace will be around a page every two days. We'll see how I keep up especially when I have no idea how to stage panel 4 on this page (that's my 'phobia-panel' for this page)! That's it for today! Aydeeyos!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Let's go back to plan A

I think it may have felt like something of a wake-up call. Maybe it comes with age? Some sort of urgency to get things done?

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

This blog started out just as a little digression from my website. It was supposed to be a little supplement of that addressed the comic book geek in me. It kinda did for the first few posts, but it has grown into something more.

I've always had a passion for comic books, for art being told in a sequential format, especially when the sequences can exist side by side of each other. I've been drawing comic books since I've been a kid; and there's just something very special about the medium to me, that film, books or video games just cannot capture. I've been dreaming of having my own book published for a very long time.

But reality loves to slap me awake from the warm and toasty comfort of my dreams! In order to feed myself, have a roof over my head or maintain a visa to stay in America (oh yeah, I'm not from this country by the way), money's gotta be made! And comics can't really provide that! So I got myself a job in the video game industry. Not a bad thing to be sure! And everyday I am definitely thankful to God for blessing me with that! And hey, video games are fun!

There's always going to be that itch though... my need to tell stories through comic books, even though it's definitely not as lucrative as the film or animation industries. I've been very hard on myself for not drawing a comic book, or I'd always think about doing a comic book series, but I never motivated myself enough to do so. I'd always get depressed seeing all these creators on the comic book shelves, consistently pumping out their own books, believing in their ideas and sticking through a number of issues.

I finally got tired of my own whining and at the beginning of 2006, I made myself sit down and draw comic book pages, no matter how tired I was, after work. My goal was to get myself to finish a comic book within a year (roughly 22-24 pages). And the overall plan was to make a 5 issue story arc for the comic. Once all 5 are done, then I'll worry about pushing it on a publisher, or even publishing it myself.

Fast forward to now: towards the latter half of the year. I've chosen to do a simpler style thinking I'd be able to handle the drawing chores easier this way. I've gotten side-tracked here and there, got lazy every few weekends, but I've actually got 17 pages to show for it! Unfortunately, not lettered or colored, but I'm getting there. But how am I really doing?

I'm short by 5 pages, I have no idea how I'll end this issue, I face the prospect of adding pages, I have to fight the urge to want to go back and change things, I have such a hard time drawing in this style, work drains so much out of me all the time, everybody else is better and faster than me and the ever present feeling that I might be drawing the world's suckiest comic of all time hits me everytime I touch pen(cil) to paper!

Yeesh. Cry me a river.

I'm going to get this book done even if it kills me! And I just might hit my deadline with some of the latest news at work! My company felt like rewarding our team for all the long hours we worked on the project (It's called Death Jr. 2, for the psp, go buy it kids!). So I get 13 days of comp time!

13 days! Whoohoo! But instead of sitting around doing nothing, throwing pity parties, the plan is this: I maintain my regular work schedule but instead work on my comic book! I've always wanted to see what I could do if I had a regular job doing comic books, now I get to put my money where my mouth is!

So, what does this mean for this blog? Well, instead of me solely gearing it for comic book talk, I'll be adding in more stuff like the previous "step by step" posts into it. I'm making it into a broader blog, something that can still have me geeking out about comics but it can also include other things such as the process of me creating my comic book. So, me ranting will still exist (as you can tell by this crazy long winded post), but so will the warts and all (okay maybe not all) things that happen to me as I create my comic book. Heck I'll probably post stuff about the video games I play that distract me from getting this book done!

Or at least that's the idea! To kick it off, starting next week I'm going to try to post something up everyday, like a journal, no matter what I have, no matter how little it is and no matter how crappy it looks. So for 13 work days (hey I gotta have a weekend for crying out loud!), I'll have a little compilation of the stuff I went through to get my comic book closer to getting done!

So, say goodbye to "Comic Book Rantings of a Spotful mind" and Hello to "The Neverending Battle"! Since Superman has always been my favorite hero (That's right! Take that dark and brooding superhero lovers!), I'm stealing his little caption, to describe (not to mention melodramatic-ize) my goal to get myself making comic books! I sprinkled a small amount of sketches and pages from the comic book I'm making around this post: makes it a lot less of a yawn fest! And with that, I'm off! Come back on Monday to see how much I've slacked off! God Bless and Good night!
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