Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Supergirl TV show

The new Supergirl TV show has been a lot of fun. Melissa Benoist is the perfect actress for the job and the stories and the effects have been top notch. I'm a fan of all DCTV, and the action in Flash and Arrow (especially season 4's 7th episode "brotherhood") has been top notch, but there's really nothing quite as fun for me to watch as a Kryptonian using their full power set. And Supergirl really delivers! Every episode always has multiple and effects intensive fight sequences.

I'm always amazed at the budget they're throwing at this show, and I'm afraid it won't last long because of the cost. But if anything they've really been cranking it up, and as a Superman/Super-family fan it's just so great for me to see.
False start. I think the Supergirl poster
that was making the rounds on the internet
is the driving inspiration for this first sketch.

Restarted the pose. I usually work one sketch layer on top of the other,
until I feel confident I can move onto digital inking. Most times, I got
back and forth between the "inks" when I'm not confident about something
 or I realize I didn't put enough details in the drawing for me to bring it to a finish.

I couldn't figure out her knee, so I took a photo reference to figure it out.

Finished character art.


It's nice that the DCTV shows run the whole spectrum of being different from each other. Supergirl is seemingly the one that can really cover a broad range of ages. Give it a shot, the first 8 episodes have been great fun. The mid season finale even has a Man of Steel homage in it's fight sequence.

That's it for the night/day. Up, up and away!

Being a DC fan in the Marvel age: a little levity from Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder posted up a couple of awesome BVS and Star Wars mash up videos on his twitter site just recently. I have to say it comes at a good time, since a little humor to cut the negativity from the internet about the recent BVS trailer is welcome.
I've actually been actively looking for other fans' positive reaction videos and website articles on BVS, just to help pump me up a bit and to drown out the haters. Plus, since a lot of the people I know are also in the semi-hater category, it's nice to be able to share the excitement with other fans, even if it's just "virtually".

Anyhow, I drew up the big guy himself, to complete my trinity drawings for BVS.

I didn't really like how his face and the shadows on it were working out, so I just decided to put it mostly in shadow. I liked how the shadow on his face turned out.

And that's it for today. That completes the BVS trinity I set out to do as an outlet for my excitement for the second trailer. Instead of going on forums and trying to get sucked up into an endless flame war with haters, I'm trying to approach it as a positive fan instead. Share the BVS love!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Being a DC fan in the Marvel Age: Not liking the "fan's" BVS (fixed) trailer


I'm kinda tired of 'fans' fixing things. Man of Steel got it's colors 'fixed' by some guys on the internet a few months back (I won't even mention their name or link you to it... that's how much I disagree with them). And now there's a 'fixed' version making the rounds about the Batman v Superman trailer. I disagree with that too.

I liked Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor and also seeing Doomsday. To get rid of those two, diminishes a few things that trailer did. We got to see a good amount of screen time with the main characters of the movie. I was really impressed that I got to see Luthor, Kent and Wayne interact with each other and I got a grasp of who they were. I got to see the acting chops of everybody and I really liked it.

The Star Wars and Civil War trailers (granted it's just the first trailer for Civil War) don't really have any of this. That's fine. But I felt BVS gave me much more acting than those two did, and I'm really thankful for it. So no, I don't agree with cutting out Eisenberg's scene or even displacing it from the main chunk it was from in the original. By displacing that clip of Luthor with Clark and Bruce, it disjoints the flow of that scene as well as limiting my appreciation of it.

The Doomsday reveal was AWESOME. And a Jaw dropper. And I still remember how absolutely hyped I felt seeing it. Cut that out and the trailer would be not as amazing of an experience. The fixed version just made him a roar at the end without any visuals. I think as a viewer I would be confused seeing this (without hindsight) and think... "Why and Batman and Superman fighting a dinosaur!" Oh, I can image the amount of hate and ridicule people would give it already! Clips of Jurassic World and Chris Pratt edited into it by 'fans', or Godzilla stomping through the scene.

So no, I don't agree with that part of the 'fixed' version either. The Wonder Woman reveal scene got cut as well. What happened with the fixed version is that it just made Wonder Woman not much of a presence in the trailer. She was treated like an afterthought. That was possibly my favorite scene in the entire trailer and to chop that into a little clip of her (that looked like an image of her we've seen previously), makes that clip... almost pointless and not as awesome of a treatment of Wonder Woman's first appearance to the public. That was a statement, really that the original cut made loud and clear; to all the haters that were unsure of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman: have no fear, she's awesome.

Nope, I don't agree at all with any of the 'fixed' changes at all. The fixed changes wouldn't have amped people up for this movie like the real one did. In fact, nobody would really be talking about it. Which, is not what a trailer should do.

When I say 'fans', I mean people that hate on the trailers but qualify themselves as still wanting to see it, as if they're doing it a favor. "I don't want to seem like a stuck up, judgemental hater, so I'm going to pretend I'm still going to watch it even though I've torn this movie to shreds before I've seen it."

With the amount of hate tossed around by those same 'fans', why bother watching it? If you hate it so much, no one's forcing you to watch it. In fact, don't watch it, don't try to backpedal. Just support what you like and love, and don't waste your time with stuff you hate.

The 'fixed' trailer is not exciting at all. Good job making it boring, 'fixed'-trailer-people.

Okay, enough ranting. Time to show my support!

Really rough sketch, no real need for details.
No need for composition too at the beginning.
I'd just deal with that later on.
I just went straight to inks with manga studio. The brush
type name eludes me, but it's one of my favorites in manga
studio. It's just the stock brush, but it has this rough quality about
it that frees me from being so precious about ever line I draw.

So there's my next shot fired at the Batman v Superman haters. Batman will make you bleed. You will!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Being a DC fan in the Marvel Age: Batman v Superman trailer #2

Seems like this topic is fast becoming a  re-occuring topic on this blog. The topic for today is the recent Batman v Superman trailer #2 and despite it hitting all the marks and absolutely rocking it (my opinion of course), there is still a lot of hate to be dished out by a lot of people.

Quite a few stem from the fact that they think the trailer has already shown too much and spoiled the movie. Others hate Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor (too much like the Joker is one comment, which really makes no sense to me). And others complain there's too many characters and it's not solely a Batman v Superman movie.

I disagree with all of these of course. After all, how can I know the whole movie has been spoiled if I haven't seen the whole thing yet? Was it spoiled because I now know that Batman and Superman were going to work with Wonder Woman at the end? Who didn't think that was going to happen in this movie though? Was it spoiled that Doomsday was a villain manipulated by Lex? Maybe? But we don't know how that fight will pan out still, just as we knew Zod was the bad guy, but we didn't know how that initial Man of Steel fight would pan out right?

Eisenberg looks like he's playing the annoying smart rich guy, and sure he makes some quick quips, but he's no Joker by any stretch. And I do have a feeling that's just how he's playing it to fool the heroes. That picture of him bald released a while ago seems to scream the true evil nature of his portrayal. I personally like this different take on Luthor on screen. As great of a Gene Hackman impression Kevin Spacey did in Superman Returns, and Clancy Brown's awesome business man Lex in the animated series, I want something new.

And for others who solely want a Batman v Superman movie... it's not. The title says all right there "Dawn of Justice". This movie is the set-up for the Justice League. I've had someone say that to reduce this movie to something as 'brainless' as a good guys vs bad guys movie like the avengers 2 makes it bad. That argument really doesn't hold any water either. I mean, it's a super hero movie! OF COURSE it's good guys vs. bad guys!

Anyhow, I personally enjoyed this trailer. There were some incredibly spot-on scenes with Cavil and Affleck in their secret identities meeting for the first time.The quick snippets of all the fight scenes looked fantastic, from the Batman v Superman brawl to the desert sequence with what could be para-demons. Doomsday made me giddy and of course the whole scene with Wonder Woman's reveal had my jaw drop even further.

My gut instinct is to fire back at the haters with the same bile and anger that they spew. To trash the stuff that they think is good (and oh, it is  SO easy to do it), and just absolutely decimate them with a rant (like this one).

But that gets us nowhere.

Instead, I fired back... with fan-art! With me celebrating the trailer and the stuff I loved, and liking and sharing as many posts and tweets about it that I could find! I would direct compliments to the director and actors and the companies at the good job they did, and instead be supportive of them.

Sketch Phase. I still like her eye shape better
in the original sketch. I didn't spend too much time
on the details...

I added some speed lines to fill up the empty areas
by her head, and they're cool, but it just wasn't the
feeling I was going for with the drawing.

And that's my first shot fired at the Batman v Superman haters! And I'm sure there'll be more. Warner Brothers is really going out of their way to make this movie absolutely awesome and epic. They are climbing an uphill battle, because by default, everybody hates DC. I live in a world where people are more hyped to watch Ant-Man and Black Panther than to see Batman fight Superman!  It's a good time for comics to be sure, and there's a lot of positivity towards the genre... as long as you're not DC Comics that is.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Birthday card for my wife

I put my comic book work on hold for a little bit and worked on a birthday card for my wife. I didn't quite have an idea what it would be about, but it would still be in the same 'universe' that my wedding proposal for her is in.

My wife and I would have quick conversations about how our life has changed so much since we've had children. We'd see old photos of ourselves and reminisce about the days that it was just her and I and how 'mobile' we were. We would think about all the places we went to and the places we'd like to be.

Don't get us wrong though, we love our kids, but it seems like that was a different lifetime ago, and the people in the photos seem so different from who we are now. So that's where the brain storm started for the birthday card.

My sketches worked backwards. I knew what message I wanted to say
at the end, so I started off with 'designs' for the interior image first.

Boiling down my idea along with basic poses for the characters on the card.

I'm paying homage to that classic "Spider-Man, No more" issue
for the card's front. But eventually I thought a horizontal, hotdog-style
opening card would make the card more special than a regular one.
With around a week to go before the big day, I didn't bother tightening up the sketches, or even the layouts, and just went straight to digital inks. All my character design work was already done, so I felt confident I could just bust this one out.

It started out that I was going to draw the background of the 'cover' just like
Amazing Spider-Man #50. But because of time as well as aesthetics, it seemed
really appropriate to leave the background blank. It would be a good contrast to
the super colorful interior (once I was done with it).

I drew the images incorrectly at first. It was on an 8.5 x 11 canvas, but
I didn't take into account that it should've been half that height,
since I was folding the paper in half. Nothing scaling and a little
digital re-positioning couldn't handle though! 

Coloring pass wasn't too tough. I used to use Photoshop to handle the coloring, but since my older version of Photoshop works 'alright' on my Surface 3, I just kept coloring in Manga Studio. It wasn't too bad actually.

Final colors, and a slightly altered layout from the Black and Whites.

I think I over did the stars, but it's kind of a nice contrast to the
starkness of the cover. Kinda like a punch in the face after opening
the birthday card... maybe not the best analogy...

So there we go. Hopefully, it feels like a celebration of the new things that we have now (and who we've become), and less of the "I miss the "good" ol' days"... That's it for my art shenanigans for November! Time to go back to blocking in some colors for my comic!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Comic Book: Issue 3 - Lettering

No Inktober drawings from me this year. As much as I really enjoyed letting my DC comic fan out last year with those ink drawings, I opted out of it this year. Instead, I finished up the lettering pass of the third issue of my comic book!

It's always nice to see my page with lettering.
It's good to see if the page is working, like I intended
it to, once the balloons are placed.

This was the first time I used Manga Studio to handle the lettering (along with Blambot's fonts), and it was definitely a good change from how I used to do it on Photoshop. Arranging balloon placement was a breeze and I made some custom balloons as well to make my life easier. I used to have to custom make my balloons in Photoshop for every page, and they were rasterized layers not vector... so I couldn't readily futz around with placement and size without having to scrap the entire balloon every time.

Seeing how pages work next to each other is do-able in the computer,
but there's nothing like testing the 'page-flip' on physical pages.
Once the lettering is in, I print out the pages and place them into one of those plastic folders with the clear sleeve pages in them. This way I can visualize the placement of my pages sequentially in a physical format. I usually find myself constantly flipping through the mock-up. This is sort of my editing phase. I'll read the physical copy multiple times. I 'll find typos, or phrases I keep repeating in the dialogue, spelling mistakes or inconsistencies in page flow.

I don't think my brain actually slips into this mode until after I see all the pages together like this, and I've found it's a very important and encouraging step for me. Anyway, next up: colors!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The red capes are coming!

The latest Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is out and it looks fantastic! I was already a giant fan of Man Of Steel and the first teaser trailer for this, so I was extra blown away when they released this online in HD! Wonder Woman looks awesome, Desert nomad Batman looks great, Mind controlled (???) Superman is scary and I really liked Ma Kent's lines to Superman at the farm.

I initially drew this sketch for the teaser, but I kinda got swamped with real life! I rrally like Jesse Eisenberg's delivery of this line in the teaser, so I'm glad we get to see the scene when he does say it in the trailer.

First pass: I liked the face and pose, but I didn't like
the clean lines. I wanted to get a little messier.

I liked the black and white version of this, but I thought
a little color would enhance it a bit better.

Simple colors added in. I added in the text in there
courtesy of Blambot's fonts.
That's it for tonig─ąt! And remember, "The red capes are coming!"

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.

   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.

   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!

   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...

   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.


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. 
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