Professional Works

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Killdove: Tiers of Joy

At long last, an update.

For the past year, I've been cranking away at the Killdove pitch. The process has been slow (mostly due to things like time, procrastination, and my tenacity to fit as much detail as I can), but ultimately rewarding.
I've finally got together the last three pages, formed into a spread.

Originally, this was to be a simple, one page splash with four tiers of panels surrounding it. The scene is our mind-reading anti-hero Kevin glimpsing all possible options to disarm the villain, each one ending in his death.

I decided to take a chance and work this into a spread (as mentioned in a previous post).

The overall process was this: start with tight pencils, outline with a wet-media brush via Photoshop, get Eric's approval, then add graytones.

Combined with very large resolution (I work at nothing less than 600 ppi), this allows for the richest, most detailed line work I can muster.
Once the last tier was completed, I added the lettering. Eric always had this idea of a kind of reverse-color word balloon to really push the fact that these bad guys are ANYTHING but human.

I white letters with a black background, did a triple-outline of white-black-white, then added the 'plastic wrap' filter in order to give it a grimy/gross feel to it, via Eric's instructions.

I have to say, the end result speaks for itself.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Killdove: A Process of Insanity

If there's one thing an artist can do, it's to always NEVER be satisfied with their work. Once in a while however, one can forget HOW to not ever be satisfied. This can be a bad thing. Why you ask? Simple. To be satisfied with your work means to settle on something that may not be your best. I fell into that. Hard. Case-in-point, my tenure as 'Artistic Director' for the Killdove pitch (the writer's title choice, btw). We've settled on first presenting a portfolio, or pitch, to various editors and publishers in order to get this thing printed. No easy task, mind you, mostly because of what I've stated above.

As I progressed in the pages, I found my stopping point in the story when the protagonist, Kevin, through ESP/pre-cognition, sees multiple ways to stop an assailant. Before he comes to a future where he DOESN'T lose or die, he acts. However, in the pitch we're only gonna show the process by which Kevin sees his grisly demises.

My first pass at this involved a single page with just the four tiers of action. The more I looked at it, the more I felt like something was missing and a bit off. Then it hit me! Make the single page into a spread (For those of you not familiar with comics, a spread is usually two or more pages, usually meant for a massive shot of whatever the story requires). I pitched this to Eric (my fearless project leader), and he approved. I submitted my first pass, and I still felt like something was off. It again hit me! Add a central image, making this a three-page spread. I would then arrange the tiers to 'float' around this central image.

Eric liked this idea. However, trouble arose. He was feeling that what I depicted wasn't quite what he wanted, or the best I had to offer. Now, I'm not gonna say this pissed me off or nothin'. Artists are used to this kind of thing. The problem came from me getting 'comfortable' and settling on the first pass, obviously not my best. After a much needed kick in the ass (thank you Eric!), I got back to work and took what he had to say to heart. My next pass came that much easier.

Not to be satisfied either, Eric pointed out that I had missed a few things. Imagine how I thought 'Geez, I'm a dope'. And interestingly enough, all I had to do was fix a few shots of the bad guy's hoodie. I never noticed that I had the bad guy wearing a zipper-hoodie in half the tiers, and a regular hoodie in the other half. Talk about being blind. I also had to let go of the central image that I personally liked, and instead came up with an even better one.

This just goes to show that I need to focus and retain that mind frame to NEVER be satisfied. Or, at the very least, not be so stubborn about having to change.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Random Fandom Episode III: They Are The Avengers

With the recent 'reveals' of concept art for both the Captain America and Thor movies respectively, many are aware that along with the Iron Man films the Avengers are right around the corner.

The big screen premiere of Marvel Comics' super team is a few years away yet, but I can't help bu wonder just how the team itself will look once the big three are on screen. Well, thankfully I have the artistic ability to bring that concept to life. Utilizing the blank variant cover to the recently released Avengers #1, as well as concept art for the Iron Man 2 video game with Cap and Thor, I can 'see' the Avengers as they could appear together on film.

But it's not enough to simply put the images together, let us also examine the respective looks of each character.

Captain America- The Sentinel of Liberty. Super-Soldier. The icon of WWII. With the Ultimates series by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch, Cap had been given a radical design for his WWII fatigues (think basic soldier, only in all blue with the red and white stripes, blue helmet with white 'A'), as well as an update for this contemporary uniform. I say uniform, because Cap is a character who is a soldier first and 'costume' just doesn't fit. With his movie appearance, Joe Johnston went to great lengths to ensure the fans of the series (myself included) that his suit would respect the source material, yet be made in a way that makes sense. I feel that this has been accomplished. The basic design is there, color scheme, etc. I even dig the red straps, as they hold a true purpose and even allow for the design of the vertical red and white on the suit. Even the helmet is great. While I do feel that wings painted on would've made sense, it still works.

Thor- The Norse God of Thunder. His look embodies the more modern design, following the relaunch of a few years ago. The look that was given to him the 1960's was used up until the early 2000's, and is still the iconic look that most older comic fans will recognize and think of when they hear 'Thor'. Here, however, that look is blow out of the water. In keeping with the fantastic, Norse mythology that the character is pulled from, we get a design that doesn't scream 'This has been done before in every movie about mythic times!' or 'Hey, wasn't he Eomer from LOTR?' (though, in an interesting twist, the actor, Chris Hemsworth, played George Kirk in Star Trek, along with the actor who played Dr. McCoy and Eomer in LOTR, Karl Urban). The suit is supposed to reflect the idea of chain mail armor, overcoat and cape that one associates with Norse tales. And, if the hammer glows like it does in this image, the film will be epic!

Iron Man- Tony Stark. He is Iron Man. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark created an upgrade for his suit. The most telltale difference is the chest piece. A circle in the first installment, it is now a triangle. This recalls the Iron Man used in the 1980's, the Silver Centurion armor. With more streamlined effects, and angles used for different pieces this newer model, the Mark VI, conveys power. The color scheme itself is more in keeping with the comics (legs and arms = gold, boots, gloves, chest, torso, hips, helmet = red), which is nice to see with this version. Don't get me wrong, the first Iron Man was amazing. This one just amps it up a bit.

So, there you have it. The Avengers. Coming to a theater near you in 2012 (hopefully)!