Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sketch Panel Warm-Ups

It's not narrative. They are just a bunch of random images drawn inside some panels.

When I haven't drawn for a while for whatever reason, I rule out a series of panels on a page or two and start to fill them up with whatever. This time around it took me a while to sit back down at the drawing board after I sliced a significant piece of my thumb off while cutting bristol down to comic page size, so I really needed to exorcise the bad drawings and knock the cobwebs loose.

I draw heads, figures, etc. Some get drawn from reference, others not so much. This little exercise just helps me with my brain-to-hand coordination and gets me over the fact that my drawings are going to be sub-par for a little bit and to not worry about it. The panel format helps me get in the mindset of drawing narrative again.

After the last panel is filled I'm usually pretty damn ready to get back to my actual pages.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

I saw Scott Pilgrim today. It was a lot of fun! It seems like it was just yesterday I was checking out Edgar Wright's blog and seeing pics from their first day of shooting or videos of the cast training with fighting sticks for all the awesome action they would be partaking in.

For the record, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was a WHOLE lot of fun. Portions of the book were trimmed considerably, but understandably so. It could have used a bit more love story, but when there are so many exes to deal with it's tricky to nail everything down at an acceptable pace. Certain beats will win out and become the priority, and they did. I feel Ramona got slightly neglected in character development. Knives was developed just fine, and the actress did a great job with the part. One way to look at it is that in the end the film is about Scott's struggles and battles, his motivations and desires, so in a certain way it wasn't important for the viewer to want Ramona, but rather to understand that Scott wanted Ramona, for better or for worse. And even those wants were questionable towards the end, much like Scott's confusion towards the end of the comic.

The best part about what was left out of the film is that people can see it without ever having read the comic, then read the comic and be utterly, completely surprised and delighted by stuff that couldn't make it into the film. There's a lot of story meat that is exclusive to the graphic novels.
Go see it twice, I say!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Captain America: Fighting Styles

This is my entry for Project Rooftop's Captain America: Fighting Styles redesign contest.

From PR:

...Captain America is a symbol as well as a warrior, and should represent America's best ideals, even when others in power fall short of his moral standards... ...It is important to keep in mind that the task is not to re-imagine the characters, but to revise ONLY their costuming, as if it is to be used in current continuity. Always try to create a better costume than the design currently in use, not just a variant.

My original idea was to just do a 'Subdued Flag' version of Cap; just do regular Cap, but color him in army greens, blacks, and whites. But I realized that if I didn't do the red, white and blue, I would probably blow any shot I have at being realistically considered by the judges for the contest.

So then I had to actually design him. UGH. Cap's costume is SO ICONIC— SO many existing superhero staples were so well-established and fine-tuned with this costume, it's really the template for all superhero costumes. Plus, it's the American Flag, of which COUNTLESS heros have been designed around. Here's a sampling- The Shield, Super-Patriot (pre- and post-injuries), U.S. Agent, Fighting American, Patriot (Young Avengers), Uncle Sam, Star Girl, Wonder Woman, Reuben Flagg, Captain Glory, American Son, Star, The Comedian, Patriot (Rising Stars), Ultimate Captain America, Major Glory, The Spirit of '76, Battlestar, American Maid, Iron Patriot, Star Spangled, Reagan's Raiders, Mr. America, Commander Capitalism, Evel Knievel... the list goes on (and on and on. don't even get me started on the Timely Comics' old WWII-era heroes. Throw a rock and you'll hit stars and stripes).

Here's how I went about this endeavor. 

The A on his forehead has always troubled me. I've always thought it was a great spot for snipers to aim. I knew I wanted to rid him of that. The wings came and went multiple times until I finally decided that Cap's silhouette is better served by keeping them. I turned the 'A' from his head into his belt buckle, then made it an Avengers 'A' since he's now being toted as "The First Avenger."

Then to actually add elements to his costume, I threw some stars on his knees because I thought about Cap kneeing nazis or terrorists in the face and them literally seeing stars (hyuk hyuk hyuk). As invincible as he is, I gave him protective eye-wear with night-vision technology. I don't know how well his eyes can resist toxic gasses, but I know FOR A FACT he can't see in the dark. So there.

Then I extended his mask to protect his nose and chin. Pouches on his belt for keeping stuff in. Maybe he carries a copy of Ernie Pyle's "Brave Men" around with him for inspiration. I don't know! I also got rid of the buccaneer boots and gloves and replaced them with more streamlined regular boots and gloves so he can run at you and punch your lights out with less wind resistance.

I knew I didn't want to mess with the shield at all. I have SO much respect for that roundel (I love roundels because I love circles). Plus, the shield's pretty permanent. It's made of VIBRANIUM, fer chrissakes. *pushes up glasses*

THEN. After ALL THAT. I finally made my "Subdued Flag" variant. Like he presses a button or something and SHAZAM! His costume, made of unstable molecules for sure (because MARVEL), turns into a covert, less-easily-to-spot-and-shoot-at color. In case you're not aware of the terminology, our soldiers don't go running around in combat zones with bright red, white and blue flags on their arms. They wear what are called "subdued" patches. Usually two or three colors are used, usually camo-themed to blend in with the rest of their uniform. The American flag patch is usually black in place of blue and red, and green in place of the white stripes and stars.

In the end, I'm so-so on my design. It's more of a variant. But it was a lot of fun!

P.S. I've gone through the pain of designing a patriotic superhero before for the Sidekicked book that never saw print. That design can be found here. I actually borrowed a little bit of his helmet for my Cap redesign. Needless to say, I was happy I didn't have to start from scratch this time around! I drew nearly 50 drawings of the Sidekicked character before I had something that worked for me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Love Mad Men

I made this a little while ago before Mad Men season 4 started, and they had the promotional Mad Men Yourself generator. I made a generic character and then worked some Photoshop magic to turn him into Batman from the "Cheese & Chainsaws: Patrick Bateman's Super-Happy Fun Guide To Dating" mixed cd my friend Maddy and I compiled a couple years ago.

Making the chainsaw was the most arduous part of the process, but it was also the most rewarding!