Methods of Madness

The battle really kicks in against the troglodytes in the forest there. Or here, if you are looking to view things on a mobile device. It was my first attempt at drawing any sort of a battle scene, and so far, I’m really pleased with the results.

In otherworldly news I’ve spent a bit of time researching how in the heck I’m supposed to be doing all this. Some of you may know, I do all of my art digitally. I have a Surface Pro 2 and I create the comic right on the tablet. I haven’t drawn on a piece of paper, minus that random sketch, since February.

To certain degree I consider myself a pioneer, at least at my low level of professionalism. I’m pretty sure that most major video game studios, as well as places like Disney, are using hardware like this to make their products. They aren’t exactly sharing their techniques though, and I’m not sure how much they would apply to comics all that well anyway. Tons of people are using normal Wacom tablets and I’ve read a few very helpful niche tutorials on Deviantart and things like that, but never found a place where someone has actually sat down and said: “Okay, I have spent some time figuring this all out. Here is how I do it.” At least until now.

Apparently, totally unknown to me, DC comics has got a guy who has made the same switch as I have, and has written a book about how he does his work. This is the part where I feel really bad, because normally I would be saying his name and the title of the book. The truth is: Jon is the one who found it, and has been telling me about it and got me all hyped up to read it. Heh. So much so I am talking about it with only half the information. I’ll tell you what, Once I get the info. I’ll do a quick update to the post. Point is, I’ll let you know if his information is worth looking into.

Joe

Happy Holidays.

More color is replacing the old and the drab. You can jump directly you looking at all the pretty things by hitting this link here. I appreciate you taking the moment to read at least that much of eh post, but I require your focus no longer.

More of the real world is poking it’s head in through the rough hewn opening of my primitive cave. Those who know me know I live a retail nightmare for my “real job” and that black Friday, as it is known, is one of my least favorite times of the year. It means for me, typically, giving up at least part of my thanksgiving time with my family and instead being at my job some time in the evening and being awake all through the night until some morning-ish time, usually around 10:00am. It’s long and it’s grueling and I’ll tell you for those who try to justify it: it is NOT worth and money or compensation or feeling of accomplishment or whatever bullshit you want to slap on it. It is getting worse every year, too. Stores are opening earlier and earlier…

Anyway, I’m not going to dwell to much on the negative, because this year I somehow managed to get out of participating altogether. I don’t have to go into work either Thursday or Friday, and I am extremely thankful for it. It’s the first time in about 4 years that I get to have a normal Thanksgiving. My heart goes out to everyone out there who isn’t as luck as I am. I wish you the best of luck in a hard situation, and I hope it goes as well as it can for you.

I think that’s where I’m going to leave it for the week, except to expand it to everyone. I don’t know who celebrates what, or if you think it’s all bullshit or something. Whatever you choose to enjoy, I hope that you have a wonderful version of it, and I’ll see you next week.

Joe

Diversification.

Did I spell that right?

More new plotline to behold over at the site. It’s nice to be moving along with the action and I’m starting to get genuinely proud of the finished products that you can peruse here. I’m also very happy to no longer have to draw ground in that crazy getup. I’m not sure who’s more excited to be out of it, him or me.

Anyone who collects comic in the “X Universe” and has been reading the Marvel Now stuff has been roped into quite the endeavor. Marvel is doing a lot of interesting stuff, and it has been very fun to read, even though collecting all 7 or 8 different X titles is a bit more expensive than I would like. I’m going to have to get choosy in a little while, here. I’ve gotten to look at some great artwork, especially the surprise of Terry Dodson on X-Men this month. Cool stuff, but with a little additive that has caught my eye.

There have been a lot of cool new characters added to the X Universe. Lots of new mutants, and I like it. They seem to be really aware of making sure to add a bunch of ethnic diversity to the mix, too. I like that a lot. The world sure is full of straight white superheroes, to say the least, and it’s about time that things got mixed up a bit. A lot of the new students at the Jean Grey school represent some underutilized groups, so it’s cool. Hispanic, African American, Indian, gay, there is a lot more there to accurately represent our real world.

What I’m a little wary of, though, is that there has been a bit of rewriting concerning existing characters, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. This month Lady Deathstrike was reintroduced into the world, and the change of ethnicity from Asian to Hispanic was a little jarring, particularly in that her new costume was a bit on the racially stereotypical side. It’s not always that minorities are even represented well in these imaginings. I don’t know, maybe I’m being hyper sensitive. I’m interested in your thoughts.

Joe

More Work, More Color

Jon continues to give us more of his work in beautiful color here. He continues to make me look good, and I continue to enjoy that. It’s already kinda tough to think tat far back in the story, and to think about what was going on in our heads. It is, however, fun to think about how much our writing and our drawing has grown since then. It does make things look a little bit infantile, but that just reassured me that I am on the right track in terms of personal and professional growth.

But enough about me.

It’s interesting to see the struggle that can come with public opinion, and to watch what happens when a public figure can sway an outcome just based on what they themselves feel about a particular topic. The case in point that I refer to today concerns the fate of ABC’s Agents of Shield and what happens to it now that the officianados of nerd cool over at Penny Arcade give it such a big thumbs down. Now, I myself have proclaimed a liking for the show, one that has grown as I have seen the actors and writers slowly get their feet in the world that they have been thrust into. But what is going to happen now that a huge online presence has pretty much stated that it isn’t worth their time? I guess we’ll see.

I studied sociology as a minor in college, and the behavior of what human beings do in groups has always fascinated me. (That’s what sociology is, btw) So thinking and talking about how the leaders of our culture can sway the decisions of groups is very interesting to me. Will ‘Agents of Shield’ now be wholesale abandoned by viewers now tat Penny Arcade has told them not to like it? Did Penny Arcade just make it okay to admit that you never liked it, or did you just let someone else’s opinion just overwrite your own? It can be a tough question to answer.

I don’t have the answers myself, just some thoughts.

Joe

ZOMG Something is Happening.

This here feels like yet another milepost on the walk of comic creation. That day when the action begins. It’s been all well and fun doing all of the things you need to do in order to start up a story: draw the landscape to establish scene. Draw a few character interactions to establish relationship. Establish the establishment to establish establishing.

Yes that really was a sentence.

But here finally we get the start of things just HAPPENING. That is so wicked cool, because now, kids, we are on a journey, and we get to see where that takes us. It should be a lot more fun all around from here on out.

I’m not going to prattle on too much this week about nonsense things you care little, or nothing, about, but there are a few things worth mentioning. The Legend of Korra season this time round is awesome, and is definitely worth any amount of effort that you need to make in order to see it. If you need to stage an elaborate 3 stage heist and then subsequent prison break in order to see it, it will be worth the effort.

Have a good. week, I’ll see you next time.

Joe

The Best of Colors

The new page this week adds some beautiful color work to the second page of Ground’s back story. You can just skip the clicking around and check it out with just the one click by clicking that click right here. I continue to think that Jon’s work really adds a ton of depth to mine, and makes me look like a better artist. The fire explosion down on the bottom right is my favorite, by far.

In other news, I don’t know how many of you readers out there are actually my competition, and artists yourselves, but if you haven’t heard about this I thought that I would share. There is a great kickstarter project out there that is aimed specifically toward artists who are working in comics it’s called “Masters of Anatomy” and it really looks like it is going to be worth checking out. I know I’m always looking for great reference material, often times by looking at the artwork of these very artists. Having something created specifically to be used as a reference is something worth a donation, in my opinion.

Lastly; “Lego Marvel Superheroes” Seriously, people, this is about the most fun I have had in a long time. I almost completely promise that it won’t interfere with my drawing time, but damn is this game cute. It’s a lot of fun to play, just like all of the other Lego games, and all of the normal Lego things are there. You collect bricks and capsules and unlock cheats, all of that. If you have played any other the other games and liked them, all of that continues. Slather on top of that a thick helping of ALL of the Marvel superheroes and all of the enjoyment about that and you’ll be getting closer to what this game contains. Best part? None of the movie of television contractual restrictions that keep these characters apart. Playing a level with Wolverine, Captain America and Thing all teamed up is awesome. Check it out.

Joe

But the Art is Fantastic!

We continue on with the story and you can have a look at a rather confusing conversation here. I can only imagine what spending your time with someone who is THAT energetic is like. Part of me thinks that it would actually be pretty fun. The gnomes are one of my favorite creations for the game, though when the party is going to be spending a lot of time in their home city of Gizmorian, I often have to juice myself up with a couple of Redbulls in order to give them the experience they deserve.

I have a lot more time to draw on my hands recently, so production is going to go pretty smoothly.

I’m assuming that many of you out there are comic book readers as well as webcomic readers. I could be wrong, but I know I am. I tend to collect certain issues more for the artists that I do for the writing, which annoys the hell out of certain of my friends. Even I admit, I collect some really terrible damn stuff just because of who happens to be drawing it. (Savage Wolverine for the Joe Mad run, for example) Every once in a while I find something that is really well drawn and well written though, and that makes it worth it, if you ask me.

Right now I’d have to say that “Wake” by Snyder/Murphy has to be at the top of that list. It’s a great survival horror story that is shaping up to be really cool. I’m being reminded of movies like ‘The Abyss” and “Predator” as I’m reading, and there’s some really great sci-fi concepts they are exploring, too. It’s at issue for of a ten issue run, so it’s not too far along if you are interested. I think my only complaint is that it has not been too consistent about it’s release, but hey, I’m not going to be a very loud complainer on that front.

Joe

Wizard of Oz Effect

The first of the pages being changed into full color is here. It feels very strange to be directing you back to the beginning of the whole project, but I’m getting used to strange feelings.

I’m of the opinion, good or bad, that my artwork looks a whole lot better in full color. I wish the stuff could stand on it’s own, but the fact is that it just has so much more depth and communicates so much better after the gentle touch of Jon’s Photoshop skills have been applied. My hat is quite literally off to him. I just removed it. Seriously. He claims that he is not very good (a lie) and that with practice he could get even better. Though that may be true (it’s true of every artist) the first part of the statement still rings false. A false paired with a true equals a what? Either way I’ve decided to leave the issue alone, because every iota he improves makes me look better.

I also am feeling really good about this ‘every other week color vs. new page’ thing we have going on. I already feel like I have time to breathe. It’s a welcome feeling. Yesterday I had a conversation with my wife. For fun. And I didn’t have my tablet out. It was earthshaking.

But honestly it really does feel good to not be rushed. I was clocking myself at about 10 days per page at my best quality drawing, and I certainly didn’t want that to give. This way I can maintain that pace and not feel bad about it. I hope you all can understand, and forgive me for it. I’ll tell you what; if I ever have an easy page that takes less than a week and I get ahead, I’ll post a color and a new page both in one week. Deal?

Joe

Dimensions

A new player on the stage really makes their appearance this week. You can get a mostly shrouded look at him here. It’s about gosh darn time, too. Watching Nixie and Ground do nothing but stand around and be friends together for three months solid was even beginning to get to me, so I can only imagine what you have been going through, readers.

It’s nice to finally have the dynamic of a third person, a third relationship to explore. If you think of the group and their connections in terms of a chart, we just went from two points forming a line to three points forming a triangle. Extra dimensions make all of the difference.

I’m not going to say a lot about ol’ Dirth, here. This is a character with a lot of backstory. A ton. A whole ton. I’m pretty sure he is able to ignore all that and live in the moment about… once a year?

I am going to say a bit about my time crunch as an artist and what to do with the problem; Actually, I think it is problem solved, and I think I have a solution that is mutually beneficial to both of us. The plan is to use the release of the color pages as a way to buy me a little bit of time to get ahead on the story pages. I’m not doing the coloring myself. Jon has been working away and has quite a little pile of work ready to go up. Instead of just dumping it onto the site all at once, we’ll just do things a bit at a time. That way there is always something new on the site every Wednesday, always something new worth looking at. I hope that seems like a good solution to you as well. Thank you for your comments and input last week, and please feel free to leave feedback about this and this week’s comic, as well.

Thanks guys for the support, seriously.

Joe

Having Enough Time

We start to see a little bit of a story as we introduce a new character here, and maybe get things a little bit further off the ground.

No pun intended.

It’s really tough to see the arc of the story appear to move so slowly, but then I can also see the other side of things; where I am frantically trying o keep up my pace as I hold down a job at the same time as trying to draw for this as well. It’s difficult and I find myself struggling kind of a lot. Those of you who have been keeping up with the blogs since he beginning might remember me saying quite a bit about whether or not this was going to be weekly or what. At the time I went ahead and said that I would try to do a once a week post, but now I’m not so sure that that was a good idea. In the past 6 or 8 weeks of doing things, I have only managed to make a whole page in a week once, and my lead over the posted work is really dwindling. I don’t know if I can keep this up. It is certainly going to mean a big hiatus ay the end of issue one to get my lead back, if I even stay ahead that long. The other option is to just drop it to every other week soon, like very soon, to insert some sanity back into my life.

But it’s another of life’s circular problems. I want to turn this into a money making venture, hence the adds. Having more people see the page more often means more revenue, and a shorter time until I can stop having the day job, so I can draw faster… you get it. It’s very tempting to just fight through. I think what I’ll do is spend more time thinking about it and make a decision soon.

I would like your input. We have actually gotten a comment once or twice. Let me know your thoughts, readers.

Joe