Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Art Prints

Since I'm selling at Comic-con International for the first time this year, I wanted to bring along something special besides the brand new comic book, our first exclusive variant cover, and the all new Pirate packs of course. :0)

I've long been wanting to bring my fine illustration closer to my comics work, but with my busy schedule, finding the time to do that is difficult, not to mention finding the right ideas that will fit in with my current work. As per usual, I decided to compromise for now, and do something that would take my comic art a step higher.  I decided to take a comic panel idea and plus it... make it larger, and put more time into pushing it from comic strip to illustration, while still telling a story.

In this blog I'll show you the process from start to finish.

First of all, is the idea.  I've got tons of ideas, but not enough time to implement them. Since I have the brand new Inquiring Minds comic book, with another on the way, I decided to take an Inquiring Minds panel idea which would have been okay as a comic panel, and make it super as an illustration.  Once I had the idea, I thought about it, and made a list of all the things that I could add to it to make it better.  Since this was the kids in a boat with a sea monster, I thought of lighthouses, and rock arches, and schools of fish swimming around, and started sketching. (What you are not seeing is a whole page of notes about color, placement, etc.  Art can be a lot of thinking before actually doing.)

Once the sketch was done, I made a rough sketch on a large piece of paper and did tight pencils.  At this stage I had to make final decisions about placement, and what worked and didn't.  I still forgot a few things, and came up with new ideas later, but that's okay... the important thing is to keep moving forward.

Finally I did the inking, where line thickness and shading need to make the image stand out, even without color.

The coloring, to me, is the fun part... probably because you really see things coming together.  Again, there's still room to make changes and additions.  Not much room, but we're on the computer now, where changes are easy to make.  I realised that I had forgotten Albert's fishing pole, so that was drawn separately and added digitally.  Finally, I force myself to step back, and walk away for a bit.  Then, when I come back with fresh eyes, I can make any final corrections.  The coloring stage is a step where everything must balance, so some colors can change, will change, and some will be adjusted to give the piece an overall balance.

One of the first colors I lay down is the huge expanse of blue water that takes up most of the picture.  What I am looking for, though, is to make sure I have the placement of all the above water elements right.  The lake surface must be a flat plane.

Finally, since I gave myself a deadline, it's done.  Sure I could go back and tinker but you must learn to walk away so that you can go onto the next piece. :0)

I have plenty of other ideas for some exciting pieces, so please let me know if you like this direction, and if so, more will come.  Meanwhile, I'm off to work on the new comic book!

Cheers,    JOHN :0)

PS This will be an art print available in our shop, and at conventions.  For more info, please check out our website or especially our facebook page where there are lots of updates and art and comics posted.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

A New Adventure Begins!

I've begun a new adventure of The Inquiring Minds!  My plan was to make this a regular series, but thanks to distribution issues, we'll see how it goes. Funny Pages #1 was a comic strip collection, and The Ghost Skeleton Pirates of Three Craters Lake was a giant sized Summer Special.  This new book will be number one in The Inquiring Minds series, with each book being a mostly stand alone storyline in full color.

As for when each issue comes out, it's really up to you, the reader!  Buy the comics, and most of all tell others about them,  The more we sell, the more I can write and draw... that's the reality of publishing.  I'll know more after convention season is done, but internet sales and others will have to continue to grow.

The Inquiring Minds is all ages fun... great comics for parents to read with their kids, or for kids to collect on their own.  Adventure loving grown-ups should enjoy the stories as well, although they are all family friendly... none of that violence you see in many comics today... just the fun and adventure that comes from getting out of the house and seeing what's out there!

More to come, so stay tooned!    JOHN :0)