Saturday, November 9, 2013

Outcast Angels WIP - round 2

Here's thumbnails and some of the works in progress for my most rescent illustartions for the Outcast Angels book promotions that you can read more on at outcastangels.com or on my deviantart at xaqbazit.deviantart.com

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Outcast Angels and WIP

Well I’ve been away a long time. I’ve been writing up a storm and drawing a bit. The blog was turning into a hyperlink for my Deviantart and I didn’t want that to keep happening. I’ve been feeling less public as I’ve kind of felt the double edged sword of having so much online, had some art stolen/copied and spread around. Which is really kind of disheartening. The sketchblog I was a part of fell off the face of the earth. I needed to rediscover loving drawing and it turns out I love laying stuff out, it’s my favorite stage. Anyway, I thought these pieces were ok, and I’ve been having a lot of fun doing splash page illustrations for Outcast Angels. heres some of the rough thumbnails. The ship (not for lack of trying) ended up having to be 4 layers, background, light rays (which I painted black and inverted in photoshop) and ship and splatter texture. This afforded me the luxury to invert the ship layer (making the lines white) and shift the black ones (infront of the white lines) just over to the right and down – making it look like every line had a highlight and stand away from the background. This other one was just drawn in two parts and composited (much less confusing) – but the black placement worked so easily. you can find the final versions on my deviantart page here. Below are some of my designs for atypicalcomic’s Takedown which I did a while back. I liked the motorcycle which I tried to give a batman ’89-eske jet engine. And a very nerf inspired gun. I was just on the TMNT podcast as part of the Incompetent Comic Cabal Cast (IC3). Which you can listen to, here (summarizing the first 4 tbp’s of the idw series in about 45 mins). i also got mentioned on episode 145 of Uncanny X-cast for doing a piece of art for one of the hosts and drawing the hosts into issue 2 of decisions for cosmic times comics. I had fun at Denver comicon and got very fast with drawing portraits, which was fun and I was surprisingly accurate for about a 1-2 min sketch. I’ve also been trying to cobble together Terra Novus a podcast radio-drama I had written and recorded with a full cast of students back in 08/09. I have a new audio engineer who is doing sound effect and levels but outside of the first few eps the actors were all recorded separately so putting all the lines in order has been somewhat painstaking. My hope, as we approach October is that I will be able to post episode 1 by the end of the year, I have the dialog put together for all of them but that’s only half the battle. I’ve been plotting & writing a bunch of comics issues to get ready to draw and pitch. The thing is I’ve been working on all of them simultaneously which has been slow to have something to show but at the same time I’m able to work on problems/plotlines subconsciously while I write one’s I’ve figured out. Then when I get it, I switch to that script – in about month binges/segments or so per series. Keeps each fresh and I think that will show in the writing.

Friday, December 28, 2012

6 MONTH ABSENCE IN REVIEW

MIKE VOSBURG I first noticed inking “Dames of the Atomic Age” that I picked up at Denver Comiccon last year, but his work is even better when he is drawing. I rescently saw the first FREE issue of Retrowood he is writing and doing the art for Asylum Press. And after taking off the “letterboxing” and altering the options to show the full page upon a page turn, Comixology reads just as I read a print comic and is great. I did like this noir comic over other similar first issues I tried as well for free such as Fatale & Thief of Thieves. He has a flat look, reminiscent of Walt Simonson in how it is inked, really only switching between thick brush strokes and pen-like lines. Similar to and yet wholly different from an artist I cannot stand named Gray Marrow. Who has the same flatness to his work but his layouts are much more tame and I can’t quite put my finger on his work but it has actually angered me starting all the way back to my first drawing book – the (of course) Chris Hart written, “How to draw comic book heroes and villains” which can now be found on google books.
Frank Thorne is another artist I’ve come to really appreciate recently with an issue of Ribbit. He does Elfquest-esk faces but his layouts, black placement, and inking really intrigue me. Very European looking to me, and his figures are much more of a 60’s female body which I find much sexier than today’s comic archetype. Especially how the stomach and hips are handles and the curves that are put in it.
I was rescently lucky enough to get my hands on a few of the old Conan and Rook Marvel magazines for 50 cents a piece, including an oversized issue in color that is about as big as I draw. Much of them are John Buscema which is great, the rest are hit or miss but mostly amazing. Especially my first exposure to Alfredo Alcala, who reminds me of some of the things that turn me off about Doug Braithwrighte and David Finch in that the figures are second to the lines. But some of the pages where it isn’t about the figures is where he really shines.
Chris Samnee on Thor was very enjoyable in a great, kids-friendly way.

I’ve been watching Arrow and while it barrows A LOT from what makes Batman popular it has been pretty good, where I found Smallville unwatchable, much like the most recent Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence.
One movie I was really looking forward to was PROMETHIUS – and while it has the scariest scene I think I’ve ever seen in a film and yet all the subtlety of the sexual metaphor of the Xenomorphs is all but gone. And much of the questions the plot that had so much potential but just squandered it and ruined, especially in the third act what could have been a great movie. Though I’ve heard much of Lost Writer, and now Batman Tales of the Dark Knight writer Damion Lindeloff was to blame and that things were better explained and made since in the original script.
Speaking of scripting I found the blog post on the Rules of Pixar plotting pretty insightful, if not just reinforcing of what I’ve heard before. I thought Pirates Band of Misfits was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years, done my Ardman Studios – famous for Wallace and Gromit. Their new short “a matter of Loaf and Death” was only 30-minutes and I thought it was better than the Curse of the Wererabbit and as good as most feature-length animations. There are many allusions to other movies, famous scenes, shots etc. Great writing all around. So that is moving up my list while another company I used to love has been falling into obscurity – Studio Ghibli.
While still technically perfect, Tales of Earthsea, Ponyo, the Secret world of Ariety are all movies that I just can’t relate to. I suppose I’m not the target demographic anymore, I enjoyed Lupin the castle of Cogliostro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Totoro, the Cat Returns and especially Princess Mononoke. I just find these new ones, boring, uninteresting, retreading artistically, and somewhat unfulfilling story-wise.

After the theater shooting here in Colorado and other life events I never got to see the Dark Knight Rises. I kept myself almost completely in the dark, but now that I’ve seen it I have to say I’m one of the ones who loved it. Probably more than the Dark Knight which I raved about when it came out on this very blog. Though the politics people read into the movies still surprises me, I wouldn’t put it past Nolan and his brother to include as I find them some of the only guiding lights in entertainment today. The one thing I wish was different, and I’m not the first to mention this, is I wish they wouldn’t have shown Bruce at the end.
That same comment was made on an awesome Podcast I’ve started listening to called Now Playing. Others I’ve found and loved recently: the Deceptionists, Fuzzy Typewriter (who did an awesome Aliens 3 episode, going over the various widely different scripts), Extra Sequential (the only one I don’t tire of), Books and Nachos, and Now playing co-host’s Marveliscious Toys (though I only listened to his Marvel movie book adaptation reviews). Science fiction book review podcast (SFBRPC) has some great book/audiobook reviews that I basically listen for the plot summaries.

I’ve also been getting and listing to a lot of radio drama’s: Batman Knightfall, Life Death and Return of Superman, Star-wars Shadows of the empire, the Thrawn Trillogy, Star Trek Imzadi (by Peter David), and even Graphicaudio’s two-part Batman No Man’s Land – which blows the rest away. I’ve now ordered a few more from them. You can find Batman the Lazarus Syndrome for free on the Batman Adventure Podcast, but that has been the weakest of the bunch. It is fine but the ending jumps the shark in so many ways just to tie up the plot quickly and neatly.

Shadows of the Empire really has been the only Star Wars story that has really captured what I liked about the original trilogy. I’m one of those that can’t get invested in Star Wars if its not the original characters, so when I found the Star Wars infinities comics I was very happy. Extra Sequential’s thoughts on their Star Wars episode of the podcast hit my thoughts pretty much on the head and I’ve really enjoyed the Red Letter Media review/critique of the prequels.

I have been able to finish reading “Miss don’t touch me vol. 1” and enjoyed it. I’ve been slugging my way through Crisis on Infinite Earths about an issue every other month for the last year. I have to say while I acknowledge George Perez for being so consistant, and the book being a feat because of it’s details- the consistency in his art, is, to me, a turn off. Like Steve Dillon. The only one who I can get by with is Michael Golden because it still has an energy to it the others don’t. Though the Chris Sprouse way of inking it so precisely and cleanly does kind of kill it for me, though I love Christ Sprouse. There have beena number of Artists that I have liked so much that I’ve started getting quite a massive collection of their work, but noticed that after a certain point something clicks and I understand them too well. There are no more surprises in their work, JRJR and Kelly Jones have become that for me. However going backwards, JRJR’s work on daredevil with Al Williamson inking him are among my favorite comics ever, and surprise me with every issue.

Speaking of Michael Golden, his Jackie Chan’s SpartanX the Armor of Heaven has some awesome helicopter scenes which inspired, in part some of the ending of From Blood issue 2, which I just finished penciling. I also was inspired by The Punisher 75, and the illustrated screenplay of Terminator 2, the art of the Matrix book etc. I started using hotwheels for my reference but there is a big vehicle chase at the end that I eneded up having to use sketchup and find models on the warehouse.

I’ve also realized that both Yurushi and From Blood have the main character’s arc going from a violence and trying to become a peaceful one. This is the main difference I see between this and books that I could see it (From Blood) as being compared to, like Luthor Strode (drawn by my friend Tradd Moore). I didn’t even realize it till I was almost done drawing the second issue, but I think that character arc resonates with me because I think self-control is the highest mastery. I think that is why I hold the book/movie Dune in such high regard when so many throw that movie in the mud. The scene where he has to stick his hand in the pain box and the Revered Mother explains it as a test to see if he is an animal or a man - which is something I constantly struggle with of in my day-to-day life.

I kind of based Tim off of Alan Moore and Doctor Harold after Frank Miller. In both issues there are flashbacks to Tim being more well-shaven in which case I based him off of what Dolf Lungrend/Jean Claude Van Damme look like these days. Reese also takes a change in the second issue to look a bit more mod/indie and less doctorly.

Issue two also features A LOT more Swat Policemen – Which only make a brief appearance in issue one. So keeping them consistent with issue 1, I kind of realized I was recreating what I remembered the early 90’s Jurgen’s Metropolis police to look like from the first issue I ever remember having Superman #59. I also tried to include a minority I a major role, the same reason I was trying to get on-board with Batwing when DC relaunched, but I can’t stand the decompression in comics now. I read the comic in 10 minutes or less and the art, just like I mentioned with Finch and Braithwrighte is technically well executed it has the worst layout. This page for example, what is going on with the lower half of the left side of the dps? Absolutely nothing!

I’ve also gone through some bouts of becoming obsessed with dreaming up some plots including my version of a Justice League Reboot in which I tied all their orogins together and redesigned the costumes, combined some characters. I also plotted what my Predator vs. Tarzan story would have been and did a montage page of art – both of which can be found on my Deviantart page.

My and my 9-year-old brother redesigned Glory for the Project Rooftop blog, recently.

As I mentioned on my previous post I’ve been contributing to James’ on-again off-again sketchblog Keepitfreshsketchblog.blogspot.com

I’ve also went through online and rewatched the most memorable episodes of the Batman the animated series from the 90’s. I seem to remember a character that I can’t find, that I thought was an alter-ego of two-face where he had a hanging mask that only covered half his face. I thought it was somewhere around the third season, once the style got very geometric, but I think I might have been misremembering the episode Judgement Day. Other episodes I fondly remembered were:
Sideshow
Holdiday Knights
You scratch my back
Bane
Pretty Poison – My favorite for the image of Poison Ivy growing babies in plants and the 50’s horror movie feel the episode has.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

keep it fresh

I know its been kind of quite on here but I've been posting some of the 41pg From Blood # 2 on my Deviantart page and have been doing a lot of sketches to keepitfreshsketchblog.blogspot.com

Friday, September 7, 2012

Breaking story - swiper no swiping!

So someone finally broke the story to bleeding cool with many more pictures than I had access to when I went off on him. But now everyone knows about Seth Reedy and his "free hand drawing and inking skills" and man, he was doing it to everyone. Finally getting going again in the comics world, I'm about 1/4 of the way done with a 40pg issue I'm working on. Finally got a script approved I'd written the rough draft of over a year ago. I have a penciler finishing an issue I wrote and an inker working on finishing them out. I got to see the first version of my friend Hobbes' story that I got to ink about half in a very fun style. Got to see the first print version of issue 1 of No West to Cross #1, all while the rest of my life has gotten considerably more complicated. All in all I'm doing pretty well. Really been enjoying listening to Now Playing podcast at work and their film series retrospectives.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Art Theif?

I had my own gallery article this week on http://themedes.org/ The mission of the site is to discuss "Social Injustice." So I got to talk about some of my more controversial pieces and what I was thinking going into them. You can use the dots at the bottom of the article to scroll through the pieces and the word balloon icon at the bottom left to view "artist comments." The website has a very minimalist/concept oriented navigation and has recently been redesigned. Here's a screen cap of one of the four pieces I had this week.
I was also informed by an anonymous email user that an "artist" in Australia was re-inking over my inked art and not being up front in saying that it wasn't his drawing. This brings me to the larger issue of gallery sites like deviantart. I want to share my art with the world at large but people will screen cap instead of buy, use the art as their own to get a job or copy large portions of a smaller artist's work to shortcut their own, assuming the artist is not and will never be well enough known to find out, especially someone in Australia. I pursued the matter and it would seem that I was fired up by his brother in some sort of family fued. The part that really set me off was he even mentioned that he would not take pictures of "his" art straight on or post scanned images because of the same process that he is using to steal from me and others like me. Its so meta in the worst way. Anyway, I was very rude and angry and somewhat out of line. I would have been flattered (as Heath -the penciler- was) If he would co-sign the piece, or put my name up front with Heath's but he would only mention it if someone asked and even then only to say that the "free hand drawn" pieces were "not his idea entirely." Some may see it as a gray line but I definitely don't. Some of my friends do similar things and it angers me, I guess it's a function of the "breaking in" of the business. Unless you are huge, chances are you won't ever see if someone is doing it and there isn't really a way to know. I've also been contributing to http://keepitfreshsketchblog.blogspot.com/ recently. Super psyched to of heard the Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire audio drama, after trudging through the Thrawn Trilogy everyone hails so much. Also, excited to hear the Batman: Knightfall and Superman Lives adaptions by BBC radio as well as get the Batman: No man's land adaption by graphic audio sometime in the future. I've recently discovered the podcasts: Science... sort of, the deceptionists, fuzzy typewriter, and Books and Nachos

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Medes and Nerd Nation

I was on another episode of Nerd Nation where I talk about my upcoming projects, the podcast here. I also won the Medes contest at Denver Comic Con for a piece of art that highlighted social injustice and it is featured on their website. Hover over the glasses on the right side of the screen for the menu and click on my name. The website has a very original design and navigation. You can see it here. I also realize that I kind of went off on some things in my last post, and I think that's good. It's the opinionated reason I read other's blogs. This week I've been irritated with the trend of having character lose a family member or loved on as the inciting incident or in the first act of the movie/story etc. I've been listening to "the deceptionists" writing podcast and enjoying that and trying to get someone to make either an Aliens or Predator audio drama, there are none! And I find that extremely odd because I think they could be great. Especially an adaptation of the Steve Perry novel/comics trilogy, Earth Hive, Nightmare Asylum, and Female War - which follows on the heels of Aliens for an out of continuity alternative history. It sounds great, and I would love to hear them since each character/franchise really has some very iconic music and sound fx associated with them. I've also joined another sketchblog after the last one peetered out. This one is called keepitfresh.blogspot.com and I've already posted for the Spider-man movie and Saga.