Monday, March 30, 2009

Xyris - First Gig - April 14th

I'm the drummer in a band called Xyris and were playing a show SOON at:

the Wormhole (2307 Bull St)
April 14th at 9pm.
$3 cover, $1 PBR
Full Xyris set, plus new songs never heard before.

Come see us play and join either/or our facebook or myspace pages to get updates on shows and info.
The Wormhole Bar
Xyris on Myspace
Xyris on facebook

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"A page a Day"

Jack Kirby is estimated to have drawn somewhere between 24-25,000 - yes you read that right, twenty-five-thousand pages, not to mention creating and sometimes writing the stories for hundreds of characters over his career. I'm not sure if this credit is finished pages or including breakdowns which he did for almost every comic artist during his time at marvel, because of his explosive in-your-face storytelling.

The saying is that you have to be good enough to finish one page a day to be a professional comic book artist. And logically that makes sense, 22pg comic and with a one-month deadline and 28 days in the month, minus weekends and give a little leeway for big pages or laziness is about right. And when you start out in comics you start working and say "hey, I can do that. It's not impossible" That is when you are in highschool or College and if your not in class then you just have a bunch of time to kill and if you can avoid watching reruns on tv or playing video games then you're doing pretty well. have most of your free time. But if your anything like me you have a job, you have bills, you have homework, class, a girlfriend, friends and you have to take care of stuff like hygiene, food, dishes, laundry etc. And after you leave college you will also have loans hanging over your head for the next 20-30 years, if your lucky. Which means you will probably be working a part if not full-time job for at least your first few years into your professional comics career. Add on top of this if you have kids in the near future, get sick often, blah blah blah. So you can see how quickly you need to become faster than a page a day to make a deadline for a monthly book.
Tom's been talking about how volume counts, and it makes sense - (the more you draw, the easier it is next time and the quicker you find and correct your weaknesses). He's mentioned some people work too fast and others too slow. And his take is that while your in school, you should not be playing to your strengths but facing your weaknesses and getting help on them. If all you wanted from college was an expensive pat on the back then ignore me. But its just been something we've been talking about a lot recently.
For me specifically I have to work fast because i already have to have a job and I have no doubt that if i could dedicate more time to it i would probably be where i want to be by now. But with everything i already have and how many outside projects i have going all i can do is focus on quantity and facing those problems I haven't concurred or "creatively avoided" as i like to say. It's no wonder the running motto in comics is "when in doubt black it out" and artists like Todd McFarlane are famous for doing things like inserting random smoke or FX to hide a difficult or ugly portion of a drawing, and he is not the worst example by far just one of the more famous, *cough* Rob Lifield *cough* .
Manga is this side of the coin and it shows that to a large and growing amount of readers that "volume counts." Backgrounds are close-to-none and speedlines, caricaturized easy to read and repeated expressions, similar compositions and cool looking angles and fx take the place of intentional thought-out and time-consuming aspects. Even inventions like Zip-a-tone were invented, and artists usually who wrote/lettered/drew and inked their own books (as opposed to assembly-line American style) took on unnamed assistants who's strengths were their weaknesses - all to save time and so they can stretch a story on to take up most of their lives to complete and end having worked on multiple phone-book sized works. Osama Tezuka, you could call him the manga/anime Jack Kirby, and as his bio on this website describes he is "Dubbed "The Human Dream Factory" by manga authority Frederick Schodt, Tezuka produced an estimated 150,000 pages of comic book art, 21 animated series, and 500 individual manga and animation stories."
So I'm not saying one is better than the other or that the artists like Bernie Wrightson who take years to complete select master-works at a speed slower than painting are any more/less talented than people like Kirby or Tezuka I'm mearly stating that as I get close to graduating it becomes clear how different people in this industry across the world have used their time in it and what they seemed to have valued based on their accomplishments.

*On another note, (the reason I wrote this) I drew and inked my super-hero page for Faber Castell Yesterday and colored it today and realized though I had a while to think/thumbnail the page actually drawing and inking it only took about 8/9 hrs (but it was pretty much straight-through next to dinner) and only about 4/5 hours to color, today, (try making a brown with only red, yellow and blue). But I love the page and am really really proud of it, as it seems I am more and more with every project. I'm sad that they want the originals but I have scans and will post them after I'm allowed to in a few months. I got to use my old character from way back that I've now dubbed "THE OSPREY" (which is a bad-ass plane/helicopter by the way -> google it.) You can see my old maquette and turnaround designs for him in my first post for Vitamin Z, here. But it was my first paid gig for a sequential art page! Though I cant say it was published per say, but it was the only time my hand has hurt from working on a page and it was probably all the small lines and me bearing down for control and strait lines with the tech-pens.

And finally now I go on to design and paint a mural for Carter Ink here in Georgia, design my next tattoo and try and get aired and finish all 11 episodes of my "Terra Novus" Radio Drama, though its future as was planned seems uncertain, but I'm exploring alternative routes to get it out there.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nightwing Tight Roughs

you can see my final pencils here

Nightwing Iss. 105, pgs 17-19 by ~xaqBazit on deviantART
they went pretty well, they were supposed to be my submission pages for dc but i dont think they are as good as the spider-man pages,but they are fairly good. i was able to pull off most of my perspective except for the big shot with the fire escape that was a b****. i should have just laid out a grid for it, anyway. i learned and i do think they are good pages, just not my best. it was my last project before break, wahoo! only a week but i get to see my fiance and that is awesome! taking a bus and from what ive heard it will suck.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Will Eisner and Defiant

i put two new videos up on my youtube page about my family.

this is for Will Eisner week. everyone in norris is doing one and were hanging them up.

this is my sketch and inks for the new Star Trek Defiant cover which you can listen to here, or see the color version here. i was really proud. im getting better at drybrush mixing with linework. cool camera placement too, kind of got the idea of the framing from my previous cover. i did fudge it a little i mean i was looking at the blueprints for the warbird infront of me when i drew it but some details are off but i had no reference for such a crazy angle, though i still think its recognizable. about a 1/2-hr pencils, about 30-min inks and about 2-hrs coloring -with a pen thank god i hate potato coloring. i do think its hard to make star trek look action packed and cool but i think i nailed it here. just goes to show if i can make this work i can should have no problem doing gigs like batman etc. where the cool factor is already inherent. im not saying star trek isnt cool im just saying that its not exactly synonymous with action and edge of your seat excitement like some titles are.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oportunity knocking on my door - and I'm ready

ive been looking for some odd jobs etc to help out with money and found a few, some without even looking, and I thought I might tell you all the exciting news.

One guy is opening a straight-edge tattoo shop and wants me to do a mural on one of the walls- he will pay for supplies, food let me hang my art for sale and give me 50% tattoos (which i will take him up on for sure).

Also Tom Lyle, my super-hero mentor, at scad got asked to suggest an artist for Faber Castell (the main supplier of inking supplies like the "pit-pens" that I normally use and the tech-pens most sequential artists use) who was looking at someone to do an original comic page for them for a new "super-hero drawing kit" they are releasing later this year. Lyle suggested me, saying I was one of "the most dynamic main-stream super-hero artist that he's got" as far as camera angles etc. So I have the break (2 1/2 weeks to do a single page comic with an original super-hero that I have to pencil, ink and color it with their stuff and document it at every stage as an instructional guide. They may use the image in other things as well and I will be additionally compensated each time. Did I mention it paid and I also get a $100 faber castell gift certificate. Wow, I'm honored and blown away! My art is going to be seen by up and coming youngsters getting into comics and people in hobby/art stores around the country <--- awesome!

Also, I did some pages for Tom's class that are my best yet and I believe professional quality, AT LAST! So I will be sending out submission packets to Marvel and DC over break so they have my name in mind, for when they come in may for Editor's Day. Here are my breakdowns etc. for those pages. another thing, I actually did the same pages tom did for his submission packet about a year ago (sensational spider-man 34), so with his permission I'll post/link his pages with mine so you all can compare. But overall I think I've finally done some pages that really show my best that I have to offer in every way and I was super ambitious with some of the camera choices and spent about (20-30hrs) = 3 times as much time on them as I have for the last 2 projects. But this quarter, in general, I've spent more time on my pages progressively so I think this has been a long time coming/in the making.

so this is the sketch i gave myself, full page, to layout the splash and then did the following page, the actual tight rough, on the back.

this is pages 3+4

pgs 1+2

this was a in-class assignment, we used lyle's cars to draw the hulk holding one, as dynamic as we could. I did a thumb and liked it so much i took it down to the projector and blew it up and got the one on the left. I liked it.

this was some other sketches i did for panels 1+2 on pg.1 and panel 5 on page 3 when i thought about shooting it over the railing of the second story. and a sketch of myself while working on the pages and taking a break, i know i look tired but i was just cold.

You can see the final pages at my DA page here.

Sen. Spider-man Sample Pages by ~xaqBazit on deviantART

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prof's advice

Its critique time and I've been hearing a lot about my work recently and I figured I'd post some of it.

Writing for the screen and stage
I wrote a period piece for Robin and was one of three people to have it on time (two weeks ago) but he stopped the reading after the first few pages and told me he would read it himself, and that it “just wasn’t working” so I waited over the weekend to see what he thought, once he read it all. But I got it back, with no specific comments and it had, not a grade but an R –for “revise.” I asked him about it and for some direction after class but he said he didn’t know what I could do to fix it, I mentioned the possibility of writing an entirely new script, and I did, in two-days. And he liked it better, however it was a more stereo-typical work, for my writing, thematically, and the dialog and subject material for the previous work, the period piece, was a vast jump and very ballsey, I thought. But it didn’t seem to matter.

Senior Project
Though he says differently, the outlook of Maelstrom actually being a completed book or even issue is about as solid as my partner's word. I've done two issue's worth of pencils (25pgs total), 3 issues of breakdowns, 8 (soon to be 16) pages of inks and two issue's worth of scripts, not to mention outlining issue-by-issue the plot of the whole mini-series. And on his part, he doesn't like the pages he did and plans to redo them, period. So I'm looking at them as a learning experience, artistically and professionally. This whole roommate situation, which he was a part of, and this whole last few months has really shown me how flaky people can be. Even Bryan has mentioned that "maybe once this thing is all over, you may say hay I don’t need that James guy” and I have kept my story fairly self contained, except for the ending. So you could read it as a hospital-drama but the whole intrigue for me was adding story to balance James’ craziness so that readers could have both and then constantly being able to cross-cut between the two, so you could build tension/anticipation quickly just as any good story does (prominent examples where they’ve come out and said they use this are the original Star-Wars trilogy and the TV-Show Lost). I did enjoy writing my story however and could actually see myself writing soaps or something but I love writing episodically because that’s enough of a structure and it’s fun to play to its strengths.
Artistically, though, Bryan has mentioned that my style, that realism that I have is “very unforgiving” and where some artists, because of their style, could draw a blob with some hot dogs hanging off in any direction and we would be non the wiser, when you try to draw a realistic hand (and it seems to be hands specifically that he has a problem with), people know what their hands do and do not look like so they spot it in a second, just like backgrounds. So I need to find out how to address this, if its going more stylized or just working on drawing more and drawing from life more considering except for backgrounds (and even then rarely) I don’t really use reference, especially for poses. Though I will use more for these next spider-man pages in…(seg-way)

I've been trying to figure out how to and actually drawing "hot comic book girls" all quarter, as they had been "man-ish" before, and these last pages for spider-man will be drawing the black cat, and the same pages Tom did for submissions with Hanna to Marvel (by the way I found an ergonomic chair, just like Hanna, or other professional comic book artists who sit at the drawing board for as long as he does a day, to help my back) so we'll see how they compare. "Shame-less" is the word Lyle used to describe them, but conceited to making similar decisions when doing his pages. I'm really excited about them and really only have the splash page totally the way I want it, so I'm taking tomorrow to map-out and start on the pencils, that I'll finish Tuesday before class (when they are due).
He also mentioned sending packets out and emphasizes that I needed to meet with Axel and Bob, from Marvel and DC, respectively, at Editor's day. He said there is "something old and something new" about my style, but regardless there is an "undeniable energy" about my work, so he thinks someone will snatch me up fairly soon. So I'm really going to try and polish these Spider-man pages so I can send them out and be proud of them.
He mentioned previous students who had opportunities with these guys and blew it by not keeping true to their word and being relentless with their pursuit of the goals; Going to New York if they ask to see you and sending packets every month. He also mentioned something about there being hostels for people in my situation that aren't too expensive and that was news to me since the absolute cheapest place we found last time was $80 a night, which wouldn't be too bad for a night or two but who knows how long I may have to be there before getting something. So he's going to push me to get there, because he thinks I can do it and soon. I've given myself 5 years to break in and make a decent living at comics, to the point I don't have to have a side-job. That is an extremely tight deadline considering most artists don't get their big break for 10-15 years. I'll be there to see that as long as I can make due in the meantime, meaning, taking on whatever work comes along and looking for it, endlessly.