Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Page 2 - Train Ride to Albersfield

It's been an interesting challenge working a full-time job (me), working on grad school (Guin), finding balance in our lives, and creating a comic book on top of everything. But we will try to post pages in consecutive order in various stages so that you have an idea how the story unfolds.

The first panel is a pick up from the last panel on page 1. Maddie is a child accompanying her mum to the country. You can tell that she's not particularly happy about visiting her grandfather, but her mother is having none of it.

Flashbacks must be planned. For our flashback, we simply repeat the pose from the preceding page and use the leaves in the sky to connect the narrative moments. I love the third panel–where Maddie is fuming. In illustration you can take chances like this to heighten a moment. This panel still has about 10% left to go: an eagle drawn by Maddie in the last panel will connect this page to the next page.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Page 1 - Finished

And here we have the final image!

There weren't a ton of effects to deal with on this page. Just some leaves and clouds, and the shadows. We decided that autumn would be the most appropriate season for this part of the story, so the color palate is bluer and more subdued outside. The orange and gold leaves give it some depth and a little bit of movement. It's amazing what a little bit of added spice can do for a page!

Phew, page 1 is done! Now only...a lot more to go. Aw man!

ETA: Just adjusted a few things. The leaves and such. NOW it's done!

The Page is Flat

Page 1 with flat color–it cleans up nice and pretty.

This is an important stage for us as we get to establish scene and mood. For the interior shot, we were thinking 60's and 70's color theory... you remember, avocado or mint green walls (though we also played with goldenrod and rose) contrasting against a lot of maple. Contrasting the warmth of the shot, we see Maddie walk to her car (a 1964 Volvo 122s) and the skies are cool grey outside her flat (a typical row house in the city).

At this point, with everything set, it's time to add our shadows and effects.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Naked Page

Oh, not like that. Come on now.

Last post showed the first panel of this page, with Maddie's typewriter. Here, you can see the whole first page, with just inks.

It looks kinda, well, bare without the color. But, there's some charm and movement in the inks that I really enjoy. The grownup Maddie went through several costume changes, as it were. It is the 70's after all...we had a lot of interesting options as far as her hair and outfit. She even started out with a pseudo-Farrah hairstyle, but we both decided that it was too fussy for our girl. Besides, how can you go wrong with Dorothy Hamill?

The backgrounds on this page are going to be done with color and pattern work. Sometimes it's nice to see the naked image, without all the fuss and fanciness. At least this gives you an idea of what we start with, and you'll see soon where we end up. When it's finished (and I hope that's really, really soon, that deadline looms!), we'll share it here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Environments - Maddie's Desk

Sometimes you don't need a ton of color or special effects to tell a story. So here are the inks, as simple as they can be.

In case you are wondering, we are jumping around a little bit when creating the art for Beautiful Scars, but this is the opening panel to the series.

A simple panel, really. Just establishing where an adult Maddie spends her time. She's surrounded by her typewriter, her books, and her notes. It's the photo of her grandfather that I especially like–it's like he is in the studio with her every day. There's a nice vibe to this panel and we thought it would be good to share unpolished artwork as well.

The main theme of Beautiful Scars is to connect to people you love. This weekend we are shutting down the studio to spend some time with my brother in Orlando... Happy Birthday Rob! Especially in lieu of today's date, we are glad to be hanging out with family and friends.

See you next week!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Environments - Albersfield

Environments. The stage where your characters come alive.

For us, this panels sets up a couple main storytelling details (and a small one)... Ridley journals, much like Maddie does at the same age. They are also both left-handed (re: creative) which also ties parallels to each others' lives. Ridley would have to be pretty stubborn because most school teachers would try to force left-handed students to write with the "correct" hand. We like stubborn. (Oh, and Scars the Troll also sports a ponytail and ribbon like the two school girls).

Ridley is raised in an imaginary hamlet called Albersfield. The concept is inspired by Westerham, a small town in England. It boasts a small clock tower, an abbey, Winston Churchill's family home, and an air field, the Biggin Hill Aerodrome. We needed to create a small country town in the middle of nowhere because they will need land and workers to build an aerodrome to train pilots in World War I. The clock tower is an important storytelling detail and is based on a clock tower found in Aberystwyth, Wales.

We also set out to create a lush woods and rolling hills. The turn of the century was a pretty innocent time, and we chose to portray a town unspoiled by the industrial revolution. When we open the scene, the town is about to welcome its first mechanic. So in other words, we wanted to set up two sides... a developing town and nature still in it's glory.

We wanted to draw idyllic. So here you go!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Paying homage

Shadow, 1993(?)-2009

Once upon a time, there was a cat.

Well, perhaps I should back up a bit.

One of the best things about makin' comics is the fact that we can put the people we love into the work. Take Bonds. Practically every character in there is someone special. Comics are a great way to use our friends as inspiration. Even if they are far away or no longer with us, we can stay close and pay homage.

Our friends Glen and Elizabeth lost their dear cat this week. It really broke them up, as you can imagine. Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. Shadow was an excellent cat. She lived a long and good life with her people, and I know she meant the world to them. She had real personality, and fought a good fight through some tough health problems. She hung on for a long time. And now she's gone.

We wanted to pay homage to the kitty, and to our friends who loved her. We decided to put her in the book, even if it's just for a few panels.

Shadow, this is for you.

Good kitty.

Bonds – D-Day +1

(Durwin in front of Home Run, Savannah GA, Sept. 2, 2009)

Today was my personal D-Day. The release of the last issue of my first creator-owned project.

I've had my drawings printed on all sorts of projects for years, but this is so much more satisfying. This was my own characters in my own story in print. It's in a form where my friends can pick it up as far out as San Jose (thanks Jen!), Atlanta (thanks Markus!), and Frederick (thanks Abbie!)–I don't have to make special preview copies on my tired Epson printer just for people to read it.

Production was completed so long ago (May). And the artwork and story was finished earlier than that (April). It's weird that I finally get to see it with staples and an SKU barcode. It took three tries to finally get the book in my hand (thanks to the good folks at Home Run in Savannah), and I don't think I breathed once while I scanned the pages for color problems or typos. But now I'm exhaling. I may be even exhilarated!

Thanks to everyone for your words of encouragement. I think the panels Guin and I are working on reflect all of your positive energy. And more importantly, thanks for being patient!

So without further pomp and circumspection, on to the next post: more Beautiful Scars work–I promise!