Breaking down the Teen Titans Halloween Cover

I recently got the opportunity to pencil, ink and color a variant Halloween Cover for DC Comic’s Teen Titans comic.  Last year I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do the Halloween Wonder Woman cove.  Hopefully this will become an annual tradition that I get to keep being a part of.

So let’s discuss how it came together.  DC art director Mark Chiarello asked me if I wanted to do the Teen Titans’ cover and I said…..YES!  I then drew only two cover sketches because I really only had two ideas.  I thought they were both really good and I would have been happy to do either so why do a third and gum up the works?

TeenTitanHalloweensketches

Originally I was leaning heavy toward the first one in the graveyard because I really wanted to use Cain from the House of Mystery (my desire to do a Wrightson homage was calling).

So you can imagine my disappointment when Chiarello said he really liked the pumpkin one because, “I don’t have anything like this.”  I had to admit the team crawling out of a Jack-O-Lantern was pretty fun but what to do about Cain?  When Mark said he was cool with me adding the House of Mystery host, we were off to the races.  I did a quick adjustment to the pumpkin sketch and I was ready to roll.

newpumpkin

When I actually started drawing the piece, I realized that Cain sitting was not going to work and also that Power Girl was not going to fit up top because of the logo.  I made a few changes that I think balanced the composition nicely so now Cain didn’t look like an add on.  Having Beast Boy directly interacting with him really helped as well.

TTpencil

I finished penciling and then went right to inks.  I used a combination of crow quill pen and brush. (a little more white out than I would’ve liked as well).

TeenTitansCvrB&W

I then scanned the image at 1500dpi as line art, converted it to grayscale then changed it to CMYK and colored it in photoshop.

TTcoverfinal

And there you have it.  Another finished product ready to go to the printer.

Power Cubed Update

Well it’s about that time again to plug Power Cubed.  Where am I at you might ask, as it seems this project has been going on forever.  I am just halfway through penciling issue #3 with issue #1 set to come out on September 23rd.  If this were an ongoing series, yes I would be in big trouble deadline-wise.  However, because it is only a 4 issue mini-series, I am right on schedule…..more or less.

One of the nice things about this project is my ability to go in and make changes to the script at any time.  Sometimes you can’t get a great feel for the pace of a scene or combinations of scenes without having time to step back wait a bit and then revisit it.  Or in some extreme cases, until you draw it.  I have in a number of cases thrown out a page after I have drawn it and in many more cases rewritten portions of issues just before I drew them.

The hope is at the finish line you will have something really good….or at least better than what you started with.  Finding the right balance of action and character is always the challenge.  We often see stories that lean too far one way or the other (in both film and comics) that leave us unfulfilled (if that’s not too serious of word there).   It’s so easy to fall in love with a scene your writing and then go back to it later and wonder why it’s even there in the first place?  It doesn’t forward the plot and sometimes might even drag the story to a halt.

it’s just a reminder that every word I write is not sacred and there’s always room for improvement.  At least until it infringes on your deadlines.

Here is an action sequence from issue #2 that was not in the original draft of the script.  This is part of a 3-page rewrite that I am glad I did.

Power3#2pg16

That’s all for now.  Just remember that issue #2 of Power Cubed is in the Diamond Catalog this month for order!

SDCC 2015 Convention Commissions

An interesting SDCC this year.  Sales and traffic of people interested in comic art seemed to be way down this year.  In fact, this is the first year where I did not get at least 20 requests for show commissions. I didn’t even get 15.  Is San Diego being overrun with toy flippers and movie fans, leaving the comic and art fans unable to get a ticket?  Many artist’s are starting to think so.   Time will tell.

I did do some good commissions this year, though.  I only took pictures of 3, however.  There is a nice Silver Surfer from Planet Hulk floating around out there.

Here are the 3 I did take pictures of.  I normally don’t do color at shows because it takes too long.  However, this show I did unexpectedly have the time.  Olivia Tien, a long time collector of my art who actually helped out in the booth this year, got two color pieces for her Disney sketchbook.  These are a combination of gray markers and colored pencils.

littlemermaid2015 Ursula2015

Here is the other sketchbook I worked in and actually remembered to take a photo of. This would be the New Thor.  I only used markers on this one.

NewThor

That’s all I have for this trip.  More Power Cubed next time!