The GARBAGE MAN Campaign is LIVE!

This may be the shortest blog I have ever written. My much anticipated Garbage Man crowdfunding campaign is live. I am amazed the amount of courage it took to actually do this. The fear of failure is a very real thing, especially with us artist and writers. I hope you will check this out and contribute. I do know the book will be of the highest quality and that’s really all I can guarantee.

Here is a little art to help draw you in. This is the pencil art to the limited edition print that will be used only in the limited edition of the book. I will be penciling, inking and coloring this.

They great comic book inker Danny Miki has also agreed to ink a piece for the book. Here is the “work in progress” of the art Danny will be inking. I’ve see the partially inked art from Danny and it is spectacular!

Thanks for stopping by and follow this link to the campaign! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/garbage-man/x/21995402#/

GARBAGE MAN READY TO LAUNCH

I have been talking a lot about it but now I am finally doing it. Garbage Man is set to launch as a crowdfunding campaign. In fact, there is a pre-launch page up on Indiegogo right now! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/garbage-man/coming_soon/x/21995402

So why Indiegogo instead of kickstarter? Or why not Dark Horse or Image? I chose a crowdfunding option rather than an established publisher for a couple of reasons. Garbage Man is arguably the best work I have ever done in comics and I wanted it reproduced in a special way. I doubt Dark Horse or Image would want to put out the book as a European sized hardcover like I want to. Also, these publishers don’t offer up full page rates in advance or as the work is completed like I ( and the other contributors) are used to getting. So I would be doing the new work appearing in the book for free, hoping to make money on the back end. I never made a dime on Power Cubed (almost all the money I got from Dark Horse went to pay my inkers and colorist) so I felt crowdfunding was the best bet for having a chance to make enough money up front to pay everyone (including myself) who will be working on the project. Time will tell.

How did I decide on which platform to use? I did a ton of research and talked to a lot of people who have done crowdfunded projects. I soon realized everyone I talked to had an opinion based on personal experience. Kickstarter guys thought Kickstarter was the best and Indiegogo guys thought they were the best. No help there. I checked with fans and readers through social media. Half of them hated kickstarter, half hated Indiegogo. In fact, there seemed to be an almost political split between the two. The animosity directed by some at the platforms was really surprising to me. Why should it matter what platform is used? Shouldn’t it be about supporting a creator and his project regardless of the platform? Apparently not. I realized no matter which way I went I might very well lose half of my audience. But I could only launch from one so…

I chose Indiegogo for a couple of reasons. They have an InDemand store that stays open after the campaign is over so stragglers can still order. Also, their fees were lower and it seemed to me that Indiegogo was more comic book friendly (although I freely admit that may be an incorrect assumption on my part). They also now offer a fixed dollar amount for campaigns. No more keeping the money if you don’t hit your goal. If I don’t hit my goal, I ain’t doing the project and everyone is refunded. No one is getting ripped off. So we’ll see how it goes.

If you are not familiar with Garbage Man I would urge you to check out my Indiegogo pre-launch page. There is a 2 minute video there that explains just about everything.

The book will be a 170 page over-sized hardcover (give or take a page). There will also be a PDF version available, as well as a couple of limited edition offers. The standard hardcover will cost $35. That seems reasonable to me considering the size and page count. The volume will include all of the DC Garbage Man material plus about 11 pages of new material added in as well as a brand new Garbage Man story and a sketchbook chapter. I am looking into adding a Garbage Man Gallery with all star artists contributing.

So that’s really about it. I hope you in the very least take a look at the project and at most buy multiple copies.

Latest Wonder Woman Cover

I have returned to Wonder Woman! Well, not exactly. I recently drew an issue and more recently I got to draw a cover for issue #79. In fact, I just got approached by DC to draw a couple of more upcoming Wonder Woman covers; issues# 84 and 85 to be precise. It is not a full fledged return to the character but a nice chance to revisit a little bit.

Let’s take a look at how the cover to Wonder Woman #79, my first Wonder Woman cover in years, came to together.

Terry Dodson is/was the regular cover artist for the book but apparently couldn’t squeeze in the cover to #79 amongst his other pressing deadlines so the editors called old reliable, me. I had very little time to execute the cover but I still had to come up with multiple cover sketches.

Now, taking into consideration that we were on a very tight deadline with hardly any turn around time, which cover do you think they chose? Of course, this one. I cried for about 30 seconds and then got to work.

Because of the limited amount of time to get this done and the fact that I was inking the cover myself, I didn’t feel the need to go super tight with the pencils. Let’s face it, I just didn’t have the time. But clearly there is enough here to go forward with the inking.

My usual combination of brush and pen got the job done on time. Now as I have stated many many times before, I am not a very fast colorist. This job needed a fast colorist. So who did we call? Brian Miller, of course! And as usual, he came through with flying colors (pardon the pun).

This my friends is where the story comes to an end. From start to finish I think this cover got stretched out over 4 days. Not a lot of time to think, just do. And we did. All in all a pretty nice and successful cover.

As my old commercial art boss used to say, “never turn down a job, just figure out how you are going to get it done later.”

Rockin’ the Archie 1955 Cover

I think it has been a while since I posted anything on my blog. Why, you may ask? Because I am only one man! I have to keep my instagram, twitter and facebook pages constantly updated and I just launched a new youtube channel ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp4_R0gRK1c&t=727s). Not to mention I’m getting ready to crowdfund Garbage Man AND I am putting together a new 20 year anniversary hardcover sketchbook. Oh, I almost forgot, I draw comics full time. (Oh, I’m also working on Episode 6 of Kit Carter)……and now I just realized I have completely forgotten about my Deviant Art page.

But enough about me. Let’s get on with the art! Let’s take a look at how I put together/created the cover for Archie 1955 #1.

Anytime you do a 50’s era rock ‘n roll cover, Elvis has to be involved somehow. They wanted Archie as a fledgling rock ‘n roll star so I immediately thought to put him in an Elvis pose with the screaming girls around him.

Everyone liked it, so I got right to it. I found a picture of Elvis in this pose that I knew existed because I had it in my head from someplace. I used that for reference and created the pencil drawing to the cover. Sadly, like the dweeb I continue to be, I forgot to scan the pencil art and went instead right to the inks.

Here I am using a much cleaner style than I would on my superhero work because I wanted to do most of the work in the coloring process. Also, I would like to note that the girl on the bottom left is my daughter. This is her second cover appearance. Her first was Wonder Woman #25 when she was in pre-kindergarten. Now she is 17. I inked most of this with a brush, using a pen mainly for the straight end stuff and to even out some of the contour lines.

Next I scanned it as a bit map at around 1200 dpi and colored it in photoshop.

The pink and mint green seemed very 50’s to me and gave the cover a bit of a romantic feel to it. It is simple but maybe my favorite Archie cover so far.

I really enjoy working on these covers as they take me away from what I normally do and challenge me to think in more classic illustration terms.

Thanks for stopping by and I will try and be more regular in my posting.

Garbage Man Promo Process

As I just recently posted, I now have the rights back to my DC Comics creation Garbage Man.  I am in the process of getting the art and lettering files from DC and then plan on collecting the whole saga in a Trade Hardcover along with some new art and a whole new Garbage Man story.

In the meantime, I thought I would post a short blog about my process for creating the Garbage Man promo piece you see on my home page of this website.  This is short and sweet but I think interesting none-the-less.

I was a little under the gun to come up with a promo piece that was going to be used at a DC panel at a convention.  I can’t remember which convention but I do remember I had to turn it around rather quickly.  This was about 10 years ago and I was just starting to color my own covers so I was hardly proficient at it. I’m not exactly fast now but I am at least I know everything in my photoshop tool bar.

I had an idea to incorporate the logo into the art and produced the black and white version   fairly quickly. (Note:  the “zip” patterns in his color splotches were added in photoshop at a later date and are not on the original black and white illustration.

garbageman

 

I started to do color flats on the art in photoshop which is the most tedious job of the entire digital coloring process.  After about an hour in, I started thinking that I could paint the image faster than I could color it in photoshop.

So using my Epson Stylus Photo Printer, I printed out the black and white art on a sheet of 13X19 epson radiant white watercolor paper.  I’m not sure why I thought the ink would be waterproof but thankfully it was.  So in a matter of about two hours I painted the promo piece print out with watercolors.  If I had colored it in photoshop, it would have taken me days.

Gmanpromocolor

 

So now I essentially have two original pieces of art for this image.  One is the actual pencil and inks on illustration board and the other is the painted color done over a black and white digital print out.

That’s it.  Stay tuned for more Garbage Man news as I get closer to putting the book together.

My Latest Archie Cover

Every so often the guys over at Archie Comics shoot me an email and ask me to do a cover for them.  I find these great fun because they are so far removed from what I usually do.  I think being able to handle a myriad of subject matter is important for any illustrator/artist.  I really think if you are good, you should be able to draw any subject matter well.  I, like most artists, am striving to be good.  So bring on the curveballs!

This cover is for the 1st issue of the 10th wedding anniversary of Archie and Veronica mini-series.  Apparently this takes place in the future.  Being married with kids myself ( a lot longer than 10 years) I thought what domestic situation can I play for laughs with these characters?

The most obvious to me was, Dad comes home from work and he is supposed to be spending time with the kids or maybe he has been enlisted by his wife to watch the kids and he falls asleep on the couch.  Wife is annoyed.  So I came up with this sketch.

Arche10thCvrSketch

They liked it but they didn’t want Archie asleep.  I’m not sure if it was my idea or theirs to have Archie playing video games with his son. I thought this could be funny too if he was more into the game than his son and completely ignoring Veronica.  Of course, she is still annoyed.

I just took the original sketch and changed Archie.  I drew him separately and then combined him the existing sketch through Photoshop..

ArchieCoverSketch

They liked it, I liked it, we all liked it.  So I penciled it and it looked something like this.  At least in the early stages.

Archie10thPencilsmall

I took this final full sized rough and light tabled it onto another board and then added the circle motif in the background and inked it.  This time almost entirely with a pen.  I was trying to get a heavier dead line weight effect.

Archie10thFinalink

The circle motif is there to recreate the nostalgic feeling you get from Leyendecker or Rockwell’s work on the Saturday Evening Post covers they are both so famous for.  Nothing says “Americana” to me more than Archie!

I then jumped into the coloring.  I scanned the image and colored it in Photoshop.  I kept it simple as I am want to do.

ArchieCvrFinal

 

I added the rug after the fact because it started to feel like the kids were floating and I needed something to ground them.  I used some square shaped brush tools to “paint” the background and suddenly I have a Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post Cover! (except not as good)

Here it is with the Cover Logo added.

STL125461

Thanks for coming by and I will have more Archie soon, along with a Wonder Woman cover!

 

Garbage Man Returns…..to me.

After years of laying in moth balls at DC, the rights to the character I originally created to replace a Vertigo locked Swamp Thing, were returned to me.  I am speaking, of course, about Garbage Man.  When DC proper was finally able to pry Swamp Thing back from Vertigo ( this unfortunately occurred about half-way through my Garbage Man saga) Garbage Man became instantly irrelevant.  A few years later, the rights to my creation have reverted back to me.

When I originally conceptualized Garbage Man he was intended to harken back to Berni Wrightson’s original visual approach for Swamp Thing.  More of a super hero monster than the esoteric vegetable god that Alan Moore turned him into.  There are similarities between my character and Len Wein and Wrightson’s creation but there are also a lot of differences both visually and character-wise.  And now vast differences from the current Swamp Thing incarnation.

Gmanpromocolor

So now what?  Do I move forward with Garbage Man creating new material?  Do I reprint the original 120 page story that very few people got a chance to read?  Both?  Do I push aside Kit Carter and Wraith of God (two creator owned projects I have been developing and working on) in order to publish a project that at least has some existing fans and a little bit of name recognition?  If I do, is crowd funding the way to go?

So many deep questions, all of which I plan on answering in short order.  I have been getting a much stronger reaction to my social media postings about Garbage Man than I could have anticipated, which gives me hope that there might be an audience out there for this.

Garbage Man originally appeared in the DC anthology mini-series, Weird Worlds.

WWmedley

The second part of the saga appeared a few months later in another 6-issue anthology mini-series called, My Greatest Adventure.

My_Greatest_Adventure_Vol_2_1 9.49.57 PM

This series included about 8 pages of Batman appearances that would have to be removed if I were to reprint this original story.  Batman does play an important, albeit minor, role in the story.  But he could be easily replaced with some more of my own characters and it would be seamless fix.

My idea would be to collect the entire 120 page DC story with the 8 pages of changes (that would be new art and adjusted dialogue) plus and extra all-new Garbage Man story chapter.  The story, “Night of the Living Jed” was originally going to be used as part of the Weird World mini-series but I changed it at the last minute to something else.  So we would be looking at a 140 page trade paperback or hardcover.  A great way to relaunch Garbage Man?  Maybe.

MGA-GMAN4.12.600

I believe that my original Garbage Man story contains some of the best, if not THE best, artwork of my career.  For that reason alone I would like to see it reprinted.   Maybe over-sized in Black and White?

All options are being explored and I am hoping to have a decision and a definite plan soon.    Feel free to let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

More updates coming.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

DAMAGE #16 The Final Cover

Damage, my current project for DC Comics, has been quite an interesting ride.  I originally came aboard to do the Damage vs. Superman and the Justice League story arc which would have seen the end of the series with issue #12.  I had barely started working on the book when I was told the series had been extended to 18 issues so we (me, editor Jamie Rich and writer Robert Venditti) needed to flesh out more stories to continue the series.  Then we were told that the series would go 24 issues, so even more content and vision was needed.  As I started working on the issue right after the Superman story, I got word the book would be canceled after 16 issues.  That’s comics my friends.

It has been loads of fun, though.  Something I didn’t really expect.  We are working “Marvel Style” on this book which means artist and writer come up with a story idea, the writer writes a plot with some specific scenes and a lot of general action and the artist (that’s me) gets a ton of freedom to interpret and draw the story.

So the time has come and gone where I was asked to draw the last cover to the series. (insert sad face emoji here).  But the time is now for me to share the process with you!

It is a little more difficult to come up with a series ender than just a regular cover.  I came up with several ideas, including one inspired a bit by John Romita’s classic cover to Amazing Spider-Man #50.

Damage#16CvrSketchesA&B

Damage#16CvrSketchesC&D

Although I think “D” is the stronger layout and more impactful design, “A” was chosen.

So I started working on the pencil which proved to be more challenging than it probably should have been.  I wanted the image of Damage over-poweringly big but soon realized to have him as big as I wanted his arms would bleed off the cover.  So I drew an image that I liked the look of and then enlarged on the computer (after scanning, of course) so it fit correctly within the cover art board dimensions. Here are the stages I went through to get it right.

The issue was the width of his shoulders and the angle that his arms came down at.  I wanted the shoulders to stretch across the page but then his arms would naturally angle off the page.  I realized this in the original blue line below. You can see how is arms are unnaturally squished in to try and get them within the live art border.   So I then drew a smaller version that had is pose more natural and then enlarged that one to fit as big as I could without losing the arms.

Damage#16cvrroughbigDamage#16cvrroughsmall

I then added in the kneeling/slumping Ethan and inked it.  I don’t have a finished pencil because the layout was so cut and dry there was no reason to send one in to DC.

As per usual, I inked this mostly with a brush.  (No.2 Raphael Kolinsky Red Sable)  Some of the details are with a pen and the background burst lines were drawn with a pen and ruler.

Damage#16CvrFinal

Also, as per usual, I didn’t color this cover.  I may get back to this in the future but I am such a slow colorist that it is hard for me to keep up on a regular monthly book.  Brian at HiFi Color is doing such a good job that I am comfortable having him do these.

Damage_16_CVR_CMYK

And that is the swan song for Damage.  This is a pretty cool character that has grown on me, so I hope we get to see him again sometime down the line.  Well, until the next time I do something interesting….see ya!

Damage #14 King Kong Cover!

It is time for another cover process blog.  I hope you all are reading Damage from DC Comics because that is all you’re going to be getting for awhile.  This latest cover is a little more interesting than usual because I had to make a pretty significant change to the cover after it was done.

Let’s take a look and see just what happened.

It was a day like any other.  My editor shot me an email and said it was cover time.  I had to do something with a giant monster theme, which is right up my alley.  I turned out a few cover roughs…

Damage14CvrC Damage14CvrSketches

As you can see, cover sketch “C” is an obvious riff on Fantastic Four #1.  Maybe not the most original idea but I couldn’t resist.  Those of you who read my run on JLI will recognize the little rock trolls from a story arc from that New 52 series some 7 years ago (yikes).

I really thought “A” would be picked but apparently Dan Didio likes King Kong so “B” was chosen.

I went ahead and did the penciling for the cover.  I pulled out some gorilla reference to make sure I got the face accurate (or at least as accurate as I wanted it to be).  So far so good.

Damage#14coverpencil

I liked it, my editor liked it, everyone seemed happy.  So I took the next step and inked it. This time almost entirely with a no.2 Kolinsky Rafael Red Sable Brush.

Damage#14Cover

This quickly became my favorite cover of the series thus far.  But then….

My editor noticed something that admittedly I had noticed as well but shrugged off.  The pose I had Damage in was eerily similar to the previous months cover.  Let’s take a side by side look and see.

Damage#14CoverDamage#13Cover

Oohhhhhh boy.  This almost looks like I took the Damage from cover #13 and pasted it on the cover to #14.  Obviously, this had to be changed.  I had the choice of completely drawing a new cover (which I almost did) or doing what any sane commercial artist would do…create a patch.  I opted for the lesser of two evils and created a patch.

CoverPatch1

I got approval and then inked it.

Damage#14CvrPatch

Then using the miracle of Photoshop, I pasted this new Damage over the top of the old Damage in the cover file.  It obviously didn’t fit exactly right so I had to to go in and add some lines and blacks to the Gorilla that got erased when I removed the original Damage figure.  It came out looking like this.

Damage#14CvrRevisedFinal

If I hadn’t just told on myself in this blog, no one would be the wiser.  The real painful thing for me now is that the original art is in two pieces.  It can’t ever be properly displayed the way it came out in the printed version.  I’m such a type “A” personality that that kind of thing drives me nuts.  I’m almost tempted to go old school and cut out the patch Damage and glue it onto the original and make the corrections around it on the actual art but I am resisting the urge for right now.

Anyway, finally everyone was happy and I sent it off to Brian Miller to be colored.

Damage_14_CVR_Revised_CMYK

Everyone really liked it except for the blur lines on Damage’s fists.  We had Brian remove those and then finally, absolutely, everyone was happy.

Damage-14-CVR-Revised-CMYK

So ends another tale of the creation of a comic book cover.  This one had a few more twists and turns then usual but that’s why you tune in, right?

As always thanks for stopping by and we’ll talk soon!

 

 

Damage #13 Cover Process

I’m finally done traveling this year, so time to get caught up on blogging.

Let’s take a look at how I created the art for the cover to Damage #13.

This was an interesting journey.  I knew Batman would be guest starring in this issue, so I came up with a few ideas that I thought fit into the story line we had talked about.

Damage#13CVRS Damage13CvrsketchC

The story revolves around Batman sort of manipulating Damage so I thought I would try and get a little esoteric.  Fail.  Dan Didio sent the art below telling me to do something like this.

SwampThingSplash

Anybody that know me knows what a Berni Wrightson honk I am, so I said, “sure, I’ll copy Wrightson.”  Of course, I didn’t want to directly rip-off Wrightson but instead use this image as inspiration.  So I came up with this:

Damage13CoverSketch

Rumor has it Dan jumped for joy when he saw this sketch.  So off to the pencils I went.

Damage#13coverpencil

I was pretty pleased how this came out.  I was able to refine the drawing without losing the energy from the sketch.  No one disagreed, so I started inking.

As always I used a #2 Rafael Kolinisky Red Sable brush with some pen work on the car stuff.  In this stage I added the power lines coming out from the impact.

I later found out that I drew a Bat Chest Logo that was no longer being used so I had to patch a new one in.  You’ll notice the corrected Bat Logo on the colored version.

Damage#13Cover

Everybody loved it so I shipped it off to be colored.  This time Mr. Brian Miller from Hi-Fi got the assignment and did a really nice job.  I really enjoy some of the bold color choices here.

Damage13Cover_450_CMYK

All right!  Feels good to get another one of these up on the site.  As always, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog.

See you soon!