Drawing Again

I’ve been working more with my Wacom tablet in Photoshop, and am getting back into doing more hand drawn comics. The 3D stuff is fun, but it’s never really been something I appreciate as much as traditional art.  I’m trying to move forward and progress into the digital age, though, so it’s all paperless.  The sketches were done in Photoshop with the pencil tool, inking is done in Manga Studio, and then back into Photoshop for coloring.

I’m re-writing the Shanghai storyline now, as I’m not bound my with 3D models and characters I own in my library.  The hand drawn stuff allows me to do anything I can imagine, so we’ll see where that takes me.

New Art – Shanghai Cover

Here’s a new cover for the Shanghai series I’m working on.  This was rendered in DAZ Studio, postwork in Photoshop.  Issue one is almost done and should be available through print-on-demand soon.

New Art – Meet & Greet

A sort of detail from yesterday’s large shot, collecting a few robots together. Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, R2D2 from Star Wars, a Terminator, Robot from Lost in Space, and Gir from Invader Zim. Rendered in DAZ Studio. Thanks for looking!

New Art – Garage

Which one will I drive today?

This was a fun shot to put together. It’s pretty far away from where it started. Rendered in DAZ Studio.

There’s the Eagle & Hawk ships, and a moon buggy from Space: 1999. A shuttle and Runabout from Star Trek. The Jupiter 2 and robot from Lost in Space. Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet. Flash Gordon’s rocket ship. R2D2 from Star Wars. A Terminator.  Gir from Invader Zim.  And a little pet alien running loose.

New Art – On the Bridge

Playing around with some of the great sci-fi outfit and prop sets from my library.  I think I have enough to get a comic done in that genre. If only real life were this cool! This one is my current desktop.

New Art – Wolfman

Taking a break from gaming for a bit to focus on my art and get the comics back on track.  Here’s a practice piece I did this morning in DAZ Studio to get my hand back –

Heart of the Wizard

Looking ahead to jumping back into my comics work this week.  I ordered a few books from indyplanet.com to check out how their printing is, and browsed a bunch of online comics to see what’s out there now.  I’m about half way finished with the next issue of Shanghai, and I’m not quite sure I want to do that as my first new shot in publishing.

I did about 10 pages a few years ago of a story called The Heart of the Wizard that I’m actually more excited by.  It’s the same 3D art, but I had heavily filtered it to give it more of a traditional comics feel, so that it looks like it could be hand drawn, and I have to say, I like that better.

I started expanding the story yesterday, but am still keeping it very simple.  It’s a fantasy sword & sorcery setting, but no highbrow plot as of yet.  Just basic fun and action.  I re-worked the main character last night, and gave her a more acceptable outfit, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.  I tossed together a test cover, which is above.  The actual cover will have more thought and time in it.

The style has bold outlines, over-saturated colors, and dot tones & flash lines like the comic art I grew up with.  Some people really like the clean look of the straight 3D art better, but I think the more stylized stuff is a better fit for me.  I’m going to try and get some new pages of this done and see how it strikes me.  I think the characters lend themselves very well to a one-shot book, with the chance to come back and tell a lot more stories, as opposed to one grand story arc that I lock myself into.

We’ll see.  Either way, I’ll have something new in print soon!

Getting back into Print

I’ve been wanting to get back into mainstream comics for quite some time now. I have lots of new material in various stages of production, but have been unsure about how to get it into the hands of readers in a way that would make a modest amount of money and not be easily duplicated and passed around illegally on the web.

I bought a set of markers last night, and did some drawing, which I’ve not done in a long time. I was intending the resulting art piece for eBay, but I was disappointed with what I ended up with. It’s frustrating, because I’m trying to duplicate on paper what I can do with my art software on the computer in a fraction of the time. The digital art looks much better, but I can’t sell it as an original in an auction.  It just seems like a lot of time and effort to sell to one customer.  It feels like I should be working to a larger audience.

Back in the 90s, I self published a few full-color comics of my own.  Paper printing is pretty expensive, but I think I finally found an option that will get me back into print at almost no cost, and no risk. There are several print on demand services that will custom print in small numbers – like 10 books if you want, or hundreds. It’s not the quality of Marvel & DC, but it gets you a handful of books, and they also have an online store that only prints what they sell. It’s basically a method to get some material in print so a bigger publisher will notice you. And if I get a small stack of books done, a trade-paperback is easy to do the same way.  I don’t have to pay for 5000 copies and hope the major distributor will pick it up.

I’m still researching, but I think this is what I’ve been looking for. I get to do my own thing, have it in print, and I can go to comic shows with a small stack of books to peddle. I can be an independent publisher for very little investment or risk, which is perfect. It also has the possibility to open doors down the road.

I’m going to sift through all of my years of artwork tonight and see if I can come up with enough material to do an “Art of Skulfrak” book.  I’ve always wanted one of those!  The Shanghai series will be back in print now as well, and I have lots of other concepts waiting in the wings.

More to come!