Monday, October 17, 2011

Color I: The Basics and Flats

Currently I am working on a four part story to be published on my website, Eye of Infinity. Each part is 4-5 pages and illustrated in a typical comic book style. However this will be the first time I incorporate color.

Sure I used color in my previous story, The Incredible Growing Man, which can be read in its entirety on my website. However I created through color with that project. When I created the final image, it was with color, shapes of color with smaller shapes on top.

This project (which will be viewable on my website once completed) follows the traditional procedures of pencil, ink, color, lettering. I have currently finished the pencils and inks for part 1. Now I am working on the color.

I am using The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics as my teaching foundation. It suggests the following procedures: 1. Flats, 2. Gradient Fills, 3. Highlights, 4. Shadows. As you can imagine from the title I have not, as of yet, proceeded onto the Gradient Fills....yet.

The basics of color involve hue, complementary colors, value, intensity, and color temperature. It seems best to think of these concepts in tandem with the Flats, as they will be the colors that will dictate the Gradient Fills, Highlights, and Shadows. In many ways this is a relief, as I wont worry about the basics (as much) once I start modelling (term used to refer to Gradient Fills, Highlights, and Shadows).

However, as I sit here examining the first page filled in with flats....I can not decide if I have chosen the appropriate hues, intensities, values or complimentary colors. Gray sidewalks, red bricks, purple uniforms...I got the general ideas, but with such a plethora of variations on colors...could I not choose better?

The angst, the potential, the possibility gnaws at the back of my mind (tweak, tweak, tweak, just a few more tweaks until it is perfect). But it will never be perfect, not like this. I learn better from my mistakes. I will forge ahead; I will make those mistakes, and be better for them.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

24 Hours Is Not Enough Time!!!!!

When I moved to the current apartment I'm living in, I was on a Scott McCloud kick. So of course, I wanted to make a 24 Hour comic; however I moved to this apartment with a roommate.

Now it's not impossible to set aside 24 hours, despite one's roommate, to create a comic (or as I like to refer to it "to work"). But there's all that interruption and explanation that goes along with it too. I want to avoid that; I just do.

I decided the best time would be when my roomate was out of town. No explanations needed; no interruptions; I would have the entire apartment to myself. I began creating a detailed plan, so that I might leap on an opportunity quite quickly. I realized 24 hours/one day would not be enough. I would need a day before to prepare and a day afterwards to recover (I've pulled all-nighters before. I almost made 3 days straight once): a total of 3 days/72 hours.

4 years later my roommate has not been out of the apartment for more than 48 hours. Well, at least while I'm there. We have both gone to the same weddings, such trips lasted more than 48 hours. And I've left for x-mas vacation for weeks, so who knows what my roomate was doing.

Two weeks ago, my roommate was going out of town for 4 days. Finally!! My roommate came back the next day...without even letting me know.

No go.


some day I'll have 72 hours to create a 24 hour comic................

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Approach

I recently read a quick article fowarded to me, in which the author's recommendation for budding cartoonists (still sounds relatively applicable to budding comic book artitsts) was to forego large projects at the beginning, to focus on small projects and set goals. It seems like sound advice that I intend to take.

It is rather unfortunate as I was in the midst of a large project, that I will now lay aside for awhile. But I do have smaller projects in mind, so I am not at a loss. Plus I will post those pages of the large project on my website.

I also recently read Ditko, etc..... This comic offered me two insights that I was suspicious of, but being an amateur, I assumed I was paranoid about.

One of them is the immoral, or at least unethical, actions of large comic book companies. When people speak of comics, most will think of Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, the Hulk, the X-Men or they will think of Marvel and D.C. They have been around for forever; they have integrated into our lives. Even when we hear about the unethical treatment of artists in the '90's by Marvel (which spawned Image) or when we hear (and see) the complete bastardization of Alan Moore's stories by DC films, we can not bring ourselves to boycott either of them (they hold us by the nuts). Reading, hearing, seeing these travesties to creators and art are still not first hand; some doubt must exist, as we do not witness these events first hand. Yet here marks another explosion against these "would-be gods". Steve Ditko (co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee, the iconic cover of Spider-Man swinging while holding a guy in his arms from Amazing Fantasy #15 - that's him) has been in the comic book industry for decades. He has worked with both Marvel and D.C. He is uniquely qualified to criticize the comic book industry. He does so in Ditko, etc...., viciously. This has re-affirmed my suspicions and reluctance to accept or even consider working with large comic companies (assuming an offer ever appeared).

The other insight was specifically in regards to the art. Ditko, etc.... is a black and white comic, which appears to be inked (probably from pencils?), but with no graytones added. It is at it's foundation what every comic art is BEFORE... What do I mean by BEFORE? When one reads a mainstream comic, they have seperate inkers, they have colorists, sometimes there are companies that do the lettering. There is much production value to make the comic look flashy and inviting. But here Steve Ditko makes a far superior artistic comic with just ink. It was because all this flash and snazziness was gone that I was able to accurately compare my current artistic skill to a seasoned professional. I mean, I'm not even in the same league, but I am better than I thought I was.

Both these insights have convinced me to pursue an independent comic career, as opposed to trying to impress DC or Marvel for a full-time steady job.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It takes sooo long....

Each page takes sooo long. It is quite frustrating to envision oneself completing a project, to become enthused through the power of possibility, only to find oneself completing a quarter of a tenth of a third of the project. How do professionals do it? How can they "see the future" and yet struggle through the present. Well for starters they delegate the various tasks to different individuals (writer, penciller, inker, colorist, letterer, editor, chief editor). In a September '94 Nova issue, a Bullpen Bulletin interviewed Sal Buscema, a comic legend (who has worked on Captain America, Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Rom the Space Knight, Spectacular Spider-man), regarding his reputation as a fast artist. The question was: What's the most number of pages you did in one day? " I did 13 pages of breakdowns in one day. But I couldn't see at the end of the day! I'm still fairly fast. I can do two pages of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day." I can do one page of pencils or inks in one 6-7 hour period....but then I'm an amateur. One day I will be able to do a whole page of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day! AND then 2 whole pages of pencils and inks in one 6-7 hour work day!! Ah-ha ha ha ha ha ha. I don't expect to be as good or as quick as those who have worked in the industry for decades. But this has helped me to gain perspective. To give myself certain quantifiable goals.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Beginnning of February.

I decided to title this post as "The Beginning of February" instead of "The End of January", even though this post is mostly about January. Optimism and hope shall lead me onward.

First I found that programs weren't kerning the font I created. Although this may turn out as a blessing in disguise. I have decided for ease I will re-edit the glyphs, with a thought towards the absence of kerning (honestly what's the point of having a font if it can't be kerned??). This will probably reduce the ostentatiousness of the individual glyphs (the final tail of my "y" passes under two letters...unnecessarily).

With new years and visiting friends, I didn't buckle down towards page creations until a good way through January. Ever since, I've been trying to re-acclimate myself to "positive" work schedule. Unfortunately it takes a couple of weeks... So I'm just starting to hit my stride.

On the plus side I found a few new "rulers" in Manga Studio. For parallel lines, circles, and "action" lines (they have some technical name, that I don't care about). But I still have not found a ruler with any measurements on it. For the most part I see little need for specific measurements...except when tiling a floor in perspective! There were a number of situations in the perspective class I took, where using a ruler to create appropriately spaced lines in the proper perspective required a ruler with accurate measurements. So...What up, Manga Studio?!? (I guess none of the floors in Japan are know...

Anyway I should get back to the inky grindstone...
my pages await me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In The Beginning...

So I am beginning this blog, which will follow my failures and successes in my pursuit of the comic dream. My name is Matthew E. Isaac. I have completed one graphic novel, Luster of Vengeance, which can be purchased here:

I have also completed an on-line comic The Incredible Growing Man, which is published and can be viewed free on my website Eye of Infinity,

I am currently working on another graphic novel. I have completed the story, and now must complete the art. Although I think I'll finish my font first. I want to complete 1 page, so that I can know what to expect fromt the other 99 pages.
Off to work!