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  2. Throwback Thursday: some of Stuperpowers comic strips!

    Steve Ellis and I took turns writing & drawing on a weekly Stuperpowers comic strip around the time of the second edition book release, but lost steam on it after a few months. You can see all of Steve’s strips and a few more of mine over on the Stuperpowers Tumblr!

     
  3. Throwback Thursday: Stuperpowers Part Two!

    More powers I drew circa 2001/2002: “Wereshriner” “Turn Currency Canadian” “Action Figure Punch” “Slacker Teen Sidekick” “Burp Any National Anthem” “Move Things With Your Brain” “Boomerang Toenails” and “Pet Wonder”. Lots more on the Stuperpowers Tumblr!

     
  4. Throwback Thursday: Stuperpowers!

    Some of my art from the self-published RPG I did with a bunch of friends back in the late 90’s / early 00’s. Shown here is some powers I drew for the 2nd edition: “Turn Skin Into Aluminum Siding” “Drop 50’ Toilets From The Sky” “Summon Groupies” “Tie Shoelaces Together” “Summon Curious Toddler” “Meatneato” “Acid Blood” “See 2 Seconds Into The Future” and “Throw Self 30’ Into A Random Direction”. Lots more on the Stuperpowers Tumblr!

     
  5. Sketch Dump: The Final Chapter! Some cruel-but-accurate portraits of myself at ages 14, 16 & 18 (what a dummy), unfinished comic about how my kid beats me up in his sleep, & a gag about how if Robin could have avoided becoming Nightwing (ugh) if he just started wearing pants.

     
  6. Sketch dump part 2: Storm Shadow & B.A.T., creepy Peanuts, Rat Fink dude, River City Ransom/X-Men, Robotron 2084 player, Rom & Ghost Rider, Spidey, Thing, Dr Cowboy, Tommy Atomic & The Thing again. I draw way too many superheroes.

     
  7. Welcome to my sketch dump of various art flotsam that’s been haunting my hard drive: Big Barda, bulldog & elf characters from an old animation project, some DIg Dug monsters, an unfinished Justice League thing, Living Laser & Dr Doom, Mojo, Longshot. All never-to-be-finished beyond what you see here, so I thought I’d share before the high-res files get archived away forever. Lots more where this came from!

     
  8. Throwback Thursday: sketches from a @ComicBookJones signing, December 2013. I totally forgot to post these! Skinny guy with the bat is from a one-shot story I’m working on.

     

  9. HOW 2 MAKE COMIX

    My spontaneous and 100% sincere HOW 2 MAKE COMIX tweet blew up this morning so in my eternal quest to talk too much and take things too far here’s a detailed breakdown of what I was talking about:

    PLOT

    Got an idea for a comic? Write it down. One sentence, three sentences tops, no more than 100 words. Sure there will probably be lots more happening in your story but boiling it down to less than 100 words will help you stay on target to complete it.

    OUTLINE

    Write down all the events that happen in the story, start-to-finish, one page of text max, whether you’re doing a 8 page mini or a gigunda graphic novel, it should fit on one page. Avoid flashbacks or fancy storytelling tricks - you have to learn to walk before you fly. You don’t need a fancy word processor or script writing program to write comics, a simple text editor or paper notebook will do just fine.

    PAGE BREAKS

    Here’s the really fun part. Take your outline and figure out how it’s going to break down into separate comic pages. One sentence description (or less!) per page. The last panel on every odd numbered page should make you want to read the next one - use those page turn reveals to your advantage in making scene changes or to strengthen humor and drama.

    PANEL BREAKS

    Take those page breaks and break them down into even smaller moment-to-moment events in an interesting and compelling way. This is where your particular personality and writing style are going to come into play. There’s no way to teach this, you just have to discover your voice for yourself.

    DIALOGUE

    Write down all the words your characters are saying in the panels, and sound effects too. Less is more - the pictures should be carrying the bulk of the storytelling.

    Try and follow these rules:

    1) Don’t have your dialogue describe what is already being shown in the panel.

    2) Max of 3 balloons per panel, one sentence per balloon, max 20 words per sentence.

    3) Add panels and/or pages if you can’t avoid breaking rules 1 & 2.

    PANEL DESCRIPTIONS & SCRIPT FORMATTING

    If you’re drawing the comic yourself this might be unnecessary, but if you’re working with an artist it’s a huge help to make sure your script is clear and give a simple written description of every panel. Avoid essays when describing panels, one sentence per panel is fine. My good buddy & frequent collaborator Fred Van Lente made several comic script template that people really like (including me) - download them here: http://www.fredvanlente.com/comix.html

    EDIT

    Step away from your script for a bit, then come back and read it all the way through. Have a trusted friend read it & give you honest feedback. Then revise & cut until just the essentials to the story are there. Keep the story moving forward at all times. You don’t have to have relentless breakneck Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom storytelling (though it wouldn’t hurt), but you do want people to keep reading, so be efficient.

    ROUGHS

    Start drawing. Roughs are the planning stages Indicate every important visual element on the page - panel borders, figures, backgrounds, words. It shouldn’t look fancy or detailed, just stick figures/blobs for the characters, horizon lines for backgrounds, etc. Don’t forget to draw in where the word balloons go - they are part of the page too! Keep it simple & loose so you can change it easily if its not working out. You can’t really teach this stuff, you just have to try it and learn from your mistakes. Disney artist Carson Van Osten’s “Comic Strip Artist’s Kit” is a fantastic primer on clear comic layout and storytelling that will start you off on the right foot.

    PENCILING

    Once you’ve done your layout start draw in the details of the figures & backgrounds directly over your roughs - make it clear and logical. You pencils are finished when anyone is able to look at it and tell what’s going on in the story, even without words.

    (If you want to improve your drawing ability go get Preston Blair’s Animation and do ALL the exercises, it’s the best damn drawing book ever made. Look out here it is for FREE: http://animationresources.org/?p=2091 YOU’RE WELCOME.)

    LETTERING

    Write in the text - nothing fancy, black text in white balloons for the dialogue, block letters without balloons for sounds. If you’re doing this on the computer you can do it after the inking. For tutorials and fantastic free comic book fonts galore go visit Nate Piekos’ Blambot http://www.blambot.com/

    INK & COLOR

    Shorthand for making the art look finished & presentable - draw over your pencils in black ink, try to make it look better than the pencils. Don’t be afraid to fill in areas with all black - objects with dark shadows and thick outlines will appear closer, less shadows and thin outlines appear further away. Coloring is a whole discipline unto itself, lots of tutorials out there for that, go find them.

    SLEEP

    Congrats you just made a comic! Get some rest because damn, that was harder than it looked.

    SHARE

    Post your comic to wherever you spend the most time on the internet. If you draw 8 or more pages print them on a photocopier and give them to people.

    DO IT AGAIN

    Because your next comic is going to be even MORE fun and look even BETTER!

    FURTHER

    If at any point you’re totally lost and don’t know where to start then you really need to read more comics. I recommend starting with anything by Jeff Smith (Bone), Raina Telegemeir (Smile) or Chris Giarrusso (G-Man). All three of them are contemporary masters of clear & compelling comics storytelling that doesn’t use any fancy tricks and their books are widely available, suitable for all audiences and great pieces entertainment. Then spread out and explore other comics that interest you. I *STRONGLY* recommend avoiding any “how-to” books until you’ve finished making at least one comic on your own. There are some terrific how-to books for cartooning out there - [Scott McCloud’s Making Comics, John Buscema’s How To Draw Comics the Marvel Way and the upcoming Make Comics Like the Pros by Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak & Colleen Coover] - but they’re best used to enhance your artistic growth, not dictate it.

    Really the only way to learn how to make comics is to… make comics. Hop to it!

     
  10. lilclassix:

    Little Women - week 3!

    Sorry to have been late posting these - catch up at lilclassix.com, Little Women is almost done, Romeo & Juliet starts thursday!

     
  11. Riddler quick sketch

     
  12. Howard the Duck quickie sketch

     
  13. More commissions: Kirby as Kamandi, Snake Eyes vs Karl Marx, Starfinger, OMAC, “Teddy Roosevelt Punching Something”, Peppermint Patty, The Thing, The Punisher

     
  14. Bunch of back-dated commissions I’m finally mailing out today: Betty & Veronica, Black Widow, Gorilla Grodd & M.O.D.O.K., Galactus & Silver Surfer, Hulk, Jack Kirby, The Maxx, Matter Eater Lad

     
  15. [Skate] Betty & Veronica. Private commission.