Category Archives: Comics

Storyboards

I’ve alluded to the fact that I’ve been doing some video work for the day job. Here’s some evidence: a storyboard!

Perfected by Walt Disney’s studio in the 30’s, these are essentially giant comics that animators use to “previsualize” the cartoons they’re working on. They’re super-handy because they let you change things around and fix mistakes before you get deep into the time-consuming processes of drawing and filming. Pixar still works mostly from storyboards, and most live action films now use the technique as well.  Ridley Scott famously storyboarded scenes from Alien himself (which got him an increase in the film’s budget), and storyboard artists like Darwin Cooke, Bruce Timm, and Gabriel Hardman have crossed over the other way into mainstream comics. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the coolest jobs in Hollywood.

So why storyboard for a church? We do a lot of videos, frankly. This one in particular is for a project about when asking for big things from God looks futile.  It’s meant to be relatively silent, except for some sound effects and a music track, so reading the storyboard should be a complete experience in and of itself!

Behold (and click for larger versions):

I’ll post the finished video once it’s completed!

Update: 11/7/2011. The video… was cancelled. Sadly. But it was done in lieu of another project which you can find out about… in the next post!

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New Comic! “Damages”

Following up on our previous installment

Of course, this and other comics from the “Sunday in Black and White” series can be read in sequence by clicking the tab up top. Or that link.

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Novel Graphics

Besides working at the day job and noodling around on odd comics, I’ve got a big side project in the pipeline– my first graphic novel!

I’m working with an author from Houston named Kirk Blackard on a story tentatively titled Makin It. It deals with a young man who grows up on the streets, makes some tough choices, and lands in juvie. Along the way, he meets Christ and learns (with a little help from a mentor) how to break the cycle of violence in his life.

(Just coming off a year teaching high school English, this subject hits close to home– I’d be lying if my time with the kids didn’t inform how I’m depicting the protagonist and his world.)

We’ve got a piece on the book with an interview and some page previews coming up in the next issue of BLEEP Magazine, and I’ll post the link soon. Until then, I figured I’d show you a peak at the process of how we take things from script to page.

The Making of a Page:

We start with Kirk’s script. He writes in a unique two-column format. One side contains the protagonist’s narration:

We all stayed with my grandmother.
She seemed like my mother and my mother seemed like a sister.

I called my grandmother “Mama Ruth” and my mother by her name, “Mary.”

Mama Ruth was gone a lot. She worked very hard for long hours. Drove the metro and school busses. Sometimes she worked as a maid.

The other column contains action descriptions for the page, usually matched with a piece of narration listed in the first column. What we needed to depict on this page included

Perhaps picture of two of them (Grandma and Mother)

Buses, actually doing work

Working grandmother—tired look

After Kirk sends me the script, I break it down in really loose pencils and send it back to him for revisions and suggestions.

20111008-193307.jpg

In this case, we were pretty much in sync (and usually are– it’s been a good match!), so I started blackening in panel borders and putting ink on figures. That way it looks clean and scans well.

20111008-193419.jpg

(The above is actually an experiment in inking on my iPad. I thought the lines were too pixelated, however, so I ultimately stayed with traditional pen and ink.)

Finally, after all the ink is finished, I scan the page and type the captions and dialogue in Photoshop. For this book, we used WildAndCrazy, which is a font you can get at Comicraft for pretty cheap.

And that does it!

At this point, the first chapter is finished and polished, and we’re shopping it around to different publishers and agents. We feel pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to get it to market, so be on the lookout for updates!

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Spider-Man, Spider-Man

I mocked this up over my lunch break. (Do I smell a boast? Yes, that’s my boast.)

My goodness, I love Photoshop.

The process started on Saturday night when I drew this picture of Spidey for a kid at the church. I snapped it with a super low-res camera phone:

After opening it in Photoshop, I fiddled with the levels and started filling in spots with color to take out some of the dark splotch on his left foot. After seeing the picture in red-and-blue, I really wanted a background. A Google Images search for “New York Skyline” (no restriction on rights) got me this:

Which I used “posterize” to turn into this:

and then layered the final image on top of. Using the “Stroke” function from the “Layer Style” menu gave Spidey a nice white outline, and the result is what you see above.

I’m telling you. Photoshop is MAGIC.

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New Comic! “Valuables”

I’m dusting off the old blog again. Check out a brand new comic:

You can also find this hanging out with the rest of the comics in the “Sunday in Black and White” series by clicking the tab up top!

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Terse Theology

My buddy Daniel emailed me the other day asking if I had done any theology cartoons that he might be able to use. He was giving a talk to an adult small group at his church about the usefulness of a good theology (or in vernacular: worldview of God), and he wanted to use something funny as a hook. I had a couple I’d done for a Baptist journal, so I attached them to a reply and shot em ‘off.

Then I read his notes and found a line in there that was too good to resist. So I went to work on the tablet.

Everyone has a theology- even those who don’t have any truck with God at all.

What’s yours, I wonder?

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Arise: A Collaboration

Check it out: a blast from the past!

Ever wonder what to do with manga and/or anime kids? You know. The ones that love comics and cartoons made primarily in Japan?

If you’re teaching, you join in the fun.

The above image is from back in the spring when I tutored at a local high school. One of my boys had started working on his own manga script and asked me to draw a page. I wanted to encourage him (and maybe I felt gratified), but I did this, dang it. You can still see the marks from the scanner.

Then I went back to visit him in September and saw that his art skills had GROWN over the summer.  His new rendition of the first page BLOWS this out of the water.

At the same time, this is really similar to a sequence in the first Scott Pilgrim book, which neither of us had read at that point. We were either hapless geniuses… or we were inadvertently confessing we could only talk to cute girls in our dreams.

Hmm…

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The Mines

Done over three days in Morocco, March 11-13, 2010. Pencil on journal paper

All I have is what I can carry with me… right?

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Sunday in Black and White #3

I decided to pick my Sharpies back up:

 

Vignette 3

 

This is with the other 2 Sunday in Black and White strips on the “Comics” page.

We’re building some material here. SLOWLY.

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A Prayer for Mornings

a-little-fire

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