Monday, November 30, 2009

Recycling FedEx boxes

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It's been a while since I blogged. I like to post as often as I can, but when deadlines knocks, I concentrate on work to get things done. Here's a picture I took a few weeks ago which I thought was amusing.
Once a week on garbage day, I would crush and flatten all the FedEx packages I receive and place them into the recycling bin. When I was about to do that, something caught me by surprise. That's a lot of FedEx packages! More than I've ever gotten in a one week period. Each time I get one of these FedEx boxes, there are pages in to for me to ink. And looking at the amount of boxes (nine) made me realize... Man... I've been busy. Not to mention the Blue Line inks that arrived by e-mail or FTP instead of FedEx around the same time. A bunch of them were me lending a helping hand with the publishers deadlines. Which is understandable since a lot of people we're off or closed for the Holidays and pages needed to be turned in sooner. After I took this picture, I stacked up all the boxes and body slammed it like a wrestling super star! Climbed up to stand on the edge of the blue recycling bin, jumped off towards the FedEx boxes, and BOOM! Imagine that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Credit / No Credit

In college, sometimes you'll get credit for your classes and sometimes you don't. College prepares you for life in the outside world so you won't be surprised. Which brings up my post for today. I just got my comps for working on Predator #3. I posted my inks a while back, so I won't post them again. Instead, I took a photo of the two pages I worked on from the actual comic book. The above picture also shows the cover to this book as well as the credit page from the inside front cover. I placed a bottle of ink next to the credit page. Why? Because there's no Inker credit. In fact, I didn't get credit for this issue. But that's okay, Dark Horse did send me comps and payment which means they know I worked on it. So it doesn't bother me at all.

This does happen once in a while. The credit no credid. Like the book I worked on above where I don't get any credit at all. Sometimes, another person's name gets the credit where they didn't contribute to any of the work. Or my name being listed with the incorrect pages numbers which gets confused between other inkers. I've also seen books where I didn't have involvement in and I got credit as the Inker. Another classic one would be where my name is on the cover, but someone else's name is on the credits inside of the book. And vice versa. Again, one of us wasn't a part of the book. That's a common one where a certain person is solicited as the artist on the book, but during the process, the artist changes before the book is published. My favorite is when publishers spell my name incorrectly. A popular one is when they drop the letter "E" and add a "O". As in "Waldon". Well, what can you do? Mistakes happen all the time. Ironic I got these comp copies today seeing that's it's Friday the 13th. Or is it "Fridoy"?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street's 40

Brought to you by the letter W...W for Walden.

Elmo: Hello Boys and Girls. What day is today?
Walden: November 10, 2009. Why? What's up??
Elmo: Hee Hee! That's right Boys and Girls, it's a special day today!
Walden: Huh? What's so special about today?
Elmo: Today is Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary! Yeappie!!!
Walden: .....

Elmo visited my studio today. He told me it was Sesame Street's 40th anniversary and started teaching me how to sing the letters to his name, E-L-M-O, to the beat of the Village People's song, YMCA. I said sure, only if you'll go and do some inking work for me.

Elmo: Okie Dokie! hee hee! I'm grabbing your pens and brushes! Where are those pages? tee hee hee!



So Elmo and I were talking about Sesame Street. Reminded me of the times when I was younger watching Sesame Street on television. Back then, Kermet the frog was the mascot for Sesame Street. You could find toys of him everywhere. Kermet dolls where you can stick you hand up his butt to make his mouth move. Today, it's a red fur ball named Elmo. Everywhere, Elmo. Tickle me Elmo or do whatever to Elmo. Why did they name him Elmo anyways? Does he have a sibling with black fur and fingernails named Emo? That would be funny. Anyway,as a kid, right after watching Sesame Street, there was another kiddie education program called The Electric Company. Here's the theme song to it. This brings back memories for me.




Which reminded me... HEY! That's my first exposure to Spider-Man! Here's the clip to the introduction of Spider-Man on The Electric Company.




And how about those comic book episodes. Sure, we all sort of remember our first comic book. My first exposure to comic books was on television. Comic Book on TV! Funny thought... In today's world, publishers are putting out comic books where you can download into you ipod or computer. They call it webisodes with comic book characters that move. Well, looking at this clip, it's been done many decades ago. Ain't no new thang!



Finally, did you recognize one of the characters in that Spider-Man Introduction to Electric Company? How about the narrator in the Comic Book TV? No? Well, that's Morgan Freeman. He was a regular on The Electric Company where a lot of kids use to watch back in the day. All of the kids back then are adults now. Probably explains why ever movie that Morgan Freeman appears in, is good! Gives us a sense of comfort to see someone who we've seen when we were kids. Take a look at this Episode.


Elmo: All done!!! hee hee! You got another page for me to ink?
Walden: What?!! You ink faster than me? Let me see... That's chicken scratch. Get outta here!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

MARVEL ZOMBIES: EVIL EVOLUTION #1

Sometimes I get comps weeks in advance where I can blog about them a bit earlier before it's released. Other times, I'll get them months later or none at all. So I really don't know when a certain comic will be out unless I keep tabs on them. Keeping tabs on what will be coming out three months later while working on them is too much brain work. All I'm doing at the time is concentrating on the deadlines. When I'm done with the deadlines, I usually forget about it. Thanks to friends, I've been told another one of my books was recently released. Here's the cover to MARVEL ZOMBIES: EVIL EVOLUTION #1. Nice cover design. Here's the first page that I worked on. It's actually a horizontal page. In the book, it'll be published vertically and to see it the way I post it, you'll have to turn the book 90% clockwise. I believe this page will have credits on the top of it (or rather, the left of it when viewed vertically). Click on image to zoom up!
Here's another page. I've inked a total of fourteen pages in this issue over Adam DeKraker's pencils. I've worked with him before on a Spider-Ma'am project where his pencils was more cartoony. This time, it was more detailed and the pages turned out nice.
This issue is out in stores now and you can find out more by clicking here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bristol Boards and PULSE OF POWER COVER

Every now and then when I need to ink something in Blue Line, I would need bristol boards. DC and Marvel comics are great because they'll supply me with boards to work on. Board from both publishers are high in quality and doesn't bleed. There's nothing worse then having to ink on a board which bleeds. For example, when you ink a line on a lower quality board, you won't get a smooth stright line. Instead, you'll get what I call caterpillars. A line with hundreds of small legs on the side... Just like a caterpillar.

So what do you do when you don't have DC or Marvel baords around? A few months ago, I went to a art store and saw something that Canson released called Fanboy Comic Art Boards. "Fanboy", I said to myself. Must be for fans. It was sitting on the shelf next to the more popular Blue Line Pro Comic Boards. I don't have a good impression with Blue Line Pro boards. In fact, I have quite a few pads in my studio which are useless to be because they bleed. What the heck, I'm gonna buy one of these Canson Boards and see what happens. It's cost less than Blue Line Pro and Starthmore Comic Boards which I blogged about earlier. My only grip about Canson is that the boards are in a pad. All twenty two boards are attached on the top where you need to pull apart. Once you pull an individual board out, there's these residue stuck to the top of the boards. Not that big of an issue because you can pull and rub them all off. There are also these pre-ruled blue lines on the board if you're planning on drawing sequential pages with them. For me, I use just the back of the board to print out my own blue lines to ink on. Doesn't make a difference to me if they have pre-ruled lines or not. It's the A3 sized bristol board that attracted me. Another note about these boards. Once you rip off a page from the pad, there's these ridges on the top of the page. Those can get annoying if they were on the bottom of the board you're inking on. If I have to give it a description, it feels like gliding your arm across a strip of sand paper. That said, when I print my blue line boards out, I make it a point where the ridges are on top of the page. To my surprise, this board is actually very nice to work on. It doesn't bleed at all. Not even a little. It's a little thinner then Blue Line Pro and Strathmore. But it's the same thickness as a DC comic board. So if you're using a printed that rolls the baord around up top to print, thsi would be perfect! I took one of the boards for a spin. Here's the results...

This is a cover to a book called Pulse of Power which will be published by Dabel Brothers Publishing. It's pencilled by Brett Booth. If you like to see the pencils, Brett has it posted on his blog here. Dabel Brother Publishing contacted me a few months ago and had me ink this cover. I still haven't see solicitations for it yet. You've seen it here first!!! If anyone sees solicitations for this cover, let me know.
Anyway, the majority of this cover was inked with a crow quill, hunt 102 nib. If a bristol board is bad, it'll bleed all over the place. As you can see, it didn't bleed with the this cover I inked. It's a nice board for the price and it does it's job. If the Strathmore Bristol Comic Board cost too much for you, I recommend getting this one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

PREDATOR #3

Another comic that I did some inking work on, PREDATOR #3. Here's the cover to the comic...
Here's a page that had a lot of spotting blacks. With a spot here, and a spot there, here a spot, there a spot, everywhere a spot spot, Old Mac Donald had a farm E-I-E-I-O. Here's a page with more line work. Look at the first panel. Alcohol Bottle sat near a wall, Alcohol Bottle had a great fall, all the kings horses, and all the kings men, couldn't put Alcohal Bottle back together again.
Predator #3 is in stores now and you can find out more by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DARK REIGN: THE SINISTER SPIDER-MAN #4

Another book which I did some inking work on. Here's the cover to this issue.
I've inked over Chris Bachalo on Blue Line. As usual with Blue Line, I download a high resolution pencil file, convert it, and print it light blue onto a bristol board. Before anyone gets too excited... I only helped out on inking one page. Just one... UNO! Here it is...
Still, it was exciting for me to work on it since I admire Chris Bachalo's work. Here's a fun fact: Did you know Chris Bachalo appeared in a few episodes of a television game show called Win, Loose, or Draw that aired from 1987 to 1990. Like the board game, Pictionary, he would draw images and team mates would guess to win the point.
This book is in stores now and to read more about Dark Reign: The Sinister Spider-Man #4, you can click here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On your mark, get ready, get set, GOOOOO!!!

Every now and then, people ask me how long does it takes to ink a page. And I respond by saying it really depends on pencil details. I've inked as little as one page in three days because pencils were really intense. To as much as four pages a day on pencils that are simpler. On the average, a comfortable speed would be a day a page. Of course that really depends on deadlines... If you have it or if you don't. I've never really timed myself in the past. So just for kicks, I timed myself for this splash page which was used for Dark Reign Young Avengers #5. I broke it down by the hour to show my process. As usual, you can click on any image to expand it.

9:40am. First off, I get an High Resolution e-mail of the pencils from Mark Brooks, who pencilled this splash page. I download the file, clean it up a bit, convert it to blue line, and print it out on a full size printer which I can feel bristol boards into. First thing I do is ink the boarders.
10:40am. Here I inked both the heads. Faces are very important. In some case, I would use the magnifying glass that's on one of of my two drawing table swing arm lamps. I used the glass to magnify the faces on the bristol board while referring to the high resolution image of the same page on my computer screen blown up for clarity. Doing it this way, I can get a much more accurate line for the faces. Keep in mind, images pencilled more lightly and drawn smaller would just dissappear when printed in blue line. I like to do all that extra work so I can maintain all the lines from the pencils. 11:40am. Here I pull out my rulers and stencils to ink in all non organic lines. At the same time, I think about line weights. Using stencils and technical pens, you only get a dead flat line. To compensate, I would go back once or twice on certain lines to create perfect non organic lines with line weights. Line weights aren't always done just on the outside of the characters, I also ink them on the interior of the characters. Some of my comic friends think I'm crazy to do this because it takes so much more time than just free handing it in. I like to think I'm putting my best work out there so it's got to be as perfect as I can ink it.
12:40pm. I continue with the ruler work on the background as well as organic lines around and inside the body. The speed lines in the background, I would concentrate on which lines I need to make thicker and thinner. Organic lines, I would ink freehand.
1:40pm. I usually have some sort of pattern of inking. Sort of like working in an assembly line. Ink hear first, hands, spot blacks, and so forth. That usually saves me time from switching from one tool to another. With this splash page I'm inking, all that assembly line method goes out the door. I'm just inking the page to see how fast, or how slow, I can finish it. Which means I'm swapping inking tools constantly. Now, I go in there to spot some blacks as well as taper some of the lines going into the blacks. 2:40pm. I continue spotting the blacks and tapering all the areas of the characters with a brush. This process usually takes up most of the inking time because I'm concentrating on where the tip if the tapered line starts as well as where it'll end when the opposite end of the tip meets. I like both ends of tapered lines to be starting and ending in a pattern and not chaotically random out of whack.
2:41pm -3:45pm. I take a break. Eat lunch and look out the window at something far to adjust focus. It's always good to step away from your work to prevent eye strain. Some say you should look away and focus on something far every twenty minutes. I usually get into a zone and forget about doing that. Now, I get back to the inking table refreshed and recharged.
4:45pm. I finishing up inking both figures with a brush and quill. Some of the halos, I would ink around. Other times, I would use white ink and create that halo which separates objects from a black background. I usually wait until everything is done in black ink before I even think about using white ink for halos or effects. If I make a mistake, I'll pull out the white-out and correct it. Very rarely do I need to pull out the white out to fix corrections. Unless I sneeze in the process of drawing a line or something.
5:45pm. I work on the tapered speed line in the background. Only this time, I'm not using a brush to taper. I'm using a crow quill to whip these lines in because it needs to look non organic. I think of it this way... Non organic objects has to be perfectly straight, rounded, and arched. Organic objects has to be more natural and free flowing, more forgiving.
6:05 pm. At this point, I'm all finished with using the black ink. I double check to see if I'm missing any lines or blacks which needs to be spotted. Nope... All done. I take out my white ink, give it a shake to have a better mixture, and start using that. Since this is blue line, I would just take the white it and shake it up. Now if this was original pencils, I would usually double task. How? Check this out... I take an eraser with my right hand and hold it like how anyone would hold a eraser. Then I put the bottle of white ink in between my index and middle fingers and hold that above the eraser. While I'm erasing the pencils underneath my inks, I'm also shaking up the white it for a better mixture. Two birds with one stone! That's one of my time saving secrets for ya! All right, back to the finished page. Once the white ink is nicely mixed, I go in there and add more halos and effects where needed (like the scales on the outfit or the halo lines between armour pieces). After that, it's all done! Finito!
For this particular splash page, it took me a little over eight hours to complete.
I scan the inks onto photoshop at a resolution of 600 dpi full size. Once that's done, I upload the file to Marvel's FTP site. Then I take the same high resolution file, shrink it down to 100 dpi and save it as a jpeg file so I can e-mail it my editor to view. The below file is the actual jpeg that I used to send to my editor. Enjoy.