Thursday, December 31, 2009

Marvel Stock no more

On October of 1997, I've bought one share of Marvel stock. I'm not a stock exchange high roller or anything like that. There was this company that you could purchase one share of stock from. They would obtain a nice clean flat stock certificate, matte it, and frame it before they send it to you. Once you get it, it'll be nice and ready to hang on your wall. At the time, they had different stocks you can choose from... Disney, Warner Brothers, Coca Cola, and others. Each being a different price because, after all, they were real stocks and were sold according to market value. Me being a comic book fan, I wanted a Marvel Stock certificate. With the purchase, stock holders would get an annual report from Marvel which was in a form of a comic book with artwork in it. Here's a picture of that actual stock with my name on it also indicating only one share. All nicely framed and matted.When I purchased this stock, I didn't know Marvel was planning on filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Still, Marvel stock was still being sold and I never gotten any of those Comic Book Annual Reports. Before I knew it, Marvel filed and the stock was worthless. Later on down the line, Toy Biz bought out Marvel and there was a whole new Marvel stock. The stock previous owners had were still worthless. From then on, there were court battles and claims to get money back due to the bankruptcy for each original stock holder. Myself being an owner of one share was included. Just today, I get a letter with a check attached. Letter reads yadda yadda yadda distribute $50 million to the beneficiaries of the trust yadda yadda yadda. Cool!!! I'm getting some of that money! Here's that letter.
But Wait! I take a closer look at the check and what do I see? A check for thirty-one cents. Yes, $0.31. To get this to me, Postage cost more than this check. The paper it's printed on cost more then the value of the check. And it would cost me more to drive to a bank to deposit this check for $0.31.
Anyway, I read that beginning in the year 2010, there will be no more Marvel stock because Disney bought out Marvel. Current owners of the more recent Marvel stock had doubled turning it into a Disney stock. People who has the Marvel Stock certificate can just hold on to them or turn them in for a Disney stock. In my case, I have a original Marvel stock that's worth less than the check I got. Still, it's nicely matted and framed. Not to mention, it's something that was part of comic history and can no longer be purchased.
Now what should I do with this $0.31 cent check? Maybe I should matte and frame it as well. Hang it up next to the Marvel Stock. It'll make a great conversation piece.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ape Avengers Comp Copies

Received some comp copies from Marvel today. A Marvel Apes Trade Paperback that I did some work on. Not bad... Inked a few pages and I still get the whole trade paperback.
And three copies of Dark Reign Young Avengers which I also lent my inks on. Pages opened to the few that I worked on.
They're all out in stores now.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christman Day on the Tele.

I turned on the television that morning to see what's on. I found two channels showing a log on fire with background music. This one with the lower flames didn't do it for me.
Here's the other with a more intense flame. Could be competing with the other log channel.
I thought... "Why is there two channels showing nothing but a log burning. Is that a real log or a fake log burning?" I watch a little longer between the two different channels to see if the log burned up. If there would be ashes flying. If the log got darker. Nope. They're fake. Then it dawned on me. This whole thing with the logs on the tele is fake. Everything about it is fake. Surly, it's not keeping me warm. I turned off the TV and looked for something else to waste time on.

VIZ Holiday Card

When I first looked at this card, I had to think about it. Here's my thought process. All those dots. Why dots? Then I thought... Manga with all those zip-a-tone dots. Majority of the VIZ Manga books has them. Maybe those dots represents manga. Next thing I notice was the darker dots that formed the words "VIZ". Didn't notice it at first until I looked at it from a distance. Followed by the white dots. I thought... What's up with the white dots? Ah... SNOW! Snow because it's winter. Finally, the words Happy Holidays on the bottom right... with a red dot? What a red dot? Humm... Maybe it represented Santa? All those dots made me think why. Then again, it could be nothing and I'm thinking too much into it.
Other side of the card. All hand signed by my friends who work at VIZ with a little note from each. This is very cool. Even beyond cool.
If you look closely, you can see Pikachu, Pikachu and more dots.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dark Horse Holiday Card

Just got a Holiday Card from Dark Horse Comics. This is nice especially since I'm a fan of Bernie Wrightson, who did the card art for Dark Horse. There's a book called out there called Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein that I look at from time to time. The art in there is amazing! I can stare his his pen & ink work all day. I think I looked at this card for almost an hour before I put it down. Beautiful work. Here's a scan of the holiday card opened. Here's a scan of the pre-printed message inside which I thought worked well with the card art. Nice touch, Dark Horse! Very nice of my editors over at Dark Horse to sign and send this to me.

Now... I need to go to my bookshelf and pull out the Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein book. I just got the sudden urge to spends a few more hours looking at his pen & ink work. Cheers!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Step by step inking

Over a year ago, I was contacted by a magazine to write an article on how I ink a page. I don't believe it was ever used. At least from the few times I asked, I've never got a clear response. Instead of having it go to waste, I'm posting it here.

Usually when I ink, I would use whatever tools that will create the right look. Brushes, quills, pens, fingers, anything. As an inker, it's always good to be able to use any and all tools out there. Don't be limited to just a brush or just a quill. The more you ink, the better you'll get at it and the more you'll understand your tools. By no means do I ink everything the same exact order as explained below. Every page varies and are inked differently. That said, here's a cover I inked for DC Comic called REIGN IN HELL. Issue 7. As usual, you can click on anyof the images to expand the view.

1) Below are the pencils by Justiniano. Before I start inking the page, I would look at the pencils and study them. At the same time, thinking what I can do with textures and rendering. I've been inking Justiniano's pencils for a long time. We're like partners in crime where we know what to expect from each other. Usually, I can see how the page will look inked before I even start inking it.
2) Here's where I ink in all the lines that I think requires a stencil. For this task, I used technical pens. Sometimes, I would use a micron pen or just a regular ink pen for this depending on who's pencils I'm inking and what it calls for. Whichever tools give the best look is the one I'll use. I also print my name right under Justinainos'. I usually like to write my name smaller than the penciller's name. Never bigger. When the penciller doesn't put their signature on the art, I won't either. 3) In this image, I render all the areas that require tapered lines. Tapered lines are essentially hatch lines that gets thicker towards the base where it touches the black area. Vice versa, thinner as it reaches the white area. This is usually done to create a grey area from white to black. I used a brush for this task. Again, depending on who I'm inking over, I could use a quill or a micron pen. When I need the grey areas to be darker, I would go on top and cross hatch the lines.

4) After all the tapered rendering, I go with a big thick brush and fill in all the blacks. Making sure I don't go over the pencilled lines so I avoid going near the edges with the ink. Sometimes, I would fill in the blacks last. But in this case, I filled it in first. Again, it really depends on the page I'm inking.
5) Now I'll pull out my finer brush and fill in all the finer black areas. Sometimes there are smaller areas that a brush can't get to and that's when I use a technical pen to fill them in. This will complete all the black areas.
6) After all the blacks are filled out, I would start inking the holding lines (or outlines) of each character. Giving them the right thin and thick to make each character pop out and stand alone. It's always good to go really thick as well as very thin to a point where you don't even see the lines connect. That gives it more of a three dimensional feel to your inks. Again, it depends on the pencils and who you're inking over.
7) After the characters are done, I would ink the holding lines around every object that's on the page. This includes the clouds and every little rubble. Making sure textures are in the right place. For example, you won't ink the holding lines of a character the same way you would ink holding lines of rocks or clouds. I would concentrate on what a object is and ink it accordingly.
8) Now onto the faces. Faces are important. That's the first thing everyone sees when reading comics. That said, I would ink the faces are carefully and as precise as can be. Making sure the faces are clear. Exactly what the penciller want. With the smaller faces on the page, I would use a pen. Sometimes a very fine pen or a very fine new quill. Bigger faces, I would use a brush because it can give me a thicker line faster and a thin quill pen where I have to ink it two lines and fill it in.
9) In this image below, I would ink the rest of the characters body. Using whatever tools necessary to create the right look and dept. Keeping in mind how thick and thin each line should be.
10) Below, I would ink everything else on the page to complete the inks. Again, keeping in mine all the different textures.
11) After everything is inked and dried, I would erase the whole page and clean it up. Any pencil smudges that was on the page will be erased. Sometimes erasing inks will turn the inks grey. This happens depending on what type of bristol boards are used. Some boards hold the blacks nicely while others boards doesn't and the inks goes grey during the erasing process. After erasing the page, I would re-spot the blacks to give it a nice dark black feel. It's really not necessary to do this especially since greys doesn't turn up in black and white scans for production. I personally enjoy doing it because it makes the original art feel more complete. When the inks are dried, I then use white ink and/or white out for more effects. On this cover, I added white to some of the rocks flying around. After that, it's all done and ready to go.
12) All the images above were scanned in greyscale where you can see the pencils and the inks. Below is the scan of the page in black and white. This is the image which would be used to production. After I scan the image, it goes to the editor who forwards it to the colorist.
13) The colorist, Mike Atiyea, does his magic and here's the final image before logos and text.
And that's how this cover left the penciller, traveled through the inking wormhole, to reach the colorist.

Friday, December 18, 2009

DC Comics Holiday Gift

Got a package today that I wasn't expecting. It's this years DC Comics holiday gift. Every year during the holidays this time, DC Comics sends out something different. In past years since I started freelancing for them, there were messenger bags, gym bags, backpacks, portfolios, watches, desktop clocks, playing cards, flash drives, and more. All of which had the DC comic logo or the name "DC COMICS"on it. It's always a nice surprise to get these holiday gift. This year, it was a moleskin sketchbook. When I got the package, i unwrapped it to see this nice black box with the DC logo.
Opened up the lid to see a card that reads, Wishing you the Happiest of Holidays. DC Comics 2009.

Took the card out and it was a moleskin sketchbook which had the name DC COMICS on the cover along with the DC logo. It's sealed in plastic along with a DC logo white strap around it. Remove the strap and the DC logo is also embossed on the black cover itself.
The card and the white strap around the sketchbook had the DC logo made to look like a pencilled sketch, which I thought was a nice touch. Then my next thought was... "I should ink that pencilled DC Logo sketch." My thanks to DC for this nice gift. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to print 11x17 Blue Lines

An Inker friend of mine recently contacted me inquiring on how I print Blue Line boards. He's never done it before and decided it's time for him to learn since a lot of other inkers were doing it. I was instructing him over the phone, but it seemed overwhelming to him since he's never done it before. I decided to type up a step by step process with screen shots so it'll be easier for him to understand. Since I'm at it, I may as well just post it here for everybody to know. For those of you who have never printed out Blue Lines, here's my process...

First I open up a file in photoshop. It could be a tiff file, jpeg file, or any other type of file. I'm currently using Photoshop version CS3. Regardless, you can use any versions of photoshop and the process is still the same. Once you have the file opened, select IMAGE under your tab menu (third one over from the left after FILE and EDIT) as pictured here... Once you click on IMAGE, there will be a drop down menu. Select MODE (which is on the top of the menu. This will open up another menu, then select RGB COLOR. This converts your image to a file which can be colored.

Next step. Click IMAGE again to open up that same drop down menu. Select ADJUSTMENT (which is the second choice on top of the menu). This will open up another menu which you then choose HUE/SATURATION. Once you selected HUE/SATURATION, this window will open up...

The numbers you see above are the ones I typed in. Hue: 170, Saturation: 80, and Lightness: 80. Make sure you click the "Colorize" and "Preview" boxes on the bottom left so you can see what you're doing. Now, those numbers are my own preference. You can always slide the scale more or less to your own taste. If this is your first time, just use my numbers. Once you get use to creating blue lines, you'll get a feel of what you prefer then adjust it to what works best for you. When done, click the OK button. You just created a Blue Line image and you're halfway there!
It's time to print that blue boy up! Go back to your tab menu and click on FILE. This will open up another menu which you then click on PAGE SETUP as pictured below. What you're doing now is setting your printer to print at that larger 11x17 size.
In the center, choose your paper size. In my case, I'm printing out comic boards in which I which select "A3". There's also a choice for 11x17 which I don't select because the comic boards are a bit bigger than 11x17. Then I click OK to complete this task.
Keep in mind to check your page set up each time you print. Sometimes photoshop will reset itself without you knowing it and you'll end up printing out a default smaller image over a 11x17 art board.
Finally, print the blue line image out on your color printer. Make sure your printer is turned on. Click FILE on your tab menu then select PRINT. Sit back, relax and watch your printer spit out that blue line board.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DC Holiday Card

I got a DC Holiday Card in the mail today and thought some of you readers may be interested in seeing it. Heck, even I think it's cool to look at. Here's a picture of it unfolded. The inside of the card. I tried to count how many signatures there were and lost it every time. I recognize a bunch of the signatures since I'm used to seeing them on the deadlines forms that are sent to me with projects I work on. It's awesome to see all these signatures in one place. They're not real signatures, just a printed copy of them. Still cool to look at. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

WAR MACHINE #12

Another book I slapped inks on is out in stores. WAR MACHINE #12 where I inked over Wellinton Alves pencils in blue lines printouts. Here's the cover to this issue...
When I got the files from the editors, I seamed as if the penciller scanned them in two parts. In other words, he didn't have a full size scanner which can scan a 11x17 area. It looked as if he scanned the top half of the art, then scanned the bottom half, only to paste them back together to form one larger piece. I noticed that because in the center of each page, there was a horizontal line all the way across and the art didn't always match the top to bottom. I had to get in there with photoshop to match it up and get rid of the extra scanning blurs and lines across before I printed them out.

Here's the first pencilled page I received out of the eight pages I inked. Even thought this was the first page that was in my hand, it was the last page to go back out due to the amount of details. While I was inking the other seven pages, I would go back to this splash page and do a little work on it, then back to another interior page and so forth. The reason I do this is to stay fresh every time I work on this splash page. Every now and then, I would get a page that's insanely detailed. Instead of finishing it in one sitting, I would spread it out with other pages I work on. A little here, a littler there, and before I know it, it's done! Sometimes if you work on something too long, you'll just get tired of it and what it to be over with. This rotating method I do where I keep going back makes me look forward to finishing it with a lot of energy each time. Here's the result of my method...
Here's two more interior pages for this issue. Just like the rest of the pages that I worked on for this issue, they're also detailed. Just not at detailed as the first splash page you see above.
By the way, did I mention I used a lot of stencils on that splash page above? Circles, ellipses, rulers, curves, anything non-organic was stenciled. Lots of stenciling and technical pens. Even the teeni-tiny light on the space ship with stenciled. Lots of work, but I think the final results is worth it. I'm happy with how that page turned out.
Below, the last panel only took a few minutes to complete. Big head shots are always easy and fast for me. Mainly because they're big and easier to get in there with the inking tools. It's just like drawing a face on a large piece of paper compared to drawing on a small post it note. Just easier when bigger. I'm just glad that first splash page wasn't drawn into a small tiny panel. I would probably go blind.
This issue is out in stores now and you can learn more about it by clicking here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

BLACKEST NIGHT: WONDER WOMAN #1

Here are copies of BLACKEST NIGHT: WONDER WOMAN #1 that I've inked over Nicola Scott's pencils. Top right is the cover for this issue, bottom left is the variant cover which has a 1/25 ratio to the regular cover, and the rest are some of the interior pages I worked on.
There were a bunch of different inkers who worked on this book... Four including myself. I worked on six pages and I'm posting them all here. First, a double page splash with a nice crowd of zombies.
Interior page. Of all the pages, this one was took the least time to ink. Of course, the other pages took longer because there were a lot of characters on them as well as a a bunch of teeny tiny zombies.
Another interior page. This one also has a crowd of zombies. Only this time, they're all condensed in one panel. Had to whip out the magnifying lamp for this page. If you have the comic and look closely, each zombie has all the details of the face. Eyes, nose, mouth and the rest. I made sure of it with the inks and the magnifying lamp.
And finally, another double page spread. This one has it all.
This issue is out in stores now and you can find out more about it by click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

THE WEB #3

Here's my comp copies for THE WEB #3 that I did some finishes over Roger Robinson.
The editor on the series contacted me and asked if I had time to do some finishes on an issue of The Web. "The Web"?, I thought. Does that have something to do with Spider-Man? Can't be, because it's a DC Comics editor who's contacting me. I did some research and found out The Web was originally published by Archie Comics which is now licensed to DC Comics for publishing under their Red Circle line.

Here are some black and white images of my finishes."Finishes" is when I get penciled that are more like layouts where I would need to get in there to finish off the work and make it look good. There's some pencilling involved when doing finishes. In my case, I like draw it with ink on the finishes. I was pitch hitting for for inker, Hilary Barta, on the book and was given references to his inks. Initially, I was going for Hilary's style as close as I can as you can see on this page.
I had a chat with the penciller and he wanted the work to look close to Dave Johnson and Cully Hamner's work. Thick and bold. Since I've inked Dave Johnson in the past (Superman Red Son), I've switched gears and give the later pages a more thick and bold feel as follows...
Then I had another chat with the penciller where he wanted things to be more angular. So I put my chameleon game face on and angled it up as shown here...
Different styles just on the three pages above. It was my first time working with penciller, Roger Robinson, and with all pencillers, there's always a learning curve. Learning is always good because it shows you'll have room to continue to grow. I always welcome it.
This issue is out in stores now and you can find out more about it by clicking here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Desktop whatever days

A while back, I had this idea about taking a picture of what was on my drawing table on a certain day of each week. Call it "Desktop Mondays" or whatever and add captions to it. But that would be posting and leaking too much info before a book was published. So that idea was scratched after I took this picture. This was taken months back when I was inking Dark Reign: Young Avengers. I was working on this nice splash page over Blue Lines. Iron Patriot (the character on the bottom right who looks like Iron Man) was completely inked whereas everyone else was still in blue line. The way Iron Patriot was posed, it looked as if he was looking over his shoulder by surprised with all the Blue Line people behind him. My first thought was, "Attack of the Blue Line people!" And this picture was taken.
Every so often when I'm inking a page, my mind thinks up mini captions for certain panels. Sometimes funny and most time cheesy. Hum... Maybe I will continue posting some of my mini captions. Add some cheese to this blog.