Very annoyed that most of the high res files for these pieces are long gone. Alas.
Pencil, handmade paper, oil emulsion, digital.
In my first West Coast appearance in 7 years, I’ll be at Wizard World San Jose the first week of September.
Other guests include Brett Dalton of MARVEL:Agents of Shield, Billy Boyd from The Lord of The Rings, Dean Cain formerly of Lois and Clark, James Marsters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and more.
Hope to see you there!
A rainy year, good for growing cucumbers, which means good for dill pickles! I have to sow more dill. I’m about out. My recipe calls for fresh dill and fresh dill heads, and you can’t buy dill heads in the store.
It gets hot in here making these pickles, so a nice glass of sparkling lemonade is just what I need!
As for work, I’m about to sign off on another contract and will probably start late September. I just finished a major gig, am working on a cover, colors for another major gig due in September, so a full plate.
Trying to get all my archives in order, and found this 1980 drawing of Marvel’s The Dazzler created for a fanzine. We were still doing mimeozines back then, so this was drawn in pencil and then I would reproduce it on mimeo paper.
There are people reading this who have no idea what that means.
I was a kid making this statement about the other kids, but I don’t really think much has changed in comics over the years.
The drawing is decent for a kid that age. Not bad at all.
At least my lettering has improved.
Sometimes people ask me why I don’t do more comics, except I really do more comics than you think. I just don’t do many monthly comics. A graphic novel of 200 pages is the rough equivalent of 9 issues of a comic. So if I do one graphic novel a year, it’s as if I’m doing nine comics a year. It’s the exact same amount of labor.
Also, a painted comic, which is what I am doing on the upcoming Neil Gaiman project, is about 3-4 times the amount of labor of a monthly comic. Even if it’s only 60 pages, it’s still the labor equivalent of about 9-11 issues of a monthly book, depending on complexity.
So I’m not producing many serialized comics, but I’m doing as much work as people who do.
Another comparison: lots of people compliment web cartoonists for their regular rate of production, but many are doing strips of three panels per episode, or producing perhaps three pages of comic art a week. It seems like a lot because you get it regularly. But it’s really not very fast. At only 3 pages a week, you’re not producing enough work to create a monthly book. You’re only doing about 13.5 pages a month, nearly ten pages under what you need to be doing to make a monthly print comic schedule.
This is not a knock on webcomics, BTW, it’s an observation that they can produce an effective illusion of more.
Rate of production is often illusory: just because you see an artist producing regularly, that does not mean they actually labor more or produce more work in the aggregate. So just because I only produce about 1 graphic novel and some side projects a year, that does not mean I am doing less comics than other people.
From my upcoming project with Neil Gaiman.
I thought you guys might get a kick out of this, since it not only shows how I developed some of my key comic story points, but how I can pinpoint the dates of exactly what was drawn and when.
This is one of the oldest pieces I did while developing A DISTANT SOIL. It shows the early version of what I thought The Avatar would be: someone with the power to absorb other powers…only he got bigger when he did it. He was still a villain then.
Liana, Galahad, Jason and Bast are identifiable in this pic, but the other characters are mostly just DC fanfic riffs! I had some podcast interview me, and ask some rather surly questions about “Did you really create A DISTANT SOIL when you were 12?” and “How do you know that you were 12?” Well, this is how I know. I not only saved every single drawing, but some of them are dated.
It’s easy to spot where Bast came from: she developed out of fanfic for the TV series “The Young Sentinels” AKA “The Space Sentinels” which aired only 13 episodes in the late 1970’s. Bast, Brent, and Galahad pretty much grew out of the three racially diverse character leads in that TV show. This could only have been done during the short season that TV show aired. Otherwise, I would not have seen it.
Liana was created first, when I was only 10 (she was originally created as a girlfriend for Aquaman,) but I didn’t come up with a story that has any real resemblance to her current incarnation until I was 12. And since “The Young Sentinels” only aired for half a season, and a lot of my early art features them, I can pinpoint what was created when.
So, skeptical young lady podcaster, that is just one of the ways I date how early I drew these things and came up with key plot points. She interviewed me this spring, was kind of hostile and never ran the podcast. I guess she didn’t like my answers! Too bad!
Jeff Smith, creator of Bone, also did his earliest development on his work when he was a small child: about five years old, if I recall. He began drawing his first Bone comics when he was 9.
A few people have mentioned how much my work sometimes resembles old Filmation cartoons: that’s because it does. They were a big influence on me!