Wednesday, May 29, 2013

grOw/cOmic#5, page 78 completed!

I meant to post this yesterday, but got distracted by other work. I have been making great progress and have just finished page 78. I also got a nice jump start on the next page, as well! I've been working with some smoke and haze effects, to give a sense of distance/height. They've been working out quite nicely! I'm still on a roll, so I am not sure if I will switch back to the pencil drawing soon, or finish out the first 7 pages which are already drawn.

Friday, May 24, 2013

grOw/cOmic#5, page 77 completed!

Cruising right along with the first few pages of issue 5, I just completed the second page of the issue, page 77. I am not sure when I will switch back to the pencil drawing again, but there may be a sudden lull between previews when I do. As mentioned earlier, I had only drawn 7 of the 22 pages of the issue when I suddenly ran out of paper, followed by a delay when I ordered the wrong stuff.  But I will have at least one more page soon as I got into my stride with the ink and paint.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

grOw/cOmic#5, page 76 completed!

I know it's been a while, but this can happen often between issues. There are a number of items that take place between issues before the ink and painting can occur, which leads to the previews. The replacement drawings pads have finally come in, so that I can now continue pencil drawing the rest of the issue. Seven of the 22 pages (yes, 22!) are already completed. While waiting for these to show, I continued working on the issue by inking and painting some of the 7 drawn pages. Here is the preview to the first page of issue 5 ("An Up and Cumming Star") which is page 76 of the series.

My Wacom Cintiq Fund Drive is also shaping up. Currently, I have the web page up explaining it fully. I just need to finalize the donation end. I am planning on having a 2-tier reward system.  One will be individual, based on the amount of each contribution. The other will be based on the grand total raised, and will most likely be a "fund raiser girl" who will grow as the donations grow.  ;)  Thank you to all who gave great input on this process!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Review, a Dilemma, and a Question

On Tuesday of this week, I went into Manhattan to the "Wacom Cintiq 13HD Release Party" at TekServe on 23rd Street.  They demonstrated, and allowed hands-on experience, of the new, smaller Cintiq line of screen tablets by Wacom. It also featured a demonstration and Q&A by Joe Quesada (CCO of Marvel Comics & comic book artist), which was cool. He used some techniques that I use.  :)

The new 13HD was quite nice! Sharp and responsive, it gave a lot of power in a little package. However, it was a little too small for my normal workflow. Clicking tiny buttons in Photoshop was a chore. It seemed better for those on the go.

But they also had the other, larger models. And the ones with touch capabilities. Now, these are sweet!  I've have wanted one for a long time, but was always scared to even consider purchasing one without being able to try it out first. (Sure... you can return it. But for restock fee of about $400!) Of course, there was also the cost of these beauties.

Well, this Presentation gave me the chance to try them all out. And I loved them. Sure, it will take a bit getting used to, but not as much as my Intuos3, which I have been using since 2006. When I got that, I went from digitally inking and painting with a mouse!

The Cintiq 24HD was the flagship, of course. Huge, solid — a battleship of a digital screen tablet.  But I actually gravitated towards the slightly smaller and more maneuverable Cintiq 22HD Touch. It was lighter, it rotated like a drawing pad (the 24 does not... too big), it was easier to grab and hold.  I fell in love.

While $1000 less that the 24HD Touch, the 22" is still a hefty $2699.  Right now, more than I can layout.  The benefits are incredibly valuable, however. As I tested out the 22", I was able to comfortably draw without my oft-appearing "wrist-ache" from holding the pen too tight. This comes from the slight "disconnect" I have by moving my hand down near my lap on something I see up on screen. After a productive day, it is not unheard of for me to sit in front of the TV with ThermaCare heatwraps wrapped firmly around my wrist for the next 8 hours. This is also why I continue to draw the grOw/cOmics in pencil first, and then scan in.

I discussed this with some friends, and they suggested I start a donation pool for those willing to help. No obligation, of course, but donating would help me raise funds to get this immensely helpful and productive piece of digital hardware. My friends suggested even a few dollars spread out amongst a lot of loyal fans could actually raise enough that I could pitch in the rest. The payback would allow me to produce the grOw/cOmics more productively, with less chance of injury, and with a quicker speed due to the natural drawing feel of the device. I also know that I seemed to get a better line quality when drawing on the Cintiq, which makes it easier to guide my hand visually as I normally do when I draw with pencil on paper.

I am not sure how I would set this up — maybe through PayPal. I am also not sure of the "response" to this would have — positive or negative backlash. I've seen other internet artists do this — some even for a new car! — but I couldn't do that. Any donation pool would have to be connected to my work. Don't get me wrong — I TRULY APPRECIATE all the support my fans give me already by purchasing the grOw/cOmics and grOw/stOries. Your support is the only way I could pull it off, as this is a one-person operation (plus the proofreading skills of my wife) — drawing, writing*, layout, inking, coloring, website creation, billing, credit card set-up and fees, etc., etc. (*I have hired a few writers in the past to help with the grOw/stOries.)  I couldn't pay the bills and spend so much time creating grOw without this support. Some have already asked me about donating further beyond the purchase price, but I've always declined in the past.

What is your take on the donation pool? Do you have a suggestion on this? I am all ears.

Thank you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

grOw/cOmic#5, issue 5 production underway!

Work on the final installment of the grOw/cOmic#5 series, "grOwing Appreciation" is in full swing, and has been for a few weeks. As with the previous issue, there is a lot of pre-planning that needs to go on before the full ink-and-paint stage starts producing the full-color previews that I usually show here.

So far, I have been working on building additional backgrounds for the issue in Shade 3D.  Like issue 4, this newest installment, titled "An Up and Cumming Star", requires new backgrounds to be created, especially now that the story has left the confines of the theater's interior.  For those of you following the series, you also know that some of the existing settings have ungone an radical change (re: destruction) — a change that is beginning to affect the surrounding structures of the setting.  A lot more "building" (or "unbuilding") of these new scenes needs to take place before the drawing, so that the characters will fit properly into their backgrounds.

I have to admit, I also had to write about 6 pages for the issue, which were temporarily marked with the single word "action" and nothing more. However, in filling out the script into its entirety, it became apparent that the standard 18 pages would not do the needed climax justice. After a few variations, I finalized the issue at 22 pages — 4 more than normal ! 

The pencil drawing of issue has begun, with 7 pages completed.  There will be a slight lull in progress in this regard, as I… ahem, oops… ran out of paper! The large size pads I need are not available in the local arts and crafts store, so they are on mail order, to arrive in about 5-7 days.  In the meanwhile, I will continue the rendering of the backgrounds that have been constructed in Shade. If the pads take too long, I may very well begin the ink-and-paint of the current 7 pages.

The road to the release of the explosive climax has begun!