Archive for April, 2011


Up late at the studio doing production design for The Happy Samurais living/rehearsal space.  I’ve being dreaming about designing this place for close to two years now (I know, I’m sick in the head).  Testing out all the ideas I had for it, then all the variations on those ideas.  Went through all the books and reference folders I had saved up for it — production design folder alone had 1,500 images in it (remember the “sick in the head” thing?).  It’s definitely gonna be the craziest, most epic thing I’ve ever designed, and if you know all the things I’ve worked on over the years (including all the “secret” stuff), that’s saying something.

[Updated]

Thought I’d add in a couple notes I wrote to myself to kind of guide me and keep me from straying off track as I worked on these designs.

  • design with storytelling in mind
  • don’t just design a room that looks cool.
    • what will be behind the characters?
    • what will frame them?
    • which direction will they primarily be facing?
  • design props/furniture that are appropriate for THESE characters
    • don’t draw a couch I think is cool
    • draw a couch THAT character thinks is cool
  • how will that area look in an up/downshot?
    • add in vertical elements to help emphasize the scale/depth

Shot of all the different under-drawings I did for page 17 of The Happy Samurais first issue.  All composited together in Photoshop and then lightboxed onto the final page.  Second image is final board and all the other components that go with page 17 — FX and SFX overlays.

Boys Don’t Cry

Perfect image to go with a perfect pop song.  I don’t know what those shoe-wrap things are, but they are ridiculously sweet.

One of the most common questions I get about my art is, “How did you draw ‘X’ so well?”.  The answer is, I try and get at least a LITTLE BIT of reference for everything.  The more the better, but I’ll take what I can get.  I like to have multiple reference images surrounding my page to help inform my decision making while drawing.  Today’s reference was for a swirling cloud vortex.

Or Goo Goo G’Joob.  Whatever does it for ya. More SFX work from my comic, The Happy Samurais.

Yep, that’s how I lightbox stuff.  One copy of my underdrawing taped underneath the actual comic page, one copy next to it (or in this case ON it) so I can see what I’m supposed to be lightboxing a little clearer and a blank piece of copy paper to rest my right hand on so I don’t smear any of the final pencils.

I’m pretty excited about how I’m handling the SFX in The Happy Samurais.  Obviously with a Rock ‘n’ Roll comic, sound plays a HUGE part of things.  I spent a long time checking out how other people had handled sound/music in comics.  I took the best of those elements, added in a few of my own ideas and came up with something pretty different and cool.  It’s a complicated process, but the first step is hand-lettering the SFX (rather than go with a digital font).  I think it’s gonna come out pretty cool, but the great Nate Piekos of Blambot (who I respect a great deal) told me he doesn’t care for a mix of traditional and digital lettering.  That if the SFX are hand-lettered, the balloons ought to be as well or he feels it stands out like a sore thumb and takes him out of the story. Definitely something to keep an eye on as I go forward.


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