Sunday, April 20, 2008

Is this bigger than yours?

So, in keeping with my love of process, I've included here a quick breakdown of 2 panels from issue 4 of Burning Building Comix. The first is what my notes look like, which in the case of Burning Building, are quick, action-descriptive lists. The second is a thumbnail, which I haven't always used, but does help to lay out the final art quicker, and helps me to work out pacing, and the logistics of fitting stuff on the page before I get to the full size art. Basically it's a lot easier to rearrange or redraw quick sketches, rather than a final penciled page. Then, the third is the final art all inked, minus the background that I drew separately and will combine on the computer. This is how I've been working for Burning Building, because it's a silent comic, and I don't have to worry about scripting dialogue, but for stuff like BlackStar, I'll usually start with a script of all the panels and dialogue written out, then go to the thumbnails like above. I've tried a bunch of different methods for the process, and kinda change it for what the project needs. However, I haven't tried the method of writing page by page as I draw, which is popular with a lot of great cartoonist, but I have no confidence I can do this and have it turn out the way I want. I guess I'm just a control freak, but maybe someday I'll try it and see what happens.

Here's the boy reading the scholastic color version of BONE. Everyone knows and loves Bone, and these scholastic editions are colored by all-around great guy, Steve Hamaker, who has been nominated for an Eisner award! The Eisner's are like the Oscars of comics, and Steve is well-deserving. Look here for a sample of his work. Good luck, Steve, with your big colored Bone!

Some songs from my ipod shuffle...

The Small Print, by Muse

Where Heroes go Down, by Suzanne Vega

It's not Unusual, by Tom Jones

Muse is this great band that sound like "The Bends" era of Radiohead, which is AWESOME cause I love that album, and even though I loved "OK Computer", and even "Kid A" to a lesser extent, their albums after that got too cold and atmospheric for me. To me, Radiohead was best when Thom was using his voice as an instrument and really belting it out, instead of the unaffected moaning he kinda does now. I think he wants to be a robot. But Muse rocks. I first heard them because of a song in the movie Millions. Hysteria, was used in the bank heist scene and worked so well with the movie that I looked up who did the song. They also have a song on Guitar Hero 3 that has a lick I absolutely cannot wrap my stupid head around!

That Suzanne Vega song is Emily's and I might have to start doing this differently cause of all her damn songs that keep popping up, plus all the songs I had to clear out to make space for Podcasts.

Ahh, Tom Jones. He's a beautiful man. The Voice has several great hits, "It's not Unusual" is amongst my favorites. I think the first time I saw Tom Jones, it was on an episode of Howard Stern on E!, and Stern, of course, was only asking sex questions, cause Jones is a notorious cocksman! The funny thing was, Jones answered every question with three responses. He'd either laugh, say "yeah" or say "sometimes". It was quite odd. Plus, there was a weird story about comparing penis sizes with Milton Berle.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Zombie Toddler

Let me give a quick "shout out" to a couple of my other non-comics efforts. I've been working with my twin brother, and Jay Gish on a website called for a while now. It's part flash animation and live action sketch comedy. We've built up a good enough bunch of material over there to keep a person busy at work for at least an hour. Recently we've been in a long production mode for a couple of more complicated projects. The live action one is called "Guitar Hero A-hole", and we're working on getting that edited, and the Flash one is an animated short for our website's mascot, Bindledog. Please go and peruse, if you haven't recently.

Also, just recently I've become a podcaster! (cue dramatic music) Yes, my brother Adam and I have channeled our love for the Chicago White Sox, into our own weekly podcast, Oral Sox. It's mostly a couple of fans talking about their favorite team, but we try to be funny about it. We've only done a couple of shows so far, but it's been fun, and we're planning on going through the whole season. So, if you are a fan of my comix, live in Chicago, like the White Sox, and listen to podcasts.... (sigh) anyway you can get it on itunes.

Well, as for the three things...

Here are some character sketches for another bindledog project. It involves a contest that Radiohead is holding, to make a video featuring one of the songs from their new album, In Rainbows. The story is a Greek tragedy with some weird magical elements. We're going to put together a storyboard for the video first and I'll post it here when it's done.

Here's a picture of Van transforming into a zombie from his 2 year photo shoot.

The ipod shuffle song selection.

Thank You by Dido

Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler

So Fast, So Numb by R.E.M

So, the first two are Emily's songs. Songs, like Thank You are pretty and nice, but put me to sleep. Hey Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, and all you other easy listening broads, WAKE UP! Go drink a Mountain Dew!

There is something in Total Eclipse that I do like though. The vocal on it is pretty passionate and strong, and I'll take vocals like that, over a more technically sound, but dull performance every day of the frickin' week! Bring the Passion! Bring the Heat! R.E.M.'s new album is supposed to be good. I've just about given up on them, and their last couple of albums have been too passive and plodding for me, but when they're upbeat, R.E.M. is hard to beat for feel good, American rock 'n' roll.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Trust in Chuck

I just finished reading the Chuck Palahniuk novel Rant. I've been a big fan of Palahnuik since seeing Fight Club, then immediately reading the book. His style of visceral, quick and sharp writing was hugely influential to me as a writer, (at the time I was studying fiction writing) and Fight Club was something of an eye opener at approaching stories. I try to incorporate that influence into my comics as well. The way Palahnuik would use repetition and pacing in his writing would seem to translate perfectly to comics. Filtered through me, you get something like these panels from BlackStar #4.

Rant: an oral history of Buster Casey, is probably my favorite book of his since Fight Club. For those who haven't read anything by Palahniuk, he almost exclusively writes about strange deviant shit, and Rant is no exception. I actually didn't much like the first 40 pages or so, as it's written as an oral history. So it's like one of those books talking about jazz in the 60's with quotes from a dozen people making up the whole contents. I've read a couple of books like this before and find the form rather disjointed and annoying. Now Rant is a fiction, so the non-fiction form bugged me even more, but I should have had more faith in Chuck, cause he manipulated the form to suit his needs in genius fashion. Great stuff, if you liked the movie Fight Club check out his books.

In other news my son Van just turned two! And in this modern age with all of it's digital frills, my wife and I have been documenting his growth like scientist studying protozoa. For his first birthday I edited a video of pictures taken of Van once a day for the whole year. For year two, I didn't take a picture everyday, but there are home videos mixed in with the pictures to round it all out.

And now, three songs from my ipod shuffle.

Ink Studs with Sarah Oleksyk.

Sweet Child O' Mine by Sheryl Crow

Oh My God by Guns 'N' Roses

Ink Studs is actually a podcast. Like Indie Spinner Rack, Ink Studs is about the indie comics scene, with some great interviews. Not as excitable as ISR, but informative and enjoyable. They're doing a whole round of female figures in comics this month.

The Sweet Child O' Mine is the Sheryl Crow cover of the GNR classic. I like Sheryl Crow, or used to, and I love GNR, and I just sorta like this song. It's OK but it really doesn't wow me, although I did consider using it for Van365 ironically enough. In the end it was too on the nose for me, and I thought that Tender by Blur was pitch perfect.

A heavy Guns 'N' Roses round this time! Oh My God, is a song that was released on End of Days soundtrack, and is, I believe. the only original song released by Axl after "Use Your Illusion". It's the more industrial sounding G'n'R, and I dig it! Although I didn't digg it. I don't understand what the hell that website is.

Your Pal, Jeff