Saturday, November 15, 2008

THE OLD BECOMES NEW: Part 2: Comics Obscura Issue #2

The early stages of production for issue two blended with a lot of marketing and getting our names out to the public.

Marketing included a Radio interview on The Impact's Exposure program (The Impact is a diverse commercial free radio station produced through MSU, look for the podcast on 1/9/07), a couple news articles one through The City Pulse (a local Lansing free paper), and an interview found in the The Lookout (a paper published through Lansing Community College). We also had a signing at Clem's Collectibles. Also we had out first review done after Issue 2 by Eric from

All of the creators were on a high from the welcomed reception of issue 1. It helped push the creation of issue 2. #2 was scheduled to be released in March of 2007 however production issues caused a postponement and the issue was finally released in late April 2007.

The production of issue 2 brought to light many problems about how the books were put together.

First timeliness and quality of finished art.

All of the artists were really good about getting their work done (I applaud them on that). Some artists took longer and we ended up dropping 2 artists for the second issue. However, I found myself touching up the pages of multiple artists digitally leading to a longer than anticipated production time on my part.

A lot of the touch-ups had to do with ink and the various types of pens that were used. The ink that was laid down on the paper would appear to be black (in contrast to the white paper) until you look closely at lines. When looking closely there's subtle variations, some inks appear brown or just a dark gray. During scanning the intense white light picks up the subtle differences of the inks and exposes the problems. Removal of pencil lines after the ink is laid down further degraded the line work exposing more problems (I think that pun was intended). This caused problems when digitizing the lines as they would appear to be broken, dirty, or incomplete. Many hours were spent just correcting the lines of the original art digitally to reproduce the original intentions of the creators.

Tip: If you're trying to create art specifically to be reproduced get a hold of a scanner and then run some tests. Use different inks, pens, and pencils on various papers to try and find the results that you are looking for. This can take a lot of time and I'd recommend speaking with various creators and artist about what supplies they use. Pick up tips and tricks to try and make life a little easier.

Well now that I've probably bored most of you...

Onto the meat of my sequential submission for Comics Obscura issue 2.

The second installment of the Tao of Snarky.

Brad and I went into this issue with the concept of six pages in and out. A few scripts in, some editing and re-writing later I put together the following pages (click on the image to open the pages).

I just love this story. I wanted to pay homage to Eisner's The Spirit where he used one page for the title and told the story using the next 6 pages. With The Spirit some of the stories linked into each other but there was always a definitive end to each installment.

For the art I chose to take a different path than the first issue. In the first issue the grays were done on the physical page using Copic brand markers. This issue I stuck with physical inks and digital grays. For the grays I used Painter 8 and literally painted the pages using the Oil Pastel brush. I also played around a lot more with panel structure keeping it a little tighter than the first issue and presenting some unique panels as well.

One panel really stood out to me for this entire thing an ironically that's the last image. It's the quintessential exiting panel, our hero walks off into the distance bidding the audience adieu.

Let me know what you think I'd love to hear some feedback.

Now you've seen some more of the past, and have no fear once I get this out of the way I'll start posting some new things. I've been delving heavily into digital color so I've got some new pieces coming up and info on some new projects that I'm organizing and putting some work into.

So enjoy, I'll have the third installment of “LOOKING BACK”: coming soon including the third installment of the Tao of Snarky and I'll go a little bit more into the production end of Comics Obscura that brought some major production changes including the decision to go to digital printing instead of the traditional offset press.


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