Tuesday 31 March 2015

I'm a strong 8 in LA and a solid 10 everywhere else

Chapter 16 can be read HERE.  I am pretty sure that, as with chapter 12, I have misjudged the overall tone and ventured into slapstick territory here.  Tried to do a sort of triangular layout in the first panel to lead the eye across the action, but ran afoul of the limited amount of horizontal space available to me, so tried the same thing to a lesser extent in the third panel - originally that sound effect was much bigger and connected the two figures, but I reduced the size because it made it look like it was a thunderclap or something.

Monday 30 March 2015

Big Bob's in the back and I think it's Hug O'Clock

Chapter 8 with its laissez faire approach to continuity and sequential storytelling may be read HERE.

Chapter 9 - including wonky crab-like hands for which the window of opportunity to make a Jeremy Beadle reference that remains topical is fading with every passing day thanks to the relentless march of time - can be read HERE.  Say what you like about Beadle,  but he didn't trade in mean-spirited humor, did a lot for charity, and he wasn't a nonce.

Chapter 10 can be read HERE, though fair warning the characters in the lettered version are still stick figures.  Still struggling with drawing what I want at this size and resolution...

Chapter 11 and attendant ill-advised attempts at both high and low angles can be read HERE.

Chapter 12 in which I misjudge the tone as slapstick comedy can be read HERE.

Chapter 13 where I try and fail to create a tangible visual reference to the film by getting the characters pointing the wrong way and then forget to draw pavements can be read HERE.  In my defence, I did at least manage to replicate the visual effect in the film of Karl Urban's face being eaten by the helmet.

Chapter 14 where I go super-original with a picture of Dredd pointing a gun at the reader that has clearly been the result of poor visual research can be found HERE.

Chapter 15 was described thusly: "I have no idea what is going on" by the guy that wrote it and can be read HERE.

Monday 23 March 2015

Oh good, you found the vodka

Chapter 5 can be read HERE.  Note the absence of any kind of traffic in panel 2, as around this point I was becoming aware that between the resolution and the need for dialogue balloons, it might not be a great idea to add too much visual clutter that wouldn't be discerned in the final strips.  As it is, I kept things simple but still think the background in this panel just looks like a bunch of lines anyway.  I considered doing the traffic behind a full-body pose of Dredd standing up and looking tough in the final panel, but thought better of it in the end because that would just shift the potential problems of panel two into panel three, so in the end there's not much of a sense of where Dredd is at this point - remember he is supposed to be in the middle of speeding traffic - and I find myself committing an art crime I always notice in other people's comics where you get one establishing panel near the very start and then the art cruises for the rest of the scene with few - if any - background shots.  I did like panel one, I guess, but it looks half-finished around the edges.
Chapter six can be read HERE, and suffers from similar problems, although this time the lack of any sense of where the story is taking place is mandated by the script, as at this point it's just a hidden base somewhere or other.  I do get draw the actual physical location of the base in a later strip, but - SPOILER - I fuck that up as well.
I had a brainwave at this point in chapter 7 - which can be read HERE - that if I wanted to avoid Dredd and Hershey just being talking heads or stick figures in this strip, I should combine a couple of panels for a panning shot across Hershey's office as this would render both panels in the script, but also get me a larger single panel to use as an establishing shot rather than one single cluttered or unclear panel with Hershey, Dredd, and Hershey's office crammed in on one side of the strip.  This did constrain me a little in terms of where the characters would be in the shot, obviously, as apart from all the empty space at the top of panels that would be necessary to avoid plastering lettering over characters (which I don't like to see), Hershey speaks first in the script, so the eventual placement of speech balloons would dictate that Hershey needs to go on the left in the first panel, and Dredd has all the dialogue in panel 2, so he'd have to be the focus there, which is why the window is at a silly angle it doesn't need to be in order to draw the eye towards him - or towards the city he's looking at, as I'm a little unsure of what the effect is, to be honest.  I try the same combining-panels trick in the next strip, but that doesn't turn out so well, either.

Saturday 21 March 2015

Watches are a confidence trick invented by the Swiss

The original can be read HERE.  Note how I use solid blacks to avoid doing any work - erm, I mean major detail on the Dredd jimp in panel one, though I think the solid blacks help it as the pacing on this as an action scene is off for me, as it feels like there's just so little energy across the panels, prompting me to not draw any city detail in the background of the last panel so that it's just these basic triangular shapes drawing your eye in the relevant directions.  It doesn't really salvage it, in my opinion, and I probably should have kept the speed lines in panel 1, ironically the one thing I didn't refuse to change.
I like to think there's a charm in seeing Dredd chased by a guy on a lawnmower, though.

Friday 20 March 2015

How many assholes do we have on this ship, anyway?

So the latest bout of comics-related e-drama between a pair of asshole nobodies on the web can be summed up thus: someone became a ringleader for online abuse aimed at a budding writer who had some sophomore work for Marvel and it is implied that there was intent behind the abuse to get them fired by Marvel because of their persona away from writing.  As far as I can tell, there's (American) irony in play, in that this is a bad thing if the victim is female, but a good thing if the victim is male, because Reasons.
I used to read D'Orazio's blog religiously because she is an interesting commentator who brings a great deal of firsthand experience to the debate on gender that modern comics seems afraid to have, but one of the things that eventually drove me away from her stomping ground was her constantly laying things on a bit thick, as well as stretching logic further than it could go to support sometimes-flimsy presuppositions usually to the detriment of the output of DC Comics with which she clearly had an axe to grind and was incapable of being objective about (or as some commentators who know D'Orazio personally choose to put it: "always talking about her own victimization") and seeing her lead her refusal of Sims' apology with accusations of misogyny is annoying because it's an attempt to move the goalposts to D'Orazio's normal field of play at the expense of the existing and acknowledged debate about bullying, which is a gender-neutral issue.
I don't know why D'Orazio would choose to do this - perhaps it's subconscious and she does genuinely see all criticism and/or harrassment as being gender-motivated - but the end result won't be to help dialog, it will be to tarnish future discussion because now the other side will utilise D'Orazio's comments as proof that progressive arguments are manipulative and disingenuous, and less helpfully, they'll use Sims as some sort of role model, which even Sims doesn't think should be the case.

The asshole contingent on the web is a large, vocal and unrepentant body, and can only be fought long-term by consistently playing fair and not practicing a double standard and then trying to excuse it because the victim is an obnoxious internet jackass like Sims, but that boat has sailed on the D'Orazio/Sims debacle, and now it's just assholes - myself included - shouting at each other on the web again.  Here's hoping the next e-spat will move things forward a little.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Why would having a cat make you a better lesbian?

For chapter 2 - which can be read HERE - I drew the wrong version of Dredd again and refused to change it, so now it was a story about judge imposters whether Dave and Lee liked it or not.  For the record, they did not.
I think the plan in panel 1 was to draw some signs and/or advertisements on the Holding Post where arrested perps await pickup so that they performed some function other than just cluttering up the streets, but I ran afoul of limited space and resolution, though I suppose it's probably in keeping with Dredd's world that posts for cuffing citizens to are more common than street signs.
The 2nd and 3rd panels are where I tried to lead the eye from the bottom left to the top right, but it wasn't very successful and ended up too cluttered in panel 2 - the foreground character's hand is completely lost, yet also manages to obscure Dredd's costume, fluffing any kind of reveal - and too sparse in panel 3 thanks to my lazy use of solid blacks, but I refused to change it.
Chapter 3 - which can be read HERE - is a prime example of why most artists draw Dredd on some huge, throbbing machine penetrating the road ahead whether oncoming traffic wants it or not, but me, I misread "Lawmaster" as "lawnmower" and refused to change it, so even though he's supposed to be speeding along, it looks like he's just chilling and waiting out a hangover on a Sunday afternoon.  Note the continuing theme of buildings that look like sex toys, prompting me to think that it's good that I have comics drawing to fill my time and expend energy that most likely would have otherwise found an outlet in a schoolyard shooting spree.
I think this might have been when I stopped using Manga Studio's panel cutting tool because of the jaggy edges to angled lines and instead used its line tool with anti-aliasing.  In the third panel, the vehicles all look roughly the same shape despite going in different directions, and the grid I used to draw them clearly wasn't lined up very well as they look like they're all on different planes.  I think Dave might have asked me to redraw this, prompting a week-long passive-aggressive hissy fit on my part, as I believe that if people think you're an absolute nightmare to work with, they'll end up justifying all the trouble they had getting anything out of you in the first place and think you're better at your job than you actually are.  I call this the Val Kilmer method.

Tuesday 17 March 2015

If there was such a thing as reincarnation, I would wish to come back as a volcano

During my absence from blogging, I have actually been keeping busy, but I couldn't do screengrabs to help pad out the posts and those reading for any length of time will know that my writing something clever, informative or witty was always deeply unlikely, so I just kept my head down until I was done with the other things.  I'm still beavering away at a project at the moment, but over on the Quaequam Blog, a daily Judge Dredd strip has started that will run for just under three weeks, so I thought I could fill a few blog posts by linking to that, showing the original artwork, commenting on the creative process, etc.
Filler, basically.  Shameless, lazy filler.  It's like I never left.
Above is the raw artwork for part one, which can be read HERE.  You will note the completely bonkers approach to perspective I have undertaken in the first panel, and ill-advised attempt to create framing in the second, compounded by my subconsciously drawing the buildings in the background  to resemble a sex toy designed specifically for double penetration, but I just used the outline in the end and I think I got away with it.  The third I don't even want to think about, but to cut a long story short, I drew the wrong version of Dredd and then refused to change it, so Lee had to rewrite the entire script from scratch to be about judge imposters, rather than the original story - "Live Guns Are More Important Than Dead Americans" - about a spree shooter called Clint who refused to give up his gun even though he wasn't mentally competent enough to own one, and the script featured many bizarre Dredd one-liners like "All Americans who think they're entitled to own a gun they're too stupid to use are Clints." and had many ironic turns in which people who used bullets were ultimately undone by bullets.
I drew the wrong Dredd in the second chapter as well, so Lee had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch for a second time.  I like to think that my stubbornness and unreliability are what keeps me from gaining employment as an artist just as much as my lack of talent.