New Disney Villains Portrait – Maleficent!

Well to celebrate the release of the new Maleficent movie, I decided to go ahead and do another Disney Villains portrait of the lady herself.

maleficient-final-webShe was a lot of fun to paint just as the others in my series have been.  If you haven’t checked them out, please click here to see all the previous Disney Villains portraits.  Remember to go see the movie, in theaters today!

Also, my friend Nicholas Kole is one of the most talented folks I know and awesomely enough he illustrated the Maleficent book that came out recently!  He wrote a great post of the process of creating that book right here!  And you should check it out!  I mean look at this!

And if you are new here and haven’t read my comic Adamsville, check it out here!

Adamsville Book 2 Timelapse Video

Hi Everyone.  Just a quick video of me inking a panel from the upcoming sequel of Adamsville book 2.  I dropped some of my favorite music in there with Journey’s “Separate Ways.”  Hopefully it doesn’t get taken down, lol.

Production is really starting to crank up on the second book.  Hopefully by the end of the summer we will be really moving getting this book inked and set up.

 

Don’t forget you can pick up book 1 through the online store if you haven’t read it all yet!

Discipline, Focus and Positive Energy

In Blake Snyder’s final book in his Save The Cat books on screenwriting, Save The Cat Strikes Back, he writes:

“What was I? What specialty did I offer? What was my service? I was impossible to find, or even see, because I had no silhouette.  When they thought of me the writer what did they think? Well, nothing.  I’d thrown myself in all directions, not mastering one.”

I’ve recently found myself feeling a bit rudderless.  This might seem odd, because I just released a book.  It is doing well for something that is just getting its footing.  I’m currently in production on volume 2 and by all aspects, things seem to be on the way up.

I’ve mostly been thrown off because I’ve found myself falling back into that familiar trap of trying to do too many things and not strive to be great in one area.

We all get this way I think.  Especially if you work on long form projects like I do.  When you start working on a project  it’s very easy to be excited and enthusiastic every day you sit down to work.  Skip ahead a year or two and, even you are in love with the project, you can start to long for the days you can switch gears to something else.

I’ve always been focused in full on Adamsville from a comics perspective.  It hasn’t taken very long for me to be tempted by another graphic novel project, before I pull myself out of it and get refocused.

The temptation for me has been around the idea of other mediums, i.e. children’s books, screenwriting, etc.  I always think I can do more and accomplish more than I really can, given my resources in time.

It’s been my understanding from others, and in my own experience, that the best method for scaling more quickly in a given field, is to find a focus and give it your everything.  If you don’t want to become known as a romantic comedy writer, or a portrait artist only…  Your best bet would be to avoid writing romantic comedies and painting portraits.  Does this mean you can’t explore those side interests?  By no means.  I do however think, and this is what I am telling myself right now, that if you want to get to the next level and see tangible progress you have to get focused.

Think across almost any medium of art and you’ll see this.  A country music artist isn’t going to start doing rap music tomorrow.  A horror writer isn’t likely to become a period piece romance author tomorrow.  I think a better question is to ask why the country music star got to be a star, and why the horror writer is known for that as well.

The truth is, they have spent many years with intense focus on how to be masters at their craft.  They’re great at it because they’ve taken the time to know why certain things work and certain things don’t. The horror writer knows that if he plays by certain rules and pushes them further, he can make something great.  And probably knows that if he switched to writing a period romance piece, he would be rethinking the genre from scratch.  It’s tough and yields mixed results.

Well what can we do to improve ourselves? Ask yourself:

1.) What do you want to become known for?
2.) What can I do to get myself there faster?
3.) What distractions can I eliminate?

I want to become known as a master of all-ages science fiction/fantasy suspense graphic novels.  I can get there faster by staying focused on Adamsville and then related style projects.  I can eliminate distractions by not going into full production on any project that is not related to the above.  Sadly this means setting aside children’s book projects, or other web comic ideas, that take time away from this focus.  It’s not easy, but it is beneficial!

What about you?  Do you struggle with this?  How do you overcome it?

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If you haven’t read Adamsville, you can buy the first volume from Amazon for 20% off over the next two weeks!  They’re eligible for free Prime shipping.

Adamsville Part 9 Is Up Online! Plus Buy Book 1 On Sale For Next 2 Weeks!

page104ADAMSVILLE PART 9 is available to read online now!  Lots of big reveals in this part of the book.  Be sure to check it out!

And in celebration of the update, you can get buy a copy of the book as a PDF or a physical copy for 20% for the next two weeks only!

So if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, please consider swinging by and picking up a copy of it!

Thank you all so much for your support and remember you can also buy an unsigned copy through Amazon and receive FREE shipping through your Prime account!

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Called To Create Episode 3 – Choosing Your Project

In the third episode I discuss how you go about picking which project you might want to take on. I recorded the audio on this while in my car. Sorry for the interstate noise! Hopefully it’s not too crazy.

Remember in addition to buying Adamsville book 1 from my store, you can now buy the book through Amazon and use your Prime Account!

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MegaCon And Adamsville Available On Amazon!

First and foremost!  You can now buy Adamsville on Amazon and you can get it through your Prime Account!  Free shipping through them you guys!  If you can, please a review for the book as well on the main product page.

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These copies are unsigned, so if you want a signed copy with a sketch you can get those through my online store!  Please spread the word and thank you so much for all of your support on this series.

Secondly! MEGACON!

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My friends Josh Ulrich, Stephen McCranie, Brian Russell and myself all went down to Orlando for MegaCon 2014!  It was a fantastic time.  The book did very well and it was so amazing to finally be on the other side of the table  at a convention.  I have been going to MegaCon since I was 15 or so and to finally be there and be an exhibitor was awesome.  All of us did well at the convention and got to spend some great time with our friends and talk about stories and comics.  Altogether a great time.

I didn’t get to take many pictures because I stayed very busy, but here are just a few shots from the weekend and a commission I did!

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Did you go to MegaCon?  If so did you have a good time?

Book 2 Production Blog – Honing An Old Process

Production on book 2 has been slowly building up to full steam.  Admittedly I am very behind on schedule.  This is mostly due to the fact that the script was difficult to get to a place where I felt I had done enough honing and it was workable.  I think I have taken this book and thrown it out maybe four times now…  I’m on my fifth iteration of it.

But now that I at least have a solid first act it felt like it was time to get to work on inking and penciling pages.  So I’ve found myself stolen away in the nooks and crannies of the office look for places I can work in quiet.

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In this book I am dealing with one big concern in particular and that’s that this book is scaling to be somewhere around 190-220 pages, compared to the first book which clocked in at 155.  Production wise, I have no idea how I will hit the kinds of goals I tend to set for myself.  So I have been rethinking this whole process of penciling and inking the book and how I track them all.  I mostly want to force myself to push through my penciling and writing phase so that within the next six months or so I have a finished rough draft of the comic I can share with my critique circle and get their feedback on.  Hopefully this will really reduce the amount of changing that takes place to the story after it’s all said and done.  But what it also does is let’s me have all the heavy brain work out of the way.  It’s all, butt in chair, hands on stylus from there on.

I have also been looking to eliminate this stage almost altogether:

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Thumbnailing pages.  Now thumbnails are super important to this process, but I think I can just distill them down and get rid of a step.  I tend to do like four passes on a page before I start inking it.  The first is the page break down, where I go through my script and break it all down into pages and panels, then I do a small thumbnail on the page, then I pencil it and then I tighten the pencil….  THEN ink.  That’s too many.  I think I can basically skip the small thumbnail phase and do my thumbnails as rough pencils, then tighten those up before I ink digitally.  This could be a disaster, but I think it’s worth a shot even if it gives me back just 10-30 minutes per page.

I am inking pages finally, and that has been going more slowly that I expected.  Just kicking the dust off of these old tires.  Case in point, I had inked this panel before realizing I messed her design up quite a bit.  Went back in a fixed it:

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I had started using Manga Studio 5 for this book to begin with, but I have really been having an issue with it lagging down and generally making the process harder for in the inking stage.  So I couldn’t have non of that.  I switched back to Manga Studio EX 4.  The inking engine in EX 4 is just, in my humble opinion, much better.  I feel like the current inking engine in EX 5 presents too many issues and lagging problems.  Going back to old faithful has let me focus on the work and not the software.

I hope I will have more news to share as the book continues.  Stay tuned for more!

Self-Portrait! Me Against My Monsters

selfie-webI had a blast putting together this little fun self-portrait.  I will be using this for an article  that I’ll post about more soon, but I wanted to share this image now.

I really want to make scary sort of comics and Twilight Zone style plot lines so I thought this would be a fun little tribute to my goals and aspirations.  Have you guys ever tried drawings yourself with the things that haunt your head?