Creating A Few Panels

The next three issues of THE FEW are officially underway. Here’s a snapshot of how I create a single panel of art for a page in the comic.

I take the written script, “massage” the text to make it work in a picture format, create a really simple rough of the entire story and send it to the editor for approval. When I receive the go ahead, I refine the art, put it on a light table, do a tight pencil drawing, scan that into the computer an add color with Photoshop.

All I need to do now is repeat this process about three hundred times and the next three comics will be ready to send to the printer.

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Krita Is Kinda Awesome

The other night I was wandering aimlessly through internetland and stumbled across something called KRITA. On a whim, I downloaded it to the Surface Pro 4 tablet I was using and began experimenting with it. I was shocked with the results.

First of all, let me say I know next to nothing about KRITA… except that it’s awesome and it’s FREE! It is a digital painting program that looks, feels and functions like Photoshop… and did I mention it was absolutely free?!

I loaded up one of my little sermon note sketches and began testing the brush engine. It responded like a trooper. This is NOT just another simple little drawing app, this is a full blown digital painting program. If you know your way around Photoshop it’s pretty easy to pick up. If not, there would probably be a bit of a learning curve to it, but well worth the effort.

It worked great on a PC and it probably would work fine on a MAC (like I said, I know next to nothing about it) so if you’re looking for a good digital painting program (or a substitute for Photoshop because you can’t afford it) you might want to give this a test drive. What have you got to lose… IT’S FREE!

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LITTLE ZEKE GROWS UP…FAST

In the beginning… THE FEW existed only in words on paper. But those words had to be turned into a comic book, so Todd Sanders and I became the writer/artist team for the project. The green light was given for the first three books and we were off and running.

As I began looking through the paperwork, I noticed there was a sister (Audrey) and her little brother (Zeke) in the story. I scribbled together some character sketches and headed for a brainstorming session in Oklahoma City. When I showed the Audrey and Zeke sketch, Todd said “…that’s not the way I see Zeke. Zeke is a little brother BUT he’s a really large guy. I see him as some sort of protector for the group.”

So scrawny little brother Zeke turned into great BIG little brother Zeke… and he seems to be growing bigger in every issue.

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Suiting Up THE FEW

Developing the character costumes for THE FEW COMIC BOOK SERIES was an interesting riddle to solve.

The Few takes place in a distant future, so the characters needed to have some sort of distinctive futuristic look. The tricky part was that a four part film based on this story (with real live actors) was going to run concurrent with the release of the comics. The film was not scripted yet because the film people needed the comic book story to work from and the comic book story was still being written.

With everything up in the air, I tried to design character costumes that the film people could recreate in some form or fashion for their actors. The outfits are based on everyday items you can find. An army surplus store could supply all the harnessed looking gear, hockey shoulder pads, tight fitting compression sport gear, fingerless bicycle gloves, carpenters tool belts… with a bit of modification all these items could be turned into FEW character clothing. The film decided to go in a more manageable direction and created a prequel film which eliminated the need to create elaborate futuristic sets and costumes. Smart.

So the good news is, it will be super easy for cosplay enthusiasts to create their very own FEW cosplay outfits using everyday items… and yes… Jeron does have Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls taped to his shoulders.

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Little Felt Guys

It was Saturday afternoon and I was wandering aimlessly through a fabric store waiting PATIENTLY for my wife to look at EVERY SINGLE DRESS PATTERN IN THE STORE and I stumbled onto (literally) a clearance bin with really cheap felt in it and the next thing I know it’s Sunday afternoon, Karen is sitting at her sewing machine making dresses and I’m sitting in an easy chair turning my bargain felt purchase into these little things.

Painting Ms. Dorothy

I was working on a “LIZARD OF OZ” job and whenever there is high concept involved I have to do a LOT of fast, throwaway sketches to figure things out. Most of these quick ideas never see the light of day… but there was something about that little gecko in the ruby red slippers. Sadly, she did not make the final cut for the illustration, but she kept looking at me with those great big lizard eyes and I just could not toss her into the trash can with everyone else… so I gave her a coat of paint and deposited her right outside of Emerald City.

I recorded my digital painting process and you can see it in the video below.

Thanks again to my youngest son for letting me use his original music for this video… even though he was not aware that he was letting me use his original music for this video. And if you would be ever so kind Pete, could you please send me some more of your original music so I can use it without your permission in future videos?

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Elijah Gets A Makeover

I recently received an email from a pastor asking me to upload an old piece of artwork onto my ImageKind shop so he could order a print of it and I said sure, no problem… but when I finally found the twenty year old gouache painting hidden in the corner of my studio I felt like it could use a little digital makeover, so here are a few before and after shots of what I did to it.

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Summer has arrived and I’ve somehow been moved out of my nice, air conditioned studio and into the bug infested, hot outdoors to battle carpenter bees, mow the yard, trim the trees, haul mulch around, dig holes in the ground, plant stuff, seal the deck, paint the front porch, refinish rocking chairs…

…so far, not exactly the summertime of fun and leisure that I had envisioned during the winter.

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Top Secret New Project!

I just met with a talented group of creatives in their Arkansas studios and I’m excited to announce that we’ve come up with a brand new comic book project! It’s top secret, but I’ve been given permission to share some of the notes from our meeting. We have a superhero named Charlie, a sidekick robot named 10-Boy, a bad guy named the Globber and two squirrels named Squeak and Squawk. The squirrels are indecisive and don’t know which team to root for. They tell me the roads of Arkansas are paved with double-minded squirrels. For some reason the junior executive at the meeting nicknamed me Uncle Dentist. I’m thinking that was an effort on his part to make me feel at home and keep the brainstorming session loose and creative.

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