Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fan Expo Canada Schedule!

Fan Expo Schedule for the weekend! August 23-26th

Saturday 8/25
11am-12pm SIGNING (DC Entertainment Booth #1037)

Sunday 8/26
12-1pm SIGNING (DC Entertainment Booth #1037)
1-1:50pm PANEL (DC Entertainment – All Access SUNDAY! – Room 716 w/ Greg Capullo, David Finch and others!)

I'll also be at table P19 all weekend chatting and signing in Artist Alley! My commissions list is full at the moment (and I want to thank you all for the MASSIVE response!) But I will have some original art to purchase there as well.  Come by, say hi, and have a fun time at the show!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Detective Comics 14 Cover

The cover to Detective Comics issue 14 coming out November 7th!  This book features a story with Poison Ivy!

The idea was to have Batman caught in the tangled mess of vines with a confident Poison Ivy standing victorious over her catch.  I formed the vines into a batman logo in the background.  Jeromy Cox did a great job on colors as well!  Check out the process!

Oh and John Layman is killing it on his scripts!  Each one has its own feeling and really brings something exciting with a twist to each issue!  Im looking forward to seeing the finished product once these start hitting shelves!

Layouts I hand into DC for approval

Usually I draw covers in pencil first, but this one was far easier to do all in the digital phase.  Those vines were tough to draw but made much easier by doing them in layers.

Awesome colors by Jeromy! 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Batman Annual Commentary part 1

The Batman annual was an awesome experience for me as an artist.  Not only did I get to draw my fav Batman villian of all time, but I also got to work with some of the best writers today in Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV.

What Im going to do is go through some of the artwork and shed some light on the creation of the book and talk about my process as well.  So let's get to it!

 Page 1:  This sequence was the hardest to do in the book for one reason...it was simple!  I couldn't rely on crazy details and blacks like I usually like to do.  Instead I had to make sure the story elements worked well with each other and that the art got the point across that Victor and his mother were on a barren snowy field...or so we think!  I gave victor circular glasses in order to foreshadow his goggles later on.

Page 3: Scott had talked to me on the phone about creating a visual motif of a round object that would run through the entire book.  First we see the round, red apple on the white sky. I was really happy with how this sequence turned out and how we later revisit it at the end of the story.

The next sequence of the book was the most fun to draw.  We start with the closeup of Freeze's goggles, again playing with the red circle motif.  Freeze is a fun character to draw mostly because he's always stoic.  You don't have to go to far with his emotions.  You'll notice for the most part I started with him very stroic and as the book goes by, we see more and more emotion come out of him, especially on the last few pages. 
  When I go to draw a page, I build a very simple 3d set in a 3d modelling program and block out my layouts that way.  This allows me to get some funky and extreme camera angles as you can see here on these pages.  I really love the last panel on page 06 where freeze is rubbing the crayon on the wires.  Sometimes shots like that aren't in the script but as you read through it a vision pops in your head.  That's how that panel came to be. 

This page shows the importance of trusting your color artist.  Peter Steigerwald deserves a ton of credit for how awesome this book turned out.  When you have a great color artist who is willing to go those extra steps to make your pages really shine, as an artist, you feel that much more confident in yourself.  Peter goes that extra mile to color the icy water with color holds, making them glow and shimmer.  The guy is a king of digital painting and coloring.  We'll see more of his work ahead as well!

 I loved drawing that truck bursting through the glass. My favorite panel is the last one on the page showing Freeze's foot stepping out of the car. It's usually a little thing like that that will make my day. This page took a long time to draw!

Page 12:  The big reveal of the new Mr. Freeze.  First off, I didn't design the new suit.  At first when I saw the design, I wasn't too impressed.  Im an old school guy at heart and I particularly loved the design from the Arkham City game.  I really thought that the new design would follow something like that.  BUT, and here is a very big but, After drawing the costume a few times, I really started to love this design.  It's different and yet follows the classic formula. He still looks very much like the Animated Series Frank Millar design and yet with some updated things.  I'm happy they stuck with the pill shaped helmet as well and the red goggles.  Peter again kills it on these colors here.  

I like this page as well.  The last 2 panels were a ton of fun.  Again, using crazy perspective angles is fun, but also very tough to get everything to look right.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  I think it worked well here.

Back to a flashback!  Again, I wanted to go very simple, very little colors or blacks in order to let Peter play with the colors.  I wanted there to be a visual look for the things that happened in the flashbacks as opposed to the stuff that happens in the present.  Again here, I built a 3d set for the lab and used that to get all the crazy tubes and stuff.

The script called for a cool visual here with the last panel on page 18 and the next panel on page 19.  Also, Nora was fun to draw.  Reviewers mentioned that Nora looked similar to Victor's mother, but I honestly didn't mean for that to really happen.  Maybe it was a good thing because people seemed to like that weird little connection.  They say that men want to find a woman who is like their mother.  Maybe Victor proves that here!
Again, A cool color effect by Peter on page 19 to show Freeze brush aside the frost on the glass as well as the awesome colors on Victor's face on the last panel. Peter uses a cool purple in Victor's face throughout the book and it really makes him pop.  This is a simple little touch that most color artist would not do sadly.  Again, that's why Peter is one of the best.

Love the angle on the first panel.  Remember, if you can, always use a foreground, middle and Background elements.  I try to use this all the time in every panel.  Sometimes when I'm trying to get something like this to work (panel 1), I'll use photo reference.  I'll set up my macbook on the floor with the webcam on and take a few pictures of what I'm looking for in order to get all of the angles right.  From there I start to rough out the layout and begin to draw the page.  Again, notice the circle motif with the goggles.
Color artist....use fogs to help break up foreground and background elements.  And when you can, make sure you use the reflected colors in the room on the characters to make them blend with the room and not look like cut outs.  Study Peter's huge body of work in order to learn what to do!

A cool two page fight sequence.  I had fun with the freezing pipes exploding and encasing Nightwing in ice.  Again, foreground and background! 

Fun page to do.  Playing with digital art allows you to do some cool effects that would be tough to do in pencils alone.  Here you can see the splash effect of the exploding canisters.  I used lots of cool grunge splatters and stuff to give it a cool effect.  Peter rules here as well! 

This was my favorite page of the book.  I loved the idea of doing a cool sequence from Victor's perspective.  Peter's colors again make this look incredible!!

That's it for part 1!  I'll do more later as well as talk about my digital process.