Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I've embarked on several new projects, two of which are especially interesting because they're geared towards audiences I haven't previously worked for. I think most of my work is generally consumed by teenagers and young adults, but with these two projects the intended audience is children and parents, the second project specifically being parents of adolescents.
Illustrating a children's book isn't exactly a new idea, but it's a new demographic for me. I think it'll be a challenge, simply because when I remember storybooks I read as a little kid, the story itself takes a back seat to the images, which stick with you much longer. As a kid, pictures are the words, whereas artwork maybe carries less importance when you get older. How many books or films are poorly displayed visually but memorable because of story? Working for children's eyes, I think the formula is reversed. You could tell a ridiculous or horrible story, but good or memorable illustration can make it appealing. (Not saying this story is necessarily horrible or ridiculous, heh)
On the flip side, making an educational or helpful graphic novel for parents of teens is another challenge altogether. With The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, there was a wider potential for readership based on the premise of the book, which was a career guide, and the lessons were rather broad. This new work focuses on parents who are experiencing teenage rebellion for the first time, or for the first time in a dynamic way that demonstrates lack of control and a rift of understanding between parents and children--definitely a largely untapped market as far as graphic novels go. I wonder if such an age group is receptive to this sort of work. The thirtysomethings and fortysomethings of today might go for it; I'm just shy of 30 myself and still love picturebooks.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I guess these would be considered "old" by now, since I did these at the beginning of summer, but these are some character design concepts for "Warcraft: Legends Vol. 5" from the story "Nightmares", which was pretty cool to work on. It was also the first time I'd ever worked with previously established characters. Blizzard had to sign off their approval on each design and a certain amount of reworking was in order. This wasn't as big an issue as it could have been, and the process was pretty painless.
I don't actually recall a lot of the actual working process, but trying to recollect the actual gruntwork is a lot like trying to remember what it was like filling out your taxes. I did the thumbnails in a small sketchbook via pencil, but 90% of the work was done entirely digitally with a Wacom Intuos3 tablet and Photoshop CS3. I really like the digital method because it feels so much more malleable. Edits and tweaks or whole revisions are much easier, I think, but the tradeoff is that it can take a hell of a lot longer to get things done. When working in Photoshop, I tend to work at a highly magnified level, and the broad strokes and comprehension of the full page that you get with working on actual paper is lost because I'm eyeball-deep in pixels blown up to 300%.
I also realized that I'm really, really weak with backgrounds. I feel much more at ease with characters than I do environments, and even though I felt I improved with the Warcraft comic, it wasn't saying a lot that I was actually addressing backgrounds with a vague level of sincerity. Between that and trying to force myself into creating more dynamic panels and camera angles than I usually do, I think the comic was a step in the right direction, but a lot more needs to be done for this sort of thing to really pop.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Some stuff I wish I still worked on, or wish had gone through, or whatever. Not everything works out or is sustainable. I need to remember these things, what went wrong, or what I could have done to make them better, so I don't make the same mistakes. Still, sometimes things just don't go anywhere.
I'm not a fast worker, that's for damned sure. I'd like to say I don't spend as much time daydreaming while drawing as I did in math class, but the truth is I'm often miles away even while I'm doing what I like best.
Sometimes it's just me being a perfectionist and not being able to uncork speed and creativity, other times I just can't figure out what to draw or how to draw it. Conceptualizing is, I think, the hardest part of anything I've done. Execution can be time-consuming, but settling on what in particular to execute can just grind me to a halt.
Most of what I've shared on deviantART is more or less complete in nature, at least from a per-upload perspective. I've preferred to submit only what I consider to be a fairly completed piece (with the exceptions of a few scrapbook materials, most of which are horrifically dated) But in doing so, particularly with Bomango, story and characters only come out in bursts, and a cohesive comic narrative has not been forthcoming.
My goal here at this blog is to offer more insight as to what I'm working on with a more bare-bones approach to sharing my work, rather than inconsistent and maybe overwrought submissions at dA. Which means I'm going to probably post crap I'll be itching to take down almost immediately, but we'll see how this goes.
Anyhow, I'll offer a few creative smatterings or smatterings of creativity as I go along and warm up to the idea of true blogging. I might also try to share current work from clients as well, at least as far as NDA taboos allow.