Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Withering Man… REVEALED!?!

If you've already ready issue #9, then you know that there were some shocking revelations and a dark torch was passed.

That said, I won't spoil just what  happened in those pages right here, (Although you CAN order your copy of that adventure RIGHT NOW) but I will let you all know that the ANSWERS to your questions are coming SOON!

Check out this preview of the penciled cover to issue #10, coming THIS SUMMER!!!!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Making of "The Wellkeeper" Poster

I recently created a hybrid watercolor/ink piece of art for "The Wellkeeper". This art is for use both as a poster for promotional purposes, and eventually for the cover art of the omnibus collection that will contain all 12 issues of the series.

As I was drawing this piece, I took pictures throughout the process and thought it would be fun to share that process again with you all. Hope you enjoy.

STEP 1: The Idea

All good pieces of art (and most crappy ones too) begin with a couple of rough sketches in a note pad. This piece is no different.
The final design used elements from a few of these combined.

STEP 2: The Rough Pencils

In this case, VERY rough, blue line pencils. I prefer working in light blue, non-repro blue pencils to lay down my roughs even when I will  have to erase them. The light color and less smeary line is easier to work with for me. Partly because of the next steps. Please forgive the TERRIBLE photo as the faint blue lines are very hard to capture well.
Yes, I ink from pencils this loose.

STEP 3: Colored Inking

For colored pieces like this that will be colored with some traditional medium like watercolors, I like to use PRISMACOLOR colored ink pens. They allow me to play to my strengths (rendering and cross hatching) without overwhelming the colors. I discovered a while ago, that once you ink with these, the pencil lines below the inks won't erase. It's another reason why I use the light blue pencils.

At this stage, I ink only the external lines leaving rendering and details for later.

STEP 4: Sepia Inking

Once the PRISMACOLOR lines are down, I use Faber Castell Sepia PITT pens to lay in most of the rendering that doesn't require a specific color. (Like Zoe's Magenta hair.)

And the green for the grass, etc.

STEP 5: Finished Inks

Does this really NEED an explanation. Using both the sepia pens and the PRISMACOLOR pens, I finish up all the details that require inking prior to moving on to paint.
Ta Da!

STEP 6: Watercolors

Now, for the watercolors, I actually prefer working with the cheep stuff. lol. I have a set of Prang Oval-16 that I got at Michael's. I learned using Doc Martin's dyes, but those are a little closely, and as this was largely experimental for me, I decided to start simple and work my way up to the fancy tools. 
I layered about 4 different colors for Zoe's hair.

STEP 7: Watercolors Cont.

Watercolors can be a pain because you can only build color UP. You can't paint LIGHT colors in watercolor over dark colors easily, so you need to plan out your values and try and keep everything clear, a concept I'm still struggling with.
The finished watercolors, lacking necessary depth.

STEP 8: Colored Pencils & White Gel Pens

Once the watercolors are complete, I pull out my handy dandy PRISMACOLOR colored pencils and white gel pen. I touch up areas of fine detail and rendering and use the WHITE to render in the blast lines radiating from Zoe's hands that help push the Withering Man's skull-mask and Grandma Luludja into the background more. 

A Faber Castell white opaque brush pen also helps me rim light Zoe's hair and the Raccoons, Lily and Sebastian.
The white really helps to define the shapes better.

STEP 9: The Finishing Touches

Like most artists, I'm a glutton for punishment and never feel like I've done the best that I can do. As such, this painting was given a SLIGHT touch up in Adobe Photoshop for the final poster/cover.

I blended in some of the colors on Zoe's face and arm better, added a harder drop shadow on the Raccoons to pop them out more and added some colored highlights to them. I manipulated the field of color behind Zoe to plug blues and purples from behind Granny and the Withering Man to separate her a little more and added some hot spots to the white light around her hands.

A few tweaks here and there helped to bring it closer to what I imagined in my head.

That all said, I hope you dig it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The 2014 State of the Wellspring

Hey there. After a lot of noodling on the sub plots, I'm almost complete with issue #9 of "The Wellkeeper". This issue gave me a little trouble as it's a somewhat quiet issue in the aftermath of issue #8's cover to cover action. Rewrites aren't uncommon in ANY creative venture, but I think I rewrote the last 8 pages or so of this issue 4 times before hitting the specific twist that I'm happy with and I think will be exciting for all of you to read.
Tony Kordos inked the HECK out of the 9th issue's cover!

Being in the 9th issue means being at the beginning of the end. As I've said since for years now, "The Wellkeeper" is a planned, 12 issue series and it's kinda weird to be almost finished with issue #9 knowing that #12 is the end of the initial story. And yes, "initial" means that I DO have stories planned out for future sequels. 

In 2013, we did a LOT of conventions, using that format as a means to introduce the book to folks all over. And as fun as conventions are, they are also very stressful to manage when you're doing then one right on top of the other, month after month. A couple of times, we did multiple shows in the same month, and to be perfectly honest, it burned us out.

So, in 2014, we're limiting our conventions to, so far, just 2 main shows. Megacon in Orlando in March, and Heroes Con in Charlotte in June. We'll be doing a couple of store events and one day shows too, but nothing as major as our convention push this past year.

Instead, THIS year I want to focus our time and limited resources on building the audience for the book in different ways. I want to work to get the trades wider distribution. I want to find unique new venues to showcase the story. I want to stretch a little outside standard "super hero comic book" borders, as I feel the book and it's story already does. 

I'm also already working to try and get a hardcover omnibus of the entire 12 issues once completed. I MIGHT end up doing a kickstarter for that, but I'll see what the cost of printing will be first and look at POD resources. But I've already completed the watercolor painting that will be used both as a promotional poster AND the omnibus cover art.

What does this all mean, really? Not that much will change. I'm actually working to get back on a better schedule so the final 4 issues will be complete and out there sooner rather then later, so there's that. And hopefully, those issues will keep you all coming back for more. I hope you've enjoyed the ride so far.

It's not over yet!