Friday, August 31, 2012

A Whole Lotta' Tentacles

It's been a productive couple of days.  Drew a lot of tentacles.

Well clearly this won't end well.  Also, I cannot draw hands.
I am really liking my art a lot more with this second issue and I think just in terms of plotting a lot more is happening, so that's fun to draw.

In other news the printing is of issue one is on schedule and as I mentioned in a previous post it should be available by the middle of next week.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scary Doll

So I had this scene scripted out where tentacles would slither out as the door creaked open, and I am lying awake last night thinking about how I am going to draw that and I think, "Scary doll, that'll make the tentacles more impactful."

And then the time came to draw the doll and I realized I really had no idea how to draw a scary doll.  I kind of like the character design I came up with.  At a minimum it has the virtue of being simple to draw.

I think in terms of storytelling this page actually turned out pretty well and I am liking pages with more dialogue as what I was drawing with issue one was largely silent.

In other news, the first issue of Delirium has been sent off to the printers and hopefully it'll be available in about a week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I recall reading something from Dave Sim talking about how there were certain characters in his book Cerebus that were hard to draw so that they had a consistent likeness in every panel, and that's definitely something that I have been struggling with in my own work.

Well, somebody had to comment on that at some point.
I think it's something that gets easier with time, or at least I hope so.  In any case, progress continues to be made and I am happy with how things are unfolding so far in the next installment of Kingdom of Monsters.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On to new things.

The first page of issue 2 is inked and finished and I feel like it's off to a good start.  I actually was a little nervous when I sat down to draw this as it felt like I was taking forever just to put pencil to paper, but once I started drawing everything went smoothly.

Every time I draw that angel's hair it gets bigger and bigger.
I feel like just in the last month of drawing my art has improved quite a bit, so I am excited to see what happens with issue 2.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Last Minute Details

This weekend has been a bit weird as I didn't really draw that much.  I did however spend a lot of time playing around with templates, resizing images and trying to make things fit, along with quickly teaching myself how to convert images to a PDF file since I've never had to do that before.

Rather humorously, this is second most amount of clothing that I've ever drawn on this character.  She is actually relatively covered up.
But yes, things continue to move along.  I did design a logo, along with an illustration for the back of the cover. 

Really, at this point everything is basically done.  Tomorrow I will check all of the files one more time and then there really won't be anything else left to do, except start drawing pages for issue 2.  I can't wait.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Full Color Nightmare!!!

Wow!  So I totally lost track of time while I was working on the cover but this easily took 10 to 12 hours to finish and it’s a good thing I didn’t know it was going to be that time consuming because I probably would have said “Screw it,” and just done a black and white cover.  

I may make some tweaks to this before everything is done but this is more or less the final image for the cover.

 That said, I think the extra effort was worth it and I am really happy with the results.  Assuming that I did the color conversions correctly I think this will look great once it’s printed.

Part of the reason why this took a little longer is because I have a setup where I am working semi-blind as I color.  I currently lack an image editing program which provides a CMYK mode to work in.  So, working in GimpShop, what that means is that as I am working I have to periodically use the Separate+ plug-in to convert the image to CMYK colors and make sure that the palette I’m using is going to reproduce correctly for printing purposes.

It’s a little tedious but not really that bad a system I suppose, and currently if you’re a Gimp or GimpShop user it’s the most reliable way to do color management as, from what I understand, using printer profiles to configure your monitor display is somewhat hit and miss.

Anyway, only a few things left to do: design a logo; do a back cover design; write up a note for the first page and a table of contents.  After that the comic will be ready to ship off to the printers. 

Right now I am planning on using to handle the printing process.  Unfortunately I missed out on some really good deals they had going on earlier in the month, so I may wait until the end of the month to see if any other promotions occur that could save me a bit of money on the printing costs.

At the moment I anticipate printing 100 copies, which should be more than enough copies to ensure that anybody who is reading this blog and wants a copy can order one.

I will continue posting work in progress as I finish up the loose ends for issue 1.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In Full Swing

Okay, so the interior art is all done now and all that is left to do is design a cover.

I'm not really sure what I am going to do for a cover yet, but I'm sure I'll figure it out tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Graffiti and Business Suits

I kind of like the idea of having fantastical characters in mundane situations.

Luckily I had a lot of references on hand for graffiti art.
 Just one more page to go and then the art duties for the interior of the book will be done and I can start working on a cover.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I like the idea of what I was trying to do with this pinup but I don't really like how it came out.

That's a nice looking mask on that elephant though.

Monday, August 20, 2012

So Sleepy...

The interior art for all of the strips is finished now, so all that's left to do is draw a few more pages of pinups and then design a cover.  After that I'll be putting the images together into a template in GimpShop and sending them off to be printed.

I have been so inexplicably damn tired this weekend that I don't think it is at all coincidental that I did a pinup involving sleeping.
It's really weird for me to say but I've been really happy working on this and it's going to be a really neat feeling holding a book that I made once this is all done.  Hopefully all of the art duties will be done by the end of the week.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tiny Dots are Trance-Inducing

It is really hard to force yourself to make hundreds of tiny dots on a page using a technical pen when you're going off of only a few hours of sleep.

The tiny dots aside, this page felt like it took forever to finish.  The problem was trying to make the pose look right, which I still didn't really do, but at least I like how it looks.  I probably should have roughed it out a lot more thoroughly in the storyboard first.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Million Tiny Dots...

So I kind of went nuts with the stippling on this last page, but I think it worked out really well because it gives the room this kind of unnatural looking lighting.

You know I've been drawing these weird little T.V. things for awhile now.  Not sure what it means to be honest with you.  But they usually are pretty sinister.

I do think my art has improved quite a bit since I started this and while I don't necessarily like how everything on every page turns out, at least now I usually have at least one thing that I like, which is good because I'm the one who spends the most time looking at the stuff I've drawn.

Funny thing, but I've been winging it on this last strip, storyboarding things on the fly without a script.  I think that's actually worked to my benefit in terms of allowing me to basically draw whatever I want to do, which is mostly naked women with wings and guys with chainsaw hands.  Although I have no idea how I am going to wrap up what's been going on for the last few pages.

Ah well, I'll think of something.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Closing In On the End

Well, another page is done and I am feeling pretty good about things.

I am amazed that the perspective (though not correct) came off as well as it did.  Also some dry brush technique on display there which I think ended up being quite effective.
 I think I am going to have to invest in some more technical pens at some point as I am finding that I really like using my Rapido Sketch for smaller details and shading and it definitely allows me to achieve a level of detail that wouldn't be possible with the artist markers alone.

I am slowly sort of figuring out how and where I want to add shading on human figures.  I still screw it up sometimes but I think with all of the other lines going all over the place it makes the figures have a bit more weight.
We're at 25 pages now and barring something going horribly wrong I don't think there should be anything stopping this being ready for printing by September.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ink Splatter

I am not that great at drawing gore, but I think this came out okay.

BAMSUKKA!  This probably could have used a sound effect.  Probably that one.

Also I was playing around with the contrast and I realized that I should probably make the pages a bit darker before they get printed.  They definitely look better darker.

Anyway, 24 pages done now so we are definitely closing in on the end here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Speed Lines! Also, Chainsaw Hands!

        I think this might be my favorite panel that I've drawn so far.
Chainsaw hands.  When in doubt about what to add to a character design, always go with chainsaw hands.

        Things continue to progress as we are up to 23 pages now.  It's really weird looking at the pages I drew a month ago compared to the last few pages I've done.  I think there's a pretty big difference in terms of what the art looks like and while I am not necessarily happy with how everything looks I am happy to be making progress.

        Just 9 more pages to go.  Well, actually maybe more like 7 or 8 because I'd like to have a table of contents and a short note as the first two pages.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Drawing Doors

I found myself having to draw a lot of doors on the last two pages that I finished.

A door.
My answer to the question of how to make doors look interesting tends to be: draw some faces on them.

Above: a mohawk.  Also pictured: a door which is in no way consistent with the door on the other side which I drew on the previous page.

Also, I got to draw a mohawk!

I am liking how things look using the Rapido Sketch to do the details and shading on things, so I will probably continue doing that.  We're up to 22 pages now so things are moving along just fine.  I also figured out a way to convert images to CMYK mode using GimpShop so I think I may take the time to do a color cover as well once the interior art is done.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another New Page and More Thoughts on the Rapido Sketch

        So I finished another page and this was inked almost entirely with the Rapido Sketch.  I have to say, I do like the results; I feel like all of the little details that I was trying to add in there really came through a lot better with the Rapido Sketch as opposed to the artist pens I've been using.

There are one or two outlines which were inked with an artist pen, along with the large black areas.  Everything else was inked using the Rapido Sketch with the .25 nib and I think it came out pretty well.

        I don't know that I would rely on the Rapido Sketch as my primary inking tool, but I think it may be a little more versatile than I had previously thought.  I am seriously considering buying one of the larger nib sizes to test out.

        That being said, I also got to experience the finicky nature of the pen tonight while I was inking.  The pen started to clog a little bit as I was working on the final panel on the page and then it ran out of ink.  After refilling the ink (which I got all over my hands) it took a bit of coaxing to get ink flowing again.

        So, yeah, sometimes the pen is a bit temperamental and it can make a mess if you have to refill it in the middle of a page.  But, if you've worked with crow quills or any kind of dip pen, I don't think this would be that big of an ordeal.  Certainly it's not something that would keep me from using the pen.

        So we're back up to 20 pages now and I am having fun with the stuff I'm drawing at the moment so that's usually a good sign.  Hopefully I will have more to post later in the week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Some Thoughts on the Koh-I-Noor Rapido Sketch

        So I’ve had a couple of days to play around with my new Koh-I-Noor Rapido Sketch pen and I thought I’d take a moment to discuss first impressions of the pen and what it’s been like using it for inking.

Also here's a new page.  The pose is sadly pretty uninspired but I like it overall since I got to draw lots of weird little details.


        The Rapido Sketch is a technical pen similar to the Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph.  There are a few characteristics that distinguish the Rapido Sketch from the Rapidograph:

·         Price – this is a big one, as the Rapido Sketch tends to be cheaper than the Rapidograph (although this is relative as both are expensive pens)

-          Rapidograph: retail price on these pens is around $35 each, although shopping around online you can find them offered for as low as $25; there are also 7 pen sets which can sell for anywhere between $75 to around $150 online.

-          Rapido Sketch: retail price is $21.40, but looking around online you should be able to find one for between $10 and $15.

·         Drawing Angle – this is probably the most important difference because, as the name implies, the Rapido Sketch actually allows you to hold the pen in your hand naturally while you draw with it, while the Rapidograph requires more of a unique form.

-          Rapidograph –   I’ve never actually used a Rapidograph, but the consensus online seems to be that when using it you have to hold the pen at almost a 90 degree angle (straight up and down) from the page in order to make the ink come out.  This is because it’s primarily a drafting tool rather than a drawing tool.

-          Rapido Sketch – this pen seems designed with artists in mind because you can hold it at a natural angle for drawing and ink will come out.

·         Nib Sizes

-          Rapidograph – there are 13 different nib sizes ranging from very fine to very broad.

-          Rapido Sketch – there are a whopping 3 different nib sizes to choose from: .25 mm, .35mm, and .5 mm. 

·         Packaging

-          Rapidograph – sold individually in blister packs, or sometimes sold in a plastic case which contains the pen and a nib key (used for removing the part of the pen that contains the nib for cleaning purposes).  In the 7 pen sets you get a bottle of Koh-I-Noor’s Rapidraw black India ink as well as a nib key.

-          Rapido Sketch – sold in a plastic case which comes with a bottle of Koh-I-Noor’s Rapidraw black India ink

·         Appearance

-          Rapidograph – the pens have a white plastic case with color coded caps to denote nib sizes.  From an aesthetic standpoint, I personally like the looks of the Rapidograph better than the Rapido Sketch.

-          Rapido Sketch – the pens have a dark brown (or possibly oxblood) colored case with the nib size written in white on the top of the cap. 

Out of the Box

        There’s not a whole lot to be said about the pen right out of the packaging.  Holding it in my hand, it felt solidly constructed, if a bit plain to look at.  Basically it looked like a typical fountain pen.

        For a lot of people this is where their experience with technical pens starts and ends.  The reason is because there’s a bit of preparation involved before you can actually use the pen.

        First you have to fill the thing with ink, which involves taking apart the pen and filling the ink well.  This isn’t necessarily hard, but it’s a little confusing if you’ve never done it before and the packaging does not include any instructions to help you with the process.

A Rapido Sketch broken down into its component parts.

        Now that you’ve got ink in the pen, you’ve got to get the ink flowing, and this is where things get tricky.  Basically, what you want to do is hold the pen with the tip facing downwards and gently shake it up and down.  You should hear something that sounds like a ball bearing moving back and forth inside of the pen while you do this.  If you’re not making any progress with the shaking, you can put the cap on the pen and then gently tap the pen against a tabletop.  Eventually (maybe after a few minutes) you’ll get some ink flowing when you press the pen to paper, and then you’re ready to start using it.

Inking with the Rapido Sketch

        One of the first things I noticed while using the pen is that it feels very scratchy compared to a marker-like artist pen.  In fact the experience is very similar to using a crow quill for inking, but without the fear that you’re going to leave a big black spot of ink if you press too hard.

        The next thing I noticed is that the Rapido Sketch performs much better on certain types of paper.  On sketch paper for example, it’s a real struggle to move the pen across the paper with any kind of fluidity as it seems as if it’s catching on the fibers of the paper.  On Bristol board with a vellum finish the pen handles a lot more smoothly.

        Browsing different message boards, the consensus seems to be that both the Rapidograph and the Rapido Sketch are intended to be used on paperboard, preferably something with a slick finish (such as a smooth finish on Bristol board).  Using the pen on other types of paper also carries with it the risk that paper fibers will get caught up in the pen’s tip, eventually clogging it and rendering it useless.

        In terms of how the Rapido Sketch handles versus the Pitt Artist pens that I’ve been using…honestly, there’s not a huge world of difference in terms of the final product.  Based on my limited experience so far, I would say the artist pens are better suited to inking figures and larger shapes, while the Rapido Sketch is more suited to inking finer details, such as details of the face, certain types of textures, stippling (pointillist style), and obviously machinery and other man-made structures (makes sense given that it’s still a drafting tool at the end of the day).

Side by side comparison of performance between a Pitt Artist Pen with a .01 mm nib and the Koh-I-Noor Rapido Sketch with a .25 nib.  As you can see, the two are not vastly different, although the Rapido Sketch does produce consistent line width whereas the Pitt pen can vary line width based on pressure. 

        The other thing is that, when I am inking with artist pens, I tend to trace a line first, then go back and trace them a second time, thickening them in certain places to try and add more line variety.  With the Rapido Sketch, it’s difficult to ink that way because 1) the lines are really thin and 2) you can get a bit of build up of ink in areas you’re retracing which can get smeared or otherwise make a mess.

An example of where I think the Rapido Sketch is most useful.  All of the texturing was done with the Rapido Sketch and I like the uniformity of line width for that purpose.  The outlining of the figures was done with the .01 mm artist pen.

        One thing to keep in mind about that assessment is that I am using the .25 Rapido Sketch, which is the smallest size available, limiting its usefulness as a general purpose pen.  The .35 and the .50 nibs on the Rapido Sketch would probably have a bit more utility in terms of general inking duties.

More textures done with the Rapido Sketch.  Here I think the uniform lines don't work quite as well because the objects are supposed to be more organic and flowing.  That being said, I may also have just rendered it poorly.

        All that being said, I really like the Rapido Sketch and I find it really useful as a fine detail pen.   I really like how it performs when I have to ink small details on faces like eyes, noses and mouths.  I also really like how textures come out when I am using the Rapido Sketch to fill in details.


         Cleaning the pen isn't really that bad and at some point you're going to have to clean it.  If you're using it every day and it has ink in it then the pen can sit for a week or two between cleanings, but if you're using it more sporadically then the pen needs to be cleaned after each use.

        The process involved isn't too bad really.  Just take apart the pen, run the pieces under warm water then dump the pieces into a mixture of warm water and soap and let them sit for about 15 minutes.

        The only thing that proves a bit of a challenge is getting the nib clean.  In the photo of the disassembled pen above you'll notice that there's a little casing which fits around the nib.  Well, normally with a Rapidograph you get a little tool called a nib key which lets you unscrew the nib from that casing so you can clean it.  With the Rapido Sketch, the nib key isn't included, so you have to find a different way to take it apart.  I've been using the pliers on a multi-tool I have lying around to do it.

Closing Thoughts

        If you’re on the fence about using technical pens, the Rapido Sketch probably isn’t a bad way to get your feet wet.  Compared to a Rapidograph or other technical pen, the initial investment is relatively low and you’re getting a pen with a little more versatility.  However, unless you are only going to use the pen for doing very fine detail work, you might consider getting either the .35 or .5 size as the .25 is really limited in how it can be used.

      In other news, I’ve scrapped the Ruins storyline from the book because I hated how it was turning out.  Current page count is 19.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reflections and a New Pen

Well, two more pages are done, bringing the page count up to 22 now.  Here's a panel:

I should have done something to make the reflection look more....reflectiony.

Also I got a new pen to try out today: a Koh-I-Noor Rapido Sketch.  Never used a technical pen like this before and I am not sure whether or not I like it yet.  I might type up a short review of it once I've had some time to get used to it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dampened Spirits

So I mentioned this before, but I was looking over the art I've done so far and could not shake the feeling that it was all crap; horribly drawn, horribly paced, horribly plotted crap.  But then I found this article on Rob Liefeld and I felt a lot better about what I had produced so far.  Anyway, here's a sample of what to expect and a link to the article:


So, I had to come up with a character design for an oracle, and I drew a birdman.  Actually the design is loosely based on the costuming of plague doctors in Europe during medieval times.

A very feathery design.
And here's another detail from a pinup that will probably run somewhere in the middle of the book:

I've always liked the look of bio-mechanical lifeforms.

I am working on the first panel of page 20 as I post this, so, progress continues to be made.