Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login


Mon Jul 14, 2008, 7:59 AM

I was at a bar about a month ago with some editors at Marvel, which was strange because I work for DC.  Mark Paniccia was the editor solely responsible for me finally getting some attention from Marvel, and even though I opted to go exclusive with DC instead of Marvel (for now) he's still a cool enough guy to invite me out once in a while.  Some of the other guys there were also Marvel editors, writers and assistants.  And, of course, we all ended up talking about comics.

You'd think that since we all worked in comics for a living that we'd all be tired of it and want to talk about something else.  But no.  We're that dedicated…and we also have nothing else in our sad lives.

Eventually that inevitable topic came up: what artists do you like?  

A few of the guys who were mentioned were rock stars across the board.  Guys like Kevin Nolan, Will Eisner, and Moebius are some examples of artists that, even if you DON'T like them, you'd better damn well lie about it.  But rest of the artists mentioned caused disagreements on both sides of the table.  It seems that comic book artists, as a whole in the US, fall into three categories: great in their own right, not good enough to be getting work, or is (in some way) ripping someone else off.

To clarify, I think it's all right to see how someone else draws and try to "filter" it into yourself.  But I'm against stealing someone else's art, line for line, and sending it off as your own.  There's a fine line between COPYING and being INFLUENCED by another artist and it's all subjective.  But what bugs me is how accepted it is to steal, say, the exact arm off of a figure from a comic that you didn't draw.

Hardly anyone at the table mentioned an artist who didn't filter or copy another artist.   It's like we were drawing lines from one guy to another guy, to another, and another, and then BACK to the original guy.  It was a who-was-copying-who-and–from-which-comic sort of evening.  At the end of the night, I think I had a little less respect for certain artists now that these editors had pointed out all the filtering that was going on.

Then I started getting pissed off.

Are most comic book artists really just ripping each other off?  Are they all really standing in a proverbial circle and stealing styles back and forth between themselves?  It feels that way sometimes.  It's like an exclusive club and maybe that's why it's hard to bring in new readers.  The art is so specialized that it's not really recognized as "art" by working artists, but it comes with a clarifier: COMIC art.  And it takes away from the validity and the value of what we do.

I'm not ashamed of what I do.  I love the medium, not for what it's doing, but for what it CAN do.  My goal is to move the art form; not to repeat it.  And the artists I like are the ones that are honestly trying to do the same thing. But I have to admit a certain hesitant feeling before I tell someone outside the comic book world what I do for a living.  Why?  Because they think comics are stupid and are for kids.  And, for the most part (in the US), I have to agree with them.

PLEASE don't write me a bunch of hate mail like I've received in the past.  I'm not shitting on the industry.  In fact I love it so much for it's potential that it infuriates me when people do things that detract from its credibility.  But lately I'm tempted to move to France and join the European comics club where people aren't uptight enough to get caught up on Constantine's suspenders (braces in the UK).

I could go on for a while but I don't want to alienate people.  A lot of good things are happening now: comic book movies are improving, Marvel is calling the shots on it's own features, we're getting more and more money from Hollywood which (essentially) still celebrates the artist working alone between jobs to crank out his graphic novel.  I guess we're all a little cautious about these changes, but overall I'm happy about it.

That night out with those Marvel guys ended well, though.  I finally got the balls to ask out loud, " who am I filtering?" and CB Cebulski told me that I was filtering the Sean Murphy.

In the next journal I'll write more about my own influences.  Thanks for reading.

  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Alice in Chains
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Science Channel
Sorry I haven't written any new insightful journals lately…if you can call them insightful.  It’s just that my motivating is being deadened lately without any work coming in. Basically I'm at a standstill, which is really frustrating when your DC bonus check is dependent on what you get done within a year.  And it’s hard to draw fast when there’s no script.  But enough of that.

In the meantime I’m busying myself with the task of creating a sketchbook for next year.  A few of the things I’ve posted make mention of that.  I’m actually considering making two—one with comic book stuff in it and another of life drawings in NYC.  I’ll probably have a two-for-one deal.  But all that won’t happen till next con season, so until then I’ll be posting stuff here and there.  Don’t worry…I’ll keep some a secret until I
actually print them out.

Here are some of the things I’m thinking for pinups:

1.  Mr. Freeze getting drunk at a bar in his infinite depression
2.  Madmartigan from Willow
3.  Batman and The Grey Ghost
4.  A Law and Order: SVU pinup
5.  Rocketeer
6.  Wolvervine doing awesome stuff
7.  A Captain Picard one that encapsulates his entire Borg  
8.  Cadillacs and Dinosaurs
9.  The “Little Mule” from Romancing the Stone
10.  Spider Man 2099

And I know that by posting this I risk some asshole stealing my ideas.  So if I see a Little Mule pinups out there (because I know THAT'S the pinup we're all waiting to see) and it's not mine then I'm going out for blood.

The EA thing I mentioned in a previous post has been cancelled.  So there will be no Sean at SDCC in any essence--in paper or in person.

S to the N
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Bolt Thrower
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: American History X
Last week my issue of Hellblazer #245 came out with…mixed results from readers and critics.  I tried to take the high road of not caring — pretending that I know what “real” art is and that readers will eventually warm up to my rendition of John Constantine.  I took a couple day's break from Google and focused on my script to get away from art for a while.  And I should have stayed away.

So for those of you who are ALSO insecure artists who can’t help but post things they should probably keep to themselves…eventually the numbness will save you.

I was getting better reviews years ago when I drew with a cleaner style.  Some of the comments, a TON from the UK who are admittedly still wounded by Keanu Reeves, are so brutal that all I can do now is laugh out loud.  It’s like when someone hurts your feelings SO BADLY that, instead of depressing you, it knocks you around 360 degrees back to being happy again.

Now…I respect people’s opinions and realize it’s all subjective, and that just because someone doesn’t like your stuff it doesn’t mean that they never will, nor does it mean you’re a bad artist.  But for most of my career I’ve tried drawing in a cleaner, more acceptable mainstream style.  And I’ve never felt comfortable until I started getting messy like I have in the last year.  Finally I was looking down at my pages and saying “Ha!  It might not be perfect, but it’s good for what it is and has great energy.  I don’t think any reasonable person could find fault with THIS!”

And then the reviews came.  Or rather I hunted them down.  People are upset with John looking different, I guess because I gave him something new to wear instead of the normal stuff.  Also, because it was a punk-rock story, I gave him suspenders (braces for those of you in the UK) thinking it would be a nice accent to the plot.  He’s a bisexual so why wouldn’t he accessorize?  And even though he’s just on one page at the end, I drew him loosely for effect.  Boy did that throw a lot of people.  Just because they didn’t like John in one panel, now the art of the second half of the book sucks.  Do people look at backgrounds and renderings of atmosphere, it do they just look at Batman and decide if the artist sucks?

But like I said…it’s funny now.  I realize that I’m completely out-of-touch with comic book readers.  I respect those opinions and I’ve learn that I’m dealing with a cult icon and, no matter what I do, if it’s different then people will be hesitant at first.  Hopefully the second issue will warm them up a little.

I honestly debated posting this because I don’t want to come across as complaining or coming down on reviewers—because I’m not.  It’s just a thought that I had which maybe someone can get some use out of.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Bad Religion
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Voyager
I was reading this book about tank workfare a while ago.  It was like a choose-your-own-adventure story but with maps and descriptions of the enemy, your weapons and men, etc.  From what I understand it’s one of the books used to train tank commanders of the M1A1 Abrams tank in the US army.

So there I was in the Middle East in charge of a whole fleet of tanks with the enemy spread out in unknown places and likely armed with small arms, rifles, rockets and the occasional vehicle.  The book gave me three options…

1) split my forces into two smaller units and troll around for trouble,
2) split them into a dozen units with two tanks each or
3) keep my whole battalion together and roam the desert as one.

Now…as a fan of the game Risk…I knew not to roam around as one (option 3) because then the enemy can come in behind you and cut you off from support and supplies.  Plus who is stupid enough to fuck with a whole battalion of tanks?  I thought that splitting them into two units (option 2) was an okay decision, but I opted for the first choice because I thought a dozen units with two tanks each would be likely to destroy anything they came up against.

I was wrong.

One of my small units (the one I was supposedly driving, oddly enough) came under attack.  A superior numbered force immediately took out tank 1’s treads.  With the element of surprise it was enough for the enemy to take out tank 2 before we could react.

The last sentence of the paragraph went something like this:

“Screaming in terror, you attempt to run out of the tank.  You open the top hatch only to be struck down by enemy fire.  The last thing going through your head, other than a few bullets, is the realization that you should have gone with option 2.”

Nice.  Apparently, by dividing my battalion into two units with a couple of tanks in each, I could have...

1) likey stopped anything we came across,
2) escaped easily with my large number of tanks, or
3) called for the other unit of tanks for support if I needed it.

The lesson learned was this: the best plan of attack is always the one that, if it fails, leaves you the most number of choices for a plan B.  In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

So what does this have to do with comics and/or art?  I feel that this can be applied to business as well.  If you work your ass off for just one “super-gig” and you fail, then you don’t have any other options other than to try again.  And that sucks.  BUT if you try a few plans at once and go for multiple gigs simultaneously then your chances of getting a job increases.  Also, when one doesn’t work out (which 9 out of 10 will), you aren’t without hope.  And a little hope at the beginning of each day makes it a little easier to work.

That and a porn break every now and then.

And knowing is half the battle…
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Bolt Thrower
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: MXC
I've been accused of not telling people when my stuff is coming out so here it goes.

I have two pages in American Splendor #3 which came out last week.  They printed out REALLY dark but they look alright.  Should you bother buying a book when I have only two pages in it?  Yes.  In fact, buy 11 so that it'll equal a 22 page comic.

Hellblazer #245 comes out tomorrow!  I made a few fixes to the stuff I already posted, fixed some faces...that sort of thing.  I'm REALLY excited for #246 because I worked hard to make it as perfect as possible.  #245 looks good but you can tell I was warming up.  There's talk of 4-5 more issues in the future so we'll see.

And I won't be at SDCC in person but I will be in spirit.  I just agreed to do a small 8 page story for EA Games for a release of a game called On Mirror's Edge.  From what I gather it's FREE if you stop by the EA booth.  But for me it's FREE ADVERTISING to people who might not have seen my stuff.  I know a lot of people think that the video game booths should be smaller because they're squashing the "comic book" feel of SDCC...but I feel differently now that it serves me.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Pink Floyd
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Sex in the City
My favorite part of drawing comics is inking the panel borders.

Penciling is the hardest, most daunting and frustrating part of it all.  Inking is easier because it’s just an illustrative craft and you can turn your brain off.  Lettering is cool too because it isn’t intimidating like pencils (but rarely do I get to letter my own stuff).  I don’t usually color because after penciling and inking I’m usually sick of the art and want to move on.  But the easiest and most rewarding thing to do is ink the panel borders with a calligraphy nib and some dark ink.  It’s the only peace I get until the last step: covering my mistakes with Pro White and then scanning it into the computer.

I wish I could just ink borders for people all day long.  I’m not sure I’d make a lot, but damn my stress level would drop.

I remember a long time ago when I was scared of the open page.  I knew how to draw just a few panels and I would struggle to force those 3 IMAGES to fit any part of any script:

1) the silhouette panel
2) the extreme POV of an eye with some hair coming down over the face
3) the pin-up panel with a guy holding a pistol (usually with the gun/sword EXACTLY from the side to avoid complex perspective)

An empty comic book page is intimidating.  After all it’s HUGE, right?  It’s got all that white space with PLENTY of room to screw up.  It’s harder than a pin-up plus you needed to add backgrounds.  And how the hell are you supposed to put down all your perspective lines without smudging your pencils all over the place?  While drawing my first few submission pages I repeatedly questioned whether or not I was cut out to draw comics for a living.  How the hell do some guys do it EVERYDAY?  It was too big of a task to think about all at once.  All I could do is focus on one panel at a time.

But it got easier as I did it more and more.  My basic 3 panels became a basic 10.  I learned new tricks and speedy ways around difficult perspective.  Eventually I made it a point to try something HARD on each page and eventually it wasn’t so scary.

It’s been hundreds of pages now and sometimes I’m still intimidated.  It’s scary when you don’t know the solution to a certain visual problem but your editor is expecting you to have it solved and scanned in 8 hours.  The thing that helps is the experience.  I’ve done it so often that I KNOW I’ll somehow solve the problem eventually in those 8 hours.

But then there’s new worry.

Reading a bad review is tough.  I wish I was above Googling my name but I’m not.  Most of it’s good.  After all, who would take the time to slam your art if they didn’t care about you?  Or maybe you’re just bad enough that it’s WORTH IT for them to drag you through the mud.  These guys are usually artists who didn’t make it but think they know everything.  By putting YOU down they’re bringing themselves UP.  They’re basically holding up your art and saying “see how bad this is?  Is that supposed to be an ARM?  It sucks.  And the fact that I know it means that I would NEVER draw an arm that badly.  Which means, in a way, I’m better than this guy being published!”

But they don’t know how hard it is to keep on going.  Or maybe they do know and that’s why they can’t do what we do.  They don’t consider that maybe you’re exhausted.  Or the script was late.  Or you were sick.  Or you were rushed.  Or you had a death in the family.  But it doesn’t matter because once the page is published it becomes history.  People will look at it ten years from now and not think about how tired you were, but instead will think about that arm that doesn’t quite look right.

Comic art is FAST art.  It’s doing the best you can in a day or two and sending it off.  It’s trusting your quick decisions and then inking over the mistakes that you find on the way.  If a guy’s deep into a 6 issue arch then the best you’re getting out of him, assuming he’s under deadline, is B+ work.

And it’s not his fault.

I struggled for YEARS before “getting in” and that’s not to say that I’m in for good.  I started working on Star Wars during college.  One professor in particular wouldn’t let me turn my pro work in for assignment credit, something AGAINST school policy.  He was a jealous asshole.  But I had a big ego and thought I was better than I really was.  Still, I hustled the best I could and kept drawing.

When I moved out to LA I didn’t know what I was going to do for cash.  I piled all my stuff into my yellow CRX and drove across country to LA.  There was a slight chance that I had a Dark Horse gig drawing something called Crush, but it wasn’t certain.  So in order to save money I slept in rest areas and gas stations.  My friend Ben was with me who was driving his own car.  He wanted to go to LA to act.  We didn’t always get along, but sleeping at a truck stop or near a dumpster was safer if you had someone with you.

So why was I so poor?

The summer before that I had spent drawing something called Zak Raven for a guy named Daren who never paid me.  In the end he owed me around $5,000.  I wasted that summer because I didn’t make a dime.  I thought about him a lot when I was in Hollywood those first few nights when I didn’t have money for a motel.

For those of you who haven’t slept on the street…it sucks.  I’m not trying to sound hardcore, but it definitely changes your outlook on reality.  I only had to do it for a few nights but I’ll never forget it.  It’s hard sleeping when you’re in fear of some strangeness in the night.  (Your best bet is to find some comfortable looking grass in the shadows where people won’t see you and then hope you get out of there in the morning before the sun comes up.)  Soon we found an apartment that was vacant and we squatted.  Eventually we found a studio on Hollywood and Gennessee.  After all the shit we’d been though it didn’t matter to us if people thought we were gay for sharing an apartment in West Hollywood.  I slept soundly and soon started work on Crush, a comic from Dark Horse’s Rocket Comics line.

My art on Crush was awful!  I penciled and inked it all myself, hitting every deadline they gave me.  They made no edits or suggestions.  They never even called me to ask how I was.  And when it was over?  See you later, kid.  

It reminds me of something I heard from DC editors once.  The guy said you only need two out of the three things to make it: talent, the ability to hit deadlines, or you have to be a nice person.  Well folks, I was nice and I hit all my deadlines and I got ignored over and over.  I’d get a DC or Dark Horse gig here and there, but when I was done it felt like my last.  Of course, I didn’t see that I was bad.  But I KNOW I was the other two.  What they don’t tell you is that talent is 90% of the “three things”.

Think about it.  If Travis Charest drew two issues of Teen Titans like I did they would get published NO MATTER WHAT.  But when I drew them there was a continuity error so the editor put the book on hold.  I never heard back.  It wasn’t my fault, but think about this: if Travis Charest drew them then DC would find a way.

Now I’m not Charest but the point is valid: if you’re super-freaking talented people will put up with your shit and let you break a ton of deadlines AND pay you on time.  Still, it would be nice to be ALL THREE.

I spent years doing small stuff, off and on.  A couple of times a company was late paying me and I had a nervous breakdown.  I ended up calling my dad early in the morning (New Hampshire time) and he’d try and tell me that it was okay.  After all, it’s not like I was doing NOTHING.  It wasn’t my fault I was poor, it was the paycheck being late.  But again I remind you…are Charest’s paychecks late?  A couple times over the years I came down to my last thousand dollars.  I was a week away from applying to work at Best Buy.  But somehow I’d make a score and survive another few months.

And this brings me to the WORST part about comics (and being an artist in general).  When you’re down to your last $100 it’s obviously really stressful.  And it’s hard for a few reasons.  Yes, you can’t pay your rent or buy food.  But what hurts more is that after working so hard you feel unappreciated.

Money isn’t just for buying shit.  It’s also a symbol of your value to someone else. You can work your ass off creating the most beautiful art you can.  But if you’re poor then it only means one thing: your art isn’t worth anything to anyone except yourself.  As far as money is concerned, it’s worthless.  All your hours alone feel like self-indulgence while the real world spins outside your studio and your bank account goes dry.

And that’s the hardest part.  When you feel worthless despite your efforst.

Drawing comics, I think, is one of the hardest forms of art to pull off well.  You need to learn to draw anything under the sun.  You need to master perspective.  You need to master a brush and quill or marker.  You need to tell a story without words (or at least you should). And you need to design a piece of artwork DAILY that will stand up well against your competitors.  Imagine learning to do all that and then having no publisher give a shit.  Ouch.

When I stopped caring about fitting in I started getting more gigs than I could take.  DC has a “house style” that looks like Jim Lee plastered to the Silver Age of comics.  I tried so hard to do that…clean inks, feathering, heavy outlines like Adam Hughes…but it never looked right.

Then I started paying attention to Jorge Zaffino, Ashely Wood, Alex Toth, Tim Sale and some other guys who drew sloppy.  It’s HARDER to pull that off because, line for line, those styles look like crap.  BUT, considering the image as a whole, they look GREAT.  And what’s best is that no one can copy them because slop a mess is hard to copy.  Guys like that don’t have a “comic art” style.  They’re illustrators capable of reaching outside the realm of mainstream comics and can usually destroy 95% of the books on the shelf each week.

So I stopped caring. I started getting sloppy and experimenting.  And suddenly it was easier to get work.  People like Marvel and DC CLAIM to want a certain “look” but they don’t.  Well…they do want a certain “comic book look” but only for their mainstream books.  But then you’re only a copy of Jim Lee or some Silver Age guy.  But when you’re Sam Keith or Craig Thompson you make mark.  They get noticed more because they’re the ONLY ONES who can draw like that.  And they’re more likely to leave a legacy.

So for those of you who read all the way down here and want to know the day-to-day concerns about comics, here are mine.

Depression is hard.  My poor girlfriend has to endure some of my moods and it’s not her fault.  In any relationship I feel it’s each persons job to try and make themselves happy so that they don’t bring down the other person.  It’s hard for me but easier since I’ve gotten health insurance and an exclusive gig with DC.

On a positive note, it’s awesome working from home.  I don’t commute, I make my own hours, I take time off when I want and I can vacation when I please (as long as I manage my clients and deadlines).

I like that drawing a page is a very simple task (once you learn how).  It’s not like I’m relying on hundreds of people to tell a story in a movie.  It’s just me in a room with pen and paper, doing it all alone.  Yeah, it can be hard coordinating all those art-related tasks at once, but I don’t like working with others and find myself to be very reliable.  Editors, at least at this point, are respectful and very complimentary (even though they HAVE to be) and I enjoy doing books that pay well and are sort of under the radar of mainstream books.  Also I enjoy the business part of it and playing hard-ball when it comes time.

The things I HATE?

I HATE drawing poker tables.  They’re the worst.  First you have to draw an octagon in perspective.  THEN you have to draw people sitting in chairs around the table, each holding cards (different cards than the other guys) and leaning in different positions.  Then, on top of that, you have to add poker chips all over the center.  Ellipses are a drag, even when using the template, and the chips have to look staggered and random like they’ve been thrown down.  After that you have to add a layer of beer and food and any weapons that might be lying on the table, including labels on those items (ie: Jack Daniels, Absolut Vodka or Berretta).  And for the final act you have to draw a whole bunch of money.  And not just stacked rectangles, but flimsy dollar bills with heads of presidents on them, also randomly staggered.


But those panel borders…that’s what keeps me going.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Pink Floyd
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Sex in the City
I JUST finished up five pages for House of Mystery, a Vertigo book that’ll be due out sometime soon.  I’ve never crammed so much detail consistently throughout a group of pages.  The script calls for a character running through a desolated New York City as he tries to get to work on time.  He’s slowed down by giant bugs, vampires, armed citizens and fellow foot soldiers meaning TONS of research on Google images.  I have no idea whether it looks good or not but I do know that it’s DONE.

That aside, I did have a thought recently regarding comics and comic fans after my weekend in Philly.  A lot of people came up to me complaining about the smell of the con (cons) and the types of nerds you rub elbows with at those things.  Maybe it was the general look of displeasure on my own face that urged people to reflect what I was likely thinking each time some skanky 17-year-old girl walked by dressed as a duct-tape-manga-chick.  But over the weekend I heard a few different people say pretty much the same thing: I want to draw comics but I don't understand these people.

The people who stop by my table at cons are usually not the normal comic books types.  A lot of them seem to have good hygiene and dress in hip industrial/suburban clothing with punk shirts, Fidel Castro hats and dull colors.  Don’t get the main 3 types of nerds you see at cons: the silk shirt Wolverine guys, The Simpsons’ “comic book store” type guy and the ones wearing costumes.  

One day I’ll lead the people hanging around my table into a revolt against all the other nerds.  And I’ll even put the guy who carries around brass knuckles up front (you know who you are).

For those of you who might be thinking the same thing about wanting to work in comics but being turned off by the other types of fans, take a page from old man Murphy: don’t worry about it.

If your art truly comes from the “spirit” of you, then it will usually appeal to people who have things in common with you.  If you draw a lot of sci fi then you’ll get noticed by Star Wars and Trek fans.  If you like crime then you might get more grounded types.  If you’re like me and mix darkness and slop with realism and comic strips, then you’ll get bitter people with good senses of (black) humor.  Whatever it is that you do, chances are that you’re “coming out” in your work and you’ll end up with people you have something in common with.  And no, “coming out” in your work is NOT a gay joke.  J

The other thing to consider, which I strongly believe, is something that was told to me by Skottie Young a while back.  All those people you see at cons probably work some crappy factor job where no one will talk about comics with them for fear of being fired or shunned.  Only in their own homes and among their friends do they get to geek about what they’re really into: comics.  Not only do they love it, but they’re willing to drop a couple hundred on a plane ticket, a hotel room, the price of admission plus whatever they buy during the show in order to be around it.  Cons are when they come out of the darkness and into the light.  It’s weird and creepy, yeah, but there’s something beautiful about it.

The other comment from people was that they weren’t into superhero stuff at all, something else I have in common with them.  Will comics in America always be mostly superheroes?  I don’t know.  A lot of younger people coming into the ranks seem to want to change things, but then again I imagine that there has always been people trying to change that.  So who knows.

But it is funny when people who buy mainstream books complain about the state of the business.  They bitch about the art, the stories, and about how Hollywood keeps ruining things.  YET they buy those books and see those movies, thereby supporting the industry they claim to hate!  In other words, they’re getting exactly what they deserve.  We might all bitch about Indiana Jones but as far as the numbers are concerned, it did well because we all went to see it.  Me included.

And, yes, it sucked.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Sopranos
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
Hey all.  Just dropping a bulletin to let people know that I'll be in Philly for Wizard World this weekend.  I've already got a few people writing about commissions which I will be doing.  But it's first come first serve and I only like taking a few a day otherwise I'll have my head down the whole time and won't be able to talk to people.

Hopefully see you there!  And feel free to wear a T Shirt with your DA logo on it so I'll know you.  :)
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Saving Private Ryan
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
I'm off to see Indiana Jones and I wish I wasn't.

It's probably risky to pan a movie that I haven't seen yet…so I won't.  Even though, the critic website OF THE PEOPLE, is giving it negative reviews, it would still be more fair to write this after seeing it later today.  But this post isn't about Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.  It's about George Lucas going off the deep end.

Hating George Lucas is too easy.  

We all love (loved) Star Wars and would love even more of the same kind of Star Wars that we remember as kids.  It's frustrating because ILM has the ability to bring us there visually like never before, and most of the same people who are responsible for the first trilogy are still alive.  Yes…those brains capable of those thoughts and creating more of that OSW (Original Star Wars) product are out there, yet they handed us the three dog-turd prequels.  Each time they do something to give us a glimmer of hope, it ends up having the opposite effect which MAKES IT EVEN WORST.  And then they market the shit out of it with toys and posters and special editions that will never disappear from the shelves and garbage heaps.

It's easy to hate Lucas because he was total punk rock when doing the OSW.  He fought the major studios to get his way.  He funded as much as he could himself.  He used his friends and connections and went out on a limb for his dream.  And in the end he came through like no one imagined.

But now he's off on his ranch playing with his collector's set Skywalker dolls.  Now he's lying in his green fields looking up at the sky and dreaming about what else he could do with his ONE CREATION* and he's too rich and powerful to have to listen to anyone tell him that maybe, just maybe, he's lost his mind.

(*not true.  I do give him a lot of credit for Willow and I know I'm the only one.)

He must know how we all feel about his newer movies.  A guy that wired into the world has, at one point, come across some nasty blog about Jar-jar and the asshole that invented him.  He must hear our pleads for him to stop messing with the OSW.  He must be aware of the worldwide disapproval of what his franchise has become.

And I bet that he doesn't care.  Or he thinks that we all just don't get his NEW direction for Star Wars.  Or maybe he's just playing to the kids now and having the OSW in his past is enough form him to be happy.  Or maybe he doesn't take it as seriously as we do.  But it's impossible to imagine what his reality is like being so rich and being a "legend" and having an army of people yes you to death.

It makes me think of money and what it does to art.  

Dustin Nguyen and I were chatting the other day about this comic artist we both used to like.  They guy was really good, but his new stuff has very few lines and hardly any backgrounds.  It looks as though he penciled and inked about 3 pages a day.  And I'm betting that he probably pulls in at least $500 per page USD.  A lot of people still like his stuff and would argue that more lines doesn't mean better art, which I agree with, but his new stuff is beyond that.  If he's not embarrassed then I'm embarrassed for him.  And it's frustration in the same OSW way because he's probably capable of giving us the outstanding art that made us like him in the first place.  And, in a way, I feel like he's alleviating himself of the responsibility of what an artist should do which is get better ESPECIALLY when you don't have to worry about your bills anymore.

There has to be a balance between hard work, fear of rejection and/or having no money, success, honesty to oneself and heart.

From what I hear, Lucas wrote a script that had aliens but Spielberg and Ford didn't like it so they sent him back.  Lucas came back a few times toning the alien part down.  In the end I guess he came up with something that made the three of them happy.  You see, this is already terrifying.  WHO THE HELL WOULD PUT ALIENS IN AN INDIANA JONES MOVIE?  I don't care how watered down it might be, IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PLACE.  Anything derived from that idea cannot be good.

It sounds so bad but also so likely to BE bad that it gives me no hope.  And perhaps I'm going in with a bad attitude but I have a feeling it will be justified.  I just hope I don't ruin it for my friends.  At least if I wasn't seeing it my love for Indiana would remain safe and untouched.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Saving Private Ryan
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
Hey all.  My girlfriend just joined DA as a photographer, a really small category that probably doesn't get a lot of hits.  Especially from the manga loving types.

One reason to check her out and drop a line would be to welcome her to DA and maybe check out a photo or two.

But an even better reason would be to check out her LOVE BLOG of DEMPSEY and let her know how bad her taste in Hollywood men is!  BWA HAHAHAHAHA!  The power of the internet!

Here's the

  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Band of Brothers
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
A couple of years ago I saw some commercial with that Honda robot in it.  

I’ll describe it to those of you who are lucky enough to not have seen it.  It’s got a black square window for a face and a small frame.  It’s slightly bent over with an odd, childlike swagger.  It’s got flat feet, a backpack, and a creepy robot hand (which it uses to wave at you).  And from what I understand, it has the complexity to wander around the room like a clubbed-foot midget and also climb stairs.  In fact, I think the major breakthrough was that it was the first robot that could climb stairs without falling over.

I wasn’t sure what it was at the time but there was something that really bothered me about that robot.  It was something even MORE terrifying then a square faced robot-infant waving it’s creep hand at me at it came up the stairs.

Then I figured it out.

Ever since early man gazed upon the first robot, he has been imagining that awful day when machines would take over and kill him.  But  seriously…deep down we all know humans are essentially useless.  The ozone layer, polar bears and deer would all be pretty thrilled if every human suddenly caught a case of ‘reverse gravity' and fell off the planet.  So given that robots are only going to get smarter and faster, won’t they one day do the math on humans and realize that we suck?

We all saw The Terminator.  We all went to the theater, had a few thrills and then walked out into the parking lot together and were able to get on with our lives.  But why?  Why was it so easy?  Because, at the time, we KNEW that no matter what happened with the robots, all we had to do was run up the stairs.  Despite whatever the Terminator was capable of, we NEVER imagined an actual robot that had the coordination to chase us up a flight of stairs.  

And now we’re all screwed because when the machines taken over, they can simply send in the Honda freak-bots to run up the stairs after us and slaughter us in our closets.  What the hell is in the backpack, anyway?  I bet it’s a sword.  And I bet that’s why it was designed to have no face.  That way we won't be able to read it’s expression when it suddenly has the realization that we all suck.

The slow runners at the bottom of the stairs will go first, followed by those in the closet and under the bed.  The people in the shower with the water running will be dead next because, despite what they’re hoping, I’m sure the Honda-bot is waterproof (at least enough to yank you out and strangle you with a towel.  

And, because the robot is made by Honda, it's sure to be good on gas.  What to you think, 30 people per gallon?  Maybe it can go through a couple dozen before having to fill up at the KILL STATION for more gas.

But I’m sure some of us will survive.  That is, of course, until they invent a robot that can climb out onto the roof.  Hopefully by then, Jesus will have arrived and taken us all away from the angry Honda freak-bots.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Band of Brothers
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
I'm sure a lot of you have addictive personalities.  I think it's written in the books that artists of all kinds (writers, actors, painters) are more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs than most people.  And when I say drugs I don't just mean weed, crack, and booze but other things like girls, video games and incessant checking of your deviant account messages.

With myself, I notice these tendencies surfacing every so often.  For example, when I drink I drink fast and get really destructive and loud.  I used to get addicted to girls in high school, but I got over that by becoming more cold and withdrawn.  (Take THAT you popular bitches who didn't love me!  Now I hate myself before you EVEN GET THE CHANCE!)  I've seen some guys go off the deep end with their different abuses so I try to monitor myself and be true to my work.

Then I started playing the board game Risk.

The ladies out there will have to bear with me for a bit or stop reading.  I know you think Risk is dumb, especially when your boyfriend could be doing other things instead (like sketching you naked like in Titanic), but maybe by reading this you'll get a little insight into the infantile mind of most men.

Like sucks.  We all know that.  It's way too unpredictable.  Men, for the most part, rely on REASON while edging through from day to day.  They believe that with enough information, they'll be able to brain their way through life's struggles like Spock or Picard.  Ladies, from what I gather, don't like listening to reason because it's cold and unemotional.  I, for one, am with the guys.  Facts will always beat feelings.  Which is why Risk is so great.

Generally, guys like games where they can use logic to defeat other men, proving their virility and beating the odds.  Poker is a big hit.  Risk is a little like poker, but instead of cards you're pretending to move armies across the planet in the pursuit of world domination.  Because of the implied violence, I like Risk more than poker.  I go out into the world walking a little taller after I win.  Almost like Napoleon…but taller.

So I went online and downloaded a free version of Risk, but I could only play for an hour before I was prompted to cough up $19.99 to buy the full version.  Then I downloaded the free trial for the sequel and played that for another hour.  Eventually I broke down and bought it, but I went through and snagged it for a mere $7.00!  

Again, victorious.

The computer version is awesome.  Believe me, you feel just as good beating the shit out of your computer as you do your girlfriend and her friend when you sucker THEM into playing.  The cool part about the computer is the zoom-in battle screens and the cheering of your soldiers when you win.  Even the newer board game is cool because now they sell it with little Napoleonic army men with cannons and horses instead of plain, colored chips.  It's like getting a whole army of GI Joes all at once; whenever I open the box it's like Xmas times ten.  When I play I even line up my reserves like a real army all ready to go.  And when I attack another territory I make sure ALL the units attacking are lined up against the border because I know, somehow, it'll affect the numbers on the dice.

Girls suck at Risk.  Not only do they fail to grasp the beauty of killing but they get emotional and start rolling, rolling, rolling until they've got no armies left (the equivalent of a hissy-fit).  If they were more LOGICAL then they'd know not to spread out so thin or get greedy.  But you know girls...obsessed with "thin".  When you beat them, though, you're actually losing in the long run because Risk is a touchy game for the loser.  Don't expect to get laid after taking over three continents in one turn.  

(To Colleen: I knew I was kicking myself in the ass when I destroyed all of your armies that one time.  But I couldn't help it.  Just be happy to know that, in another time and place, I would have been General Maximus-Murphy.  Think about THAT next time you come home and I've wasted my day beating the computer's armies in my boxers.)

The secret to Risk is learning the odds.  You can go online and find out the probabilities of the dice rolling what and memorize the formula for how many armies you'll need to take over "X" many territories.  Obviously, most girls haven't LEARNED these formulas.  Which proves my point: facts and knowledge beat emotion any day.

Believe me, this Risk thing has gone to my head.  I've lost hours of my life playing Risk when I should have been drawing.  I'll be sitting on the subway noticing how easy it would be to conquer the subway car: load the armies up at the rear and work your way up to the front (duh).

But, NOT TO LEAVE THE LADIES OUT…I don't mean to paint you all as emotional toothpicks that would easily cripple under the strain of war.  I invite you all to play Risk once in a while.  Even though the pink armies have been slowly fazed out of the newer versions of the board game, we still want you to play.  And if you don't want to, then that's cool too.  

After all, who else is going to make the babies that us men will eventually send into battle!

My dream date would be a giant game of Risk between myself and a handful of girls from high school who never appreciated how awesome I was!  I would cut through their pink, purple and tampon-colored armies all in one turn and laugh while I was doing it.  

Beating them with Risk.  That's sure to make them all realize how awesome I am.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: silence
  • Reading: A rifleman went to war
  • Watching: Clint Eastwood movies
We finally got permission to post the unpublished 2D animation for Activision's Soldier of Fortune 3.  Here's the link posted at my buddy's site:…

The gig started out fun but got a little difficult with the amount of fixes the studio requested.  Answering to a committee, as some of you know, is NOT fun.  I think because of the conditions and the schedule the artwork only came out 80% of where it might have been.  Still, I'm proud of our work and what the animation studio did.  All of the coloring was done by Charlie Kirchoff and myself and animated somewhere in California.  There is some swearing so hide the kids.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
So I didn’t realize that people were reading these.  Well, yeah, I see the responses but when I was at the NYCC this past weekend I had people actually coming up and quoting what I’d written.  It made me feel great.  

Over the years I’ve been listening a lot to Henry Rollins’ spoken word and have used his theories in my daily “functionings” through life.  And even though I’m not nearly on his level, it’s cool knowing that someone out there is being helped by my mental sweat.  Or at least having a laugh at my expense.

Now let me answer some questions I get on a regular basis in hopes of cutting down on the emails.

1. I use 500lbs rough Bristol board to draw on.  Buy it in large sheets if you can find it and cut it up into comic shaped rectangles to save cash.  Then I use a Raphael #3 round sable (which means REAL animal hair).  It’s expensive but, trust me, you’re only as good as your tools.  Also I use a crow quill nib #102 and super pigmented India ink by Speedball.  Take the cap off overnight and let some of the water evaporate to make the ink blacker.  It’s not good ink for any clay-coated types of paper you buy from Blueline but it’s great with the paper I use because it dries within the paper and stays blacker when you erase over it.

2. I switch back and forth between brush and quill all day.  I use Pro-white for mistakes.  Sometimes I even use my fingerprints to add texture and use the quill or brush for splatter.  It’s an additive process, back and forth all day until the page is done, much like how a painter might work.  Normally comic pages don’t come together this way because you have a separate inker.  My personal belief is that we should ALL ink our own stuff if it’s at all possible.  But I know it isn’t always so.

3. I NEVER use digital inking or a Wacom to ink.  RARELY does finished or digital  pencils/inks cut it these days. Same with inking with Micron.  I know Leinil Yu and Mike Mignola do it at times, and yeah they make it work.  But chances are you’re not one of these guys.  So learn the tools like they did, bite the bullet, don’t be afraid of the brush, and MAYBE one day you’ll end up going back to your Wacom, finished pencils or Microns.  But for now you’re better off going old school (which should be called NORMAL school because that’s how it’s normally done at the DC/Marvel level).  

I know people will fight me on this and think I’m crazy and some won’t listen, but trust me.


Yeah it sucks because the book caught on at some point and now you’re lucky to find a copy on Amazon for under $50.  I spoke with Oni about the book and they don’t want to print more because they’re afraid of not selling the new batch and losing money.  However, they said if I did another book with them they’d do another run, but with my new DC exclusive contract that won’t be possible for 2 years.  Plus I don’t know if a sequel would work with Off Road.  But I have been talking to an Italian company who wants to release it in Europe, plus the book has come out in Spanish.  I’ll let you know more as it comes to me.

But if you want a copy then write to Oni Press at and let them know.

Also I think I should simply thank all of you for being here on Deviant.  I haven’t had the account for more than a year (I think) and wouldn’t have known that anyone outside of comics would know who I was.  But with the amount of support I see here, it makes me feel better about what I do and even gets me thinking that I should hit more conventions.

That’s it for now.  I’ll write something more profound and upsetting (to some) later.

  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
I'll keep this one short because I've got Hellblazer pages to finish before the NYCC and because maybe these journals have been a little over serious lately.

I caught some heat on my last journal, and I'm fine with that.  I've read a lot of reviews over the last couple years on my stuff and although they're usually good, once in a while I got ribbed and ripped up a little.  In fact, check this one out because it had me laughing it was so cruel.  Don't mess with the Trekkies:

Now let me call myself out on my own bullshit regarding some of my more touchy journals.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be in a perfect world where you, the artist, didn't have to worry about money or paying the bills or meeting deadlines?  You could just create to your heart's content and follow all your high ideals into the sky with no end.

But life isn't like that, of course.  As much as I like to think that art should be about growth, change and about how we should all feel the calling to DO something valuable in this post 9/11 world with our abilities…it's rarely ever like that.  It would be nice, yeah, but most artists, especially comic artists, draw commercially and rarely have any thought to their legacy as artists other than "hmmm…where does the vanishing point go?"

All these things that I've wrote are, I feel, correct (at least they correct to me) but they're not for everyone and I don't want to piss people off.  But at the very least I'd like to challenge people and maybe have them walk away with something that wasn't there before.  Even if they disagree at least there's SOME movement.

My ideals probably sound high because I'm writing from a place where I don't have to worry so much about the things that a lot of guys have to while still working their way through the trenches of the art world.  I'm 27 and am fortunate enough to have an exclusive DC contract and plenty of high paying work on the side to sit around my apartment and draw all day.  Yes, I've worked hard to get here and I have road-hard stories of the trials leading up to this (like many people do), but in the end I'm just a guy who doesn't even have to get out of him pajamas to get to work.

If you've ever over heard a pro at a convention, he/she is usually very opinionated about a lot of different things.  And, no matter what his opinion is, he usually insists that he's right.  Of course he will.  He, like me, doesn't go to an office or get challenged by people as much as most people because his tiny world is a small studio where he can dream up whatever he wants ALL DAY and lord over his conclusions without end.  Honestly, it's a sad existence (which is why I don't like a lot of professional comic guys).

So, to give this journal some closure, most of what I write is high ideal while also being tongue-in-cheek.  I might be a little pissed off at what I write TOO if I was still working my way up while taking a side job and paying student loans.
People should read these and think "HA!  Good one Sean.  You so crazy!  Yeah, wish I could draw in my pajamas all day, too.  Oh well…back to the real world!  Exclusive artist, huh?  Way to rub it in, jerk."
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
When I draw I try to get as many references as I can.  I search through Google's images mostly.  The Barnes and Noble bargain book section is great if you're looking for photos of random things as well: castles, ships, birds, etc.  I'll buy stuff just because I know I may need it someday.  Plus it makes me look smart by having big books around the house.

There's other stuff I use for reference, too.  For a while I was obsessed with airsoft guns (which look just like real guns except for that annoying orange ring of color around the barrel).  When someone accidentally finds one I try to calmly explain that they aren't real and that I need them for work.  The truth is that I don't really need them…I just think they're cool.  I can sadly admit that I spend more time playing with them than I do using them for photo reference.  I love walking around the house with a Glock stuffed in the front of my pants while my dogs follow closely behind.  One day I'll catch a burglar with my Uzi.  He may THINK that it's only a model…but how much is he willing to bet?

And now (because I have no life outside of the house and need strange hobbies to occupy my brain) I'm into die cast models of muscle cars and WWII planes.

So, seeing as how I live in Brooklyn, I decided that there MUST be some awesome hobby shops in the city to cater to my nerdly needs.  I found one on the net and struck out last Sunday to find a 1972 Chevy Nova, a 1966 Lincoln Continental, and a B-25 Mitchell Bomber.

So I got to the shop and was the only one there, save for the two dorks that presumable worked there.  And 'work' is a generous word to describe what they did: sit around in a toy shop while growing mustaches and hording plastic models in hopes that one day they'd be real.  These guys seemed annoyed that I entered their nerd-layer.  But whatever, I was taller than them and had a Glock in my pants (not really).

Manhattan is a cramped place and the store was no different.  There was a warehouse's worth of merchandise stuffed into a walk-in closet sized space.  You couldn't touch anything without knocking the crap above and below it over.  The only thing that had enough space was a large glass case that held about 100 WWII models inside.

The two nerds ignored me and went back to their nerding.  And although I didn't find what I wanted, it was worth traveling all the way to the city in order to hear their conversation.

Nerd 1:  I don't know man…seriously though.  I mean, when you get the right display case and put in a small Abrams tank…it looks nice.

Nerd 2: Yeah.

Nerd 1: No…SERIOUSLY…sometimes you forget that it ain't real.  Y'know?
Nerd 2. Totally.

Or this one…

Nerd 2: Four guys in a tank?  Ain't nothing you can do against that.

Nerd 1: For the most part.  'Cept maybe cut them up with shrapnel.

Nerd 2: That's for sure.

Nerd 1: No…I mean it.  The driver's exposed only a little but the commander might catch some if he peeks out at the wrong time.

Nerd 2: You drove a tank, right?

Nerd 1: Yeah…well, no…but I sat in one.

SAT IN ONE?  What, like at a museum or at a parade or something?  And now you're an expert?  Hahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahaha!  I mean, in my job I've been around a lot of different kinds of dorks, but it never occurred to me that hobby shops were another form of dork until I heard that conversation.  I don't know how I missed it.

I don't know what model-shop-people talk about when they're stuck in the same, small store together for hours and days on end, but I image a lot of the conversations turn into what I overheard.  I mean, there's only so a man can sit around next to a toy  M1A1-Abram tank before he starts thinking "you know…I bet I'd actually be GOOD at driving one of those."

Ahh…if only it were real.

So because I couldn't find what I wanted, I went up to one of them and asked if they could help me.  After all, what did they have to do but stare at a bunch of Revell models and dream all day?

So I asked about the Chevy Nova, and the guy scoffed and said they didn't make one.  FALSE.  I'd done my research and new that Miasto made one in orange AND in black cherry (now who's the nerd).  He went online in disbelief and, sure enough, saw that I was right.  "Well…we're only a small shop so there's only so much we can carry," was his excuse.  Then I asked about the Lincoln Continental, and before I could finish talking he cut me off.

Nerd 1: Nope!

Sean: Well, I'm pretty sure that they do—

Nerd 1: Nope! (angered that I doubted his nerd-knowledge)
Sean: But I saw one—

Nerd 1: Nope!

Sean: --online made by Yatming (a brand he should know).

So he clacked away again and saw that I was right.  Again.  Then I asked about a B-25 Mitchell in die cast.  This time he agreed that they existed but said he didn't have any.  I pointed to the one in the glass case but those weren't for sale (and they weren't die cast).

Sean: Not for sale?  Then why is it out?

Nerd 1: (annoyed) Those are for a museum.

Sean: So you take them out of the box and build them and then send them away?  What kind of museum?

Nerd 1: A plane museum.

Sean: Huh.  It seems like I'm better off just buying stuff online then.

Nerd 1: Pretty much.

Sean: You know, you're not very good at selling things.  Maybe you should work in a museum because then you wouldn't have to sell anything.  Except admission.

I laughed in their faces and left.  I'm sure, right now, they're arranging plastic tanks and army men and developing strategies on how they'd crush me if life were really a battle field.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Rage
  • Reading: The Power of Myth
  • Watching: History Channel
After my last update I've gotten notes from people wanting more in regards to portfolios.  Again (to cover my ass), these are only my opinions.  There aren't any absolute truths for a good portfolio when shopping around for editors.  Essentially a good portfolio is one that shows off your abilities in the best ways possible and hopefully helps you make an impression on an editor.

1. The less the better.

Editors are bogged down at cons looking through a lot of portfolios.  When they open up your portfolio they'll size you up in about 5 seconds on your first couple of pages: good or bad.  I suggest only 5 pages of sequential art showing a CONNECTED story of some kind, not bits and pieces of things you did over the years and certainly NO PIN-UPS.  Having a ton of crap in your portfolio won't change their mind but it will waste their time.  5 pages is more than enough for them to see whether you're ready or not (in their opinion) and it's a reasonable amount of artwork for them to look over and give it the attention you deserve.

2. Make it your best.

Drawing up 5 pages should be FUN.  It shouldn't be daunting.  If it's daunting then you shouldn't be trying to break in at all.  But a lot of wannabes won't figure that out for a while.

Pick a character you like, put him into a scene of some kind that shows off some storytelling and backgrounds, and have fun.  Trust me, it's very rarely that you'll get to do whatever you want in this biz so when it comes to these pages, live it up.  Don't try to create your written-in-your-head-since-you-were-a-kid epic in 5 pages; just something small that will fit the bill.  Draw your backgrounds well and fill in your blacks.  Try to nail a bunch of different types of shots.  Be aware to show everyday people, cities, cars, trees, etc--but don't throw things in that are out-of-place because then it'll FEEL like a portfolio submission, if that makes sense.

3. Shut the hell up.

Having an editor look at your stuff will suck.  The silence in the air as they flip through your art is a lot to take.  Yes, it's natural to want to say something, defend your work or explain why you had such a hard time with a certain shot.  Trust me—just shut up and wait till he/she's done and then talk calmly, positively, and be proud of your work.  No excuses will help you.

Here's a secret: no one likes his owns stuff.  At least not during a review.  Pointing out the mistakes in your art makes you look nervous, self-defeating and incompetent.  Would you act that way around a girl at a bar?  Probably, which is why you're a comic geek with no date.

If you're asked a direction question like "why did you choose this angle" then give him your REASON, not your EXCUSE and make it brief.  If he points out something he doesn't like (like your bad perspective for example) don't make excuses for why it's correct.  If he's seeing a problem then there's probably a problem.  Just suck it up, nod your head and ask him for advice on how to fix it and then bitch about it later.  (And write his name down and remember him.  When you see him next for your next review, remind him of the conversation you had last time and point out what you did to try and improve.  He'll be flattered that you remembered.)

Your words are like your art: less is more.  And editors like someone who's malleable and not a prick.

4. No funky panels.

Overlapping panels, hovering panels, odd shaped panels or whatever you call them are usually a sign of an amateur.  There is definitely a time a place for them (I use them more and more) but there should be GOOD reasons for it, not just you trying to act all cool with your triangle-shaped panels (which, during the submission period of your life, usually brings your storytelling to a halt).

5. If you've been published let them know.

It's to your advantage if they see you've been published before.  It shows that you completed a task, worked with an editor (of some kind) and got past that first step in getting to your goal: ultimate comic book god.

6. Remember them, keep in contact but don't bother them.

Check in from time to time.  Editors are busy but part of their job is finding new guys.  Don't bother them or get nervous when they don't write back the next day.  Just email them again in a few months with some jpgs of your new stuff.  They don't owe you anything so don't feel entitled to a whole lot of attention at first.

7. Take a small portfolio.

You don't need originals and you don't need to bring that huge, black rectangle your mom bought when you hit a con.  Reduce the art and print out copies and put that in a nice, SMALL portfolio that won't weigh you down.  Besides, the art looks better when it's smaller.  Also, leave copies orf you 5 page sample with whoever will take one.  Make sure your contact info it on there as well and a website if you got one.  Websites are a REALLY good thing so find a way.

8. Take a shower, jerk.

This goes for EVERYONE at cons who I have to smell when they walk by.  Have some god damn self-respect and put something on.  Look like a professional and wear deodorant.  Don't where a Spider-Man silk shirt or come dressed as a Wookie.  You don't want to look like a fan but a professional who's about something more important in life.  A suit and tie is a little much but at least you'll stand out.


1. If you can ink well, then ink it.

There are some people that think that if you want to be a penciller, then show your pencils.  If you want to ink, then show some ink on other people's pencils.  And that's all true.  But I wanted to do both because I knew I was fast enough to hit a deadline without some asshole inking my shit wrong.  In the gray world of comic book portfolios, black inks stands out like, well, black ink.  If you COMPETENT enough doing both then it's unlikely an editor will tell you to show him both pencils and inks or try to split you up into one of the two jobs.

2. Drawing certain characters for certain companies?  Don't worry about it.

I heard once that Marvel wants to see a submission with one of their characters, and that's not true.  If they tell you that then don't listen.  If you have killer Batman pages and show it to a Punisher editor, he's not going to care that it's not the Punisher.  The only certainty in this business is that good art speaks for itself and will break through boundaries like nothing else.  Besides, who has time to draw more than one 5 pager before a con?  Let's be realistic.  Show it to as many editors as you can until it hurts.

Don't bother showing your Batman submission to indy companies, though.  Indy comics is another world from mainstream which few can bridge.  If you draw mainstream they'll tend to shun you, like you don't understand their love-now-lost boy-books and the funky art inside.  (And I'm allowed to criticize it because I'm at least 50% indy guy.)

That's all I can think of.  Hope it helps.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: The Jam
  • Reading: The God Dilusion
  • Watching: History Channel
I try not to give unsolicited advice to people.  I think if someone wants to know something then they'll ask.  If you simply volunteer information that you know in the form of advice, I feel like you're setting yourself up for resentment.  It's rude to assume that you know something and that other people don't know.

However, I do get a lot of questions from people looking for advice on what they should do if they want to draw comics.  It's enough that I'd rather post something instead of repeating myself.  

But please, feel free not to read further.  These are only my opinions and things that have worked for me.  And it's I would do if I had to do it all again.

1. Work on your craft.  Always work on your craft, even after you feel like you might have "made" it.  Trust me, you've never "made" it even when it seems like you're set.  Never be too stubborn to try something new.  Never be afraid to try something that doesn't work.  Take chances.  Allow yourself to draw poorly.  If you're finding it hard to stay motivated by working long hours alone or you're easily distracted by your XBOX then comics might not be for you.  

(Another note: most people who read comics want to draw them as well.  Plus there are those who want to draw them that don't bother buying them anymore ((like I was)).  So think of it like this: most people who buy your comic are looking to use your style and storytelling to learn from so that they can, basically, compete with you one day.  There's so much competition, in fact, that it allows publishers to pay you practically nothing.  You may spend a lot of time in the stage of indy press working with small time people and their small time drama.  It has nothing to do with art and it sucks…but that's the way it is.)

2. Surround yourself with people that do what you like.  Go to shops.  Go to cons.  Make friends.  Create history with other artists and writers.  It will fuel your motivation and keep you sharp and sometimes even help your style.  Don't make friends with people whose stuff you don't like.  Don't be dishonest and use them to help you get a leg up.  But it's good to make friends with people whom you respect who are already getting published because they can help you out in many ways.  And maybe one day (but don't expect it) they'll pass on a gig and mention YOU to their editor.  But regardless, we can all use more friends.

3. Get out of the basement and move to the city.  Comic are (should be considered) art, and art is about being influenced by your surroundings.  Art is in reaction to things that happen, and things don't happen in your mom's basement.  Move to a city, get a roommate, sweat your bills, make connections, go to parties and spread yourself around.  It's all about odds and the odds are against you if you move home after art school.

4. I'm bigger on this one than most artists are but I strongly believe it: learn how to write.  Even if you don't plan on being a writer, it can help you recognize a bad script, improve your own storytelling or give you ideas toward doing a creator owned book one day.  It can only increase your odds.

A lot of "writers" in comics don't know how to write.  If someone wants to pitch something and pay you back end then that means you won't get paid until the writer finds a publisher, puts the books out, sells the book and then receives money after he subtracts the cost of publishing.  It could take a long time to get your money (whatever money there is) and there's always the chance the writer will screw you and not pay you anything.  Any why would you split the profits 50/50 with someone when it takes them a week to write a script when it takes you two months to draw it?  You're taking the risk, not them.  And if they're serious about their story idea then they should offer you something.  Even if it's $100 for a whole book.  Come on, ANYONE can afford to pay you SOMETHING if they really believe they'll make money eventually anyway.  If they don't want to then something's wrong.

Or, if you know how to write (at least better than the "writers"), why not spend a week on something of your own and cut out the middleman.  There's less chance of drama if you're the only one involved.

5. It's good to have influences but be careful about ripping people off.  Looking at another artist from time to time to see how they handle drawing hands is fine, but if you constantly have a Travis Charest book open while you work then you're only hurting yourself.  

Drawing from someone else means you're making an interpretation of an interpretation.  Art should be an interpretation of real life.  Use your thoughts and experiences and make something that no ones else can.  Even if you do manage a really good Charest style your career will only be on the tails of Charest and what kind of legacy is that?  Other artists won't respect you, although a lot of young readers might. Readers will like you or hate you but don't think about it either way.  You want respect from yourself and the artists that YOU respect (because they're like a mirror of you).  

6.  Save your money.  Cut down on your bills.  Make it last.  Money from comics comes in waves so you should be good with money.

7.  It's tempting to draw and post and get that instant feeling of accomplishment from your friends on Deviant but that's not enough to make a career.  Your success will depend on your entire plan of attack and on how much you're willing to sacrifice in order to make it.

Hope this helps.  Sorry to get preachy.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: The Jam
  • Reading: The God Dillusion
  • Watching: History Channel
Han Solo v. Indiana Jones

Such a fight wouldn't be possible.  Once the two Harrison Fords touched they would "timecop", a phenomenon from the movie Timecop that shows the impossibility of the same person in different times being able to occupy the same space.  Basically the Fords would mash together in a jelly-like motion and die.

Chewie v. Bigfoot

This is ridiculous.  Bigfoot doesn't exist.  Those northwestern rednecks have yet to produce one shred of scientific proof.  Ripping the hair off your dog and sending to UCLA with a cast of your cousin's huge foot doesn't prove a thing so give it up.  Let's face it: if Bigfoots existed they wouldn't be as smart as humans because humans are smart enough to build things like guns.  And if Bigfoots existed, a human hunter would have killed one by now, dropping him to the forest floor like the sack of lies he is.  Chewie, on the other hand, existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.  So there can never be any proof that he DIDN'T exist.  Therefore he did.

Dr. Grant v. the Loch Ness Monster

Again, this doesn't make sense.  Dr. Grant (Jurassic Park) wouldn't be interested in killing the Loch Ness Monster because he's a scientist, and scientists don't kill things.  Especially things that don't exist.  But, for the sake of argument, let's say the Loch Ness Monster did exist and Grant was in a boat waiting for him.  Grant would lose because the monsters vision would be based on movement, and it's impossible to sit in a boat without it moving around a little, therefore the monster's target would be clear and Grant would be dead.

Picard v. Luke Skywalker

Picard.  All the way.  Luke stands for hope, adventure, and the point of his journey is that he becomes a man.  Now put him up against a man: Picard.  Picard stands for science.  And science is based off of fact.  Fact always defeats things based off of hope.  Picard would manhandle Luke and hit him with his owns fists while yelling "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.  Engage!"

Batman v. Superman

I'd like to say Batman because he's the underdog.  I'd like to believe that Bruce Wayne, a symbol for the triumph of what the human spirit can achieve given training, hard work, and exercise, would somehow overpower a kid from another planet who didn't do crap to get his powers (other that drool all over himself in a space pod that his parents put him in to get him to Earth).  But Superman would destroy Batman and there's no way around it.  No amount of startling people or appearing behind someone in the dark would save Bruce Wayne from Superman tearing him to pieces at the speed of thought.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Books on CDs
  • Reading: Spider Man 2099
  • Watching: History Channel
Hey all.  

Just to let you know I'll have a table at the New York Comic Con (April 18-20).  I don't know if I'll be doing sketches (bit tired lately), but I'm always up for a chat or you can check out the original art I'll bring with me.  I don't know the table but I'll be next to Dustin Nguyen.

Also I'll be at Wizard Philly with a table, and maybe San Diego.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Books on CDs
  • Reading: Spider Man 2099
  • Watching: History Channel