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16 September 2011 @ 03:11 pm
Digital color match proofs of select pages for Book 1

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I couldn't afford a full set of color proofs, so I worked with the printer to select key pages on each signature to match to on press. This photo doesn't do the color of these justice.
"Wet proof" of the endpapers for the hard cover (PMS 8860 metallic over PMS 1795)

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Oh my goodness, this whole book thing is really going to happen, isn't it?
 
 
 
11 June 2011 @ 11:42 pm


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I've been saving this as a signal that the book is finally on its way to the printer.

As an apology and thank you for this whole process taking two months later than I than anticipated, I will be sending a print of the full wrap around art–without logo, etc–to everyone who has pre-ordered this book. I will also be providing free access to a pdf and/or cbr file of the book to the same. And maybe one other gift if I can source it for a reasonable cost.

I will closing pre-orders on the 21st of this month, when the cost of the book will rise from $25.00 to $26.50 USD. I won't be offering the custom dice beyond pre-orders and probably not the kerchiefs either.

This also means that I will soon be updating Book 2 again! I'm aiming to resume on a regular basis on the 21st of this mont, but that is dependent on my fulfilling of other obligations first, including finishing the spot coloring of Hope Larson's upcoming graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.

I will give further updates on the ETA of the printed books as I get confirmation from the printer.
 
 
 


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Continuation of my basic drawing process that I began here. And pretty much what the title of this post says.

Though I try to work on the entire drawing, developing it all as a whole, certain parts are more developed than others, with the Griffen being the most refined at this point. I usually pick a person or object to work up first, one which'll be a good key to light and color quality.

One thing harder to see is me shifting the colors somewhat, nor did I document rejected shading.

Next post will be Stage 3: Textures, patterns and effects.
 
 
 
As I wrap up the production files for the print version of Dicebox: Book 1 : Wander, I've decided to share my current art process to compensate for sporadic page updates. This'll specifically follow me making a stand alone illustration, but a lot of the steps hold true for how I approach comics.

The piece in question is the art for the cover spread for the Asides, those fill-in comics that I was lucky enough to have folks gift me when I needed a break from Dicebox. As you might have noticed, I don't really have fill-ins anymore; my impetus for doing them was initially due to me being on a subscription site, Girlamatic and I figured paying customers deserved regularly scheduled entertainment. I continued to have them after leaving Girlamatic as that was the current expectation of a webcomics audience. Nowadays, with the general acceptance of RSS feeds and social media as aggregators, folks are more forgiving of a fumbled update (even if I am not). Also, I don't intend to take that much time off during parts anymore and I'm certainly not planning to have another kid.

Anyway, let's begin:



Click above image for slightly larger view.



Above is Stage 0, the rough sketch of an idea. This is a pretty elaborate rough sketch for me, but as this started life a cover concept for Book 1 and–though I liked the potential of the illustration– was iffy about it as a cover. So I sent it around to the usual suspects for feedback and got confirmation that it was a nice idea for a picture, but not a cover. It was during this process that I had the epiphany that it was actually the Asides cover spread in the print edition of Book 1 (silly me).

The entertaining white gap running vertically in the middle is me realizing the bed was too short and hence extending it.



Click above image for slightly larger view.



In Stage 1 you see the beginnings of final line art and initial color blocking. It's common for me to take the line art to a nearly finished point and then block in the basic color shapes so I can see how the basic composite is shaping up and to help me spot any drawing problems. The rougher line art indicates what wasn't working for me and where I started to extend it vertically.

Also, obviously, I've flopped the drawing. I actually liked it better this way from the get go and as I want to put the title and intro paragraph on the right hand page, it was a win-win situation.

This illustration is actually beyond this point in refinement, but not quite at Stage 2: Final line art and initial rendering. Which'll be my next entry here in a few days.
 
 
 
15 February 2011 @ 10:16 am


This here is the line art for the tip-in plate for Book 1 included in pre-order packages "the Sweet" on up. It will be letter pressed and then hand colored in watercolor by yours truly. I'll most likely do test colors to share here later this week.
 
 
 
11 February 2011 @ 09:32 am


Prototypes of the Rafferty kerchief in Family Yellow and Auxiliary Red (not show: Boss White). Personal verdict? Pretty darn pleased. Looks pretty swell in action as well, as my lovely model Dylan Meconis demonstrates below.



Like the dice, these will be available only during pre-orders for Book 1 of Dicebox. Included in the "Swank" package on up, there is also an option to add the Rafferty Kerchief to any other package. Or buy an extra, whichever.
 
 
 
08 February 2011 @ 03:36 pm


I got a short test run of the custom Wander Dice, and I must say I am pleased. Naturally, I had to re-enact the patterns I had mocked up previously.



I find the detail on the Poppy particularly delightful.



As you all probably know by now, these are available only during pre-orders for Book 1 of Dicebox. But you probably didn't know that I have added an option to add these to any pre-order package. Ditto for the Rafferty Kercheif.
 
 
 
28 January 2011 @ 12:33 pm
Way back when doing Part 7 of Book 1, "Pots and Pans," I created a badging system for family organized factory workers known collectively as Sooners, specifically the Raffertys, Mare and her lot. I made a post about this badge–which takes the form of a head kerchief–in this journal, explaining the rudimentary code and inspiration for it.

Here's my original design:



Simple, to the point, perfect for my needs. Until I decided to actually produce this sucker as a full size kerchief as part of my pre-order packages. Then I went to town:



You can click here for a much larger view of this design.

variations beneath the cutCollapse )
 
 
 
21 January 2011 @ 12:59 pm


Here's a look at the design for the custom dice I am offering with some of the pre-order packages of Book 1 : Wander and only during the pre-order process. It'll be a set of 4, 2 of design A, one each of B and C.

My criteria for the design of this set was to keep the traditional dice pips there and readable while seeing what pictures I could make:



Next up: the fancifiying of the Rafferty kerchief for production.
 
 
 
05 December 2010 @ 07:53 am
So Dicebox got a write up on io9 yesterday, which was a completely delightful shock. It is a great review with the added bonus that the reviewer, Lauren Davis, picking up on those aspects most important to me, making me feel that I did my job as a storyteller. So I am a little ashamed that my first reaction was my, uh, dissatisfaction with the art of the sample pages she chose.

From a story angle, her selections are very rewarding. And understand that as I've been going through the rewriting and tweaking process on Book 1, I've gotten kinder towards my old art, finding most of it acceptable. (Do I still want to redraw everything? Yeah, but I wanna finish Dicebox even more and move on to the other stories rattling around my brain)

Of the seven examples chosen for the review, only one will stand as is. And two more will need only minor tweaks. But of the other four, one will be reincorporated into a rewrite of the scene and so redrawn, one needs everyone to get back on model, one is slated for a serious makeover and one has already been redrawn and recolored though not uploaded as I need to tweak the following pages to have it integrate.

But I'm actually not here to whine and moan about that. Heck, it tells me that I chose correctly on what some of the keys pages are. I'm here to show and go through why I chose to redo a page that contains a panel that is used over and over again as a positive example of the art of Dicebox. That being page 10 of Part 5, "Blood from a Stone."




(click a thumbnail for a larger view in new window)


On the left is the original page art, on the right, the revision.

I was never satisfied with the feel of this page, specifically I wanted more of a sense that the characters are in and surrounded by the space and for the plains they are walking across to be a significant presence. So I took the opportunity of being invited to a group show to rework this page, exploring how I could make it really work the way I wanted it to. Which is my criteria for the other couple of pages I plan to revamp, i.e. that they are somehow key pages and there is something I can learn in the redoing. After all, I always intended Book 1 as my journeyman project, what I would use to learn the craft of a cartoonist.

First thing I decided to do was make the first panel a background flood image to allow it to be an environment to the characters and the other panels. To aid this, I felt some indication of foreground was called for and so moved up the second panel to reveal some of it. This had the added bonus of suggesting motion between it and the next panel. Lastly, I decided to let the Griffen in the last panel break the frame for continued integration with both the background and the first rear view of her. Also as a mood break to accompany her comment.

And you probably notice the updating of the color palette and the increase of contrast, all things that I need to apply to the rest of this scene before I will upload this revision. Because, as happy as I am with the redo, I would find the disconnect too jarring and so be doing myself no favors.

*The title for this post comes from a response I made to Kevin Moore when he called me on my propensity to redo the same pages over and over again. He and many of my other friends are forever trying to break me of this filthy habit.