Sunday, March 16, 2014

MIRACLEMAN

So, with Marvel finally reprinting the 80's "Miracleman", I've finally gotten to see what the fuss has been about all these years and I'm digging the book. Hence this new piece just in time for Megacon.


Friday, January 31, 2014

The Making of "The Wellkeeper" Poster

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

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

STEP 1: The Idea

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

STEP 2: The Rough Pencils

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

STEP 3: Colored Inking

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

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

STEP 4: Sepia Inking

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

And the green for the grass, etc.

STEP 5: Finished Inks

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

STEP 6: Watercolors

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

STEP 7: Watercolors Cont.

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

STEP 8: Colored Pencils & White Gel Pens

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

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

STEP 9: The Finishing Touches

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

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

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

That all said, I hope you dig it!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

TALES FROM THE PERHAPS

From the twisted noggin of master comics scribe, Todd Dezago and some guy who draws stuff, comes an incredible 10 page adventure from the universe of THE PERHAPANAUTS!

Check it out today! 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"The Wellkeeper" Convention Schedule!


If you're like me, then you LOVE getting your favorite comics from the creators themselves at one of the many awesome comic conventions out there! So if you're wondering just WHERE you can go to meet ME and pick up copies of "The WELLKEEPER", then this is the post for YOU!

MAY 4th
Free Comic Book Day at HEROES LANDING in Clermont, Fl!

JUNE 7th-9th

JULY 4th-7th

AUGUST 3rd-4th

AUGUST 23rd-25th

SEPTEMBER 21st

That's SIX unique opportunities to get copies of the Wellkeeper signed, get commissioned sketches, check out original art and meet awesome comic artists! Be there and say "hi!"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stores that carry "The Wellkeeper"!


Until recently, the only place to physically go to buy copies of "The Wellkeeper" has been from me directly at comic conventions that I attend. And while the series is completely available for order online,  I know a LOT of folks really prefer going to the comic shop and picking up their books themselves. And with that in mind, folks here in Florida now have a few new places to go to get their hands on the entire series thus far SIGNED!

In the Tampa Bay area? Then be sure to stop in to THE COMICS CLUB! There you can pick up copies of the first 7 issues signed and get your geek on. The Comics Club is located at 714 W. Lumsden Rd. Brandon, FL 33511

In the Central Florida region? Then there are a couple of awesome shops to scratch your "Wellkeeper" itch!

The first is HEROES LANDING! Located at 12348 Roper Blvd. Clermont FL, 34711, Heroes Landing was the first shop to carry the entire series and the trade paperback. (Which contains issues 0-4) Stop in and get your fix of all the adventure today! (Also signed by yours truly!)

And you can now get your hands all the issues, signed by myself, at the ever-excellent ACME SUPERSTORE in Longwood Florida! ACME is an amazing shop that's not to be missed.

And if you're a retailer that would like to get in on the action and introduce YOUR readers to the excitement of the Wellkeeper, drop me a line and let me know at derrickfish@gmail.com today! Thanks and keep reading!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doing your own thing


About a month ago, I read a weird conversation on Facebook concerning a couple of comic creators and their fans arguing back and forth about issues of censorship and lots of “keeping it real” talk. I’m not going to name drop, but I was somewhat inspired to write a little blog post of my own because it made me think. 

The one creator had sold his creation the the other creator, and the argument was centered around the new owner not “getting” the creation in question… of writing a watered down version to appeal to a broader audience and how that wasn’t “keeping it real”. 

Without simply rehashing the entire discussion, I’m just going to talk about what it made me think about concerning creator rights and ownership. Years ago, when I was fresh out of school, the only thing I wanted to do was draw Spider-Man. I was chomping at the proverbial bit to draw for Marvel or DC on one of the many characters I loved growing up. I was drawing page after page of samples trying to “break in” and it was going about the same as a bazillion other stories. Lots of rejection letters for a while and for a while more a few really encouraging letters pushing me forward.

Then an editor at Marvel sent me a sample script of a 6 page sequence from an existing Spidey script to test me out. I was making progress and getting further along and did my level best to knock it out of the park. I submitted my pages and got yet another “good but not good enough so keep at it” letters and was crushed. Then I made a mistake. I went out and bought the actual comic this script was from. It sucked. It was drawn by an established artist and it was a hot mess. The anatomy was terrible. The storytelling was all over the place. I couldn’t believe that my pages were nit picked and slammed and the actual pages that were published were terrible. And I’m not saying this simply out of ego but some degree of empirical knowledge of what does and doesn’t look good. And I was fairly fed up. I gave up trying to break into comics that day and haven’t turned back since.

I had already established myself as a graphic designer and illustrator professionally at that point and chose to continue in that field where I work to this day. Of course, I still draw comics. But since that day, I decided to draw my OWN comics. Was it partly out of depression and disillusionment with the system and the rules of “making it” in the industry? Absolutely. Do I regret it? Not one little bit.
See, I LOVE comics. I love reading them and love MAKING them. I love telling stories with art more today then I ever have. And that love is ultimately what I decided to protect.
As a graphic designer, I work for hire. I draw what I’m paid to draw and I do what I’m told. Even if I think my first drawing was perfect, I’ll re-draw it over and over to make my client happy. And usually, the final piece (in my opinion) never looks as good as the first piece I submitted, but as a graphic designer and illustrator, I’m being paid to do what my clients want, not to satisfy my own creative drives or artistic integrity. 
Which is why I create my OWN comics. Because I decided that I was starting to hate drawing samples. I was starting to hate second guessing every line. I was starting to hate changing panels, line weights and camera choices for arbitrary reasons I often disagreed with. And I realize that I’m not some kind of comics god, but I also don’t give a rat’s ass. I love comics. And I love MAKING comics and I’ll be damned if one of the biggest passions in my life ever becomes a painful chore because some editors or publishers or bosses want to give me shit or make me change what I want to do creatively in my own damn books. And that can’t happen because I do my own thing.

Maybe if I played by the rules and allowed myself to be broken, I could be drawing comics for a living and not have to split my time between graphic design and comics, but then I wouldn’t love comics as much anymore. It would become a real JOB. 

So I self-publish. Currently, The Wellkeeper sells enough at conventions to support itself and pay for the conventions and the printing and a little more. It’s not a job but it’s not just pizza money. Am i investing more in my TIME then it’s worth financially? Probably. But I really don’t care. I’d be drawing these comics even if I wasn’t self-publishing them. I’d be drawing them if only me and my fiancee were the only people reading them. And right now, nobody can tell me to change anything. No publisher can tell me that “Comics with fat girls as leads don’t sell. Make Zoe skinny.” No editor can tell me to draw less cartoony. No higher-up can make me change a line and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Getting it out there.

I'm of the opinion that if more folks KNEW about "The Wellkeeper", then more folks would be into it. But like an awful lot of self-publishers out there, I don't have the resources to buy lots of advertising and promotional stuff. As such, it's up to grass roots efforts, social media and word of mouth.

But there's more I need to do on my own end that I need to take more seriously. I need to start talking about the comic more. Not just with incessant Facebook posts, but in places new people will hear about it. I need to hit more podcasts. I need to hit more blogs, Forums, Groups, Etc.

I just wrapped up another Megacon and it was my best year to date. Lots of new folks picked up the new issue and it was a blast. I'll also be at HEROES CON In Charlotte, NC. in June. FLORIDA SUPERCON in Miami in July and PALMCON in September.

I'll be at FREE COMIC BOOK DAY at Heroes Landing in Clermont, Fl. this upcoming May too.

But I need to expand beyond the local shows. I need to expand beyond just the comic book market. The book has a broad fantasy appeal. I need to look into fantasy shows. Ren fairs. Art shows. Everything.

I really want to move this thing to another level this year and can use all the help I can get. Any ideas?