Sunday, December 12, 2010

The first bit of progress!

Before you get all excited: I did not actually do all these today. I *finished* work I had previously started. Even better, these are re-dos of work I had already done, so it's bonus work and no real progress has been made. Still, I'm happy to show it off! Feedback is greatly appreciated, as I will be turning these into finished pencils and at least one into a final inked page.

This assignment was the "fun" one of our Visual Storytelling class! We were tasked with designing two covers and we were allowed to use our own projects! I think everyone put extra oomph into their work for this one, because it was the first project that was fully theirs. I intend to oomph it up as well! You may not care about the backstories to the images, but I'm giving them to you anyway! (Click the images for a bigger version.)

I think every creative person has one massive epic tale in their head, and mine is Maquette. The story is a rumination on power, as it follows the leaders of a rapidly-modernizing (fantasy) society as they deal with a prophecy that claims the end of the world is at hand. The story gets its title because of the odd situation of the society. It exists in the only fertile area on an otherwise inhospitable planet. With a tradition of written history only going back a few generations, it's as if Maquette sprang out of the ground fully formed. To top it off, their holy scriptures contains a disputed note that may indicate the great saints used their massive power to create their own model society. Is that what Maquette is?

Anyway, I've put way too much time into this idea. As it sits now, I have 44 "episodes" outlined, with room to grow even further. For this project, I settled on episode 36, which centers around my favorite character, Annelise Ellen Rose. She's a ruthless bitch who will not let anything get between her and her goals, and this is a prime example. At this point in the story she has basically come back from the dead thanks to fortunate plot devices. (And magic!) She's been battered and bruised, has been robbed of most of her possessions and just found out she's the most wanted person in Maquette after her role in the so-called Witches Guild was outed. Being the badass she is, her reaction is to storm into the local police station and dare them to try and arrest her. That's where the cover scene comes in.

The changes between this cover and the original I drew are minimal. I increased the figure to break the border of the masthead, and cleaned up the way I drew the gears. I remain not the greatest at anatomy and figure drawing, so I'm not that satisfied with Annelise's depiction, but I'm slowly learning. Oh yeah, and for those not in the biz, the X's in the background indicate that area is black. Using them saves my finger some wear and tear at this stage.

While cover #1 was supposed to have a central figure, cover #2 was anything goes. For this one I decided to present my take on the whole superhero thing. (You might be surprised at this, but superheros are BIG in sequential art!) I give to you: The Utopians!

The story here is that we have a world in which supers are known to exist and they pop up here and there, with some time periods having flare ups in super activity. One of those flares took place in the mid-late 1970's, which peaked when a group of villains did a legion of doom sort of thing. The world cried out for saving, and, lo and behold, the Utopians appeared in a burst of clever marketing. Their promotional material made the claim that they were the 12 strongest supers to ever exist, and they certainly did wonders with cleaning up the villain mess - although people rarely saw Utopians in action. Supervillains were defeated. Organized crime was quashed. The Utopians were doing a great job... but that's about when they started killing politicians for corruption. Very quickly they went from saviors to holding the western world hostage. They were too strong and they weren't afraid to make examples out of people who crossed them. Eventually, a deal was struck and, for a great (and undisclosed) price, the Utopians agreed to go away forever. What followed was a dark age for supers, as either few existed or most kept their abilities secret out of fear of reaction from a snake-bitten public. Now, in the present, we focus on a man who is trying to bring back the superhero group with a cast of mildly-powered supers. Can he be successful, or will the legacy of The Utopians prove too much? (And did the Utopians *really* go away forever?)

For this cover, I wanted to show a splattering of the Utopian illustrated trading cards that were distributed. I went so far as to design each card on a separate page, so I knew what I could plug in when I arranged the falling pattern just right. I'm actually quite pleased with how this is coming out. The only big mistake is that I put in Hazel's card twice. One of the tiny cards should be a generic Utopian logo. There are a few tweaks to be made, like with spacing in the logo and tightening of some card designs, but I like where this is going.

Did you actually read through all that? If so, kudos to you! What do you think of my almost-progress? What should I change before it's too late?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm so excited! I'm so scared!!!

Look! Look! A page of sketches! It's not much, but it's more Precocious stuff than I've drawn in a loooong time.

What does this mean? It means I can do some light drawing and not DIE. What does THAT mean? It means nothing until I can prove that I can handle the drawing load that all my grad school make up work entails. That is where I'm scared. I'm already 5 days behind in my plan to catch up, and I'm not entirely certain I can handle this yet. Whatever. All I can do is try!

I'm starting out my road to recovery with simple stuff, like sketchbook work and Precocious. (Yes, compared to grad school, Precocious drawing is super easy.) If I get my concepts thumbnailed and ready to go, then I can ease into the big stuff next week. Doing the math, I need to average a page a day. That seems crazy right now, but each day I hope I can draw a little more. For now, I need to get myself disciplined and DO SOME RESEARCH! What I'm saying is... my holiday season is over. Chrispmas is cancelled. It's time to work.

So, yeah. Excited to be drawing again. Scared to death that.... *ahem* THERE'S NO TIME! THERE'S NEVER ANY TIME!

(Oh yeah... like the photo? It was taken by my NEW MACBOOK PRO! It's so shiny and awesome, I don't know what to do with it!)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The past and the future

The quarter has ended, and the plan was to get this blog going again once the first quarter at SCAD ended. Yeah, I had so many glorious plans. Work ahead! Copper Road! Do commissions! Study comics! TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

And then I blew out my finger.

I still have no idea why it happened. I'm a sequential artist! When *haven't* I drawn for hours and hours on end? Did I just draw wrong one day? All I know is that my finger ballooned up to three times its size around midterms, made me delirious with pain and ended up sending me to the emergency room. They took a x-ray, found nothing, decided to throw my finger in a splint, give me anti-inflammatory drugs and send me to a specialist. By the time I got my appointment with the specialist, the swelling had gone down but the finger remained sensitive. The specialist gave me steroids and said we'll wait and see. The finger got slightly better, but was still gimpy enough that I couldn't do my classwork. I'm falling further and further behind. I'm starting to panic. I go back to the specialist for an answer. His expert diagnosis: "I have no idea." God. Dammit.

It's been well over a month now, and my finger remains damaged for no good reason. I had to take an incomplete in all my classes, with the assumption my finger would clear up so I could do the work before the break was over. I've had to scale back Precocious' drawing over and over, and now it looks like I'm going on a guest strip hiatus until I heal. If I ever heal. How did these wonderful SCAD times end up going so wrong? Bah! Bah, I say!

So that's the horrible past - what's the horrible future? I... I'm not really sure.

I've shut my finger down completely, meaning no drawing for at least another week. I hope and pray that stretch of time will be enough for healing, as I have that scary pile of make-up work to do and time is running out! Once I resume activity, the obvious blog solution will be to post my make-up work here as I do it. You can finally see my attempts to be a FOR REALS sequential artist! The only downside is blogging here could cause lots of double-posting to Facebook if I also set up a "critique me and help me get better" work folder there. This could all be avoided if the blog-facebook posting thingy was at all reliable! Bah again! We'll see...

When I start drawing again, I also have a pile of Precocious work to do. I have a long-overdue painting to finish. I have some Precocious art to do. I have to design some prints for a donation drive. I also have to actually DO Precocious comics at some point. *cough* That stuff should mostly be bloggable.

So, yeah... The blog will resume activity soon - somehow! (Just not for another week or so, due to the shutdown finger thing.) I'll have such a massive pile of work to do for the next TWO YEARS that I should have no shortage of things to share. I just need to get in the habit of SHARING my art, not hiding it from the world because IT IS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH. This should be less of a conflict as I improve my skills. In theory. Crud, I hope so.

When blogging resumes, I'll put an announcement up on the Precocious site. Until then, live in a state of anxious limbo. LIKE ME!

(Damn you, finger!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A small SCAD update!

I apologize for going silent everywhere. I owe so many people emails, and I swear I'll try to get to them all soon. Why have I gone silent? Simple. SCAD IS KICKING MY BUTT! I'm in Sequential Art boot camp - "intensive" courses meant to bring us outsider grads up to speed - and they aren't kidding around.

Everything I'm doing is stuff I've never really done before, and it's all vital to learn. It's good that I'm getting it, but bad that I'm not *getting* it as fast as I want to. Since this is basically an entire undergrad degree crammed into two months, one little hiccup means I start falling behind. I've let a lot of things fall away while I fight to get back on pace with things.

I meant to use this blog to post coursework and whatnot, to keep updates coming, but the workload has been so overwhelming I keep forgetting to share. Well, I'll share now!

The in-progress piece here - click it to see if full-sized - is project one for the drawing strategies class, and I've completely botched it. The concept is simple enough: An indoor composition with four or more figures. The subtext is where it gets you. This is the introduction piece; the one that defines you. It's mean to show understanding of interiors, lighting, black and white handling, composition, perspective and basic drawing skill. Yeah, I'm WAY out of practice with ALL OF THAT. I'm letting my worries get to me and it's been mental block city.

I've had multiple false starts, and now I'm at the point where I have to run with what I have. What do I have? A composition telling the story of me botching the project. We have cartoon Chrispys representing my various mental states hovering around a pathetically unfurnished room reacting to my failure to hit one of the ballpark with the first assignment. I'm going down with this one, but at least I'll do it with metahumor.

Oh well, this is why I'm boot camp, after all. I *don't* know everything yet, and this composition will give an accurate view into my state of development. I'm not pleased with starting out so low, but that's where I begin. It's only one project, and I'll have the rest of the quarter to right my wrongs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The apartment tour

Wow, I totally spaced on getting this post up. I apologize. For those who care, enjoy the before and after photos of my new apartment. I'll *try* to do a grad school first impression post either tomorrow or Thursday.

But anyway, enjoy the tour!

I'll start by giving a basic layout, as best as I can explain. (I should have sketched a floor plan, but whatever.) When you enter, you are in the skinny, teeny kitchen, which is the hall the connects everything.

I don't have a "before" shot of this, because how much difference is there really? Do note the brand new fridge, obtained after the first two were duds. I love it muchly! Fridge aside, there's nothing too fancy here.

Moving on! Upon entering my apartment, if you look to the left you will see... the master bedroom! It's the biggest room in the joint:

Oooh. Ahhh. But, yanno what? I don't want it to be my bedroom! It's right next to the hall and you can hear every bit of movement. My goal for having this spiffy place so close to the Sequential Art building is for it to become a bit of a place to hang out. Thus, I declare this room to be the ENTERTAINMENT ROOM!

...and the studio, since I quickly found out that the original studio room was devoid of entertainment. I need something on TV to distract the stupid part of my brain while I work, so in goes the drafting table and lightbox!

These photos are already dated, as I have since hooked up my video games (to never be used!) and installed a futon, WHICH WAS THE HARDEST THING EVER TO DO THAT WASN'T GRAD SCHOOL RELATED.

Anyway, this entertainment room is off on its own, so we walk back to the kitchen and follow the path to the LIVING ROOM!

This was originally the studio, but that window proved less than entertaining. So what was I to do with it?

Welcome to the I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS room! It contains my library, the closet I constructed (as the apartment came closet-free) and the beloved sexagon coffee table. It will still fill its original studio role for when I (finally) get back to painting.

Anyway, once in this room, if you hang a left you reach what was meant to be the second bedroom - but I've bumped it up to number one!

How could I resist the lone shelf in the place? A BED MUST GO BENEATH IT!

Ta-dah! The bedroom has proven nice and cozy. The only downside is if I play music (softly, so as not to disturb anyone upstairs), I might not be able to hear anyone knocking on the front door. Eh, if they need me they'll knock louder. I *like* my bedroom.

And, finally, if you had taken a right in the whatever-it-is room, you would reach my tiny bathroom. It is a bathroom, and I probably shouldn't have ended my tour with it, but HERE WE ARE!

There, you now have experienced my apartment life in pictures. Your life is better for it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The big studio

As you can see, I gave in. The drafting table has been moved to the entertaining room, so now I can work to the joys of HD sports and whatnot.

I can make this work! When I get my futon, there is enough space for it behind the table - plus, I can sit on it while AT the table! So long tiny mini studio chair! When I have guests over, or when I want to get my video game on, I can always fold up the table and move it to the side.

I tried to break in the new studio setup today, but results were mixed. I'm still out of practice with comic making and it shows. I also keep wanting to break away to check the Internet - which A) I don't have yet, and B) means trekking across the entirety of my apartment if I did have it. That's inconvinient. As for comics themselves, my accomplishment of the day was scripting the next three weeks of strips and starting on the lettering. I was hoping to get to some sketching, but the muse wasn't with me. Tomorrow then?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The mini studio

I went through all the trouble of bringing my drafting table down to Savannah, and now I ignore it in favor of ad hock mini studio! Why? Because mini studio can be placed in front of the tv! Drafting table (which is stuck facing the windows in the "art" room) you are demoted to potential dinner table!

In other news, after all this upheavel, I am finally sitting down to cartoon again. This is good timing, as my buffer is all but gone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 3, 2010

The waiting game

First off, I'd like to thank the iPhone blog ap for deleting everything I had written because I got a call mid-typing. The other aps remember their stuff, dammit! (I told you blogging on the phone was a pain!)

Anyway, I'm blogging because I am waiting on the final pieces of my apartment to arrive and it is BORING. Yes, I could fill the time being creative, in theory, but I'm still a little sick and my energy level is low - especially after two nights of uneven floor sleeping.

So instead I whine! Idiot bro has still not arrived, but he's closing in. (So he says.) I can only hope a parking space is available when he gets here.

But that's not all I'm waiting on! If you were wondering what the picture is of, that would be the interior of my freezer. My broken freezer. Attached to my broken fridge. So I must wait for a replacement fridge to arrive! With any luck, the fridge and my bro will arrive at the same time and cause chaos on the road! I'm actually quite impressed at how quickly this situation has been handled.

And there's one more vital wait on: I still don't have my key to the outside door! I was told it was coming with the fridge. I was also told I would get it first thing this morning, so yeah. Since I have the key to the other side of the building, it's not too terrible, just a bit inconvinient.

Once I get all that stuff, I should finally be free to go explore the downtown! Maybe I will take my laptop in hopes of borrowing some wifi! That's all I really want right now.

Anyway, this post adds nothing to the universe, and may even detract from it. I'm just blathering about my day to kill an hour before the fun begins. I'm still thrilled with being down here and still smiling! (And I'll be smiling when I beat my bro senseless for making me wait a extra 24 hours to get my stuff.)

Edit: the new fridge arrived before this entry finished posting! Sweet! And I'm told the key is on the way. They treat you right down here!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm in Savannah!

Pictured: my bed and desk. Oh wait.

This move started out with such promise. I got up early and had as smooth a drive down as could be expected. Once in Savannah, I managed to snag a (metered) parking spot right next to my apartment. The door was open and my new home was waiting for me!

Day two (today) has not been as smooth, thanks to the comic stylings of my idiot brother. We trusted him with getting the uhaul truck full of my things down to Savannah. As you can tell by the picture, he failed miserably. Long story short: He did everything wrong and I'm stuck sleeping on the floor again.

Today has been a day of false starts, and crossed wires. It has played out like a Frasier episode crossed with Waiting for Godot. Except it's not entertaining - unless me constantly looking out the window to check for meter maids is hilarious to you.

I have a lot of adjustment to do down here. For one, I have no internet! All wifi signals here are protected! (Only the iPhone's 3G keeps me alive.) This means that, until I get connected, I'll have to hike to a coffee shop or something if I want to upload a strip or update the website. That likely means Precocious will update *sometime* during the day instead of at midnight. Sorry about that. Another casualty of limited connectivity? Blogging. It's a pain in the rear to type this all out on this tiny screen!

But it's still Savannah! This has been my dream forever! I look forward to tomorrow with bright shiny eyes!

My idiot brother *should* arrive tomorrow. (We'll see.) I may yet find a convinient and non-metered place to park! (Good luck with that.) I may even get to leave the apartment and explore the maze that is my building! (And maybe even step out and explore the city!)

Dare to dream!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Packing it in for the move

Let's make it official! No more bloggery until I'm in Savannah. (And maybe not until I've settled in a bit.)

I move Wednesday and I've fallen WAY behind in packing. Time to concede that I won't be getting any art done in the next few days. I have packed nearly all of my art supplies to remove any distraction I may have. It sucks and makes me feel bad, but the attempt at juggling only resulted in me doing a bad job across the board. Let's see if a refocused approach will get these tables cleared and bags packed. Three days left to pack and so much to do. Holy heck. It doesn't help that all I want to do right now is sleeeeeeeeeeep.

This whole moving thing is crazy. We're not even certain HOW my stuff is going to get to Savannah yet. I'm leaving that up to the family. They can figure it out! All I know is I'll pack as much key stuff as possible into my tiny, tiny Corolla. The rest will be transported by my brother, so I have to assume there's a high chance of it being consumed in a fiery wreck. I'm also not sure about what furniture is coming to me. As of now, the futon and bed are going to stay here so worthless bro has furniture and can deadbeat in style. This means new stuff for me! I think they want me to help pick it out, but I really don't care! As long as it's decent, I'm happy. Just show up at my door Thursday or Friday with a bed and futon. I don't want to worry about that right now! It's probably not the wisest approach to go the "surprise me!" method, but that's how I roll. The time for careful planning is over. PANIC PACKING IS IN!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another sketchbook defeated!

These sketches aren't fancy, but they are significant as they are the final sketches to fit in the latest sketchbook. It's always a good day when I finish one of these buggers!

Usually, I like to go and do a "best of the rest" and share some sketches that didn't make the blog, but there wasn't much for this one. Most of this book was already-seen prep sketches for comics and commissions, with some character grinding mixed in. By "grinding" I mean I pick a character and draw them over and over with increased speed to test my muscle memory. It's good practice, but the results aren't really publishable.

In the end, there were very little "for the heck of it" sketches in this one, which is both good and bad. Good: It means I've been working on the main stuff instead. Bad: Without those sketches, this blog suffers. (I assume I will have more sketch time once this stressful move is done. Plus, the school thing will force me to sketch!)

I do need to get into the habit of sketching again. It's always good to get an hour of drawing in a day, and I used to do that and more! What changed? Well, focus shifted to the BIG STUFF. If I'm comicking every day, I might not be sketching too. A better balance must be achieved.

Now, if I'm sketching, that's almost a bad sign because I'm not being actively productive. Sketching has turned into something I use to burn off nervous energy. If I can't get my brain in order to do something productive, I will pull out the sketchbook and try to whip myself into shape. The crazier I get, the more sketches are made! Thus, me saying that I'm already four pages into the new sketchbook should be taken as a bad sign. I AM SUPPOSED TO BE DOING A BILLION OTHER THINGS RIGHT NOW! I move in less than a week and I'm doing studies on Bud's ears? Priorities, Chrispy!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Grrl Power

Ta-dah! I finished something! (Pending approval, of course.) It only took a MONTH longer than normal. Obviously, this was due to the move/grad school panic - and commission man knew it would be delayed going in - but I still feel bad it took this long.

Now I move on to the long-term Dionne/Autumn commission. I'd like to get it done before I move, so that gives me a week to finish it. NO MORE EXCUSES, CHRISPY!

On west coast time, I'm good!

Bad: Missed the midnight deadline. Good: Because I was working a commission! This bugger is taking far longer than expected. Colored pencil takes time. Having to use several layers of colored pencil for each section increases the time fivefold! This is why shading is evil! I'm never doing it again! Ok, so it's not just shading. I also don't have a good variety of brown pencils, so Suzette requires a lot of blending. (I went out and bought a ton of gray pencils though, so any Yvette/Max commissions are covered now!) Hey, she did come out looking nice, though! I wish I had time to finish up the background and lettering areas, but bedtime comes too soon.

No promises on finishing this tomorrow! While it will be nice to get one commission out of the way - if only so I can officially pack my art supplies away - I have plans. It all depends on if I can get a good night's sleep tonight. Those things are hard to come by!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This page is the key to the future. Maybe.

Yes, yes, I know I should be working on commissions today. I finally got my comic buffer large enough to cover my move and that means the only art things holding me back ARE those commission. BUT, there is one complication: I AM A ZOMBIE! I pulled an all-nighter last night to help reset my wayward sleep schedule and that means I am completely worthless today. This is bad news on many fronts, as I had lots of errands to run today too. Oh well, THAT'S WHY WE HAVE TOMORROW!

So anyway, I had to do *something* today to kill time while I wait to collapse at a suitable hour. At one point I chose to take out my weariness on the sketchbook. It just so happens that the current Precocious arc's scripting is hung up on Yvette's entrance. I could go a few directions with it. The *fun* route involves dragging her entrance out over a few days, but I'm getting very paranoid about how long this arc is taking to develop. (Things move so slow when only going MWF!) The efficient route is to just plop Yvette in there over the course of one strip. The compromise route is to make the extra strips into vote incentives, I guess. Point is, while I debated my pacing I began drawing Yvettes.

As I draw, I start thinking about other plot points and how the arc is going to play out. Right now, it's wide open. I know where it's all going, but I'm uncertain as to how long it will take to get there. Obviously, I've been taking my dear sweet time so far - and something tells me it's pissing people off. This pacing works when it's daily, allowing me to see all the sights as I go, but when three strips take a week I HAVE TO MOVE FASTER. Right?

When I have some difficulty with the sketching, I realize I have to nail down at least one important plot point. I go through all the permutations that had been in my mind before and I reject them all. So I look at one sketch, think about what it takes to make it possible, and ideas start to form. INSPIRATION! Suddenly a throwaway gag has turned into a plot point! Ideas are pouring out of my pencil as I jot strip idea after strip idea down. At the end of the session, I have potentially added a MONTH to the length of this arc, assuming MWF updating. Even better, this plot point provides the perfect transition to the NEXT arc. Victory!

Or is it? I love this new plot point (in my weary brain dead state, at least) but wasn't the point of sitting down to script to MAKE THINGS MOVE FASTER? This drags the birthday party out for potentially another month! What do I do? This plot point isn't *needed* to advance things, but it could have great long-term payout. On the other hand, I don't have anything solidly scripted for the main party, so I could just gloss over THAT in a "I can't believe it was so uneventful" letdown way. That's totally lame, but it could save a few awkward weeks.

The plan right now is to use the little free time I have over the next two weeks to script as many party strips as I can, so I can sort through and pick the best of the best when it's time to produce again. (It could potentially give me some bonus vote incentive strips as well!) The arc might still take forever to finish, but I'm hoping people won't mind if the comedy increases. Granted, I have no idea what you guys actually like, as my favorites and your favorites rarely coincide. Ahhh, I don't know! I'm so scared of losing everyone with my MWF update schedule, I second guess every strip!

Ugh, I'm rambling because I'm so tired. At least I'm blogging. I might even blog again tomorrow! With commission progress. (OH GOD I HOPE SO.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The new equality

Matthew Dawson, my former colorist, offered to fix up my poster with his immense coloring/composition talents. Looks better, doesn't it?

Of course, now I have a predicament. How can I offer this image as a donation incentive now if someone else worked on it? I'll have to buy him out!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Here is a digital mock-up of the Suzette commission. Soon to be available in poster format? I'm rather pleased with how this came out. I did my best to imitate the original Rosie the Riveter design.

If I want to make mini-prints of this, I'll have to play with the format a bit, but there's potential there. Don't know *when* the playtime will come, but at least I have all I need there in a Photoshop file!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The slow process of packing

Behold: Minimal progress!

I am slowly packing up things for my move to Savannah, and it's driving me mad. THIS is why I haven't had much to show here as of late. The more I "clean" the bigger the mess becomes! I have to pull everything out first, before I can start putting things away. It's also been a sobering reminder that I AM A GODDAMN SLOB. So. Much. Trash.

I have a few weeks left to finish sorting through 15 years of memories and crap. Wheeeee.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Power to the progress!

See! I haven't forgotten my commissions! I have just become VERY VERY SLOW at getting them done. Blame the stress of a life in transition. This is the month I need to pull myself up from lazyland and become the Savannah production dynamo! For some reason, getting back into my old rhythm has taken far longer than expected, but it'll happen. I've got 30 days to pull it together and knock everything out. THIS CAN BE DONE!

So here we have the ink version of Suzette as Rosie the Riveter, ready to receive her coloring. If approved, the next step is to figure out what nifty saying will accompany her and how it will fit into the composition. Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A change of venue

This painting has been driving me nuts. It's insanely hard to apply perspective when you paint the figures FIRST, but that is the challenge that faces me. I was stuck for weeks trying to figure out how I was going to set this inside a school, with thin hallways and lockers and whatnot. So, you know what? SCREW THAT!

After writing the man behind the commission, I was given a fresh perspective. Why not set it outside? Autumn can be walking to school along the sidewalk and stumble upon Dionne just as easily as she could do it walking to the classroom. (Plus, I don't fall into the trap of setting lockers in an elementary school.) I decided to try the venue shift, moving it to outside of the Poppinstock Academy.

This is obviously a very rough beginning. It has a loooong way to go before it looks right, but at least the underpainting is done. I'm not even sure how I'm going to actually treat the stuff yet - but that's a problem for the future. I hope it works out.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Falling right back off the track

Well, crud. A week goes by and all I really accomplish is a snazzy pair of glasses. My first ones. I'm walking around in glasses, wearing a SCIENCE! shirt. I have truly crossed the nerd threshold now.

As for everything else, I am SUCKING! Comics are coming along at an ok pace, but that's it - and even that pace is going to fall off soon when I get serious about cleaning up the mess that is my living area. I'm WAY behind on commissions, and I apologize for that. I'll do my best to catch up THIS week, but we saw how my optimism worked last week! (Sorry again!)

Today the goal is to finish inking this week's comics. Tomorrow the goal is to get back to the grind with painting somehow. The next day? Probably making up for my failures from Monday and Tuesday. I know how I work!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting back on track

With *most* of the pressing SCAD stuff taken care of, it's time to resume being awesome. It seems like it's been a month since things were stable around here. Maybe it has? I'm not saying it's all stable now, but things are starting to fall into place and that's a very good thing.

I'm hardly out of the woods. This next month is devoted to dismantling my life and putting it into easily portable boxes that will be transferred to Savannah. It's a massive job, considering the clutter around here, but if I spread it out it will still allow time for productivity.

This is the week I learn to ride the bike again. I'm back to producing new strips, producing on the commissions and (hopefully) having enough material to get the blog running again. I've fallen a bit out of rhythm, so expect hiccups, but I hope to keep improving myself.

By the way, notice my awesome t-shirt? You should get one of your own!

Monday, July 5, 2010

I made you a sketch

Why, yes, it *is* filler to occupy you while I freak out over all this SCAD stuff. Why do you ask?

I do apologize for dropping away, but this is a big deal for me and I'm currently living in uncertain times. It's going to be a scrambled two weeks here while I get my accounts set up and find a place to live, so I can't promise to be any better until it's all taken care of.

What I'm saying is... I hope you guys really like strip #600, because it's all downhill from there Precocious-wise. I'll probably do another "break week" thing, with a knife-twist of a change to a MWF schedule. It may only be for the two weeks. It may be longer. It all depends on when things get settled and how productive I am during the chaos.

I hope to get time to focus on my painting commission next week. I think I figured out a trick to help me get the perspective working, but I have to get home (I've been in DC, which is always creative death) before I try it. If it goes well, it'll pop up on here!

I hope you guys forgive me for this. It's for a good cause! If you want something more to do, remember there is a fledgling Precocious forum out there, allowing you all to play with each other! Use it! Use it well! CELEBRATE ALL THE GOOD TIMES WE'VE HAD. (Pray for more!)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Progress? Any will do!

It's been a sluggish week, what can I say? I've been wracking my brain over this painting background, trying to find the perspective the unites everything and it's blown a few fuses. But, hey, I *can* still color this design!

Now I get to throw it into the crappy CafePress store in hopes of making a sale or two from it. SO EFFICIENT! Unless I can get, like, 25 preorders (and find a printer that does full color on the cheap) that's my only option. Eh, getting a $4 commission is better than getting nothing at all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quietly judging you

I've been looking for shirt ideas, and the folks over at the Precocious forums delivered. This scene was a favorite, so I reproduced it in larger, t-shirtable form. Next stop: Coloring!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Max Power

Here is the colored version of the Max commission. I hope you guys like this color, because it took me four tries to get something I liked and I'm out of any usable prints. (I can still redo it easy enough if the printer cooperates.)

As usual, the color quality of this one isn't great because all the colors are faint. This is the best photo I could get. My scanner, I remind you, is designed for black and while line art - so it dropped out ALMOST EVERYTHING when I tried to scan it! Scanner, I love you, but you only do one thing well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Calamity struck today as my printer went whacko and prevented me from successfully printing out the Max commission for finishing, so I had to move on. Another commission was suggested with Suzette as Rosie the Riveter, and I am all for that! It was fun, if difficult, to draw!

And then I forgot to post it for two hours, missing my midnight deadline. DAMMIT! I can't do it after all.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Oh, there she is.

Here's the first look at the coloring of the much-anticipated Dionne/Autumn painting! This is just me laying down a base of color. Everything needs several more layers, but it looks promising, doesn't it?

Because of the perspective thing, I am tempted to finally paint a background - although I'm not sure what it'd be. That would add a ton more hours to the piece, but it could be nice. For now, I focus on the figures.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Battling midnight

*Phew* barely made it this time. I swear, midnight comes earlier every day! *My* days are from when I wake to when I sleep... but all these deadlines don't agree with me! Ahh, but my heroics pulled it off in the end!

Here is the line art for the Arbiter of Information commission. We have Max in his open, nice guy pose. Now the drawing goes for review, and if it's approved we move on to the coloring stage! For that, I am open to ideas. I have no idea how Max's outfit is colored. In my mind, it was white and gray - but that could be boring. Is that his regular red shirt under the robe, or is it something more color coordinated? Is his staff thingy gold, silver or what? This is why I make multiple copies of the linework. It lets me experiment.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Show me.... Dionne!

Sorry this post is a day late and half progress. It's a day late because I was working on Precocious bonus stuff (you'll find out soon) and it's half progress because the day is still young. I'm going to keep working on this thing, but I wanted to get a post up. Besides, all you're missing at this stage is some paint sketching and linework.

Since I'm still struggling with creating the perfect horrified Autumn (I do have one nice sketch I may use) I'm forging ahead with the painting of Dionne in her British prep school outfit. This is always the hardest stage of the painting: Transitioning the sketch to the canvas. Fortunately, I used the money from a prior painting commission to buy a projector! The projector is a pain in the arse, but when I finally get it working look at how fun it is! Also, look how crappy my wall is. Dang.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Arbiter of Information

So here's the sketches for my latest commission, which is about... well, you can guess that. Click the image for a larger version.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Happy post: Better than a whiny post!

As most of you know by now, I have been admitted to the sequential art masters program at the Savannah College of Art and Design! It has been one great emotional high since the news reached me. Now starts a new chapter in my life, and it couldn't come soon enough!

When I got home from DC, I completely crashed. TOO MUCH DAY! Now begins the next step of nailing everything down, finding myself an apartment and looking at what this means for Precocious.

For the comic, one this is clear. The updating schedule *will* be scaled back when things get intense. I don't plan on doing it for the immediate future, but know it's coming. I hope I can still pull off a solid update schedule through school, because I fully expect to absorb the AMAZING creative energy that comes from DOING WHAT I LOVE FOR A REASON! I am going to school so I can become the BEST CARTOONIST EVER and that means more Precocious love, not less. Even when I'm not doing Precocious, I will probably be doing other side comics for your consumption. (This blog might turn into a journal comic for all I know.) We'll have to wait and see. So don't worry! Think of it this way: My GRADES (and scholarship) depends on me being a kickass cartoonist, so I have even more reasons to kick cartooning's ass!

Today is for coming down from my celebration. Tomorrow I bring the Max sketches for my latest commission. (Commissions are very important this summer, as grad school is extremely expensive and I need all the cash I can get.) Monday I hope to have progress on my Dionne/Autumn painting. It's time to get back to work.

Thanks to everyone for their great energy and support!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Family gets in the way of everything

So I'm back in DC again, on short notice and for a short visit, and I am once again shocked at how much time family eats up! I had sketches to do, dammit!

OK so it was good fun and nice bonding. STILL! I was counting on some down time to catch up. If I owe you an email or some sketches, I apologize. Email will have to wait until tomorrow, and the best I could sketch in the small window I had is seen above. (I will do better tomorrow.)

Today has been full of dark omens and miscues. For one, I have been trying to get in contact with my admissions counselor at SCAD. She called me and the message on the machine was simply "call me back." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN!? Freaking out, I call her back. Get her voice mail. I leave a message and try again a few hours later. Voice mail. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I cannot reach this woman who is tormenting me with her elusiveness. AM I IN OR NOT!? Argh, gotta get on the road.

When I tried to shut down my computer so I could get on the road, Microsoft decided that would be the time to do 15 farking updates! While it did its thing, I went to talk to my mother (who was there recovering from a major medical miscue that ruined HER day) to kill time. After a while, I went back to find my computer powered off. Ok, so it's done! I pack up and drive to DC, encountering MAJOR ROADWORK - followed by MORE MAJOR ROADWORK with a chaser of MAJOR ROADWORK! One lane roads 4evah!

I get to my grandparents place and the first thing I see is a pot of dead basil. It seems my bro was trying to care for his girlfriend's plants while she was out of the country. He failed. So dead plants. What a welcome!

I get inside and no one seems to be around. This is a house of elders, so I assumed they were taking naps. I head upstairs to see my grandmother and aunt are no where to be seen. I decide to check on my Alzheimer's grandfather only to walk in on him getting a sponge bath from his nurse. Awesome. You know what, I'm going to skip the introduction and go set up my computer.

Power on. Booting up. KABLAMMO! There is gibberish on my screen instead of the welcome screen. AWW FUDGE! I power it down and start it again. "Windows did not start properly, would you like to run the diagnostic?" Sure. By this time, my grandmother and aunt are back from the store, so I go up and visit for a bit with them. I come back down a few minutes later to see a new error message telling me I am completely screwed and the only solution is to do a system restore. I say no. It again says the error cannot be fixed by Microsoft and my computer is ruined forever. GODDAMMITSOMUCH! Those updates blew up my computer!

So I do what any rational person would do. I refuse to listen to Microsoft and try to reboot again. The screen goes black. I wait. It flickers. I wait. It flickers some more. I get worried.

"Now configuring updates 1 of 3"

*facepalm* So either I mistakenly unplugged and packed up my computer before it was done updating, or Microsoft decided to fail miserably and pile on. At least my computer works now, NO THANKS TO THE DAMN UPDATES!

Relieved my computer actually works, I go back upstairs to listen to my aunt talk about her magical trip to Australia. (Jealousy!) Grandma calls down that a friend of the family is coming over. Yay! Then she comes down to announce another friend of the family is coming. Double yay! Also, overwhelming! We socialize for a while. Bro comes home and replaces one of the friends who had to leave. We party well into the evening before breaking up.

Now I have only two hours and change to get everything done by midnight. Bro then extends the invitation to watch Battlestar Galactica with him. Oh hell, I am not turning that down! I love BSG, and bro bonding is nice. (Here is where I learn that my arrival was very inconvenient for him as he's hosting an all-weekend geekfest in my room. Whoops.) I try to sketch during BSG, but nothing I get is great. It's time for his bed, I break away, and here I am.

I am exhausted!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I don't care what the calendar says! All that time simply does not count. It has only been one functional day for me. Everything else was a non-canon blur.

It's been a rough week or so. My sleep schedule went totally out of whack. I'd be up 30 hours, down 12 hour, up 24 hours, down 18 hours and COMPLETELY WIPED OUT the whole time. I haven't had a restful night of sleep yet this month. I hope to correct that tonight. If I was so tired I couldn't be productive, then that day didn't count. That week. That whatever. Anyway I hope the worst is over. At least the worst sleep-wise.

Now it's time to play catch-up. For the painting, I am now at the worst stage: Getting the final sketch on the canvas. I can break out the projector, but it's still a crazy hassle to get it PERFECT. And I demand perfection. That stunned Autumn sketch is going to cause some more problems before it's done. It's a long-term project, so I'm taking my time to get it right.

I'm still open for business with other commissions, if you'd like to support your local starving cartoonist. Despite disappearing for a while, I *do* stick to deadlines when it's important!

On the comic front, things are still good - so no panic is needed. I'm still mulling over the next story arc, but I think you guys needed some gag-a-day refreshers anyway. Copper Road is going to remain on hiatus while I burn off all my deleted scene incentives. Still gotta get my brain back in CR mode for scripting, but I'm not worrying about it yet. From where I see it, Precocious is the one that matters. Everyone else is a bonus, so I won't cry if I miss a vote incentive or fail to blog for a few days. The goal is to have good stuff when I present it!

OK, enough talking about work. It's time to actually DO the work. That pile of comics isn't going to ink itself! (Oh, but I wish it would...)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Complete horror

Guys! Guys! This has been driving me INSANE. I cannot get horrified Autumn to look right, and it is making me sad. As you undoubtedly know, this commission involves Dionne one-upping Autumn in the schoolgirl chic department. Thus, we need a properly shocked fox girl. This is harder to do than expected.

Part of it is, sadly enough, the direction she's facing. It must be a left-handed thing, but I draw my characters MUCH better when they are facing the right. Doing a quarter-turn pose to the left is awkward unfamiliar territory. Am I seriously foiled by something as simple as looking left? REALLY? Sad. Grim. Pathetic.

Anyway, if you want to know where I've been these last few days, that's it. I have been failing at Autumn drawing and quitting. Maybe tomorrow will finally have the breakthrough. Heck, maybe I'll just dive into the painting and hope it all works out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awww again!

Here's the final coloring of the Yvette commission. Isn't she precious? The coloring is actually much nicer than you see. My scanner, as much as I love it, can't handle light colors. This is GREAT when scanning line art, and not so great when scanning a light gray character. You'll just have to trust me that it looks OK.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Here's the line work for the Yvette sketch. As you can see, we went with her hugging the stuffed animal. The ear and tail markings will be done in colored pencil, so that is why they are missing from this drawing. I ended up making this drawing on a full page of paper instead of the half-page as planned, so my tiniest character is nice and big for me. In the future, I may want to do a card-sized drawing for a donation incentive.

If approved, I will get to coloring - provided my printer behaves. My printer is old and surly. Don't make me replace you with the young hotshot printer/scanner combo upstairs, old man!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

British invasion

Before I get back to the Yvette commission, here's an alternate take on Dionne trumping Autumn's schoolgirl look. Instead of ye olde Japanese sailor suit, I've gone with a British style. Preppy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sailor Dionne

And here we have another commission. This one is about Dionne taking the schoolgirl outfit style and trumping Autumn. Japanese schoolgirl > Catholic schoolgirl?

Finding a proper source was a far more harrowing experience than expected. Let me tell you something... If you are interested in drawing a sailor suit, Googling "Japanese schoolgirl" is THE WRONG THING TO DO! Holy crap, it's all creepy and gross porn! I should get hazard pay for this commission.

The first step is nailing down Dionne's look. After that, I can play around with poses.

(click the image for a larger version.)

So cute it may kill you

I've started work on a new commission and this one's adorable: Yvette in pajamas. How can that not make your brain explode into candy?

My take on the idea was to give her a big stuffed animal friend for her to drag around as she prepares to drift away into slumber. What you see is my playing with poses. So far I like the bottom one the best, as it shows off both jammies and toy, but the others have their charms. (Other pose suggestions are, of course, accepted.) For the PJs I went with a basic polka dot pattern. I have to keep the pattern fairly simple. Anything too complex would come out looking like black blobs once tech pen gets involved.

(Click the image for a larger version.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Commiepingo" takes on new meaning...

Holy cow, guys, check this out! Precocious has been Russianized!

What's the most striking about this discovery is that it's been done really, really well. Everything's been translated, down to t-shirts, mugs and background writing. When I use puns, there's a note in Russian on the comic explaining it. The guy doing the translation is excellent! Good job, Nox!

I know, I know. Technically, this is stealing my content. That should be a no-no. But... but they put in so much effort to do this. Almost all of Precocious' strips have been translated at this point, and that's a huge number! Someone had to care enough about the strip to put in that phenomenal amount of work.

On one hand, it's not fair that I don't get a chance to profit off my work. On the other hand, it's not like those who need to read the strip in Russian would ever be readers without this. Maybe I can make them show my Project Wonderful ads or something...