Wednesday, May 16, 2007

HANA PART 1: 25 days later

It's funny how things work out. My car broke down on the exact day that I got the email from Frank Mastromauro praising me for my work on War Buddies and offering me the final 22 page chapter: The Death of Hana Gitelman.

Uncertain whether to respond I sat down to watch Dawn of the Dead (the Snyder remake which is BRILLIANT - as an aside, my favourite genre of film is the zombie apocalypse) and do some layouts. Normally I layout 3-4 pages a day. They just drain my brain. I smashed out all 11 pages before the film was over. It just fell out perfectly. Below is an example of the layouts for pages 1 and 2

I do incredibly scratchy layouts. I like to discover things as I go on. If you figure everything out at this stage, drawing becomes more of a photocopying/blowing up exercise than actual creativity.

But would I do it the project?

As Frank noted, it looked like an easy story to draw. My layouts confirmed that. The great script was the next factor. The title! How could I go past the significance of this story in the HEROES universe? If I was going to be remember for any contribution to the HEROES universe, it would be this.

But I was still really torn. 22 pages of inked art was daunting enough, then Annette told me she'd already signed on to do a Marvel/DC project. 22 pages fully drawn and coloured by myself in 25 days? That's no mean feat. Not many people can do that. To give you an idea of the scale of work, each page is about 8 hours work (some less, some more). At 22 pages at roughly 8 hours a page over 25 days, that makes for 7 hours a day or 49 hours a week. Not so bad, huh? But add that ON TOP of my 50 hour a week job.

I sent the fateful email off confirming I would do the project and sat down to do begin the project that would take over my life for a month.

I worked close to 100 hours a week on this project for 25 days. For 25 days I slept 5-6 hours a night. I didn't go out, or see anyone. On a standard weekday I would wake up at 6am and draw for 2-3 hours. I then headed to work at 9am, came home around 7pm, sometimes 8pm, draw til midnight, prepare for bed. Sleep. Get up again. Weekends I would work up to 16 hours solid to make up for the lost hours during the week.

It was one of the toughest things I've ever done. But I was so passionate about being involved in this epic, final chapter of HEROES.


G said...

Dude, you definitely deserve a break, a good drink and a long sleep to catch up on! You've done well for doing 22 pages in 25 days on top of your 50 hours a week day job! That's pretty nuts actually.

From what I've seen of the pages you did of this finale story, it looks awesome! I'll have to wait and watched all the episodes of Heroes to air here in Aust until I read your Hana comic though.

AcidBurn133 said...

The lineart is, of course, fantastic, but it's amazing how much more dynamic it becomes with color! With the b&w version, you don't really get the sense that the gun is pushing into Hana's cheek like that, but the shading in the color makes it look so much more ominous that one would almost expect the next panel to be bloody!
The layouts for the first two pages are amazing! You really started with the end in mind on this one.
I think anyone who reads this will appreciate this comic 100x more when they realize just how much time goes into the process! I hope you've gotten your car fixed now that you've gotten your life back! It's never fun to be carless :S

The Polsons said...

But you did send out emails, and for that I'm grateful. :)

Thanners said...

I already thought it was awesome way back when I discovered the Australian comic artist who did the excellent art for the Sylar comic "Road Kill". (c:

So glad you were picked to do this comic, man. The effort you put into it really shows. Think I said this in another comment on another post, but I appreciate the effort you go to in trying to make things as consistent as you can.

Good stuff. :P

The Polsons said...

Now you can kick back and watch the Director's Cut of "Army of Darkness"...

"This... is my BOOM stick...!"


(You know me, I'm always good for a link or three...)

Rinibini said...

Those are some long ass days and nights! How about a massage and maybe a good drink:)

I have to tell you that reading your blog has made it so much more exciting to read the comics. As I've said in previous comments the likenesses in this comic are unbelievable. Not only the facial resemblance but the body language, especially for the scenes in the park, was SPOT ON! The extra touches in NY were also great. (did they ask you to put the picture of Nathan on the cab or was that just your idea?) Can't wait to hear the story about the symbol.

Sarah said...

This was SO AWESOME.

It's funny, really. Every time I read one of the graphic novels and mutter to myself, "I really like the art in this one..." it turns out to be one that you've done. I've never said that about any of the other ones that are up there.

This last one didn't really look like your typical style which is why I was really surprised to find out that you were actually behind it (I didn't read the credits since I was too busy paying attention to the art and the dialogue -- sorry!) This GN came out looking more like a photo album than a comic because the realism was just so intense.

Great work. Can hardly wait to see the next one! And if you ever need someone to dig around and do a little research, ask around on 9thwonders. I know there are plenty of people who'd jump at the opportunity to give you a hand.

-- Sarah

ryangibsonstewart said...

There's a lot of people complimenting you on your style, Jason, and deservedly so. But I have to disagree with the idea that the images look photo-real. They are amazing likenesses, but I'm not seeing them as photographs, or even near-photographs. And thank goodness. I like that you've found a balance between cartoon and photograph, and it really works.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

Jeez, dude, I'm exhausted just reading that. You SO need a vacation.

Awesome job on this issue of the graphic novel series, BTW.


Anonymous said...

I'm not much of a graphic novel fan (I only read the Heroes comics cuz, well, it's Heroes) but I have to say... this was brilliant. My mouth was literally hanging open as I read. Thanks so much for investing so much of yourself, and congratulations on producing something so wonderfully expressive.


HERO said...

Thanks again for the great quality graphic novel! Do ya know who put the extra "t" in Gitelman? I thought nbc's been spelling her last name with one t...

The detail in this comic is still refreshing to see, and I liked the HEROES Symbols in the earrings and ring.

So you can just draw and color whatever's in your head? How cool is that! :D

Lee said...

The bit that's missing from that story is a group of us sitting in a Cafe in Chapel St (for those that know Melbourne) after Jas was late meeting people that morning (due to the afformentioned car breakdown). First he taunts us with the title of the story, then he spent half of lunch scribbling numbers on the title page of the script trying to work out how many hours per day he'd have to work to get it done.
As much as he says he agonised over the decision, there was never any real doubt he'd do it.. or kill himself trying to. And if you thought the first part was good, wait till you see the second.