Sunday, September 30, 2007


Hey everyone welcome back to regular blogging.

Firstly. Thank you for all the well wishing regarding my injury. It's a lot better and I can start drawing a little bit now. I actually injured my arm at the gym, a client was screwing around and tripped. I caught him and his weight tore the tendons in my arm. I tell you I was going out of my mind. I was watching so much television. I got through the first season of 24, which I enjoyed (despite it being two very distinctive halves).

I also finally bought my box set of Heroes. One of the promotions that Virgin and Sanity records were doing in Melbourne, was that they were giving away a copy of the Heroes comic book with every copy of the DVD. I walked into the store and produced my id and told the guy that I was the guy who drew the inside cover on the comic book. He managed to sneak me a couple copies which I thought was pretty cool of him. Even though I'm credited with drawing the cover, you can definitely see it is a Tim Sale cover. My art work is on the inside back cover as you can see.

But let's get on to Blackout. I’m much, much happier with part two. As you can see from the lineart, I managed to cheat the first two panels by using a photo. Well, technically it's not exactly a photo. Its image built up from a bunch of photos that I took. So, while there is no drawing in there, it is still a piece of Photoshop artwork. I really like the dynamic colour scheme from panel three. The moonlight and the lighting make for an interesting palette. I do regret not putting more medical equipment in the room, though.

It's also one of the few times that I've actually been criticised for what I've drawn. As mentioned in the interview, the guy on the bed is supposed to be a teenager. People have commented that he doesn't look like a teenager at all. I had a tough deal with that. He is supposed to look withered from absorbing all the electricity. So I'm trying to draw a young, withered person and that (to me) ends up kinda looking like an older person. Given that he was never mentioned to be a teenager in the actual story. I'm not too stressed about it.

I also finally saw the first episode of the new season of Heroes, and I really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to watching it again, though.

News: slowly working on Zero G again. While I can draw, I have to take it very easy. I've been getting some incredible comments about my work, and I can't wait to show you guys. I really think it's stepped up to another level thanks to doing the Heroes work.

On the weekend of the 13th and 14th of October, there is a convention down in Melbourne that I'm appearing at. If anyone can make it down, drop in and say hi.

Friday, September 14, 2007

BLACKOUT part 2 page 1

This is going to be a short one. I've hurt my right arm and it hurts to type. Anti-inflammatories, compression bandages, physio and ice packs are all the order of the day.

In the meantime, you can go check out this HUGE interview that Ryan Gibson Stewart from did with Mark Sable, write of Blackout and myself. You can find it HERE.

Enjoy! It was a good chat.

In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed Blackout. I will hit the boards soon as I can type.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The big final page 5.

First up, it's become night. Getting to play with a whole different slice of colour was actually kinda refreshing. You gotta remember, you guys take SECONDS to read each page, and it takes me up to 10 HOURS to draw each page. I gotta keep myself amused some how. The only way I keep myself from staying off the bell tower with the rifle is by rationalising that if each person takes 10 seconds per page, then 600 people have to read it to make my time worthwhile. I'm pretty sure there's 600 people reading this bad boy. Oh, and the phat deposit from NBC into my bank account keeps me weighing in on this side of sane too. =)

Anyway, back to the comic.

I wanted to go warm in this top panel for two reasons. One, I wanted to illustrate that it was a scene where these two characters are comfortable with one another. It's a nurturing atmosphere. Secondly, I also wanted it to contrast with the third panel as much as possible. Warm/Cold. I'm a genius like that. I mean, who else woulda thought to balance blue with yellow? Get this boy a Nobel Prize!

Sorry. Colour theory is probably not the talent of mine that's going to set the world ablaze.

In the script, the blackout panels are supposed to be flat black. There's also a little sound effect: SZZT which got replaced with SHOONK. If a vote was taken, I'd vote for SZZT only because he didn't inhale and knows how to treat an intern.

So instead of just filling the blackout frames black, I tried to make sure a window was in the frame each time so that we had some light. I basically just copied the frame above and repainted the lighting without the internal light from the room.

But the real money shot is panel 3.

As people who have read my previous comments on my HEROES work would know, I'm a big believer in trying to make the extraordinary look believable.

The arc-up by the patient in panel 3 was especially challenging. It was the first display we had of any powers in the story. It needed to be exciting enough that you'd want to come back and find out what happened in the second half. But I didn't want it to be insanely over the top either. The kid's not Electro and Mohinder ain't pulling on the red and blue spandex.

A big part of it to me is Mohinder's reaction. The dialogue that I was given for Mohinder is a little different. In fact, in my script he says nothing. I tried to tell the story with his shock and his body language. But again, he's not diving for cover or doing anything over the top. It was an interesting choice by Mark (I assume) to chuck this line of dialogue in.

I'm eagerly anticipating the reaction to part 2. I'm much happier with it than part 1.

By the way, I hope I didn't offend anyone with my last post. I was just trying to find an amusing way to highlight some of the... less substantial theories on the boards.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Here's The Jas (Yes, I've decided to speak about myself in the third person.) doing what he does best. Solid conversations with interesting people. The Jas really enjoyed drawing this conversation between Mohinder and the Teenage Patient.

The Jas has also included here his tones (See below). This is the digital painting that The Jas does before he goes in with colours. The Jas doesn't know if you can see all the brush strokes and stuff, but they're there. While some have commented that The Jas' finished artwork has a photographic quality, The Jas actually works quite hard to bring a painted, hyper-real quality to the work. Simply making it look like a photo is bloody boring.

If you want a photo, go check out the tv show.

I- er, I mean The Jas, uh... The Jas means The Jas believes there was some confusion on the boards after the patient manifested their ability.

Oh frak this.

Back to the first person. How the hell do wrestlers do this? I can't believe I've been out-grammared by every pro-wrestler on the planet.

Now the only rumour that I know is that Kristen Bell is going to be doing an arc on HEROES. I'm pretty happy about this as I'm a huge fan of Veronica Mars. I maintain that the first season is the strongest first season of almost any tv show.

I have no idea if there's any truth to the rumour about Kristen Bell's power, but apparently there's some similarity. Me? Couldn't care what her power is. Couldn't care if she has a power or doesn't. And I'd prefer if no one in the comments confirms or denies Kristin's powers or lack of powers, role, name or anything else about her. That's spoilery and I will delete your post!

But let's mine this rumour like a canary holding pickax wielding mad person.

What I'm really excited about is the possibility that I might have drawn the new season two character to be played by Kristen Bell. Apparently one rumour is that Kristen Bell's character's power is similar to that of the patient. Therefore, some people have been stating that they think this patient could be Kristen Bell. Let me see if this is indeed the first appearance of NEW SEASON TWO HEROES CHARACTER:



Wait! I see it! They're both sitting on a bed! That's it! I'm such an idiot. How can you not see the almost photographic resemblance. It's like I traced this EXACT photo. I mean the similarities between this weedy, sick guy I drew and this gorgeous, healthy woman are just uncanny. And if you don't believe me, check out exhibit B:



See?! They've both got blue eyes! How can you not see the resemblance?! It's not often I draw a likeness this absolutely freakily accurate. But I hear dissent from up the back of the crowd. Well feast your eyes on exhibit c:



Ah ha! Yes! Now you see! They're both looking sideways. Because if they're both looking sideways then they MUST be the same person. I know I don't look sideways.. EVER. Which means that I'm neither a teenage male patient nor Kristen Bell. By process of elimination we have deduced the answer! Ho, ho, ho! Case dismissed! But as my crushing finale of irrefutable evidence I present the coup de grace:


They both don't look happy do they? They MUST be the same person. They don't even need to do any makeup on Kristen to make her look like this guy. She could just roll out of her bed and onto set and voila! She's ready to go.

Seriously, people. Is my art that bad? How the HELL could you possibly confuse this guy I drew with Kristen Bell?! I know you're all looking for foreshadowing and easter eggs, but there's a difference between drawing conclusions and wild, irrational speculations.

In the future, if you think you might be onto something - just ask. I'm more than happy to deny, and if I'm silent - then perhaps that's a confirmation?

The Jas should also apologise as this has also been a shameless scam to post pictures of Kristen Bell. =)

If you smeee-eeeell what The Jas. Is. Cooking.

Friday, September 07, 2007


So here is the offending page. This is the main pages that interrupted people's reading. By my reckoning I screwed up four times on this page. I rarely make a mistake, so to make four on one page is just unbelievable to me.

For those of you who wondered how the "car crash" occurred, lemme break it down for you:

Panels 1 and 2 are straight forward. It's the tiered panels 2, 3 and 4 that are an issue. So over the course of three panels, what is SUPPOSED to happen is Mohinder gets bumped by the hospital director into a room while the director hugs a Primatech salesman. The first two problems occurs on two levels: Space and Time (it's like a bad Star Trek episode with some worm hole that's popped up in the middle of my HEROES comic).

1. SPACE: The first problem is that people aren't sure where he's being knocked into. Because of the heart attack patient established on the previous two pages, you instantly assume that he's being knocked into that room. That he gets knocked into another room is confusing. I call this concept, "Geography": defining and establishing the space where the scene and relevant action occurs. To make this clear, I should have had the heart attack patient visible in his room on panel 2 or 3 so we know that he's in another room. My rushing meant that I was trying to avoid drawing (what I thought were) unnecessary elements. It was a crucial mistake.

2. TIME: One of the keys to comics is that separate actions within the same series of panels have to occur within the same time frame. What do I mean by this? If two things are occurring they must both occur within the same amount of time. An example is that in the foreground you could have someone throwing a punch, and in the background someone taking a bite of an apple. It is realistic for both of these things to occur at the same time. The greatest violation of this rule is when people give huge speeches while punching someone. How the hell do they talk that fast? Or do they just punch really slowly?

I struggled trying to rationalize the two elements in these panels: the director and the Primatech salesman hugging and Mohinder falling. Here's why. The director elbows Mohinder then in the same amount of time that Mohinder falls into the room, he walks across the floor and embraces the Primatech salesman. The way I've drawn it, it feels to me like Mohinder is wheeling his arms trying to get his balance for a good 2-3 seconds while the director and the Primatech guy cross the floor towards each other to embrace. In my head it's like some Wile E. Coyote sketch.

One solution is to place the salesman closer to the director. If they're standing next to each other in panel 3 then less time passes making the two events (the hug and the fall) making them more similar in the time each one takes to occur. But if I did that, then the salesman would hear and see into the patient's room - something which would destroy the flow of the story.

I still don't know how to solve it. It takes a better storyteller than me to plot this sequence.

My third mistake was that it wasn't clear that the director was elbowing Mohinder. There was some re-scripting after I had done the artwork. I would have recommended a little, "Oof!" from Mohinder on panel 3 to help illustrate the action. And maybe a small, "Ah!" on panel 4.

The fourth problem (man, I did well didn't I?) is the "It's not polite to stare." comment. Just to clarify, it's the patient talking to Suresh here in a sarcastic tone. The fact I have to explain it means I screwed up again. What I should have done was had Mohinder staring off panel to our right at the patient. Then we could have had the speech balloon coming from there and it would create the small cliffhanger that Mark intended.

As an aside, Lee (who is blond) commented that I made him look like Hitler with the black hair and mustache. Lee's such a great model. I use him so often because he can just snap instantly into character and position. It's a real skill. But it was not my intention to make him look like Hitler. But it's kinda funny. I wonder if in a subliminal sort of way it helps the reader define that this is a "bad guy"?

By the way, thanks again to Ryan at for the Activating Evolution reference! I forgot to use the spine of the book though!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I just want to say, "Thank you" to everyone who dropped in and left a reassuring post.

I just want to clarify that I don't think it's a bad comic. I just don't think it's a classic Jason Badower comic.

It's like going into a Kubrick movie and someone showing you a James Cameron film instead. It's not bad - it's just not what you wanted or expected.

I like to think I have a very subtle comic book style. I like moody, realistic palettes. I like my people to look realistic. I like wide tiers to my panels as it resonates with what we see on the movie screen. I like consistent and dramatic lighting with powerful fill lights.

I hate the use of sound effects as I find them as clumsy shortcuts to communicate the story. The only sound effects I don't mind are doorbells and phones. You can get by without them, but a simple "ring, ring" or "ding dong" saves you space and time on the comic book page.

So sound effects like "Shoonk" bug the hell out of me, because I just felt it wasn't necessary. It didn't save time, space nor help the clarity. In fact, I felt it added to the confusion of the storytelling in a story that I wasn't telling too clearly to begin with. Mark had written a wonderful caption that seamlessly explained what was going on too. The sound effect just didn't need to be there.

I only have two reserves on this page. Mohinder's head on panel 1 just doesn't look... comfortable to me. Also, I should have put more drama on the nurse's face on panel 3. I just don't think she's worried enough. If she's not worried, then the reader isn't worried.

I've figured out what's wrong with my storytelling in this comic, and I will get into it next page where it is illustrated best.

As an amusing aside, the director of the hospital is my friend Lee, and his wife is playing the part of the doctor (also the nurse - but it's a decent likeness of her as the doctor).

There's a funny and incredibly embarrassing story attached to these shots. I can't believe I'm telling this.

This is set the day after I returned back to Melbourne from LA.

I had just finished the photo shoot and Lee and Nicola had bundled me up with the usual assortment of lending gifts: latest episodes of Entourage, comic books and random dvds. I ran into the rain hauling all this stuff and my lighting equipment out to my car. Now I'd been having trouble with my car lock recently, and now it came to a head. Neither the button on my lock nor the key itself would work. I figured the lock was jammed - and my car only has one lock! There were no other doors to try. Lee and Nicola came to the rescue with WD40 to loosen then lock. No dice. So Lee drove me back to my place to grab my spare key. Upon returning we found that didn't work either! So I called the RACV (I believe Americans have AAA) to get them to come out and help me get into my car. Turns out my membership had expired. $188 later, I'm a member and they're on their way. While we waited I bought Lee and Nicola dinner.

Within 20minutes the RACV guy rocks up. He double checks both keys and neither work for him either. So he breaks into my car with alarming ease. He decides to double check the ignition. He pops the key in and turns and... nothing happens. He looks at me and says, "Are you sure this is your car."

I turn right, and parked directly in front of this car, across a driveway was my car.

Someone had parked an identical car directly behind my car. Same model and colour.

That was the blondest moment I've had in a while.

I blame jet lag.


I've also been contacted by the SARMY: Sylar's Army to donate some artwork for some clothing designs for them. They sell these clothes for charity. I've done the main image and they've confirmed it, now I'm getting into the design stage. My mandate is to design something that I would wear. I hate most fan merchandise cos it's so under-thought and crappy. I'm aiming to change that. I guarantee you, if you're a Sylar fan, you're going to want one of these items. It's all for charity too! So it's a good cause. I will link it all when I'm done.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This is my momentous 200th post. Looking down on my little counter, I've also had about 20,000 hits. That's about 100 hits per post. Those numbers are staggering to me, and I can't thank each and every one of you enough. Your support by just clicking and taking the time to read my comments and check out my artwork mean so much to me. You guys really keep me going.

But let's get onto HEROES and BLACKOUT written by Mark Sable.

I don't normally do two posts back to back, but I thought it was important to get my thoughts on BLACKOUT out sooner rather than later.

BLACKOUT is an interesting case where the sum of the parts is less than the whole.

I'm looking at the project and trying to figure out why that is the case.

The script by Mark is solid, fun and tight. My artwork has decent pictures (they're all hand drawn in Photoshop, not Photoshopped - see the lineart), and if you read it without Mark's script, it flows nicely in most places (see the page up above for example). The lettering is technically nice and well placed.

But you chuck all three together and it seems like three different forces are all tugging and pulling the story in three totally different directions. It just doesn't seem to gel to me.

Perhaps a reader feels otherwise? And while the reader's opinion is the most relevant, I'd like as much similarity between the reader's perception and opinion and what we (the storytellers) intended.

I think my biggest mistake was to not go back and double check my layouts. While I'm happy with the art, I think there are some areas where the storytelling suffered. I will go into those as we get to them. Reading the boards there are many areas of confusion from people who read the comic. I find this really disheartening, and I unfortunately have to take the responsibility for that.

This was a slightly different formatted project and it threw me out time-wise. If you look back at the previous HEROES comics that I did, there is at least one big splash page image in every issue. There wasn't one in this issue. It's not a bad or a good thing, but I didn't realize how much time that splash image saved me. Although I thought the letterer did a great job placing the title and credits on page 1. I really didn't plan for them at all.

In the meantime, I think page one is one of the best pages.

You can see on the line art how little I actually draw and how much paint and colour contributes. Two things affected my approach to the page. One: I was already running late on the project (I got held up on the piece of the four girls). Two: I'd got carried away drawing big prints of Hiro and Clare for panel 2. I will post these separately after.

As a side note, I've included the original page 1 with Clare and Hiro on the other side. The great note I got back from NBC was that it looked like Hiro's and Mohinder's arms and hands were merging and hard to tell apart. As a cheat I also use the image of Peter and Nathan from the Death of Hana Gitelman. But I'm sure you noticed that. Is it a swipe if you steal from yourself?

So, to buy me more time I used a photo I took of the Alfred Hospital here in Melbourne instead of actually drawing a hospital in panel 3. As you can see, I go to some effort to not make it look like a photo. It's important to me that the photo merges as seamlessly as possible into the narrative.

As a side note, I hate sound effects. "Shoonk" is one of my least favourite. There is no sound effect in the script. I thought it was pretty obvious that the lights go out - especially with the caption "In the dark". There are some areas that could have used some sound effects, but I felt this wasn't one of them.

But let's see where this dissection goes and see if we can't figure out where it went a little more wrong than right. Hell, if we don't learn from our mistakes, we're just bound to make them again aren't we?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Con Sketches part 3

As Lee said you probably couldn't shut me up in a vacuum. A slight dislike of silences and a genuine interest in everyone around me and telling and being told great stories keeps me endlessly chatting.

Another thing you have to remember is that I spend a great proportion of every day in silence drawing. After extended periods of this, I get a serious dose of "cabin fever" and can't wait to get out of my cage and chat to people. Friends are acutely aware when I need to get back to the drawing table though. I go quiet, get distracted and sometimes a little surly. I sit down, draw and recharge the social batteries.

So imagine my joy when I get to chat to people who like my artwork!

As far as I'm concerned, everyone has a story, it's just up to me to get it out of them. It's fascinating for me to find out what brings people to the convention. It's such a diverse range of people. My favourite targets are the "extras".

You know who they are, the poor people who get dragged along in the wake of someone else's fandom. Maybe you're a mother working three jobs to support your kid's Pokhemon habit? A suffering wife smiling sweetly as your husband moves your mother into a nursing home to make way for his comics. An embarassed child following dad around in his Superman costume (that he REALLY shouldn't be wearing). The understanding girlfriend sharing your boyfriend with a World of Warcraft Night-Elf.

You're my targets.

You're the people who I want to have a good time. You're the people I will target for sketches of anything you want.

Fans will have a great time at the con. But if they want to have a really good time, you need the people around you to have a good time. I'm not going to say a smile, a sketch and a quick chat is going to turn your day around, but it's definite contribution to the "Have a Better Day" fund.

And then when that fan asks to come back next year, hopefully their "extra" agrees because they had a pretty good time because people were nice to them.

Ok, so while this picture of Niki didn't work out so well, and the Clare's are inconsistent, I'm especially proud of this Haitian. As you can see, my secret weapon was a copic marker. It's a grey transluscent marker. This means that I can draw a layer of grey, then draw over the top of that layer to create a darker grey.

This cool guy brought his son, Ares (what a cool name) along last year also. Last year he asked me if he could draw a portrait of Ares, and that he's a huge Nightwing fan. Here's the picture.

This year he brought Ares back and mentioned that the little guy can't get enough Star Wars. So here he is as a Jedi.

An even better emo Peter here. See what a difference these grey things make?

And whenever anyone said draw what you want, I tended to draw Superman. He was like my mental break if you will. An image from our cultural unconsciousness rather than a likeness.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Con Sketches part 2

After a couple of rough starts (see the last post), I started to hit my stride with the limited tools that I had. I know it sounds weird, but I’d prepared myself for one situation and had to change my game-plan halfway.

To give you an idea, it’s kind of like preparing for a 100m race, and then someone tells you that it’s actually 200m. You can do it – but it’s not what you’ve prepared for. That’s what it was like not having the ink wash. I had to change tactics immediately, but it took some time to adjust.

Years ago I was speaking to another artist and he clued me into a tactic that artists use at conventions. There are a couple of these to help save time.

1. Draw in profile. That way you only have to draw half the face. This is a time-honoured tactic.

2. Have three templates for each character that you rotate through. The idea behind three is that if you get four requests for the same character in a row, chances are that the fourth person won’t have seen the first version you did.

3. Draw really badly. There are a couple of big name artists who do this. They just churn out thoughtless crap. It’s disappointing, but there are some guys whose talent is far greater than their passion for comics.

Don’t begrudge the artists their tactics. As I said, I drew 73 sketches over the weekend. I can’t imagine how many some of the big name guys would churn out if requested. They have to use these three tactics for speed, efficiency and to just stop them from burning out.

Over the course of the weekend, I did all three, sometimes all on the one page. Although, I never meant to do the third one, there are two examples of that on this entry. A lovely lady asked me to do a picture of Pan from Pan’s Labyrinth. While I had seen and enjoyed the film, I had NO idea what he looked like. So she kindly sai, “Draw your version of Pan.”

What a great suggestion. But it looks nothing like the one from the film.

The other crap picture I drew was the one of Ted. Yes, that’s Ted. I just totally blanked out on what he looked like. So what you see here is my vague likeness of Ted. I mean, that flannel is pretty accurate, isn’t it?

I’m showing you the close up of the Batman sketch as I don’t mind that one at all.

The chick in the hat is Grace from the Innocents comic book. If you skip waaa-ay back through my blog you will find the covers I did for that comic book for last year’s San Diego comic con. This kind gentlemen brought back his sketchbook with this picture of her. I drew him a Clare.