Friday, April 18, 2008


Welcome to page 4!

God, I thought I'd already posted this to find that it had been sitting in my draft folder! Gawdemmit!

So yeah, I've been a busy, busy beaver. The animal, not the ah... genitalia. I just realised that I had no idea if that saying would cross the cultural divide. I'm currently drawing page 26 of the final 29 page issue of Zero G. I'm so excited. It's going to be some rip roaring work.

Four years ago JAn and I gained some prominence with a Killeroo story that we did together. I've just finished the first draft of a 12 page story. I'm so happy with it. I think it's a great story that should drag you through some pretty seedy scenes to make you feel all warm an tingly at the end. It's like Amelie meets Fight Club. =)

I'm planning on drawing it after I finish Zero G (I still have a week to go back and clean up all my artwork). I've also done and found a bunch of artwork. Commissions mainly, so you can expect to see heaps of pretty pictures up soon.

But let's talk Heroes.

I should talk a bit about this new tonal style that I've developed. It's probably the first time you've seen it coloured by Annette. It originally began way back on the Death of Hana Gitelman as a way to replace the time-consuming layered greyscale effect that I used on Road Kill and War Buddies. I loved that effect but I needed something faster as comic pages were taking way too long, and to be honest, it was too little bang for the time I was spending on it.

So let's go back in time (queue wavy effect) and see what the hell I was thinking.

Adi Granov (go to his PORTFOLIO section) gave me the idea when I looked at his step by step guide. He uses a pencil to create a greyscale tonal image over which he digitally colours. I tried doing this but it took a hideous amount of time. There was no way I could do a page a day like this. But it did give me a clue to create a grey tonal area. I just needed to create it faster. My next solution was to paint it with watercolour. If you wander over to the LABELS on the side navigation you can see my efforts under LUCY.

But again, it took a fair amount of time and I didn't have the acute control I wanted. That's me, impatient and a control freak. Ladies watch out. So I painted a simple watercolour of just swirls on a page. I scanned it in then placed it under my line work. I then "burn" and "dodge" (two tools in Photoshop) to darken and lighten areas. This was fast and effective. I ran a test page by Annette and she loved it. My problem now, was that when Annette coloured it, it looked like a photo! So I made my toning more harsh with blacker blacks and whiter whites for a more graphic feel. It now straddled the line of realistic without being photographic. And it was fast!

My goal exactly!

The final effect is to produce what John Cassaday communicates with his dry-brush technique. More importantly, I'm pretty confident that it's unique and places me somewhere in the middle of painting artists and traditional line work artists for a look that is familiar yet has never been seen before. It also uses my medium to it's best potential. Can you tell I'm a little proud? The development of this style actually goes back four years ago to culminate today. It's been a long time coming.

I was initially reserved about writing about this in such detail as I was worried that people would copy me and I would end up with a couple of clones. The last thing I want to do is lose my individuality that I've worked so hard to achieve. But that was out-weighed by the desire to communicate my artistic process such that another artist struggling to create a style can follow my thoughts rather than my process.

So if this helps someone, then my work is done. =)

But let's talk about HEROES and break this down:


I had to deviate here from the script as it asked for a full jazz band playing here. While I did some research on what jazz bands looked like in the 60s, I felt that they would hog the panel. Besides, a lone saxophone player screams "jazz and blues" to me more than a full band does.

I asked Annette to pop a glow from inside catching Linda's eye and she did a magnificent job.


Ida May Walker. Relative of Molly Walker. R.D never mentioned this in the script, and the reference completely soared over my concrete head. I was disappointed that I didn't catch it. I don't know what sort of Easter Egg I would have put in, but I guarantee you I would have found one. As it is, we have a lovely old lady with the designated "pixie hairstyle" that R.D requested. I did have to do a bit of Google action to find out what the hell a pixie hairstyle was. Having just read Artemis Fowl, they're lucky I didn't give her pointed ears.


Ah, her horrible old friend and domino partner. My personal mandate was to draw a crotchety, old and angry Aunt May. As a stylistic thing, Annette and I decided to drop the auras here. It was getting ridiculous and I felt that the shift of the story had moved. It wasn't necessarily all from Linda's perspective anymore, and therefore we didn't need to see the auras.


Looking back I don't think I've ever drawn so many old people in my life! The subject matter is what sets the HEROES universe and graphic novels aside from most other comic books. Generally not a lot of call for drawing rooms of old people or retirement homes. But maybe that's just the comics I read and get asked to draw?


Ah Annette with her crazy floral drapes. This again is another example of how I use models - and that is only as guidelines. The same model posed for both the nurse and Linda. I just used the model as an indicator of lighting and expression. The rest all comes from my twisted little head.

FUTURE POSTS: I'm planning on one to two posts a week until the dust settles. I'd like to commit to more, but it's not you, it's me. Bear with me while I struggle through this. Heaps of art and ranting to come.

COMMISSIONS: I have a fair plate full, but if you don't have anything urgent, email me at and I will send you my pricing document and you can have a little think.

I will finish off my Paris trip some other time.


RyanGibsonStewart said...

The floral drapes were pretty crazy! ...

Thanks for the great info on your process. I never tire reading how you go about creating what you do. Well done.

PS - more old ladies!

Jenny said...

I didn't realize you were *still* working on Zero G. Talk about a plate full!

Thanks for the insight into your process. Being on the receiving end makes knowing a little about it that much cooler. :-)

jasonb said...

RGS: I practically started tripping out when I saw them. And thanks for the encouragement for the blog. It does help. Ok, so more old ladies and more dead squirrels. I'm not worried about you, no. Not at all. =)

Jenny: Hell yes, Jenny. Pumping out 5 pages a week while doing our little piece also.

Flawedprefect said...

hey dude, thanks for this post. It really IS a help, actually, as I am about to go into storyboards, and will definitely try out this method.

Kelly J. Compeau said...

Seeing as I've recently been forced to become a comic book artist, your tips have proven invaluable to me, Jas. Keep 'em coming!