Monday, June 09, 2008

ROOT & BRANCH part 1 page 2

Before I launch into talking about page 2 of part 1, I should firstly thank everyone who came to the Orbital Manga signing I did yesterday. From all the awesome, lovely fans who heard about it from forums and Facebook, to those who just wandered past. From those who came down the road to those who came from outside, London... Thank you. One gentleman came all the way from Manchester, a journey I'm told that could take up to four hours!

Congratulations also to Luis who won the competition. He will be appearing as an agent in the third part of Root & Branch. He was such a great sport and really went for the poses and feel of the action despite the crowd of people who were in the shop at the time. That took a great deal of courage and it's going to pay off in spades! Thanks for being such a great sport, Luis.

<- I'm starting to work on Super-Hiro. Photo by Nat Wells of NOTHING MORE

And thanks also to my great hosts at Orbital Manga: Damien, Finn, Hanna, Kip (and the other asian dude who I never got your name!). And lastly, the biggest thank you to Emily, the marketing guru for Orbital who did such a great job promoting this. It's thanks to her great work, on such short notice (merely two weeks) that I had such a great and busy day. There's nothing more terrifying than the prospect of turning up to your own signing to find that the only thing you can hear is the empty echo of your own footsteps. Emily made sure that wasn't the case.

After five hours of signing, the lovely Emily comes over with a shy grin on her face. She looks at me, "Can I ask a favour?"

<- Noo and I double team Super-Hiro. Photo by Nat Wells of NOTHING MORE

"Anything you want."

"I know you're really tired and you've been drawing all day, but I was wondering if you'd draw a picture for the shop?"

"Sure!" I grinned.

She then pulled out this massive A1 piece of cardboard. I gaped at it. Shocked. I hadn't worked on anything that big in years! I was curious if my pen and ink skills still had it going on. It was a challenge and it was terrifying. She wanted me to draw Hiro. Luckily one of my fans had left me a HEROES magazine and I was able to blend a couple of the faces to get the look I wanted. I then drew the body. Now the trick to working on a piece this size is to step back from it constantly to check your proportions. You just can't see it up close.

<- A very tired Jas shows off Super Hiro. But I was so tired, so I just drew away and crossed my fingers. I conscripted the very talented and steady handed Noo to fill in my blacks. Eventually I roused myself to step back and look at the piece. I was horrified! His arm was so short it was ridiculous! I cursed myself as I had already drawn it in ink. I stared and thought and stared and thought some more. What the hell could I do?! How was I going to fix this? Emily, Noo and all the onlookers watched in dismay. I asked Hanna if she could get me some liquid paper (Tipex as the poms call it), and she said it was no problem. Noo turned to me, "You're not going to cover it all with Tipex are you?"

I grinned and shook my head. Inspiration had struck.

I drew in where the arm should be, blending most of my rogue lines into the lines of his jacket. He already had a heavy shadow on his right side, so I just broadened that to absorb what I could. there was only one line, the outer thick line that was the edge of his arm to go. I stared at it. I was reluctant to use any whiteout at all. Eventually it hit me! I could turn that thick line into a stripe on his jacket! If you look carefully you can see where the arm used to be. But if you can spot it without me telling you, you're doing damn well. Noo and Emily exclaimed that while the piece was impressive, it was made even more so by how I fixed the arm.

And BAM! Here ya go! One Super-Hiro. I would say this is the best piece of non-digital art that I've done. It took a couple of hours but it was worth it!

At the bottom of the Root and Branch pages I'm going to start posting all the photos of all the sketches of everyone.

I also promise to post super regularly to catch up to Root & Branch part 2 which just got uploaded today (but my posts may not have all the writing). Did anyone catch part 2? I cut my teeth on part 1, and I really think I kicked some butt on part 2. I'm so damn proud of it.

But part 1, boy Ollie Grigsby knows how to trust. Look at this page. No dialogue. It's all just me, and I totally appreciated his faith in me.

<- A Claire sketch I did that morning to warm up on my likenesses.

Panel 1 is pretty straight forward. Ollie didn't mention what the clone would be doing so I just figured he'd be sitting in front of some communication equipment. That way he's up to no good, right? If half my mates had that stuff they would just use it to "back up" all the porn on the internet.

Panel 2 is the first installment of the screwed up clock. Two things happened here. I explained one of them on the 9th Wonders forums. The first is that I calculated and re-calculated the timezones that many times I probably checked the wrong notes. The other thing is something very few people know about me. I really struggle to read analog clock faces.

<- This dude looks like the actor Jurgen Prochnow. I tried re-create that Claire I drew that morning.

Embarrassing I know. I'm just a little retarded like that. The other thing I can't do is a subtle wink. When I try to wink it's this ridiculous face-scrunching exercise. Nothing subtle about it at all.

Anyway, panel 3! I like the depth from the lighting behind the trees. And Sabine looks cute too. A poster on 9th Wonders mentioned specifically how great my women look. I'm so glad, as women are the thing I find hardest to draw.

A Hiro! Tough to compete with the big one, but it's my first of the day, and my first one in a VERY long time.

This dude was awesome. He comes back later and gave me a lot of laughs both times. He asked for a Peter. Boy my Peter's were rusty! I couldn't remember if his lip went up or down, and I know I used to remember how I did his eyebrows but I forgot.

OTHER NEWS: I just got my visa approved! I'm off to LA Sunday. I'm so excited!

FACEBOOK: If anyone else is on this time-wasting nonsense, feel free to friend me up. Just please let me know you know me - or that you don't. =)


ryangibsonstewart said...

Freakin' awesome!

How cool is it that you got to tell the story with no obstructing text balloons, no dialog, nothing to hinder your art. Very cool!

Great sketches. Wish I could have been there...

Congratulations, Luis!

Oliver Grigsby said...

It cracks me up when I hear people on the boards say things like "not much dialog, writer must have been slacking." Because my thought when reading comics is always "all that bloody dialog is getting in the way of the art!" Of course it always helps to have someone like Jason who you can trust to make your action look awesome :)

Also want to point out the while Jason may not be able to do a subtle wink, he can do subtle art. One of the things I love about this page is that you get to see a little bit more of what the clones look like in each panel, which helps build the feeling of discovery until it's fully revealed on the next page.

MiamiVolts said...

Ah, so now we learn the real reason why the wristwatch in War Buddies, Part 4 had a digital display! :)

Anyways, Ryan and Ollie are right. As I mentioned in the comment I left in your previous post, the art was great in part 2. It's rare in graphic novels that you get to draw art that doesn't end up obstructed by captions.

At the same time, a single caption at the beginning of the novel or a calendar or something that shows the timeline would be a great addition. I'm crossing my fingers, hoping to see something like that in part 3, but regardless of whether it gets included or not, it's been a cool story.