Saturday, August 23, 2008

ROOT & BRANCH part 2 wrap up

This project is so old, but I have to wrap it up. So that's what I'm doing. Bear with me as I try to keep your dwindling attention span amused. One post for part 2 and one post for part 3, then onto some True Blood action.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 4.

It's kinda sad (or good) that I'm out drawing my posting pace. I'm averaging a page a day, seven days a week, and blogging a LOT less than that. Ironically, because of the drawing. It's pretty full on. I've been like that for almost two months now. I'm currently dreaming of a week off just to play computer games. As Lauren, my production manager and editor commented, "You have lofty goals my friend."

I still feel that this arc is the best that I've drawn myself. Hana was fun, but I was really just learning the ropes and figuring out how to colour it without Annette. Blackout was probably my most mediocre effort. I made the wrong choices and I just felt that it didn't click, but I learned the most from it. But I figured it all out by Root and Branch. The communication with Zach Craley and Ollie Grigsby made such a difference. Their imaginations and insights kept me enthused and challenged. I don't know if you ever read it by there's an interview with us HERE on Heroeswiki from the ever brilliant Ryan Gibson Stewart (who also got a shout out on the towels in the hotel on page 4. I just noticed that in the Heroes universe, Ryan's probably as rich as Linderman. He own the nightclub in New York in the Death of Hana Gitelman, and now a hotel in Paris. Not bad, Ryan. Not bad at all.)

<- Root and Branch colour art for page 4.

This installment was hurried but not rushed. I remember being able to take my time with the ever looming spectre of part 3 hanging over my head. I was in London at the time doing day trips to Paris to get my visa sorted. In fact the first time I went, I woke up at 3am that morning to catch a 5am train. Paris is an hour ahead of London and a 3 hour train journey and subsequent commuting meant I rocked up at the US embassy in Paris at 10am for my appointment. I waited an hour, handed in my paperwork, waited another 2 hours and found out that my lawyer hadn't filled out my paperwork correctly! I had wasted an entire day in Paris! Devastating for Root and Branch.

I headed home that night back to London. I scheduled another appointment for the following week - right in the middle of part 3. The paperwork was fixed and again I woke up again at 3am and schlepped my exhausted butt to Paris with my new paperwork. Again I lodged it and a lady pointed to a man who would process my application. You know those guys who just look like accountants? With little beady eyes and tediously manicured nails ready to pick at every seam and wrinkle? Well he was one of those. I was already nervous as I had been told that the interview for the E-3 visa (a unique visa between Australia and the US for college/university qualified applicants) was really tough. Looking at this guy, I waved and flashed a warm smile hoping it masked the fear and trepidation in my eyes. I knew I had to be on the ball for this interview. I had to be as sharp as Sylar's finger.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 5. I sat back down and waited. I waited for two hours. Have you ever tried keeping an adrenaline high and your concentration up for 2 hours? It's nigh on impossible and exhausting. Finally my number was called and I proceeded to a window with a lady there. I was confused. She asked me who I was working for and what my job was. I furtively looked around for Accountant Guy, but my mouth clicked into gear and I answered quickly and graciously. She then told me I would have to come back tomorrow to pick up my passport. "Tomorrow?" I asked, "But what about my visa? When do I find out if I got my visa?"

She then smiled, "Oh, didn't I tell you? You've got your visa, honey."

I almost collapsed with happiness. Apparently I look good on paper. Good enough that I don't need an interview.

Staggering I shuffled back to the hotel I stayed in a couple months before when my parents took me to Paris. They remembered me (I drew them all little HEROES sketches as they were all fans) and they looked after me again. I hooked up my laptop and got to work on part 3.

<- Root and Branch colour art for page 4.

PAGE 4: I went back to the black and white flashbacks here. In fact, the script asked for the panel to be very reminiscent of Episode 17 from season one, "Company Man", where Bennet meets Claude. I found a frame that I liked, substitued Gael for Thompson, Julien for Claude and Sabine for Bennet. Even if you don't consciously recognise it, it should hopefully subconsciously resonate the two scenes.

Look who's also in Paris here. You can find the action part of this scene in graphic novels 97 and 98. A nice bit of tying together by the writers. God forbid they either know what they're doing or improvising so damn well that we think the former.

The texture outside the window is a photo that I took on top of Notre Dame. I also consciously kept the Paris flashback monochromatic so that it's obvious it's a flashback. It's one of my pet peeves that some colourists don't make flashbacks obvious. Clarity is king!

They asked for this to be as risque as possible for Sabine, but I'm well aware of three things. It's a family show, and should be acceptable for all ages. I also want to be respectful to Sabine. She's an attractive woman, and there's no need to go exploiting that. Finally, I hate doing redraws, especially for reasons I've already figured out myself.

<- Root and Branch unfinished line art for page 6. Have a look at Julien's knees in closeup in black and white. How painful does that look? He's not walking again anytime soon.

PAGE 5: Panel one came off so nicely and for very little work on my part. It's all textures and the angle of his head. I got a lot of comments about how brutal it was, but really, you don't see a lot.

Thanks to Ryan for finding out for me what a Primatech security card looks like as well as what hand gun they use and finding screenshots and what episodes featured the cells that they kept Bennet in.

Panel 2 is a stylistic cheat. It's basically the bottom panel from page 1 with sunglasses, tears and a darker colour palette to show the later time of the day. It's a cheat timewise, but it's also exactly what I was going for. I needed to show that things were the same but different.

I love drawing the main cast. I'm such a artistic slut for their looks. They're all such fascinating looking people and it's such a challenge for me to get their likenesses. I added the inset panel of Bennet as I knew he would be narrating part 3. I needed to get his presence to be more than just a cameo in the background. I wanted the audience to be suspicious of his involvement right here.

It was Zach's idea to have him catching his little red bouncing ball. A nice continuity touch, I thought.

<- Root and Branch line art for page 6. PAGE 6: This was such a rushed page, but it turned out so well. I got heaps of comments that mirored exactly what Zach asked for in the script:

"It shouldn't be too too disgusting to look at, but enough to get a little grossed out... The disgusting part should be the inhuman treatment-- this usage of Dumont as a machine."

This is an old version of the line art as I didn't include a lot of the background. No idea why, it was a long time ago, ok? But I do like this page. I think it turned out well. The subtle tree symbolism versus the incredibly cold palette I used really help sell this page.

Ok! Part 3 next.

I'm also pitching a story for a romance anthology called Less Then Three ("<3" get it? Clever, huh?) edited by Leonard Wallace. I hope we can work something out.

Uuurgh. So much for keeping this brief. Back to work! Back to work!!! Schnell! SCHNELL!!!!


Flawedprefect said...

Hey buddy. Actually, it's GOOD that you're blogging less due to your work. I just completed 456 panels of storyboard for the pilot episode of "Character Development". Last week, my blog post was two days late... but I got through no less than 9 pages (that's 54 panels) in one day. I said "to heck with the blog if it's gonna interfere with the work".

The work comes first. Otherwise, it's all sizzle and no steak!

... and I LURVE steak.

thepoohguy said...

I'm not sure I agree with the accountant statement. We are not all beady little eyed people who want to make your life miserable. No seriously, it's true. Some of us actually have personalities!!!

RyanGibsonStewart said...

As rich as Linderman, eh? Nah, just independently wealthy! :)

Thanks for the shout-outs Jas, you're too kind!

Great post. Nice to have an overview of the project. Thanks for the interview, too...

Flawedprefect said...

My accountant has beady little eyes! I have to admit, she doesn't want to make my life miserable, quite the opposite... but the beady eyes thing - you cannot shake my belief on that.

If I meet an Manga-styled accountant, I shall be turned around on the subject, however...