Wednesday, September 03, 2008

ROOT & BRANCH part 3 wrap up

Oh god, I suck. I'm the worst Blogger in the world. I'm going to go for a running dive behind Paul Caggegi's words, which basically translate as, all blogging and no work it's "all steak and no sizzle."

I have been so busy it's insane. I worked all Labor Day weekend, busting my ass. I did have a small break where I headed out to a pool party Sunday at the house of the writer/producer of "Scary Movie". What was great is while I know a bit about Hollywood and how it works, my accent means I'm able to ask all the questions about people that I want. See, if I had an American accent it's almost assumed that I should know what a "talent manager" is and how that differs from a publicist or even an agent (fyi they plan a client's long term career). I can ask all the details I want without appearing stupid. It's great. And people are so happy to chat about their jobs.

Apart from the pool parties I'm powering through part 2 of Into The Wild. I hope you enjoyed part 1 (chapter 101). It just went online HERE. I'm very happy with it. But I will chat more about it when I get to it (sometime around the next Olympics probably). I'm so busy that the only reason why I sleep and eat is because it reduces my productivity if I don't do so. My only real breaks are heading to the gym with my housemate and neighbour (my housemate has lost 3% body fat in the last month! He's really stuck to the eating plan and weights routine I gave him).

I shouldn't even be blogging! By body is wracked with the guilt of procrastination as I type this. I have to have the entirety of part 2 done by Friday and I'm only 5 pages into the 12 pages story. Oh, did I mention I also have a full time job and have to do 6 pages for that also?

Anyway, enough whining about the present, let's whine about the past.



I loved drawing Root and Branch part 3 (R&B3). I've said it before and I'll say it again. It was so much fun. I'm so glad they asked me to draw Sabine for Into the Wild too. I think it will have a really nice visual consistency for the reader. R&B3 was drawn in about 5 days. 5 days to draw and colour 6 pages was a really tall order for me. Remember, I had been drawing the previous two parts also as well as my other obligations. My energy was waning.

But, I got to draw Bennet! I think I've drawn him more than any other cast member and I still find him really tough. Jack Coleman has a very unique face, where the balance of the features is so delicate, that if you get the smallest thing wrong you've just drawn some random with glasses. "Random" is a word I picked up in London off Nat and my mate Matt.

I envy the more cartoony artists like Ryan who just seem to smash out his likeness effortlessly. *sigh*

But as I mentioned, I knew that Bennet would feature in part 3, so I made his presence pop a little more in part 2. The Tale of Two Cities was requested for in the script. I'm not sure its significance, as I haven't read the book myself. But the SHEINDIE CLASSICS label was my shout out to the tirelessly enthusiastic and supportive Sheindie. His shout out was well overdue. I can't think of anyone else that's been so supportive and helpful and hadn't got a shout out.

It was Ryan Gibson Stewart who found me the reference for the cells. I made sure that Bennet's cell was arranged exactly how it was on the show (each alternating cell mirrors the one preceeding so it can be a bit confusing).

I loved making the cloning process gross. Most comics have such clean powers, I looked forward to diryting this up. The point where Sabine cuts the cord (I spent ages finding just the right hideous yellow/green colour for the liquid spilling out) and the ecg monitor flatlining was an idea suggested after by Zach Craley.


The reason why the shirt was open on the clone on our right was to show his belly button. There was some question on the boards as to whether they had belly buttons or not. I figured they must because Sabine would freak out and notice otherwise. Unfortunately in the drawing I forgot about this intention and ended up covering up the belly button. Eeediot!

I'm extremely happy with the bloodstained glass effect, and hope that it was still readable for the reader.

The main difference with Root Julien (RJ - as he's known in the scripts, Duplicate Julien is known as DJ) is that he's supposed to have a tattoo of a tree on him somewhere. I totally forgot about it, and luckily, so did NBC.

When I did my signing at Orbital Comics comics I drew a raffle for attendees to see whose likeness would be incorporated into the comic. I was going to do two things. If they looked the part, then they would be cast as an agent, in fact an agent who gets shot by Sabine. If they didn't look like an agent (ie a kid) then I was going to put them playing on the road as the cars drive by in page 5. But Luis was awesome and posed perfectly as the shot agent. I also managed to sneak two more Bennet likenesses in (I just couldn't help myself!).


Ryan again found me reference for what the company corridors look like. When I did the set tour I was lamenting to Ollie how I would have loved to have come in and shot these for reference. I don't know if anyone noticed, but there's shadows of the company agents behind those doors.

The agents in panel 4 are Donna, Thompson, Devin and some random dude. I find it interesting how Devin's look has changed from the sketches we were given. In the one I was given Devin practically has a beard he's so grizzly. I loved the design. I don't like smooth faced Devin as much.

I also really like how Sabine cupping RJ's face came out. I think it's a great moment. There's intimacy in their hands and eyes, but their bodies are far apart to show that they don't really know each other.


It's when I read this bit I knew for a fact that Julien was totally unlike the clone guy who fights Adam. Ollie and Zach were really smart to take the time to totally explore RJ's cloning ability. Remember I was talking about making powers gross? Well I wanted to go overboard here. At the point of the clone's separation I overlayed multiple textures of varicose veins, raw meat and all sorts of horrid stuff. If you look at panel 1 you can see eyeballs and all sorts of stuff growing. I heard somewhere that eyes are the most complex part of the body, so I figured they should be grown first.

The last two panels have two of my favourite Juliens. I just think I drew him really well here. And yes, it was a challenge to keep covering up this naked guy. I really didn't wanna see or draw RJ's "special little clone", you know?

Notice how Donn'a not shooting at him here? I figured that if Donna was there to shoot at him then she would have hit him with her special telescopic powers. So anyway, as far as I can determine there's still a naked Julien running around John McClane-style in the Company basement (i can just see it written on some dead Company agent - "Ha Ha Ha - now I have underwear.").

Now there's a story I wanna write!


I was trying to figure out what car Thompson would drive. Now I'm not a car head myself. Cars for me get me from A to B. If they can do that in a bit of style, then all the better. So I found this Audi. I remember the boards getting some activity from people saying they'd join the company if they could score this Audi. Wow. Four stylish wheels and you're ready to bag, tag and brainwash people. Are morals that thin these days? =)

I ended up adding all these trees and folliage around the bridge. I figured that if they just fell in a clear ravine then Donna would just pick them off from the bridge. Little would I know that - Oops! Almost gave away a spoiler. =)

You can see that a great deal of the movement of the cars is created in the colouring stage with blur effects.


I was so tired by this stage. I'm about to tell you a secret and you mustn't tell anyone. I had one day to colour this entire story arc. Normally I would have had 7 days to draw this, but I lost one day organising my visa in Paris, and another day as I was jumping on a plane to LA Sunday morning. My taxi was coming at 8am.

So it's 11am on Saturday and I have til 8am the next morning to colour all 6 pages. To give you an idea, Annette says she can colour two pages a day. I had to do 6! I worked until 7am that morning. My poor sister had to pack all my bags for me (and she did an incredible job - I pulled shirts out of the bag two weeks later and they didn't have a single crease in them!). I started page 5 by about 2 in the morning and I was so tired by this stage. The night scenes on these pages look murky and horrible because of this. I just couldn't figure out how to make it work. I'd already been in front of the computer for 15 hours at that stage.

There was also some question on the boards as to which character the driver was and what future role he would play. Honestly, he's just my mate Brett. In the labels on my navigation bar you will find under one of the older ILLUSTRATION tags an invite that I did for Brett's 30th birthday. Brett also commissioned me to do my Havok and Wolverine. He's one of the biggest fans of my work (the fact that he knows me yet is still a huge fan of my stuff takes me aback daily) and jokingly asked why he hadn't appeared in a comic yet. Almost all our friends had. He emailed me this aside as I was supposed to draw page 6 and so it was game on. He got such a huge buzz out of it. In fact it was trying to do him justice that kept me awake while colouring this page at 6am.

And that's the end of R&B3! And they lived happily ever after. Or they did until INTO THE WILD where it all hits the fan.

Oh, as a point of trivia, HERO/ROEsian from the 9th Wonders boards sent me a PM about some stats he'd compiled. He had put up a TOPIC which was a bunch of links to different sites that HEROES fans would dig. Apparently my blog is the most clicked from there with 18,547 links from there. HERO did the math, and that if my counter down the bottom of my site is correct, then that means that about 43% of my hits have come from there. Damn, ROEsian, you have single handedly made my site look respectable Thanks man! But you can look forward to a special "thank you" in INTO THE WILD part 2.

I will talk about TRUE BLOOD next then onto INTO THE WILD.

Thanks for being so patient with me.


ryangibsonstewart said...

Fantastic stuff, Jas! It was great to have visual consistency between Root and Branch and Into the Wild. As with all of your blog posts, I love your attention to detail as much as your concentrated adherence to the "big picture".

Can't wait for the next installment...But like anything worth waiting for, I'm sure it'll be fantastic!

'ROESian said...

Hope you're able to get everything done that ya gotta do and also find some time to rest - that's still wild to know you are giving us all of this HEROES goodness in addition to your full-time job!

Kudos to you!

Also, finding out that I'm kinda helpful by letting people know where to find out more about your artwork was fun - just wanted you to know I wasn't doin' it for any thanks... Though, that's appreciated, too. :D

Re: Into the Wild This three-parter is great so far - how will it play out!?!

That would be cool to see a graphic novel (or part of one) showing "the rest of the story", where we see, from evsdropr's pov, how things got done behind the scenes... Oh, now for some speculation about Penny - will she be able to "escape" The Company with Connie giving her one last and permanent new face (and name)?

Anyway, take care!

P.S. - The link you wanted to use for HEROES Graphic Novel #101 currently goes to flawedprefect's blog (just a copy and paste deal, I bet), and a person could get to the interactive version of the comic here, just fyi.

Flawedprefect said...

Heheh - one thing I have learned from being a small guy is to use Big Words. Now I know they're big enough to hide behind. :D

As always - great work which just keeps on getting better.

jasonb said...

ryan: One of the reasons I signed on for the entirety of INTO THE WILD is because I knew the fans would want that visual consistency. Thanks again for all your help. It's your help that enables me to keep my eye on both pictures big and small.

ROESian: Rest? I'll sleep when I'm dead. read on my friend, read on! You will love how it all plays out.

PAUL: thanks man! Hey words from the wise, of course I'm gonna heed them.

'ROESian said...

Wild. I was just readin' the True Blood entry, went to read the comic, and now the entry's gone...

Sounds like a fun premise; don't get HBO to see if the show will be good, though. I could see a difference in how you drew Lamar in the first part to the second; too bad you couldn't get a good high-res reference or two from the beginning from HBO, though.

About the HEROES gig in (I think) October, is it because ya asked, when on-set, to see more sets for references? Kurt reminded me of that idea:
Buzzed, I had seen everything I could possibly want to see. I profusely thanked Ollie and Zach (who had joined us later) and set off from the set. Before I left I asked them about getting future access to sets that are included in the comics. The possibility of being able to shoot reference of the actual HEROES sets would be an incredible opportunity and take my artwork up another level. They couldn't see why not and said they would float the idea to everyone else.

And yeah, I can't wait to read on to see how Into The Wild all plays out!

Good stuff!

Psimonic said...

I just checked out the preview comic of True Blood on the site and once again you've done some amazing artwork.
Are they feeding you some kind of Vampire/Hero hybrid formula?
Because I'm getting the feeling you don't sleep...