Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Hey gang!

So the competition has ended. For those of you unsure as to what competition I'm talking about, SHAME ON YOU! SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!

It was presented by Grand Central Publishing and you could win one of three copies of the BOOK OF LIES by BRAD MELTZER.

You had to answer this question under three categories:


The three categories are:

1. Best HEROES-related answer.

2. Best SUPERMAN-related answer.

3. Funniest answer.

Well, the entries are in, the judges were escorted into a guarded, isolated room in NATO sanctioned country as per article 49051a of the 1957 UN charter for competitions of this scale. They conferred for 32 hours non stop. The bitter arguing would have made 12 Angry Men proud. It threatened to tear apart several long term friendships, change economic policies and initiate several armed conflicts. But they have arrived at three final decisions.

Alright, alright, it was just me in my room reading blog comments.

To forgo as much bias as possible I had been copying and pasting the entries without the author's names into a separate document. So when I read them today I was able to do so without knowing who said what. I flagged the ones I liked then found out who they were. The 100 word limit was not enforced but merely served as an encouragement so I wouldn't be reading essays. If two entries were similar and I couldn't decide between them, then I went for the one that was posted first.

I really enjoyed reading all the entries. I was so impressed by al the creativity!


Primarily I was looking for answers that involved powers featured on the show, or were tied inextricably into the show.

WINNER: Mitch said...

For me it would be Candice Wilmers power of of casting illusions. It would be fun screwing with people but also could be quite lucrative if those illusions could be caught on film, How in demand would I be in Hollywood creating cheap and quick special effects. If that doesn't work I could always make a fortune putting on the ultimate stage show in Vegas.

RUNNER UP: baldbobbo said...

Wow, this is a fun one since Heroes is by far my most favorite show on television. As much as I would want telekinesis, I think telepathy would be the most interesting ability to have. For the villainous reasons, it'd allow you to eavesdrop on people's deepest thoughts, you could control people, even in their sleep (Maury Parkman), and at worst you could make Molly eat her cereal.

The reason why I'd want it personally is for a reason that hasn't been shown by Matt yet, which is a shame. I think hearing people's thoughts would make you empathic towards people's feelings, and you could understand them so much better. Less fights with girlfriends/boyfriends, helping out people who are quiet with their feelings. Imagine how great a person you could be if you could crack open people's minds without the mess Sylar makes.


Ideally I was looking for an answer that wasn't just about his powers but embodied either what Superman stood for or something inextricably bound to Superman. Alexandre wins on both counts with one of the best answers I've ever heard to this question. Peter M comes runner up with a clever answer on the latter.

WINNER: Alexandre Togeiro said...

I think Superman’s powers complement each other, they are a package. But the individual power I would like to have is definitely the invulnerability - to be a ‘man of steel’! I think someone that simply can’t be harmed by anything made by mankind could have an important role as a neutral mediator in conflicts and disputes. I could be a journalist or a judge that can’t be coerced or threatened by anyone. Therefore I would be able to pursue justice and truth without fear, something that unfortunately we don’t see much these days.

RUNNER UP: Peter M said...

I Think right now Superman would most appreciate me if I had the power to bring back Pa Kent.


too soon?


Based solely on my sense of humour, it's whether I found the answer funny. The winner won by a long shot. His power was funny, but the punchline was a killer. The runner up Ryan gave me a good giggle. When I found out who it was, I found it even funnier.

WINNER: thepoohguy said...

The power to understand and interpret a baby's cry and become the GREATEST BABYSITTER ON THE PLANET!

OK, that sounds a bit creepy for a 36 year old man with no children.

RUNNER UP: ryangibsonstewart said...

...The power to actually control myself whenever I see Kristen Bell.


All winners have until Tuesday the 4th to contact me at with their mailing details. If they don't contact me by that time then their prize will go to the runner up.

Thanks to everyone for entering! I will be running more competitions in the future.

Oh, and if you don't already know, you can find my latest HEROES webcomic HERE. I recommend you read it before watching episode 7.

Posts about SUM QUOD SUM part 2 will go up tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SUM QUOD SUM PART 1 pages 4 & 5

Wow, my 300th post. That's a fair achievement for me. I'm kinda proud of that. Mainly because that's about 300 posts of artwork that I'm proud of. From the first post to the latest post, it's all work that still stands strong. I hope that scrolling through it all you can see and enjoy the journey I'm on. If you like what I'm doing now, wait til you see what I can do in years to come. My one goal is that I never stop improving. As my motto goes, "Always be happy, never be satisfied".

This whole SUM QUOD SUM project has been a real highlight for me sequentially. I've realised that the difference between good comic book art and great comic book art lies in your creative energy, conviction and endurance. Running a marathon is an impressive achievement, and something that most people can do if they put their minds to it. But sprinting it to finish with a time that most people can only dream about is something else. In this case, if I had a personal best time, my effort on Sum Quod Sum just smashed it. I didn't take my foot off the accelerator once, and I'm incredibly proud of that.

I would have liked some of my Kristen Bell references to be better, but I'm really limited by my tools. Given I have a very realistic style, I can't do a chariacture of her. It has to really look like her for it to work. So that means getting reference. Here's the thing, I then have to go through everything she's done looking for the right expression on the right angle under the right lighting conditions.

I can't take one shot where she's looking the wrong way and flip it. The reason why is that your expressions are lop sided and people subconsciously are aware that you only curly your lip to the left when you're unimpressed, or that you only raise your right eyebrow when you're surprised.

Finding the right expression is essential or the performance doesn't work. I like to think that even if it's not the best likeness of her, you can still read her face.

Lastly, the right lighting conditions really help. You'd be amazed at the number of shots I had to discard because even thought it's a screen cap of her, it just doesn't look like her! Sometimes lighting is the cause of this.

It's a tough and tedious job to get those likenesses right.


What's fun about this page is that this is where I was hanging out with Nat and Noo on Southbank where the London Eye (panels 1 and 2) and Westminster bridge (panel 3) are. Noo and I even had lunch on Whitehall street (panel 4). I have also spent a fair amount of time waiting for the night bus to get home from Trafalgar Square (panels 4 and 5).

As far as geography goes, I was blown away that Ollie had actually plotted the route that Elle and Claude run. I was so impressed. Most writers don't care about that sort of stuff and would have her run by Big Ben then past Picadilly Circus, through Canary Wharf and then through Camden. That would be some sort of nightmare for marathon runners. As it is, it's a fair run, but a reasonable one. I figure it's why she's able to catch up to him at Trafalgar square. Despite her shorter legs she's fitter than he is. I tried to make sure that we knew where they were running and made sure that the London eye was in as many shots as possible so we knew where they'd been.

PANEL 2: The large guy with the black hair and glasses is Teddy from Zero G. He plays Atom's assistant, and he's such a great background character. I put him in lots of backgrounds because he's so innocuous.

PANEL 3: Some more shout outs to my LA friends. The woman yelling "Hey!" is my friend Kath who modelled for Connie in INTO THE WILD and all of Elle in this story. The guy on the right with the shaved head is my neighbour and one of my best LA friends, Tony. That spire with the pennants is where the London Movieum where my friend Huwj works as their inhouse comic book artist. If you're in London, go say "Hi" and tell him I sent you. He's a great guy and will entertain you for ages.

PANEL 4: Now if you look carefully at Elle on this panel and the next you will see that Annette's done tiny little sparks as the rain hits her, acknowledging her problem with water. I remember Annette and I going back and forward on the colour of Elle's top and eventually agreeing on white. Ollie was happy as long as we didn't run into any problems in the rain. I assured him that my realistic attention to detail would sidestep that issue.When I was doing research for this project I actually put together a file of images of clothing that I thought Elle could wear for each scene. As I had to draw each scene I browsed through her digital wardrobe to find out what she should be wearing.

PANEL 5: I originally drew Elle as a silhouette here (all black) but then realised we had to increase the sparks on her body. So I drew her in after I had drawn everything else. The main contrivance in the script and the art is that there's no one at Trafalgar Square - which I've never seen. I've sat there from 4am to 6am waiting (for a bus that had already been cancelled) and the place never died down.

A final shout out goes to my friend Shannon and Chloe. Chloe's brother recently did a film called SURFING 50 STATES. They asked me if I could mention it on the blog, and I said I'd do one better.

Just in case you're wondering how much detail I'm prepared to draw, you can actually see inside the bus and the odd passenger inside.


I can't tell you how happy I am with this page. This is the money shot! I spent ages drawing the reflections of water on the ground. I also drew a fair bit of time drawing the background behind Claude so Annette could make him semi transparent. Annette went above and beyond here. Absolutely above and beyond. The shimmer effect on the background behind him is inspired and mirrors the effect you see on the show as he appears. As you can see from my layouts she did all the lightning effects. I swear to god, it's like working with Lucasfilm. Now I know how a director feels when they get their footage back from the effects house.

Annette has made this one of the most cinematic images I've ever drawn. Great movement, great energy and a complicated design that works seamlessly.

The last panel was added by me. Ollie needed them both unconscious at the end, and I couldn't figure out how to draw that in one image. So having the extra panel with them both smoking on the ground had to be added. Again Annette does a great job with the subtle electricity on them. What I didn't expect was for the rain to help indicate the panel borders. It was a nice touch.

I hope you enjoyed part 1. Stay tuned for part 2. It's a lot of fun. Ollie has written some of the best dialogue I've read in ages.

Don't forget the COMPETITION! Scroll down. You've got 7 hours left to write up to three entries (one for each category).

If you hit me up on Facebook, please send me a message to say you know me through this blog. I don't like to add people I have no idea how I know.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I hadn't been blogging as I'd been entertaining my good friend David Blumenstein. David is an incredible animator and cartoonist. I really recommend you check out the promo for his new animated series THE PRECINCT. I haven't seen such a brilliant, professional and funny piece of animation that good in a very long time. I describe it as an Australian South Park.

David had been to LA before so there was very little on his agenda list. In fact his agenda consisted of one thing: chicken and waffles at Roscoes. We headed out to Hollywood and braved both of these phenomena, which were unfortunately not on the same plate. I should preface this by saying that I eat really healthily. So when the deep friend chicken covered in gravy and mountain of waffles arrived I kinda freaked out and went into some sort of anaphylactic shock. All I saw was the amount of calories and saturated fats I'd have to work off. I know, I'm worse than most of the women you know. But hey, I have to watch my girly figure!

We rounded out the rest of his two day stay with a trip to the Getty, which blew me away. It is such a beautiful building. We caught the last day of the Bernini exhibition and his sculpting skill absolutely floored me. After wandering around the Dali exhibition with Noo, I decided that I only really like seeing art museums with other artists. Sorry, I'm a snob. But I just get so much more out of it like that. And David was no exception.

Not the most beautiful photo I took of the Getty lighting or art-wise, but the one that probably communicates the architecture and scale of it the best.

We found this nice balcony with great lighting as the sun set. I told David it would make a great photo and took one of him. Then vanity came ringing and I asked him to take a photo of me. It would be a better photo if I put some product in my hair and shaved once in a while. I'm such a bum!

Before I took him to the airport we went to Hooters, as he'd never been before. I'd only been once. We indulged in more fried chicken which finally broke David. I'm sure his 14 hour plane trip back to Melbourne wasn't pleasant.

Between entertaining David and finishing Sum Quod Sum I'd been too busy to blog.

Speaking of which, let's get back to it. The shout out page. One of the things I find when I'm drawing is that I can get bored drawing all the people in the backgrounds. To remedy that, I thought I'd draw in as many people that I knew as I could. That way I'm drawing tributes and portraits of friends rather than just randoms (as my English friends would say).

Ollie had written his fiance Abby into the story and had her accompanied by his best friend. I mentioned I'd like to shoot both her and his friend. He remarked that his friend lived in San Diego. Then I suggested that it should be him. I wanted to draw him in as an engagement present to the two of them from me. I went around to their place and we had a fun shoot. Abby and Ollie were great and really got into it. Their lovely dog, Star (like her namesake) insisted on her 15 minutes of fame.

Then came the bus. I was just going to draw some random people when it occured to me that I should draw some friends. Then it occured to me that I should make it more authentic by drawing some English friends. On further thinking about who I should draw I noticed that it was two very special SARMY members birthdays! On the far left with the dredlocks is Noo, and sitting next to her is Nat. Previous readers of my comic might know them as the owners of the Nat and Noo pub in Australia in Root and Branch part 1. I worked from our holiday snap shots and I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

In the far back corner is Rob Beck a great young guy who has been emailing me encouragement quite regularly. I asked him to send me some snaps for reference and drew him in. His rationale of why he's in England is that he's a teleporter who accidentally teleported there and now can't get back.

And that's all for the shout outs for this page. I remember joking to Annette on panel 1 that I was disppointed that she didn't individually colour every single person in the stands. Thank god she laughed. Someone closer to the edge of sanity might have stabbed me. Ollie called me after I had drawn page 1 and mentioned that Sprint needed their new phone in the story. I suggested that it might fit really well here. I think it's the best product placement you will find. It tells us what Elle is looking at in a page of excess detail. I'm very happy with the way it came out.

I want you to go back and take a moment with the background of panel 4. All those struts let alone the entire city of London stretched out behind them. Yeah, that took a while.

No really, go back and have another look.

Ok, enough of that . You can move on now.

When I shot the reference for panel 4, Ollie couldn't figure out why I wanted to have Abby and him in the shot. I told him that I wanted the reader to think that Elle is following them, then when Claude pops up we then figure out who she's really following.

Speaking of which, you will notice that I changed the way Claude is facing when he appears. I wanted us to be able to see his face and thus recognise him. I was pretty happy with his likeness. But Claude is quite easy to draw.

It was Ryan Gibson Stewart that pointed out the funniest comment with regard to this series. He said to me that I must be pretty buzzed that I got to draw a cross over between Doctor Who and Veronica Mars. =)

One more day for the competition entries people! Scroll down to the COMPETITION entry and write in what you think.

SQS 2 is done, and I can't wait to see what you all think.

One word.... BIKINIS!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SUM QUOD SUM part 1 page 2

Page 2 is teamwork at its best. The key to what makes Ollie Grigsby such a great comic book writer is he figures out the essential points in a story and hits those beats effectively and powerfully. I remember at one stage he apologised for having so many panels on a page, and I replied saying you only have to apologise if you didn't try at all. And Ollie does more than try he nails it every time.

He covers so much ground on this page. Most writers would take at least two pages to do. But he finds the key moments and takes you through them perfectly.

I must say, I thought I'd get in trouble for panel 1. But I tried to skirt the line between what would happen, what's decent and what's a little bit sexy. It's kind of creepy to draw naked pictures of actual people, so I did my best to just tell the story and be honest to the situation. Annette heightened that with the amazing electrical effects all over Elle. I also think that this is one of my best likenesses of Kristen Bell here as well as such a great performance of the character. I hope you're thinking, "Damn that looks like it hurts!" rather than, "Kristen Bell naked!!!"

Ok, now you're probably thinking, "Kristen Bell naked!!!"

I know Ryan Gibson Stewart was happy that his shout out on the towel was in the same panel as a naked Kristen Bell. Coincidence? Consideration or conspiracy?

It was Nathan Koeher who commented on my Facebook page that the extras all looked like main characters, and that was exactly my goal. I drew everybody imagining that they were the main character in the panel. I then used composition and my greyshading technique to draw the eye to where Elle was. This was especially apparent in panel 2. That's a lotta people! The tall skinny guy with the glasses, spikey black hair and facial hair on the left side of the page is Chris Moreno, my art director on Zero G. What's funny is that I drew the Superman tshirt on the right as an afterthought. Annette then coloured the hoodie in the exact colour of one that I own. I thought that was a nice bit of psychic synchronicity.

Some people noted that they weren't particularly happy with my likeness of Daphne on these pages. When I had to draw this, there had only the first two episodes of season 3 aired. Her makeup has changed and her look has evolved. I've also built a better representation of what she looks like in my head. If I had to draw her now she would look a lot better. It's like when I had to draw episode 20, ROAD KILL. There had only been one episode with Zachary Quinto and I hadn't quite figured out what he looked like. My likeness of him these days is much better than it was back then.

That train carriage took forever though. I remember it devouring most of the Richard K Morgan book "Woken Furies" that I was listening to at the time (well worth the read by the way). Annette then did the most perfect job of colouring it. But that is nothing compared to the incredible job she did on the speed effect on the last panel. Is that perfect or is that perfect? You can see the evolution of the effect from the layout to my drawing to the final coloured version. I drew some action lines to indicate the movement. On a separate layer I blocked in which colours should be where. I then sent Annette a bunch of screen caps from the first episode and she worked her magic. I'm sure we will see how other colourists tackle Daphne's power, and I doubt anyone will come close to what Annette did. It is a perfect stylisation of the effect we saw on the show.

When I was down at the set last I was raving to Timm Keppler and Jim Martin about how I hate speedsters. Hate. Them. I don't mind them in a fight, but running across the globe?! WTF?!!

Here's why. Time is relative.

Hiro illustrates that best. The effect of him slowing and stopping time is the same effect as Daphne moving at super speed. Time is still working normally for them,. Let's imagine Hiro can't teleport. Even if he stopped time would he still run to Paris from America? Seriously, could you imagine him doing that? Left leg, right leg... repeat. Lots. It just wouldn't happen! He'd get to the end of the block and go, "Screw this!"

But that's what Daphne is doing. Just cos she can do it in the blink of our eye doesn't mean it doesn't take her weeks or months (in her relative time) to get there. It's the only use of a power on HEROES that bugs me.

But I just smile, shake my head and just enjoy the best damn show on television.

Feel free to look me up on Facebook. Just please let me know you heard of me through the blog. I think a friend started a fan club for me there too, and I'd be extremely flattered if you joined. I know it doesn't seem like much to anyone, but these sorts of numbers (like the number of hits on this blog) get people in the industry to take me seriously and give me much better opportunities.

Don't forget the BOOK OF LIES competition. It ends on on the 27th of October. Scroll down or just click the COMPETITION tab for details.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SUM QUOD SUM part 1 page 1

Well this is my favourite graphic novel that I've done to date. You can find the free download on the NBC Heroes site HERE.

Two reasons allow this to stand out above the rest.

1. I had heaps of time to do it.

2. It features cast members.

What made it the most fun to draw was that I had been requesting an Elle story for ages. When I met Ollie Grigsby on set ages ago he told me that there was an Elle story in the works and that he would make sure I got it. While I never doubted that Ollie would do everything in his power to make that happen, sometimes life gets in the way. So, while I appreciated him saying that, I had no expectations. When I got the email from Frank saying that they had requested me for the Elle story I was happier than Claire at a pep rally. When I got the script itself with Ollie's name on it I was so excited I had to be careful I wouldn't blow up Costa Verde. It is a great script. Claude's dialogue is just perfect isn't it? And the whole thing ties in so nicely to the big picture. I really felt this was one of the best complimentary graphic novels they'd done.

This came in way ahead of schedule so I was really able to indulge in the backgrounds. A friend sent me a great essay once. It compared backgrounds in comics to a musical score in movies. Rushed and hurried backgrounds are akin to the wah wah pedal and tinny track that accompanies a porno. Lavish backgrounds are like an orchestral score from John Williams. I'm no John Williams, but I metaphorically single handedly attempted to haul in my own Philharmonic Orchestra.

I was living in London for the first 5 months of this year, so everything was very distinct in my mind's eye. When I was looking for research I knew exactly what to look for. What helped is that this was so well researched by Ollie. He even plotted out their CHASE. How cool is that? Given I had walked that very route I knew what you would see as you approached each area.

As you can see from above, I drew ALL of Tower Bridge. I was a little dismayed that it got covered up by the word balloon. But you can see it in all its glory above. Research-wise I couldn't find out what gun the guards use so I just threw in M-16s. A friend later told me they're SA-80s - and they don't hold them like that. Ahhh well.

I also love drawing likenesses. Annette commented how much Claude it looks like Claude. I joked that I can literally scribble lines and it looks like Claude. With reference he's quite easy to draw. Beard. Messy hair. Wild eyes. Easy.

I couldn't say the same about Kristin Bell. She is one tough lady to draw. There were countless times I had to redraw her face. She has such delicate features and the balance between them is so exact. I also found it much easier to draw her from Veronica Mars as they have a very powerful lighting design that lends itself to my style much more.

And yes, on one episode of Heroes she actually wears that lightning pendant. I thought it would be cool to chuck it in also.

Speaking of Annette, I think this is the best work she's ever done. It is indeed a beautiful sunny day in London, and the subtlety of the electrical effect in the last panel is beautiful. You can see I didn't draw any of that. It's all her. We're playing with this technique where i draw backgrounds on another layer and Annette is able to push them back to allow the

Having been watching Heroes, I was buzzed to finally see the scenes that I had watched filmed. The first one was Meredith telling Sandra she's going after Claire to rescue her from the Vacuum Man. The scene I saw blocked out was Sylar, Claire and HRG after recovering from the worm hole. I couldn't figure out why she started out every time flat on her face. Now I know. It was great seeing the finished scene.

But last night there was this scene where a distraught Peter is trying to push his way past Sylar. Sylar tries to stop him and says, "I can help you Peter." And it just got me thinking of this:

Don't forget the COMPETITION I'm running to win a copy of the BOOK OF LIES by Brad Meltzer courtesy of Grand Central Publishing. You have til next Monday!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


What happened to yesterday and my blog post? I was sure I left it around here somewhere. I'll tell you what happened. At 945am my exuberant Turkish and Austrian housemates burst into my room to wake me up. If they were any cheerier at that hellish time of the morning they would have needed pom poms... but pitch forks would have been more appropriate. I spent the rest of the day staggering around in some sort of sleep deprived haze. I'm told Batman only sleeps 4 hours a night. Well, I guess by my lack of bloggage, that makes me not Batman.

Alright, I want to talk about a couple choice pages from part 2, then wrap up part 3.

The reason why I picked pages 7 and 9 is because I wanted to show you the incredible work that Annette does. Regular readers know about how I constantly rave about her work. But these two pages show you exactly what she does.

PAGE 7: I was reasonable happy with page 7. I liked the detail of all the little guys running around with their guns. I had spent so much time on the detail, I didn't realise how static I'd made it! There was no drama to their house invasion. I was dismayed. All that work for such a mediocre result. Then Annette comes in and throws smoke canisters in, breaks the glass all over the floor and wheels in some spot lights outside. She made a mediocre composition punch with enough force to knock out Sylar.

PAGE 9: Here's another great example of our artistic partnership at work. What I was most happy with in my composition was the sense of scale. The fact that Timm would take the time and space to take a page to allow the explosion to make itself really felt was a masterful piece of storytelling.

My good Aussie mate, Paul Caggegi (I promise I will get to your email soon buddy!) sent me a link to a site with a bunch of free custom brushes for Photoshop. They got their work out here.

But again, look at the incredible highlighting, scale and action that Annette brings to the party! Let me give you a minute here to bask in that explosion- but don't forget to turn around or you're going to get an uneven tan.

PAGE 10 & 12: Ok, page 10 was my only clue for readers that Donna isn't Donna. If you go back aways to Faces as written by the brilliant Mark Sable, you will find that Penny remarks that she stays in shape to catch bad guys not impress guys.

In panel 3 you see the two of them taking off, with Penny/Donna leading the way. I wanted her to run like a sprinter, not like an ordinary girl (which is what Donna is). Then in panel 4 she's still leading the way. Your first question should be, "How the hell can Donna outrun Thompson Jr?"

In panel 5 she's fine and he's totally winded from the run. Surely that's gotta be red flags for you. Donna has had little to no training, while Thompson has been doing this for years. See? I leave you clues.

PAGE 12: I've included page 12 here as it's easily the best picture I've done of Donna - ironically, even though it's not Donna. I thought she looked both hot and cruel. Which is a balance I know some people really like. I don't know what I'm saying about myself here by saying this is my favourite picture of her. So um... let's just move right along andd leave my issues for another time then.


PAGE 1: I realised something while drawing Penny. There's not a lot of ugly people in comics. If there are unattractive people they're drawn as stereotypes and are rarely referred to as specifically "ugly." And if they are, they're some old crone covered in warts and weeping sores. Penny needed to have an understated ugliness. I couldn't pull the warts or weeping sores card, she just had to be desperately... unattractive.

Most other artists just drew her really plain, like a woman without any makeup. But I was pretty sure in reading it that she had to be ugly, not plain.

It really tore at me to draw her. I thought to myself, what if someone looks like this? Am I insulting them? Am I telling them that they're ugly? I decided to treat the stereotype of comics as the norm and weigh in on the opposite side of that. Massive eyebrows, that "fat face" thing that she had as a kid, and a wide nose are all the opposites of what we're conditioned to draw when we draw a beautiful woman in comics. It was an interesting and strangely uncomfortable exercise. So now you know why comics are only filled with beautiful people. Because we don't want to offend anyone.

As an aside, I asked them to add the line, "Penny?!" because as I hadn't drawn Penny before, I figured no one would recognise her. I noticed that when I drew Connie, no one recognised her either as I hadn't drawn her before. If Sabine had yelled, "Connie?!" it might have read a little better.

PAGE 2: Everyone was like, "how did Penny get inside the bathroom after Donna was just in there?"

My answer... It's one word.

Are you ready?


I didn't draw all the walls, hell, the window might even be behind the shower curtain. She crawls in as Donna leaves the room.

It was so much fun to draw the opposite side of this scene. It was a headache remembering which side Donna's blond lock was on with all the reflections though.

PAGE 3: Again people complained as to why she would have her badge on here. Two reasons. One, it had been previously established in her death painting. But the second reason is that I believe that a clone found it in her pocket and placed it on her in some act of insulting irony. I can see him sneering and saying something like, "There, now you're all dressed up for work."

PAGE 4: My layouts for the last two panels were governed by the reference from the winner of the NBC "Pick Penny's Face" competition.

I wanted to make sure that the winner would recognise their face.

As an aside, I changed car reference for Gael and Bianca. A continuity slip that I'm not sure anyone noticed.

PAGE 5: I'm so amazed we got away with Penny's ragged next spouting blood in panel 2. I remember Jim Martin getting really excited about it. I just know in comics that people have to look really dead or no one believes they're dead.

I'm especially happy with panel 3. I got to draw the Kill Squad for the first time. I wanted them to look like total professional bad asses. I did a fair amount of research to get all their equipment right.

Then what do I screw up? I forgot to take the casing off the bullet in panel 6. I do that ALL the time. I'm not a gun guy ok? I don't like guns. I think they're a cowardly weapon and I pay little attention to them. You want the power to kill someone? Earn it. Do some training with a real weapon.

What did annoy me a bit was people trying to figure out how Connie gets shot in the back when two panels previous she has her left side to the Kill Squad. My answer is what I call "reasonable action". If the clones can raise their guns and fire on the Kill Squad, is it reasonable that Connie turned 90 degrees and started to run away?

PAGE 6: I really wanted to make sure Connie was dead. If I could I would have had entrails and all sorts of things spilling out everywhere. But no one seemed to misread this. Sabine's reaction helps too I guess.

PAGE 7: Thompson goes all action hero! I figured if I could get away with Penny's head earlier I could have the decapitated body in panel 2 still be spouting blood as it falls.

I was really starting to regret putting all the equipment on the kill squad here. I'm sure Annette was feeling the same.

PAGE 8: I enjoyed the synchronicity of Sabine with a wounded Julien on her lap being carted around in the back of various SUVs driven by opposing organisations.

What was quite a challenge was arranging the geography of the clearing where the fight takes place as well as its distane and relation to the bridge. Charting Thompson's journey was important and Timm and Jim did a great job of keeping the plot moving while Thompson runs that fair distance.

PAGE 9: So some people asked why that dude was transparent. He's Manuel, a teleporter we met earlier. Then other people asked why he didn't just teleport away? I'm guessing he was either killed in the original ambush where he didn't even get a chance to react, or he froze up in the firefight. By the looks of it he tried to get away and got caught half way.

Even more people were questioning why Donna didn't just throw herself over the bridge. Lotta complainers, hey? Lets see. She's nailed to a board and still tied to a chair. She pushes Thompson Jr but then falls over after. With your feet basically imobile, she's not going anywhere. And in that split second neither him or her obviously thought of anything else. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

PAGE 10: I think it was me who remembered that Donna had to be wearing what she was wearing in the Isaac painting. It seems really obvious now, but when it's just lines on paper it's easy to forget these things. I think I actually drew her in something else before I went back and changed it to what Michael Gaydos drew. Doing my version of his picture was a lot of fun. I'm a huge fan of his, so getting to work off his work was a buzz.

I love that bridge explosion. Annette did such a great job. I did get a lot of hell that there's no way Thompson jr could have survived a fall from that height. All I can say is that sometimes I get carried away. Why draw a bridge when you can make it a really HIGH bridge?

PAGE 11: Ok, so I was REALLY getting sick of drawing soldiers at this stage. I tried to keep the Kill Squad in military gear, and the clones in more stealth outfits so that we could distinguish between the two groups. But yes, soldiers do indeed have their names on the front and back like that. It wasn't just me going, "Um, just in case you don't recognise this guy, it's...."

That silhouette of Thompson Jr was the one image I was dying to draw. I saw it as I read the script and just knew how it should look.

PAGE 12: And I was getting sick of drawing clones too. I think I was right up against the deadline too. I was so creatively and emotionally tired by this point. I had just taken on so much work, but it was worth it! I am very proud of what Annette and I did in this arc.

But I'm telling you now, stay tuned for the webcomic tomorrow. This is merely a creative mole hill compared to the mountain that Annette and I have pulled out for SUM QUOD SUM. I honestly believe we have stepped up to anothe level. Ollie's script is brilliant and while it's fun drawing all these company characters, I get a real buzz out of drawing cast members.

Stay tuned!

Don't forget the competition to win a copy of the BOOK OF LIES. You have til next monday to write an entry for each section. Scroll down or just find the COMPETITION label on the side.

Monday, October 20, 2008

INTO THE WILD PART 2: The first half

Sorry about the lack of blogging, when I'm in the middle of a Heroes gig it's all I can do to stay on top of my day to day work and the Heroes stuff. Blogging suddenly slips in its priority, but not my desire. I love writing about this stuff and it gets to me when I get so busy that I can't find the time to write about my art.

Don't forget my COMPETITION below. I'm going to extend the deadline by one week as I'm sure once SUM QUOD SUM goes live I'm going to get a lot more people wandering by.

So I've finished part one of SUM QUOD SUM and it's turned out better than I could have ever imagined. It's Ollie's trademark minimalist, flowing action that's subtly peppered with information, foreshadowing and beautiful dialogue. Ollie's grasp of the language of comics is almost instinctively brilliant. He knows how to find the essential beats in the situation which is the key skill for a comic book writer. It's going to be a quick read, but I hope I can slow you down with the sheer detail and some of the best art I've ever drawn. That's right, I'm throwing the gauntlet down. If this isn't the best art you've ever seen me do to date, I'm retiring from comics.

You really need to read it before you watch the following week's episode as the episode refers to events that occur in the comic.

Lets finish off INTO THE WILD before I get onto Sum Quod Sum. I'm basically just going to do page by page comments.

PAGE 1: So thank you again to the incredible Kath for modeling for Connie. I can't tell you what a difference her performance made. Her learning curve as a model was incredible. As with most models, she started out a little stiff and stilted but she eased into the performance with a rapidity that stunned me. I've also used her as the main character in Sum Quod Sum as she is just so good at this gig now.

Page 1 also includes my shout outs to Sheindie, whose publishing empire in the Heroes universe published the book ROESian. Sheindie has always been supportive, and I've said that if I have to draw a book, it's now a "Sheindie Classic". ROESian has been instrumental in directing people to my site. His link is responsible for (I think it is) about a third of my hits. So this shout out is the least I can do.

PAGE 2: It's funny my take on Gael Cruz was to draw him much older. I figured anyone acting as an operational head in the company should be at least in his late 30s. I know other artists drew him much younger, but it just never made sense to me. Finding out he was at Sabine and Julien's wedding means he is indeed around 40 years old.

It was also really tough to draw young Penny. What I tried to do was incorporate all the wrong features from Julien and Connie - massive eye brows and this silly flat nose. They're both good looking people, so it was tough to mix them and come up with something a bit wrong. I also saw this model once who has this incredible body but just this well... fat face. So I did that for Penny too.

I also want to bring attention to the incredible blinds that Annette did on panel 3. I just left a big empty area expecting the lighting to totally blow out, but she cranks it up a notch with texture and realism. That's an artistic partnership at work people!

I also added Gael looking off so we know here that he's lying even though Connie wouldn't find out until a couple pages later.

PAGE 3: This is one of the few times I've ever been asked to do a redraw. The guys felt that panel 4 didn't communicate that they were somewhere else. They were worried that people might think they were having sex in the lecture theater. While I found the idea amusing, I am very aware that most Heroes fans who read these graphic novels aren't comic book literate and need everything to be as clear as possible.

So I redrew the page, and while it's pretty racy, it doesn't show anything. Jim Martin loved it and said he'd step up to bat if it ran into problems with NBC, but apparently they were cool with it. You will notice that I flipped the final panel so that it would read more naturally given the new direction the couple were facing. It's a subtle thing and would read as a camera push in rather than a total camera jump which would disorientate you.

One of the big things that I feel a colourist is responsible for is helping to stage a new scene. Annette does this marvelously here with a different lighting set up. But she still manages to draw a similarity between the three lighting palettes to indicate that the events are connected. That latter skill is something that I've yet to develop. It's like she's reading Shakespeare while I'm strugglng with Mr Men books.

PAGE 4: Another rare redraw. Timm had this vision for Connie's soul being blackened by events. I wrote an email to him feeling concerned that people would interpret it as another power almost Niki or Maya-like. I misread our emails and thought that he wanted to avoid the mirror thing, but what he meant was to really pull the effect back. That fell all on Annette's lap and she did such a a beautiful and subtle job. I didn't see any messages on the boards confused as to what was going on so I know it was a success.

I know some people wondered why she would continue to have sex with him after finding out that her husband was alive. Consider the willpower of this woman. She plays the manipulation card not the shrieking panic card. She knows that her best way of seeing her husband is to entwine this clone further and further around her finger. And what guy can say no to anything after sex, huh?

I just stole my artwork from ROOT AND BRANCH for panel 3 here. I had so much drawing to do, I virtually had no choice. The kicker here is that we get to see Annette colour it, and how good does it look, hey?

Those whacky, whacky umbilical cords!

PAGE 5: Such a straight forward page. As you can see, I got Annette to copy and paste the wedding from page 1 into the photo here. You gotta work smart, right?

In retrospect, I think Sabine is standing too tall here. But I just had to draw those abs. I love a good stomach on a girl. If James and Timm can have their cat fight, I get to draw chick abs ok? Look it was a long, tough journey and you gotta take a break at every little oasis that comes along ok? And if sometimes you have to dig your own oasis, well that's between yourself and your maker isn't it? Well, my maker and you readers also I guess. So just kick back and enjoy the ridiculous chick abs and just know that a little bit went a long way.

One of the things that Annette and I spoke about was using the colours to determine the sides that people were on in these conversations. If you look, Sabine and Julien are both in green colours. Sabine started out in a red top, and red is diametrically opposite on the colour spectrum to green - hence their opposing view points.

But after it's torn off it reveals a blue top. If you notice, the clone's top is a slightly blue green indicating his stance between both of them.

You're not meant to notice this in any conscious way, but hopefully it subtly redirects you to Sabines slowly shifting viewpoint.

PAGE 6: Hooookay. Lotsa people here. Man I was starting to get sick of drawing Juliens, and I hadn't even started! I don't think I quite realised that there were so many more to come. I remember writing a jokingly offensive email to Timm and Jim threatening bodily harm for all the Juliens that they wrote in. But they wanted it big and I wanted to draw it big.

There's another shout out to Heather Wise here on the agent's armoured back in panel 2. Heather sends me lovely Facebook messages every now and then that bring a smile to my face, so I tried to send the same feeling her way. More subtly in the background is Nye, which is the name of one of my favourite couples, Lee and Nic - who modelled as the hospital administrator and doctor (respectively) in BLACKOUT. Nic is due any day and I'm waiting with baited breath to know that everything went fine and to have the little one's name finally revealed.

POSTSCRIPT: So don't forget the competition in the previous post (scroll down or hit the link COMPETITION under labels) if you'd like to win a hardcover copy of the BOOK OF LIES. Soon as I finish reading Much Ado About Nothing I'm straight into it, and I can't wait.

Part 2 of part 2 tomorrow, and then I will wrap Part 3 up in an uber post on Monday leaving us all clear for Sum Quod Sum on Tuesday.