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.


Impish said...

She's due today and I don't think she's gonna show up either. Silly child, needing to make a grand entrance. Doesn't she realize she has a plethora of people just waiting to see a picture/find out her name?

Hmmm, perhaps she does. Perhaps that's the problem. Limelight-stealing prima donna!

Anonymous said...

..the details, the coloring ..just beautiful work .. and where else would sex take place lol ..btw - would love to send you a small Superman gift .. ..a gift to a super man =) me with info on where to send if it's ok :)

Bhero said...

Aww Jason you have no idea how much it made me smile... Every time I look at my profile I smile. You made my day....week and probly more. I already told ya how amazing this work was... You guys simply work phenomenally together. Thanks again Jason. :) ~Heather

jasonb said...

impish: i'm totally confused. You see, I live in the past and you live in the future. Time is an ethereal cord stretched far past breaking point in our communiques. Is she there yet?

anon: thank you! I think I know who you are, but I can't be sure. A couple people have to remain anon for various reasons. Email me at and I will shoot you straight back.

bhero: Always a pleasure Heather!

Alexandre Togeiro said...

Hi Jason,

Just wanted to praise your blog a bit again :) Its so great to read about the comic-making process in such detail and interesting prose. The art is stunning, so kudos to you and Annette!