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.


Tarot said...

I've been anxiously awaiting part two all week. And that "money shot" is my current desktop wallpaper.

MarkHB said...

Excellent job on this series, sir (and I really loved the final shot of Part 2). Having said that, I really don't think you should compromise your artisic integrity, especially when it comes to drawing Kristen Bell running around for an hour in a white blouse in the rain ;)

Tarot said...

Since there isn't a blog page for the new one (109) up yet I'll say this here: FANTASTIC!!!! (and that does apply to part one as well) I'll be making another new sig-banner at some point with a shot from 109. Loved this 2 parter, though the map still worries me.

ryangibsonstewart said...

Great stuff, Jas. Thanks for the shout out!

I'm liking your new get-'er-all-done-in-one-post posts as of late. It's nice to see the pace and progress of your posts.

Man, Part 2 was fantastic! You continue to amaze me with your attention to detail and artistic prowess.

Impish said...

Uh hunh. An image file of clothing for Elle to wear. Am I allowed to let my sleep-deprived, depraved cynical mind run free and contemplate exactly what might be in that file?! :)

Grats on the 300th post! Shows how much you love your work and your readership since you have been known, when bored, for occasional lapses in concentra... ooo, shiny thing!

Alexandre Togeiro said...

Congrats on the 300 posts! These past couple months I've been reading old posts - started from post 1 hehe. It does seem like a great journey! And these two pages... are really electrifying, pun intended :) The overall poses and sense of movement, and the reactions of the common people in the streets are fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Totally blown away by the amount of spot on and multiple likenesses you packed in this - not just of Elle, Claude (and so many other folk!) but also the London backdrop.

Wow, I only just noticed the Whitehall panel - I remember you taking photos of the building opposite, that's so cool. And all the black and gold lamp posts, and the Movieum! I'm only surprised Elle isn't sprinting along clutching the Krull glaive ;)
I keep looking back through this GN and location spotting new things all the time.
I love the way it's perfectly possible to follow Claude and Elle's course using the Eye as anchor point.

Page 5 is absolutely mind blowing - the reflections, the water, Claude's electrocution - stunning. I love the effetc of the water rising up from the puddles, and the expressions on their faces - it must have been so hard to do these extreme expressions but it is so incredibly like them.

This whole GN is also the best example of Annette's colouring magic too - honestly the atmosphere she creates. My favourite is the light pollution, and the way it colours the city and the street lights, the whole inner city glow.
Kudos to both of you.