Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Old-ish sketches

Old-ish drawing of Jeremy from sketchbook #9 (2008). I decided at the last minute that the students should wear uniforms - I never had to myself, but I thought it tied in with the theme of searching for an identity (and subsequent loss of identity, as a psychotic episode basically turns you into a completely different person), of finding where you belong in the world. Hmm.

I did have a pair of jeans with that heart patch on them. I sewed the patch myself by hand - it was supposed to be the Frenchkiss Records logo. (I started sewing one of the Dischord Records logo as well, but only completed the letters "D-I-S" before losing interest. Ha!) Eventually I took it off the jeans and attached it to a sweater, and after that I lost it. I still haven't figured out what happened to it, and I'm still kind of sad about it.

I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this...little things don't matter. Or do they?

Here's some more, even older, from sketchbook #8 (2007). Eeeeugh, don't like these at all. Although I do sort of wish that I'd gone with a simpler, less realistic style for the comic. I guess "simple" just isn't how I draw comics...

Would you like to see something even older and more frightening than that?

EeeGADS!! Behold, the first drawing of Jeremy ever. From 2002. I probably drew this about a month before my breakdown. (Yeah, I was signing my work "LEN" at that time for some reason, I don't even recall why) Is it lousy? Has my drawing improved? God, I hope so.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Old comics & influences

Let's pause now to take a stroll down memory lane...

This is a page from Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog #0 (well, it's originally from the "#1/4" ashcan, but never mind), the comic that began my love affair with comics. (As I mentioned earlier, I was 7 years old at the time. :p) It's drawn by the multitalented Scott Shaw! - writer, animator, storyboard artist, comic book artist, collector of "Oddball Comics" and all-around cool guy. I purchased this comic at a bookstore in my hometown - a store that no longer exists. I then sat and read it in the mall while waiting for my mom to finish grocery shopping. I loved that comic so much that I never wanted it to end, and when I was finished reading I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I spent years copying the Sonic comics - I sort of wish I had copied something else, but what 7-year -old has the foresight to copy, say, Andrew Loomis figure drawing books (or WANTS to gawk at pictures of nekkid folks, for that matter?! ANYWAY!!!)

Fast-forward TEN YEARS...Here's a page from New Edge, the first comic I drew, in 2002 (which, incidentally, was also the same year I suffered my nervous breakdown, upon which my current project is based). I was 17. And when I say "the first comic I drew" I mean it was the first comic I drew that wasn't copied from another source, and the first one that was a more-or-less complete chapter lasting 18 pages. I sold New Edge #1 as a photocopied fanzine complete with poorly written indie record reviews in the back pages. There was never a #2 - I hadn't planned the story out that far. :/ Nor had I bothered to write any more record reviews.

The storyline of New Edge concerned a punk rock band called The Dead Layaways, who are trapped in a dangerous post-apocalyptic city. I basically ruined this concept and ground the story to a screeching halt by trying to EXPLAIN everything on the second-to-last page, in a huge nonsensical exposition dump...would've been better if I'd left it vague.

The art style of New Edge was heavily influenced by J.Axer - here's an example of one of his older works, from that time period. I would link to one of his comic pages, but he doesn't seem to have any of those online...

Looking back at these pages, and this one in particular, I'm quite amused by my constant desire to page layouts, even when the situation doesn't call for it. I still do this, although not as frequently...

I was also inspired by Johnny The Homicidal Maniac, by Jhonen Vasquez (most well-known for creating the cartoon series Invader Zim). It was the first real underground comic I ever read, unless you count a few issues of Usagi Yojimbo that I came across at a hardware store (?!) in my hometown. JtHM was weird, scary, and messed up, incorporating VERY dark humour, yet still managed to have a surprising amount of depth for being a story about a homicidal maniac. It also used lots and lots of black ink and often had very cinematic visuals. It was like no other comic I had read up to that point, and I soon became eager to create my own epic in comic book form.

Er...still haven't done that, yet... :p

Next time: Mark E. Smith and Ian Curtis' ghost have stupid adventures... Wait a minute, WHAT??? ...Also, I discuss my favourite graphic novel ever. Surprise: It's one that you've probably never heard of (although you may be familiar with the artist). And that's a damn shame, it deserves way more attention.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

sketchy sketchy

Now I realise that climbing a tree, in and of itself, isn't that weird. Bear with me - I'll do my best to MAKE it weird in context! Oh, this sequence is a bit farther along in the story - yeah, I'm drawing this all out of order. As if it wasn't confusing enough already...dammit, Elaine! XD


Don't know what page number this is...but it fits in somewhere. Obviously part of a sequence, although i'm not going to use the preceding pages, now. And those captions probably need a bit of a rewrite. Other than that, according to my instructor this is my best page so far :p

Friday, January 22, 2010

Page 2 & 3 finished

Finished! I like these a lot but I'm concerned that the rest of the comic won't live up to them...I do hope I don't let anyone down... :(

(Next - pages 4 & 5)

(Previous - page 1)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Page 2 and 3

Not sure how well you can make these out, but here they are anyway! Finished versions coming soon...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Starting in the middle

Page 1, all finished!

(Next - pages 2 & 3)

I'm sure there's a term for this oft-used practice of starting a story at the climax, but I don't know what it is. At any rate, it's a useful device in that it immediately grabs the reader's attention, throwing them right into the action. By not telling them anything specific right away, you make them want to keep watching the film/reading the book to see how the story got to that point...uh, well, maybe not in MY story's case, but we'll see.

Consider AMC's Breaking Bad, my current favourite TV show. How did its first episode begin? With a pair of trousers drifting through the air in slow motion. As the trousers come to rest on a desert road, they are run over by an RV, driven by...a man wearing nothing but a gas mask and underpants, with an unconscious younger man (also with a gas mask) in the passenger seat and two presumably dead bodies in the back. Watch it here (hope that link stays active...) Isn't that excellent? I mean, just what the hell is going on there?! (And believe me, the show only gets better from there!)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Prophet

"Are you a prophet?

They only give binoculars to they can see into the future..."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rabbit In Your Headlights

Top: sketch for page 1. Below: thumbnails. I was told by a friend not to draw this sequence - his opinion was that it gave too much away. I think it was the captions I had written that did it, though - so I took 'em out. I loved this idea and I really wanted to draw it - starting the story at the climax, as it were.

As I was drawing this I couldn't stop thinking of the UNKLE video "Rabbit In Your Headlights" (sung by Thom Yorke) as it's quite similar. I didn't go back and watch it again, though...maybe I should have?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello! You've reached the production blog for Look Straight Ahead, a graphic novel by E. M. Will. I will attempt to draw as much of the story as possible for my final Extended Major Project unit at AUCB, and post my progress - concept sketches, learning log, and the comic itself - on this blog.

I should have some material up very soon - hope you enjoy!