From the Ground Up

April 07, 2019

Scripting Shenanigans…

I’ve just uploaded a new post to Patreon. In it I share my process and approach for nutting out a page layouts for the current comic project, an anthology of new Australian superheroes, and how that related to taking on the role as a co-scriptor of the story.

I talk about what the project is, how I came to be a part of it, where I drew my influences, approach and what I aimed to achieve with it.

If this sounds like something that might tickle your fancy, sign up to buy me three coffees a year! Click here to become a supporter.

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Patreon!

March 25, 2019

Humble Beginnings…

That’s right, I’ve joined Patreon. Patreon subscribers will get an in-depth first hand look at the projects I’m working on as well as detailed behind the scenes updates. I will share my methodology and thoughts from rough sketches to the final polished project by way of high-resolution images and videos.

My first post talks about my reasons for launching my Patreon now and what My intentions are for it. I write about what the current project is, how it came about and how it’s progressing.

Future posts will detail my creative process on this project and of course future ones. I will continue to broadcast across my various social media accounts, but the juicy details will only be shared on my Patreon account to a far greater depth than I have previously.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, sign on and become a supporter for as little as a dollar a month! Click here to become a supporter.

Above: Digital pencils for the current WIP

 

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Work in Progress – ‘Bloodhunt’

August 07, 2017

Following on from last month’s post, I’ve continued to work on James Broadhurst’s script for, ‘Bloodhunt’. James contacted me out of the blue through this website, showed me his script and asked if it was something I’d be interested in working on. After reading it, I readily agreed, it was exciting, concise and with a great twist! We discussed what he wanted for the artwork which was six pages in full colour and lettered.

Thumbnails to Pencils

I set to work immediately, reading and re-reading the script, making copious amounts of sketches and notes in the margins – it was barely readable by the time I’d finished with it! This wasn’t a great concern though, as it had served its purpose in essentially super charging my brain cells and providing the needed stimulus for thumbnail page sketches. I added a lot to the original script here, chiefly by way of additional panels to employ atmospheric devices and better pacing control for action sequences. From the thumbnails I went to full size sketches of the pages, or ‘Pencils’ done digitally, taking the time to add the dialogue and speech balloons, factoring their placement in the layout design. Once the sketch pages were complete, these were packaged up and run past James for his approval and feedback.

Pencils to Inks

Taking on board James’ suggestions and updating the ‘Pencils’ accordingly, I then printed out the pages on A3 illustration board. I could have avoided this step and continued to work digitally, but I wanted to work with ‘real media’ for this one. Increasingly, I find there’s a real reward to the tactile response of the page and I feel it lends a quality that can’t be reproduced digitally. Where I needed to resolve some of the detail in the pencils I used a non-photo blue pencil to work up the illustration. Once I was happy with the details, I began inking using a Fineliner. Knowing that colour work would be done digitally, I kept the line work clean, allowing room for the colouring to take the weight of the modelling. The finished inks were then scanned and cleaned up on the computer by dropping out the blue, removing some of the line work I wasn’t happy with (compare each of the panel fives in the image below) and strengthening the black.

Colouring

Colouring is always a big job as it needs to somehow straddle both realism and mood. As the story was set in the Australian bush, I also wanted to make a real effort to use a palette that was sympathetic to this. However, the story is a horror story, full of foreboding and I also wanted to incorporate this element. It was an interesting challenge as palettes associated with horror tend to be dark and dense, whereas for me, I often think of the the Australian landscape as being light and sun bleached. There’s always a way though and nutting it out is part of the fun. You’ll see in the last panel of this page the characters are walking deeper into the bush where I’ve hopefullly created as sense of ominous foreshadowing by having them appear to walk into a more shadowy environment.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about my process or work and would like to contact me, please feel free to use to the contact form on this website.

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On the Drawing Board

June 27, 2017

It’s been a bit quiet on the website front over the last few months, partly because I’ve been trying to work out the best way to use this site but mostly because I’ve had my head down and thoroughly immersed in a number of creative projects. If you’ve been following my social media feeds, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter you’ll probably already have seen some of the work but may not have all the details. And so, that’s where this website will come into play – once a month I’ll upload a post with details about the current projects I’m working on.

The project I’m primarily focused on completing at the moment is six page horror short story written by James Broadhurst. James contacted me via this website and asked whether I’d be interested in drawing his story. It was an offer that came at the right time as it had been in my head for a little while that a collaboration on a small project would be great to re-energise creative juices and push me in directions I wouldn’t normally go. After reading the script I was enthused and saw a lot of opportunity to play around with different ideas and ways of telling a story and so I set to work.

Character Designs

I started by developing the character designs, liaising with James to confirm that this worked with his vision of the characters.

Page Designs

Once the character designs were settled, I proceeded to reread the script, combing it for details and making rough sketch notes of images, scenes and atmospheric devices. These sketches were reworked into thumbnails of page layouts which were then scanned into the computer and developed into more detailed drawings of the proposed pages.

Inking Process

After running the page roughs past the writer to iron out any kinks, I then printed the ‘pencils’ on A3 paper and used a non-photo blue lead to refine the detail and a fineliner for the inking. When all the line work  is complete, I’ll add an ink wash to build depth and tone to the images – for this reason I’ll use Spot Blacks sparingly.

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San Diego International Comic Con 2016

July 29, 2016

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

For those of you who follow me on social media, the fact that I attended San Diego International Comic Con this year as part of a panel discussing the independent comics boom in Australia, will come as no surprise. Bleeding Cool was kind enough to run a feature on it in the lead up to the panel, written by the ever resourceful Andrez Burgen and can be read here. It’s now been a couple of weeks since the excitement and energy of the world’s largest pop culture convention has passed, I’ve now returned home and had the chance to step back and think about the whole incredible experience.

To compare the event to anything here in Australia might be a little misleading as even the attendance figures at San Diego outstrip the combined total attendance across all cities for either Oz Comic Con or Supanova. Purchasing tickets as a regular attendee for San Diego is almost impossible and this year they sold out worldwide in just two hours. The event provides such a boost to the local economy that the city is able to provide, from early morning until midnight, free public transport for anyone travelling to and from the event with buses picking up eager attendees from their hotel doors. Outside the actual convention and throughout the city, in bars, galleries and hotels there are a great number of side events that take advantage of and enhance the convention atmosphere. The city is essentially transformed for these four and half days as the focus switches to celebrating comics, television and movie culture.

Access to the professional industry is the real difference with Australian conventions. In Australia, what there is of the comic industry is essentially a happenstance collective of impassioned creatives come self-publishers who work hard to produce books, self-market, individually contacting national stores and generating interest for their product in a small and clogged market of like-minded creators until they inevitably run out money and can’t afford to do it anymore. The literally one or two ‘next level’ publishers, are either so swamped for content and/or don’t make enough on the books they already produce that competition is stiff, nigh impossible and limited to those who, in the right place at the right time have built personal relationships with the right people.

San Diego International Comic Convention is by contrast a trade show, less for retailers and more for comic book publishers, television and movie industry professionals. There’s no doubt that its proximity to LA and Hollywood money is a large part of the convention’s success. A walk down Artist Alley is a generational who’s who of artists from the latest up and coming to seasoned veterans. In addition, there were sections dedicated to illustrators, independent publishers and small press – and not one stall peddling cheap plastic jewellery or fan art among them. The small press section was probably the most familiar in terms of content if not size. The independent press section was an interesting distinction between mainstream and small press with publishers like Magnetic Press producing some truly stellar books with top tier production values.

Of great interest to me was the opportunity for portfolio reviews, to receive constructive feedback from Agents, publishers and creative professionals. It’s something that is unavailable in Australia as we don’t have an industry standard. In order for the Australian comic scene to progress from a ramshackle collection of hobbyists to a professional industry, the first step will have to be open discussion and constructive critique. At some point, a bar needs to be set and a standard promoted and aspired to. This isn’t about tearing down people’s work, it’s about guiding creativity to the next level. I’d like to think that one day I won’t have to fly half way around the world to receive clear objective feedback. Perhaps, should this day ever arrive, we will then be able to turn our eyes away from America for a moment, however brief.

San Diego International Comic Com is a big effort and commitment to get to, particularly from Australia. At the end of the four and half days was it worth it? Did I make the most of it? I certainly pushed myself to do as much as possible, to meet people, to take advantage of whatever access to industry I could get. Even after four and bit days, I still didn’t see everything, even forcing myself to be as focused as possible there were times I found myself walking around with the zombie glaze of overstimulation. That said, I did get to meet people and forge ties that can be built upon. Now that the show is over, the work doesn’t stop and in many ways it’s just starting. There are a number of new opportunities now, possibilities I wouldn’t have had otherwise. The challenge now is simply to make the most of them.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

My fellow speakers on the Friday night panel, ‘Off the Beaten Track: The Australian Indie Comics Explosion’ from left to right, Clint Harris (Camera man), Alana Marshall (Presenter), Darren Koziol (Dark Oz), Me (Falling Star), Neville Howard (Melbourne Comics, Sugar and Space), W. Chewie Chan (The Exoneration of Doctor Fu Manchu), Christopher Sequeira (The Exoneration of Doctor Fu Manchu).

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

The first thing I see from behind the microphone (left) and horseplay (right).

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

San Diego the day before (above)… and the city transformed (below).

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

An Artist Alley to die for, both in content and patronage.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

Just some original artwork for sale…

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

Some of Darren Koziol’s Dark Oz publications, Neville Howard and Louie Joyce’s Sugar and Space, and an indie publication success story…

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

Offerings from the Small Press section – Rachel Dukes’ Frankie Comics and Josh Shalek’s Falling Rock National Park.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

Jeremy Bastian’s exquisitely illustrated Cursed Pirate Girl and Sketch Book.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

Ted Washington’s book, More, of beautiful portraits and poetry, Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham’s Nameless, Eric Shanower’s seven-plus volume epic retelling of the battle of Troy, Age of Bronze.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

I had to go all the way to America to buy French comics from the master – Moebius.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

An age old adage may warn against this, but I was chuffed – blurbling at Mike Mignola… He was gracious.

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

San Diego Comic Con, SDCC, 2016, Australia, Comics, illustration, art, Cristian, Roux

My contribution to an initiative of Tom Racine’s from Tell Tale Radio – Drink & Doodle sketches for auction.
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