Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Some thought streaming (bear with me, guys) ;)

"Sink or Swim"- Full page panel from 'Soldier Legacy' issue 4.

This week I had a out of the blue, no-holds barred quickie review by Australian comic artist Tim McEwen (Greener Pastures) on the earlier issues of 'The Soldier Legacy' (2 and 3) which got me thinking. Not in a bad way, just in a reflective way.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great little review, and I'm always very appreciative of Tim's feedback, support and encouragement. In fact, it makes me strive to be better. It was nice, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me feel amateurish when I read it. Though, in saying this, I'm fine with this. It's reviews like this that remind me why I don't chase other reviews unless I'm lucky enough for them to come my way (Like this, thank you Tim!), or I seek out specific art-related reviews from local or  international professionals/writers or editors I have great respect or an affinity for. Why? I guess I see many reviews that fly around that just touch on what they "like", or they tend to gush, and ignore the problems of the piece, which really doesn't help the writer and artist/s at all in my humble opinion. I know my work is far from perfect, and has a specific audience in mind; being built up on reviews is not what I'm aiming to do with my development- I love constructive criticism and encouragement with a solid base. My aim is to learn, promote an Australian character-centric story, and improve as a storyteller. And hell, over the couple of years, I've spoken to some favourites of mine (McFarlane, Capullo, Romita Jr, Simonson, Perez, Higgins, Waid, Royer, Jenkins, Scott, McKenny etc.) and if they suggest things, it's like one of the commandments past down from the mountain. If I can pull it off, I'll certainly adopt it!

What Tim says is true, and something that I always admit on my journey in sequential art: It's my learning process. Particularly when I have to take on all facets of the comic production, there's much to learn, but I take on all the roles as a necessity. Try to find a writer, inker, colourist, letterer and someone to package the book together in the time frame I want, and for the front-end payment I earn just pencilling (zip) and I'd never see the work in print. I "crash-coursed" writing, colouring, lettering, and print prep to begin with (using what I'd learnt in uni), and am still experimenting and refining as I go, particularly in pencilling (which is my focus) and trying to find my feet with something I hope speaks to people in a certain way, but be entertaining to see and read. And I have to say, before the TV ad, Black House, overseas trips, pro feedback, meetings and emails etc. I didn't think my "retro/poor man's Kirby/cartoony" style was appealing to anyone, especially considering the "pseudo-photo realistic" style that is in vogue in comics at present. Regardless of the drawing ability I'm working on, the storytelling is the thing I'm constantly aiming to improve, and with each issue I try to experiment and adopt the advise or method used by other artists and writers/recommendations by editors to see if I can create a more engaging, clear story, streamline the modes of production, or improve on how the page comes together. Composition, Camera selections (according to conventions), the pose, and expression are my current interests, not how ripped my character looks, or how bang on to a photo reference it looks. I can't draw like that comfortably, or have the patience to do so anyway :P

In a sense, my attempts in our local scene stem from the theory that in order to learn and improve, you "do". And if that means a "warts and all" journey in development in the process, then that's ok- it's much like the "up and comers" in the late 30's/early 40's who we look up to now. These guys produced work with very little time to "noodle", sketch, or reflect between issues- it was draw, publish, learn on the fly and keep going. I'm trying the same thing- Really, if I just drew pinups and a page here and there, "studies" and such, waiting for the day were I felt I was "good enough" to release my work, I doubt very much I would ever do it. That's just me though, I'm sure others will get there, and there seems to be a Zeitgeist in recent years of self-published efforts hitting the scene, and joining the ranks of guys who are still slogging it out . It's very encouraging. Thankfully I have Black House spurring me on for a bit over a year now, a mentor and close friends to garner support and feedback, and a small, loyal and slowly growing support base of readers and fans who I feel from the comments and emails I get are counting on the next installment.

We are here in life to try; try in many aspects of our existence, be it our job, our hobby, our family life, our aspiring profession, whatever. This is one of a few things I'm committed to, to see where it takes me. 2 years down on this 'Solder' Journey, and I'm pleased at where I'm at, the people I have had/ still have contact with, and the opportunities, both past and present I had/have, and the ones on the horizon. :D

We Soldier on.

'The Soldier Legacy' to be a part of the 25th Anniversary of Griffith Film School Animation

It was very kind of the organisers of the 25th Anniversary of Griffith Film School Animation to invite me to partake in some of the festivities coming up in the next week or so. I am very much looking forward to chatting with past alumni students and viewing all the great artwork from past and present, including a couple of my own bits and pieces on display.

They were also very kind to write an article on my goings on since developing the Soldier Legacy comic from a uni concept to its current incarnation. I sound so much smarter and more successful in the world than I probably am ;P But, we'll roll with it, yeah? It doesn't happen very often.

The events, beginning August 31st:

And the panel which I'll be a part of, sitting there in awe at the other wonderful guests :D :

Thanks again, QCA and GFS. I can't wait.

ps: Also this week, the Momus Report referenced the Soldier Legacy Youi Insurance commercial in an article that touches on the late Tony Scott.

Thank you all :D

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A tribute image to Mr Kubert.

This week we were presented with the news that industry giant, Joe Kubert, had past away. As the co-creator of "Sgt. Rock", and illustrator of beautifully drawn war, and superhero comics, Kubert influenced generations of comic book storytellers. Though there are 1000's of wonderful tributes to him, and many from people closer to him, I still felt I needed to say something myself.

Rest in Peace, Mr Kubert.

'Soldier Legacy' mentioned at The Jack Kirby Museum- via 'Kirby-Vision'

(The line-art version of the colour image featured at 'Kirby-Vision')

Thanks to the good people at 'Kirby-Vision' (Mr Garrattley), and the Jack Kirby Museum for posting up my 'Marvel 1962' anniversary image from the recent San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir book, and the DC Comic New 52 take on 'Superman vs. OMAC' (See Link above). The post also mentions 'The Soldier Legacy' and its nod to Jack Kirby's works in the 40's and 60's.

Monday, August 13, 2012

RIP Joe Kubert, the Co-creator of "Sgt. Rock".

On the 12th August (USA), a true "Artist's Artist" has past away. Rest in Peace, Mr Kubert.

See his ongoing legacy to the comic arts here:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Random post of the Week: Concept pitch

Here's a random image, published recently in my 2012 sketchbook. It's a Jack Kirby's "Kamandi"- inspired concept pitch by Christopher Sequeira, with the design and illustration by Me. There's a 'New 52' angle on this image if you start tracing your eye around her, just to see how many hero-based paraphernalia you can spot. Anyways, enjoy. It was drawn quite a while ago now, just forgot to post, I guess :)

In the meantime, currently penciling Soldier Legacy #5, and some other stuff that's keeping me busy on the drawing front. Really enjoying the uni lecturing, hopefully the students are getting something positive out of it for their own work. As usual, I'm juggling a lot, and need to lift my game re: the thesis. Otherwise though, I have a positive outlook on what I need to achieve next to maintain the coverage and "radar signal", despite the severe time constraints, and the usual problems of having to, you know... eat, sleep, earn money to live etc. And now too, the need to stay in shape enough to try tournament fighting again. I think in the last case though, it's being neglected, to the point where I may be kidding myself. But I won't know that for sure until the end of the first round. Which is probably a little late to back out :P

Anyways, onward and upward.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Soldier Legacy #5: Working Cover

The working cover for the next chapter in 'The Soldier Legacy'. An early sneak peek to thank new followers, and long-time supporters of the series. Your attention and feedback doesn't go unnoticed. I look forward to releasing this next issue before the end on the year, and I hope you'll stay for the journey. More previews as we go, including some big news soon :D

Yes, I have to say, Jack Kirby drew the best fiery explosions in my humble opinion. Perhaps I'm bias. Ah, well. Who better to learn from with an image aimed to grab the eye?

Gotta run, thanks all ;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012