November 24, 2005

November 23, 2005

Turkeys, Tutorials and thoughts on Boogaloo

Happy Holidays.

So todays post, I thought would be good about giving thanks, and all that. I'm real thankful for a lotta stuff, like my good friends - civillian and comic book pals alike.

Another thing I'm thankful for, was the opportunity to work on DETECTIVE BOOGALOO over at superstar Kevin Smith's site. I have nothing but great things to say about the crew there, and I'm still friends with them. Editor Chris Ryall (The same Chris Ryall who is now head honcho at IDW) gave me free reign to do whatver I wanted and never had a bad word to say about me or my stuff. He's a saint. Now go buy IDW comics!

Going with that train of thought, I was cleaning out my files and found a row of tutorial files that I probably did for my old group, the Indy Cred All Stars. This was for the second strip from the Detective Boogaloo run on poopshoot, and back when I was putting a WHOLE lot of time into each strip. Not that I didn't put the time in - but I was still the virgin, and wanted to make sure I represented every week. I believe these used to take me around 10 hours to do. What killed was

a) I still didn't know the characters well, so I was still trying to find the right voices and look for them

b) I was still teaching myself how to color digitally

c) 'stuff just takes time to do'.

Also, that I went through a couple of stages each strip. Basically when you do your own stuff with no other hands in your cooking pot, you're essentially drawing the same thing 3-4 times. From roughs, to tighter roughs, to layouts, to penciling, to inking, to coloring, to lettering, there's a LOT of steps in there. Just pray that the computer demons don't decide to freeze your system at 3:00am. I LOVE when that would happen. SAVE EARLY SAVE OFTEN!

Anyway, what I have brought to the class today, is a little dialogue on how I approached the strips at the time. Look for new Boogaloo stuff at the begining of the year, as I'm planning on restarting the property.

Figure A here, is what my general roughs 'version one's' turn out to look like. I have an idea of where I wanted the strip to go, so I'd set out to lay out the page/s and block in some notes I had to myself, so I wouldn't forget them later when I was inking. As you can see I had 2 pages here, which got turned into 1 page. I forget why now - probably because of time constraints. A lot of things get shaved down by not having enough time or energy to do something else. If you can look closely at that rough up top, I have a couple of gags on Ice Tre's 40 bottle, - like calling it 'Assed Out 800', a play off of Old English 800 - more effectionately known in the outer provinces as "Old Gold", "8-Ball" or "OH EE". Anyway, I cut it out because I just didn't think it was necessary. I cut out a lot of stuff, like I was gonna have Ice Tre' rapping in the strip, so I wrote out a couple of bars for him to spit in the recording booth, but again, Cut. There's a lot of cutting that comes into my strips when I did them every week - I had more ideas in my head than room to fit them all.

OH! Also in the balding reporters hand, he has a copy of 'The Sauce' - my riff on THE SOURCE magazine. In Bling City, Ice Tre is the Alpha Rapper, so he's always on covers to the big magazines.

Ice Tre' got defined in this strip, where I wanted him to be an amalgalm of every 'pretty thug' type that was in Hip Hop at the time. Tho he looks most like Nelly, he's not supposed to be Nelly - but he can be if you want him too. He's Fiddy, he's everybody. An ebodiment of where my head was at about the music at the time. Every rapper had some sort of gimmick, so instead of the band-aid like Nelly had, I gave him football eyeblack under his eyes, and ice cubes instead of diamonds on his ears. Also his gold medallion is a gold ice tray, with real ice cubes in it. Now in hindsight, I never showed him using it - maybe when I bring the strip back, we'll see him make himself a drink and crack ice in the glass from it. Now that's pretty funny.

I remember a while back reading some dood on a message board who tried to snap on me about Tre' and how it had been 'done before'. People take things so literally - I've always tried to avoid the obvious joke and go a little deeper. Sometimes I succeed - sometimes I don't, but Tre', cheesy name in all, I really dig. His name is SUPPOSED to be bad. DUH.

After I did the rough stage, what I normally did was go over the stuff I was gonna keep in a felt tip marker of some sort (I'm known for being a 'whatever's in front of me' type of inker - I don't care, if it makes a mark I'll use it) and tighten up the rough. After that, on 11x17 Strathmore Bristol, later on smaller stuff, I'd lightbox the tighter roughs in blue col-erase pencil, and then ink it. I think for this strip I used all microns, and maybe some other stuff for the thick outlines. I'm not a huge Micron mark - I use brush nowadays just as easily as a techpen - it really depends on what kinda line I'm going for. Then I ruled out the panels.

Another little tip - I HATE ruling stuff out. I'd rather just free-form it, because when I do use ruled lines, it seems like I have to now follow that ideal through the rest of the process. There were a lot of times where i'd rule out my panels, but not use a straight edge to ink it - just to keep it loose.

I also pulled out the old zipatone and laid in that pattern behind Tre's head just to break up the flow of the layout. I love mixing the oldschool with the new. Zipatone is almost impossible to find besides that manga stuff - but to me, the original zip and Chartpak is where it's at.

After the inking is done, I'd go into Photoshop (6 I think I had at the time) and drop all the colors in . When I felt up to it, I did my 'Disney Style' meaning I'd do color holds on the outlines of the characters. Later on - I'd stop doing this because it'd take me HOURS to finish a strip at the color stage. I'm no coloring genius, and I traditionally don't color like everybody else - like I don't do 'Flats' and all that stuff - I just go in there and attack the page until it's colored with the palette that comes with Photoshop - no tweaks or brushes. I still work like that.

As you can see at this stage, I'm just laying in the color - no words yet.The FINAL stage is doing the lettering, which I did as well in Photoshop. I know it's best to do the stuff in Illustrator, but doing a weekly strip for me was more about getting it done than how you did it. Photoshop is faster in this case. Now if this was for print and I was doing a book, then yeah I'd do the lettering in Illo, but this is just getting zapped to 72 DPI and it works good enough. BOOM.

And there it is - the quick and dirty Boogaloo strip. Hope you enjoyed the little look into the way I work(ed). I'm looking forward to starting up Boogaloo again, because I miss it - and somebody's gotta put a foot up hip-hop's ass.

Might as well be me.

November 22, 2005

Glasses, Boondox and FABRICARI

Exhibit A - Jamar's busted-ass specs. Snaps by Mike Manley.

So, let's just jump back into things.

First things first - I can't really see right now. I called my eye doctor, the best (only?) I've had, to make an appointment. You see, I've had the same pair of eyeglasses for damn ear 5 years, and I finally broke them. With things that expensive and fragile, I usually break them in under a month's time, as I'm known for being 'expensive'. I like and want nice things, then summarily break them just as fast as I get them. Nice clothes? Ruined. New phone? OOPS! I dropped it into the toilet. (Well, that never happened, but you see where I'm going with that).

Anyway, her secretary, who is also very nice, asked me if I wanted to come in 'right now' and with no good excuse not to, I rolled in the eye spot at 4:00, and in quick order was blinded by eyedrops that rob you of your sight. My pupils are the size of manhole covers, and when going into the supermarket after dinner, I hissed at the lights like a cornered vampire at dawn.

So yeah, my eyes hurt. I'm all squared away now, and now join the NEW GLASSES LEAGUE, like my good personal friends Mike Manley and Mike Wieringo. Well, not yet - I haven't gotten new ones yet, but I'm closer than before. LATER, CRAZY-GLUED NERDFRAMES!


So yo, my man Steve 'Fabricari' Harrison and I go way back. Actually, It's weird when you think about it - but I've been in the 'industry' for close to 10 years, and I have a lot of great, old friends. Fabs is one of them. He was one of the earliest guys I met in the game doing comics, and his selftitled FABRICARI comics were off the hook, and he's still on his grind.

He just launched a little project where he makes movies of him drawing pages, and it's really cool. Also cool is that in this one, he's drawing to my man Cat Garzas' band. Go show him love.


ALSO, About the BOONDOCKS? Remember what Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy said?

"Hmmmmm... Hmmmmmmmmm.... NO SIR, DIDN'T LIKE IT."

I mean, it's interesting, but it's not hitting me yet. I'll keep watching it, but it's unpleasently not what I expected. No hate involved.