Friday, April 30, 2010

Five Reasons to Order Thor!

Covers for Issues #1 & #2

Issues #1 & #2 of Thor: The Mighty Avenger are now in Previews. If you haven't already, please ask your comics retailer to order them for you! And if you aren't already sold, here are five reasons you should pick this book up!

1. This book is not tied to continuity! Never read a Thor book before? No problem! You'll still understand everything in this book.

2. This book is FUN! Roger Langridge has packed more fun into 22 pages than you can handle.

3. It's only $2.99.

4. I have a wife and a cat to feed. You don't want them to starve, do you?

5. I'll be holding a contest (details to come) for people who pick these two issues up! But to enter, you need to get your grubby little hands on it the day it comes out! Deal?

Seriously, I couldn't be prouder of this book. I hope you support it by pre-ordering it at your retailer and join in on the fun.


For those of you holding off because you think it's a "kids" book - it's not! It is rated "A" which is the rating between All Ages and T+. So pretty much anybody can read and enjoy it! :D

Thursday, April 29, 2010

BLACK CANARY


This is just about the furthest thing from a redesign of Black Canary's costume, since I'm rather fond of her oldest designs, but if you'd rather see ol' Dinah in some new togs be sure to check out Project: Rooftop! Black Canary is the current subject of their redesign contest so I'm there's some great stuff in the making. Be sure to bookmark their site and keep checking back in to see the results. I know I will! :D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Thing - Comic Twart

My contribution to this week's Comic Twart theme - The Thing - is now up at the Comic Twart Blog!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Archangel

This was another sketch done from a suggestion taken on my Twitter feed.

As much as I love Walter Simonson's original design of Archangel, that costume is really tough to draw. So I drew Dan Panosian's version that's currently in X-Factor Forever. Which you should be reading, because it's bad-ass. Thanks for lookin'!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Thumbnails

Here are some more thumbnails (from first 11 pages of Siege: Embedded #3) to go along with my earlier post on speed and productivity. Click to embiggen.




Sunday, April 25, 2010

Speed/Productivity Advice for Artists

A friend recently emailed me asking for advice to help him speed up his work to better hit his deadlines. I'm not huge on giving advice, since I think I still have a lot to learn myself, but this seemed to help him - so I'm passing it along here for any artists who may need it. Not all of this will apply to everyone, but if you're struggling with deadlines I hope you find something useful here.


-Work in a big chunk of time then take a break, as opposed to taking lots of small breaks throughout the day. I find it's easier to stay on task if I'm not getting up from my table frequently.


-Keep all of your tools within arms reach. Again, getting up from the table over and over eats into productivity.


-A blank white page can be daunting at first. Instead of thinking of the entire page when you sit down to work (since all the heavy lifting of storytelling should've already been nailed down in your thumbnails) just take it one panel at a time.


-It's easy to skip around on a page and do all the easy stuff first but don't. It'll end up eating more time than you can imagine. If possible, start at page 1 panel 1 and go from there. This will also help continuity throughout the issue.


-If you're having a hard time getting ramped up at the start of a new issue, start with a splash page. They're generally pretty fun to draw, can get your mood up a bit and take far less time to do than most pages... so in no time you already have a page completed and it'll take some of the pressure off.


-Measure how much time it generally takes you to draw a panel. Then set a timer for how long you estimate each panel will take you to complete. Slowly scale back how much time you give yourself to complete each one and you will keep building speed. Make sure you start at a comfortable pace and slowly scale back the time you give yourself to complete a panel. Don't sacrifice quality for the sake of speed - but you can learn to draw faster. (This is probably my best advice for gaining speed.)


-Set daily (or even hourly) goals for yourself. Know what you want to accomplish in a day so you know when you've achieved it. I make a checklist for the week so I can check things off as I go. It's amazing how checking something off your list can help you feel that you've accomplished something.


-If you find yourself thinking out a lot of problems on the page (which slows you down), try drawing your thumbnails a bit larger. At a larger size you're able to do all of your thinking up front which makes the production of the page that much faster. I've started drawing my thumbnails slightly larger (about 4" by 6"), scanning them, printing them out at 11X17 and lightboxing that to speed up my process.

Cameron Stewart, and a lot of other folks, have taken that one step further by printing out their thumbnails in blue on the boards and just inking straight over that. Any chance to skip a step will save a load of time.

Inking panel borders in Photoshop, Manga Studio or whathaveyou can also help speed up the process.


-Also, I turn in all of my pages in large chunks (usually 2 sets of 11 pencilled pages, then 2 sets of 11 inked pages). Spending time in front of the computer while scanning a single page takes time away from when you could be working. Scan a bunch of pages in a big batch and get 'em off to your writer and/or editor. This also helps cut down time at the computer & on the Internet. Sending in more than a page or two at a time will also help everyone on your team keep straight what has been turned in up to that point and you shouldn't have any issues keeping up to date on bookkeeping. (Before you do this, I would check with your editor to make sure they're okay with you turning in large chunks of pages. I know a lot of guys turn in 1 page at a time, so I'm sure that's what some editors are used to. If your editor is used to you turning in a page at a time, don't freak them out by suddenly waiting and turning in 11.)


-Take a walk daily, if you can manage the time to get out of the house. Most of us comic artists live pretty stationary lives so it's good to stretch your legs a bit. Getting your blood pumping can give you a boost of energy to go that extra mile on those pages as well. Also, if you're having a tough time wrapping your head around a scene, when you're away from the table is when a stroke of genius will inevitably strike. Then you can rush back home to attack the page with renewed vigor. (Full disclosure: I'm really bad about doing this one myself)


-Don't play video games. They'll only eat into your day and keep you from work. If you do play games try to keep it until the end of the day and use it as a reward for meeting the goals that you set for that day. (Please note, I'm not trying to tell everyone to give up video games. But if you're playing video games for 6 hours a day and not hitting your deadlines - this advice might be for you.)


-Try not to put on movie/tv shows in your office that you know will end up distracting you. Audio books, podcasts, scores or soundtracks are usually a good bet for background noise.


-Try and stay off the Internet as much as possible. It's amazing how you can get on to check one thing and before you know it, an hour has passed. Or try and schedule an hour or so a day to check email, catch up on news, etc for your Internet time and stick to it.



-Oh, and when all else fails: COFFEE, veeeerrrry little sleep and a lack of a social life will all help you hit a deadline, I'm afraid :/




-I also keep two pages, copied out of an old Alex Toth book, tacked to the bulletin board above my drawing table. Below are some of my favorite bits that relate to speed.


-Eliminate the superfluous, the unnecessary. Be lazy!

-Edit your art continuously, at every stage. Save work!

-Focus on the remaining (important) picture elements.

-Emphasize what IS important in a scene. Save drawing!

-Isolate such key elements (as one does in a view finder).

-To set a scene, a place, to establish a locale, etc., go to a wide shot, angles okay (down/up, etc.)- but again, simply!

-Then, cut to tighter shots-pace them, for interest, etc... (wide/one shot/two shot/group/close-up/tight close-up).

-Establish light source, if need be, for dramatic mood and for blacks, drop shadows, etc., on figures & objects and walls, as correctly placed as you can make 'em!

-Eliminate such light/shadow work in other shots.

-Simplify, simplify, simplify, throughout!

...

-By learning to eliminate unnecessary objects, figures, and backgrounds, etc., you can focus on what is left to draw in the shot -and draw it well enough to "carry" the shot!

-In other works: strip it all down to the essentials and draw the hell out of what is left!

...

-Spend more time thinking- about what and what not to draw, and how-and you'll do less drawing!

-Pre-plan, pre-think.. Thus, save work and time!



Below are a few of my thumbnails from Siege: Embedded #2 to better illustrate what I mean by doing your thinking in the thumbnails as opposed to on the page. If you have any questions about my process/productivity, feel free to ask and I'll try and respond as soon as possible.



Friday, April 23, 2010

Batman (and Poison Ivy) Comic Twart pencils


I've posted my latest sketch, Batman & Poison Ivy, up on the Comic Twart blog.
Above are the pencils for the piece. Hope ya dig 'em :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

VOLSTAGG - G



I had no idea how much I loved drawing Volstagg until I started Siege: Embedded. AND NOW I CAN'T STOP!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

c2e2 Sketch Roundup

These are sketches I did at c2e2 this past weekend. Sorry for the quality. Most of these are from cleaned up photos from my phone. If you are the owner of one of these, and can get a hi-res scan (400 dpi or more), please email it to me at samneeart at gmail dot com. I'll try and get it in my next sketchbook! Thanks so much to everyone who got a sketch, picked up a book or just stopped by to chat! Laura and I had an awesome time at the show!












Monday, April 19, 2010

Thor: The Mighty Avenger sketches

These have accompanied various interviews about my upcoming book Thor: The Mighty Avenger with Roger Langridge, but I thought I would still post them here in case you missed them. I clearly didn't think these would be put on the Internet when I made them, otherwise I wouldn't have included the cat and fish doodles. And the sound effects. Amongst other things. ;) Hope you enjoy.






Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thor: The Mighty Avenger!!!

If you haven't been keeping up with news out of c2e2, my next project at Marvel was announced! I will be drawing Thor: The Mighty Avenger with writer Roger Langridge!!!!!

This is a new ongoing series that isn't tied to continuity. I will be doing covers as well and will be colored by the uber-talented Matt Wilson. This book is full of everything that I love about comics, so I am having an absolute blast drawing it. The first two issues come out in July, I hope you guys will come along for the ride!

There's a bunch of design sketches and bit more about the book in an interview over at Newsarama.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jonny Quest - Comic Twart

It's my week to pick the character at Comic Twart this week! Go check out my Jonny Quest!

Friday, April 09, 2010

C2E2

Next weekend, April 16 - 18, I will be attending C2E2 in Chicago! I will be in Artist's Alley at table B-7 (right next to my pal, Andy Kuhn) and will be taking a limited number of sketches each day. My con sketch prices for C2E2 are:

$75 for a single character in B&W on 9 x 12 bristol
$100 for two characters (on 1 page) in B&W on 9 x 12 bristol

I will be starting a fresh list each day, first come first served. All sketches will be personalized, no exceptions. I am not taking pre-orders for C2E2 as my schedule is just too hectic right now!

I will also have sketchbooks and blog sketches for sale. And if you're inclined, I will be doing sketches for donations at the Hero Initiative Booth on Sunday from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

In other exciting C2E2 news, my latest Marvel project will be announced at the Mondo Marvel Panel on Friday at 4:15 in Room E450. I am thrilled to finally talk about this project, and hope you guys are just as excited about it as I am!

Hope to see many of you there! Please stop by and say "Hi"!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Belit on Comic Twart

My contribution to this week's Comic Twart theme, Belit, is up over on the Comic Twart blog. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

STARFIRE (F)


As Rico Renzi pointed out the other day, in a comment on one of my recent deviations on Deviant Art, I managed to mix up Starfire and Firestar. Gasp!
So this is sketch was done as an apology to my first comic crush STARFIRE.

We square now, Kory? ;)