Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Looking back at the workshops we did this year, I realized how much potential comic book artists we have if we can just push the right buttons.
If you look at the pictures above, taken from our last workshop in Brasilia, you'll notice how basic are the drawings. This is the kind of class we like to give, stripping the craft to the bare bones of the creation of comics: how do we tell a story mixing images and words? How do we lead the reader's eye through the panel, through the page and into the next? How do you write your dialogues, your narration and your thought balloons (these poor forgotten tools) and how you lay them on the page to help the flow of the story?
Creating a comic book is not about how well you draw, it's how well you tell the story. And all you need to tell the story is the right understanding of the tools you have.
The best aspect to this "back to the basic" workshops is how they help both the aspiring writers and the aspiring writers. You have to think about the pictures to write, and you have to think about the words to draw.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 8:28 PM
Click on the link and read the entire first issue of Casanova!
I have learned more about a monthly book with Casanova than with any other book I've done, and I'm not even drawing the book. I watch Ba receive the scripts, I see him go through his thumbnails, and I see all the pages, from early pencil stage to final inks, and finally with "the green". Combined with the back-and-forth talk with Matt that goes around on the internet, Ba is creating an entire work routine here, and a very chaotic one.
But I believe it's from chaos that great things arise.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 10:41 AM
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I did a one page story this week, remembering how pleasant it can be to do short stories. When you're creating a longer piece, you may think about each page as a whole and try to compose the panels in a way they'll feel balanced and complete, and yet they must lead to the next page, but when you're doing a one page story, you take this notion to the ultimate level.
One page stories are like comic strips. They're jokes, even if they're not funny.
You have to have a punch-line.
And then, you're done. It's so fast you just want to keep going, keep drawing, creating yet another story, another character, another world.
You don't have to wait the end of the year to start thinking ahead, but when the year ends, you feel something is closing and start to wonder what's going to begin next.
Monday, December 18, 2006
This is the cover of the first Casanova collection.
Ba has outdone himself with all Casanova covers, specially if you consider that, before starting on the series, he didn't like to do covers, and didn't think much of the few covers he had done before.
Not only the covers have a visual identity, but they also are not just one image made by the same artist who did the interior artwork, which means that this image (and all other covers) has to look like a cover, like one image that tells a lot without showing everything.
You don't need the logo to see this is a cover.
Likewise, Becky's latest cover for "Pirates of Coney Island" is perhaps the most graphic she did for the series, and maybe that's the reason it is the one that works the most to grab the reader's attention.
For O Alienista, which I just finished, Bá and I will collaborate on the cover. Let's see where that will lead us.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Everybody asks us if we always looked alike. You know, we're twins, after all. Yes, we always looked very much alike. More even when we were kids.
As babies, there was no telling us apart. Our mom knew, of course, but our father used the t-shit colors as his guide.
That was nice, and it still is. The problem was, when we were kids, we had the same art style. Maybe we both lacked the same amount of style and, like many children do, we drew copying from every artist we read. All those poor imitations just made clear how much we liked comics, no matter if they were super heroes, alternative, erotic or european, or even japanese, there were we drawing what we saw.
For a while, that helped. We got to think about the difference in each style, each approach, but it became clear that we were not really showing our personality on those drawings. Even if we were to draw ourselves (we always were our own favorite characters), we were not finding our way with the art. There was no telling who did what, who created what, and that was not good.
Specially if you're a twin and your life revolves around "who's who" and "who did what".
It wasn't until we were mid-way through college that we developed a personal style, one that evolved into what we do today.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
"Yes?", could be the translation for what the strange guy is saying. "May I help you?"
Like this, I have started a new story. I always wanted to start a story with a question posed with the character asking it looking at the readers, as if he's asking it to them. It's like you're entering this new story, and that's the reason the character is opening a door to welcome us and ask us what do we want.
After all, what do you want when you start a new story?
Are we ready for a new story, or we just want more of the same? Do we know what to expect before entering, or it's out of curiosity that we start every journey? All is considered when one must start a story, be it the artist, the storyteller or the reader.
And then we start it and we discover it to be completely different from what we expected.
Do we continue, then?
That's how I wanted to finish the first chapter of this new story, asking the character, and the reader, if they'll continue on the path that was open for her.
So I ask the question on the last panel of the first chapter:
"Are you in?"
This story will appear on the second volume of De:TALES.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Matt Fraction writes comics, but he used to write prescriptions in Kansas (or was it Missouri) for hurricane victims. While still on his teens, he discovered the magic of books, which he described as " prescriptions with a lot of pages", and decided he wanted to write them. The amount of pages actually involved in those big prescription that people bought in those "book stores" seemed too big for our little bearded man, so he decided to find a middle ground.
Comic books, he decided, had more or less the amount of words he felt were enough to satisfy people and still let them hanging for more - more being the drawings.
But Matt can't draw.
Well, he can, but he doesn't know it yet. Still, comics required drawings, so Matt went on a journey to find people to draw his prescriptions. His journey led him to South America and, since he didn't spoke spanish, he decided to go to Brazil, where they also didn't speak spanish, assuming he would feel right at home.
That's where he found us.
And that's how Ba became the artist on Casanova.
Casanova, on many languages, can be translated to "new house", which was Matt's ultimate prescription to all the hurricane victims he encountered throughout his life.
Nowadays, enjoying the success Matt has acquired, he developed a hobby: biographer. Right now, he's researching Lincoln, but since he's dead, it's really hard to get a hold on him. He seems to be somewhere else, and not available for interviews.
Matt is not easily beaten, and so he decided to practice his skills becoming our official biographer!
He's doing a terrific job so far, but let's hope he doesn't let go of his prescriptions' job just yet.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 8:14 PM
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
What are you looking for when you try a book you never heard of? I'm sure the cover must grab your attention, maybe the title has a strangeness that appeals to you, but once you have the book in your hands and flip through it, what do you see that makes you want to take this book home to look at it and read it for more than those ten seconds at the store?
Posted by Fábio Moon at 3:22 PM
Friday, December 01, 2006
It's rare when I actually read super-heroes these days. I don't follow any hero month in and month out anymore, but some times I look through some comics on the stands to see what's going on. Other times, I check the internet previews across the news sites.
I read the preview pages from Punisher War Journal on the internet. They read like a Matt Fraction book. Nothing more natural, I suppose, since he's writing it.
Some people might find this bad, but for me, it's good. I hate writers with no "voice". They'll write whatever you want, it can be great, but you may never remember their names when you're remembering the story afterwards.
Matt has a "voice".
He's a rambling mumbling talks a lot kind of guy.
Happy Birthday, Matt.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 6:37 PM
Friday, November 24, 2006
Casanova 6 came out. Did you read it? What did you think?
Edited to add: Khepri customers have shown the love for Casanova 2 and 5 last week. If you can't find your copy at your comic book store, Brian at Khepri will send it to you with a super discount.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 4:44 PM
Sunday, November 19, 2006
When I lose completely the notion of different days of the week and realize my Sunday looks like my Tuesday, I wonder if I wouldn't be better off becoming a dentist.
Or a farmer.
Or an astronaut.
Anyway, somebody pointed me to this online preview of Casanova 6. Our copies already arrived, so I've seen the entire issue, but this baby will be on stores this Wednesday. Check it out.
I guess suddenly you discover that this cover of issue 6 and that pencilled page from issue 7 have something in common.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 12:41 PM
Friday, November 17, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
It's like she's looking at me and complaining about when will I draw her again.
"When will I have another story?"
"When will I have another adventure?"
I ask myself the same questions every other day, which means it will probably happen sooner rather than later.
Hopefully, next year.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 7:44 PM
Thursday, November 02, 2006
My brother and I are used to do all parts of the process ourselves, from the beginning to the end of a story. It has not been long since we started working on projects with other people, playing just one role, like just the artist. I like to see myself of a creator, specially because I'm working on projects that have just begun and I will help build the entire universes of these stories.
Two weeks ago, Scott Allie wrote me to see if we could do something for the release of new album from My Chemical Romance, since I will be drawing the lead singer Gerard Way's new comicbook, The Umbrella Academy.
It was supposed to be only one drawing showing maybe two of the characters, but they had the bold idea of doing a 2 page story. It was a good thing to see the first scripts of this story, and how it is different from the Casanova scripts Matt sends me. It was much more lose and light, so I think the art could do a lot of breathing, even though it is just a 2 pages story.
Anyway, I am glad it is finally starting to happen and a new step on our way has just been given. And it is funny that is happened today, on the day of the dead, which I think has a lot to do with the band and it's thing. The images shown here are from this story, that you can see online here, with the press release.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
The future looks bright. Comics lie ahead.
Ba and I have been talking like crazy about the new projects we'll be doing next year. Some have already started, some are about to start, and some we just started talking about.
Talking about is fun. That's when the energy is all there, in the creating stage of things, when our only limits are our imagination. After that, our imagination will have to go through our hands and our deadlines, and that's when the monsters will be born.
The belly is getting bigger, so surely it won't be much longer now.
Our box of Casanova 5 arrived only yesterday. We had some problems with customs and the box got held up for a week or two. And now we're rereading the issue and enjoying it immensely. We can't wait for the reaction of the reader about issues 6 and 7, though, as Ba is once again doing stuff he's never done before in order not to repeat himself.
He's working on issue 7 right now.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 5:50 PM
Monday, October 30, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
artwork by Gabriel Ba for Casanova 6.
We hardly talk on the phone. Maybe I'm too much of a close personal contact kind of person, but I don't like phones all the much. They're fun to draw (specially if they're very old, or just don't exist yet), but boring to use.
Anyway, our phone doesn't even ring that much. We're working so much that we don't call anybody, and everybody knows we're working, so they don't call us.
Also, phones are distracting. Sometimes we want to be distracted, but more often than not, we're working, and the phone takes us of our working mood. I know some people who can work and talk on the phone at the same time (I know an awesome inker who inked with a brush, talked on the phone and watched TV all at the same time), but that's not for me. I pay too much attention on my very loose pencils, and then I leave to much to decide and have fun on the inking, so there I can't talk also. Maybe if I didn't have to hold the phone, but alsothat feels funny (CRAZY, more like it).
I'm ten pages alway from finishing the new story, so probably friday will be another suit day. Pictures will be taken, and maybe I'll make a short film of it. I guess this time around I'll even wear a tie, but it might get in the way of the inking.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 7:51 PM
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here is the latest interview with Matt Fraction about Casanova. He talks more about how difficult it is to write the book. And how rewarding.
Ba also thinks it's very difficult to draw the book, with so much going on, so much to show, and to make it all look easy and clear.
So far, Ba have done an incredible job making it look good, and making it look easy.
This week, Casanova 5 hits the stands. Go read the "Island" issue, go get lost in it.
Ba's drawing amazing pages this week. My jaw is on the floor. And I'm drawing in this situation. It's not confortable.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 4:11 PM
Monday, October 16, 2006
Michael C Lorah did a very nice review of De:TALES here at the Best Shots article of the week, at Newsarama. It's nice to see the book still finding it's way into people hands, and to find a review even in the middle of a bunch of mainstream comics (and next to a Neil Gaiman reviewed book).
And, down on the comments section, a reader also chips in his two cents about the book.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 12:49 PM
Saturday, October 14, 2006
HERE, we see that Casanova is now climbing it's way on the top 300 comics of the month, going from the 200th spot of issue 3 to the 175th spot with issue 4. Thanks for all the Casanova readers for supporting the book, and enjoy the last three issues of this season, as Ba is drawing like crazy and he's doing it just so you have fun.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 5:12 PM
When you put all your books side by side and realize they're pilling up, you need to start taking yourself more seriously.
I always think about "What have I already done?" when I'm coming up with a new story. Also, I think "What haven't I done yet?".
"Am I saying something different with this new story, or it's just more of the same?"
"Am I saying anything at all?"
Maybe I think too much about comics and worry too much about what the story is about, and maybe that's why I'm not the perfect candidate to only draw other people's comics.
I had fun drawing the stories others have written, I've learned a lot, and i drew stuff I would probably never have drawn in my own stories.
I'm a better artist because of these stories.
But are the stories better?
Do they say anything I can believe and relate?
I think too much, I guess.
And that's not a bad thing.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 12:33 PM
Monday, October 09, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I've been looking for something to write about. From the distance, I thought I had nothing new to say, but it's when, slowly, I got a closer look at my current life that I realized what a joy it is to create comics.
I'll write about that.
It's wonderful to create a sequence of panels and make them work together. Alone, each panel can be a nice image, but it's when they work together that you see the story that happens in-between them.
Characters think from one panel to the next.
We zoom in.
We build up the tension.
What will happen next?
This are tools used in comics that can enhance the reading experience, but if they also enhance the drawing experience, bringing to the artist the same joy they bring to the reader, that's when this artists feels he's in the right track.
That's when we are reminded of the kid in us, that little shy boy (or girl) who sat for hours reading comics trying to guess what would happen next.
I miss the world, being at the drawing board every day (and night). No one to talk to, no strange things to see. Well, if you count the city light poles fighting late at night, and the explosions they cause in result, you might get something interesting to talk about later. But still, I miss the world.
I hope the world misses me too.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 7:45 PM
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
illustration for a brazilian newspaper.
I had an hour to do this illustration and five others for a piece about the latest corruption news in Brazil for a brazilian newspaper. This kind of work is good because it makes you learn how to think fast, it sure makes you draw faster and it puts into perspective how much detail is necessary to convey what you want with your art.
Back to making comics look better.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 12:50 PM
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
According to this site, Casanova 2 held the 196th spot at the top 300 comics of July. Now, according to this other site, we can see Casanova 3 at the 200th spot.
If steady wins the race, until when we get to issue 4 and 5 and the numbers start increasing (because they are increasing).
A monthly book is a completely different beast from all our previous work on graphic novels. The good side is the constant feedback, and the downside is this uncertainty about the numbers.
So far, the numbers have been good, but should we really be that obsessed by them? we should know they're there and hope for the best, but sometimes I think knowing all that about "who sold what" and "that's selling more than this" is not good for the creative mind.
The ideas should come to tell the story, and sometimes they don't come if you're just thinking about something else, like numbers and money.
I'm on page 12 of the Graphic Novel. If all goes well, I should hit page 20 before next week.
Ba's on page 10 of the current issue of Casanova he's doing.
I did 2 submission pages.
Those are the numbers I rather talk about.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 3:37 PM
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
It was around this time of year in 2004 when I started drawing Smoke and Guns. At the same time, I was doing some work at Lobo, and this job, which was an animation for an tv show, was done together with another motion design company called MK12. The guy at MK12 who was creating the scripts used in the animations was a guy we had just heard of when we read his comic book two months before: Matt Fraction.
I guess everything happens for a reason.
Posted by Fábio Moon at 10:59 AM
Monday, September 11, 2006
"I wonder what is he doing", she said. "Do you think he's safe?"
The old man stood quiet, just holding his bell. The sound that came out of it sounded like the answer she was afraid to get.
"You know him better than anyone else."
"Is he ever safe?"
"Is he ever not in trouble?"
Posted by Fábio Moon at 1:02 PM
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Something happened while I was doing these pages in the forest. I wanted to know what those characters were saying.
That's always a good sign.
I have 20 pages thumbnailed. Today I start drawing. If all goes well, I'll be able to keep doing one or two pages a day. If all goes more than well, this new technique I'm using will look nice and will actually be faster than the way I'm currently doing comics.
And, after a month's work, I'll have a lot of pages of nineteenth century people discussing if the world has gone mad.
(They won't look like the ones Becky's doing, but I'll try to entertain you just as well.)
Posted by Fábio Moon at 12:51 PM
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Not too much to say about this image, aside the fact that I'm pretty happy with it. Best forest I've ever done.
These are studies for characters for a book Ba's illustrating.
We have been working so much that, instead of getting tired of it, we're getting more and more excited.
"This", we think, "is really what's like to wake up and draw comics until you finish your day."
"This is our life now."
"This is good."
Posted by Fábio Moon at 1:15 PM