In 2001, I made some submission pages of Green Arrow to send to the then editor of that title. I did four pages in about a month and a half. Even if the actual time spent on the drawing board came closer to a week, that week stretched itself into all that time, and even with all the effort I put on those pages, you could see the inconsistency this lack of routine leaves on your work.
But something changed on those pages. There I was, trying to come up with a heroic situation, a interesting villain (I created a big robot) and one simple action that would lead the reader (aka the editor) panel after panel, page after page. It was more than just making the art "readable". I was thinking about how to make the readable art the most interesting way I could.
I'm not cut for super hero work, as far as I'm concerned. At least, not right now, and specially not then. But it was then that I started to focus a little more on the art, or try to focus both on the art and the writing, and my style started to grow on me. I was interested on the results of some of the panels of those submission pages, panels that nobody would ever see, but that fueled stories that I did afterwards, or even stories I'm still going to do. As I watch Bá hard at work on his Umbrella Academy pages, which many will call to be "super-heroes" pages, I think how much his style have changed since 2001, how much mine changed, and how much we changed the way we work. Since our days now consist basically in drawing comics all day long, our speed of work is much different, and the way our brain thinks about each page is different as well, and not only faster, but better. It's easier to create pages when you're creating pages every day. You do it without noticing, without that much effort, and the link between the thinking and the doing becomes a much peaceful one.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Today, we celebrate the "National comic book day" here in Brazil, as it was on this day, in 1869, that the first brazilian comic, called "As Aventuras de Nhô Quim", was published on the newspaper "Vida Fluminense".
The more my brother and I continue to work around the world, the more we want to keep publishing in Brazil. There's so much to say about all things, and certainly there's a lot to say about our country, our people and our friends. I came to realize it's more interesting to talk about what you know (and sometimes, to the people you know) than to try to talk about something you don't know, trying (again) to be someone you're not. The best way to make people notice your work is to be yourself, and be brazilian if that's what you are. They already have enough japanese in Japan, enough americans in the US, enough french in France.
Find out who you are, and how that's interesting, and it's much easier to tell stories all around the world.
And to your friends, who were there when you started.
Friday, January 26, 2007
For the portuguese speakers, an interview with Becky Cloonan where she spreads her enthusiasm for making comics.
For the rest, something I did last week on my sketchbook that "could" be a drawing of the current brazilian president, who just got reelected.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sometimes, you're at risk of hiding yourself behind your work. If you're not doing something which tells the world what you think, what you believe and what you want to say, you're basically being somebody else, other than yourself, that is appearing while you keep yourself hidden.
If you stay hidden too long, you might be forgotten.
What makes your work yours? What makes you recognize yourself on your work, even if year have passed and you're a different person?
I have come to realize not all comic-book artists are storytellers in terms of wanting to write their own stories. That does not mean they're hiding behind somebody else's stories, for what they want to do - which is draw, and draw stories - is what they're doing. They could also just do illustrations and wish for comics, and then they too would be hiding.
That doesn't come to say we can't do several different things, write, draw comics and illustrate pieces, but instead I just think that one should try to find out what it is that really makes one tick, feel alive and makes one want to do more. All this creating, no matter in what form, takes time, takes energy and creates a road, a map and a portrait of each artist. Let us travel the right road, drawing the right map so the portrait we create are of ourselves.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I hear from Matt that Casanova 7 will come out February 14th. A week before carnaval here in Brazil, and a great way to start the festivities. If you think Bá's artwork has only been getting better, wait until you see the entire new level of awesomeness issue 7 brings. But, while we wait, what can we do?
One of the most different things Bá did last year was collaborate with Grampá and Denis on this huge triptych image on the walls of the Figueroa hotel, in L.A. Grampá did the players and the colors, Bá did the buildings and Denis directed the animation spots for TV, which Grampa did concepts for.
It's strange how this things happen worldwide nowadays. While Bá and Grampá worked together all night long on several nights, they were talking with Denis, who is living in Barcelona, to do this work for a client in New York for something that would be seen and done in L.A.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
If you really like something you did, you feel like you're still working on it in your mind. Every time you look at it again, you are either retouching a brush stroke, or creating an entire new image that continues where you had left off. You are discovering it as if you were the reader, and yet you recognize yourself and all the hours you spent working and creating.
It has been more than six months since I've worked from anybody else's scripts other than my own, and it's nice. At the same time, I see Bá working on Casanova - or on the Umbrella Academy, as is the case this week - and I wonder what would I do differently if I had read that script. A lot of the stuff I think Bá came up with was actually on the script, but I can't imagine myself doing it like that even if that was asked for.
All scripts I read so far in my life were hard to read. They were not prose, nor poetry, nor plays. They were comic book scripts, and they were very mechanic in format. I'm still not used to that, as I tend to only write dialogues on my scripts, like a play, but eventually I get it's rhythm and then everything is okay.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Over the weekend, a package arrived with some gifts from Dark Horse, so now my brother and I have identical car key-chains, and it's almost ridiculous how nice it is to have something identical again. Long gone are the days when we were dressed by our mom in identical clothes, and it's been a while since we had just the identical amount of friends, and thank God we don't have an identical art style anymore.
Not that we ever have an identical art style, but I copied Bá's style for a long time and it took me years to find my own look. As I think back, it wasn't so much a matter of imitating him, it was just the easier way to draw and a faster way to worry only with the stories and less with the art.
I only started worrying about the art midway through college, and I only got any good at drawing after the first 1000 pages of comics.
I haven't reached 1000 pages of comics yet.
Suddenly, I feel I should be back at the drawing board.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
After working on O Alienista, which takes place in the nineteenth century, I want to do the present or, even more, the future.
One of the greatest things about comics is this possibility of creating, or recreating, worlds. There's no boundaries as where to go, what to write about, what to draw. The only starting point, if any, is a story to be told. Wherever this story takes us, we'll go.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Working in color is so much different than working in black and white. I'm coloring this story I did last year and, since I knew from the get go that I wanted it to be in color, I left a lot of white on the page. When you're working in black and white, this white means white, or space, or air for the black to breath. Now, this white can remain all that, but it can also become an entire new world.
Very colorful indeed.
My plan right now is to finish all the colors this week, and considering it's just a 5 page story, it should be doable. This year, I plan on doing a lot more comics, so it's essential that I determine schedules even for the more independent projects and try my best to stick to them.
Ba will return tomorrow from Bahia after ten days of beautiful beaches and paradise refueling. Gerard already touched base from Tokyo, so Ba has a script waiting for him when he arrives.
Beginning tomorrow, the twin-machine gets back to its regular working routine, and it's time to start creating more stories.
Out of fin air, if needed.
In color, if necessary.
And lovely, as usual.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
I love the city, its complexity, its rhythm and its memory of all the lives that have passed through it every day. That's probably the reason it's featured in so many of my stories, or it may be just the fact that its such a big part of my everyday life, and of the lives I see go by my eyes every day, being myself a citizen of the city.
But the city doesn't give me everything I need, especially when what I want is precisely not need anything. In times like this, we need to get away and look for another place, far from the city, from the noise and from the rhythm. When you get there, listen.
The silence, at first. The lack of cars, smoke, lights. Then you'll notice what's below this surface: tranquility.
At the turn of the year, I took a few comics with me, but I didn't read them all. Too much time I spent looking at the horizon, in silence, listening the sound of breaking waves. I took some books as well, but I didn't read them all. Too much time I spent walking barefoot, without my shirt. I took my sketchbook with me, but I drew very little. Too much time I spent thinking about the future, smiling for no reason and daydreaming.
It's good to be back.
We all have a lot of work ahead of us.