Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Until next year.

Christmas is right around the corner, and so is the new year. Some of my various jobs entered their breaks, leaving me with a lot more time to do comics.

That's what I'll do, then. I'll be disappearing from the face of the earth (or from this blog, at least), for the next three weeks, to focus only in making comics. Since I noticed visitation to be quite slow, most won't even notice I'm gone. When the time comes, I'll be back. I suppose I'll be writing a lot, there are new stories brewing in our bakery, but that's all "next year" talk.

See you all next year.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Dancing in the dark.

Sometimes I wonder what should I write around here. At the same time, I try to guess who reads this, what this person (or people) is (are) after and if, by peaking at my very deranged train of thought, they leave satisfied.

Actually, I just want this to be the first step towards comics. For me, it would be my never-ending first step toward making them; for you, it would be the first step toward getting to know what those comics are about, what is cool about it and where do you start reading.

But enough of making questions (that's when you notice you just wrote two paragraphs with no question marks). It's also good not to know too much in advance what lies ahead. The mystery turn the journey much more interesting, so you should always enjoy the mystery you'll run into, be it by living, by working or by creating stories filled with mystery and uncertainty.

With every new story, you meet new people. They'll take you to places you never thought you would go. Maybe you've dreamed about it before, and somehow it all seems strangely familiar. Maybe you've read about all that in a book, in a comic or maybe you just waited your entire life for something like that to happen.

Or maybe I talk too much when I should be back at my board making my comics look better.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Do you think you know me?

I'm sure you think you know me by now. How different can I be from the others? In fact, aren't we all the same to you? Just a pair of pretty legs, a pair of pretty eyes, a pretty smile...

But, if we're all the same, why are you here? With me? Why aren't you somewhere else, with someone else? Why did you choose me?

Did you ever stop to think that maybe you didn't choose me? That it was I that chose you?

Do you still think you know me now?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Not someone to be messed with.

or just a picture of pretty things to come

I bet she wear red lipstick. I bet she smokes, in a "old hollywood" kind of way, with grace, charm and attitude. Yes, she smokes, without guilt or worries. And that's also how she lives.

No guilt.

No worries.

Just fun.

I can't deny she can get in trouble from time to time. I could go to the point where it would be safe to assume she attracts it. Well, she's a pretty girl, and those (the pretty girls) are always the ones trouble goes after.

Next year, we have an appointment. If I were to be romantic, and I have this tendency of being a romantic fool, I could say that next year, we have a date.

She'll be wearing her red lipstick, of course.

And she'll be smoking.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It lives!

It lives in every and each one of us. In our memories and in our hearts. It's there every day and every night, and we need it to stay that way.


Everybody who is involved with comics, in any way one can get involved with comics, is in love. Or was, or will be. Comics is an experience that forever changes you, like falling in love for someone. It doesn't mean you'll stay together forever, but you'll always remember with kindness what you had.

the reader.

The reader is in love with the stories he or she reads. The characters, their lives, their problems. It doesn't need a regular person to tell the story about how to solve problems. Even super heroes have to solve problems, and they're made of paper. If they can do it, so can we. All we gotta do is try. When we read a story where people, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary, have the strength and courage to try, we discover that we also can try to do whatever we want to do. We may fail, as many will, but we can always learn from it, as we do by following, month after month, the adventures of our heroes.

the writer.

The writer is in love with the stories he has to tell, 'cause he's in love with the world. He is fascinated with life, with death, with people. For the writer, comics will be the window he found to show what is the world we live. You may recognize it from your own experiences, you may be surprised by what he shows you, but he's there for that: to show that we are here, we exist, and we are all worth living the stories we tell, as we are as interesting as any character we can create. The writer writes about us, for us and so we won't be forgotten.

the artist.

The artist is in love with an idea. A dream, a fantasy, a hope that anything is possible. If we are to see the matter of poetry, it would be by the hands of a comic book artist. The comic book artist is an invisible man, a creator of images that will only reach parts f your brain, of your soul and of your heart, parts that will command the other parts of your body to react to what he's showing you. The story you will remember, in case the artist succeeds, exists only in your mind, between the panels, as one continuous memory you've grown found of, one which can have the most remarkable images be ones you did not even draw.

We are all in love. Comic book is our passion. nothing is easy and simple in life, but for us, touched by comics, how can we fight love? How can we fight passion?

Comics have created a monster in all of us, and it's alive.

Monday, November 29, 2004

and a bit of memory loss.

If the previous strips were based on some of my girl friends' experiences, this one was entirely mine. Sometimes, you're asked flat out about something and, suddenly, you forget the answer that you always knew. If you're at work and your boss asks you something you know but just can remember right there on the spot, it can cost your job. If you're at a bar, it can cost you the girl you saw.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Doing comics is a serious matter.

I guess yesterday was a serious day. The "I get a new book out" day. As such, we decided to try and look serious. It was the least we could do, and our best shot at being taken seriously at our new book's party. We do comic books, after all, and there's a limit to how serious we can get. But we try.

You went and made a joke and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.

Okay, that's that for being serious. Now I'm back to trying to come up with girl situations. I'm not much of a words on a t-shirt kinda guy, I preffer my tees flat, but I'm always trying to figure what the person wearing the t-shirt is really saying.

Or maybe what each one reads.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

This is not realy something related to comics and it is not something you will enjoy at the most, but we have changed our website 2 weeks ago and there are lot's of interesting things about us and our work there.

What;s the problem, then? Well, the site is in portuguese. There is ONE page in english where we point people the way to end up here.

My point is, even if you don't understand the words, there are a lot of nice images and we put some effort on the design and usage of the site, so if you have the chance, go there and take a look.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Free time.

What are you going to do with all your free time? You can rest, for your day must have been hard. You can go out and have a good time with your friends. You like them and they like you. I'm sure you're all busy people and always wish you had more time to spend with each other. You can find yourself a hobby for your free time and spend quality time improving your body and soul.

That's right, there's a lot of things you can do with your free time.

You go and enjoy it.

If you want to become a comic book artist, when you get some free time, you'll always be drawing. Or writing, if you have any dream about becoming an writer. You can do both, of course, I sure do try, but you only have so much free time and you'll have to squeeze everything in it in order to work (free) time enough so someone will be interested in looking at your work.

"If I do my comics on my free time, am I working for free?", the smart ones may ask. Yes, you are. And you'll probably work a lot for free before someone hires you. Try to see it as practice. We all need to practice. The comic book artist needs to do comic book pages in order to learn how to be a comic book artist. No sketchbook, no illustration work, no story-boards, no other drawing job, nothing teaches you how to do comics the way you learn when you do comics, so you'll need to practice doing comics. Those ones, you'll most likely will do for free and there's a good chance they'll suck.

We have to do several bad comics before we can do a good one.

Next week, my new brazilian book comes out. It's a collection of short stories I've been working on with my brother for the past three years. This book is the result of a lot of well spent free time. Here is the cover.

I like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

What single women think.

I've been playing here with this ideas for comic strips about girls. Not always funny, they were made so that I could explore more female characters, trying to find more about the way girls think, the way they behave and how interesting they can be.

And just so nobody starts thinking otherwise ('cause I read his blog regularly and wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings), I have nothing against gays. Two of my best friends are gay. But I also have a lot of female friends complaining about the lack of men in their lives. That's how this strip started. When I showed this strip to my gay friend, he just said that he was having trouble finding gay man as well.

In the absence of men, I suddenly found myself in a Vertigo book. I better go look for my monkey.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Weekend girls.

My favorite subject, as an artist, is without a doubt the woman. I just love drawing women.

When you stop to think about the super heroes, you'll see that the guys, in their tights and uniforms, are made of shapes. Muscles and more muscles define the super guy. The girls, on the other hand, are made of lines. The line of her hair, the line we trace from the top of her neck to the bottom of her back; their shoulders, delicate yet strong; their lips, drawing a smile from which we ourselves can't resist and follow. When I'm drawing a guy, I'm building. When I'm drawing a girl, I'm following a line.

I guess that's why I don't see myself as a big super-hero artist. When it comes to drawing the strong guy who can break a wall, I prefer drawing a girl who can break your heart.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


In Brasil, there's a lot of love for Ursula. Some say it's their favorite story (from the ones we made, that is). It's great to have it published in english as well so we can continue spreading the love for Ursula.

We already sold more than a thousand copies of Ursula in english.

I'm happy.

Work in progress.

Even one panel (this one is from a new story) is several at once. It's the panel you imagine when you write the story,it's the doodle you make on your thumbnail, it's the panel on the actual page once you pencil it and it's the same one, again, when you ink it.

You better like what you do in order to stand seeing your work over and over before it even gets out to the reader.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Another review on URSULA and the first bad one, for that matter. Reviews are always a good thing and they show us that different people like different things.

To read the review, click here.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The best teacher.

If you really want to do comic books, and you want to draw them, you must know Will Eisner's work. I'm not telling you that you probably know who he is and what he did, I'm saying that you have an obligation of knowing how he did - and still does - some of the most innovative and atemporal comic book pages of our times. He's the kind of artist that, if you look at his work over and over, there will always be something new for you to learn from it.

Eisner always put the reader inside the story, making a world we all believed in. His background showed us people lived there. His characters had the best body language you'll ever find in a comic book, and his style was everything at once: modern, classic, classy, bold, expressionist, minimal, poetic and sincere. He would do whatever it took to tell his stories. And he told them well.

Go buy yourself a Will Eisner book. NOW!

While doing the Smoke and Guns pages, I picture how would this particular page be if it were drawn by Will Eisner. I know my version will look different, but just the sensation to be working on the kind of story you can image Will Eisner doing always makes my day.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Good Luck today.

Meanwhile in Iraq...

Friday, October 29, 2004

The colors of war.

this is a pin up Ba did for a comic book here in Brasil. I think it looks great, but I'm a suspect on this particular matter.

It's funny how it relates events that happened here, but it could easily be about the civil war in the US.

Another weekend.

Enjoy your weekend. May it bring that special look from someone you love, or from someone you're dying to meet, there at night, staring from across the room. Happy halloween for all with another one of my old zine covers, which remains to this day one of my favorites.

May of 1997.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

She shot me down.

Smoke and Guns sketch. The character, however, is feeling kinda sad in this one, and she is everything but sad. She's the girl with an attitude, the one you look and know right away she's not not to messed with.

Do you want to dance?

The comic book artist should be like a dancer, with attitude, confidence and initiative. The dancer walks across the floor and asks the girl to dance with him, he does not wait for somebody to discover him, to ask him, to lead.

You are the storyteller. Your story is up to you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Silence, you fool!

Doing comics has a lot to do with talking. When you're working with someone else, be it the writer you're drawing the story for or the artist you're writing for, you have to tell the other exactly what you want, what you have in mind and what don't like. You can tell what you like as well, but that is more or less obvious if the other looks at the stuff you've already done.

Don't think anyone will think you're stupid if you don't understand what's the writer hidden purposes for a certain scene. Always ask away every single question you might come up with while reading the script. Remember that everything you don't know the answer for (and that needs an answer for the story to be told) won't be rightfully portrayed if you don't know what's the story you're telling.

I talk a lot with my brother about our comics. Maybe we talk too much, but it seems to help our work, so we just keep on talking. Sometimes, we argue, we fight and shout at each other.

Some answers just won't come quietly.

Just a little something else...

People are now talking about the new DEMO, which I believe is already issue 11. Another great cover in what I believe will be a series of really well crafted covers that will enter the history of comics, right there with the Watchmen covers and the Sandman covers.

I just had a conversation about covers during my coffee break (yes, I take coffee breaks, I'm human and brazilian coffee is delicious) with an artist friend of mine, in which we were talking about how different covers are from the interior art, not necessarily in style, but in weight and in the amount of density it needs to sell the book. Great covers will tell a story on it's own, a little tale curious enough to make everybody feel that need to open the book and start reading it.

Monday, October 25, 2004


The bell ringed at the studio and I answered.

"Hi, is this the place where I can find Fabio Moon or Gabriel Ba?", said the voice of a man who certainly wasn't from the city.

"Who may I say is asking?", I replied, suspiciously.

"I'm a cartoonist and I wanted to talk to them about the market and to show my work."

Market? Does he think I'm selling fish over here?

As I opened the door and let the guy in, I noticed he didn't smell nice at all, reinforcing the image of a fish market in my mind.

I prayed for rain.

Friday, October 22, 2004

At the end of this week...


How to be inspired by great work.

I live in Brasil, as many of you know. As a result of that (and, let's face it, on account of too much work on my table right now), only last wednesday I had a chance to see Kill Bill volume 2. On the same day, also as a result of the lateness of arrivals around here, I finally read The League of Extraordinary Gentleman volume 2.

Both were great.

It's amazing how they both work the audience. That's their job, and they're really good at it. Perfect timing, good dialogue, the mood and the twists and the great and interesting characters. They both remind us creators that you should do your best and that your best should be fun.

It was a long week, I'll be back on Monday.

Go have fun.


as a weekend bonus, a old cover from my mini-comic days (eventhough, when I was doing them, they were called fanzines).

April or May, 1997

Monday, October 18, 2004

When you know what you want, you know where to go.

What's the first step to our addiction? Reading. We all start as comic book readers, one way or another, and there's not a single artist or writer in comics who never read a comic in his life. And, for the time we remember kindly in our minds, we loved the comics we read.

Okay. Time passes, we grow up - to the eyes of some, anyway - and we decide to do comics. When that happens, we probably don't even know how a comic book is done. If we're lucky, we already know there's a person, or a bunch of people, creating the stuff, but we may not know their names at first. When we do, it's always puzzling who does what. To me, it still is kinda blurry what's really the artist's part, what's the writer's function and so on.

That's the point where many people get lost in their quest: they don't really know what they want to do in comics. Mostly all begin with the hope to become the famous artist, even if only famous among the small comic book market. Those who discover very early their complete inaptitude to draw will think about becoming writers, but if you follow these ones from early on on their lives, you'll probably see that they were bound to become writers all along. But what about the rest of us? What about the guy who draws something, even if it's not pretty? What about the guy who can do a great Jim Lee page, and a great Mike Mignola page, but can't do a dozen of any? What about the guy who just can't write any good stories, can't draw well enough to be a super-hero artist, can't draw enough to tell his own stories, and still wants to do comics?

Many colorists in the industry are failed pencillers or failed artists. Many letterers are failed artists. Okay, you can say that lettering is an art in itself (and it really is), and that there are great colorists out there, that's not the point.

So what's the point, really?

I don't know. What I do know is that I see many artists who love comics and they just don't know what they want to do in the business. I don't think it's good for an artist to have many different styles and try many different types of comics, from the super hero type to the newly born kid's comics. You can work in any type of comics, but you don't really need to change your style, or try to create a different style for every comic you're trying to get a job in, because that may distance the artist from his own personal style, which is his most important skill, in my opinion. The artist, no matter what he draws, must have a style clearly his own to translate everything he shows in the page with it.

How do one gets there?

That's the question everybody wants to know the answer. All I can say is that, even if you don't know, the only way you can get anywhere is working it. If you want to draw, go draw. You may not be fit to draw super heroes, but if you keep drawing you may find out what's really the stuff you SHOULD be drawing, what stories you should be telling, who you should be.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Not just anybody's help.

The best feedback an comic book artist (and writer, for that matter) can have comes from the reader. He's your target audience to begin with, and he will eventually buy (or fail to buy it, in case you suck) your book.

Comics should, at first, work as a medium where a story is told. If you give your work to someone to read and he (I'm sticking with the "he" bit 'cause most comic book readers are male, even if my most avid fans aren't) does not understand your story, even if it's only a part of it, your story has a problem. It's easy to assume he "didn't get it", but it's always good to stop and think about "why didn't he get it?" in the first place.

When I was beginning, my audience consisted mainly of my friends at college and most had never read a comic book before. That was a great bouncing board for me, as they would ask me questions I took for granted and made me think about all aspects of making good comic book that everybody can understand.

Do my comics got dumber because of that? No, they did not. They just started working on another level. For me, the joy of creating a new story consists in layering several levels in the story, so there'll be something there for everybody.

A late farewell.

Scott Kurtz put this over at his site.

Beautiful image.

Coincidentally (or not, for those who believe in this type of stuff), we did a Superman-like character last week for our weekly children's magazine's job.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Falling in love all over again.

Newsarama talked with Steve Hamaker about coloring Bone for it's new Scholastic edition. All I can say is that the color previews look very nice.

In fact. That's not true. Yes, the colors look nice, but I have MORE to say about it. Bone was, in my mind, probably the best realized comic-book in the hands of one artist. In the same way Sin City was created to work in black and white, so was the adventures of those three Bone cousins, and Jeff Smith succeeded effortlessly at making that colorless world come to life in front of us. Now, in a way I think Sin City wouldn't work, Bone gets a color version that's also very beautiful to look at and doesn't diminish the accomplishment of the first version.

It take a very god artist to tell the best story he can tell in black and white, and that goes to say that he only have himself to rely on. And, if he's really that good an artist, his work will remain his even if somebody works over it, and that's what's happening with the colored Bones.

Steve Oliff had this slogan for his Olioptics company: "the better you draw, the better we color", which tells the core of my argument. Coloring something is easier if the drawing in back and white is well realized.

Today, I think artists got used to colored comic-books, so they're leaving a lot of the work for the color: notions of light and shadow, of mood, hour of day, foreground and background definition and even texture. These artists, when working only n black and white, will fail in telling a story that require stuff that they don't do anymore, let alone stuff that they never learned or tried to do.

I love working in black and white. There's a classical feel in black and white stories that I love, and I do my best to tell my story using only that. If I put any consideration about color in my work, it's the one I learned with Jeff Smith: do the best black and white you can, but make sure it will ALSO look great in color. After all, you never know.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Crazy person.

Sometimes, I picture myself writing - if not thinking - like a crazy person, and it reads a lot like Rorschach:

Fell out of bed today. Woke up and went to work. Been working since. Can't stop.

I suppose I should be eating cold beans from a can with a spoon to complete the picture.

. . .

Now, really, about the work.

At the end of August, I wrote a script for a short film. Later this week, we'll start shooting it. Last week brought a delightful round of actors and actresses for our casting test, and we met wonderful new friends. I already learned a lot from then. I just hope they'll be able to learn something from me as well, just so everybody can leave this new experience with another story to tell.

You meant COMICS?

It's time to show something so I don't upset my readers (what readers, you crazy fool? Get back to the dungeon!).

My new brazilian book is ready. It's gorgeous. I'm proud. Now, all I have in my drawing board is Smoke and Guns. I'm sure those girls missed me while I was away.

I missed them.

My brother and I have been asked to be part of an anthology to be released next year. We'll probably work on two different stories, just so we have more to show. It's fun when we realize two can do twice the work.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

The horror

Last month, one of the most exciting things we did was a bunch of drawings for the opening animation of Gravity Games. It all went well, despite some ill slept nights. If you click here, you can watch a quicktime version of the opening.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Smoke signals.

When I started drawing Smoke and Guns, I set myself to try and write down the process behind creating a comic book. Of course, some twenty pages down the line, and some eighty still to go, you can tell I haven't really started writing a single line about it. What can I say? Life happened. But it's a good life, so I can't complain.

My brother and I have a new book to be published in Brazil, and the final touches of it are taking huge amounts of our time. It's going to be a great book, I believe, different from everything we did before, and when I finish the cover I'll post it here. But let's go back to the smoky new book.

I can't remember exactly when Larry sent me the script, asking if I wanted to draw it, or when I finally said yes, but I remember the sensation of reading the script for two nights and thinking how visual the story was, and how much fun it would be for anybody who turned out to be the artist. Turns out the artist will be one of the brazilian twins, after all, but I really had no idea how I was going to approach the story visually.

That's something artists will go through: the images they have while reading a script and the sensation that it's a very visual story won't always translate well for certain styles, which poses the question: How do you know which style is best for the story?

Of course, most questions asked inside the crazy deranged mind of the comic book artists don't have an answer. What they have is a door, or a variety of doors, that open a great number of possibilities in front of then. Luckily for me, Smoke and Guns opened a door in which I could see myself drawing the book, and doing it in a way I always wanted to do: with class.

Don't you hate that horn?

Newsarama has an interview with Bruno D'Angelo and Shane Amaya about their very cool new book, Horns of Hattin. Check it out for the cool pictures and for some very serious words.

Monday, September 20, 2004


Alone, she leaves the house.
Alone, she dives into the crowd.
Alone, she realizes she lost her life living the life of others.
Alone, she realizes she's lost, and slowly she closes her eyes
To cry.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Gravity Games

If you have OLN (outdoor Life network) on your TV, chances are you'll get to see the work we did for the Gravity Games event that I think starts today in Cleveland.

If you want, here and here you can see some preliminary images we did for the show (even-though they'll look very different in the final product).

Monday, September 13, 2004

The choice is yours.

Every day, you can start a new story. Who will be in it, what will happen, how will it end, you can't tell. You only know that it can start at any time. The choice is yours.

Every day, you can decide to abandon a story. You got tired halfway through, or even after the end (for some stories continue with us after they end), or maybe you don't know what to do with it, no matter how interesting this story may be. The choice is yours.

Every day, you can decide to do comic books. You can set up to be a writer, an artist, a colorist, a letterer, maybe all the above at once or even just an editor. Which book or story or character or situation you'll create is still in the darkness of a future possibility, but, still, the choice is yours.

Every day, you get tired of working for free. You only remember that work is a coin you exchange for another type of coin that you use to pay your bills and buy your food. Work is, of course, a exchange coin, but it's good for you to give something that came from you, that you did and want to say to the world, and in exchange you'll receive the contact of the people that will read your work, and everybody that gives you a positive opinion, maybe even a negative one, about your performance will be helping make you you, because you can't really be yourself alone.

Nobody is an island, we are all determined by the world we all live in (in the same measure that we determine the world thought our vision of it). Without the other people, we would not exist, for there wouldn't be any exchange of any sort. Without exchange there's no gain, no learning. Without learning, there's no life.

Let's get back to the essential.

The choice is yours.

If you want to do comics, do it. If you don't do it, the choice is yours. Choice equals guilt, equals responsibility over your own doings, so you have only yourself to blame if your not doing your comics.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Yes, we're alive.

We've been having some very busy weeks. Not that we normally don't have work to do, but these days we got so much more work that I just didn't have time to sit and write anything down. When I did sit down, eventually, I slept. And I had wonderful dreams with beautiful women.

It's funny how connected the work seems nowadays, and how every now and then we're put face to face with our past, making it our present, and affecting our future. I can be a little dramatic in such statements, but I like the little coincidences of life. Here's one:

When we first met the AiT/Planet Lar people, last year, approaching them with Ursula, they showed us what kind of books they did and what was brand new at the time (you're always more enthusiastic about your brand new stuff). Among the releases, we got Last of the Independents, written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Kieron Dwyer. I knew Kieron's work before, but it was the first time I ever heard of Matt.

A year passed. Ursula is now out from AiT and, in a most unusual way, we heard the name Matt Fraction again, only this time around I found out that he works with advertising and such very profitable lines of work, and that he was working with some friends os mine here in Brazil. My friends called my brother and I to help out on the job, so we've been drawing like crazy on the most high-tech environment you could possibly imagine, pool table included, from noon to four in the morning every day for the past week. We still have a week ahead of us, and a lot more cool drawings to do.

When I can, I'll say what I'm working on so you can go and watch it. As of right now, I'll leave you with the promise that, as soon as I have more time to post decently, I'll tell more of the Smoke and Guns process, and maybe show some of the pages that are ready.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Listen and learn

"Your comic is not done after you do the artwork and get it from the printer. You still have to market and sell them."

Larry Young loves comics. And he wants to spread this love. That's probably the main reason he publishes them. Of course, he wants to make money out of his business, but if you ask him if he can think of at least three other jobs he could be doing (or have already done) that gave him more money and that were easier to do, he would answer you in a heart bit. You really gotta love comics to do them, and you have to believe in comics to do, print, market and sell comics all day long, day in and day out.

I had a blast listening to his radio interview on the net, and it even had a small mention to Smoke and Guns. He says "it's our June book". Don't you just love how your editor never puts pressure on you but is always passing this subliminal messages to remind you to "get it done!"

Back to the drawing board.

Friday, August 20, 2004

the interview.

Chris Arrant did a nice interview with us about our new comic book, ROCK'n'ROLL, about working among brothers and about what's next.

Those from the world outside the US can buy ROCK'n'ROLL by clicking here. However, first you should probably click here to make sure how this thing works. The Khepri crew is very nice and they'll answer all your questions about shipping and payment and that kind of stuff.

Today, we'll give a lecture here in Sao Paulo about doing comics around the world in all the different ways you can. Besides my brother and I, we'll be joined by Ivan Reis and Marc Campos, superstar team of penciller and inker of the Action Comics Superman book. To top this up, we'll also have Joe Prado with us who, besides also being a comic book artist on his own, is the international agent for a lot of the brazilians working abroad. All together, I think we'll be able to give the audience a very complete view of all the sides of working with comics not only in Brazil (where we're very much known) but also around the world, from the independ artist to the super-hero superstar, and all that exists in between.

Now, back to the drawing board, I have a building to blow up.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

In my head, Smoke and Guns starts in a lot of different directions. You don't exactly know where you are, or who those people should be, but you are strangely fascinated how beautiful those girls are, lighting their cigarettes, as if they had just came out of an old hollywood movie. At the same time, this is the kind of story that starts at full swing. Don't blink or you'll miss it, don't wait up or you're dead.

I'm having fun with it. It's strange how it looks like something I could have come up with, specially now that I'm drawing it, but the characters sound different. There's a wonderful mystery feeling behind doing a story where you'll decide what the players look like and how they move, but you don't get to choose their lines. I feel like a silent mimic, or even more like a puppeteer whose puppets are being voiced by this strange blonde girl I met in San Diego this year. She managed to create girls I've been craving to draw in a story. She hooked me good on some really kinky stuff. Today is her birthday, by the way.

Happy birthday, Kirsten.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


art by Gabriel Ba

One of the greatest sensations an artist can have is when his thumbnails look great. If you can convey your entire action with the minimum amount of lines, your storytelling is clear and your work is almost done. The only thing remaining is actually doing the final page.

One of the worse sensations an artist can have is messing everything up with the big page after you've done a great thumbnail of it. The smaller version is so perfect that you don't know for sure if you just flat out copy it, only bigger, or if you try put more lines, or if you'll try it with less lines, or if you'll need more panels. The great thumbnail is intimidating, like David in front of your upcoming Goliath.

The best sensation an artist can have is doing a great page, even better than the thumbnail version of it.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

shall we dance?

Not unlike dancing, doing a comic book has a lot to do with movement and rhythm. Nothing you'll draw will actually move and yet they sure give that impression when well done. The curve of the hair of that girl, the way it deviate from her elegant figure, draw us in the same direction the wind would. The look in somebody's face, alone in one panel, makes our mind follow that look to the next panel only to mind another person looking back, directing us to where the story is leading us.

Not unlike dancing, doing a comic book is about leading. If you're not sure where you're going, you won't be able to tell your story straight and you, and mostly importantly the reader, will get lost. That's when we trip. And that's when we fall.

Not to worry, though. Stand up. Look alive.

And just keep dancing.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

one image of two people and a couple of words that follow.

I'm reading the script I'm drawing and I can't wait to get to the part I'm reading now. That's when I think about jumping ahead and doing this scene first, then going back some pages. I know a lot of artists who work this way, mostly saying, with merits, that we start cold and we get better as we go along, and that the reader should be hooked at the beginning, hence the need of an already steady artwork on the first pages.

I also like to feel the journey as I draw a story, so that would prevent me to jump ahead. I might have to stick around where I currently am and see what happens. Who knows? I might be surprised when I finally get to the bit I'm reading and discover it's now funnier to draw it after I went through all that the characters went through.


Tonight is my sister's birthday party.
She has the most beautiful friends.
She used to work in a supermodel's agency.
She is the best sister in the world.

Tonight, I'll do some "research" for all the girls I'll be drawing in Smoke and Guns.

stories from the front lines.

While we were sitting at the AiT booth at the San Diego Comicon, Ba did this quick sketch of our situation. It was still our first time sitting there and we were not quite sure how would the public view of our work (and of ourselves, since we were there to greed and get beat up by the angry mob) would be. We discovered really quickly that those who attend the Comicon for the freebees wouldn't even look at the booths, let alone to the guys sitting behind it, almost hidden by the pile of wonderful books. But, for the people interested in comics, we were still a little hidden, so from the next day on, we mostly stood up and looked to everybody in the eyes, daring them to come closer and take a look at our books.

Similar to meeting new people, selling comics in a convention must be a conquest. You have to llok the part you're playing, instead of just stay behind the books and let them do the talking. They don't talk! One of the reasons people don't buy your book is because they don't know it, and maybe they don't know anything about you either, so you have to let people know who you are and what you do.

"Hi, I'm an artist and I do comic books" and them show them your work.

About the work.

We're finishing up the colors for a story we did. It's 7 pages long and it's cute. It takes place at night and it's scary. It has super heroes and it's exciting.

We made this story to be in black and white, as we do in most cases, because we think that a good black and white story is harder to screw over when you put crappy colors. Now it appears this story will be published and they asked us to color it. We figured out a way to color it in a way we liked it, and making sue that all the good moody things we did in black and white would remain there with the colors.

It looks nice. You'll see.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Questions and answers.
Fabio version.

1. What is your favorite subject to draw?


2. What is your most common choice in 2-d media?

Brush and ink.

3. Anything you refuse to draw?

A really bad story

4. Real anatomy or cartoon physics?

It has to feel real.

5. Which is more important - solid inking skills or solid color theory?


6. Photoshop or PSP? Illustrator or Painter?


7. Markers - Prismacolor or Tria?

Whatever, it ain't no brush.

8. Paints - oils, acrylics, or watercolors?


9. Ever imitate a popular style of art? (anime, disney, comic book...)

Only as a homage.

10. How would you define your "style?"

Romantic. I'm in love with my brush.

11. What is one area of drawing that you need to improve in?


12. When did you start drawing as a hobby? (we all drew when we were little)

For me, it was never a hobby, it's a way of life.

13. What kind of sketchbook do you have? Brand? Size? How old is it?

I currently have three sketchbooks, all types.The "I'm thinking with my hands" one is from the beginning of the year. The others are older.

14. How many sketchbooks have you had previous to this?

A bunch.

15. How many sketchbooks do you go through in a year?


16. #2 yellow pencil or a clicky pencil?

Blue coloring pencil.

What kind of eraser do you use?

The one that works.

16. Who are your artistic influences?

Eisner, Mazzuchelli, Picasso, Frank Miller and Jeff Smith. More recently, I'm really into early cartoons and strips.

17.What books would you reccomend to aspiring artists?

Their sketchbook. If they want to draw, draw.

18. Do you have any favorite online tutorial sites?

I like it here. Don't you?

19. What is the most money you've ever made on one drawing / illustration / painting?


20. What do you hope to accomplish with your art? Do you want to go anywhere with it in life?

I want to tell stories and I want people to be able to find and read them.

21. Finally, why do you draw?

I'm cursed.

Small Fiction.

Everything was very quiet. If she were to take an educated guess - for she had been sitting there for quite sometime, looking around - she could safely assume that she was completely alone.

"Today, I'm somebody else", thought the girl, sitting in front of her computer. She just knew it, I guess. Even her skin was different, apparently breathing (yes, the skin breathes) with more intensity. In fact, all her senses seemed amplified.

"Today I'm somebody else and I want to write about that."

"First, I should start stating the obvious: if I'm somebody else, I'm not myself. My mother wouldn't recognize me, for all I know, and that's saying a lot. My mother is the most intelligent person I know, and she can see through people. It's weird how she can tell who somebody is just by looking at them. But she's not the topic of my writings, I am. Or the person I'm now."

She paused. Suddenly, she was confused. Who could she be? Of course, she was still herself, but if she could also be somebody else, and could be anybody else, who, of all people, could she fancy herself being?

"I guess I am a completely different person than my former self. So, for starters, I'm a boy, and not a very clever one. I don't know that last bit, of course, not being very clever, but my life seems fine without the complications of a brilliant mind. In fact, I think a good deal about myself, for I have a most unusual profession, one that involves the power of the imagination and that can guarantee my fulfilling all of my fantasies: as a boy, I am a comic book artist."

Another pause. A noise could be heard in the not very distant downstairs hall, the clicking of the key and the whisper of the wood under her brother's feet. And as his feet continued to cause the wood to whisper, the girl could easily follow his climbing the stairs and opening the door of the study -the atelier, he liked to call it, but she knew it was just a room with a drawing board (which also is just a big table with a fancy name).

"It's time for you to go to sleep", said the brother. "I have to work."

She stood up and vacated her brother's chair. He took his habitual spot in front of his drawing board, opened his folder, took out some pages and positioned them on the table. They were already pencilled and he took his brush to start inking them.

"Do you think I could be a comic book artist?", asked the girl.

He smiled at his sister.

"No, dear, you're too pretty. And you have a lot of friends. And they're all normal."

That was not the answer she was expecting and she left her brother alone to work. She thought, as she was closing the study door, that if she were to actually be somebody else, she would like to still be pretty, have a lot of friend who would still be normal, so she could never ever be a comic book artist.

Relieved, she smiled the same smile her brother just smiled a moment ago and she went to bed.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Khepri likes some Rock'n'Roll!

Beginning this weekend there's this special sale at the Khepri website for those interested in our new comic book, the San Diego favorite Rock'n'Roll. Get your copy for $ 2,10! The catch is, this is a WEEKEND ONLY opportunity. Don't miss it!

Working for other people is like flying into unknown territory. You're not really sure if you're in friendly skies, everything can go extremely well, or it can also go extremely ill. Sometimes, it's only up to you to make the most of the experience, and it's your responsibility to make everybody look good.

If the tendency of the moment is "the writer runs the show", in contrast to the nineties tendency of the hotshot artists being in charge, we have to remember that the comics STILL need to be drawn, so the artist will always remain an important part of the process. Acknowledging that comics need good stories is not about giving power to the writer (or at least it shouldn't be), it's about caring about the final product.

Working with other people is a challenge. You'll receive part of process and will work from there to create something that has to remain interesting, has to retain the creator's "feel" and has to be good.

The skies are clearing up. It's almost time to go. Should this be a good time to mention I'm afraid of flying?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Lost in translation

In 2002, we became friends with Eduardo Risso. We already knew his work, and we had already met during that year's San Diego Comicon, but it was only when he went to Brazil for a convention - and surely after we took him out to drink in a cool bar that played live samba and had beautiful girls - that our relation changed. We have eventually exchanged e-mail since then and every San Diego convention we meet again. Last year, something happened.

I went with my brother to a Vertigo Panel, to know what were the plans for the vertigo line of books and to watch the slide show previews. Eduardo Risso and Marcelo Frusin were there and, differently from the previous year, there was no translator available for them, so Eduardo came down to the audience and asked if I could serve as a translator for him and Marcelo in case anybody had any questions for them. Apparently, the audience indeed had a lot of questions for them and I ended up sitting at the Vertigo Panel table translating the questions to spanish and answering in english. I was even introduced by Karen Berger when the panel started, and as she went from person to person sitting at the table, telling their names: "...and there, with Eduardo, is his mysterious friend".

That was fun, and that's how I met Marcelo Frusin.

This time around, Eduardo Risso had a panel only for him, a "spotlight on Eduardo Risso" type of thing, and there we were, my brother and I, attending. We'll go, whenever we can, to listen to what Eduardo have to say about the work of the comic book artist. We believe he is in the top of his game and that not many artists working today have the notion he has about storytelling, character expression and mood setting. That said, there we were again.

At the beginning of the panel, he was being translated by Eddie Berganza (Superman's editor over at DC), who was doing a great job, but he was actually covering for the guy the convention's staff would provide and, when the "translator" arrived, Eddie left. That's when the storm began.

The "translator" looked mexican. He could be an american of spanish origins, but he looked like a typical spanish speaking guy from Souther California. And that probably was the only reason they picked him as a translator, because he just sucked at it. He had no speaking skills, so when he talked, the audience could barely hear him. By the look on his face, we could see floating question marks every time Eduardo said anything, making it crystal clear that he wasn't understanding Eduardo's answers and, hence, was translating it- again, when he managed to speak at all - completely wrong.

Eduardo can speak a reasonable amount of english, and he noticed the despair in the translator's face. He found it all quite funny, but nobody at the audience would understand what Eduardo was saying.

"Enough!" I thought, and stood up. I looked at Eduardo and started walking towards the table. He just said "could you?" and, like that, I took over the translation bit of the panel. Everybody was happy.

Now, after my not so brief introduction, I can tell a little bit of what I learned from what he said:

- It may appear to be the most simple answer in the word, but when people asked why he payed so much attention to detail and correct characterization of the people and places in the stories, Eduardo just said "I want to do the comics as good as the ones I enjoyed reading as a kid".

Isn't that the first goal of an artist?

"I do the comics I like, to please myself first." in the standard line of the artist, but it's different from what he said. He wants his work to impress people the way he was impressed when he used to read comics. His work should inspire other to follow the same path, and try as hard, and be as good.

- Good storytelling is not only about beautiful drawings, it's also about space, the space of the page and how you use it. The artist should think a lot about what's the best way to composite the page, to set the panels, to convey the action and how to best guide the reader's eyes through the page, al that before starting to draw anything on it. You don't need to have the best skills as an artist as long as you have it clear in your art the story you're telling.

- Everybody should look interesting, even the ugly, strange people. When you're drawing your story, all characters, especially the main ones, should be nice on the eye because the reader have to watch this character every page of the story. It doesn't matter if the character would translate into a ugly person in real life, the kind you would change side walks if you'd see him walking towards you in the street, still his portrayal on the page should look interesting so you want to know what's going to happen to him.

At the end of the panel, Eduardo thanked me and went back to the hotel to see the Argentinean soccer team lose to the Brazilian soccer team at the America Cup Final.

Friday, July 30, 2004

How many people are we, anyway?

That's not really a question that I would answer here, but brings some points I've noticed at this year's Comicon and the different way people are receiving our work. At least, different from what we're used to her in Brazil.

You see, we've been doing this for almost ten years, climbing our way into this hard world of comics (independent comics, I might add). The public (should I say small public ) who reads comics here have already the notion of who we are and the work we do, even if they have never seen it. So I could say we have some success telling our stories around here, for a lot of people have at least heard of them.

But my point is on another end of our long journey and is about our partnership and how we deal with this sharing of roles. I'm talking about our being twins and working together and the fact that almost nobody really knows who does what around here. It gets worse because we really do everything ourselves and sometimes the division of the work is not drawn by a very sharp line.

So, we had the same "problem" at the Comicon, mainly because of our new book, URSULA, that we wrote and drew. On the original version, we had separated the credits for the art by pages, so a careful reader would know which page had been done by which one of us. In the beautiful AIT version, there's no such thing. But that's not really a problem, right? Just ask and we'll tell you who did what.

The real issue, the new spin on that, refers on F‡bio doing Smoke and Guns and that it has been spread all over the place and people new that and asked for Smoke and Guns sketches. Not the problem also, by all means, all the interest in our work, even separate, is great. But we left the convention under the impression that people did not really know that I also can draw. Once it is not said on URSULA that we did both things AND F‡bio is the one who has another project on the way, the public would address him in a different manner, with that look of wonder and enchantment on their eyes. For me, well, people look at me just because I am that hot.

Well, soon enough everyone will see the things we did and have been doing in separate and will focus on our stories, which is the most important thing and the only one that really matters.

Back to them, shall we?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Back in the game

Due to the crazy trip back home, with broken planes and accumulated work, there won't be a lot of writing time until we can get a lot of stuff out of our way. Lucky for us, we're buried in a lot of very interest, fun work, mostly, if not entirely, comic related.

But I'll just leave this week with a word of advise:

Believe in yourself. Work hard. Aim high.

It can happen.

next week: lessons from Eduardo Risso, the joy of working for other people and the dreams that came true.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The San Diego Comicon was a blast and we will tell you all about it in due time.

For now, all I can say is that our new comic, ROCK'N'ROLL, a big success at the Convention, is going to be avaible from Khepri.com, thanks to our good friend Brian. The down side is, there are only 35 copies of it. So hurry Up

Monday, July 19, 2004

Monday, monday.

Today, we leave to San Diego in a plane that will take us to Washington instead. Being as it is, we'll have to get on another plane, and that won't get us to San Diego either. I believe we'll land in L.A. What can we do?
Know the trip you're making so you can make the best of it. Make plans and think of the places you'll go, the people you'll meet. Prepare yourself to discover new ground and expect the unexpected. Maybe you're traveling to the Alps, and maybe you're only going to a comic book convention, it doesn't really matter. Every time you leave the house, your life can change. Just keep your eyes open o see it through and enjoy the ride.


And check out this link for more images of the next AiT projects, including Smoke and Guns.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Care for a smoke?
As some people have already noticed, Larry Young started spreading the word about the new books AiT is publishing, planning and doing in the next year and a half. Among various titles, one name can sound somewhat familiar.

Click here for the full list.

While you're on it, check Chris Arrant's nice words about Ursula.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Follow your dreams. No matter how hard, no matter how far, we are but dreamers and there's no poing living a life without dreams. It's like never falling in love and, for us, that just won't do.

We're here for the long run, loving every step of the way.

Monday, July 12, 2004


It seems July has already begun, comic book wise, even before we reach San Diego. We ran into a lot of artists who are currently doing big super-hero comics and we got to know somethings first hand about the super-hero business.

A good one is the return of Roger Cruz to super heroes. Look for an announcement of the book (from one of the big two) he will be penciling soon (I know but can't tell). He's a great guy, incredible artist, and has been able to improve in each new work he does. And he has an amazing talent to super people. Given enough time, he can deliver some of the best super-hero pages you'll find.

Ivan Reis, currently doing the best super-hero pages you can find today, will be in San Diego signing books and looking good alongside his friend and inker extraordinaire Marcelo Campos. He's a nice guy and his success is well deserved.

We met Greg Tochinni this week as well, but his schedule with his "THOR: Son of Asgard" artwork didn't allow him to make the journey to San Diego this time.

To finish this one, a word about Joe Prado. He's not a familiar name to most of the readers, but he's getting there. Expect some super pages from him anytime now. And expect him to be in San Diego with all the crazy brazilians (count the brazilian twins in), making this year's convention the brazilian convention.

Next step: change the official language in San Diego to portuguese.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Throw the last Bone.

Today, I read the last issue of Bone. I've been reading Bone since 1996 (it took a while for the wonders of Bone to reach the brazilian shores) and I have completely changed the way I understood comics after I discovered those three cousins, all lost in that strange valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures. Bone was the first comic in a very long while that was made because it's author simply couldn't live doing anything else. He had a job, a life, everything one could want, but he wanted something else. In a way, he wanted more than the rest of us. He wanted to make a difference.

He succeeded in more ways than I can hardly begin to describe.

We should all be thankful we lived in the age of Bone, where we could follow, every two months, the adventures of Fone Bone and his friends. I am still amazed how Bone is the most coherent-looking saga of today, where you can look at the first page and the last and barely see which was done first.

Thanks, Jeff.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

what did you already know and what did you learn today?

Tonight is the HQ Mix, the brazilian equivalent to the Eisner awards. Here things happen a little different, so, for starters, we already know who won what.


Simply because Brazil is a very big country, where is just not easy or cheat to travel around, so everybody from outside S‹o Paulo, the city where the awards are delivered, have to make plans to come, and they really can't afford to come if they didn't win.

This is the background to which we face the music down here. It's not easy, we don't make any money (well, maybe I can buy a couple of beer every other month with the money I make doing comics) but we LOVE COMICS. If we are still making them after ten years, it's just because we just could not live not doing it. And to be awarded for keep doing comics just for the love of it is always a good thing. Hence the importance of the HQ Mix. It's an award for people who love comics to be remembered, to be celebrated and to be respected.

Tonight, I'm selling my new comic book at the ceremony, I'm also selling the other comic book I did last year, and I'm also going already knowing that I won an award. I don't mind knowing. Would you?

Monday, July 05, 2004

Another week begins.

Sometimes, we have to stop and look around. We do not know what awaits us ahead, and we're not sure how we got where we are. We are scared. Then, we remember all that we have done, all that we have said, and how we became who we are.

The future is right ahead.

Let's go.

. . .

ROCK'n'ROLL is ready! We already sold copies during the weekend. Today, we'll sell more at a comic book related party which, if you ask me, is a great event to have when you just released a new comic book and need as many events as you can find to sell your book.

Friday, July 02, 2004

a blue note on the hot stuff

James Sime, owner of the Isotope in San Francisco, invites everyones in the area to check out the full-length blue-line preview of Ursula. And they are also proudly displaying the color guides to the cover of Ursula in a place of great honor on the Isotope wall.

This week I saw the blue line previews of the new comic book, ROCK'n'ROll, and they look beautiful. I just love blue lines. In fact, I love the entire process behind doing a comic book, from deciding you want to draw for the rest of your life, going through the story, the artwork, the designing of everything, the printing and the selling up until the pride you feel after all is said and done.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Face the music!
I'm putting this up so you can speak your mind about what you think of it. I'm really proud of this's cover, and know you all can see why.