Wednesday, June 30, 2004

introducing the major players - part two.

As a music that keeps playing, so should we. Keep playing, that is. Well, you undestood it, right? Anyway, here's the second "band member" of our ROCK'n'ROLL comic book, the oldest one:


At one point of another, we all wanted to be like him. He was so good, his ideas so fresh and his style so passionate that, by the time we met Kako, we wanted to be him.

He's Bruno's older brother, so you can imagine that Bruno wanted to be Kako long before we even met any of them. But it's refreshing to know that all of you haven't met him, or haven't seen his work, so we're ahead of you on this. Believe me when I tell you, he's just that good.

He's doing this comic book with us because we simply want him with us. He makes us look good. He makes the comic book different, and in a good way instead of a "I'm a mutant feared and hated from the world" way. He's almost a character in the story, but then, aren't we all?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

introducing the major players - part one.

The internet can be a wonderful window to places far away. If you like what you see, you can try to go there someday. That's what I think when I talk about comics, creators, artists and writers: if you like what they do, the worlds they create, you can try to "go there" and find out more about it. With that in mind, I'll be taking some posts to talk a little bit about the artists involved in the new comic book I just did, called ROCK'n'ROLL. Each one has a unique style, and adds something different to the project, so I'm really proud to work with them on tis book. Without any further ado, lets get this thing started:


He can talk himself out of any predicament. He can convince you that you need his services, that you should pay him highly sums of money for it - nothing fairer - and that he can do miracles in broad daylight. He just knows what you want to hear, and his job is to make you believe what he makes is what you wanted to see all along.

He's very good at it, by the way.

It's not easy being Bruno D'Angelo, to say the least. He have this really talented older brother, also an artist, which have consisted for a long time a barrier for Bruno's work to improve. So, before he actually improved, he developed the capacity to make people believe he was improving. In fact, he got so good at it that he also begun believing in himself, which caused him to actually start improving. That, and really hard work - for I have never seen someone draw so much as Bruno have in the last couple of year - made him an artist to admire and to hope to work with in the future.

That's why we asked him to do this new comic book with us. Luck for us, he said yes. We're in this boat together, and the sea awaits. Let's hunt the white whale before Bruno starts telling us how he already caught it, because if he does, we might believe him.

I might even be true.

(and, as I realized I could spend days thinking of things to say about Bruno, I remember I haven't said a important thing: Bruno has a really cool just opened website called Yello Jello where you can find tons of his work and so you can see for yourself more than I could possibly say about him.)

How do you learn? And how do you know if you HAVE learned?

I spent the last month making a new comic book. I came up with the story with my brother and we called two friends to divide the artwork. In a three chapter tale of adventure, mystery and horror, one artist would draw each chapter, leaving the remaining artist the cover job to divide the chapters. We all agreed to give it our best and to do something we haven't done before. It remains to be seen if we succeeded.

After I was done with each page, I would look at it with my brother and we would decide which one was the best panel of that page. When the next page was finished, we would do that again, only to discover that every new page was better than the previous, something that one should expect of himself when producing his work but that I was pleasantly surprised for actually seeing it happening. I have never been so satisfied about my own work before, nor have I been so dazzled by the magic of being impressed by my own work, so I can't help but wonder: when did I get so much better? How could I have learned so much from one work to the next?

This I know: The best way to learn how to make comics is by making them. In doing so, you'll make the mistakes you need to make to get it right, you'll see how you deal with the reality of creating worlds, how you manage to remain the same during the entire story in order to give your story a consistent voice, your own. I can say that every story I've made was the result of all my effort, and that, if I improved over the years, it was because my world got bigger, my reach went further and I could try to always do more.

The new comic book is done. We did our part. We must now set our baby loose so he can fly.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Here it comes...

So, we have finished another story. It is all done. As we always do, we put all the pages spread over the table to have a big picture of the whole thing, to see it all working together, harmoniously as instruments in an orchestra.

When I was looking at our Philharmonic that I realised that we had finished another story, another project was accomplished. Then I wondered if I would feel this way every time I would finish a story in the future. If this is the profession I have chosen and yet I always feel this joy when a can get the work done. Will I one day face the whole thing just as plain work, another job done, or will I always feel this happy when I create another story, have another idea, have another child?

There's only one way to know. So lets procreate!

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Marcelo Campos (known in the american market as Marc Campos) is a great brazilian artist,with a very distinguish stile and outstanding notion of balance in black and white. Even-though nowadays he's not penciling anything anybody could see, his uncanny inking skills complete Ivan Reis's dynamic pencils at Action Comics every month.
Now he put up a website so more people can find out about his work. Go check it out! Now!

Thursday, June 17, 2004

One look.

Isn't she lovely? I sure could not take my eyes off her, even when somebody else was talking. What could they possibly say that would be more interesting than her, there, standing in front of me, smiling with her silent eyes?

I smiled back.

It was the least I could do.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

On a variety of subjects.

We got a very nice review of URSULA at the VARIETY's Bags and Boards. It may tell a little bit about the story, and it shows one of the best pages, but I found particularly gratifying to be given an A+. It's always nice to hear (or read, for that matter) good things about your work, but it can get a little awkward when there's so much of it. I don't know if I put on my proud face or if I just run and hide on a cave. Artists can get really shy sometimes, you know?

Monday, June 14, 2004


He is just great. Every page is a explosion of action, every face is an emotion, every gesture tells the story. He is the artist we follow in whichever book he works on, and we love and hate him at the same time. We love him because he brings to life, like nobody else, the characters we love so much. We hate him because, after we see his work, how can we thing our own work is any good?

Can that great artist make us give up on becoming comic book artists ourselves?

Not if we're smart. The first thing we need to learn is a good example to follow. A bad example will do - and you see more aspiring artists from this category than you'd want to -, but a good example will make more than impress your eyes with nice pictures: it will impress your mind with new ideas. The good art is the one that makes us think, remember and makes such an impression on you that you will be forever changed.

If there's one thing I learned from having worked with my brother, it's that competition is good. Even if your competitor is miles ahead of you, it gives you a point of reference with your own work, and it makes you always remember that your work can be different, and that it can be better. I might not have started to draw if it weren't for my brother, and I might have stopped a long time ago if we weren't always competing to see who was the best. The best at what, you might ask? The best at being ourselves, for competitions are not about being equal, it's about being different. The work is the only one which wins.

Working with comic books makes me very critical of the medium, but I still fall flat on my face with a lot of artists, for they are just that good, and getting better. We should all be so lucky to have such incredible people making your profession look good. Strive for greatness, in your own time. Don't ever forget that the artists we admire, who still amaze us with every page they do, who better themselves work after work, they just remind us that comics are just great and infinite in it's array of possibilities. The poetry of a good comic book you will carry forever, even if it wasn't one of your making, and sometimes even if it was one of our own.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Set your dream to ring. a true story

In my dream, I had just arrived in San Diego with the rest of the gang from this foreign shores. We were excited, it was a beautiful day and we were unpacking in our room, discussing what were we to do in that day, one prior to the opening of the convention. And then I remembered.

We didn't pre-registered to the convention. All those months ago, when we bought the plane tickets and arranged everything else, we forgot about the pre-registration for our professional badge. Probably, I kept thinking, because it was free and we were only focusing on money issues.

Now that the convention was just before us, we would have to go there and pay for our badge, get in that giant line and wait with that "I'm stupid" sign hanging in our forehead, just because we forgot to send a fax a month and a half ago. As all that just happened in my head and I said nothing to my friends, we all left the hostel filled with pure happiness, laughing and jumping, only worried about enjoying the day. The time had passed, I gathered, I was of no use to make them worry about nothing like me. In my dream, it was all my fault, but I didn't took it too seriously on myself, for I already knew as we kept walking on fifth avenue that I was dreaming.

And then I woke up.

I woke up and I started laughing. I still had time to get my free professional badge. I went and told my dream to my brother and he started laughing too. But the finishing touch came when we went to the convention site to get our forms:

It was THE LAST DAY. If I hadn't had that dream, it would have become my reality.

Now, we're set to go. The only thing that keeps worrying me is this other dreams I'm having, about talking monkeys driving cars. It sure makes me look twice before crossing the streets.

Monday, June 07, 2004

The artist.

This is an excerpt (via Newsarama) of the upcoming Dark Horse book, EISNER/MILLER, coming out in July.

MILLER: What are some of the things you love most about cartooning?

EISNER: To me, inking is sexy.

MILLER: Inking is very sexy!

EISNER: It's like downhill skiing.

MILLER: Especially brush.

EISNER: I've always used a brush.

MILLER: The brush is the most erotic tool you could work with.

Inking was, for some time, a lost art. First, the disposable pens came and replaced technical pens (those nightmares to get a grip of), who also came to try and replace the brush and the quill. After that battle, came the computer and the digital inking (which still is basically leveling the pencil to black and filling the black areas), which seemed practical in terms of time but lost a lot in which inking is most important: clear storytelling. More than applying black, it's finishing the look of the page for the images to be "read". If you think of everything the page needs and put it on the page while you're doing you pencil, your pencilled paged may already be "inked", but that is rarely the case.

Inking with a brush IS very sexy, indeed. It's not the easiest inking method to learn, but it gives a "hand made" look to the page that has no equal. Somebody was there, on that page, and left his mark.

We are storytellers when the draw the page. We are professionals when we deliver it in time.

And we feel like artists when we're inking with brush.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Doing a comic book the brazilian way

PART FOUR: The late meeting.

I've been doing comics for some time now. all theses years, I've worked with my twin brother, so we pretty much understand each other without having to say much about what we want. We just exchange looks and already know what needs to be changed, what's great and that little panel he just did that will blow everybody's mind off. Working with my brother is the best work relation I could have, but now, for the first time, we're facing this different scenario to our stories: the guest artist.

Yesterday, after eight at night, when he could leave his art director job and come to join us, our artist friend came to our studio to show how his pages were going. The script we gave him was pretty visual, being a practical explanation from one artist to the other, and it left no doubt on what was happening on the story and what we wanted to show. However, when he showed his rough thumbnails - and his were giant thumbnails, almost the actual size of the magazine - we were amazed on how different and fresh his take was on what we gave him. It was the first time I wrote something, imagining how it would look like, and it looked completely different.

And it looked great.

When you write the script, have in mind that the artist is no idiot. He wants to make the story looks good. Your script must tell the artist everything that you need for the story to work, but must not impose on him how you want the pages to be drawn. I haven't realized the difference on that before, but now I'm getting closer.

My brother and I work by ourselves mainly to guarantee the quality of our comics, something that we feared would not be as safe with a guest artist. But all that's too safe has no surprises, and the surprises we face along the way are the ones that make life worth living.

Life is good when you're doing comics.