Wednesday, November 30, 2005

From sad to happy in one day.

I guess this one looks kind of sad, but sometimes you're not always feeling your best, are you? Yesterday was a sad day, for me, so I liked this one for that.

I saw the Image version of ROCK'n'ROLL today. Had to approve the printing for the final binding thing to happen.

It looked beautiful.

It arrived early this morning from Canada, so it was just a great way to begin my day. I actually woke my brother up and showed him the comic book. If he was having any second thoughts about getting up early, they were instantly gone at that time.


Now I have to go back to my sketch book, and Ba has to get back to Casanova.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Look around.

I really like to create the background for my stories. It's fun to build the world, imagine the houses, the streets, the cars and everything else I might want to ad to it. I don't need to draw every little detail of it on every single panel, but I know it's there and I can choose what to show and what to hide.

As much as I can, I like to plan ahead, and do all this creating before I actually have to start on the pages.

Some panels are all about the detail. All about the background. Others might be about one gesture, and no background is needed. Balancing this is what creates a good page, and a good story.

I want to create words when I tell stories. I want the background to be as much a character as the people living in this world. Every place has a history and the way we portray this world let the reader know where they're going.

A want to create characters people will like to meet in real life, and so I want to create places people will like to go and visit.

And then be back again.

Today I received word that ROCK'n'ROLL will be in stores on December 7th. Our wait is almost over and soon we'll see what the impact, if any, our little comic book will have. But that's now the talk for next week. This week, it's all about reading.

I have three scripts on my hand. One that I want to draw but I'm not sure if I can, and another that I know I'll draw and I'm excited about it. And then there's the third one, which I don't want to draw, but I'll wait until I finish it to decide (even if, in my mind, once you think you won't do it, you won't no matter what).

And I'm expecting another script this week for some work for hire experience.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Show your SFist.

Mimi, our beloved Ursula and Smoke and Guns editor, looking good.

The SFist finds out Smoke and Guns was written by a local, which means there's another batch of nice words on the net about the book, and about the art as well, even if I don't live, or never visited, San Francisco.

Out of character.

So, this is pretty much what it looks like when I'm creating a character. I make a bunch of drawings of him, and none look alike. This is the plague from the days when I did not know how to draw, this "unevenness" in my sketches. The problem of course is the fact I like it this way. It has this "drawn from life" quality, where you're always a hostage of your own state of mind and your emotions, hence never really knowing what will come out of your hands.

Or hand.

Left hand, to be exact.


Friday, November 25, 2005

happy little fellow.

Here I am, stretching my artistic skills for the lovely undead. I have a friend who love zombies, and I immediately thought of him when I did this.

. . .

Ba is working on Casanova today. It looks good, but so far I'm the only one who can see it. I hear my villainous laugh echo on the distance as the puny little humans desire something only I can achieve.

And then I fall from my pedestal and go back to work.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The real Kelsie.

This is Kelsie, the lovely character of ROCK'n'ROLL, the one-shot coming out this month by Image Comics.

I created Kelsie in 1997. She was an homage to a Kelsie I knew that year who was the kid sister of a friend of mine, about 10 years old at the time. She lived in a very small town in Minnesota called La Crescent, just across the river from La Crosse (which was the nearest town with an airport). I actually created another character inspired by my friend, Annie, but in the story I told Kelsie and Annie weren't sisters at all.

As time went, we kind of lost touch, and the last I heard Annie (who was the Apple queen that year) went to college. She probably graduated already.

Now, my comic book is coming out in the United States and I remember I never told then they became characters of my stories.

Maybe I should track them down and let then know the good news.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Looking ahead.

So, the script I was writing began with a church bell. That's a very graphic way to start a story, if you ask me. I had the entire first page in my mind and I only had the sound of the bells written down.

Then, I wrote a page of dialogue and decided that was not the story I wanted to tell. The dialogue was not bad, neither was the beginning with the church, but that's the beginning of a story which I don't want to finish right now.


I think I might rush it. I want to do a story in a certain amount of time, and for that purpose I need the script as soon as possible, and for that I either have a great idea that's pretty much complete, or I will just ruin good beginnings with crap endings just to have a story.

"That story will have to wait." I concluded.

Then, later that night, I had another idea. It had a beginning, a middle and an end. It was visual, it had a lot of room for dialogue, and it dealt with a subject I wanted to address on the story: the future.

And the future became the present became now.

It looks promising.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Today's dream.

I had another dream with Diana Schutz. Again, we were talking about the new Dark Horse book, and this time around we were talking about the cover I just did for it.

As most of my dreams about serious conversations regarding professional matters, it took place in a bar. We were all drinking heavily, and there was smoke on the air.

We were both very pleased with the cover, so I woke up with a smile on my face.

I was late for work, of course.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Red light means STOP.

Today, I'm writing a script. I should have finished it some months ago, but other things kept calling my attention and, when you see, all this time have passed and you've done nothing.

Well, you did a lot of things, actually, but not the script. And if there's no script, there's no story.

I keep telling myself that, after I finish the last touches on the projects I already finished (which still require so much attention after I'm done drawing it), I'll focus only on the writing.

Yeah, right.

The ideas keep coming, but I just don't seem to have the free time to sit for hours until I can organize and write everything down.

Maybe I should do it now, I often think, but then I remember I'm already skipping some work I should be doing (drawing) to write something here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pulsing in our veins.

Jennifer Contino loves rock 'n' roll, but then, who doesn't? It's such an international language of music, one that attracts the young and the bold. Just like comics, right?

Anyway, she did an inverview with me at the Pulse, to know more about our ROCK'n"ROLL one-shot being published by Image Comics this month. If you're not sure yet if you want this comic book, check out the new preview pages at the interview and get excited.

Get very excited.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Self portrait.

I guess I can blame art school for that. All through history, artists have made portraits of themselves.

Then there's this very strong autobiographical tradition in brazilian comics, one that certainly influenced me while I was growing up. The fact that, at a very early age, the first characters my brother and I created were various versions of ourselves is a proof of that.

How much of yourself do you discover when you do a self portrait? What is the image you have of yourself? How much of it represents the image and how much, the personality?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Girls in comics are sexy.

Hey, do you want to know more about woman in comics? Diana Schutz talks about her new anthology, Sexy Chix. You can check out some artwork from the female authors, and try to learn something about this very strange job of bringing the girls to the world of comics.

When I was doing my fanzines in college, I had a lot of girls reading it, because art school is full of girls. But the girls were also the ones who gave more feed back regarding the work, what they had liked and what didn't work for them. Maybe that made my work go to a more girly direction.

That, and the fact that I tell love stories.

Progressions on Fell.

For those interested in the process of making comics, Ben Templesmith shows how he approaches the covers and the pages of Fell, his new comic book with Warren Ellis. And, as he is behind all the art, from pencil to color, it's a good example of how an artist leaves a lot of stuff out of the initial penciling to keep the work from getting too repetitive, and how it changes from one step to the next.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sketching and warming up.

Sometimes, I miss the exchange of e-mails from Larry Young while I was doing Smoke and Guns. The fact that I did two thirds of the book in one month resulted in one very intense month, with two pages a day, e-mails late at night and some "behind the scenes" pencils I'd send him every now and then because I just had to share the progress of the book. I was so excited.

Compared to that month, I'm now sailing on very calm seas.

And today I missed the storm.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sharp eye.

Augie De Blieck is checking what's coming out in January 2006 acording to the latest edition of PREVIEWS. And he caught something there.

I'm wondering how long it will take for others to do the same.

And then they'll start asking questions.

One week away.

Next week, our brazilian independent comic book will see a bigger release as it will be published by Image Comics. So here I am talking about it some more.

Artwork by Gabriel Ba. Click on the image for a bigger version.

Our brazilian version of the comic book was self published. We did a print run of a thousand. The fact that we sold out of it's initial print run in Brazil had already left all the creators involved happy, even if we were sad we didn't have the comic book in our hands anymore, but we know the size of our market and how our readers behave regarding independent publications, so we knew that it wouldn't be worth it for us to do a second printing of the book.

Out of that initial run, we brought a hundred comics in our trip to San Diego in 2004 to use as a "exotic" comic we made, and to use as a "portfolio". I can't tell you how much more impact our portfolio caused on every editor that looked at it. Much more than any other time we showed them our work. I believe that when you present a complete comic book, you can really see if your work can tell the story or not. It's there, ready, and there's no excuses.

Like all comics should be.

Artwork by Fabio Moon. Click on the image for a bigger version.

Take a look at these preview pages from ROCK'n'ROLL and see if you like it. And make sure to check your local comic book store next week when the comic hits the streets. If you're feeling bold, you can even leave some comments. I won't bite, you know?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Does your face shows your heart?

The cover for the new book is moving forward. I sent Diana eleven sketches and she really liked one. It's the first time I had to send the cover ideas for approval, and I was wondering what would happen if none of my ideas were accepted. Maybe they would do a cover using images from the interior art. Maybe they would do a "designer's cover" with clever lettering and no art. And maybe they would just tell me to keep thinking.

But I really like the cover idea Diana chose. Now it's the same old thing all over again: making sure your finalized piece retains the energy it has when it was a doodle the size of your thumb.

The two cover ideas I'm showing she did not like. Or just felt were not the strongest ones. Either way, the were rejected for this particular book, which is not to say they would have been bad covers. Maybe someday I'll use them for a completely different book, or maybe for a monthly series, as they seem to carry the same idea and would work well month after month.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thinking about my time at the saloon.

This year, I worked on Smoke and Guns and on a short story for the western anthology Gunned Down. I saw both printed at the same week, when I was in San Diego, and both turned out to be beautiful books.

My brother also worked on Gunned Down in a story 41 pages long.

Also, the western anthology has stories by Kako and Bruno D'Angelo, our partners in crime on ROCK'n'ROLL.

It's funny how we first did ROCK'n'ROLL as an independent comic book in Brazil, and it was picked up by Image Comics and is now being published in the US in two weeks. Gunned Down, on the other hand, was first published in the US, even with an all brazilian cast of artists, and just last month was published in Brazil.

Sometimes, things go wrong.

Don't expect the ride to be perfect. You'll find a lot of bumps on the road, and you will fail more than once. Sometimes, it will be your fault. Sometimes, it won't. We always learn when we make mistakes, and we're probably going to do a lot of them, 'cause there's always so much to learn.

When we were drawing Roland - days of wrath, we tried to get "real" publishers to publish it. For two years, we went to conventions and talked to editors but, as much as they liked the artwork, it was not what they were looking for at the time.

Luckily for us, when the time came for us to self-publish the mini series, we won the Xeric Foundation Grant, and that helped a lot, but I can see from our initial sales that it wouldn't be worth it for a big publisher to publish us at that time.

And, at that time, the american market didn't have all this small press publishers that started out after, or at the same time, we published our first issue.

Maybe things would have happened differently.

But we learned a lot from our mistakes.

Nowadays, I see comics very differently from the way I used to. I say at lectures and panels that at first I was a big fan of comics, so I was trying to tell the stories I liked to read as a fan, but not the stories I wanted to tell as an artist. I actually remember saying to people that I wanted to draw WildC.A.T.S., and that it was such a great comic book (I'm talking about the early Jim Lee issues). I also remembered admitting to a friend when I started liking Mark Silvestri more than Jim Lee, and how strange it was to start to change the way I saw comics (even if it was, at that time, such a small change).

The type of stories I like to tell have nothing to do with the comics I read as a fan. The style I now finally have, which took years to come to me, is very different from the style I wanted to have when I was a fan. I blame going to college for my personal style, as I learned so much art history that I just had to put something of it in my drawings, so my style had to have all this history in it, and that went on a very different path than the one with the super powers.

I love telling stories, even more than I like drawing. The art, for me, is just part of something bigger. It's not just a pretty image, it's a sequence of choices, of moments, that tell a story of memories.

Memories we are about to acquire and that may not leave our minds after we're done with them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Colorful world.

It's strange how, at first, we think color is very important for our comic book. Maybe it is, but I think it's very common to start thinking that good colors equal a lot of them.

All of them, if you can.

Then, you have your work with all those colors and you lose that impression you had when you did your black and white image, that notion of background, foreground, light and shadow, positive and negative. You had to make all this choices when you were making your black and white image, and then you made no choice at all while coloring it and just put all the colors you saw on your rainbow in every page.

What a mess.

Coloring, just like drawing, should primarily be about personal style, personal expression, and the choices you make so your work looks constantly yours.