Thursday, February 21, 2008

Music and Comics.

Gerard came to Brazil with My Chemical Romance as part of their tour. When he was in town, we hung out a whole day talking about music, comics and what the future awaits for us. And that's a bright future, I might say.

Our encounter did wonders for both of us and we learned a lot with one another. He took me to one of his shows and it was really thrilling when he dedicated Teenagers to me in front of five thousand people. They have all treated me really nice and I had to do something in return. And I did what I know best.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Talking about style back in the day.

I've done these series of drawings to use on a class about inking and style. They were all done based on a photograph, so none of them show what my style really is, but they show 4 different ways to draw the same scene.


Your style is the way you chose to show things or to say things. It's all you've chosen to put in and all you left out.


If you're looking at a photograph, you see all that's there to see, all that was captured by the lenses and when you want to draw that, you have to chose what is important for the drawing and what is useless information. All those things you find important, all the details that make it into the picture, they are defined by your style.


When you're not looking at a picture to draw something, you'll have to make all the decisions of what goes in and what stays out in your mind. For something like that to really work, you must know very well the subject you're gonna draw. And that's when live drawing comes very handy. The more live drawing sketches you make, the more studies you do, more "visual vocabulary" you get to enable you to draw anything you want in your own style.


There's no right or wrong, better or worse. I can't say a clean sharp style like Mignola's is better than a very scratchy dirty "detailed" art like McFarlane's, a cartoony style like Jeff Smith's or the very photo-realistic cinematic style of Bryan Hitch. You all know I'm teasing you and all I could say would be a matter of personal taste, but what really matters in the end is that all the choices you make work in favor of the story. Your art should help you tell the story and not distract the eyes of the reader.

There are endless bits of information in every single panel you make and it's up to you to chose what will help you tell your story and what's useless lines in a piece of paper.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wonder Twins, ACTIVATE!

Our story at the February edition of the My Space Dark Horse Presents anthology was conceived as an outlet to discover the fun behind the process of making comics.

As we were starting out and were trying to find some job at the american market, we have tried to get something going with Marvel and DC just like many other artists. We grew up reading super heroes and we thought the natural step as we became artists would be to draw them. In order to do that, we made what people call "submission pages", those sequences without a script or a story in which the artist would show what he can do with the characters he wants to draw. We made Batman pages, X-Men pages, Green Arrow pages, Authority pages, Planetary pages and so on. As much as we enjoyed those characters, the "working without a story" bit didn't quite work for us. We didn't feel like we were telling any story and the artwork was very uninspired because of that. We were discovering at the same time that we worked best with our own stories mostly because the story was the starting point, and not the art or the attempt at a job. If we wanted to do our best work, we needed to tell a story through pictures, and not just draw pretty pictures. That's where the idea behind Wonder Twins came from, and once we came up with a story interesting enough for us to tell using the super hero genre, it was easy. Bá sat and drew the story really fast, and we loved every page, and the story expanded from the original idea because we were having fun and we really believed that story also told the reader about the authors and not just about the characters, which I believe is what we get to know as the author's style. If we were to draw a story, we needed to make it our own, and have it be seen through our eyes, and through our style. Once we did this with this story, it was easy, and it was great.

And then Scott told us we needed an extra page.

Monday, February 11, 2008

He speaks!

As most of you may already have noticed, Fábio does most of the talking – writing – around here. Not that he's the bright one or he's the one who knows how to speak in english, but the fact is that he's been trying harder to enchant the american public with our ideas than I have.

I think I've been too busy drawing comics – monthly comics for that matter – that I didn't feel the need to write so often. Also, for being so busy drawing, I didn't have lots to say other than what I was putting on paper, which was, on most cases, a secret until it went to press. So as much as I wanted to talk about what I was working on, I felt I could not.

But now that last year is gone and most of The Umbrella Academy has been published already, I can talk a little about some of my ideas and my worries and what I care about when it comes to comicbooks.

I think it's fair to start with Umbrella, since it has called so much attention and it took so much of my time last year (and, yes, it will take some of my time this year also). I gave up super-hero comics for a while now because I thought it was all too worn off and it was just a part of the big machine of selling comics, toys, T-shirts and making movies and it was not about the stories anymore. So from the first script of Umbrella when the kids are fighting the Eiffel Tower and "flying towards camera" and stuff like that, I had cold feet and feared to have had made the wrong choice about taking on The Umbrella Academy. When I got to issue #3 I was very worried, because it's almost all action. The parts I enjoyed the most were when Vanya appeared, because they were the pages with more emotion and depth.

Umbrella Academy #1 page 1Umbrella Academy #1 page 16

But you know what? Since I was one of the skeptics of this series (maybe the most skeptical of all), I'm now also one of its biggest admirers, because I have to give it to Gerard that he told a great story, created some instant-liking characters and gave this worn-off genre a very fresh tale.

I'm kinda sad to confess this, but i've made the best pages of my life for The Umbrella Academy. It's just sad because I'm a storyteller and I like – and I WANT – to tell stories of my own and I wish I was drawing my own stories right now, or at least more of that and not only stories someone else has written, even if it's a good story. The fact that I liked the Umbrella story helped me a big deal when coming up with the pages, because as the story was taking shape in front of me, first on the layouts and then on the actual pages, I instantly knew I was doing something good, worth reading, something that was not like all other super-hero comics on the stands. And that's the main reason I want to work on new comics, just to make something different from everything else.

Umbrella Academy #1 page 21Umbrella Academy #2- page 15

But you know, we have lots of new stuff cooking and in 2008 I'll be able to fulfill my need to tell stories, as well as drawing and working with other authors. Too bad we can't talk about any of these things right now. But that's the fun of it, right?

flying aorund Umbrella #4 - 2Umbrella 5 - page 19

Changing the subject a little, or entirely, I'd like to say why I don't really write as much here as, let's say, on our blog in portuguese we keep for our readers in Brazil. Yes, as you may know, we are from Brazil and we've been making comics in Brazil a little longer than in the U.S. We have almost 10 books published and lots of independent work, some awards and some recognition, but the market in Brazil is much different from the american one, much smaller, so I feel the need to speak to the audience at large and tell them why comics are so great, why we must be taken seriously and what is possible with comicbooks. It's a never ending struggle to pass it along to the newcomers, readers and the majority who doesn't even read comics thinking it's silly things just for kids.

São Paulo

Four years ago, we have created this blog (in english) in order to do the same thing with our american readers (or anyone in the world who could read in english actually), because no one knew us then. But we have been working so much, specially on monthly series, that this audience can see our work on a regular basis and get acquaintanced with it a lot easier than our brazilian audience, who gets a new book year year or so. Books that are kinda hard to find, also, as in the U.S. the public already know where to get his favorite comic every month.

So I really whish i could have a mix of the two markets, produce as much as I do for the U.S., with big print runs, and still be able to write in portuguese, the most beautiful language in the world. Well, that's what I have to aim for and keep reaching, right?

All my friends say I work too much, I don't have time to go out. They ask me if I wanna change the world. Well, I do. And I believe it can be done with comicbooks and that's what I'm gonna keep doing: telling stories that can change the world of someone who's lucky enough to read it.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Travels and work.

We have been traveling, doing some research. We're also drawing and writing a lot. There are lots of possibilities for our next projects, and research is necessary for most of them. Some research can be done without leaving your chair, as all of us start writing from our own experiences, from what we know. Later, we might include opinions from people we know that might be similar to ours, or the complete opposite, or that should fall somewhere inbetween. Then, we might want to tell a story that needs more than just the familiar, the near by information, the visible at eye sight. That's when we need to go outside ourselves and discover more, learn more so we can tell more than we already told.

I'm still drawing Casanova, and I expect to keep working on it at leat until the end of March, so that should keep me busy for these two months, and somewhat away from the internet. I'll try to post more sketches, as I see Becky doing on her blog, and as we have done much more here in ours. We're doing more sketches now, as is customary when you're trying to come up with new stories, and we should have a lot to show because of that.

On my next post, I'll tell the story behind the story we did for the MySpace DHP February issue, online now.