Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Progress, 2

Again, thumbs-to-pencils-to-inks of the last page from the same short story.

Spotted the Mexican 'tache in the sketch? Thats how I fight artist's block.


Progress, 1

OK, let's start. Here's the progress, from thumbnail rough to pencils to final inks, of the first page from a short Punisher sample story I put together recently for a portfolio review session with an US publisher.

Yeah, the layout actually changed somewhere between the sketch and pencils phases. I go back and forth a lot in what I do, and try not to feel too "committed" to what I previously decided. Storytelling comes first, plus the great Mike McMahon once told me it's vital to try and introduce smthing creative in each step, from rough to finished page. And thats pretty much one of the best advices I ever got.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Old trends, new roads...

I have been ignoring this blog for quite a while simply coz I had no idea of what to do with it.

Most of the would-be cartoonists out there use blogs as the obvious way of getting their stuff out there. I wanted to do smthing different with mine. I really did.

A HUGE fan of pulp adventure and generally vintage visual formats, I originally intended to use this blog (as its name and main tagline suggest) as an homage to the old Sunday comics that published stories in one-page weekly installments in the major newspaper. I love What Eisner did with those, and I thought the challenge of structuring the stories in single-page units would really unleash creative storytelling solutions.

Truth is, it soon became apparent that a complete penciled, inked, digitally colored and lettered page every Sunday is possible, in my opinion, if youre doing nothing else. And since to me breaking in the industry is a top priority, I couldnt hope to achieve any form of recognition or "buzz" based on that one sporadic output alone.

It was simply a matter of "I need to do more than that": I want to put pitches together, prepare sample pages for any company that may have portfolio reviews in any given convention (yeah, my ultimate goal are STILL superheroes in the end) and, most of all, vary my production as much as possible. If all the time I have is dedicated to do that one page a week, in a very specific aesthetic and style I may add, my chances of getting a job would get slimmer, and thats simply the LAST thing I want now.

Don't get me wrong, I did something. I have gotten to the 3rd or 4th installment of at least 3 pending serials, but I simply didn't want to promise a "weekly comic" and deliver a "whenever I can" one instead.

Why just throwing it on the side, then, instead of putting here whatever I have so far? I felt like it was not ready. It was probably not the time. I have done a LOT of other stuff in the meanwhile until recently I felt more and more compelled to come back to it, but in a different way.

Spector Sundays was developed for this pulp character I created, The Phantom of Spector Road, to tell his story. The first supposed weekly strip was his, then it grew too big and I felt it deserved a proper format to be told, without self-imposed storytelling devices limiting the STORY. So I decided to "promote" it to proper graphic novel and move the experiment to another creation of mine, a purposely simplistic premise that wouldn't be hurt from the weekly strip format and promised to deliver solid fun without taking itself too seriously. A vampire story, go figure. A Hammer Horror-inspired vampire story. Then I temporarily put it aside to do some mainstream sample pages for some big companies out there. Then I fell in love with italian sleazy giallos and fumettis for the '70s. Somehow I thought Spector was really fitting in all of this and I came back to it with a new story. Then I wanted to try weekly 3-panels strips, to make up for the weekly pages fiasco, and I wanted Spector in them too.

See where I am going? Spector started to become more of a symbol, an archetype I can pull out of my hat when I need that kind of character in those kind of stories I like to conjure. He's just a guy with a skull mask and a knife, the rest is up to the plot I want to tell: he could be a pulp adventurer who gains superpowers from this mystical mask, or an eccentric serial killer/jewel thief, or the host for other stories.

So, that's the new Spector Sundays for you (and me): a container. Today we could have one of those weekly comics, tomorrow some ink practice, another day a comic page from a pitch I'm putting together. It's all down the road, really. And Spector is your pilot.

Have a bloody good trip.