Archive for the ‘Jack O’ Category

Storytelling Thumbnails and creative process flexibility

June 14, 2017

As in other occupations, creative arts professionals or hobbyists benefit from developing systems in order to formalize the creative process, generate ideas, and simplify production. However, it’s a mistake to think that steps in a process are one- size- fits- all; that a creative process is a static rather than the dynamic list of action steps. 

In general, there are phases of design that will be taken; research, brainstorm, sketch, edit, refine yes are the basics I learned in school. I would say that these work fantastically overall. But we can get stuck when we overly formalize what research means, or what thumbnails are, for example.

I remember the revelation that was part irritation when I considered that at certain times, I would need to change my preferences in Adobe Illustrator, sometimes from stroke for stroke. The temptation to overly mechanize our process  can make creative types become lazy. Perhaps one step two add at the very beginning of the process of is to evaluate whether the process you intend to use is a good fit for the project you are beginning.

 In the thumbnails below, I chose to thumbnail one page of the comic in the middle of a half sheet of paper. This left room around the sketch to write notes and make comments. Having one set of panels on the page surrounded by a lot of white space helps me focus on that page and think very freely. I know sometimes having multiple smaller thumbnails on a single page is helpful to see the flow of pages and panels, but doing them this way shifted my thinking. I don’t know if it’s better or not, but I felt very free in thinking about the story; designing the shots, dialogue, and storytelling simultaneously.


New Jack O page

June 5, 2017

I’ve been retooling Jack’s design to make it easier to draw. This is just a fan page I came up with to play around with a new design in an action scene. I also have tried to develop a uniform style for towns people. Try to keep mostly rounded shapes and using dots for eyes to simplify them. The idea is that by focusing less on details, I can capture more story and action. We’ll see.

Jack-O 5-Pager

January 18, 2017

I finished inking this five page story that I penciled during a road trip last year. There is a lot that I would fix in order to make some of the panels more  clear but for now I’ll call it done. 

It was fun to plot out the story page by page, panel by panel. I liked starting with characters not central to the story. It gave a grounding in human relationship that helped anchor the events of the rest of the story. 

Jack-O Christmas Special

December 10, 2016

All digital Illustration process: Jack-O

July 16, 2016

I appreciate the precision and clean line work that can be achieved using Illustrator’s pen tool and pathfinder palette. I also enjoy the more freeform options available with the pencil tool.

This illustration used a bit of both approaches and has a clean but organic feel which I like. I also like the color holds (changing the line work to something other than black, depending on the object’s fill color) as a way of softening the edges.

In my view the main drawback of the “all digital” method here is that I am removed from direct contact with the image. There is some nuance lost in translation from hand to tablet to screen. Additionally, The line overlap method which enables  clean line work and “joints” generates some extra work, especially if the places where the lines cross create multiple tiny shapes once the strokes are outlined and divided using the Pathfinder palette.

The upsides, however, are significant: no scanning, no erasing, flexibility, command-Z, speedy color flat stage with CS4’s Live Paint, resizing, perspective shifts, repurposing (I brought in the logo and “mode” symbols from a previous session), etc.

Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.37.18 AM


On the road with Jack

December 4, 2015

While driving ( technically, “passenger ing”) through the Pacific Northwest I free drew these Jack-O pages, building the story as I went. I guess I will have to find time to clean these up and ink them.

Intergalactic Menace

July 18, 2015

Taking my cue from these character designs, I drew a Jack O cover using micron pens, ink-filled Niji brush pen, a black Flair fine tipped pen, and 10% gray Prismacolor pen.

One tip: I used a piece of tracing paper to preview the shadows on Jack before I committed to the actual page.

Jack muses whilst pummeling RSR

March 8, 2015

In joyed the juxtaposition of words and image. I drew this panel by panel and left the speech bubbles blank until I had finished the first three panel layouts. Wracking my brain for dialogue I realized I wanted the text to speak to J’s personality rather than snappy repartee. Jack really sees himself as the protector of the city and a student of human and teleological experience. there is nothing ironic about his permanent smile.

Jack-O Short: rough stage

March 1, 2015

I started doodling a story using a Le Pen .8 technical drawing pen, a Uni Super ink and a 30% ink wash in a Pentel Aquabrush.

Retro Jack-O Postcard

February 8, 2015

I couldn’t resist taking the inked composition into Photoshop for some coloring and effects.

My coloring process for this was:

  1. Flats
  2. Highlights (This was so ink-heavy I opted not to do shadows)
  3. Halftone effects
  4. Vintage-y scratches, frame, “yellowing”

I just happened to pick up a Jim Steranko collection of “Nick Fury, Agent of Shield” which probably influenced my color palette.