For Christmas my son James decided to give us the awesome gift of a stomach virus. Much of our holiday was spent in the bathroom or resting at home. It definitely put a bump in our work schedule but I’m getting things back in order. Now that we’re all feeling better and I’m slowly making a dent in my workload, I’mfocusing on getting some owed artwork done, some comic work, and a few commissions.
Unfortunately my illness has made it impossible for me to get the artwork done for the “Holiday Special” but I will get it done and posted for you as soon as I can. I want to start posting it once I have all four pages done. This short story will finish up issue 2 and we’ll have it printed soon. I know that a lot of people have been waiting for it and I’m glad that we can give it to you in the near future. Melanie and I are working on the next chapter of the comic too. Hopefully this year will be really big for us!
Skin Crawling Comics
There is something invigorating about seeing your story drawn by an artist. I really can’t put words to describe it but it definitely makes me smile. Sherri has been doing an excellent job with the pages. Their facial expressions are exceptional and the way that she designed the characters is better than the ones in my head. As we progress with the artwork, I get more and more anxious to show it to you! I’ve seen some previews of artwork from other stories in the book and I can tell you that there’s some spooky fun in there.
Going to be at ATOMACON
I just added AtomaCon to my 2013 Events list. They have been kind enough to add me as a guest and I will be taking part in some panels. ATOMACON is a family-friendly, multi-genre, 3 day convention held in North Charleston, SC during November 8-10. This will be the first year for the event but the coordinators have helped out with other conventions in the area. Please check their website to find out more! I believe Melanie is thinking about coming too but needs to check her work schedule. I will let you know more details as we get closer to the event.
I have a few other things that I’m creating right now and I will post some of them as soon as I can. Take care of yourselves!
The past few weeks have been a blast. Despite being productive, I got to spend some time with my family and friends during Thanksgiving. Lots of fun and awesome food but the best part is that I didn’t have to cook! Scott did bake some pecan pies. He sure knows how to make a girl happy. This month should be excellent for family and friend gatherings but I’ll be working on my comics too.
NC Comicon This year was the first time that I have been to this convention so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It really exceeded my expectations! People were steady coming to the table and asking for sketches so I didn’t get too much time to walk around the convention floor. There were so many, many talented creators at the convention both comic and costumes. When Scott found a Shadowcat cosplayer he had to get a picture of me with her. She’s my all time favorite comic character and this lady did an excellent job! Scott dressed up in his Shadow costume on Sunday and had a blast taking part in the costume contest. Most of the time he was running around with some assassins from Assassin’s Creed. Thank you to everyone who came by the table and helped make this convention an awesome one! I met a lot of great comic lovers and some awesome creators. I’m afraid to start listing them because I will leave someone out. If you want to hear what I said about the convention, read my NC Comicon 2012 Indy Coverage at Crisp Comics. You can find more pictures from the event at the Undead Norm Facebook page.
Crisp Comics In related news, Melanie and I were interviewed by Jacques Nyemb of Crisp Comics. He picked our brains about Undead Norm and what to expect in the near future. You can here the article here: Interview – Chatting with Christine and Melanie
I will be contributing more articles to Crisp Comics soon. I plan on reviewing some webcomics and printed comics. My next planned article will be one about the Yama-Con convention up in Pigeon Forge, TN Dec 8-9. I’m not a guest nor an exhibitor at the convention but Scott and I will be going to have some fun. We look forward to enjoying what the anime and comic convention has to offer!
My work for the pitch for Disco Frankenstein has been finished and now all I have to do is cross my fingers and wait to see how it goes. It won’t be pitched until 2013 so it’s going to be a hard wait for me. The whole team has done an excellent job. Anthony Ball (Writer), Steven ‘Sash’ Scott (Artist), and Mindy Lopkin (Letterer) are a talented group and glad that they are letting me come along for the ride.
Skin Crawling Comics
I’m working on my third draft for my story. The first and second drafts brought with them some great feedback from Rachel Pandich and Gerald Rathkolb. It really made me think about how I did my writing process and helped me figure out how to flesh out the story more. Since I have my characters navigate a parking garage, I decided that it might be more helpful to draw it out so I could describe it better. Sometimes my mind gets a little muddled with details and having a visual really helped me out. This project has been really helpful with my development as a writer.
The “What Happened to Brody” storyline with Michael Link‘s guest art came to a close yesterday. I’m working on a holiday special for the comic and hopefully it will all be finished on time. The special will cover the rest of the updates for this month and complete issue 2 for us. January will bring the first anniversary of the webcomic so Melanie and I are planning to get some great stuff together for it. 2012 will end well and 2013 will start off with issue 3!
Why yes it is. It seems that I have been quite busy and have neglected you. I am sorry but glad to report that I have been busy creating. If you have been keeping up with me on Twitter or the Undead Norm website, then you know that I have been to a few conventions during this time as well. I have been having a blast meeting new people and seeing old friends at these events. I’ve learned something from each event and I always treasure sharing and chatting with everyone.
What else have I been doing? Mostly working on Undead Norm although we have had a guest artist for the past couple of weeks. Michael Link has been illustrating and lettering the current storyline, “What Happened to Brody?” and it has been a pleasure collaborating with him! I’m sure that a few of you might know that Michael and I are currently working on our own story together. He’s got some character designs done and we have pages full of notes about the series. I need to crack down and get some script planning done.
Throwing some colors on Disco Frankenstein has kept me quite tied up too. I’m not used to coloring comic pages of this detail and I have learned a lot during this project. I have a little bit more to finish then Anthony is going to be pitching it to some publishers. Hopefully all goes well. One way or another, this project will be published. The story is highly entertaining and the team has been putting out some high quality work.
Another project that I have squeezed into my busy schedule is a 10 paged story that is to be included in a horror anthology called “Skin Crawling Comics.” The artist for my story will be the talented Sherri Rose. I finished the first draft for it and the editors will be looking over it. I’m quite proud of it but also sad because I had to kill a few characters. Word of advice, don’t name every single character in a story if you plan on most of them dying. I want to thank Rachel Pandich for letting me be a part of this project.
This weekend Scott and I will be up at NC Comicon! If you are in the Durham Convention Center and see us! I will have some Undead Norm comics, some stickers, and some sketchcards. I will be taking commissions for sketchcards as well.
Been a while but things are going well. Those keeping up with Undead Norm know that everything has been going well for Melanie and me. HeroesCon was awesome. We got a lot of positive feedback on the comic and met alot of friendly and talented people.
It was intimidating hosting a table at a convention and this convention is pretty big. I went last year and really enjoyed it. We had a lot of people stop by the table and we got to meet a lot of comic book creators too. Unfortunately I didn’t get to talk to everyone that I wanted I didn’t want to leave the table too long being especially during our first convention. Thank you to everyone who visited us and thanks to the Heroes staff for making our first an awesome one! I need to get off of my butt and scan some of the awesome goodies that I got at the convention. Definitely hope to be there next year!
Melanie and I were lucky enough to be interviewed twice!
During HeroesCon we were interviewed by Jimmy Aquino of Comic News Insider! In Episode 412 he mentions that Undead Norm is one of his top 3 picks for HeroesCon and our interview is in Episode 413! Thank you to Comic News Insider and Jimmy for featuring us!
Peter Denike of Web Studio D during HeroesCon about how we make and came up with Undead Norm. Thank you Web Studio D and Peter for having us!
Zombie Party – Soundwave – Summerville, SC – July 14th – 6:00PM
6:00PM – Party starts.
7:30PM – Auction starts.
Undead Norm #1 and Walking Dead #100 will be there for purchase. Soundwave will be providing drinks and light refreshments. Come dressed up as a zombie to take part in the costume contest! You could win Walking Dead comics for a year from Soundwave and two passes to the Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event at Regal Theater in Summerville, Monday, July 23rd provided by Carolina Alliance of Star Trek Fans! There’s always a lot of fun at these events so you need to be there!
RoundCon Expo – Columbia, SC – August 3-5
Melanie and I are guests this year at RoundCon Expo! We will have a table and be taking part in some panels. I’ll post the schedule once I get it. There will be a lot of fun for gamers, comic, and anime lovers! We’re honored to be included in this event with so many talented people! Hope to see you there!
I’m pretty busy with the conventions and Undead Norm work but I have been coloring some pages for some clients. Not much to show off yet except this pin-up that I colored for Anthony Ball of his characters.
Although these two events are on Cinco de Mayo, they have nothing to do with Mexican heritage. I’m willing to wear a sombrero if it will help to get people to them! If you are in the Charleston, SC area on May 5, you should check out Free Comic Book Day at Soundwave and Ripper Book Signing at Barnes and Noble in Mt. Pleasant.
Free Comic Book Day Offical FCBD Comics List
Time: 10:00AM EST – ?
Every year comic fans of all ages flock to their local comic book store to get some free issues of some of their favorite titles and possibly some that they have never read. As always there are a lot of great books for you to get. Check out the above link for the comic list. Just note that not all stores order all of the comics and once they run out, they’re gone. Get there early to ensure that you get what you want. A lot of stores have great sales and other activities at their stores. Melanie and I will be at Soundwave as guests. There will be contests, free food, and more fun. I’ll let you know more as I find out more.
Not in the area or want to find a couple of stores so you can try to get all the comics? You can use the FCBD website to search for participating stores. They also have a page for Creator Signings so you can find out which store might have your favorite creator there!
Do you love the Victorian era and all the stories about Jack the Ripper? Then you should check out this book! The author will be at the Mt. Pleasant, SC Barnes and Noble for a book signing. I am very sad that I can’t go this one. I’m only two chapters into the book but I’m very curious about what Abbie will find. This is the first book in a series. Amy Carol Reeves is a very nice lady and happens to be married to my cousin so I’m slightly biased. I will give a review of the book once I finish it for those who want my opinion. If you can’t make it to the book signing, definitely seek it out at your local bookstore or order it from Amazon.
Part 4: Flat Colors
After I get the inks cleaned up then I can proceed with the colors. I use Photoshop and a lot of layers for colors. I put the lineart on top, set it to multiply and then create a layer for each color under it. This keeps the lineart visible and helps the colors bleed through the white. That might not make sense to those who don’t use digital imaging software but I’ll show you how it looks. I will try to do a more detailed description of how I do coloring in a future blog entry.
This is what we call flat colors. What that means is all of the colors without any shading. For me this is the most time consuming part. Since I have all the colors on different layers I can select each individual color and change it if I don’t feel like it looks well at the end. I usually end up playing with the colors during the whole process.
Part 5: Shading
For Undead Norm and Undead Nom, I use a very, very simple process for the shading. I don’t do this with my other comic work since I require more control over the colors. This way is quick and easy and helps with the look of the comic. I just create a lighting layer over the colors but under the lineart layer, color the lighting with white, blur it, and change the layer mode to Vivid Light. Sometimes I adjust the layer’s opacity to get it the right amount of light. For the shading it’s the same but I color it with black and keep the layer’s mode at Normal. For the most part I don’t blur the shading unless it’s a wide area like the last two panels.
Part 6: Lettering
When lettering I prefer to use Illustrator since the vectors make it easier to create the word bubbles but I did this page quickly in Photoshop. Just added some text and drew a bubble for the SLAM sound effect in panel 5. It was easy in Photoshop since there wasn’t any dialog. If there is dialog, I use Illustrator. There are a lot of really talented letters out there that can give you better advice than I can.
There’s the basic overview of how I created the page. If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me. In the future I may do some more detailed tutorials of how I create my comics. Hope that this was helpful and that you enjoyed it! Be sure to check out Undead Norm and Undead Nom!
Following Melanie’s example, I’m going to give you a step by step process of how I created the first page of Undead Nom. Just note, I’m self-taught and Melanie went to school for this. She knows all of the terms and tricks of the trade. I kind of just do what I think is correct. It’s not a really complex process but does have quite a bit to describe so I split this journal into two.
Part 1: Script
Here’s a look at my script for this page and my adjustments while thumbnailing it. Usually my scripts are more detailed than this but I kept it brief since I was going to be the person drawing it. As I was planning the page I noticed that it might be best to break up panel 3 into two pieces. Generally it’s best to keep panel numbers in the range of 4-7 unless you are doing splash pages or double page spreads.
You will also notice that there is no dialog on this page. I thought that it would be fun to do it kind of like a Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoon so the actions would speak for themselves. Being that there is no dialog, it is much easier to include this many panels. I did not include sound effects in this script but I decided to add a few later. That’s one of the benefits of doing the page all by yourself. Sometimes I find that the script needs more changes and that’s usually okay when it’s just me working on the project. Sometimes Melanie comes to me and discusses some changes in the script when we are doing the Undead Norm pages. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes she feels that it needs to be split into two separate pages. Usually this is caught in the thumbnailing stage.
Part 2: Penciling
First off, yes this is a horrible scan of it. The picture that I took wasn’t worse. Also, I wasn’t at home to scan this so I had to use a smaller scanner. For previous pages that I have done for Undead Norm’s Q&A I used smaller paper. This was done on 11×14 so I had to scan it in two pieces and chop it together. I adjusted the levels so I could darken the lines. I will do a nicer job on this after it’s inked. Another word of advice is to keep liquids and another dirty away from your artwork. You can see the water stain at the top left.
At this stage I try to put my ideas down on paper. Personally, I like to do some faint panel outlines then draw everything in them. Don’t be afraid to draw over the panel lines! You don’t have to ink everything that you draw but drawing over the lines helps you to see how the objects should look. Blue sketch pencils were used to make the lines. You may notice that in panels 5 and 6 that I added some sound effects. You don’t see many people add them in the pencils anymore due to this digital age since we have programs that make it easier and cleaner for us to do it. I added it so I could see where I would want them. Lettering is usually not done on the artwork at this stage. You should always make sure that there is enough room for it but it gets messy if you put it in the pencils.
Part 3: Inking
I usually ink with a mixture of Copic Markers and Micron pens. It just depends on my mood. No real reason for one or the other for me. I’m not great with the Copic Multiliners yet so I don’t use them much except for practice pieces. Here I inked the picture with Micron pens. Oh no! I inked some stray lines on there! Don’t panic. I just clean it up digitally so if I make a mistake I can erase it in Photoshop. Don’t use this as a crutch for doing messy lineart. It’s much easier on you if you do it right on paper but don’t throw the artwork out if you make a tiny mistake.
When I scan the artwork, I like to scan it 300 dpi and in color. Later I change the color mode to Grayscale. I feel like it makes the lineart look better but it might just be something in my head that tells me that. You can always play around with your scanner settings and see what looks best to you.
Here’s the lineart after I cleaned it up some. I just adjusted the levels, colored white over the stray lines, and drew some extra lines.
I almost hate to make a journal entry about it because it could jinx me! Historically I’m pretty good at being all about keeping a journal and then quitting it. I’m trying to keep it up!
I’ve been writing a lot of pages for Undead Norm and a few side projects. I’m taking part in Script Frenzy this year but sadly I haven’t completed any pages towards it yet. For Script Frenzy I am supposed to complete a 100 page script. It seems like a reasonable goal. I just need to buckle down and get it done! I’ve already made a little bit of progress on it.
This picture is based off of a drawing done by my friend Michael Link. His artwork is always very clean and I love his style. He always makes the characters believable and displays their attitude well. Once he posted this picture on deviantART I knew that I had to color it.
Melanie did an awesome job with this page! It was so much fun to color. My friend Kevin is the brown haired guy with his arm around the girl in yellow. Hunter is the blonde guy and he is tons of fun to write! He’s over the top and all around nuts. You will see that in the next few pages. The girl with the foam axe ended up being pretty vibrant. I just couldn’t help myself with the expression on her face!
Starting Thursday I will be doing my pages as Undead Nom pages! A lot of people seem to like my little drawings of Norm and Des and mentioned that they would love to see them in action. I will later in the week about what I put into producing the page. See you then!
Yeah… I said that I would post here regularly. Well, we see how well I have held up to that! Sorry about that. I guess it is true that I have been very busy. Launched Undead Norm with Melanie, got in a car accident, got a new (to me) car, practicing drawing and coloring, and got a lot of writing done. That’s pretty much a good summary.
The comic has been going pretty well. It seems that we have been getting some good feedback from everyone who has read it. We might be a little slow with getting the pages out but they are pretty awesome pages. I started drawing some pages for Thursday updates while Melanie helps to get ahead on the pages. We put a lot of work into each one and it has been taking longer than we expected to get them done.
This week we have the pleasure of having guest strips by my friend Michael Link! Some of you may have noticed that I’ve colored some of his work on my deviantart page. He is very talented and I think that we can expect great things from him.
Melanie and I will be in the Small Press section at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC during June 22-24. When we find out where our table is located, I’ll let you know. We will be at Soundwave Music & Movies for Free Comic Book Day in Summerville, SC on May 5 as well.
This project has had some delays but it will be released. More news as it comes available.
Other than that, i have been working on some color practice and writing some. I have a few drawings that I owe some people. I hope to be posted more often soon!
I’ve got some great news to share! Not only does January 2012 include the debut of Undead Norm but I will have some of my work published in Indie Attack!
This is the secret project that I have been hinting about for a while. It’s a preview of new talent in the comic industry and trust me there’s a lot of great talent in it! I will be the writer/colorist for a story called “Stone Whisperers” and the colorist for a story called “SkyRocket Simms” so it will be the first time that my work has been published! Phoenix Fire Entertainment will be publishing this book and they are offering one free copy per comic retailer and will gladly let them purchase more to sell to their customers. If you know a comic shop that you would love to buy it from, please tell your comic shop owner about it! I will be posting links to places where you can buy it so the comic shops will get free plugs from me! For more information check out the Indie Attack Preview!