Thursday, May 29, 2014

2001/2002: I was offered the chance to tryout for my first paying comic.

Last post I talked about trying to learn 3d animation for a job someone was dangling in front of me. Well the job never materialized and after over a year I realized that it was never going to happen. I think 9/11 may have had something to do with it, who knows?

In the fall of 2001 after the 'job offer' seemed to vanish I spent a lot of time posting art in online forums for comic creators. Through this I was approached about drawing an ongoing comic for a very small company called Destiny Valley.

I was only offered $20 a page, but I didn't care. I was excited to be offered the chance to work on any comic, much less making a few bucks. I've never worried about the money, I figured if I did good work everything would work itself out.

To get the job I had to draw 3 pages of a tryout of a character called Devine Wraith.

2001: The year I didn't go to the SanDiego Comicon, but my artwork did.

The last entry I talked about going to SDCC and how when I got back I was approached by someone about a job doing 3d animation and how I spent the next year or so learning 3d animation to try and get  job that never happened.

However when the summer of 2001 rolled around I started thinking about the convention and not going. At this point I still was pretty lukewarm about drawing comics and so I decided to skip '01. However online I met a writer, Marc Bryant, who was putting together a book of 2 page stories he was going to give out at the convention to showcase his writing and some of his concepts.

When he invited me to be part of this I jumped on it and I drew "Seventh Son" a story about a guy who sees demons.

I think Marc came back with some sort of gig, but I never heard a peep about this and so I kept working on 3d animation.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2000 My First San Diego Comic-Con

In 2000 my wife and I decided to attend the San Diego Comic-con with my buddy Dave and his wife. I had been fair response to my mail-in samples, but they were brief. We had always wanted to attend the big con and so I drew these pages.

First I showed them to Mark Chiarello of DC comics. He had a notebook with examples that he used to illustrate his advice. For example, one thing he told me was my backgrounds looked faked and he showed some examples of cityscapes done right from his notebook. He told me I had lots of work ahead of me, but I had potential.

Then I signed up for a portfolio review from Marvel and Chris Claremont and Len Wein looked at my pages. They were encouraging, but like Mark they told me I had a lot of work ahead of me.

After the con I was approached by a former coworker who was working for a place that did 3d animation. He tried to get me a job there so I spent over a year learning 3d animation and trying to get a job with his company. While I kept drawing comic samples periodically, it was a distraction that never paid off

Which is too bad because things were starting to get good. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The '90s: Iron Man Sample

 This is the last of what I consider my early attempts at drawing comics. I know I mailed off more samples then this and I also filled several sketchbooks, but this good sampling of where my skills were in the early days. Most of that stuff has been trashed long ago and rightly so. Despite the poor quality of the art, it was the best I could do at the time and since this is a history of my journey, I think it's important to show where I started.
I tended to lump all this early stuff together and so the actual order might be a little different
I don't know where I came up with this plot, but I thought it was kinda funny to imagine Tony Stark sitting around watching TV and seeing Namor tearing up Manhattan. I remember I mailed this off and I got good response. Back in those days I'd send off about 50 packets and I'd get back about 10-15 response letters. It was expensive to send out samples, but I think you got a lot better response when you mailed in art.
Also, there was something exciting about coming home to find a response letter or two in your mailbox. I never got hired from any of that, but the responses I got were encouraging. Maybe they were just being nice, but it was enough to keep me working.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The 90's I joined an APA and drew FIGHT!!

Sometime around now I joined an APA. In the days before internet forums, an APA was a way to share your art with a small group of people. You would create your pages and mail them to a 'moderator'. They would collect all these and create spiral bound copies for all the members and mail them out. You paid a fee to cover costs and were expected to comment on other members contributions in the last issue.

The APA I joined was in a state of disarray and eventually folded. I sent in all the previous pages, plus this. This was the last thing I sent to the APA and I don't thing it ever got sent out. It was a neat thing to be a member of, but it only lasted about 6 months after I joined before it folded.

I have no idea where the idea for this came from, I know for a fact I hadn't read or seen Fight Club when I created this, but who knows.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The '90s: My Fantastic Four Samples

Encouraged (maybe too much) by the response to my Wonder Woman sample I decided to drew more samples. Next I drew a Fantastic Four Sample. Only two things stick out about this sample in my mind. I had never draw something smashing thru glass, but I had read where John Byrne said when you drew something breaking glass you drew three times the glass then whould actually be in the window. Or something like that.
The other thing was I was trying to figure out how to draw stuff and so I drew Johnny Storm in a way that was very inspired by the prince from Alladin.
I still got lots of response from these pages, but the one I remember was one of the Marvel Editors told me my figures looked too 'cartoony' and Marvel didn't publish cartoony art! I've heard other artists say they got similar feedback.  

The '90s: So I decided I wanted to try my hand at drawing comics...

Sometime in the late '90s I decided it would be cool to try and draw comics. I had read comics as a kid, but stopped reading them around the time I turned 16. When I was in art school one of the instructors was also a comic artist named Mike Kennedy. Being around him got me interested in reading comics, but it would be several years after I graduated before I would try my hand at drawing comics.
This is my first attempt at drawing real sequential pages. Based off a story from when John Byrne was creating Wonder Woman, I gave my wife the comic and asked her to write a sample script for me to drawn.
I made a huge list of all the editors I could find in the books in my local comic shop and mailed off copied. I used to mail out 50 - 60 packets with every sample. I still have fond memories of the process of putting together all those packets. I must be crazy, but honestly the sense that any one of those packets could be your breakthrough was pretty exhilarating. Sending off emails isn't really the same.
Amazingly, I actually got lots of feedback to these pages. Nobody hired me, but it was surprisingly encouraging, especially considering how terrible these pages are.  


Saturday, May 17, 2014

I was cleaning out my files and I found a bunch of old art.

I like to look at my old artwork. Often it's embarrassing at how terrible it is, but I always enjoyed the process of creating comics, even for terrible samples. I think it inspiring to see how far I've come. I look back on all these pages and the events that lead to me creating them and showing them to editors.

From pages I mailed in, to standing in line at some of the biggests cons, to even being invited to spend an afternoon at Marvel Comics these pages have taken me on a crazy adventure and I'm hoping to share it with you on this blog.