Wednesday, October 22, 2014

MORE Oddly Shaped Nola Pages..



NOLA....!!!! Yeah, posted this one (above) before,

but the rest are mostly new.



So, here's a few more panels n' pages... i figured I'd toss onto the pile.



Once the book comes out, you'll have to tell me if it works or not, (because it may not).. but i've really tried to dig DEEP on this project.  Walking a line too. Different ground for me. Dana is easier, more like Annie in Ojo, or Amy in Zero-Girl, your usual insecure sam kieth nerdy-but-loveable-geeky type. Easy to root for.



But Nola's a porcupine. Trouble. Ferrel. Typical Bad-Girl stuff.

But also female frailties. Stuff i haven't seen much in comics lately. Like eating and weight issues. body hair. embracing uglification. None of us are totally flawless, are we?



But hopefully not on a preachy way either.  I just know a TONS of women in my life, who aren't airbrushed and look like, well... DUH.. real women.  Seems stupid not to reflect that in a comic book story.  Seems overdue.



Oh sure, she starts out as a cute little girl, look at her up there hugging her mom. That's kinda cute, right?



But beyond her psychical appearance, Nola soon enough discovers the same old pain everyone faces in life.



I wish i could save her from it, i really do. But hey, life does suck sometimes.  So does growing up.



Challenge for me on this project is, so much happens, (her entire life from cradle to grave) is covered.



So the goal for me, is to be fair to all the characters.



Yet not sugar coat them either. I keep catching myself rushing to conclusions. Not just sitting with their pain, because i get annoyed when writers fear conflict, jump to happy endings. I've done it too in my work, we all have.



But it always leaves the audience feeling cheated somehow. So that's the goal. avoiding that.



I'll try it with art sometimes too. Drawings can avoid and sugar coat, can't they?



Sure, Nola's bound to come off as a angry. Unrelenting. Hard to read or relate too sometimes. Sometimes my style matches that - is crude or rough or off putting, deliberately so.




Yet, sometime when we see things from Nola's view, her mother's to blame. That's why I decided to shift points of few ever few issues, to get inside her sister's Dana's head, Mothers, her boyfriend Spider's head too.


Step back and get a wider lens . . . . on everybody.

Now, here's your second does of Gone/Nola confabulation:



Where in, Gone is once again fallen pray to a mysterious voice in his head. Btw, if it makes you feel any better, Nola has no idea what she said to Gone either.  From her side, she experiences the same problem.

some stranger whispers into her ear some profound statement, which she wakes up unable to fathom later on. Though their cosmic doppelgangers in a way. . . .

Gone and Nola never ultimately meet, talk or communicate directly in their entire lifetimes.

Yet both profoundly influence the other regardless.


Kinda cool, huh?






A Series of Oddly Shaped Nola panels, ( well, mostly ) ...



All over this post are some panels from the upcoming Nola comic.



Before we get started, which Back Ground do you like better here:  A or B?


Okay. The whole series is about two sisters: Dana & Nola, and a dozen other Trout-a-verse characters, will be nick-named 'Venus-De- Mommy'... just as an umbrella term. Because both sisters have such ambivalence towards their mother.



Nola and Dana are pretty common names to Google.  This's always the trouble with bands who have ordinary names like Yes, The Police, or Postal Service. When you google them, odds are you'll have to hunt to find the band version of them, right?

Thus... Venus De-Mommy. A wonderfully totally stupid goofy-assed name.


This was born out of me divided myself into two sisters.



Outwardly, Nola seems more defiant and rebellious against her mother,

and Dana seems more regressive and accommodating to Mom.



But as the series unfold, they actually reveal very different underbellies from those facades. As a little girl, Nola was a child prodigy, and was assaulted by an over-active mind.



Her brain creates these imaginary mind-maps,  with key words bookmarking pivotal or dramatic events in her life.



I went a little crazy on this one... but Nola's mind goes a little nuts too.   Again were back to 'zero-girl-esk shapes' again, aren't we?

dunno what it is with me and those little suckers.



... it's weird how things are created. Nola is really a hinge or Gateway character to Mr. Gone. I edited Nola out of the Maxx series once i decided to cancel Maxx and start a new series of stories instead.

Nola and Gone are really the two 'failed magicians' in two different universes. Gone's in the Maxx-a-verse, or Nola, the Trout-a-verse.



Gone is a self-described as a 'failed Master of the Mystic arts', thus a Dr. Strange wannabe. He's almost a parody of Dr. Strange in a way.  A Satire of all those dark ominous characters. Mr. Spock, Marvel's The Vision,  Adam Warlock, all those dark brooding Jim Starlin-esk Characters from the 70s.

That's Mr. Gone.



Nola however, is like Gone's dark little sis.  Kinda like Neil's Morpheus is towards Death.  Sorta.  Only, as usual, my characters are all neurotic and messed up.

Nola doesn't know mystic arts, but instead she becomes to be a 'Slacker Sorceress'. Her story is less about etherial magic powers, and more about her screwed up personal life and dysfunctional relationship with her mom. Real life crap is the focus.



I tried to show this in 'Origin of Mr. Gone' Maxx issue, where we get a glimpse of his real life, to counter balance all the surreal stuff.



The few magical powers Nola *does* have, ( as her mother never fails to remind her) she blows off. . . or never cultivates . . and this just reflected in her coasting through everything else in life too.

Damages. Flawed. But there's something ELSE her causal tough girl act.

Totally aside from Nola, notice how i can't seem to make up my mind how to draw Dana? Would you believe the panel above is right next to a cartoony picture of Dana, she doesn't even look like the same girl, does she?



Had to make fun of it by adding the stupid little blurp next to both Dana heads.  Might be cool if it pisses someone off, " if he sometimes can draw normal, why does he gotta screw it up with those cartoony faces too????" lol

Sorry for the detour there.



Anyhooooo, you don't have to read Maxx in order to like, or understand, Nola, or visa versa.  They really have only a thin strand connecting them.   And that's only because they were connected in MY mind, many years ago.

Before I Cut The Cord and freed Nola into her own Non-Maxx like universe.

Here's one last clue. Way back in Maxx 26, Gone hears a mysterious voice trying to speak to him from another dimension:


You've probably read this before in Maxx.. but what i edited out was this secret:

It was Nola who spoke the mystery phrase that caused him to black out, several times too.

Sshhh. don't tell a soul.

it's even a secret to Artie.


Thanks,
Sam
-------




Ps: Still talking to Oni about how to release all these chapters of Nola.  Should be finished sometime late next year.  Should we release it as single issues?  Or maybe just one big-ass graphic novel? Thoughts? 




Pss: Apologies for the last three spam post in the comments, that stuff pops up from time to time.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

New Maxx 15 Cover...



So.. I started this one a few posts ago...

time to wrap it up.



Another covers due.



Time to finish this one up.



Trying not to overwork this one.



Radically different logo design for this one.



Julie looks like she's in a Ren Fest doesn't she?



getting there . . .



or maybe all going horribly wrong. . .



maybe add a bit more olive green to that moss,




Purple up this guy a little too. 



so.. that's how we got here.  

Sorta like a long lost Elfquest cover, isn't it?

You know what's weird, i just thought of this too..

there's no WAY the right side of the Maxx's body could be hidden behind such a skinny tree, is there? 



Above is the pic on my art table.

Below is the scanned version.  Notice how the pic version above has more saturated colors.

But there's a softer subtler quality to the scanned version below, isn't there?


Which do you like better?




Was thinking of my maybe doing a Art Book full of new/old Maxx Covers someday, (that is, once we get enough covers to justify a whole book.)  I was surprised how few cover's the Maxx appeared on the old comics. Maybe that's why i enjoy the new ones, gives me a chance to draw him and let him hog the whole cover.. plus paint with more confidence than i had before.

If i did do a book of Maxx covers... that would be the best time time to tweak all these covers colors' for the best possible resolution - really make sure all color are true to the originals.

Warts and all.

I'll try to post something non-Maxx next time. Sorry, i'm just up-to-my-ass in Maxx-crap right now, between the reprints and everything else...

Yes. I promise you there is life (and art) ...beyond Maxx. : )


As usual, your continued patience . . .  is always greedily appreciated.

Sam

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sandman Bookplates, a few Maxx Covers....


This little package came on Friday...



Bookplates for the Comic Art Museum's Sandman book. Mike Drigenberg did a fantastic job penciled it. and tried not to goof it up too much when i Inked it. - Mike suggested it would be cool to do the reverse of how we worked together on Sandman.



Just wanna assure anybody who ordered it this limited edition Sandman art book, that - yeah, it *does* exists . . .



. . and it *is* going to be mailed to you - soon as Mike and i finish signing these suckers.  I'll leave a space for Mike to sign on the left.. since he's penciled version got the ball rolling.


***


Same goes for those 25 drawings for the Limited Maxx collection. Those are FINALLY done too!!! - they went out to IDW last week.



 Will try to throw a few extra pics of those too in my  next post.

But enough of that sketch stuff....


* * *


Now back to starting various Maxx covers..



... in various states of decomposition. 



I tend to work on batches of Maxx covers at the same time . . 

.. . . sorta like multiple downloads.. traveling at different speeds . . . 



This one's changed since i took this photo yesterday. It looks pretty gruesome here while it's wet, and the bronze paint is better blended now. Kinda fights the purple here.  Hopefully I can pull it all together. 



Okay, let's jump over to this one now. I'm trying to stay lighter on this cover, not over-work it like i did the previous one. 

I love jumping from one cover to another.  I like to think doing a series of covers together... means they may influence each other. But maybe not.  Who can say? It might just feel like that in my head. 

Either way, doing a "gang of covers".... it creates the *illusion* I'm getting a lot done, 



Or the possible alternative is . . . . .  that i'm slowing myself down by finishing several covers at once. Maxx is peaking out from behind this branch here. 

It's weird how. . .  after you draw it, it seems like it's really happening, does't it?  Even when your the one drawing it. 



I don't seem able to not do pages, stories or covers out of order, and thrive on doing on various projects at once. Doubt I'm alone in this. 

Looks confusing until i finish this tree, doesn't it?  'Floating mushrooms' on a yet-to-be-drawn-tree . . . 

Wanna try to make the Maxx logo here like different too.. more fantasy like, just for this one. 

But for now let's jump to a third Maxx cover instead... 



This one has Gone in it.. here's the whole thing. I penciled it tighter than usual here. Not sure i'm wild about Maxx right elbow sticking out like it does. 


Okay, bold choice - rounded off that elbow. . . not it looks like Maxx's arms are an inner tube, doesn't it? 



Might be a huge mistake... on the other hand, Maxx is the ideal character to distort, sorta like a beefier version of plastic man, isn't he? 



Well in comics energy and moment is everything.  It's amazing what you can get away with if your bold and confident. Or sometimes you don't.  

Either way i doubt one elbow will make or break this cover. 


I'm changing my focus from "the elbow question" back to Gone's face. 


Here's a goofy accident, swirling this cover around and it got caught in the ripped bristol i use as a pallet on my art table.  But it also makes a handy 'grip' to hold the cover in place. 




Leave some space for Gone's fingers to dig into Maxx's arm here.  All thefolds in Gone's cape means this Cover will take longer, so won't get far on it this round.



Color helps... but still a ways to go on this sucker.

Meanwhile, here's a fourth one I finished last week.. so you have something more finished to feast upon.



Sadly this one happened to fast i didn't have time to even grab a camera.. sometimes you get in a groove and hate to break the spell.. you know?

Okay, hopefully that will hold you for a little while.

Wanted to add, thanks for all the comments. While I rarely get around to replies, your comments feedback and praise is *never* lost on me!!!!!

Thanks
Sam