Friday, October 28, 2011

Nemesis Covers & Sketchbook stuff

Before I could get any regular work with the big two, I landed a cover gig on some Fleetway reprints of  a comic called Nemesis.

Above are some lighting doodles i did on the back of the cover.. to dope out how to ink the arm shadows...

It the time I was really proud of these... as I'd never pulled anything of like this yet. However... here's how the colored covers looked ..

I'm not trying to rag the colorists, (no idea who it was), but... ahh... I was a *little disappointed*?

So much that I'd put into them... like all these alien faces... had gotten totally lost once colored.  That would happens over and over in comics.

Below some of the rough layouts for this cover... notice i was big in blue pencil back then.. I had fun dreaming up alien heads on a wall like deer or elk heads. the little dot on at the bottom was my favorite.

So these original covers.. gives you a second chance to be seen fresh.. notice i threw in one of my 1800s gals too... no one seemed to care.

Looking back, it's glaringly obvious i wanted to show off my inking skills and these suckers.  Along with the Epicurus and the Mavel Presents covers, the Nemesis covers were me at my most 'anal', brush stroke and detail wise.

Even though no one noticed them.. when i look at the originals, i'm still kinda proud of them, for what they are.

Weirdly enough, during this same time I was doing the opposite of this... doing things like this little brush one here.

My cousin Dave expressed how surprised he was i did this, and that it looked 'nothing like me' at the time, it seemed so full of energy and unlabored. I always kept this 'Kata' drawing and this a change in my thinking to try something like this..

I also plunged into watercolor too... but my palate was pretty saturated and crude.

I was trying for something ... ELSE... something different than the over-rendered hyper detailed covers... but didn't know how to get there.  Yes, i liked those too, but it's like i had to sustain some other part of me.

I found some old sketchbooks from around then and noticed i was starting to doodle bonsai trees even back then.. but still couldn't negotiate the fun energetic (but crude) sharpie notebook sketches with logo like super detailed covers..

also was dabbling with soft lines like this watercolor - this was exciting to me, but i didn't see any comics that looked like this, (this was before the whole painted graphic novels in the 80s and 90s flourished)

Below i tried this too in these story i did with an is in it... almost every panel done with a different style..

It wouldn't be till years later I'd find a way to navigate between all these styles somehow into a cohesive whole, and i'm happy that i still struggle with it. In a good way.

okay, back to finishing up that MOTHer drawing i started.


Daniel said...

Thanks Sam, you are making me try different styles and see how they work and most importantly have fun while drawing.

I totally forgot at some point trying to follow "the rules" to break into comics, you know what I'm talking about.

Thanks again and keep posting!!!

cody said...

Those super detailed drawings are crazy can't believe those are from the beginning of your career, I always wondered about colorists relationship, because sometimes you see original art washed out by the color.
The last page angles and lighting are great.

Frank Patriot said...

I'm glad you said that, Cody. I have noticed that some of the stuff colorists did back before everything was done with photoshop, seemed to hurt the original art more than help. I know people like color comics, but those nemesis covers are proof that so much more could have been enjoyed if there was minimal color. I've seen that cover before and didnt realize that Isz was almost completely cut out of the picture. I bought the two 'I before E' comics years ago when I was able to get them through mail order. I'm not sure if I was in high school or what. I do remember having to hide the issue with the 'Super Dick' story, because I knew my fundamentalist parents probably would have thrown them out. hahaha. But thinking about that, I've wanted to ask Sam if there are some topics or images that he feels sometimes 'nervous' or 'uneasy' about publishing, because some folks might not know how to take it. Are there any topics you want to tackle, but don't? There's more I want to say, but I won't right now. Btw, thanks for posting some of this 'old' stuff. Seeing older stuff you did, gets the same reaction from my as seeing somebody to a magic trick. 'Wow! How'd he do that?!' That style of art is what attracted me to your work in the first place, so it's so rad to get to see it. It also makes me realize I need to get my kolinsky sables out and practice more.

Sam_Kieth said...

Yeah Daniel, the 'rules' of comics ... there are some, but i didn't have tons of books they have now. Just Stan Lees Marvel book and he rest i picked up from mistakes i made ever step of the way.

Cody, remember this wasn't exactly the beginning, i'd done most of the i before e stuff too, but thanks. These covers were sorta 'make or break' for me, and soon after i landed the Sandman based on my art in the 'Wandering Stars' comic.

Yeah Frank that's what i was trying to say... *over* colored. It still happens too, but now days artists and colorist (usually) talk a little bit. Those I before E comic were stories created back when i was trying to break into undergrounds, ( thus, such subtle titles as 'super dick') ..

Far as 'Limits', Marvel and DC's are built in. But in creator owned stuff, it's part 'personal taste' and part the creators 'comfort level'. Without getting into a tedious censorship debate, i tend to have an 'inner barometer' for what's best shown, or what isn't.

Less because of my own personal morals (which i mostly keep to myself), but more because some things are more powerful when *not* shown, like the rape in Four Women, in which.. our focus during the rape emotional is Marion's bond with Donna, not the rape itself.

Or Maxx where Julia's rape was implied, or Mr. Gone's abuse as a child was dealt with... i was *very* sensitive to how these were handled, though it still offended some folks, and some stuff i do always will.

One more example: In this Dana comic i'm doing? Dana is a lesbian, and there's some partial nudity, adult subject matter. But i thought it important not to show anything too explicit, not for fear of being squeamish or homophobic, but because 1. there's such a ton of guys leering at two chicks called 'lesbians' online as is to leer at. And 2. feeling was it's none of our business what Dana does with her partner in bed. We could show it, but what's the point?

Anymore than seeing who Julia makes love too, or Sara.. or Maxx...( or an Isz... do isz even boink each other?)

But, having said that, in another new series i'm drawing... Dana's sister, Nola, has a troubled aggressive and sometimes violent childhood. Later, as a very conflicted grown woman, Nola goes through all sorts of heavy emotional stuff. Some of it is shown, most implied.

Not all readers will like, (or agree) with Nola's book. But, how Nola herself deals with her inner conflicts... is the whole *point* of Nola's mini series.

Same deal with Bimbo. What feels like a very intimate personal book to me, others will find offense on a number of levels. Same could be said of Vonnegut or a ga-zillion other authors. I accept and defend anyone's write to stop reading what i write or draw.

But that said, most of 'sam stories' will push somebody's buttons.. for better or worse. It's up to others... and my readers... to decidefor themselves what they wanna read... and what to skip.

That's how i see it anyhoo...

Sam_Kieth said...

All that aside, i appreciate the question Frank. Hope i don't come off as defensive. It's interesting no one has asked me that yet - i can always count on you guys for interesting stuff to hash over!

: )

- sam

Neal said...

Sam, I love your artwork - it's great that you've got a blog now. The "lossing it" story page is awesome - love the trees and the different point of views in each panel!

Frank Patriot said...

Thanks for the answer. Didnt seem defensive to me at all.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the answer Sam. I appreciate it. :-)