Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nola, Dana and Various other crap...

Random panels cut out and thrown onto a sketchbook. This is what I've been lying on my art table with during the flu, which is pretty much gone. The flu, not the drawings.  Because i lost a week - 'course ....Everything is due at once!  So.. here's a little bit of everything, jumping around from project to project.. trying to finish a.s.a.p.

Nola Book: I made the mistake of mentioning to Oni I had several hundred pages of the Nola book finished for a about a year now. So how is that news greeted? Why, they somewhat annoyingly asked, "well, ahh... why don't you, like, - SEND us some pages then sam? Grr them!

They're  right. But... also not as easy as it sounds. Yes, they raw pages are.. (more of less) finished, but i often cut up panels, which i toss around the studio floor before deciding what goes onto what page. I find it's sometimes more creatively freeing than just drawing them in... or dropping them in digitally.

Above is the same background page, but with different panels dropped in over it. Looks totally different eh?

Obviously I don't just drop them on the page so it's visually pleasing.. but also TRY for each panel to have some point in the larger story.  So, it's tricky, takes time.  sometimes it flows, sometimes not. Meanwhile I've got a zombie v. robots story due today, a short DC story, some Aliens pages due too.

But I'm also squeezing in this Dana piece too.  I'm a little picker on creator owned crap. Not that i don't TRY to do cool stuff on a work-for-hire book too. It's not like my brain holds back creativity depending on the book. The muse either comes in a gusher, or just dries up. At least for me.

But i also want room for creative surprises i might not even.. conceive of.. if i just drew regular super hero or horror books all the time, you know?

Going for something different here on this Dana one: a stylized thick outline, and a really light touch on the rendering on her face.. sorta like those Alphonse Mucha pieces?

Only mine will be a more cartoony version of that - with my usual ' Little Orphan Annie' or 'Peanuts ' eyes i always do.  The danger with a piece like this is it's looks belabored and loses the life..

I've already gone too heavy, to saturated on her tank.. let's see if i can stay light on her skin. Don't worry about her folds looking so rough, i'll smooth those out a little.

Okay, quite a forehead on her, eh? I can already feel how... pinched? self conscious, the rendering on her face is getting. It's partly because i was so worried about smudges and trying not to over work it.

Crap, see it? I've already LOST some life in her face  - damn.  I'll do another Dana one in another style, but same pose... to show you what i mean. Odds are if i'm not so fussy over the face getting dirty i bet it'll flow much more naturally.

Okay,  of COURSE now that i've a deadline on other books, these partially pages from Nola look soooo tempting, but gotta finish other stuff for now.

Here's a simple job: draw a dog, looking at someone walking up to it. Nice doggie.  Course because it's a zombie vs. Robot book, you can guess what happens.

Here's a aborted version of a Zombie i decided not to finish, so i turned the page over and inked another version on the back, which i'll flip horizontally in photoshop, so he's facing the right way again.

There's that's a little better. I still think it needs more dead bodies piled up in the corner. Now, since I've already added a wash, i'll flip it back to the front and ink in some corpses on the front page again.

I'll drop these in digitally too. I don't mind these kinds of short cuts on something in order to make it look a little better. 

Here's some doodles of some of the army guys in a fox hole for the same story. I often do a quick thumbnail of a character along side the script. It's just a way to peg who they are at a glance. 

It's nothing that would make sense to anyone else but me, just a visual short hand. I bet tons of you guys do it too. skinny young guy, beefy guy with cigar, etc. Now here these same guys are on the second page. 

Here's a rough for the 5 pager for the DC job. i scribbled it on the back of a list of chores my wife gave me. (YES, i did them! ) Note the order of the pages changed, pages 2 & 3 became pages 4 & 5. Since I'm dyslexic, i KNEW I'd visually go from page 1 to page 4, so i had to draw some little arrows down to the second row, also color code them too, so i didn't goof up. 

I'm sure a' normal' person wouldn't have to go to such stupid lengths. But it's just one way my brain is crippled, but i've learned to work around it. 

Okay, back to out little pooch. Doesn't look good for him so far. 

I've added some washes to this story because the Editor was cool enough to indulge me by letting it be in black and white rather than colored. 

okay, here it is more of less finished. Need to do a few more tweaks, then finish the DC 5 pager this morning, THEN ink up the army guys in the fox hole surrounded by zombies and robots. 

Then maybe tomorrow i can take another stab at Dana's face ... throw together some Nola pages... and get back to this page here.. 

geez... sometimes i think juggling so much stuff... is the only thing that keeps me sane! : )  

Thanks for not giving up on me guys! 

- Sam 


cody said...

Fucking awesome, seriously one of your best posts yet. love the colors and textures and quite the cornacopia of subjects. You need to do a show.

Marcus Collar said...

was just gonna suggest we do a "Get well Sam fundraiser/search party!"

I think having all these abstract methods keeps you very grounded and sane. Amazing insight into your sort of "two minute offense" or deadline heat day!

Dana is my favorite I love how her body is drawn so thick and realistic.

It's cool what you said about cutting out panels and putting them on the floor etc etc It makes me think of how sometimes if you scan your work into the computer the wrong way or view them out of order how cool it can look to just have a fresh perspective. I have a feeling you noodle with it all the way until the end!

ok we'd all better get back to our drawing tables!

much respect,
Napa, CA

José A. García said...

Little by little you can do the best work ever!

Saludos desde Argentina!


Rafael Only said...

Hi, Sam..!
I think I know what you mean about all this work keeping you sane...
Your posts are getting better every time! How crazy (and great) is that last picture... Really loved it.
It's just too cool following the way your mind works over your art.
And I would have to say: "Thanks for not giving up on Us!"

from Brazil.

Ed Bickford said...

Beautiful. I love your art. I saw a while back you were doing a tree scene for Dana's book and you said you did it on board. I was wondering what kind of board you do your mix media stuff on. Illustration Board or comic book board?
I was just curious, because i am a multi media artist as well and after seeing your stuff I am going to suck it up and do a webcomic in mulitmedia (no digital except for scanning it to get it on the net). ;)

thanks Sam,
Ed in KC

Aaron Desira said...

Hi sam,

You have come back hard from your cold, least it would seem in this post. I reckon im about 15 to 20 years behind you in skill and more for talent but im still going to give my unseeing opinions! This final pic for the post I reckon you have nailed that centre face of the bath lady art nouveau for bein light and expressive- (you said you made dana's face 'too dirty'), dont know if you were goin for that though. Oh and isnt it a plauge for all man kind, having your partner write you chore lists and leaving them for when you wake up. Its got to be a universal plauge not zombies or robots could top.

Thanks for your continued posting lighting up my days man. also for christmas from my sis I got the full set of maxx topps collector cards, they are still flying around the globe..

Jim said...

I'm still just so tickled to see process shots by YOU. I love this blog and hope you keep it up - I'm grateful.

Sam_Kieth said...

Hey guys, Cody, you know what? It's so cool that the weird-ass painting stuff that *I* enjoy doing the most, seems to be your guy's favorite stuff too! This means SO much to me, like, no sam, your NOT nuts, just keep going!!!!!!!

Yeah, call of the search party - luckily i'm BACK and feeling great! Marcus glad your digging the little cut up panels. I don't to it always, but sometimes it hits the spot. Jogs me brain.

Jose', Rafael, glad i'm not alone in crazy art keeping one sane. Little by little. increments. a few pages a week, eh?

Ed, you asked what i use, paper wise? Sometimes it's DC bristol, sometimes illustration board. Rarely canvas. I tend towards watercolor paper, or Bristol thick enough to hold wet washes.

Aaron and Jim, all of you guys.. if i keep you going, always remember you keep ME going too, so it's totally mutual!

- take care

Marcus Collar said...

word em up Sam!

KEVRUM said...

Your mixmedia is so great. I want to touch them and it's great that I can on one because I own a page of wolv/hulk that is covered in paint, black tape, paper bag and crayon. It's my favorite original page that I own.

Mr. Cubazoa said...

Mr. Kieth,
I have appreciated your artwork for many years, you have so often surprised me with your seemingly stubborn refusal to draw things the way they "are", I have enjoyed having your work twist dreamlike images and turn them violently on their ear. The Maxx was a game-changer for me as a young artist, it pushed me to find your other work you had done, and follow what you would do with your art. For me, your contributions to the "comics" field, like the work of Frank Frazetta, Alan Moore, or Bill Sienkiewicz, forced us as readers out of our super-hero comfort zone; a rewarding challenge. Looking at the field today, it's clear to see that without the "crazy art", we would still be totally inundated with flat, cheese-ball plots and lazy art. (Yes, it's still out there all over the place, but think about how much more eccelctic comics/graphic novels we see today are, compared to the mid 80s.)
I want to thank you and your whacked-out poet-comrades of the "crazy-comics-art movement" that opened the way for those of us who wanted to grow up and to create INTERESTING stories and images like those we would see on the pages of The Maxx or "that weirdo-looking Hulk/Wolverine issue".
Your work has been a great pleasure to experience over the years, thank you for letting us in on your process and sharing your new creations.

p.s.- Burning your art, huh? What do you do with the ashes?

Dan said...

LOVE the Dana as well. I'm getting a slight Adam Hughes vibe from it, with the thick outline and soft detail, only not so polished and digitized looking which I MUCH prefer. Keep up the awesomeness!

Dan said...

just to clarify I much prefer the NOT all digitized and polished look of your piece. Much more feeling, much more organic, as I said I love it.

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