Wednesday, January 26, 2011

tough week for updates

I spent some time on Monday night listening to the Leafs game and drafting up some new pages for the novel - but I've been seriously delayed as of late. Not sure when I'll get more time to do more, either.

I am half way through drafting page 38, and I'll mock up to page 40 before doing the good copy stuff again. I find if I get a bunch drafted all at once, it seems to flow together more quickly, hence, better.

Anyhow - just another 2 and a half pages before I'm at 40 - and I'm really close to finishing the first act - which is awesome. So the first act might wind up being 45 pages or so - pretty cool.

Hope you're liking it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ShamWow parody (page 28)

Yeah - here's the update for page 28 of Tomb of the Undead. Here you can see my little attempt at a Sham-Wow! parody. I hope you like it.

Ten Questions (sorta) with Gerimi Burleigh
Samuri Graphic
Karl Altstaetter

In two sentences what is your STGN about?
A little girl who finds a haunted samurai sword on a school field trip and unites with the noble warrior spirit to fight an ancient evil.

Where did your STGN story come from? What were your trying to achieve with the art?
I tend to write dark and unpleasant stories. I wanted to do something fun and offbeat. The story has a wacky twist that most people wouldn't expect from me. I'm trying to let my inner 80's animation lover go buck wild

What was your experience like working on Samurai The Graphic Novel. Was it a challenge?
It was some of the most fluid comic creation I've done in a long while. No artist is ever satisfied with their work, however, I do fill like I pushed my talents a little further. Each project is a baby step.

What was your process for creating your story for STGN? Describe it step by step.
I always start with an outline. In this case, I limited myself to one sentence per page, so I had a 24 page outline, ((3) 8 page sequences). I do thumbnails based on the outline, adding dialog as I go.

I do the lettering/panel layouts in Adobe Illustrator, print out the lettered panels 2-up on 8.5x11 inch paper, and draw layouts. This lets me work the lettering into the image composition and storytelling better. I try to avoid placing characters in places that make for awkward speech continuity.

I draw the layouts in red pencil so they are dark enough that I can see them through a lightbox, but not so dark that it will obscure any corrections I draw over them in regular pencil (HB). I flip the layouts on a lightbox to fix anatomical mistakes and tighten up composition/perspective. I scan in the corrected layouts, enlarge them in Photoshop and print them out in a low opacity 100% cyan on 8.5 x 14 inch bristol board. I stole that technique from mainstream comic inkers who frequently work from scanned pencils emailed or uploaded to an FTP server.

I choose to work on 8.5x14 inch board because that's the largest size my scanner will fit. I got tired of tiling pages when I scanned them in. For some reason, there's always one part that doesn't seem to line up right. I used to pencil on the cyan layouts, then ink over that, but I've recently started jumping straight to inks. My pencils aren't particularly tight anyway, so it saves me a step.

I scan the finished page, flat it, and color it in Photoshop. All done
Click to read more.

A reader and her library
Pradeep Sebastian
Deccan Herald

The Night Bookmobile, a new graphic novel by Audrey Niffenegger, is the year’s most exciting book about books. It's that rare, beautiful thing in the graphic genre: 40 full colour pen and ink illustrations that explore a bibliophile’s (dark) dream.

Richly evocative ‘The Night Bookmobile’ by Audrey Niffenegger is a cautionary fantasia for anyone who has loved books.In a long and wide book size of 8 x 11.5 inches, are illustrations of colourful bookshelves, a row of books showing titles on spines, a library-room of books, a reader hugging a book close to her, and a universal library right out of a Borges tale.

In an afterword to the book, its author and illustrator, Niffenegger, says, “When I began writing The Night Bookmobile, it was a story about a woman's secret life as a reader. As I worked, it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer selves, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. It became a vision of the afterlife as a library."
Click to read more.

Simon Pegg’s Autobiography Turned Into Graphic Novel App for Android and iOS [IPhone Apps]
Kat Hannaford

One of Gizmodo's favorite actors now has his very own app. Proving what a nerdlinger he is, Simon Pegg's graphic novel is available for iPhone, iPad and Android simultaneously in 68 eye-popping pages.

The graphics tell the tale of his life, as told in great detail in his newly-launched autobiography Nerd Do Well. Downloadable wallpapers and a free excerpt from the book are also included within the apps, which cost $3 for iOS and £1.79 for Android—the latter of which only seems to be available in the UK at the moment, but I'm sure that'll soon change.

page 27

Check out page 27 - it's the second of two pages for "You're a Snake." Check it out!

Stay tuned for the next update, the beginning of a new scene called: Stealing hope.

‘KA-POW!’: The Basics of Writing for Graphic Novels
By Robert Smedley

Ever thought about writing a graphic novel?

Not drawing one, but writing the script. Because graphic novels and comics need great writers. People who have never read them imagine that comic book plots doesn’t have to be as well-defined or as intricate as in a novel, and that any shortcomings in the story can be painted over by the artwork. Wrong. To be anything other than a noisy mess of colour, comics and graphic novels need a good solid script.

Here are the first things you need to know if you’re going to give graphic novel writing a go:
You and Your Audience
The Layout
Talk/Don’t Talk
“Why so serious?”
Click to read more.

Lightning Thief
Posted by Kristin
Book Obsession

Wow, I've posted three days in a row. I'm on a streak! Anyway, today I thought I'd write about another graphic novel that I just read: The Lightning Thief.

We all know what The Lightning Thief is about, right? If not--where have you been? I was asked to review this book for a library journal recently. Okay, so I've read the book, listened to the book, watched the movie, and now have read the graphic novel. What do I think about it? Well, the novel is still the best way to be introduced to the story, but this graphic novel is a pretty good adaptation of the story (better than the movie, for sure!). Besides the fact that Percy looks to be 16-20 in this book instead of the 12 he's supposed to be, the artwork is realistic and well done.
Some of the scenes I really enjoy aren't here--the trapped tunnel of love in Denver, the semi-truck ride to Vegas, and my favorite Medusa. But for the most part the adapter, Robert Venditti, kept the pacing at a breakneck speed.
So if you have already read the novel series and are waiting in line for The Lost Hero, then you should pick this graphic novel up to see another view of the Half Blood world.
Click to read more.

Graphic Novel Tells Grim Story Of Cuban Revolution
Cuba: My Revolution is a new graphic novel about a 17-year-old girl who forgoes her dream of becoming an artist to join Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution. Host Allison Keyes speaks with author Inverna Lockpez, whose personal experiences shape the story, and illustrator Dean Haspiel.
Click to read the transcript.

Dinosaurs in Gantz, Vol. 12, Harbor Moon and How to write graphic novels

First off -
Here's page 26 - the beginning of the new scene called "You're a Snake." Enjoy!

Graphic Novel Review: Harbor Moon
By Fred

The town of Harbor Moon is hiding a secret that involves every member of the community. Many times stories like this involve towns hiding the deeds of one evil person to protect the whole community, but not Harbor Moon.

The town itself was built upon the secret in which it hides and everyone who lives there is involved in protecting it and each other. To keep their secret safe the members of Harvest Moon do not take kindly to strangers and do their best to steer them away using any means necessary.

Awesome shot!

It seems as if the town has been successful at keeping outsiders away, until a soldier who just returned from Iraq pays Harbor Moon a visit.
Click to read more.

How to Write a Graphic Novel
Carol Sullivan
First, you have to decide on your drawing style, writing style, distribution and only afterwards start.

The first step is to decide on your writing style. The easiest way is to find a partner, which is just as talented as you, and put all your efforts together.

After writing one or two chapters we recommend letting other people critique your work.

The next step is to think about your drawing style: are you talented enough or you need help? If you consider that your drawings will not please your audience, consider collaborating with someone who has the necessary skills in this field.

After you have finished the novel, you have to think about publishing your work: who is going to publish your master piece? There are several aspects you should think about before choosing a publisher: do you have to pay if the publisher is editing and proofreading your text; do they have the necessary experience; do they promote their authors on the Internet, on the radio or on the television?
Click to read more.

This next graphic novel has f-ing dinosaurs! Awesome!

Gantz, Vol. 12
Active Anime

Izumi’s killing spree may be at an end but his plans are just beginning. To draw Kei out he takes Tae as bait and issues a challenge. Kei has to go off and face him without his suit that can protect him. They have a shoot out old Wild West style with both of them getting offed. And that’s just the beginning of the latest volume.

Kei finds himself back in the room with the big black sphere but he’s far from alone. All the big potential players Izumi killed are there too and so is Izumi. He doesn’t care about Kei anymore now that he’s back. This is where he feels most alive and this is where he’s likely gonna die judging by the way of things. Meanwhile Kei has been given an order, on the latest mission he has to get fifteen points or he won’t be coming back alive!

With no bio suit and facing a bunch of murderous and freaky dinosaurs, Kei’s chances are not looking good. It is a huge fight with a large party of players now which makes the story chaotic to follow at times. There’s a lot of blood and gore, this is GANTZ after all. But the lack of real movement in the plot and excessive violence for no point is getting tiresome. It needs to have something momentous happen, like a meaningful discovery about the black sphere or the game in general to keep interest flowing.

I can't post a copy of the picture, but I can link to a copy of a dinosaur attacking people. Awesome.

Click to read more.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wilson, Burke and Hare - filming graphic novels

First up - here's an update to Tomb of the Undead, page 25, called Under the Camarasaurus.

Burke and Hare Official Trailer Plus Graphic Novel Trailer and More!

A dark comedy starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. Photos too, Halloween is here...
Burke and Hare is a British dark comedy movie, based on the Burke and Hare murders. Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are William Burke and William Hare respectively and the movies directed by John Landis. Its Landis's first feature film release in about twelve years, the last being his 1998's Susan's Plan.
Click to read more.

Graphic Novel Wilson Expected to be Adapted as a Movie
Karen Benardello

Fox Searchlight is getting ready to adapt writer-cartoonist Daniel Clowes’ latest graphic novel ‘Wilson’ for the big screen. The book follows the title character, who is a self-loathing unemployed man who makes himself and everyone around him miserable all the time.

Director Alexander Payne is at the top of the list to helm the project. Paul Giamatti has been suggested for the title role, though neither the director nor the cast has been decided yet. Clowes is expected to write the film’s script.

If ‘Wilson’ is brought to the big screen, it would be the third movie based on one of Clowes’ works. His comic book ‘Ghost World’ was adapted in 2001 and was critically well-received. The movie even garnered an Academy Award nomination for Clowes for Best Adapted Screenplay. His comic ‘Art School Confidential’ was also adapted into a movie in 2006, but was released to mixed reviews.
Click to read more.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


For the record, on our travels home from Mexico, I'm going to take the opportunity to snap some pictures of both our plane and the airports. I will need some images for later on in the first act.

I have up to page 32 sketched out, up to page 29 drawn, and up to page 26 or so inked. These pages should come together quickly once I'm back into a routine.

Until then!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I'd love to make more updates right now, but my family and I are in Mexico - that being said, I've got a head-start (or backup) of some progress waiting to be posted when we get back on Monday. I'll likely get it posted on Tuesday, though. Looks like Monday will be busy with a lot of "back in town after 10 days" sort of duties.

- get the cat back from the neighbours
- shovel the driveway
- put clothes away
- stock the fridge
- visit newborn twins
- oh yeah, get back to work and catch up there, too
- and of course, post the new pages

Sunday, January 2, 2011

skeletons at the museum

Just finished inking the next page with a shot of a vertebrate paleontology display at the museum - I think it came out well. I'm looking forward to sharing it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Behind the scenes with TotU

Here's the latest page (number 24) for Tomb of the Undead, the scene is called "Clear out your desk." Not surprisingly - it's about Casey clearing out his desk after Starkwood fired him in the previous scene.

And now we should have the characters and their relationships with one another all settled and introduced. It's time to get things really rolling and get these characters on their way to getting the story moving!

Spoiler warning

You'll get a peak at the beginning of the next scene if you look at this stuff, though it won't really ruin anything too serious. The next scene is titled: Under the camarasaurus (which I think is a cool name).

While we're on the subject, here are some behind the scenes shots of what the rough stuff looks like while I'm working on the comic.

Here's my work desk - you can see some of what I'm up to - though you can't see the many pencils and pens just off to the side.

Here's an example of a rough draft compared to the good draft after inking.

Here's an example of the rough draft versus the finished product.

Here's a sneak peak at the next page, showing the rough draft beside the penciled draft of the good copy. The skeleton in the opening image for the scene is a little intimidating - though I'll get to it sooner or later.

Sad for Superman, opining on The Odyssey and behind the scenes with Bloodwork's Kim Harrison

Tomb of the Undead
Page 22 - here's the latest update for Tomb of the Undead entering into scene 7 called Clear out your desk.

Please, follow along - I hope you enjoy it.

In the mean time, here are more graphic novel news

My review SUPERMAN Earth One has great ART but is EXTREMELY Dull & LACKLUSTER!
And this coming from a HUGE Superman fan. I consider Superman:Earth One a HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT!

A bit of a harsh review:
It felt like it was trying to come off extremely intelligent but in my opinion it was Overly Pretentious and Boring. i cared for none of the characters when i was reading. this Clark was pouty dull emo and depressed looking throughout pretty much the entire comic! and if you dont care for the Main character of the story, everything else is pretty much pointless by comparison. wasn't fond of at all how they changed the origin to Jonathan & martha kent hiking & backpacking in the woods when the SpaceCraft crashed! i felt like i was reading A Boring prequel to Superman returns directed by Brian singer! TERRIBLE!
Read more here.

The Odyssey–A Graphic Novel by Gareth Hinds

by billbuschel

Gareth Hinds is the creator of the graphic novel BEOWULF, a retelling of the oldest extant poem in English. His most recent book, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, is an adaption of Shakespeare's play. In a starred review KIRKUS calls Gareth Hinds' graphic novel "the standard that all others will strive to meet" for Shakespeare adaptation. He now lives in the Boston area and writes graphic novels full-time.
Read more here.

Behind the scenes with Kim Harrison's Bloodwork
This is a super cool link, showing a whole whack of behind the scenes material that goes into Him Harrison's graphic novel process. Very interesting stuff!

This goes to show the artistic detail that the pros invest into their work. We can all aspire to do better work, and this goes to demonstrate some of the areas I can improve on in my own art. This is a really fascinating post!

In her own words:
Below, I have collected my blog posts from the very beginning to the end of the creation of the first Hollows graphic novel, BloodWork. This was truly a labor of love--and a huge learning experience for me. I hope you enjoy the sneak peak behind what goes into one of these things. It took substantially longer to put together than a regular novel. It is due out July 2011, and I will be going to San Diego Comic Con to celebrate!
Read more here.