Friday, September 27, 2013

Behind The Temptation of Howard Bolam pt. 1

The Temptation
The Temptation of Howard Bolam is a scene that I'd been waiting a long time to publish. It was something I'd planned the "Set up" for years ago, back in the first act I Tend to Agree With Your Partner.

I wanted character to motivate changes in the story just as much as the adventure - - I feel like this was something that was bound to payoff down the line - - that Bolam would be tempted to throw Casey under the bus again to save himself.

(If you clicked on that link - - think about how far the story has come since back then when they were still working at the museum. It's pretty cool. PLUS, that was freaking December 2010 when that was published. This story has been going on for a while now!)

Ultimately, for the sake of pacing, I felt that 6 pages was too long for a scene to be. I felt that people would be impatient if it were too long, so I split it in two. This is the first time I've done this, and... well, perhaps you would have been fine with it if it were six pages long?

Let me know, I guess. In any case, I wanted the scene to be "finished" so I could say it was finished, because I feel people might wait for a few pages (or a scene) to accumulate before they check in on the site.

That was the impetus regarding publishing this in two parts, anyhow.

Check out the finished pages at The Temptation of Howard Bolam, pt. 1

The stick of straw in "The Turk's" mouth was just for fun in the rough draft, he felt like a grouchy rancher thwarting tresspassers when I drew him.
I raced through these pages while I was at my cottage back in the summer - - when I drafted out the rest of the story. You can see I was really racing through it, I didn't leave any details on the background at all.

I'm not sure if these are facts, but I suppose it's interesting "trivia" if you ever wanted to know. I liked the name because it reminded me of both The Passion of the Christ, and The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham (from Lost).

In my original draft, the final few pages were adapted into a series of scenes to accomodate pacing and narrative flow. This prevented it from being just a bunch of dialogue - - and I think the next scene illustrates a balance between action and diction.

Beyond "The Turk," I don't have a name for the big guy that's holding the gun, and I don't think I actually refer to him as "The Turk" in the story. So, his name is an unspoken secret between you and I. How do you like that!?

Drawing a guy holding a rifle is hard.

Anyhow, follow on Twitter or Facebook!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Business Man @ Home

Something I learned that derived from my expansion in the Twitterverse is something I'd noticed for a while, but never really took the time to investigate. Reddit.

I knew OF it, but didn't know what it meant to me, or any of these dumb strips -- but I did notice that on "publishing dates," people I follow on Twitter were very vocal about "Up voting" their work. It seemed like a certain coterie of them were heavily involved on the Reddit site, and I perked an ear to the idea.

Just this week I went to the site, set up an account, and searched around just a little. I posted about three items onto the page and before too long I had, believe this, like tripled my regular traffic.Which is definitely impressive - - plus, commenting and feedback seem to flow much more fluidly on Reddit than on a blog or website page.

So it's been an interesting journey to see how content reacts to being in a space where people specifically go to share and view and comment on webcomics.

Here are some of the rough "before" drafts of some of the recent Business Man @ Home strips:

On a related note, it's opened my eyes to the possibilities of sharing some of the more "Business related" strips I've had (specifically business man @ home) on the LinkedIN feed, as well. As far as the tracking is concerned, the first topic I posted received 20 views and the next about 11, so there's another bunch of eyeballs that weren't checking them out before, too.

Better Offer
The art of the sales pitch / negotiations. I wish I was in the "negotiating" phase with my toddler. He's not speaking or really listening yet, so you still have to just go with the flow and do whatever you can to satisfy is wants (which you'd do cheefully, except for when he "wants" to lift the cat up by her hair, or climb shelves or go for a 25-minute walk every hour, on the hour).

I'd imagine this'd be a wasted skill on a At-home dad, if they were a CBA pro.

Social Media Campaign
This is a nod to my old job where there was a recurring interest to get more involved in social media and creating campaigns with the content we were producing. Successful social media campaigns are often random, unexpected and fickle beings, and most of the time we were just eager to sharpen our skills to get another one going.

I just imagine that business man would miss the excitement of sharing new developments with followers, and would likely be eager to jump back into the online milieu. 

Hey, running a business is hard. You've got to scrape together everything you've got to turn a profit, and digging through couch cushions would be a great way to add a little coushioning to the balance sheet.

Climbing the Corporate Footstool
This was intended to be a "climbing the corporate ladder" gag, but ... I don't think it realized the concept's full potential. In any case, damned toddlers will climb ANYTHING!

As always, if you have any questions or comments on what's up with any of the Capers, Chickens, Business Men or Advice, drop me a line and I'll be happy to answer your questions.

Thanks for reading. 

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Friday, September 13, 2013

What's up with Salty Advice?

A question people are probably wondering about: What's with the Salty Advice that you think has been so funny that you keep posting?

[You can find Salty Advice here: Salty Advice]
Mr. Minestrone's first stab at good advice.
Well, the origins of this go back to all the encouragement I was receiving from a friend who enjoyed the King St. Capers so much he insisted that there was more content more often starring Mr. Minestrone.

While he was having a particularly bad "migraine" at work one day, I succumbed to his pleading and created this spinoff from the Capers. Salty Advice gives a voice to the otherwise mute Mr. Minestrone, providing some insight into this psyche and professional attitude.

What would someone who doesn't give two shits about doing a good job, and is hellbent on having a cigarette and staring at you while you walk down the street, despite his age and personal hygiene, have to offer? I had to try and figure it out.

And if this asshole had any advice for you, what would it be?

"Salty Advice" comes from the "Take it with a pinch of salt," etymology -- it's one of my favourite "sayings," so to speak, because, as far as I understand it, it's a complete admission that the next thing you're going to say is complete bullshit.

In the good ol' days, there was no refrigeration (of course) so meat had a very limited shelf life. It'd last for a couple of days (imagine a family with an entire slaughtered cow, but no deep freezer). As the end of the week rolled along, that heifer started getting pretty rank, making it completely unpalatable.

They were dirt poor, so instead of pitching the whole thing to the buzzards, they just kept adding salt to the meat to mask the rancid, rotting maggot-motel while they kept eating (and giving themselves the bubonic plague).

So the idea has always been hilarious to me, that someone saying "take this with a pinch of salt" is really saying that their advice is about as good as a medieval, rotting slab of pork. That's just funny!

And Salty Advice definitely lives up to its namesake. There's nothing worth repeating going on here.

Unlike my other comics, I don't worry about loading up on Salty Advice: they don't require a tremendous amount of time to get the artwork uploaded or completed, so I've allowed myself to come up with them on the fly, rather than stocking up on them (for the record, I have Capers, Business Man and Spring Chickens complete into the early weeks of October, just so you know).

I hope you're enjoying them.

Of course, if you have any questions, please drop me a line and I'll share whatever the hell I was thinking when I put this stuff together. If you're enjoying it, please, continue to do so.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Artist's Confessions > The Secret of Gobekli Tepe - Behind the Scenes

I didn't think I was going to get into confessions  when I started writing this post, but ... a few came out, so ... be prepared. Might you be disillusioned as to where my character designs come from? I'm going to reveal the actual document you can turn to to find them. How about sloppy mistakes in this particular scene? I'll show you exactly where to look to find them. 

But before all that, I admit, this is a neat moment in the story where I'm returning to a location I designed way back at the beginning of the story, and it's an interesting time to look back at how the story looked back then.

It's fun to revisit, and it shows how far things have come stylistically. When I was drawing these pages back in 2010, I couldn't imagine how long it would take to get to the end of Act III. I wasn't confident in my artwork at the time, I was unsure how do the lettering, and the framing and pacing were all still being developed on the fly.
The rough page of 170. I HATE drawing trucks.

Designing on the fly fine - - this entire project has been exclusively for the purposes of learning more and gearing up for future projects. I knew back then, too, that this was going to take a long time - - and I was fine with that because it's a hobby I'm eager to pursue and in the end, when it's all said and done, it'll definitely be something of substance (if to nobody else, at least it'll be substantive to me).

Rough page 171 ... Miller looks bad-ass on the right side there, eh!?
There's a new character in this scene, and I'll tell you a bit of a secret on character design. ... Man, I'm reluctant to do this, but .... basically... I have this National Geographic magazine, just one, that I've been holding on to for years because I keep meaning to read this article on Caffeine (which I still have only started, but never finished) because, like anybody else in media and publishing, I'm dedicated to drinking coffee like it's the cure to what ails ya.

The National Geographic is right here, one sec, I'll grab the date and title. It's January 2005, "Why We Love Caffeine." Anyhow, there are a series of ads and articles, as you'd expect, with pictures, which National Geographic is famed for. I honestly flip through the book and pick a face that sort of fits what I'm planning, and copy it.

I think the final draft of this page turned out really nice. That's just my opinion, I haven' t heard anybody else say anything about it to the contrary.
It was a similar process when I designed "The Turk," who appears for the first time in the tomb beneath the ruins of Gobekli Tepe. Though, admittedly, I used a MacLean's magazine at the cottage instead of my trusty National Geographic to design him. The Turk is a silent 6'5" behemoth who, like Mugabe, has a sorted past that led to his recruitment into the employ of the Sadducees. I only call him "The Turk," probably because he's from Turkey, but also because it has visual and audible connotations to "The Hulk," sort of.

One other little Easter Egg for anyone interested in the "Blooper Reel" in the making of the Tomb of the Undead, on page 171, in the final word bubble, I'd accidentally accredited the word balloon to Ma'Aseh instead of Miller, so in the "post-production" when I do the lettering online, I had to do the editing to redraw and fix the word balloon's tail.

Can you zoom in and see the difference? I usually draw the balloons and then fill the lettering in online, but the word balloon had to be erased and then replaced with samples that were stretched and twisted so they looked like they were for Miller.

Cool, thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions about the project, that I'll be happy to answer. It's coming to a conclusion I'm certain will be unexpected. I promise.