Friday, April 09, 2010

Jax and the Hellhound online graphic novel Chapter 3

We almost made it this Wednesday. My older son's birthday dinner and gift buying spree cut into my valuable comic creation time but by noon on Thursday, everything was up and running for Chapter 3. I'm hoping that I can keep up the pace until this book is complete. Chapter 4 is already being churned out for next Wednesday. Go to the site and check out the series. The future of online graphic novels might be getting brighter with the aps created for the I-phone and I-Pad; we'll see how it goes.

Monday, March 08, 2010

All Geeked Out For Iron Man 2

Okay, I have got my geek on for this movie. Iron Man two is coming out this summer and has a new trailer out. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is. It's got two of my favorite actors of all time in it; I'm talking about Gwyneth Paltrow as Virginia "Pepper" Potts: Stark's closest friend, budding love interest, and business partner and Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. These two ladies have made lots of movies very appealing to my base testosterone filled nature.

Of course, Robert Downey Jr. returns to the role as Tony Stark / Iron Man and will probably do an even better job than the last time.  The villain of the piece will be played by the inimitable Mickey Rourke as Ivan Vanko / Whiplash. I'm sure Mickey will be applying his usual subtlety to the role.

Award-winning actor, Don Cheadle is replacing Terrence Howard from the first film as Lt. Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine. Jon Favreau will once again play Tony Stark's able manservant, Happy Hogan, while directing the film. That man looks great after losing half his body weight to diet and exercise.

The film is scheduled to be released in the UK on April 30th and in North America on May 7, 2010. The soundtrack will feature music by AC/DC.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Issue of Really Good Stories in Comics

I've just gone back through my collection and read the Dark Rein series by Marvel comics. I've had the good fortune of being intimidated by Jim Shooter back in the early 80s when I was slated to work on an avengers fill in. I was warned about how crazy he was but he was after all, one of my heroes when he worked on the Legion of superheroes for DC comics. I sat in his office and he tossed me a pad and pencil and began to dictate the story to me. Now this is the old marble when you can get away with crap like that because you're dealing with geniuses.

So I worked on the plot synopsis and began penciling the pages in the Marvel style. There were lots of superheroes in the story and I was pleased as punch to get to work on something "above ground".

Most of the work I've been doing was for DC comics in their merchandising division which paid very well but had no notoriety. After 24 pages of pencils I brought the material into Jim's office. That was when genius turned to madness... he railed at my lack of finesse. Now, I've been working at DC for over a year at that point and they had a very specific way of doing things. Marvel did too. Jim for some strange reason wanted all the scenes shot at three-quarter length which was not the Marvel Way. Just pick up a copy of Drawing Comics the Marvel Way and you'll understand what I mean.

I went to the editor after being chewed out and he had some choice words to say about the way things were moving under Jim's rule. He gave me a choice of either redoing the panels or dumping the assignment, so I dumped the assignment and went back to work on penciling the Superman Sunday pages for DC comics. What I found in that life lesson was it is better to be paid well and remain in the shadows than to work with a pain in the ass for the publicity and notoriety.

Years later, when I got to work on a project for Valiant, I had a do-over with Jim Shooter which went extremely well. This time we were both on the same page. Our job was to create a comic book out of a new character that hit the gaming scene; Mario. I thumbnails every shot and faxed it to him and he didn't change a thing. Do I miss the days of working in comics for geniuses and assholes alike? Maybe.

What I do miss it terribly is the collaborative creation process. Being able to bounce ideas back and forth actually makes things better after a heated argument. When you're stuck in your own universe there is a tendency to think that your butt smells like roses. Good stories come out of the conflict of creation just as much as they need conflict within the plot to succeed.
Stop by the graphic novel website for more on Jax and the Hellhound my 20 year old comic resurrected for the new millennium. I've added more pages this week.

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Monday, May 05, 2008

I have been hard at work on the latest book deal, “The Ghost of Bobby” by upcoming new author David Miller. David was born and raised in Scotland and works in the field of advertising and marketing.
I got this call one day on my voice mail from a guy with a thick Scottish brogue. I had no idea what he was saying until I stopped thinking in American English and switch to my native Jamaican dialect.

What David was calling about was his new book, “The Ghost of Bobby.” “I was totally fascinated with the idea once I could understand him. He sent me the book and I was thrilled by it”.

David Miller had written an eerie story that reads like the best Edgar Allen Poe for the 8- 12 year old mystery reader. “As a book designer and publications consultant I was thrilled to have the meticulously designed and thoroughly enjoyable read.

David Miller came up with a unique concept for spreading the word about this fantastic tale of a doomed family and the phantom canine who brings them justice and redemption.

“I want to get 300 reviewers to post on my website’s blog. I want people to get the same goose bumps that my daughter got when I created this book.” An open invitation for book reviewers to go to the website has already drawn quite a few dedicated children’s book bloggers.

Illustrator Julia Kuo delicately created the artwork and Christina Kelly and Virginia Sin design the book. “The Ghost of Bobby is available on and the website

Children’s book reviewers of all ages are invited to go to the website and subscribe to receive the free downloadable review copy of “The Ghost of Bobby” in PDF form. The first 300 subscribers, who leave a review on the Ghost of Bobby blog, will receive updates on David’s latest work. Go to for details. You can also check out the cool video on Youtube.

I've read "The Ghost Of Bobby" and passed the hard cover book to my oldest son, Jordan. He's 12 and read it in two sittings. The story reminded me of the spooky atmospheric quality of the Lemony Snicket series. I was transported to a 19th Century European town.

My younger son, Dyson who is 8 was not as thrilled because the ending was in his words "too sad and scary." Though Dyson is not as big a reader as his brother, he read the work without difficulty.

I wholeheartedly recommend this one for kids and adults who like creepy but beautiful mystery stories. This one is 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The 5 Steps to Successfully Drawing the Human Head.

Why so many new artists get it wrong.
Drawing a human head is intimidating to most people. It's even more intimidating to try to portray a likeness. The folks who watch the guy or gal at the fair who does caricatures marvel at the speed and execution of the artist. They think, “I could never do that!”

When I started in comics illustration over 30 years ago, my friends had no idea how illustrations were done. They thought the printing company created the work with machines. Now of course machines do have a lot to do with the work that animators and illustrators do (with the artists help).What if I told you that the process is simple once you know what to do and practice a for a few years?
O.K., you can get by reasonably well if you practice for a month.

The secret is not in the hands, it's in the eyes!
The trick to drawing is the same as any other discipline. You first have to break down what you want to accomplish into simple steps. Then practice those steps over and over improving steadily along the way.

Drawing the human head requires primarily observation. The head, hands and feet are traditionally the hardest subjects to draw because of their multiple planes and complex parts. Careful observation will show you that the varied planes of the face can be broken down into a 5 step process. You will need to first start with a fundamental shape.

The difference between a ball and a cube.
Some artists use the egg shape to use as the basis for creating a head, others use a ball. T he egg is popular but a bit misleading to the novice. The ball is also ineffective for the novice as well. In order to get a handle on the head we need to start with the cube. The cube allows for the novice to work properly with the front, sides and back of the head properly. With a cube you can gain a thorough appreciation of the perspective of the head and build the neck in properly as well.

Understanding the relationship of the parts of the head.
Observation will show you that the cube can be divided into quarters. You can then divide the segmented cube into smaller components; the brow, eye sockets, nose, jawline and ear sections.
If you want to get more complex you can then ad the sphere to the cube to develop a more precise foundation for your head. I recommend keeping it simple at the start. You should be able to draw the head from any angle and properly represent the various components.

Constructing the basic head Part1.
Stage 1. Learn to draw the cube in various positions. Once you master the cube in perspective you will have little trouble drawing the head's components from various angles. The cube will then be subdivided. The eyebrows divide at the top half of your cube. The base of the nose is half way down the second half of the cube. Draw a line half way between the nose and the chin. Be sure to create your lines in perspective with the cube.

Constructing the basic head Part2
Now as if you were carving a block of stone, begin to shape the areas around the eyes. Carve out the eye sockets and section around the bridge of the nose. Be sure to keep it loose and simple at this point. Move down to the mouth area and create the top and bottom lines for the lips.
Delineate the area for the chin and jawline. You will be able to see the form of the face by now.

Constructing the basic head Part 3.
Begin to create detail in the areas you've worked; i.e., eyes, nose, mouth and chin. Be aware of the light source that's illuminating your face. We will begin to think of the connections between the facial planes. The eyeballs fit into the eye sockets, the teeth fit into the mouth, under the lips and so on.

Constructing the basic head Part 4.
You will be learning to think in solid form while using lines That will require you to constantly observe how light shapes the world. Let's finish up with the hairline, jawline and eyebrows. If you want to add hair, keep the shape simple and clean. We want to frame the face not bury it.

Constructing the basic head Part 5.
You should have all of your sketch lines cleaned up and the lines that remain should look sharp, confident and strong. This is it, you've got through the hardest part of drawing. Now practice.

Creating characters
Study movies, pictures and go to the Internet. When you see a good head sample, keep it and use it for reference. You will be amazed at how quickly you'll be able to lay out faces and create memorable characters.

Going for likenesses.
Tips and tricks to help you create better and better likenesses.
Remember that features are a combination of the shapes of the individual facial components, the shape of the skull and the level of fat under the skin. The trick is to reduce all those components into a series of lines. The best way to see the lines is to squint when observing the subject. This will bring out the shadows and highlights enough for your drawing.

Good luck.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Vida Location

For the last three months, I've been trying to get my comic series finished and up online. More people are showing up and checking out and (I hope), liking what they see. I haven't been able to touch the work.

My roll as business owner has me working crazy hours and trying to figure out how to as they say in my country, "make a dollar out of 15 cents". The constant pressure to create a tangible income out of thin air is a bit stressful but oddly liberating.

When I was working for the "Man" at the Yellow Pages sales office, I felt totally at the mercy of my environment. I could not do what I needed to do to get ahead. Now that I'm the lifeboat and the ship, I wake up with the sense that each day has to mean something in order to enjoy next month.

I'll be back at work on the comics. I promise. My kids just think they're entitled to food and shelter, so I have to make sure that they have it. It's great to be back at my home office full time. This is the place I call my "Vida Location".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Getting intense 'round here.

I've been looking at my website and longing to get to work on adding the extra pages to the two current serials. I can't even begin to go there. I'm currently finishing a membership website for business owners and several websites for other clients. The workload is heavy right now but I would not be blogging if it weren't. I'd be living out of my car along with an angry wife and two very disappointed kids. The situation is very dicey right now as I press on to create enough money to cover our lavish lifestyle.

Things are looking up though. My master plan is paying off. I now need continue to develop enough business that I don' have to work on directly and market the hell out of those services and in no time the tax man, my mortgage company, my various insurance companies and everyone else will be very proud and happy to be associated with me again.

If you decide to leave your corporate job, be prepared to drastically reduce your lifestyle down to a shopping cart and cardboard housing. Ok, it's not that bad, but most of the middle class folks that I know are three paychecks away from bankruptcy.

I should be back to work on the two current series Jax and the Hellhound and TuFF Tales in a bit. A man has to take care of his responsibilities before he can have his fun. If you haven't checked out the website in a while, go to to see the work in progress.