Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sketch of the Day 04 - Zombies

Today's sketch of the day may have been inspired by playing a lot of Dying Light on the PS4!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sketch of the Day 03 - RIP Leonard Nimoy

Sad to hear of the passing today of Leonard Nimoy. You'll be missed sir!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sketch of the day 02 - I'm Batman!

Continuing with the daily sketch idea to jump start the morning...

Sketch of the day 01: ZvR

So to anybody that follows this comic book and has seen my variant covers, it will will come as no surprise that I am a massive Skottie Young fan. Got his daily grind sketchbook in the mail today, and have been inspired to do one loose sketch a day regardless of what other work I have on.
Thought I'd get things rolling with a Zombies vs Robots inspired piece. Consider this day 1...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New HP Z1 Xeon workstation!

Pretty awesome delivery in the mail today! Have just set up my new HP Z1 Xeon E3 workstation (sweet!), and also got a HP LP2480zx Dream Color monitor that I'm running on my Optiplex! Damn! Now i really need to go create some comics!!!

Desk Shot - WIP

Issue 7 is the start of our origin story arc. We go back some fourteen years to follow a younger, more idealistic Parker with different dreams and goals.

Am really enjoying how this book is coming together. Feel like we're pushing our storytelling chops a little more. There some really nice artwork panels in there as well. Its certainly also going to have a little bit more emotion to it as well.

The List graphic novel

For all those artists out there, Paul Bedford is looking to do a new cover for his highly acclaimed book, The List Graphic Novel . I'm pretty sure this is NOT the look he's going for but if you go check out the Facebook page you'll get a better idea for what he's after.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Desk shot WIP

Inks progressing nicely on Issue 7. He's a sneaky at the current page I'm inking.

Also ran the pencils with dialogue past my usual test readers (these folks are amazing and give me some varied and insightful feedback that goes a long way towards fine tuning the final product). Initial feedback and impressions is that we've raised the bar a little for the origins story. Went a ways towards alleviating my concern that the latest issue is always the book where I derail the entire series.

Now we move into the really fun stage of fine tuning things to enhance readability. Love this part!

Dog Training?

Suffice to say, Gabe and Buster's dog training classes were not panning out as well as expected...

The process: Starting from a scribble

As artists, we all have our different processes. For me everything always starts with the loosest of sketches or thumbnails. This enables me to work out if I like the idea, and if the composition is working for me.

The real benefit of this is that its just a few passes of sketching that becomes completely disposable. There's no loss in churning out 10, 15, 20 of these thumbnails. Its such a quick process and only serves to benefit the final outcome.

I find if I was to just dive straight into the pencils then I would feel to locked in to the idea and composition at an early stage, and if its wrong at the start then its much harder to redeem it in the final image.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Issue 2 variant cover at Supanova Melbourne

The other variant cover for Supanova Pop Culture Expo​ in Melbourne will be for Issue 2. Here's the Original and Variant cover designs.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Variant cover process

Here's a bit of an insight to the process of the two latest pieces, one of which is the variant cover for Issue 3 and one which will be featured in Issue 7

Friday, February 20, 2015

Issue 3 Variant cover @ Supanova Melbourne

For those coming to Supanova Pop Culture Expo​ Melbourne, We'll have a limited edition variant cover on both Issues 2 and 3 as we have almost completely run out of our first prints of these. Here's the Issue 3 variant cover (on the right).

Scribble time

Big nite last nite, so trying to kick myself into action with a quick scribble. See if I can loosen myself up :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Like anyone else, I am prone to distraction. Now that I have this out of my system I think I can safely pour myself fully into inking today :)

Issue 7 progress

So the pencils are fully complete and the book has had its first dialogue overlay. There was some minor tweaking done for story flow and I'd say I'm maybe 80% happy with the dialogue so we'll probably do two or three revisions on that.

Inking the pages commences today so this is the part where I feel like I'm sort of in the home stretch as a lot of the variables have been ironed out by this stage. Book seems well on track for its launch at Supanova Melbourne in April.

Quite excited about getting to tell the origin story as its a bit more serious and has a greater sense of gravity to it, yet will still retain the feel that is essentially From Above.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Flashback - Anthology Issue 2

Wow did I get a nostalgia trip today. I got a package in the post from my long time mate Damien Shanahan containing something I hadn't laid eyes on for a very, very long time!

A copy of ARC Comics 'Anthology' Issue 2.

Way back in 1994 (21 years ago!) a young Craig (leather jacket wearing, pony tail sporting as Damo likes to remind me) went to his first ever comic convention in Sydney  (OZcon). It was perhaps the most amazing sensory overload a young Craig could ever hope to experience.

I remember specifically being shown around the convention by my tutor at the time, the late Cole Buchanan. Cole was one of the nicest and most generous men you'd ever hope to meet. Cole urged me to go and chat to this group of young aspiring comic creators who were doing cool things with superhero stories in Australia and just put out their first anthology collection titled ironically enough, Anthology.

For someone who had grown up reading some amazing Aussie books like Southern Squadron, Greener Pastures, Dark Nebula and many more (I even had a copy of issue 1 of G.I.Joe Australia), this was just amazing to meet these young guys doing the sort of stuff I could only dream of.

That very day I was lucky enough to meet Damian Shanahan and his younger brother Aaron. Two amazingly talented dudes, and what came out of that blew my mind. From that meeting i was lucky enough to score my first ever comic opportunity, writing and drawing a 4 page short story for Anthology issue 2.

Its funny as it was such a short foray into comics for me. Printing costs were astronomical at the time and the major distributor of comics to newsagents at the time was to pull out shortly after, but for that brief moment, it was bliss.

Then life took over. I went to uni and got a 'real' job and before long comics were a distant memory.

Many years later, approximately 11 years ago I found myself doing some freelance illustration work for a toy company in Melbourne called Moose. As i was sitting in their boardroom taking a brief I was informed someone wanted to say hi. Lo and behold it was none other than Damo. How awesomely small is the world these days!

Damo and I got the chance to work together at Moose for another 5 or 6 years before he found the love of his life and moved across the ocean to the US. Comics had been forgotten to me for so long. It feels strange to say that as I was working for a toy company but still the magic of comics remained a distant memory to me.

2 years ago somebody convinced me to go to Free Comic Book Day, and yet again another pinnacle moment in my life came to the fore. That day then, when I saw the alley of artists doing commissions outside All Star Comics was the day that reignited my love for the comic medium. It reminded me why I got into illustrating in the first place.

Since then I have started my own book (From Above, obviously) and am most of the way towards finishing my 7th issue. I've never been so happy drawing and creating. I feel like I've recaptured something of what made drawing fun to me, instead of just a source of employment.

But yet it was with a source of sadness that I had to confess to my wife that I no longer had in my posession, a copy of the first book I ever worked on. Anthology #2 was just a distant memory that I could only strain to remember.

The other week my wife was on a radio show, helping promote a comic anthology she edits (yes, my wife, Alana is amazing. She has dived headfirst in and embraced comics in a way that I cannot ever have hoped or imagined!). During this radio show she mentioned Anthology and that we had no copy of it.

And so, yet again the world proves it is such a small place. Today I have received a package from my mate Damo, stating he had heard I no longer had a copy of the book. Within the package are two copies of Anthology issue 2! Nostalgia and emotion floods back into me.

I leaf through the pages and it all floods back. There towards the back is my 4 page story called The Traveller. The art, well its Craig from 20 years ago (horrible) and the story is so 90's Image inspired that it's, well, I thought I could write. None of those details matter though, as its the sentiment and feelings that wash over me that bring a little tear to my eye.

Thank you to Damo. Thank you to my wife Alana... and thanks to all those that provide the impetus and encouragement that drive me on to pursue this love of creating in the comic medium. I dearly hope that ten years from now I can reflect back on a whole new set of comic book memories...

Issue 7 @ Supanova Melbourne

Hard at work on Issue 7 at the moment. Pencils are done and inking has commenced. Am also laying in dialogue over the pencils to check the flow and pacing. Usually do a few passes on the dialogue till I am happy as I usually find my first pass too functional and more explanatory - need to 'fun' it up a little and give it more personality with the revision passes.

The aim at this stage is to have Issue 7 out in time for SupaNova Melbourne in April. My aim is to generally try and have a new book releasing with every convention we do to give readers something new to come to the table for. Issue 7 certainly is looking on track at the moment.

Anyway, its back to work to get this book done!

Issue 6 - ComiXology - Available now!

From Above #6 is NOW available on Submit!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hump day and dialogue time

Hump day!

And I'm doing the dialogue overlay on the pencils. This way I can check how it flows now I've got a more solid visual foundation as opposed to just thumbnails. This is usually the stage when I do the most revisions, especially with the dialogue.

I'm also occasionally a little prone to distraction as this lil cartoon Gabe can attest to.

Pencils complete on Issue 7

Just finished the pencils for the last page of Issue 7. Its funny how I always feel like I'm behind on my timelines. Touch wood I've never missed one of my deadlines for any of the issues to date but I think its the lack of buffer that makes me feel like I'm always cutting it fine.

General preference is to always leave about a 3 week period prior to a major convention so that I can get the printed books with time to spare just in case something unexpected happens. I've been very lucky though with a printer who not only turns the books around in good time, but produces a top quality product.

If I can stick to schedule issue 7 will drop in time for launch at Melbourne Supanova! Fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

From Above duvet!

It's time to go under the covers with From Above. Yep, you're looking at some queen size sequential art there :) I really do get wrapped up in my comics!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Trade paperback teaser

In the process of working on the exclusive short story for the trade paperback at the moment. Here's a teaser of maybe what to expect.

Experimenting with a new digital brush

Have been mucking around a bit of late with the photoshop brush making settings and thought I'd have a bit of an experiment with this piece. Worked more creating the image by building up highlights.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Issue 7 pencils

Pleased to report that the pencils on Issue 7 are nearing complete. Just 3 pages left to pencil and then it's on to inking!

The double edged sword...

I often get the comment that it is so rare to see a local indie, self published title that comes out on a regular schedule. Every three months they say? Wow, you're a machine!

In essence. Hardly.

This is no great accomplishment. We all have the time somewhere that we can grab and devote to these projects if we are willing to make a few sacrifices and adhere to some self imposed discipline.

This leads me to my next subject, distractions, or more specifically social media (and don't think I don't see the irony of conveying this in a blog post of all things).

Social media can be an absolutely wonderful tool. We now live in an age where we can tease and promote our products or books to an international audience, all from the comfort of our home computer. We have tools at our disposal that allow us to reach an audience with the kind of ease that creators only dreamed of twenty years ago. We can promote our books and reach our readers through branded Facebook and Tumblr pages, tease our ware on Instagram, and network with editors, writers and artists on Twitter.

Yet, these tools can so often become our undoing. Ask yourself how much time you allow yourself to get caught up in these apps? I say this because I know I am just as guilty as everyone else. Imagine if we just took half of that time and dedicated it solely to working on our projects. All of a sudden we have a surplus of time that is probably more than enough to create something of worth. The trick is though is that again it takes discipline and a bit of hard work.

Then, of course there is the even darker side of social media. Trolls, bullying, ranting, doxxing, SJWs, etc etc. the list goes on. Social media can be a truly awful place when it puts its mind to it. There's nothing better than connecting with your fans, yet there's nothing worse than being exposed to  the other side of the coin.

The tricky thing is (and I speak mainly in regards to my exposure to the Australian comics scene), is that it isn't black and white. There are no blatant good guys and bad guys like in the movies. There are segmented groups and they all invest huge amounts of energy into derailing each other, and the truth is it takes a lot of willpower to not get drawn in to these shenanigans.

I myself have only been dedicating time to this pass-time of making comics for about 18 months now and its been one helluva tricky and awkward rollercoaster. Yet I don't regret a minute of it. However, what I do aim to accomplish is greater focus and allowing myself more time to perfect my craft.

Sure, I'm happy with what I've achieved so far, but it's nowhere near where I want to be. Imagine if I could just snare myself a few extra hours to devote to page artwork. How much better the result would be! Sure social media is great for communicating with my readers, but getting drawn in and allowing my energies to be sidetracked and derailed by the politics is something I can no longer accept from myself.

I want this scene to thrive, and I'm not just talking local Australia. The internet has made us one whole: I'm talking about self published comic creators. We all want to succeed with getting books out, regardless of their final reach. We all want products we can be proud of. Hell, some of us want to try and score a job doing this full time (I know that is certainly my endgame).

So here it is: A call to arms. Don't invest your time in the politics. Ignore the trolling and don't get caught up in matters that will still transpire without your input. What we do is make comics! Lets do that and grow this amazing scene into something even more awesome.

Now, time to go work on some pages! Who's with me?

Issue 6 - ComiXology - Feb 18

Issue 6 will be landing on ComiXology as of February 18. Don't forget to check it out if you get the chance!
#comics #comixology

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Convention Tabling for this year

As we've been asked a few times now I thought it might be worth posting our convention tabling for this year. So far we can confirm we are doing Supanova Pop Culture Expo Melbourne, and possibly Sydney as well. We are also doing Comic Gong and potentially a couple of smaller events. More info to come.

Developing the MCQ variant cover

Have always been a huge Skottie Young fan, and to be honest my natural style is probably a lot more cartoony than what I draw From Above, so I was pretty stoked to try my hand at something a bit more cartoony for the MCQ variant cover.
Actually went through quite a few roughs before I settled on a composition I was happy with.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Melbourne Comics Quarterly #1 - 2nd edition cover variant

Had the opportunity to do a variant cover design for the 2nd edition printing of Melbourne Comics Quarterly issue 1. Took a much more cartoony approach to my first cover illustration.

#comics #comicbook #indiecomics #australiancomics #scifi #variant #cover

Friday, February 6, 2015

Development Flashback - Issue 5

Issue 5 and Issue 3 were two of the more challenging issues to write for me as both have very little action in them.

It was exciting to be able to be delving a little more in to the characters and the background but at the same time for someone who has not done a lot of writing in their life it was going to be a challenge.
I still needed some decent pacing, some key story points and most of all the dialogue really needed to be engaging. Its one thing I've said before and is always important to me. Dialogue is important as it either brings me in or loses me completely. I go back to the opening scene in Inglorious Bastards - superb! Two guys sitting at a table but the tension is immense! Another standoud for me (Tarantino again) is the Jules and Vince foot massage dialogue (in fact lets just say all of Pulp Fiction).

There were a couple of things I was really excited about with #5 though. I got to utilise Gracie as the narrative driver to connect the different scenes. I also got to give Buster some air time which is always great, and then there was the added bonus of giving the reader and introduction to Skye and some of the liberated hostages from the truck.

There was one scene I added after a couple of passes on the story and that was the action scene in the training room. I didn't want the issue to be a continuous stream of talking heads and felt i wanted some action even if it was just a training room sequence. I think a better writer would have pulled this issue off without that scene but I felt I needed it. On the plus side, it also enabled me to introduce the training of Gabe's new protege if you will.

To be honest, I usually view each approaching issue with a state of mild panic, thinking this is the issue I'll lose all my readers. I guess this is probably a good thing too as it mean you're never resting on your laurels; you don't want to get complacent.

So I guess for Issue 5 I was pretty happy with the result. I kicked a few goals, found a few things i could improve on going forward and felt like I grew a little bit more with the writing and art. Its a long journey ahead but this felt like a small, yet positive step to where I'd like to be.

Book Excerpt

For any who haven't by chance checked out the book, here's a little teaser excerpt from Issue 4 which was published back in July 2014.
If you decide you like it go check it out from your local comic store (if you're in Australia) or at ComiXology if you're international.

a lil' sumthin' sumthin'

Here's a little sumthin sumthin I'm currently toying around with...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Last Issue 7 sneak peek

Here's a final teaser for some work in progress on Issue 7 until its release in April. #makingcomics

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First 18 months

Its been 18 months since I decided that I wanted to get into comics and try the idea of putting out my own book. Looking at the progress today, am pretty happy with my first year and a half. Here's to setting more goals and even bigger things ahead #comics #sequential

From Above Issue 5 now on ComiXology

Is 5 is available as of today on ComiXology! Check out what life on the Ark is like as Gracie and Buster go searching for Teddy, who appears to have gone missing. Meanwhile Gabe begins to train Skye, and Parker busies himself with the interrogation of Snare. #comics