Friday, December 8, 2017

Hello from Vietnam!




Hi, guys! It seems like only a short time ago that I was writing to you from Vietnam....and yet I am back again.  Thanks to Keith for filling in last week and for the props on my engagement.  Not that you care, but today I have to go to the future in-laws to meet that side of the family.  Fun times. 

As Keith mentioned last week...there's not much to report these days as we await final production side of things. It's admittedly slowing down a bit due to the holiday season, but the light at the end gets brighter to print.

So all we can do, other than wait (and you supporters are awesome, you won't regret it), is to throw up the occasional non-spoiler panel and give you updates on behind the scenes stuff/the obligatory art (by the way, I HATE the format of blogspot--am I the only one who has problems with adding photos, and then they jump all over the place??):

It sure doesn't look like an art store...
Not a recent pic, but I picked up supplies just like these at the local art/office supply store. Why?  To work on REWARD HEAD SKETCHES this trip in my spare time :)

Truth looking bad-ass



Electricia looking badass right back
potentially spoiling scene?

Another fun before/after

See u next week....








Friday, December 1, 2017

Hey everyone, it's Friday and that means (for most weeks, anyway) that it's time for another installment of the production blog. I got a message from Tom this morning saying that he was in Japan and asking if I could update the blog for him so here I am, updating the blog. Tom says jump and I update the blog while he continues on to his final destination of Vietnam for the next few months.

I don't actually have much to report today. I haven't heard from Tom in the past few weeks aside from the message I got this morning so I can't give a crystal clear picture of what kind of progress has been made on The Switch since the last blog update. I skimmed through the dropbox folders before posting this and counted about 7 pages that aren't uploaded yet so I'd say we've got approximately 83 pages in the can. I'll bet Tom is cursing me for adding 10 extra pages to the story; without that extra chunk, he'd be done.

There is some exciting non-Switch news according to a video message that our little Tom posted on Facebook/Youtube yesterday morning. Tom is officially engaged and soon to be married! I'm sure hearts (at least one...cough...yaybo...cough) are breaking all over the world as the news spreads and it's hard to believe that Mr Nguyen, who has been a perennially stubborn bachelor from the day I met him, is about to cross the threshold to marital bliss. 

I don't want to speak too deeply into Tom's personal life but I know that preparing for his wedding and also wading through all the red tape from immigration so his soon-to-be wife can return with him to America has taken up a lot of time and given Tom a lot of gray hair over the last few months. Well...welcome to marriage, Tommy! It doesn't get any easier.

Anyway, here's some sneak peek artwork for the week. I'll catch you on the other side... 



Never ask Electricia to give you a breast exam!


Cat fight, Nasty style!




What? There's a giant robot in this book too?




Electricia may have anger control issues

And that's a wrap for this week. Tom will be back next time (I hope?) to announce that he's finished with the book. Fingers crossed...

Friday, November 17, 2017

In the deep waters

Hey everyone, welcome back to this week's installment of The Switch production blog! Thanks to Robb (two b's, dammit!) for filling in last week and curse me for missing the week before. I was heavily snowed in under deadline on a Black Panther project.

It's been a weird week in the comic book industry with the dismissal of a longtime DC Editor for sexual harassment/assault. The reason I bring it up here is because I'm pretty sure Tom has harassed almost all of the Switch backers, as well as the entire state of Minnesota and country of Vietnam, in one way or another. In case he gets arrested or murdered in the near future, there might be a little bit more of a delay while we figure it out and get the book finished. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail, after all.

I'm kidding, of course. Tom is actually a prince of a gentleman, especially with all various models he works with. He's kind of the anti-Terry Richardson if you know your fashion photographers. But the real reason I bring up sexual harassment/abuse this week is because it's a theme that actually plays a role in Electricia's story. There's an element of abuse of power in her relationship with Lover Boy; not that Electricia hasn't done plenty of heinous things herself over the years but the unhealthy dynamic between those two is an underlying factor in her desire to change her life for the better.

It's funny. Much like how Putin is much bigger news today than when I chose him as a villain in the book, the theme of sexual abuse of power has also exploded. All we have left is for Ronald Reagan to return from the dead and fight crime and we'll have hit the hat trick of prognostication. Truly, ahead of our time.

As for the actual production update, Tom and Robb this week informed our publishing partners at Dynamite that they're working on the last 10 pages of colors and should be wrapped by Thanksgiving. I'm cautious about giving out a date when the book will be finished because every time I do, I'm proven wrong. But I'm optimistic that we're swimming in the very deep waters on this and just about to drag it to shore.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here's some preview art this week, all out of context with stupid captions to throw you off even further...



"What did you do the floor with your claws, you stupid cat?"


"YAAAAAGH! WTF is going on here?!"
(That one might actually be the real dialogue from the book)


"Staring contest! Don't blink!"


"Putin love nothing more than pussy."

That's it for this week, guys. Thanks for all your support, patience, and kindness as we work to wrap this beast up once and for all. See you next time!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Hello Switches, Switchers...er, supporters of The Switch!


It’s me, Robb Miller the colorist, just checking in with the Friday blog update.
The end of production is very much in sight as I wrap up coloring the final pages and they are placed in the final layout and then word balloons, sound effects and everything else is added in!


I know I wasn’t initially an artist working on The Switch in the beginning but I do appreciate the patience of fans of this big graphic novel!


I know firsthand what it's like to back a project that doesn't come out on time. I have backed several crowd-sourced campaigns (including this one) and have had varying experiences with each. I have been waiting a long time for a camera band for my iWatch and still haven’t gotten it. Soon I will be like Dick Tracy! Supposedly the new bluetooth being added and ability to work with Series 3 iWatch is part of the delay.


I got my Hi*Fi Coloring for Comics book and a reward was having my name in the book (apparently not my last name though.) The Hi*Fi book was helpful in expanding my skills and helping me get the coloring job on The Switch!


I am currently working my way through my Andy Smith’s How to Draw SUPERHEROES Sketchbook! When I can’t think what to practice drawing, this guides me along!


I am excited to get Bart Sears’ DRAWING POWERFUL HEROES: Brutes and Babes! at some point. Remember the tutorials in Wizard Magazine?


There are several books from artists/creators geared to educate and entertain! I love to back people trying to do their own thing outside of a corporate umbrella but ironically, things sometimes take longer to produce outside of that corporate umbrella. Nothing is as simple as it first seems.


When I finally get my CMRA iWatch band, I know if will be top of the line and better than what I initially gave my support to. As one of only two people that have read the entire script for The Switch, I know all of you that supported it will feel the same. We're all so excited to finally be able to announce that the book is done.

Here are some black and white to color examples from the book.


If I told you what Dr. Hate was saying here, you'd hate me for ruining it!


I do have a last name, you know!


Call her Miss Jackson if you're Nasty.


"Your hair looks a little static-y today, Lover Boy!"


"Aren't our costumes supposes to be white? Shit!"


Keith will be back next week with another update. Thanks everyone!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

From Pencils to Inks (Tom)

Every once in a long while on one of my various social networks (usually Instagram), I'll post a before/after of some the Switch work from my pencils to the finished inks. I've gotten comments remarking on how "loose" my pencils are.  Do I always work that way? Nowadays, I'd say yes for the most part. But it didn't use to be that way.  At the beginning of my career, I'd pencil so anally/tightly (perhaps a poor choice of words LOL) that you may as well just do a "straight to colors" copy of it before it goes to print.  With that method, the inking stage not only became incredibly boring (essentially you're replicating the drawing, line-for-line, twice), but the art lost some of its dynamics and stiffened up by the end of the inking stage. In other words, it lost whatever energy and looseness it once had during the pencil stage.

In the middle of my career, I remember working alongside my pal Doug Mahnke during a crazy deadline.  Sometimes he'd come over and we'd pull late nights on literally several pages at a time.  Sometimes he'd be inking right on top of his loose pencils, and I was telling myself, "This is why I need to always get better drawing!"  One particular deadline during Green Lantern, I actually was helping him finish some of his layouts as we'd pull an all-nighter.  We'd swap pages, and I'd do some black spotting, some contouring, then swap and he'd do some detailing, etc.  Talk about having your back against the wall and being thrown into the wild!

Contrast that to today: I'm a better and more confident artist, and in turn I'm much more relaxed than my younger self.  I'll rough in just enough to layout the page, and then do necessary guidelines.  I'll draw just enough information so I'm not guessing too much--but largely my inking stage is the drawing stage.  It not only saves me time, but it also saves my sanity and keeps things non-redundant.  The bonus is that I feel this process keeps more life and energy into my lines than my previous method of drawing by carving out pencil lines tight enough to make grooves into the paper.

Enjoy these before/afters from The Switch, heading to you this winter :)


Crom, Nagengast, and half of Vladimir Putin


Lover Boy losing his sh*t


Lover Boy again, he can't seem to keep his saliva in his mouth huh?


The Switch

In contrast to the above examples, this is fairly tight (for me)





Friday, October 20, 2017

Preview follow up

Hey everyone, it's Friday so that can only mean one thing: there's an 87% chance the Switch production blog is going to be updated before the weekend hits. And seeing as you're reading this, clearly we fell within the point spread this week.

We were very happy with the enthusiastic responses we received for the 20 page preview over the past week. You guys are the best, most supportive group and we're so glad you enjoyed the appetizer as much as you did! We've been working on this stuff in more-or-less a vacuum for so long, it's gratifying to get that extra encouragement.

IF for any reason you weren't able to access the link or download the preview, please email me at keithchampagne@gmail.com and I'll make sure we iron out whatever kinks are preventing you from seeing it.

Tom emailed me a bunch of snippets to share this week so without further ado, here's the weekly preview art, presented all out of context with captions that generally have nothing to do with anything that's really going on...

Bartender subtly eavesdrops on Jenn and Jodi. Electricia promptly kills him.

Jodi reeeeeaaaallly loves her Arnold Palmer


Jenn notices Jodi got a nose job

Lover Boy realizes he forgot to wear deodorant

Putin shows that world leaders don't manscape their pits


The Truth wins the local "Whatchoo talkin' bout, Willis?!" Gary Coleman lookalike competition.

And that about wraps it up for this week. Again, please contact me if you didn't have any luck with the preview. We'll be back next week where I'm sure Tom will give an extensive update on where he's at with the artwork.

Thanks to all!
Keith

Friday, October 13, 2017

20-page SWITCH PREVIEW to be available to backers!!!!

You read that right-- Keith, Robb, Bill and I have prepared a 20-page pdf. preview for Dynamite's solicits...so we figured "Why not let our patient and trusty backers to get a first peek, anyway?"  :)  So expect an email/update any day now on where you can download it.  We're both nervous and excited to see what you'll think.

Since the book is still awaiting final colors and letters, I thought for this update I'd let you guys in on some sneak peeks at the Switch Behind the Scenes movie project that all backers will also receive:



Keith working away in St. Louis last year....

And "switching' shifts as I work and Keith sleeps.  



Talk to you guys next week!