Friday, December 30, 2016

Capping Off 2016 (Tom)

2016 has been a crazy year for Keith and me.  For the first time in my career, most of the year was spent promoting a non Marvel/DC project--and a co-creator-owned one at that--more than than any other professional project I had worked on previously.  Obviously, The Switch's birth in 2016 will hold a special place in time for us.  With the book halfway drawn, I feel 2017 will be even crazier since it will finally be published.  What does that mean?  Maybe Keith can elaborate with plans/predictions next week in the New Years update.

As Keith mentioned last week, the book started in the US and will finish in Vietnam.  Pretty cool/funny to think about.

Speaking of Keith, remember the GoFundMe campaign that I had set up to help with his broken leg medical expenses?  Last week I updated all the donors, and I have corralled all of the names and addresses for people at the $25/$50/$100 level to send to Keith, as the campaign promised they'll get something in proportion to their backing level (including an original page at the $100+ level!).  So we are working on that--please be patient.  But the campaign itself is left open for any who feel like padding Keith's stocking as a late Christmas gift! ;)  So thank you to all again who helped make and break the initial goal!

Finally, a few more sneak peek pieces of art before I get back to working this Saturday morning here in Saigon...






Have a happy and safe New Year! :)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Holiday greetings from The Switch


Hey everybody, how we all doing this week? Things are as hectic here as I'm sure they are for all of you this close to the holiday. In fact, as soon as I finish this blog entry, I'm going to go start my shopping for Christmas. 

I've spent the past week finishing a job for Marvel that, for some reason, I was only allowed to refer to as Codename: Duckling. I'm not sure what all the secrecy is about, it certainly wasn't a big deal and there were no ducks involved at all. Not even Howard The Duck. I think the comic book industry is just weird most of the time, that's the only explanation I've got.

There's not much new in the land of The Switch. I know from his Instagram posts that Tom has been working on the book from his Vietnamese love nest (fun fact: Tom is a minor celebrity in Vietnam because of his success as an artist in America. They've got NO standards over there.) Aside from that, there's been some chatter about the release date with our publisher, Dynamite. There's a chance it might be pushed back to June because the printer in China apparently needs more time to set up the files for a hardcover of these dimensions. I'll keep you all posted as to how that develops. Tom and I have a convention and three in-store signings scheduled in May to promote the release of the book. Changing the ship date would be a major headache at this point. 

What's not a headache is the page of art I'm going to show this week. your first look at a fully lettered, fully colored piece of beauty from the graphic novel. In the spirit of giving during the holidays, this is what I give you. If you don't like it, well...it's the thought that counts.

Thanks as always for everyone's support. We're wishing you all an amazing holiday season. See you next week.




Friday, December 16, 2016

Hello From Vietnam (Tom)

Shout out to Keith for last week's update as I was in the middle of settling into Vietnam having just landed at the time.  Other than a couple picture posts on my Facebook, I didn't make too big of a deal on my trip to Vietnam. But here I am, writing to you from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where I'll be for the next couple of months.

This is a big deal because Vietnam is where The Switch is going to be finished.  Who woulda thunk?  Certainly not me.  But we are where we are, and I guess Electricia and co. are now going to have a Vietnamese home base.

So for this post I'm going to give you a quick look at my "studio" work space in Saigon.  I've got a rented little hotel room/studio apartment thing with a balcony so I can have as little distractions as possible while working.  In fact, this clip will be a part of the 1-hour behind-the-scenes movie about the making of The Switch for all of the Kickstarter backers.  Take a looksee:

video

Ok, fine, I'll show you another sneak peek at some art....this time an unconventional character:


Until next week--!

Friday, December 9, 2016

An early Christmas present

Hey, happy Friday everybody! Hope no one is getting too overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Christmas is in 15 days so that means in typical fashion, I'll start my shopping 13 days from now.

But don't worry, I've got an early Christmas present for all of you. An entire page of Switch art, previously unseen (although you may have caught a glimpse of a panel last week). Hope everyone digs it. Let me know if you don't and I'll kindly ask Tom to draw it again.

Speaking of Tom, this week finds him relocated to Vietnam where he'll be gorging on Soft Boiled Duck Fetus and spending the winter in 80 degree humidity which, in my opinion, beats the bejeezus out of the -80 degree winters in his home state of Minnesota. 

While he's there, Tom will also finish the art on our little graphic novel. 

From my side of things, I need to figure out how I want this book to end. So far, I've written three different endings but am having trouble deciding which one feels the most 'true' to Electricia and her attempted road to redemption in this story. It's a tricky balancing act trying to find an ending that  a) I hope all of you will be satisfied with and b) that isn't a cheap cop out for Electricia's arc. Maybe when the book comes out, I'll drop the script for the two unused endings on the blog so everyone can have a better idea of what I'm talking about. If anyone even cares, that is.

Tom should be back on the blog next week, he was having trouble getting wifi up and running in his Vietnamese Love Shack today. So we can all look forward to his triumphant return to the Internet together.

Take care, thanks for your support.
Keith






Friday, December 2, 2016

Welcome back to the blog! I'd like to claim that we skipped last week because of the Thanksgiving holiday but the truth it, it was my turn to update and I totally flaked on it. So apologies, hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday, and allow me to take you on a guided tour of some new art this week.

So this little snipped below is actually the back of the head of Jody Levy, who was a reward winner and has a speaking role in the graphic novel. What is that mysterious electrical hand doing to her? You'll have to wait and see on that one!


And here we have The Truth (and Happy Birthday to The Truth's mom, Donna, today!) taking a bite out of...something. It's not an apple. Let's just say she's taking a bite out of crime and leave it at that for now, shall we?


And here we have Electricia in the middle of a violent disagreement with fellow villain Omerta. Could they be disagreeing over Lover Boy? Ladies do love his mullet, after all. Or could they be fighting over something more personal? I wish I could tell you but then Tom would have to shoot me.


Tom made me laugh out loud with this one. One of my favorite supporting characters in this book is the ghost of Ronald Reagan, who fights alongside the team of heroes keeping the world safe in the pages of The Switch. I gave Tom the option of drawing young movie star Reagan or older President Reagan and wasn't sure which way he'd go until I saw this. I think we can all agree our plucky little friend Tom made the right call.


And here we have a full body shot of The Truth in her final costume. She's a lot of fun to write and hopefully you guys will enjoy the character and her role in the graphic novel as much as I do.


I've gotten a few messages from backers over the last week wondering if the graphic novel has come out yet. I guess this coming week I'll send out another, official kickstarter update to all the backers in case some of you missed the one announcing the revised schedule. I'm toying with the idea of including a preview of the first ten pages, all completely colored and lettered. Maybe it's too much to give away at this point, Tom and I will debate the pros and cons. But if you see the update in your email, I'll include something you haven't seen before either way.

I stress about this project every day. Luckily, we're having a ton of fun producing it and it all balances out.

See you guys next week!

Keith

Friday, November 18, 2016

Electricia Unmasked (Tom)

A lot of our art updates on "The Switch" have shown a lot of Electricia, naturally.  Even more recently, we've also shown her in her alter ego costume as the Switch.  She's our main character, after all, and what average comic fan doesn't like to see a pretty female protagonist in her skimpy outfit here and there?
Surely you guys remember this teaser from our campaign back in Spring where we teased Electricia out of costume

 Well I'm happy to give you guys some more sneak preview art of civilian-Electricia, otherwise known as Jenn:

Jenn eating with friend Jody

Yikes!  Some action

Praying? Eating a sandwich?  Who knows.  Actually, I do ;)


A chance meeting....

I've really been enjoying some of the "quieter" scenes with interaction that I've been drawing lately.  I have to buckle down for 3 weeks to draw as much as humanly possible before I leave for Vietnam, where I'll be finishing The Switch.  Don't worry, it's a labor of love!  Until next week....

Friday, November 11, 2016

Post ComicCard Show Wrap-Up (Tom)

Last week Keith came into Minneapolis as guest creator at the local Comic Card show in Bloomington, MN.  This would mark our second appearance together to promote our book The Switch (the first being back in June for the awesome St. Louis Comic Con/Mighty Con).  And it looks like it won't be our last as we have booked at least one show this coming May, and several stores are also eager to have us make an appearance around that time as The Switch will released to the public by then.

As soon as Keith came in last Friday, we were off to do a podcast interview with Adam Vermillion's Panels & Pizza show in St. Paul, MN (Keith's 1st time and he's the main guest; I'm just baggage this time).  We had a terrific show over pizza for dinner, and even filmed some of it for the upcoming 1-hour behind-the-scenes Switch movie that every backer will receive!  If you haven't listened to it yet, you can here....lots of fun details and anecdotes about The Switch and our careers. ;)

Adam (left), Keith, and I have a chuckle over Supreme and Cheese pizza.
As for the Comic Card show itself, it took place the next day on Saturday from 10am till 5pm.  Other guests included Kenneth Rocafort, Frank Fosco, Otis Frampton, and Dave Wheeler among others.  The show went well for us, we were pretty steady with meeting people, signing, and hawking our wares all day.  Show promoter Kevin Denesen did a great job once again, and his young son Tommy was our personal assistant all day.

Of course these exclusive Switch prints (free and signed) helped bring some of the crowd in that day.
Doing a 1970s Supergirl sketch commission at the show


Later that night, we all decompressed and had dinner at Cadillac Ranch at the Mall of America for some Juicy Lucys and more. There's a mechanical bull that you can ride there, and of course broken-leg-Keith just couldn't help himself as he was drunk with sparkling water/club soda or whatever the hell he likes to drink...

Yes, there is video of this if you're privileged enough to be on Keith's Facebook

Stolen picture from Brian. From the bottom left: Kevin (show promoter), his son Tommy, Kenneth Rocafort, me, Dave (Frank's brother), Amanda & Brian VanNierop, Adam Vermillion, and Frank Fosco.  Keith is not pictured here, probably looking for trouble near the mechanical bull.
Speaking of Brian and his daughter Amanda (who you don't really know): they actually came all the way from St. Louis to see all of us at the show.  He's a true fan and amazing supporter of The Switch.  He owns several pieces of artwork from all of us, and doesn't hesitate to travel here and there to see his favorite creators (I first met him 3 yrs ago at Alamo City Comic Con in St. Antonio, TX; he even drove to Metropolis, IL to Metro Comic Con back in January just to say hi).  So shout out to him.  He hung around all weekend with us, and we all had a great time.

Amanda, Brian, and Keith at the Mall of America
To end this week's blog, I thought I'd show one of the sketch commissions for a fan named Marty who came to the show.  He has a hilariously themed sketchbook full of original art by others:  Cthulhu as a pimp.  I present our girl Electricia getting, well, more than just bitch-slapped:



Thursday, November 3, 2016

travel day

Friday the 4th is a travel day for me as I make my way to Minnesota to appear with Tom at the COMIC CARD show in Bloomington. We'll be giving away a free print to the first 100 people through the door or maybe at our table? I don't really know who we're giving them to, exactly. I just know there's no hoops to jump through. As long as you're one of the first 100 people, you're getting one somehow.

Anyway, here's what the print looks like, all finished up from the post a couple of weeks ago, for those who are wondering and can't be at the show. Tom and I had a lot of fun cranking it out and don't forget, this is actually a story page from the graphic novel so you're getting an out-of-context spoiler here.


As far as traveling goes, I'm not going to lie. If the show hadn't already paid for my airfare and hotel, I would cancel this appearance. I'm not fully recovered from my broken leg and surgery and the idea of navigating an airport and traveling to Minnesota when I can't walk yet (without crutches) makes me a bit apprehensive. By the end of each day, I still have quite a bit of swelling and discomfort. I've also developed my routines around the house that I rely on to function. My shower is set up specifically for me to use. My work area is arranged in a way where everything I need is easily accessible. And so on and so on. I guess it's a bit intimidating to leave this cocoon I've developed but dammit, nobody puts baby in a corner! So wish me luck as I tackle this journey and believe me, if I can drag my gimpy ass 1047 miles to Minnesota, I expect you all to bring some books for me to sign.

And maybe carry me around piggyback-style.

Thanks as always for your attention. See you next week!
Keith

Friday, October 28, 2016

Oh Just More Sneak Art

This will be a quick update since I'm getting ready to head over to Fanboy Expo for this weekend in Knoxville, TN (hope to see some of you there!!!!).  In the meantime, Keith handed in the flats to the exclusive Comic Card print from last week's post update.  So I'll be wrapping up the color rendering by Monday so that we'll have our shipment in time to pass out to all who see us next week at the show. ;)  For now, here is some art!
The extent of my layouts before I go in and tighten...

Do you recognize these two? ;)

sexy boob shot

umm..


So next week Keith will be in town, and hopefully we'll have some cool pictures while he's here for Comic Card show as well as the finished color print!

Friday, October 21, 2016

MEOW! Switch versus Nasty Cat...but for a good cause

In last week's thrilling update, Tom mentioned that we were going to be producing an exclusive Switch poster for a convention we're appearing at in Minnesota in a couple of weeks. So, yeah...we did. Here's Tom's pencils for the piece:
 Tom and I are working hard to produce the graphic novel so when something extra like a convention poster comes along, it's hard to create enough time to crank out the extra piece of artwork. Being the incredibly brilliant fellows we are, we killed two birds with one stone here and will also be using this page of art as a story page in the book itself. On this page, Electricia (on an early adventure in The Switch identity) has a painful encounter with her fellow villain/friend Nasty Cat. Can you say awkward? I wish I could show you what happens next, I hope you'll enjoy the rest of the sequence.

Anyway, here below is the finished artwork, my inks over Tom's pencils. Tom hasn't even seen this yet, by the way so SURPRISE, TOMMY!


I stuck pretty close to Tom's art on this. Really, the only subtle change is in trying to add a bit more irregularity to the brick wall patterns on the left and right. He drew the page digitally and laid the brick pattern down with a white-on-black perspective grid and then added the vertical white contour lines to create the brick pattern. I just tried to make it a little more organic and less precise. 

I still need to go in with some white ink and play around with both Switch and Nasty Cat's hair as well as add a little texture to the brick walls. And then we'll color it up and BOOM! That'll be all she wrote.

The original artwork for this page/poster will be auctioned off for a charity benefit at the Comiccard show we're appearing. If you live in Minnesota, I expect you to buy it for a good cause! You can hit their website (comiccard.net) for details, I'm sure. 

Thanks for reading, everyone! Tune in next week as our adventure continues!

Keith


Friday, October 14, 2016

More character art! Plus Lover Boy Changes Clothes again

So this past week I've been having a lot of fun drawing some Switch pages...a lot of characters (many introduced the past couple updates) with a lot of crazy interaction.  We have another character peek to introduce, so here's this week's batch of art clues:
Lover Boy looking sketchy/creepy as always.  His ever-changing wardrobe is now a too-tight Under-Armour-type shirt.
And yet a new character, this one easily the most handsome of our universe so far
A better look at Snow, introduced last week.

Our girl Electricia is not too pleased in this shot
This weekend Keith and I will be working on the exclusive art print for our upcoming appearance in Bloomington, MN for Comic Card on Saturday, November 5th.  Attendees will get the print signed!
Till next week...

Friday, October 7, 2016

Meet The Gang!

I thought this week, I'd take you through to meet a handful of the other members of Murderer's Row, Electricia's cohorts in crime and villainy.

If memory serves, I believe last week Tom showed off Putin, Omerta, and Komodo so this week, let's meet some more of the gang!

First up is Nagenghast. She's the ghost of a German espionage agent that was killed in the 80's. She's named (with slightly modified spelling) after my childhood friend Liz Nagengast, whom you can see hawking Spanx on QVC quite often. IF you remember, the Ghost Of Ronald Reagan is a member of the team of heroes in this graphic novel so that gives him two natural enemies on Murderer's Row. Nagenghast and Putin.


Next up, we've got Walking Fred. He's the zombie crime boss of the criminal underworld and a snappy dresser to boot. He's also telepathic and speaks only in thought balloons. 


And the dapper Asian gentleman below is our good friend Snow. He's a bit like Marvel's Sandman except instead of being able to turn his body into sand, Snow is able to transform into pure cocaine. As he tells Electricia at one point, he's worth millions on the black market. 

Snow's goons are called Snow Angels, by the way.


And meet Tom's design for Nasty Cat. If you remember from a bunch of blog posts ago, my character design for this one was a human body with the head of a cat grafted onto her neck. Tom decided to take her into more of a Catwoman direction which was a nice surprise. It's always cool to see how he interprets my ideas his own way.


And finally this week, we have Crom The Barbarian God. He's either the evil God Of Barbarians or a beefy, insane gym rat who played too much Dungeons and Dragons when he was younger and now believes he's the evil God Of Barbarians. Either way, Crom spouts off one of my favorite lines of dialogue in the book when he advises another character, "All women are born to vex. The electric bitch is no different."


I asked Tom if I could ink the spread on which all these new characters appear for the first time so I promise I'll try not to ruin it.

Hope you guys enjoyed meeting these new members. A lot of them sound a little absurd but I swear, it all works in the context of the book. 

Catch everyone next week! Thanks for reading, as always and by all means, share this blog with your friends. We've got a loyal readership but we can always shoot for the moon.
Keith

Friday, September 30, 2016

New Characters!

Tom here for this week's update while Keith does much more important/pressing work such as Superman: Rebirth.  So I'm drawing away on The Switch pages when I run into a part of Keith's script where we are epically introduced to a slew of very cool characters.  I'm only teasing a few of them here, but one character in particular that I knew ahead of time that I was very much looking forward to drawing....the president of Russia himself?!  We've got some really fun stuff cooked up in the pages I'm currently laying out  ;)
Introducing comic-book Vladimir Putin!

A badass lizard named Komodo. As Keith describes him, he's about a foot taller than Moss.

why not another shot of Electricia?

Interstellar glances at Omerta.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Look, up in the sky! It's a complete page!

Hey everybody, welcome to another thrilling installment of the weekly Switch blog. My name is Keith and I'll be your tour guide this week through all the happenings and snappenings in the crazy world of comic book production.

I went back into the script last weekend to revise the dialogue for lettering. Once I read something I've written with fresh eyes, I always find stuff I want to tweak and freshen up but this time, I got a little bit carried away. I kindasortamaybe decided I had a better idea for the last third of the story and ended up throwing out the last thirty pages of script.

Was there something wrong with the way the story ended originally? Probably not and I'm sure some lines of dialogue might sneak their way back into the new pages. I guess the new idea I came up with just felt more true, more organic to the character of Electricia and the world that we've set up in this graphic novel. Anyone out there that writes a bit here or there knows that in the back of one's mind, things are always percolating and marinating and a story is never really done until it's off to the printers. I'm lucky on this project to have the freedom to go back in and make these changes, it's hugely liberating to be able to really stick the landing.

SO this week, I thought I'd unveil the first completely pencilled/inked/colored/lettered page that we've shared with you to date. You're seeing it out of context so it won't spoil anything for anybody. Hope you all dig it and we'll see you back here next week!

(By the way, if there's an issue with seeing the file on your phones, try looking at it from your computer. The last time the files didn't show up on phones, they were completely fine on laptops around the world.)

Thanks for reading,
Keith

Friday, September 16, 2016

Production Art For Reals

Last week we goofed somehow and it didn't seem like people were able to see the sneak production images that Keith posted up.  So for this week I am reposting them along with another sneak peek of art from The Switch.

The lettering process has begun, and it's very satisfying to me to see the fully finished, colored pages as they roll in.  I'm still pinching myself that this is happening!

This weekend I'll be in Southaven, MS for Delta Fan Fest to hawk my art and of course to promote The Switch.  I hope to meet some of you there if you're in the area.  In the next few weeks Keith and I will be cooking up yet another exclusive Switch print--once that I pencil and he inks.  This will be for our upcoming appearance in Minnesota for Comic Card show.
Page 1 pencils


Inks.  Do you notice anything different?
Keith's flats

My final renders.
And a sneak preview of Lover Boy making himself comfortable.