Friday, April 29, 2016

Update #6 (Tom)

Moss gonna beat yo azzz--!!
Above is another sneak peek art from a panel of The Switch, of course with not enough context to give away any type of spoilers.   Above is Moss (who you have seen before), one of the bad guys in the gang Murderers Row.  The way Keith writes his dialogue cracks me up.  Of course, humor writing is one of my favorite talents of Keith's.
Drawing big buff figures is always fun, to me it's just as fun as drawing sexy female figures.  But the women art sell a lot more, soooo........    

On a somewhat related note, I was interviewed by the podcast Panels & Pizza last week for their 75th episode, and we talk a bit about The Switch.  So check it out at

They also have just started a Patreon Page if you'd like to support them; they're one of the few podcasts out there who consistently put out shows week after week with interviews of comic creators of all types and levels:

Keith and I will be on their show in November after the Switch is out!

That's it for this week, back to the grind....

Friday, April 22, 2016

My first official reward sketch

Hey everybody, happy Friday to you all!

Things are proceeding apace here in the land of The Switch. In between my other deadlines, I've locked down the script through page 30 (aside from some possible dialogue revisions when it comes time to letter the artwork).

I always feel happy with my dialogue until I set it aside for a bit and read it over with fresh eyes. Then I take a few minutes to punish myself for being the worst writer mankind has ever known, cry a bit about how writing is just too hard, slump to the floor in a deep funk and curl up in a fetal position. After about 13 seconds of self pity, I pick myself up by the bootstraps, wipe the dust off my derriere (making a mental note to vacuum more often. Damn dust!) and rewrite until the characters are actually saying what I wanted them to, in their own voices, like I should have had them doing in the first place if I didn't always try to out-clever myself.

That's pretty much my process on every single page.

In addition, I managed to complete my first reward Sketch of Electricia this week. Here it is for your use and enjoyment.


This is actually my third attempt at my first sketch. I wasn't very happy with the first two and Tom enjoyed making fun of them. With this one, I kinda wish I had modeled the gray areas instead of just slapping a flat tone down for the costume and electric hair. I'll probably go back in with whiteout and add some highlights to try to give the figure more of a sense of roundness. Also, her foot's not actually cropped in the real drawing, it's just a poor photo choice by me.

So anyway, this one will find its way to the Mattingly family. I'm sure they'll frame it under bright spotlights and treasure it forever. Because who wouldn't?

So that's the news from the world of The Switch today. See you next week, we'll be posting something special.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Week 4: More Sneak Peek Art (Tom)

Hello friends!  It looks like Keith and I are doing the "switch"-off every week to bring you guys updates as we settle into our rhythm here.

I have been working away, so what else can I say?  My work got a little interrupted with freelance work this past week that I was obligated to do--that happens every once in a while.  But should be full steam ahead after this weekend's SiouxPerCon show, where I'll be a guest.  I'll also be doing a panel Saturday evening (6-7pm) on Drawing With the Surface Pro 2 (speaking of Keith's ongoing digital adventures from last post).  We also have started filming for the 1-hour digital download movie that all you awesome backers will receive!  :)

From an art point of view, what much can I do other than show you some non-spoiler sneak peeks:
A closer look at one of the baddest guys on the planet (don't judge a book by its cover!), Lover Boy!

The mullet was too long to fit on this page, so it had to be cropped!

Might as well tease Electricia's hot bod
A couple weeks ago, we showed Switch cosplayer/superfan Saria from Florida, who plans to wow us with her costuming skills.  Well another cosplayer from California wants to step up to the plate wanting to give her shot at our main lady....her name is Rose, and we also can't wait to see what she'll come up with:

Until next week....PEACE OUT!!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Digital Age

I'm sort of a dinosaur. 

A lot of comic book creators have gone digital with their craft, working in programs like Photoshop or Manga Studio 5 to produce their artwork on the computer. Our own dear Tom is a digital disciple himself. He draws and inks and colors directly on his Surface Pro 2 with the same dexterity he has with regular pen and paper. 

Me? Not so much.

One of my ulterior motives with THE SWITCH was to use the opportunity for some on-the-job digital training. I've got some basic Photoshopping skill (mostly timesaving artwork stuff that Tom has taught me how to do) but this graphic novel is a really good opportunity to acquire some new skills at my own speed. Without an editor breathing down my neck, I can relax a bit more and experiment and expand my base.

So if anyone wants to learn along with me, here's the stuff I'm going to be playing with.

First of all, I picked up the DC Comics guides to digital art (by Freddie Williams III) and coloring/lettering (by Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein). I also grabbed Comicraft's guide to digital lettering and Hi-Fi Color For Comics (by Brian Miller). Those are four guys right there that know their shit. Brian Miller/Hi-Fi even backed The Switch so damn straight I'm using his book!

There are also tons of tutorial videos available online but in general, I prefer being able to reference a book at my own speed as I go along. I often can't keep up with videos; it's pretty well known that I'm a slow-witted buffoon.

As far as software goes, I've been using Photoshop 7 for a bunch of years now but I'm debating upgrading to Photoshop CC because it's so modern and sexy. I just installed Adobe Illustrator CC yesterday for lettering and I've had Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio 5 on my Surface Pro for a while. It's as powerful a program as Photoshop but specifically tailored towards comic book production. I've dabbled with it from time to time and have been having fun digging in a little deeper.   

There's a lot of overlap between those three programs. Stuff you can do with one can be done with the other two but while I'm jumping into the deep end anyway, why not? 

I can't afford a Wacom, my kids need to eat and go to college someday but a couple of months ago, optimistic that The Switch campaign would be successful, I picked up a Wacom alternative called a Yiynova (about a third of the price of a Wacom). I'll be honest; it was a pain in the ass getting the thing to work with Windows 10, I needed professional help to get everything running smoothly together. But now that it's all streamlined, I like it quite a bit. The larger screen helps me with a macro-view of the page in progress and I'm working on developing the same line control on glass that I have on paper. At the moment, I'm definitely not professional-level but it's just a matter of time, practice and acquiring the  same comfort and dexterity.

As far as the actual Switch goes, I'm currently revising and locking down pages 11-20 of the script as Tom finishes up the art on the first 10. At which point, I'll bust out my books on lettering and start figuring out how to do this stuff for realz.

Talk so you soon!


Friday, April 1, 2016

Update #2: Hi, From Tom! :)

Hello friends!  I'm jumping in this week for a visual update for The Switch graphic novel.  I've got the revised first 10 pages of script, and am well underway drawing them.  My goal is to have the first batch of pages ready by next week for Keith to letter as he adds another skill set to his already impressive creative resume.  We're not taking this project lightly as we owe it to you guys who are supporting it.  So here are some behind the scenes:

This is a deleted scene that I have already started to redraw, but here it is for you!

A behind-the-scenes shot of me inking.

A very early quick design sketch of Moss, one of the bad guys.
Another cool thing was that I was doing Fanboy Expo in Lakeland, Florida a couple weeks ago.  A cosplayer named Saria stopped by my table to tell me how much he loved the concept of The Switch and wants to do a cosplay of the character!  Getting compliments from fans at conventions is pretty cool enough, but when someone gets excited about a creator-owned project?  Not much feels better than that!  
Here is Switch fan, Saria!  
Well this wraps it up this week there will be more sneak peeks!