Friday, June 16, 2017

What else? More sneaky art! (Tom)

Hello! I just got back from a wonderful time in Springdale, Arkansas for Art Pop Comic Expo.  The cool thing about that show is that they used our Electricia art for the VIP/guest passes....we can always use the free promotion!  One other note:  I did a one hour panel at the show on Drawing Comics, and have even recorded it for my YouTube channel.  Check it out here in shiny 4k!

Other than traveling like crazy (as Keith mentioned last blog), I just started doing some work for Big Brother Season 19 that will premiere this upcoming week!  And next week I will be traveling again--back to Knoxville, TN for Fanboy Expo to do the usual thing with signing/sketching/photo ops.  Already I have an Electricia sketch on pre-order!

And without further adieu, here are your art sneak peeks from The Switch for this week, including another appearance by possibly my favorite bad guy to draw (other than Electricia herself)....Vladimir Putin!

What could Putin be thinking here?

Electricia doing what she does best 

Dr. Hate up to no good!

Loverboy up to even worse!

Electricia and Omerta having a friendly chat?
Keith will be back next week while to do my thing in Knoxville....!  Thanks again for looking!

Friday, June 9, 2017

More sneak peeks

Hey guys, welcome back to another Friday installment of The Switch production blog!

As I write this, I believe Tom is in Arkansas for another convention appearance this week. Our beloved Tommy keeps a pretty busy travel schedule during convention season (which used to run through the summer but now seems to go pretty much year round), seems like he's on the move almost every weekend in one state or another. He's a stylish jetsetter, I tell you!

I don't appear at anywhere near as many shows as Tom does because a) I'm not as cool and b) I'm not as cool but I'll be loitering this weekend at a convention at Foxwoods Resort and Casino so if you're in the tri-state area and have nothing to do Saturday and Sunday, feel free to stop by my table. I only charge $10 per hug at shows, quite a bargain, especially because I'm told I always smell like a million bucks.

Before Tom jetted off to Arkansas, he finished a few new pages this week so let me give you some sneak peeks right quick. Let's see what we got...

                                                    (does Electricia bleed Electricity?)

                                               (Look at that cute Dr. Hate. He's so precious!)

                                                          (Tough day to be that old lady!)

All right, my friends. That's it for this week. Everyone be safe out there and we'll see you here again next Friday! Thanks as always for your support.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pics from The Switch Midwest Bonanza

Can you tell it was a long drive to Iowa?

As Keith hinted in last week's post, there was a Switch creative team "tour" in the midwest (Keith flew into our turf; "our" meaning myself, colorist Robb Miller, and even Doug Mahnke who did the variant cover).  We first did a signing at the awesome Limited Edition Comics & Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa on Friday, and then we did the annual MSP Comic Con at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Talk about a little tour!  It was also the debut of of the Doug Mahnke variant print which was a big hit.  Interestingly, we met a good chunk of our Kickstarter backers during this weekend (it probably has to do with me living around here or something during our campaign).

Without further adieu, here are some photos from our weekend excursion (most of these are actually stills pulled from video that will appear in the 1-hour Switch behind-the-scenes movie):

Robb getting into the festive mood while Keith fights sleep (and eventually lost as you saw in the previous photo)
Ah, the debut of the Doug Mahnke variant....

Keith actually brain farted and started signing with the letter "J"...great save, Keith!

The original itself....!

Backer supreme Eric, who not only got the original variant cover reward, but earned himself a minor cameo role in the story!  Thanks for your support, Eric!

Post convention dinner at a so-so Korean joint. From L to R:
Clint Hilinski, Angel Medina, Doug Mahnke, me, Keith Champagne, and Gordon Purcell

Oh, ok, here's another sneak preview art on the page I'm currently working on ;P
Until next week!  :D

Friday, May 26, 2017

Return Of The Switch blog

Hey everyone, welcome back to another thrilling, chilling installment of the Switch production blog. Sorry there was no update last week; I just saw a half written draft that Tom saved off here on the blog dashboard but we were so busy on our whirlwind tour that he just didn't have time to finish it.

For those following along at home, Tom picked me up at the airport in Minnesota last Thursday and we immediately headed off to a romantic menage-a-dinner with our color artist, Robb Miller, at some Mexican place in the Mall Of America. A lovely time, and some guacamole, was had by all.

Friday morning started with a slight hiccup. We needed to be in Cedar Falls, Iowa by 11:00 to sign at Limited Edition Comics , meaning we'd have to leave by 6:00 AM to get there in time. Tom and Robb had a slight miscommunication as to which one of them was picking me up at my hotel. So they were equally surprised when they met up and neither one was accompanied by my smiling face. Those crazy kids. Anyway, all got worked out and we ended up getting to LE Comics by noon and signed and sketched all day, then hit the road by 8:00 to get back to my hotel a little past midnight. It was a long day but well worth the trip. Limited Edition is one of the nicest shops with some of the best people around as customers.

The main event began on Saturday when Springcon kicked into high gear, doors opening promptly at 10:00. I can't say enough good things about the all-volunteer staff that puts Springcon on every year. Just great people who take very good care of their guests. Tom, Robb and I had exclusive prints of the Doug Mahnke alternate cover available at the show and we went through pretty much all of them over the course of the two days. I jumped on a plane right after the show (setting off every airport security alarm with my fancy metallic leg implants for both flights) and got home around 1:30 AM.

It was an exhausting weekend full of nice comic book readers, good industry friends, and a lot of enthusiasm about The Switch. It makes me even more anxious to have the book finished and off to the printers.

Speaking of the Switch, I thought I'd share another full page of art with you this week. We haven't shown off much of Robb Miller's color work yet so let's give him a moment in the sun. Here comes page 21, for your viewing pleasure...

Tom should be back behind the keyboard next week and I'll see you all back in Minnesota for the weekend of Sept 16th for the Comicard show. Thanks for reading, and for your support.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Final Doug Mahnke alternate cover revealed!

Happy Friday, everyone. Welcome back to another thrilling installment of America's favorite production blog for America's favorite in-progress graphic novel, The Switch!

At this time next week (barring any plane crashes. I hate to fly since I had kids), Tom and I, along with the mighty Robb Miller, will all be signing together at Limited Edition Comics in Iowa. Rob, the owner of LE, always treats us like we're far more important than we are and makes a great day out of these joint appearances. His customer base is also great, they make these signings feel more like an all-day get together with friends than official business.  I'm going to see if we can update the blog from Limited Edition next week, maybe some kind of video update. I'm sure Tom will be shooting some footage for the behind-the-scenes "Making Of The Switch" documentary so maybe we can kill two birds.

If you live in the area, stop by. I mean you, Moose Baumann.

So this week, I thought I'd show off the finished colors to Doug Mahnke's alternate cover for The Switch. Tom has ordered a print of this cover that we're going to give away at SpringCon in Minnesota next weekend. Any readers that are there will have a rare chance to get it signed by all four members of  Team Switch (did Tom mention this last week?). Anyway, the people at Springcon are awesome. They sent me a care package full of candy this week, along with a check for some traveling cash for my trip out there. First class treatment all the way and I'm very grateful to be treated so well. Just don't tell Mike and Mike that I'm actually like fifth class talent, not first.

So without further ado, here's Doug's cover. Eric Marshall, I'll be bringing the original with me next week as part of your backer reward. Make sure you get Doug to sign it!

Thanks for reading, guys. See you all next week!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Heavy Promo Month for The Switch

Hello from the Minneapolis airport.  While I wait for my flight back to Knoxville, I thought this would be a great time to give you guys a blog update :)

This month will be great for The Switch in that as we're down to the last stretch, Keith, Robb, and I will be particularly aggressive to help promote the book via appearances.  Unfortunately the book won't be out in time--that would be ideal of course.  But there will be other opportunities for that in the next year I'm sure.

Starting tomorrow at noon, I will be at The Golden Age, 1942 in Maryville, TN for Free Comic Book Day.  Then next week I will be in Sioux City, South Dakota for SiouxperCon.  Then during the 3rd weekend of this month, Keith, Robb, and I will be at Limited Edition Comics in Cedar Falls, Iowa (May 19th) , and the MN State Fairgrounds for MSP ComicCon on May 20-21 (all in one weekend!).  We'll have an exclusive Switch print for that weekend that we (and Doug Mahnke) can all sign!  Finally, I have just confirmed an appearance in awesome San Antonio for Alamo City Comic Con for the last weekend of this month!  I'll be at the Heroes and Fantasies comic retailer store booth there as their guest.  So please stop by to any of these appearances while you can and say hi, support The Switch, and get your special print ;)

I must board my flight now; maybe I'll attempt to draw more Switch on my Surface Pro 2 while flying.  For now, here are the usual art sneak peeks....

Friday, April 28, 2017

very little about The Switch

Hey Everybody, how goes this week?

First off, I was asked by some friends to spread the word of a project they currently have running on Kickstarter. I'm going to do this in an official kickstarter update too but wanted to give you, our faithful few million blog readers, the heads up first.

Bart Sears is a legendary comic artist renowned for the dynamism and powerful anatomy of his figure work. A while back, he used to write and draw a monthly feature that would give drawing lessons to readers. So now, all those columns are being collected with new material, insights, and lessons for all of us to learn from. I'm a backer and if you're interested in becoming one too, please click on the link below. They've got five days left in their campaign.

Brutes and Babes

Thanks to the networking efforts of a couple of super-friends, I started on a major new writing assignment for DC Comics this week. I'll be working with another member of our Switch team so wanted to share the good (albeit vague) news with you guys first. I'll be very excited to let everyone know more about it when I can. Or ask me about it next month on the 19th at Limited Edition Comics in Iowa or over the weekend of the 20-21st at the Minnesota fairgrounds. Tom, Robb, and I will be assembled at both locations with a new Switch print for readers. You'll even get a chance to get Doug to sign it in Minnesota.

As for The Switch itself, closer and closer every week. I haven't communicated much with Tom over the last couple of weeks but I know he's killing himself every day. I got some pages from him to ink yesterday so I'll be jumping on that to speed the process along. Here's this week's sneak peek at some of what I received:

That's all for now, amigos. Catch up to you soon and thanks as always for your backing and support.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Some more sneak preview art...

One day when this book is finished, do you know what I will not miss?  Coming up with clever blog titles every (other) week when they practically are the same thing--MORE EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PREVIEW ART!!!  But before we get to that, I do want to mention that in a month the entire Switch team will be at MSP Comic Con!  And by entire I mean our favorite gimp Keith, myself, new colorist Robb Miller, and Doug Mahnke (who did the variant cover--so that counts!!).  We'll also have a special exclusive Switch print on hand to autograph for all of you good folks who stop by our tables.  :)  If the good Lord is on our side, then we'll be completely done with the book by then.  This past week I got side-tracked with a freelance project that is finally in its final stage.  Then it's Switch Switch Switch.....

Onward to what you really came here for...MORE ART:
Villains meeting....

A new look at our German bad-ass, Nagengast. I actually changed up for hair a bit for something a little more unique.

The charming, smarmy look of Lover Boy, always up to no good.

Someone's getting an ass-kicking!

Who is this? One of our backers (her look not yet finished in this panel).

Friday, April 14, 2017

A startling confession

Hey everybody, happy Good Friday to all of you. If you need a break from dying Easter eggs or relaxing on an extra day off, well, you can always count on the trusty old Switch production blog to provide a minute or two of a distraction for you.

This week, I have a startling confession to make. I'm really tired of The Switch. I've been living with this thing (and the constant stress of how far behind the production process has run) for much longer than intended at this point. For me, all the fun, creative parts of my contribution to the graphic novel were finished a long while ago. Now, all that remains is the grunt work of flatting colors or lettering pages whenever new pages trickle in. Producing a project of this size is a marathon. In this case, it's turned into an ultra-marathon.

Anyway, don't cry for me, Argentina! At the end of the day, we'll have an amazing, Kick-Ass project to be proud of for the rest of our careers and all of our supporters will have something cool on their bookshelves to someday hand down to their children and grandchildren. An heirloom of the graphic variety, if you will.

The finish line is in sight. Just gotta power through some creative fatigue and get there. Somebody cue the 'Chariots Of Fire' music while I get back to it over here.

In the meantime, here's some screenshots of some stuff I've done this week. Happy Easter, everybody. You'll be in Tom's capable hands again next week. He moisturizes his hands so they're nice and soft and comfortable. Or so I'm told.

Thanks as always for your support. See you soon!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Day Late, and Rewards Update (Tom)!

Sorry the weekly blog is a day late-- yesterday was a hell of a day for me due to tax time (my least favorite time of the year), needing to organize all of my paperwork and receipts, and just barely making my appointment in time to see my tax accountant. But that is not your problem. Regardless, here is your weekly update on The Switch, albeit a day late (only the second time we're late with this blog, if memory serves; still proud to have hit every week except for one during Christmas season).

Last weekend I did a signing at one of my favorite stores, Limited Edition Comics & Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  I wasn't the only pro there: industry friends Erik Burnham and Brent Schoonover were also on hand to sign autographs and do sketches for the fans. In short, it was a fantastic time, and if you're really curious about the details of the weekend, then you can check out an upcoming vlog soon on my YouTube channel.  But I mention this signing for 2 reasons.  First, one of the sketch requests I got that weekend is Switch-related: a drawing of Nasty Cat for Nick:

I showed the finished sketch on my Instagram, but here is the first time I've shown the actual process.  I'm always excited when people request Switch characters!  The second reason I bring this up is because I've had several people at the signing mention how much they appreciate the weekly updates here (busted! Now I know there are more than 4 people who read this blog!), as that was a big goal of Keith and mine--to be as transparent as possible for this project for our backers.

Speaking of transparency and updates, here's one regarding the free headshot sketches everyone will receive (which we'll work hard on finishing asap after the book is sent to the printers).  In my rare spare moments, I'll layout and begin the headshot sketches.  In fact, here are a few peeks (keep in mind, they're unfinished but will be inked) of some of our characters for our backers:


Nasty Cat


Lover Boy

Hope you've enjoyed the art here, and have a great weekend!

Friday, March 31, 2017

script to page comparison

Happy Friday, everyone! This week, for our next delightful installment of The Switch production blog (Trademark and Copyright Keith Champagne and Tom Nguyen), I thought we'd do a little script-to-page comparison. It's been a while since we've done one and it's always interesting to me how the images I try to describe in the script are interpreted by Tom (or the other artists I'm lucky enough to work with). So up first, here's the script for page 34...


Same night.

A worm's eye view looking up the base of a skyscraper. A MAN is standing on the ledge, tiny from our perspective.


A different angle on the man. We see that he's a Wall-street type. Suit and tie but disheveled. Crying. Everything is un-tucked. Hair a mess. Being buffeted by strong winds at this height.

The Switch's SHADOW is stretching along the roof towards the fellow.

ELECTRICIA (off): You're probably thinking the world will be better off if you jump, right? All the pain will just STOP?
ELECTRICIA (off): You MIGHT be onto something for all I know.


From behind The Switch, seeing her from about the waist up. About ten feet in front of her, the man on the ledge is turning towards her.

MAN: Stay back! I'll do it!!
ELECTRICIA: I doubt it. People who want to jump just DO it. You're more the “I want a hug” type.


Same angle, still behind The Switch. She's lifting her top, showing the jumper her chest.

ELECTRICIA: I've got your hug right here.
MAN: Huh?


Reverse angle on Electricia, still seeing her from the torso up. Electricity is firing from her chest.

The energy blast is almost completely obscuring our view of The Switch (and is completely obscuring our view of her chest, sorry, Tom).

Point being, she's hidden behind the energy radiating from her, we're still saving her in-costume reveal.

ELECTRICIA: I know. I've got a killer rack.

Angle on the man, now slumped unconscious on the roof, maybe leaning against the ledge. Tufts of smoke wafting off him. The Switch's shadow is being cast over him.

ELECTRICIA (off): When you wake up, you'll be in the hands of people who can HELP you.
ELECTRICIA (off): For both our sakes, let's hope it's never too late to make the most of a second chance.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, the artistic stylings of Mr. Thomas Edward Nguyen (I actually have no idea what Tom's middle name is so don't take that one to the bank)!

I always feel like six panels is a lot for one page, it doesn't leave a lot of room for anything to breathe but this page doesn't feel that claustrophobic to me. I think Tom probably enjoyed this page because 1) he almost got to draw some nudity and 2) it was a fairly simple page to layout and draw. Minimal backgrounds and he's composed it to draw as little figure work as possible--but still did quite an effective job of telling the story from panel to panel. 

In general, production has continued apace this pace week. Our new Switch team member Robb has been killing it, in particular, turning my flatted pages around and getting the coloring of the project on track.

That's a wrap for this week, people. Join Tom next Friday as the adventures of The Switch continue!

Thanks as always for your support.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Why I Hate Windows' Mandatory Updates (Tom)

The above photo of my Surface Pro 2 shows exactly the biggest fear of digital artists.  I walk away from my computer for a juuuuust a bit (approx. 20-25 minutes) and this happens.  I was inking a page from The Switch (more than halfway done), and then *poof*--a mandatory update with no chance to save my work.  And really, it's my fault in a way; I've made it a habit to save my work fairly constantly whenever I have to step away from my table for a bit.  But of course this one time--!  >:(  So here I am re-inking this page that I teased earlier this week on my Instagram.

Anyway, enough ranting.  This past week has been a bit slow for me production-wise (just ask Keith who is awaiting pages from me to flat), but I do have a few sneak snaps to share :

Just who is this handsome, mystery man??

Upside-down Dr. Hate
Speaking of the above pic of Dr Hate, here it is colored by the newest member of The Switch team, Robb Miller:
And another sneak piece with Robb's colors....
 Finally, you backers should have received the update yesterday with a link do download the free Death Valley graphic novel book by Keith, Shawn Moll, and a little bit of me, even. Here it is again just in case:

Until next week--!