Saturday, September 30, 2017

Reward art, sneak peeks and something new!

Hey everybody, how's it going out there in blog land? Sorry to be a day late and a dollar short. Tom and I had a miscommunication about what art to post this week. I was waiting for him to send me some stuff without realizing that some stuff he had already sent me was what he had intended for use. Unfortunately, I'm pretty dumb and that sometimes gets in the way of my life.

So let's see...what's going on with The Switch this week? As seems to be the running theme, we're inching ever closer to wrapping this thing up and sending it to the printers. We've brought on a production artist (and Switch backer) Bill Tortolini to help get the lettering in order and build out the book design according to Dynamite's specs. The production side of the comic booking process is this sort of weird, simple-yet-complicated language that kind of mystifies me. It's all tiffs and dpi and jpegs and cmyk and templates and Illustrator and Indesign and blah blah blah. None of it is very hard to learn (if I could just get someone to explain it all to me) but we're so late in the game on this project that it would be a disaster to do it all wrong and then have to go back and redo it properly. So the prudent option was enlisting Bill, a very experienced letterer and designer, to come in and make sure everything is correct the first time around. So thanks for stepping in, Bill. You're greatly appreciated.

So here's some art this week. First up are the pencils for an entire page of art from the graphic novel. This art features backer Jodi Levy, who picked up one of the "appear in the comic" rewards and will now be known as The Switch's best friend from high school. Take a bow, Jodi, you're a star!

Next up, a little sneak of a panel from the last third of the book. Could this be The Switch preparing to run the hundred yard dash? I doubt it but if I told you what's really going on, I'd have to kill you!

And below, a quiet moment between Interstellar, Electricia, and Lover Boy. I secretly think that Lover Boy is Tom's favorite character to draw ( with Moss and Dr. Hate in 2nd and 3rd), it's been interesting to see his physical look slightly evolve over the course of production.

And finally, I thought I'd show a sneak peek of a project that Andy Smith and I are going to run on Kickstarter once The Switch officially goes to press. We've been slowly plugging away on this one in whatever free time would allow, getting it ready to launch. The book is called Barbaric and trust me when I tell you it's unlike any barbarian story you've ever seen before. If Conan and Preacher had a baby, it would read a lot like this book.

Colors are by award winning legend Moose Baumann, making his return to comics with us after taking a hiatus from this bullshit industry for a few years. We've VERY lucky to have Moose, as you can see from his work below. 

That's all for today. Thanks again for all your support and PATIENCE. I'm very hopeful of sending out a massive 20 page preview of The Switch this coming week. Fingers crossed all the moving pieces come together in time.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Keith Comes to MN Part Deux

Tom here writing from London, Ontario (I'm here for Forest City Comicon, so sorry for the 1-day late post).  Last week was a fun week for The Switch team.  Keith came into town for the annual Comic Card Show in Bloomington, MN, his second appearance in the state this year (with no signs of stopping--more on that later.)  But this time, he came sans crutches so he's not as gimpy as he was previously.  Unfortunately colorist  Robb Miller couldn't join us this time as he was on vacation.

The show went well as usual, and promoter Kevin Denesen (and son Tommy) put together another well-organized show and showed the guests a good time.  Artists Tim Seeley, Frank Fosco, Dave Wheeler, and Bennett Pisek were also on hand to greet the crowd.

Here are some highlight pictures from last weekend:
On the way to lunch after picking Keith up from the airport

Kevin took us to Crayola Experience at the Mall of America where we acted like children and made our own crayons huhu!

So I made original Switch related merch!  :)

I broke my crayon huhu :(

At Comic Card show, unveiling the exclusive new prints that fans got for FREE

Keith and I working away

fans with the print (signed of course)

Artist buddy Tim Seeley (whom I hadn't seen in over a decade) gifts me this awesome Lost Boys book he wrote!  Thanks, Tim!

Me, Frank Fosco, and Keith

Capping off the night at the hotel bar before sleep

Goodbye, pal!
So it looks like Keith will be back in 2018!  He's already signed on for Comic Card again next fall, and I'm trying to get him here again in May for the annual awesome MSP Comic Con at the MN State Fairground!  At least by then we'll finally have the book to sign huhu.  

Finally, here's a Switch-related sketch I did at the show:


Friday, September 15, 2017

Greetings from Minnesota

Hey Everyone, thanks for coming back for another weekly installment of The Switch production blog. This week, I'm back in Minnesota for the third time in the last year, appearing at the ComicCard show tomorrow in Bloomington. So if you're in the area, stop on by! And if you're not in the area, you should fly in because really, how often do you get to hang out with Frank Fosco, Tim Seeley, Tom Nguyen and me?  Unfortunately, our color artist Robb is away for the weekend, preventing it from being a gathering of the entire Switch team. But we're going to try to soldier on and make something of the weekend as best we can without him.

While I'm here, Tom and I are also working on pages from America's Favorite Graphic Novel as well as going over other matters related to The Switch. Tom has been shooting more footage for the behind-the-scenes making of The Switch documentary that all backers are going to receive; something even shooting footage while he's driving which is pretty scary to me. So if you happen to hear that Tom and I were killed in a tragic car accident this weekend, odds are good that it's because Tom was texting or shooting video while driving.

It sometimes seems like there's a staggering amount of moving pieces to keep track of with this project so face-to-face time is really beneficial to keeping things organized. All the emails, texts, and calls in the world can't replace a 10 minute chat sometimes.

Tom and I made custom Switch crayons after lunch with convention organizer Kevin Deneson this afternoon. Tom is sad because he instantly broke his.

I also flatted the colors for a page in my hotel room this afteroon and spotted something rather conspicuous. Can you spot the same thing I did in the below image?

See it? One of Electricia's secret super powers is to change her shirt between panels. I guess she wanted to show off her guns a little more or something. So this page goes back to Tom for a quick patch to fix the inadvertent wardrobe malfunction. Oh, that Tom...

That's about it for the blog this week. Sorry if it seemed a little unfocused but still better than no blog update at all, I hope.

See you all next week...or tomorrow at ComicCard!

Thanks as always for your support.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

One Week From Another Switch Reunion (Comic Card Show w/ Exclusive Print)

...well, mostly.  In one week, Keith will join me at the annual Comic Card show (which will also feature artist friends Tim Seeley and Frank Fosco) in Bloomington, MN at the VFW!  Last year was loads of fun, and I couldn't be more thrilled that Keith will be back in Minnesota (fun, considering he was just here back in May for MSP Comic Con).  Unfortunately, our colorist Robb Miller won't be able to join us as he'll be vacationing in Canada.  Guest cover artist Doug Mahnke may or may not pop in to say hi, but he might join us for dinner.  But the cool part--even though the book is still not quite in our hands yet--is that we'll have another FREE exclusive Switch prints for all fans who stop by our table.  That's right, no strings attached; it's just our appreciation for your support.  What kind of print, you ask?  Well here it is:
The exclusive Comic Card print...and yes, we'll even sign it for you!
So we do hope to see some familiar faces (as well as new faces/friends) at the show next week!  Per Keith's post last week, you can feel free to bitch to us in person about the book being late. :D

Speaking of the Switch creative team--here are a couple non-Switch plugs:
Superman #30 is now out!  Written by Keith and pencils by Doug Mahnke!
CBS's Big Brother just released artwork I did recently of one of their stars, Jessie Godderz ("Mr. Pec-Tacular"). All I'm allowed to say is that you should tune in to Big Brother as we wind down the season! ;)

I'm in Aberdeen, South Dakota today to be a keynote speaker for Fandom Dakota Con!  I'll be speaking/demo-ing at 1 pm at the University Student Center if you catch this reminder quickly enough.  

Enough jabber, here are new sneak peeks at The Switch!
Lover Boy

I just love drawing him!

You can probably guess this is Electricia...

A nice, quiet scene

Friday, September 1, 2017

Angry backers and the evolution of Lover Boy

Hey everybody, it's Switch production blog time again! It's still Friday so I think that means we're back on schedule with the blog. I've got some ground to cover with this update so let's not waste any time.

First and most importantly, I got this message from Switch backer Kevin Smith the other day. I replied on the Kickstarter site but since all those messages and replies are public, I wanted to address it again here. Kevin says...

"It's been almost a year and a half since this was funded...while I am aware of the blog updates...I did not fund blog updates. When are we gonna actually see the physical items we funded?? This is becoming ridiculous."

Kevin makes a good point. You guys didn't fund blog updates and the production of this book has taken much longer than we'd hoped. For the most part, everyone has been very supportive and understanding but I certainly get that it's frustrating. It's frustrating for us too. That's why we try to update the blog every week, to stay transparent and keep everyone appraised of our progress. There have been delays we couldn't anticipate: Tom hurt his neck early on. I broke my leg and was immobilized for a period of time. Other work took priority because the bills don't ever stop. None of these are meant to be excuses, we're the ones who are late. But it hasn't been from a lack of effort. So thank you all sincerely for hanging in there with us. We anticipate turning the fully designed graphic novel in to Dynamite on 9/15, who will then send it to China to be printed. There's a window of a couple of months for the books to be shipped back here and during that period of time, that's when we plan on producing all the sketches and physical rewards you pledged for. And hopefully, everyone gets their books around Xmas time or shortly after the new year. And as we've done all along, we'll keep you in the loop every step of the way.

Speaking of Dynamite, we've started working this week with their marketing department to figure out how best to get the book out there. They have their own methods of marketing and we're also hoping to go outside the box a bit and develop some new strategies to extend the advertising reach even further. The problem is, we're idiots so if anyone has any ideas, please let us steal them and pretend we thought of it on our own!

I was looking through files on our dropbox yesterday and it hit me how much the physical look of Lover Boy has evolved from page one throughout. It's very subtle, I wonder if Tom has even noticed how he's pulled the character in a subtle but much more loathsome direction over the course of the story, See if you can see what I mean...

To my eye, Lover Boy has gone from being pudgy to being downright corpulent and disgusting as the book has progressed. Strangely, it mimics his character arc. So either Tom's subconscious is working over time or our little buddy is a genius! You can choose on that one.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough this week. Thanks as always for joining us. Your support means the world.