Brand New


You may have caught Timothy's appearance on World's Strongest Mailman or Boozehounds the past couple of weeks.  And you should, because both of these comics are great fun by great guys. While Timothy has worked with several different writers throughout his comic making history I had never had the priveledge of drawing from someone else's script.  Until Jon Westhoff allowed me to work on a two page arc with Svend and the rest of the WSM gang.

My Svend

It was really interesting working from someone else's script.  Laying out panels from someone else's idea.  Always trying to capture what they were looking for and to improve upon things if and when possible.  There's a lot of strength in collaboration and I appreciated the several emails that Jon and I exchanged over the course of the work.

Tim's Svend

I really enjoyed looking at my work on the strip compared to what Timothy had done.  It's interesting how Bryan Boles character design (which is a blast to draw) got filtered through our different lenses.  Timothy's Svend is a huge brick of a man.  He looks extremely solid with graceful thin lines.  My Svend is dumpier looking and more caricaturesque.  Working with a fixed tip pen gave my character a soft, doughy loook.  He doesn't look as believably strong maybe, but he is comical.  That is a goal with a humor strip.

We also took completely different approaches to our layouts, but that's a story that can wait a couple months.  Don't want to spoil anything from Jon and Bryan's strip.

- Jon O


Slow and Methodical

I finalized the costume that I was talking about last week.  A proper character model sheet would probably have Tuga in profile as well, but this is about as finalized as any model sheet I've done has ever gotten. A head on shot (sometimes I have an action pose as well) with little notes lined up with aspects of the design that I think I'll need reminders for.  Keeping continuity in the story is important and so it's nice to be able to glance at at a reference sheet to be reminded which side of his head the feathers are on, or how many chains are in the necklace. Flpping back through the seven pages of this short isn't too bad, but for Awful Lot my character model sheets were crucial.


Since ironing out Tuga's look I went back through my full page layouts and started drawing Tuga in place of the bean people placeholders. The bean people were already posed framed; I really tried to focus on sharp rendering (relative to myself) and more accurate proportions. To this end I feel fairly successful.  Tuga gets a little short legged at times, but I hope to have remedied the pervasive problem. Next I will start drawing in the other characters and then I'll move through the pages and put in back and foregrounds. Normally I draw in everything for a page before moving on to the next one.  I've seen Timothy take this approach, and it allows him to revisit and edit pages a lot more often.

What worked less was my constant referencing of Barry Windsor Smith's Freebooters while pencilling. I am no BWS.  Even knowing exactly what I was looking at and taking from Smith's style I find it hard to point to anything that resembles his rendering at all. Despite my shortcomings as a draftsman I do think it's smart to look at artists I respect while drawing.  Being mindful of their techniques has to put me in a better state of mind while I'm constructing my own pages.  I plan to look through Smith work on Savage Sword of Conan as I draw the monsters in this story.  I could see why some may be hesitant to take this approach, but I don't feel like I'm aping BWS at all.  That would be impossible. I love his work and hope that I can learn something from a man I consider a master at the craft.

- Jon O'Briant


Costume Design

I've begun work on my entry to the third Low Concept anthology, and I'm really playing with my process. I have everything written and laid out on the 11x17s already, but I haven't nailed down any of the specifics of how I'll render the pages.  This week I'm spending on ironing out the character design and then I can start inserting him over the bubbleman placeholder that is currently drawn onto the pages.

To start wrapping my head around some new ideas for outfits I did an image search for native americans.  My main character will be an athletic type, that lives mainly outdoors.  I really had no idea what I wanted him to look like, so I just started drawing pictures that popped out to me.

Feathers predictably came up a lot, but what was more interesting to me was the prevalence of triangles, and these beaded necklaces that drooped further and further down their necks.  The big discs also showed up a lot, and everyone has long, braided hair.

I'm still ironing out exactly what Tuga is going to look like, but I'm having a lot of fun with this exercise.  I know it's going to help with a lot with the next project.