Monday, March 25, 2013


Since I've shown you the stages of a page I'm not crazy about, I thought I should show you some I, actually, kinda like...

First the thumbnail.  Gotta love the conversation pages.  In this one everyone is seated.  It can be a little tricky, sometimes- positioning characters so that all the conversation flows and the word balloon order works.  In an attempt to speed up, I thumbnail pretty tight- first in pencil, then tighter in ink.  Often the doodles stray into the margins.  A hand or head or some other element won"t work within the body of the layouts.  See the hands at the very bottom? 

Well, the hands weren't the only thing that didn't work.  Once I enlarged and lightboxed the layouts I didn't care for the bottom panel.  It was a little claustrophobic.  So, to the sketchbook 

I didn't take a photo of the pencils, but here they are partially inked.  Notice, I, also, changed the seating chart.  The two vikings on the left side of the table have switched places.   And see, doesn't the last panel work better than in the thumbnail?   

Aaaaand, the inked page...

Wanna see another one?

Here's a shot of thumbs in pencil.  See the notes to tilt the first two panels?  I do that a lot.   If I like how the panel looks, I don't want to redraw it.  That's be hard and I might not get it right the next time.  That's what I like about doing it this way.  The blank page freaks me out a little.  Doing a lot of the work in the layouts I'm able to stay loosey-goosey.  I can get it down informally and monkey around with it later if I need to. 

Aaaand finished thumbnail.  Honestly, I shouldn't call these thumbnails.   They're too big.  They're just about print size.  See, what I did was, I scanned a Marvel or DC page with all the crop, bleed and lettering guides, cleaned it up and I print a stack of it reduced to 65%.  I rarely stay within those areas, but it gives me an idea of what to shoot for.

Once again, I didn't take a photo of the pencils, but here's the partially inked page.  In another attempt to speed up, I've moved away from inking everything with a brush.  Instead, I'll hit a lot of it with a no.2 micron.  This time I went a little overboard.  I feel pretty comfortable with a micron, but it'll never be brush.  The dead line of the pen kind of killed the face in panel 4. Time to break out the pro white and noodle with it to try and breathe some life back into it. 

In case you're womdering, I'm listening to Fela Kuti and africa 70 as I type this.  If you don't like Fela, I don't think we can be friends.

 Partial inks and white out on the face. It's working out ok. 

And what I thought was the final inks. 

Why the confusion?  Well, once I thought I was through with this page I noticed two things.  The first was panel 1 lacked depth.  The dry-brush on the trees in the foreground might highlight my mediocre split dry-brush technique, but it did little for the page.  So, I spotted some solid blacks.  Easy-peasy.

The second was the crazed fellow in the wig and dress was supposed to be covered in filth and leeches.  No small detail.   

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret.  I don't like reading scripts.  Now, let me be clear.  I like to read- prose, articles, essays, history, biographies and above all comics-, but the script form leaves me cold.  It strikes me as disjointed and it's difficult to maintain interest.  My mind starts to wander.  So, I sometimes don't catch everything the first read-through.  It's a nasty habit and I need to be better about it.  It'd save me a lot of redrawing and solve the speed problem I'm always whining about.

You may think this is odd, and it probably is.  How on earth could I ever become interested in drawing comics if I don't like the required reading for drawing them?  First of all, when I was a kid making comics with my buddies, the egg-head writers in the group would hand me a short story and I'd adapt it.  It wasn't until the DC published the Watchmen HC, complete with Alan Moore scripts, that my buddies and I knew what a real live comic script looked like. The only other method we'd ever heard of was Stan Lee's Marvel method of hackery and total dependance on the genius of Jack Kirby.   So, in the face of ignorance, we did what came naturally.  We did it wrong. 

Second, I love to draw comics.  So, I muscle though the things I might not be completer over the moon about.  I love drawing comics.

Do what I say, kids, not what I do.  Read your scripts.  Read them carefully.

Hope you enjoyed it.  And if you didn't, tough titty cried the kitty cause the milk's gone dry. 


Saturday, March 23, 2013


I can't give too many (or really any) details on it yet, but my next project is beginning to take shape.  Old pal-o-mine and damn fine writer, Mark Finn, and I have been cooking up something every bit as retarded as you might expect from us.  The plot is hammered out.  The first script is written.  Once our current obligations are met, we'll dig our teeth into it.  That last bit is what we creative types call foreshadowing. 

You can sample Mark's particular affliction here.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Here's an illo. i did for an upcoming prose anthology companion piece to the online comic,

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Every now and then (ie. often) a page will give me fits.  As often as not, it's not even anything you'd think would cause a problem- a facial expression- a tilt of the head or hand.  This is just such a page. 

Beginning with the thumbs I thought it was going to be easy-peasy, and if I was worth a damn at this doodlin' business it might have been.  My first clue that it was going to be trouble should've been, and often is, when I can't get the scale of the figures right.  See, the guy at bottom left.  He's supposed to be in the panel above him, not at the bottom.  I just couldn't put him where I wanted.  Brain fart.  Crossed wires.  I don't know.  Things weren't flowing. 

For the record, the bird doodle on the left margin of the thumbs is way better than the final on the page.  See how i torture myself? 

I didn't take any photos of the doodling I hated.  I mean, why would I?  Do you go around showing of pictures or your thinrd nipple?  well, maybe you should.  There could be some coin in it, for you. 

Enough about your pain and suffering and back to mine.  After much erasing and swearing and self-pitying tweets and facebook posts, I took to my sketchbook.  I don't do much drawing in my sketchbook.  I should.  I'd be a much better artist if I made the time.  It's, mostly, a place for working out problems. 

The problems on this page, were the first two panels.  I could not for the life of me get them down in a way that pleased me.  my first attempts at panel one looked like a hieroglyph- flat, boring lifeless.  To the sketchbook...

The second panel was a problem of body language and facial expression.  I kind of like what I had in the thumb, but it wasn't making the leap to the page.  So, again, to the sketchbook...

So, what I do with these images once I have them how I want them is, I Make copies on my printer, resizing them as needed, and lightbox them onto the page.  The same goes for the thumbnails.  In theory, it saves time.  After all me redrawing, I need what help I can get. 

So, there's the final page.  Still a bit of a ham-fisted mess.  The rendering behind the figures at top left of the first panel is a mess.  When I'm struggling I tend to over-render.  I do like the guy in the bed.  He was the bit with which I struggled most.  He's now my favorite part of the page.  Go figure.  Some of the rest of the page suffers from tense inking.  Don't ask me what that means.  It's part of the cartooning disease. 

You're right if after reading all this you're thinking this post is pretty pointless.  But then, what about this page isn't.  I just took the gamble that someone who's into pointless things might like to see the step x step of my pointless doodles.  It's, also, an opportunity to extoll the virtues of the sketchbook- a lesson I should learn.  Sometimes it's great to just change the view of the field.  If the page becomes a problem, get away from it.  Grab your old pal the sketchbook.  The fresh page, without the sense of finality, is a wonder. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Yer darn tootin!  In the spirit of renewed dedication, yer ol Uncle Jolty is back. Tried as I might, I was unable to manufacture news in the last nine hours.  So, you'll just have to feast yer peepers on con/signing sketches.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Hey, kids.  It's been way too long since my last update.  I shall endeavor to do better.

Things have been busy at Castle Joltinstein.  FOUR NORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE, the original graphic novel I'm doing with Matt Sturges, creeps along at a glacial pace.  I should have the art finished by May/June.   Here's a recent page. 

I've also squeezed in the odd doodle for shits and giggles.  The following is for the anthology Bad Karma.  My pals B. Clay Moore and Jeremy Haun are a couple of the big brains behind it. 

The next one is for a funnybook, Man of God, created by a group of Arkansas creators.  It's to be used as an alternate cover.  I think it's cute they think an alt cover by me will mean two shits to anybody but my wife and my mom.  It's my understanding dogs don"t recognize two dimensional images.  So, my best pal, Rocko, won't even by one. 

This next little gem was done for Fort Worth Burrito Project.  They sell burritos to raise money to feed and clothe hobos.  Why they don't just give the burritos to the hobos is beyond my understanding. While I'm knit-picking I'm not crazy about the name.  I'd call it Hobo Trough. 

 That's all for now.  If you'd like to see w.i.p. images, you can follow me on facebook or twitter @himwhatjolts