Thursday, July 25, 2013

Star Wars Celebration Europe II!

I'm here in Essen, Germany for Star Wars Celebration Europe!
I just checked into my hotel not far from the convention center and thought I'd update the blog with my travel log to the event in Loo Harvest fashion. I actually landed in Germany last Tuesday, stayed over at my uncle and aunt's in Wiesbaden, and had a relaxing time with them at a vineyard last night before taking the Deutsche Bahn this morning to Essen.
My uncle Elmar just texted me, "Enjoy your Space War." I will!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I still draw stuff! Update: April 23, 2013

I should start all my blog entries with "It's been a long while since I blogged...". For anyone who cares, I'm still drawing ever since I put Loo Harvest Chronicles on hiatus last December. So here's just some of the things I've been working on.

I wrote and drew an 8-page comic short for an anthology called Monstrosity. My comic was inspired by the old Eerie and Vampirella magazines. It follows a former circus bear turned evil lab guinea pig turned city-protecting monstrous bear.
 
The anthology features other talents like J. Bone, Sam Agro, Brian Evinou, Phil McClorey, Fred Kennedy, and many others. Make sure to check out the Monstrosity website for updates on this book.

My friend Brian McLaughlin invited me to play in his playground, webcomic series Princess Planet. I always find Brian's work clever and charming, so I was honoured when he asked me to do a guest strip for his series.

My high school friend Kevin wrote a zombie survival guide book and asked me to do the illustrations. Here's the front and back covers.


What's next for me? I completed a 50-page Toronto-based superhero comic called Human-Lizard Saves the Day. This is a retelling of a character I created back in high school that I felt had some potential. Here is Marcus Barrett, aka the Human-Lizard.

I'm aiming to release this "giant-size" comic book in September.

And for those who miss Loo Harvest Chronicles. A plot outline has been written and concept sketches has been drawn for its eventual return. It'll feature a runaway Nightsister/assassin.
 

The best way to follow my updates is through Instagram. Go on, follow me!

Still drawing,
-Jason Loo

Monday, January 07, 2013

Loo Harvest hiatus and 2013 plans?

Sorry for being absent on the blog end.
If you didn't know already, Loo Harvest Chronicles is on hiatus. 2012 has been a fruitful year for this series, but also a stressful one. It's been a tiring run spending hours each day outside of my regular non-creative job to continue the series. Each week felt like clockwork; Monday-Tuesday I would layout and pencil a comic page, Wednesday-Thursday, the page would be inked, then the rest of the week I would sit down for hours coloring the page on my laptop.  I felt it's time for me to gave the series a rest while I can focus on other projects. But don't consider this an end to the Loo Harvest series especially on a sad note ala Empire Strikes Back. There's still more diary entries to translate into the webcomic series (i.e. Twi'Lek mom, Bespin Library, other awkward and heart-breaking moments, ...). Expect to see sporadic updates throughout the year.

What's next for me in 2013?
I'll be part of a monster-themed comic anthology with some talented people: J. Bone, Ed Brisson, Brian Evinou, Adam Gorham, Fred Kennedy, Sam Agro, Phil McClorey, and Marvin Law. The comic short that I'll be both writing and drawing will feature a character from an old comic series I did several years ago, anyone remember Popper Cosmix? Anyone remember Biker Bear? Here's a concept sketch I did of him (updated version).

Human Lizard is another old creation I'll be revisiting this spring-summer. I have an itch to do a 40-page superhero origin story with Toronto being a character in the comic, the same fashion as New York City in Marvel.

In the summer-fall, I plan to write and illustrate my own children's picture book. Ever since I started working in children's services of a public library, being surrounded by children's books and reading aloud to kids inspired me to tell my own tale.

So stay tuned and keep checking Loo Harvest on Facebook for updates!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Highlights from Star Wars Celebration VI

I finally have the chance to blog about my experience at Star Wars Celebration, after a month of recovering from taking it all in. Saying that "Star Wars CVI was a blast" is an understatement, it was awesome in so many levels. I got to see actual movie props up-close, chat and party with a lot of other friendly Star Wars fans, meet Star Wars celebrities, check out the deals on Star Wars merch at the exhibition hall, and attend some entertaining panels.

My highlights (and in no specific order):
-Watching the Clone Wars season 5 premiere on the big screen with other Star Wars fans.

-Attending the insightful Ian McDiarmid interview.
-Checking out the Seth Green and Matthew Senreich's Star Wars Detours project panel.
-Donald Faison making a surprise appearance at the Star Wars Detours panel (he does a voice in the new cartoon series) and he threw out free prizes which one Admiral Ackbar plush doll landed right on my lap!
-Being part of the Diorama Workshop exhibit.
-Seeing other attendees wear my Diorama Workshop T-Shirt design around the convention floor.

-Hanging out with Roxy the Rancor.
-Being entertained by Smuggler's Gambit, a radio-drama style show of one of Han Solo's adventures featuring the voices of the Clone Wars and David Collins (Force Unleashed's Proxy) as an impeccable Han Solo.

-Anthony Daniels stopping by the Diorama Workshop
-Attending TheForcedotNet Party, bumping into Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni and F/X supervisor Joel Aron, voice actor Tom Kane (Clone Wars' Yoda and Academy Award announcer), chatting with Forcecast hosts JimmyMac and Jason Swank, as well as Fanboys director Kyle Newman and RalphMcQuarrie.com's Paul Bateman!
-Being inspired by all the rare and fascinating items at Rancho Obi-Wan exhibit, such as rare artwork, movie props like the Artoo in X-Wing droid hatch and Death Star pieces, and unproduced collectibles like the Droids and Ewoks action figures.




Now I'll be counting the days to Star Wars Europe II in Germany! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Diorama Workshop T-Shirt for Star Wars Celebration!

It was ten years ago when I saw Frank Diorio's diorama workshop build Mos Eisley spaceports at Star Wars Celebration II via the web. Ten years later, I'll be heading to Orlando for my first Star Wars Celebration and of course, one of the activities I'll be looking forward to is the Diorama Workshop's Return to Tatooine event. When Frank tweeted an open-call for an artist to help out in a project, I jumped to the chance (without knowing that Lucasfilm would be involved)!

Frank wanted to do a spoof of Iron Maiden's Killers album cover but with a Tusken Raider rocking out with a gaffi stick. I was also working on the Canadian Joe Con 2012 comic at the time, so I did two quick sketches for Frank's approval. Frank mashed up the two sketches together for the Tusken Raider to look balls to the wall.

To my surprise, my sketches needed to be approved by Lucasfilm ... and they loved it! Wow! All my attempts to become a Star Wars artist through my webcomics at LooHarvest.com and winning the StarWarsDayTO poster contest, it was this T-Shirt project that put me on Lucasfilm's radar. You can't imagine how excited this news made me feel!
On to the coloring stage, I wanted to bring the spirit of heavy metal and rock-and-roll but it came across as too dark and red as hell. I lighten it up a little with some yellow and orange to get Lucasfilm's okay.
Here's the final design that will be worn by some of the staff at Star Wars Celebration, including myself!
 Looking forward to wearing mine around the convention! Let's hope I don't accidentally mess it up with glue and paint at the Diorama Workshop. And fingers crossed that this is only the start between me and Lucasfilm... Dear Lucasfilm, please check out Loo Harvest Chronicles.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Canadian Joe Con 2012

July has been a busy month at the library because of children's programming and keeping the kids entertained during their summer holidays. On top of that, I've been penciling, inking, coloring, and lettering the comic book scripted by Ryan Costello for this year's Canadian Joe Con. It's been a really hectic month but I'm pretty happy with the finished product.


Above, the filecard art to this year's exclusive convention set. From left to right: Black Ice with head design for the action figure's head-sculpt (the Star Wars fan in me added a little Boba Fett flair to the front), Joe Canuck, Retrofit, Traction, and H.A.G.A.R.
Below, from inks to final colors of page 1 and 2.



We're so lucky to have IDW's GIJoe artist Robert Atkins draw an amazing cover for this comic, which makes the Canadian GIJoe comic book look even more official to me!
Now I'm free to enjoy the rest of the summer and hang out with my friends and family who I've neglected this past month. Sorry! Also, I'll have some time to work on backlog pages to Loo Harvest Chronicles for its mid-September return!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Star Wars crafts in the Library

Working in children services of the Mississauga library has its perks, especially when I'm a huge Star Wars geek! Last Wednesday and today I had the pleasure of running TWO Star Wars craft workshops as part of our summer programming: a Clone Trooper action figure workshop and a Republic Gunship vehicle workshop.


Above are examples I made for the kids. The Clone Trooper was made using pipe cleaners through bendy straws, color paper for the chest armor, and felt for the battle skirt. A fellow Star Wars fan from Texas helped cast the Clone Trooper helmets out of resin. Plasticine is good substitute for a head if you don't have any resources to cast resin.

Here are a couple of troopers done by the kids. I love their creativity. Especially the menacing trooper with the green lightsaber.
A juicebox, color paper, glue, and a strip of cardboard was used to make the Republic Gunship craft.
Below are some amazing, colorful designs of the Republic Gunship.

 
 
 
The pink one with the hearts is my favorite. I can imagine this Gunship being exclusively used to transport R2-KT with vital information.
Right before the Republic Gunship workshop started I told my program-helpers, "We must make sure all the kids are following the instructions to a T, so by the end of program they will be so happy about their creations that they'll want to play with it in the library." After the program, I took a peek outside of our craft room to see a bunch of excited kids running around with their Gunships, playing out their own battles in a galaxy far, far away. Usually, I'd tell kids to not run in the library but I made an exception for this one occasion.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

From defective clone to story-time guy...

My Loo Harvest Chronicles webcomic series is somewhat of a diary of mine. Since the start of the series I've used it as a cathartic device to retell my heartbreaks, rejections, and hang-ups in a Star Wars setting. Even though I have plenty more material to write and draw into LHC, I felt my comic counterpart Jacen needed to explore the happier side of life. So if you ever found LHC a little depressing for the last 18 or so pages, there are brighter days ahead.
One of my life's enjoyments is working in the library with kids and starting later this month, you'll get to see some of the fun things in my job, as well as some of the challenges.

Here's a preview of what you'll see in the upcoming Loo Harvest Chronicles pages:

Public library on Cloud City. The building design is slightly inspired by the one I actually work in.

Loo Harvest Chronicles will run up to July 30th then a month long break in August (month of my birthday and Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando!). The series will resume on September 3rd.


Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Star Wars WEEK!

I had a blast with my friends Jeremy and Dila in an evening with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Sci-Fi Spectacular at Roy Thomson Hall. We were graced with the presence from internet meme guru aka Sulu aka Clone Wars' Lok Durd aka George Takei and the marvelous renditions of classic sci-fi themes from Star Trek, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, and Star Wars! I don't care what others say about The Phantom Menace, I think Duel of the Fates is one bad-ass piece! And since today (May 1st) is 501st Day, members of the 501st came out for photo-ops! I felt like a kid standing beside them for photos.
Friday is May the 4th (be with you), also known as Star Wars Day TO! To celebrate the day, I featured the event in Loo Harvest Chronicles. Can you spot all the cameos in this page?
Hope to see you all at Star Wars Day TO in the Toronto Underground Cinema! Also, you can find me at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in the Toronto Reference Library this whole weekend. Stop by table #215-216 and pick up my comic postcards of Loo Harvest!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Upcoming Events with new promo postcards!

I recently prepared new promo postcards for Loo Harvest that I'll be giving out at two upcoming events: Star Wars Day Toronto on Friday, May 4th at the Toronto Underground Cinema and Toronto Comic Arts Festival on May 5-6th at the Toronto Reference Library. Come find me and say, "Hi!". Thanks to Guerilla Printing for printing these out!

And here's a better image of the promo art:

Friday, March 16, 2012

R.I.P. Ralph McQuarrie, 1929-2012

Ralph McQuarrie was a true illusionist in cinema history. His hand painted matte pieces were grand and believable in the Star Wars films and still hold up to today's standards of CGI. His vision of a used, gritty, lived-in look in the Star Wars galaxy is one of the reasons that attracted me to Star Wars than any other science fiction. Thank you, Ralph for imagining a fantastical galaxy I can always dive into when I need an escape from the 9-5 work life!

TOP - RMQ's concept art of a landing pad on Cloud City
BELOW - my tribute to Ralph's piece in an upcoming page of Loo Harvest Chronicles.

TOP - Ralph's concept art of Alderaan
BELOW - My poor man's version of Ralph's Alderaan piece also found in an upcoming page of Loo Harvest Chronicles.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Quinntessential Comix #16, featuring me!

I had an awesome time chatting with Alice Quinn on Quinntessential Comix about my Loo Harvest webcomics, European comics, and Star Wars. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My entry for Star Wars Day TO

Star Wars Day TO is running a poster contest for their event and here's my entry. Since 2012 is the 35th anniversary of a New Hope, I thought of paying tribute to one of the early scenes in the film. There's going to be a voting process on the Star Wars Day TO Facebook page. If you dig my entry, go to this Facebook link and click "Like". Voting will take place 'next week' (Feb 27-Mar 2?).
Star Wars Day TO is an annual event that brings all the Star Wars fans together to celebrate the day May the 4th (be with you). I had a blast last year with their fan film screenings, costume contests, trivia, prizes and even an appearance by the 501st Legion. This year is promising to be even better. I even heard they invited some special guests. Fellow Toronto-based Star Wars fans, hope to see you all there!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My break-ups will look better in the Special Edition.

On the day before that holiday with the hearts and stuff (sorry, I'm not that familiar with the holiday), I'll be launching my new weekly webcomic series "My Life In A Galaxy Far, Far Away Loo Harvest Chronicles". Since the holidays, I've been busy building a backlog of comic shorts that captures a slice of my life and putting it in a Star Wars setting. Make sure to check out the new series at on Monday, February 13. But for now, read the prequel here!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Loo's Misadventures in the Star Wars galaxy...

A while ago I tweeted: "Out of curiosity, who'd be interested in seeing comics about my past misfortunes/mishaps in a Star Wars setting?" I wanted to see if there would be an audience out there that would dig what I've been working on since late-December. Luckily, enough responded to ensure I'm on the right track (otherwise I'd be the only person who would find this entertaining).
I'm aiming to make this a weekly addition to Loo Harvest and I promise the series won't be depressing. Expect it to launch on February 7th!

Me battling a rancor. I know... I didn't actually encounter a rancor, it's a metaphor to a past event.

Phantogram makes an appearance as holo-musicians.

Shaun Hatton (Electric Playground) in the orange also makes a cameo!

-Jason

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Toying around.

I made a simple custom 1308 action figure from my Defective comic just by swapping parts. If you're interested in making your own 1308 figure, all you need is a TIE Fighter pilot body (Vintage Collection), V-Wing Starfighter Clone Pilot head (Imperial Pilot Legacy I, Evolutions set), and Biggs Darklighter's TIE pilot helmet (Imperial Pilot Legacy II, Evolutions set). This figure is perfect for fitting in the background of any of your Star Wars dioramas!

Christmas is coming around the corner! Hope everyone is in the spirit of giving. I cleaned out my closet and my parents' basement of toys just sitting in their packages and thought it was best to part from them so kids can actually play with them. I felt like a schoolyard big bully, depriving kids of their toys. I strongly recommend you fellow toy collectors do the same and donate your toys to a local Toys For Tots charity drive. I hope kids like Luke Skywalker, Han, Snake-Eyes, Cad Bane, and Eva Green (Golden Compass) for Christmas.

Have a safe and Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 09, 2011

This making-of Defective comic turned autobiographical

One of my life's goals is complete!

Ever since I studied Interpretive Illustration in Sheridan college and leafing through the conceptual art books for sale from this traveling comic art vendor on campus, I always wanted to do something as big as Star Wars. But looking at my craft then, I knew I didn't have what it would take to make it look professionally done. So that dream was shelved.
A year later, I had cancer and immediately conquered it. That was when I started to approach life with a "life's too short" attitude. Whatever comic project I worked on, I wanted to see it through to the end. From then on, I still give myself self-imposed tight deadlines to draw as much as I can because who knows when there could be a time I might lose my drawing hand (knock on wood), go blind (knock on wood), or anything else that would stop me from making a comic (knock on wood).
A couple years later, a friend of mine got me connected with GIJoe icon, former Marvel editor, and comic legend Larry Hama to be a mentor-type figure for me. That was a milestone for me because he gave me the most harsh critiques and honest opinions about my work that made me break down only for me to build myself up again. It was a definite eye opener. He taught me a lot about storytelling, compositions, and art techniques. It gave me a new goal to work towards: approaching comics at a professional level. Each comic project I was involved in was another opportunity for me to grow. And in between projects, I'd sketch some sci-fi characters and vehicles on the flip side of my sketchbook. Here's a couple pages from 2008 (character designs were inspired by the animated Droids cartoon, that's why they all look wacky):

2011, I felt it was time to revisit that dream since college: to work on a Star Wars comic. Sure, it wouldn't be under the official license through Lucasfilms but I'd do it out of a labor of love. I always found the art in Star Wars comics carried a high caliber in sci-fi imagination. Artists like Doug Wheatley, Cam Kennedy, Al Williamson were just few of the names I aspired to! Outside of Star Wars, I admired European artists like Philippe Buchet (Sillage) and Romain Hugault (Le Grand Duc). I studied these artists carefully (most especially Buchet and Hugault) with their books opened around me during my creative process.

As my high school Writer's Craft teacher and my college Art Directing instructor both taught me: it's best to keep writing all your ideas down and don't worry about making any mistakes that would stop you from writing. Just keep going until all the ideas are jotted down. Worry about correcting the mistakes later when the first draft is done. I always plotted the stories with this approach to all my comics. My sketchbook would look like a mad man's diary.

And I drew thumbnails that only I could understand.

I focused on a story that felt a bit personal to me. Channeling moments I felt treated like a second-class citizen to the many times I never measured up to certain standards was enough material for me to use in the Defective story. Seeing there's a Clone pilot action figure carrying a close resemblance to me made my decision for my protagonist.

Since the start of September, I would spend hours on top of my regular full-time job working on Defective. On each of my days off, I'd use the entire day to do twice the amount of work, leaving me with little-to-no time for socializing with my friends or family (unless it was Thanksgiving). For the first week, I spent a lot of time on roughs just to hammer down the details of ships, environments, and characters.

I gave myself 2-3 weeks to complete each stage such as penciling, inking, and coloring.

I was living the life of Sam from the film Moon. I've been all alone in my condo drawing something I felt so driven and passionate about. The people on the Forcecast were the only ones that kept me company. Listening to their podcasts play in the background felt like inviting friends over who bring casual, entertaining, and insightful conversations about the Wars. And I didn't have to worry about getting off my drawing chair to treat them as guests since they weren't physically there! Thank you, Jimmy Mac, Jason Swank, Paul Bateman, and Kyle Newman for keeping me company.
From one Star Wars fan to many others, I hope you all enjoy my fan contribution to the Star Wars fan community. Even though it's not licensed or considered canon in anyway, I had fun doing it my way from start to finish. Also, thank you to Dustin Roberts of TheForcedotNet for plugging my work! It's a great thrill to see my name and work mentioned on a site I visit everyday.
Also, thank you to my friend Tamara (Stojakovic!) for fixing my grammatical errors in the comic (I know I could have used your editing skills for this blog).

Your pal,
-Jason