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,

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

After a 3.5+years hiatus...

It's been a long time since I touched anything on this blog. Just yesterday, I was going through all my posts from 2005-2008 and never realized I was such an active blogger. Mind you, this was before Facebook took over my other methods of social networking. I deleted over a hundred posts just out of embarassment.
Anyways, I now have time to catch up and share what I've been up to for the best 3-4 years when I was on blog-hiatus.

In 2009, I teamed up with my buddy Arthur Dela Cruz on a buddy-action-comedy webcomic called 3 Second Rule. He wrote the script and I did the art. We made roughly 60+ pages until Arthur went on hiatus (he was tied up with other side projects), then eventually the site went down. It was a shame since I loved working on that series. I approached it art-wise like a European comic.

For those that know me well, I'm a huge GIJoe fan. I remember when I was 6 acting bratty in front of my parents at church, my mom reached in her purse and kept me quiet with a new GIJoe action figure. Every day when my mom or dad took me out to a store, I left home with a new Joe. Yes, I was a spoiled only child. So, lucky for me, I got to draw all the art and write most of the stories for the GIJoe: Canadian Convention Edition comics in the 2010 and 2011 Canadian Joe Convention. Special thanks to Michael Heddle for hooking me up with this gig!
Here are the covers to the 2010 and 2011 comics.

And since my mom was very financially-supportive in my Joe collection, I had to feature her in GIJoe-fashion, a public service announcement.
The Canadian GIJoe Convention received a lot of media coverage, including G4's Electric Playground! Shaun Hatton is a good buddy of mine and it was awesome of him to cover the event. So to return the favor I shilled his band Cobra wearing their t-shirt on camera. If you want to see me be all nervous in front of the camera, click this link.

In fall of 2010, I took part in an art show, Post No Bills - A Celebration of the Film Poster. Artists got to pick any movie and give their own treatment of the film poster. I was on a Danny McBride high with Eastbound and Down at the time so I chose his film debut The Foot Fist Way as my poster and channeled Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon for its composition.

February 2011, my art gang Sketchkrieg and I took part in our own comic art show, Paper Trail. The premise of the show was like broken telephone in comic form. My friend and fellow Sketchkrieger Evan Munday explains the rules very well:
"It started like this: one SketchKrieger would create one comic panel -- any size, any format. That panel would be passed along to a second illustrator, who was then instructed to illustrate a new panel within the next four days. That illustrator would pass that new panel (and the original) to a third illustrator, and the cycle would continue. The sequence was illustrated one panel at a time, each illustrator unaware how the previous illustrator intended the story to progress. No plot or outline was devised before committing ink to paper. Everything was intended to be surprising and improvised. And no dialogue was allowed.
The resultant story (currently still in progress) is full of bizarre twists and turns as the paper chain progresses. In-between gutters, genres flip from post-apocalyptic saga to romantic comedy to political thriller. Characters die and are reborn, their motives change as often as the illustration style." Zen Rankin, another fellow Sketchkrieger captured the show very well in this wrap-around collage:
There was a little buzz right before the show opened as we were featured on the National Post! My piece is the middle-right, the one with the kid snapping her dad's neck. That's daddy's little angel!

Here's a spot illustration I did for 24 Hours newspaper on Portishead when they played a show in Toronto a couple months ago. I pulled an all-nighter getting this done (only because I was shooting zombies in COD: Black Ops up till midnight) and I was listening to a lot of Portishead all through the night. This was probably the first illustration this publication ever accepted.

For those who were a fan of my teen covert-op runaways series AWOL'd, I've worked on a prequel series called The Creepos that will be posted for free online in 2012. I've got two issues done with roughly 60 pages in full color.

Now that we're caught up, I'll feel you in later on what I've been up to the past few months.

I promise not to be a stranger,