Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Greetings and such.

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest: 
 This is one of those days that I wish was a national holiday but these is some just to pagan about it that USA would never do it.  But I can keep wishing.
In one of those many stories that I have floating around in that thing called a brain there is a world where it is Halloween year round kinda like "The Nightmare Before Christmas"  'cept maybe just a bit more adult like Nocturnals comic book title created by artist Dan Brereton.
At least, that's my dream/nightmare at work.

As of last weekend all the pieces for the BIG 300 were completed. But as for the art now comes the varnishing and mounting the work onto the ten wooden tiles that the gallery had handed out to artists to be worked on.
Wood glue and clamps are the key now.  Just like last year the scratchboard will mounted.  This process takes about four days in total. 

CTS #2 under going the color transition.  I have felt that black and white could carry off a story without color.  In fact if you look at a lot of work that was originally presented as black and white some times the color could detract you from the story.
So there is always a precarious balance that needs to be maintained.
I am hoping to have this book done in the next month or so.

The potential ideas of commissions has possibly raised it's head again.  And I'm not going to say "no" just yet.   Nothing is definite yet but there is, lets just say, some people sniffing around right now.

That situation has a tendency to put comic book work on the back burner.  I know that a lot of artists that do this.  It's not personal validation at this point it's a matter of financial survival.  When your only source of income comes from artwork alone you have to hustle your work and yourself out there. 
Again this is that hard learned fact.

When there isn't any commission work or gallery work the comics are the standby to keep you working artistically.
So I guess in one way or the other,  comics will always be my standby.

I'm sure that a lot of people aren't quite aware of this relationship to art.   They only know that they like it but do they realize the time and effort that goes into doing it?
  Probably not.
For me the hardest part of doing color is what I call the basic FLAT CHARACTER COLOR and BACKGROUND COLOR.  The other aspects of coloring are only highlights and shadows to give the  color form that complements the black and white line.
This goes back to what I was talking about before with the illustration. 
I'll give ya a few examples with one panel out of issue #2 (just enough to whet your appetite for the book).

Fig.1 Is of the black and white line illustration.  This gives you, the reader the idea of where the light source is coming from.

Fig. 2 is of the flat character color and basic background color.  You have to have both.  You could tell a story without but then your story would look very odd.  There would be no flow going on.

Fig. 3 is of the inner shadowed color of the figure.

Fig. 4 is of the inner high lighted color of the figure.

Fig. 5 both shadowed and highlighted color layers are compressed together (generally speaking of course).  This is where it begins to come together by using the inked multiplied layer I start cutting away parts of the shadowed areas that are the less heavily inked and delete them. 

Fig. 6  the final color layers compressed together with the line illustration overlay. The overall image takes shape.

Fig. 7 compressed color and line illustration with a red overlay of the highlighted layer.  This is a mood setting light.  Some of the color will be lost but it sets the panel with a feeling that all is not right with Outpost 10 and Corrax is cautious with his blaster drawn.
And there you go.  It's a simplified version but that's basically how it breaks down for each panel on any given page when I'm working on comics colored pages.

"Pygmalion Modern"  9"x12" Scratchboard
2012 copyright Alan Bennett and BBVA

Well in another surprise and rush I was hit up today for another gallery show over on the. As of the first of Next week I will have one image in a show called the "New Brow" art show here in Portland at
the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (or PCPA).  1111 Southwest Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
(503) 248-4335
I will be entering "Pygmalion Modern".  Funny thing is that I concider this piece to be an "old" bit of work.   My friend Dax had reminded me that the work might be old to me but it is new to other people.
He was right about that so we will see how it is received at this late going show.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

BBVA UPDATE for 10/21/12

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest:

It is half completed for the posting and ready for the BIG 300 later this year.  Doesn't seem like it was that long ago when I was just getting done with last years show a couple weeks ago.
But life seems to have really given me the chance to hock my wares to the people.   Of that I am incredibly blessed. 
With that gallery show closing in the potential show at the Sequential Art Gallery takes on a new high priority. 
With that I have about 3 large pieces of 16"x20" scratchboard to show plus 4 11"x14" accompanying  scratchboards as well.
This doesn't include any of the 5"x7"s left over or any 8"x8"pieces that might not be sold from the BIG 300.  So a lot of potential scratchboard sales to be made.
And of course there are the shows like the Crypticon that have yet to be tried out.

As of this note both commissions have been completed and clearing the path for the already mentioned BIG 300.

Hopefully the second editorial copy will have been printed and ready to be handed off to Jason for editing. 
Now the biggest stumbling block for any artist is and always be two things time and money.
Now I a pretty good handle on the time issue (not always but pretty good) but cash has always been my bane.
But having backers is always a good thing.   A friend of mine Lynnie P.  a woman I call "Art Mom"  has decided to help out with a small investment.  Enough to cover printing for the second issue of CTS #2 and help with the framing for the Scratchboard work I hope to have for the Sequential Art Gallery.
A major bonus for me.
So I might be able to meet the dead line I have set for myself. 

In looking over some of my earlier blogs it's not just reading them to make sure I don't trip over myself but the fact that I might actually see something that I hadn't seen before and just now realized if Corrax was around for the A.I. Wars as a child and with a large amount to remorse for not being able to help his kind from near decimation, why is he helping Raquel way back in the day in the pages of Guilded Edges #4?
I had to think "Did I just shoot myself in the foot?"
No, if anything comic book writers always think that they might have written themselves into a "no way out scenario".  But over the years these talented people could talk themselves out of a wet paper bag and come out completely dry and be handed a medal for it as well.
In the time that Corrax was taken by the "Floating Brain" Ix Triskelion and brain washed, Triskelion had realized that there would be subconscious urges and drives to lash out at the very group of individuals that nearly destroyed his homeworld.  There is a reason why Corrax keeps his distance from the Angry Robot initally and why he doesn't go after AX1-2501 in the crossover between Johnny Vega and Angry Robot because of his duty as a ranger.
When it is done I will have a complete historical layout for Corrax so my editor(s) will have a better idea what has happened before.
All in all a good day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Commissions -R- Us and stuff

Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest:
"The Kirby Tree-2"  8"x8" Scratchboard
copyright 2012 Alan Bennett and BBVA

Work has begun for the last gallery show of the year, The BIG 300.  10 pieces of premiere scratchboard work, 10 chances to own an original for cost of $40 bucks.  Cash and carry.  Ya want it, you buy it.
No wish lists here folkes.  Again these works cover a strange assortment of subjects that have fascinated me for years from fantasy to sci fi.
Big surprise there but the subject matter has been up for debate recently.  Do I abandon topics that I have rendered and love doing for the sake of making my artwork look more mundane to appeal to a broader audience, therefore, the potential of making more money?
After talking to some other professional artists they said "balls to that!".  Well maybe they didn't say it quiet like that but their sentiment was the same.  Do what you love,  people will follow.
In a way that is already happening.  At the last two shows (Rose City and Jet City) had kinda showed me that with returning customers from earlier in year, my work is worth it.
So, no, I don't think I'll be changing my style of artwork anytime soon.  And then there the unknown show of Crypticon that has been talked about my friends George Leon and Dan DePaolo.
George's feeling was that our artwork would sell real well there.
As he did show  about a year ago and had a successful run there.
With the theme of monsters and horror the scratchboard work sounds like a shoe in - as they say.
I'm kinda liking this idea.

"Anne Frankenstein"  11"x14" Scratchboard
Copyright Lazy Bones Studios 2012
Art by Alan Bennett

In a surprising turn of events I had received an email Tuesday morning saying Lazy Bones Studios had deposited the full amount for the scrarchboard piece that we agreed upon. My rendition of their character Anne Frankenstein.  This was a bit of a shock but that personal validation issue I have talked about has again been brought to the surface with positive results.
I knew that one day just based upon the work itself would pay off.
But now I comes the time to put my talent the where the money is.
So I gotta buckle down now.

CTS #2 Cover
copyright 2012 Alan Bennett and BBVA

CTS #5-7 (?) "A.I. Wars" Thumbnail
copyright 2012 Alan Bennett and BBVA
CTS #2 has been lettered and is about ready to be handed off to Jason Pott for Editorial input and changes.  Though no color has been added yet I think the book looks pretty cool so far.  The only thing that holds the book back currently is raw cash to get the book printed up. I'm not quite ready to dive into a Kickstarter account just yet because I haven't formated the kind of incentives I need to offer for those who would back the book.  Now what I am thinking is this a Kickstarter account for a collection of all four individual issues for "Cosmic Confrontation 1-4"  and possibly a sneak peek at the follow up Corrax "A.I. Wars".  This story is nearly at the end currently.  With a few surprises along the way.  
That book gives a little more background into the origin of Corrax and his motivation and what he is seeking after all.  But this after all is only a little bit in his long carreer as well as placing an origin on a old character that is older than Corrax himself and was involved with Johnny Vega.  We just can't get away from that guy.  Even though I have stepped away from working on his own books there is just to much in the warehouse of ideas and roughly completed stories with him and Corrax in them.  And some of the origins also go back to the days when I was still working with Eugene Comics Guild and the 7 issues of Guilded Edges.

So there you go from the kid as I ready myself for finishing the next commission for Godzilla Ammo Works.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Submissions, Commissions and D.O.E.

,Hey there sports fans Al here with the latest: 
"Witch of the Wood- ZO" 16"X20"  Scratchboard and
digital color 2012 copyright Alan Bennett and BBVA

As of this time I be about done with the digital coloring.  Atmospheric images with the computer like distant clouds and moon(s). 
But not much more than that. Otherwise I could overpower the image.
But being careful to balance both could be really cool.
Soon I should be sending it off the folkes at E.C.C.C..  Here is to keeping my fingers crossed. 
The original deadline for this was originally for Oct. 5th two days ago but according to Dan DePaolo that has been moved back three weeks.  I'm still gonna try to get it done by the original date however.

The image is completed and sent.  They have it and now it becomes a waiting game whether it will get in or not.  I am just really proud of the piece I have worked on.

There are two pieces of art that I have been asked to do.  One if for my friend Toby.  Toby you may remember from earlier this year had commissioned  me with a Scratchboard image of Godzilla.   After coming to my rescue two months before heading to E.C.C.C. this last year with a new computer set up he asked me to work on a design for him.
That was the 11"x14" Godzilla.
Now he has asked me to do a logo for him. The logo design is for GODZILLA AMMO WORKS OR G.A.W.
Biggest issue was getting the right katakana lettering for the abbreviation for the image.
This is just a solid graphic.  But I have done that kind of work before.
The other is a pencil sketch for
Lazy Bones Studios and their character Anne Frankenstein.  The commission is set for a scratchboard piece.  The only foreseeable issue was the sizing issue.  He was hoping that the commissioned piece would fall under the standard size of 11"x17" comic page format.  But I think that the piece I have will satisfy him and make the character look cool.
I mean really what could look cooler than a image of your character done in scratchboard?

Well the transfers to bristol have unfortunately fallen behind schedule - that is in my option.
With the sudden influx of private commissions on top of gallery work,  the comic work suffers.  Issue #2 is in the process of being lettered and handed off to Jason for editing.
That leaves the transfers for #3 and #4 to be done.  To put it in perspective; years ago when I was still working on Johnny Vega issues 1-4 my friend
Ben Kreger had remarked that the story was good but the one thing he had an issue with was lack of backgrounds amongst the talking heads.  Years before I had been talking to Paul Guinan (currently of Boiler Plate fame) about this topic.  As a penciler he felt that the reader needed to have a establishing shot at the top of each page or at least one image to ground the characters on those pages. 
So I understood where he and Ben were both coming from.  I have been working hard to ground these characters on CTS and backgrounds are nearly as hard to do as the characters themselves.
But they will be done. And I would hope to have them both done by the end of the year.
And all of this work will lead into next years big project- "Dreams of Elysium" graphic novel.  



Well I figured that should start stirring up the waters with mono epic. 
I do have some standard illustrations of a couple of characters but of course these are subject to change to- except for "the Masque" which I have already done. 
Hopefully with my fingers crossed that book will move me out of obscurity into the limelight as a serious illustrator.  
OF COURSE there are going to be changes in the work as dust this stuff off but I think that this will be good for the rest of the book as start thinking about the future and next year.  The feeling that I have is somewhat it was like when I started working on Corpse Cop "Corpsecile" 16 page comic.
I am looking forward to the work.