26 April 2011

The end of an era...

Alternate Worlds Comics & Collectables has been around for about 15 years, and it's only been in the last two that I had discovered this gem of a store.... and now it's closing. I'm sad for the great guys that worked there, namely Larry Boxshall, who genuinely cared about comics.

It's like I'd made a best-friend of that store and it's staff recently... and now, just when podcasts like NonCanonical, and the local comics creating/buying community was rallying around it more than ANY other (and deservedly so...! because the A.W staff had been so good to us)... someone with a calculator has decided to put a bullet in the store's head.

The official word is that the store is only relocating to Bayswater (far out into the burbs) under a new 'online' business model... but the grass-roots personal nature of such a friendly store that 'kept' buyers loyal, is over (I'm willing to bet).

Larry Boxshall and Joey Morris

It's such a shame because Joe & Larry were on the front cover of a recent AGE mag The City Weekly talking about comics (not to mention on a large billboard in the city's centre promoting the article) and you felt the comics culture in Melbourne rise just that little bit more. I wish the best for Larry and the guys after the store's Chapel St closing (hey, Laz, you might actually be able to drop into a monthly meetup now?), and hope it doesn't dampened their love of comics. It's the death of important things like this that sometimes changes things negatively. I sure hope not.

I feel like I've been kicked in the guts, but I try and remember what made A.W great... it was the staff, the comics and the campfire of friendly conversation.


PS: Join other mourning comic'ers on facebook (like me), that are both sad and annoyed at the store's closure. "Alternate Worlds moving to Bayswater is the stupidest thing I've ever heard"

22 April 2011

PREVIEW: Oxygen, ch5, pg.3 - (part-2)

Once I've arranged the page's composition (previous post), I then print it out in cyan (blue) colour on my PIXMA inkjet. I then sit down and pencil over the rough composition in detail so that when I'm inking the page, I'm not guessing as much. (You can see the 'duller' PIXMA printer's cyan colour behind my brighter blue pencils that I've sketched over the top.)

And then I ink it, scan it into the computer, and remove the 'blue' chanel.

The final stage is just adding one grey tone.


21 April 2011

PREVIEW: Oxygen, ch5, pg.3 - (part-1)

Some of you have been asking for me to show more of my process... so here's some steps that lead to a completed page.

Once the story and scene are fleshed out, I begin thumbnailing (very quickly and loosely) panels onto scrap paper. They're glorified stick-figure doodles. Literally taking only 10 seconds to do as I brainstorm ideas. When I'm satisfied with certain 'shots', I mark them in bold to let me know which ones 'worked' for me (above left). I then produce more fleshed out sketches (until I get the forms and proportions working), and this will end up being the basis of the drawings on the page (above right).

I draw the final compositions on a sheet of blank paper or a sketchbook (rather than on the actual artboard itself) because it frees me up to just let my mind sketch without any pressure or constraints. (ie. I don't have to carefully draw within a panel border and make sure everything will fit at this stage (ie. Word balloon, space for other elements, etc) or be too careful.) That used to really stunt me. Now I just have fun. If the sketch isn't working, I just start again right next to it until I get it right (see above right). And I can just keep fleshing out the sketch with bolder and thicker lines if I wish without worrying that I'm pressing too hard and I won't be able to rub the pencil lines out. It was a weight off my shoulders when I realised this method.

I scan the sketches in and arrange it all on a rough (lo-resolution) image. It's probably the 'graphic designer' in me (which is my day-job by the way), in that arranging a composition on the page comes naturally to me. I shift and scale my skecthes around until they all fit in regard to proportion, camera angles, and captions/word balloons.

When I think it looks right, I'll then print this lo-res page out on my Canon Pixma inkjet (in cyan only) on my final artboard.

Coming up next time... Tight-pencilling.


17 April 2011

BOOKLAUNCH: The List (vol-3)!

I wonderful night was had by all last weekend as Paul Bedford brought The List story to it's dramatic conclusion at Melbourne's 'Loop Bar'.

The book's creators: Tom Bonin, Henry Pop, and Paul Bedford.

The regular show of support from 'the gang'... and Trev Wood did a masterful job of M.C'ing the night.

We even had people fly in from other states. That's the kind of book The-List is. All the regulars from our monthly meet-up were there to lend a show of support, bar those that weren't actually IN Melbourne... I'm looking at you Colin and Jason! It was cold and raining outside, but hellishly hot inside the bar... which suited the books character well. I had some nice in-depth chats with people about comics, producing them, and The List itself. A fantastic night.

Congrats and thanks to Paul, Tom and Henry for the effort of bringing this great comic to us all. It's taken five years, but The List (vol-3) is a great conclusion to a disturbing story. It wraps up beautifully. The art by Henry and Tom is superb. This was the best issue yet! A fitting finale. A must have/read.

Buy it here.


PS: Thanks for the handball of photos from Matt Emery, to Paul, to me.

05 April 2011

The List (vol-3)

The talented Melbourne writer Paul Bedford is launching the final volume to his epic saga The List. It's been five years in the making, so come down to this launch and buy yourself a part of self-publishing history!