Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken Run @ The Virginia Historical Society

This is the last of the 4 stories we did for the Virginia Historical Society's new exhibit, "An American Turning point:The Civil War in Virginia". This story has a decidely lighter and slightly humorous tone. One of the things I really enjoyed about this job was the variety of tone each story contained. One deals mostly with interpersonal conflicts, one with espionage, one with the brutality of war and this one shows a moment that could be seen as funny although it does involve the theft of some of "Grandma's poultry".

                                              rough pencils, page 2

Initially Bruce and I discussed approaching the story with a very obvious cartoon sensibility, along the lines of the old Warner Bros., M.G.M. and Hanna Barbera cartoons.  We especially applied this to the soldiers running with their feet not touching the ground and the use of big animated sound effects. At one point I mentioned how I couldn't believe the museum was letting us handle this in such an exaggerated fashion. To which Bruce replied something along the lines of "we'll see, it hasn't been approved just yet."

                                                tight pencils, page 2

As you can see in the revised pencils we did have to reign things in a little. This was for the Virginia Historical Society after all. Having said that they did allow us to keep the soldiers running through the fence with the planks exploding in a completely impossible manner.

                                     finishes, last panel, page 2

On this story I once again had the pleasure of working with Noah Hornstein. He assisted me with the initial application of the colors. He also was kind enough to point out a few glaring mistakes in the drawings and I'm grateful to him for keeping me from embarrassing myself, thanks Noah.

                                     finish, panel one, page one

                          Here is the story in it's finished form, enjoy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vortex @ The Virginia Historical Society

This was the one story of the four that was more typical in it's approach to the subject of war. While the previous 2 stories dealt more with the social displacement and strategies employed during a conflict, this one deals more directly with the frank brutality of the war itself.

Once again, Lorna Yarberry assisted me with the colors on this story and as usual she did a great job. I was a little concerned as to how she would respond to the panel with the amputated limbs on the front porch. Much to my surprise and relief she wasn't the least bit put off by it. In fact I think she enjoyed
working on that panel the most.

While working on this job it brought to mind a line of comics I read as a kid called Classics Illustrated. They were a line of comics that dealt more with  literary classics and unfortunately because of this they were quite a bit more buttoned down. They had more of an academic stiffness to them and as a kid I was reading comics more for their entertainment value and the inexpensive escape from reality they offered so yeah, I wasn't a big fan of the their line.

                                      Here' the story "Vortex" enjoy;

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spies Like Us @ The Virginia Historical Society

Detail 1.

Here's the second of four stories we did in comic book form for the new exhibit, "An American Turning Point, The Civil War In Virginia" at the Virginia Historical Society. It's titled "Spie Like Us"

                                                           Detail 2.

I'm hesitant to put it in the category of the "graphic novel" although that was the terminology used in the initial discussions, because the stories simply are not long enough to qualify as such. I guess "graphic novel" sounds more respectable than "comic book" just as once upon a time "popular music" sounded more legit than "rock and roll". If these stories were a 100 pages or longer, I would not have a problem with that designation but since they're not I'm calling them comics.

                                                          Detail 3.

The individual at The Virginia Historical Society primarily responsible for the stories is Andy Talkov. He was great to work with and he seemed to have more than just a surface familiarity with the graphic novel form or in this case, comic book form which proved to be a big plus.  

                                                            Detail 4.

I also want to mention my assistant on this story, I worked with Noah Hornstein. He is a soon to be graduate from VCU's Communication Design Program. He assisted me with the laying in of the flat colors and a much needed objective eye in some areas of the comic.

                                                             Detail 5.

                             Here is the story in full comic book form;

                                          Thanks for taking a look.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New comics work for the Virginia Historical Society

I spent most of this past fall working on another job with Bruce and Dixie Horntstein of Pyramid Studios. This was another museum job, this time for the Virginia Historical Society. It was for an exhibition commemorating the 150 year anniversary of the American Civil War. Even though our contribution was relatively small in relation to the overall size of the exhibit, it seemed quite large to me as I was working on it.

Our portion of the exhibit was designed to draw kids into the museum and hopefully spark their interest in the history of Virginia and the country. We were tasked with creating an 8 page, full color, interactive comic book. It consists of 4 stories, each one 2 pages in length. Each story is told from a different individuals perspective, both politically and geographically. They were designed so that by the end of the first page of each story the reader would be presented with a choice as to what would they do were they in that situation. At the bottom of the page there is a touch sensitive navigation bar where the reader would then be instructed to turn to the next page or return to the main menu.

Granted it's difficult to flesh out character, plot and story in the space of 2 pages but that was one of the challenges we were faced with.

Once again I had the luxury of working with asisstants who I'd like to give a shout out to. Lorna Yarberry laid in the the flat colors and then some on the "Invasion of Privacy" and "Vortex" stories. Noah Hornstein, Bruce and Dixie's son, did the same on "Spies Like Us" and "Chicken Run".

Here's the first story, "Invasion of Privacy", enjoy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Game Time

Here are 3 more illustrations form the Louisiana Childrens Discovery Center. These were from the map that concentrated on New Orleans. We have the most obvious examples of what represents this area, the Super Bowl and the Saints recent championship win, street musicians and the Mardi Gras. Again my assistant, Lorna Yarberry was a great collaborator on these 3 illo.s.

               Detail of the Superdome and the Saints Superbowl win.

                          Detail New Orleans street jazz musicians.

                                      Detail of Madri Gras float.