Author Archives: Durwin

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Dynamic Chris Moeller

Continuing the series of fabulous artists who contributed to our book, we are pleased to introduce the dynamic Christopher Moeller!

In addition to being a fount of both wit and talent, Chris is a painter par excellence! You can see his work on the covers of Lucifer and Shadow of the Bat. You can play with his paintings via Magic: The Gathering and World of Warcraft (you can even play an all Christopher Moeller Magic deck I am told). And to cap things off, he’s an amazing writer as well, having written and illustrated JLA: A League of One and Cold Steel. However, the project that is nearest and dearest to his heart is his EPIC  Iron Empires universe. Recently, he successfully launched the Kickstarter project Void.

We assigned him a moment that didn’t exist in the graphic novel, but existed in the Fairy Tale. The prose work we wrote allowed us to bring to life details and story that we couldn’t fit in the comic. Chris painted the scene: “The banshee sensed the return of the woodsman and the screeching began anew.” His sense of colours is spectacular, ranging from with the woodsman lurking in the shadows to the Banshee’s screams illuminating the scene. My favourite part of the illustration is the backdrop–the forest is believable, from the trees to the river. You can’t have a story without an environment, and the Idyllwild never looked so dramatic!

Please visit Christopher Moeller’s website and prepared to be amazed! And if you have a chance to, your should play a round of Magic with him–he’ll be carrying his own deck.

“Wow. Simply, WOW.”

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Pages

Guin is overly excited!

Happy New Year! 2014 was kicked off with a bang when we went to our local comic book store to pick up a copy of Previews. To our delight, we were surprised to find an ad for Beautiful Scars on the inside front cover.

As we countdown to our March 11th release, we want to share some of our favourite pages from the book. So, we’ll be sharing a page a week until the big day arrives! (Launch Party TBD)

We like this page because, on the bottom, it shows Princess Lily as a bad ass and introduces the Dragon’s minions! Also, up top, we get to show Ridley’s childhood nemesis (the one-eyebrowed baby, for you Simpsons nerds).

Last, IGN named our book as one of the “Best of the Rest” for March 2014.

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2013/12/20/march-2014-solicitations-the-best-of-the-rest

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Amazing Scott Hampton

One of the great pleasures of having your art friends and family work in your book is the reaction they can have to your world.

Scott Hampton is one of our dearest friends, but he is also one of the busiest artists we know. Constantly up to his eyeballs in paint and comics, he’s currently working on the new Neil Gaiman graphic novel with P. Craig Russell.

We sent him his illustration brief hoping he could find the time to do it. Literally 2 hours later, he sends in his illustration, completed and ready for print. After reading the book, he put aside his work, jumped into the deep end of the pool, and turned in an amazing page.

It was great to see his reaction and our pleasure to post it today.

“The dragon could not harm her as long as she stayed by th­­e road.”

Scott is a diverse artist currently working in Chapel Hill. He is known for his work on Batman, Books of Magic, Simon Dark and the Upturned Stone. He also plays a mean game of pool and is amassing quite the collection of Disney shirts. Visit his website and say hello!

www.scotthamptonart.com

Guin’s reaction to the Amazing Scott Hampton. “What the WHAT?”

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Wonderful Ola Volo

For those of you who don’t know, our graphic novel Beautiful Scars (coming out April 2014) is divided into two sections. In the first section, we are introduced to a young girl named Maddie Shaw. When she hears the wonderful stories spun by her grandfather Ridley, she imagines the fantasy world of Scars the Troll, Princess Lily and Ridley the Woodsman. Inspired by the story, she grows up to write fairy tales. This first section is done using the conventional comics form: panels, dialogue boxes, gutters, etc. Most of the comics focuses on Maddie as a young girl. When we finished the graphic novel, we thought it would be interesting to read Maddie’s writing as an adult.

So, the second section of the book is a prose work entitled: Scars the Troll Meets the Vengeful Dragon. In lieu of a pinup section, we wrote the fairy tale that Maddie’s grandfather inspired. This allowed us to include details that we couldn’t add in the comics but also allowed us to flesh out the world. We divided the story into sections and asked our art friends (really, art family) to interpret it in their style.

We’ll use this blog to show off these spot illustrations every month or so, and the first image we’re showing is actually the last; here’s the end piece by Ola Volo entitled: “And they all lived happily ever after.”

Ola is a Vancouver-born illustrator currently operating out of Brooklyn. She has a wonderful decorative style that reflects her Kazakh heritage. An up and coming artist, she is about to have an artist’s book produced on her work published by Von Zos. Visit her website and say hello!

http://www.olavola.com/

Durwin’s reaction to the Wonderful Ola Volo? Awwww…

The Disney Effect

punchy

Durwin and Guin on our first day signing at
the Archaia Booth…

Time to catch people up on our San Diego Comic-Con experience…

Exhausting while being exhilarating! We got to sell a ton of prints (heartfelt thanks to those who supported our 2013 artistic endeavours), we introduced the con to Guin’s cousin (Ryn = Mind Blown) we got to meet a bunch of new people (hello Royden Lepp, Shane Vidaurri, Moro Rogers, Paul Morrissey and Heather Nuhfer), but most importantly we got to preview our book through signings at the Archaia Booth (thanks to Mel Ceylo, Scott Newman and Tay Taylor for putting on a smooth show) and during our Workshop (shout out to Clydene Nee and Inez Gowsill).

Our favourite celebrity sighting? Hands down, signing comics next to Alyssa Milano (and her wall of beefy security guards).

Our favourite Comic-Con moment? Following two of San Diego’s finest heading towards the Archaia Booth. The Dispatcher calls them: “Proceed to Hall A, we have a woman who is fully nude.” The Police Officer’s reaction: “FULLY nude?” The Dispatcher’s confirmation: “100 percent.”

Classic.

However, for Guin and I, the highlight of this crazy trip is always the Monday after the con, when we and the rest of our booth buddies head out to Disneyland down Anaheim way. Joining Scott Hampton, John Van Fleet and Chris Moeller on this annual event is quite the experience. For all of us, we find that leaving a convention space with 120,000 people to travel to an amusement park with considerably more people is strangely relaxing… It may be the rides, recapturing our youth, or maybe even dinner at the Blue Bayou (shout out to Mike and Liz Kennedy), but year after year, we do this ritual and are always happier for it. We even buy matching tee shirts to commemorative every year.

photo

The most excellent Scott Hampton models this year’s
Disney shirt! Score!

After Disney, we stayed at the beautiful casa of Amanda Visell and Michelle Valiguera (and their pack). These are two wonderful LA artists that we feel pretty fortunate to call friends. They are known for being lowbrow artists and have even been referred as the next wave of mid-century artists. However, Guin and I discovered them through their Disney work (one of these days, Guin will have to recount the Pirates of the Caribbean 40th Anniversary Shirt Tale).

photo (1)

Disney art from the wonder studio of Amanda Visell
and Michelle Valigura!

A special treat was being invited for lunch at Disney Feature Animation with Mike Yamada and Victoria Ying, two wonderful concept artists (and their booth in San Diego was spectacular!).

photo (2)

Off to Disney’s! Thanks to Victoria Ying and Mike Yamada!

(I apologize for my serial killer mugshot photo. The Indiana DMV does not take Glamour Shots. -G) Guin and I recently visited Disney Features last year with a school group, and this time was super special as well. Seeing the amazing art on the walls, both old and new, was inspiring. Being at Disney’s (how it was referred to back in the day by Disney vets) made us wonder what is it about this place that energizes artists from all different industries, ages and walks of life.

Consistency.

For the theme park, they use the same exacting standards today as it was when I had to use tickets to ride rides in my youth. And even though 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is now Finding Nemo, and you no longer have to get comfortable with another stranger’s lap on the Matterhorn, the classics are still classic and the new stuff just fits in seamlessly. Even if Guin HATES the fact that Woody is in the Small World ride, she’ still happy her original work remains intact. And as far as the artists that work for Disney today, I feel that they are the best artists around. Splashier artists might work in other studios, but an average animated Disney feature or ride still ends up being more enjoyable than some studios/parks’ best efforts.

It’s an exacting standard that years in and years out has not changed. And as long as that’s the case, then I for one will be in line buying the tee shirt and drinking the Dole Whip.

After all, we’ll be buying a $200 Sleeping Beauty book from Stuart Ng this week. It’s from the happiest place on earth after all.

Tune in next week when we’ll have Beautiful Scars announcements! For now, we are exhausted!

D + G

After our final Archaia booth signing!

After our final Archaia booth signing!

 

2013 San Diego ComicCon – Artist’s Alley II-21

Hey gang! Guin and Durwin will be heading over to San Diego Comic Con from July 17-21 for a week/weekend of comics craziness and nerd tomfoolery. In other words, it’s our family reunion!

We will have posters, postcards and promos to pass out (and afterwards, we’ll just pass out). The big news is that we’ll be bringing the newly completed Beautiful Scars graphic novel to show off.

As always, we will be elbow to elbow with Scott Hampton, John Van Fleet, and Chris Moeller our partners in crime and comics! We’ll have a group postcard set for sale…

On Sunday, July 21st at 11:30 am – 1:15 pm, we will be giving the following talk:

Using Panels to Shape Visual Storytelling

When designing your comic page, should you use a grid with six-panels or nine? Should you use a grid at all? With input from the audience, Durwin Talon and Guin Thompson will demonstrate how changing the number of panels per page and the flow of information from panel to panel impacts the reader.

See you soon!

On Silhouettes

To give you some insight to our character design process for Beautiful Scars, I pulled a panel that would work out beautifully as an example (it also happens to be the panel I’m working on). In this panel, the Princess sees her friend the Woodsman. She’s about to give him a big ol’ hug.

To me, the moment is about the action. And after channeling my inner Princess and posing the pose myself, I chose the moment where she would gather herself before the hug. In other words, she’s not walking out like a robot, arms in the air in a hug-like motion.

First step is to go through an old Warner Brothers exercise and create lines of action. ASIFA has a great handout I use in my classes pulled from the great Preston Blair book on animation. In essence, I use the fattest digital brush I have and lay down a core mark thinking about movement running through the character. I’ll cheat and add smaller marks to suggest shape.

The second step is to use this gesture drawing as a base to sketch onto using layers. Making the lines of action a bit more transparent, I draw directly on the base sketch. I’m thinking about construction, silhouette and anatomy, but I’m constantly reminded about movement. To make a stronger character silhouette, I adjusted the rose to point down, but the energy still feels right. David Guertin always preaches clear silhouettes (and now I do too!), and all of the important details are an easy read at this stage even if I deleted all of the internal information.

The last step is to ink. Sometimes, the penciling stage will get tighter if I’m nervous about details. But I feel if you over pencil, then you lose all your energy on the inks stage. Taking a cue from Bruce Timm, I try to push my line as far as I can. Inking almost becomes a game… Can I define an entire arm in one stroke? Inks = Energy!

The process for this book is pretty loose, but I think the effects are worth it. Since I’m known for working in a tight style, it’s nice to relax and enjoy the act of drawing again. Guin is constantly pushing me to be looser and looser and I hope it shows in Beautiful Scars.