Beautiful Scars: Meet the Fantastic John Van Fleet!

John Van Fleet is one of the more impressive guys you’ll meet. And I’m not just talking about his goatee. He’s creative and clever, and will keep you in stitches. He’s also an outstanding artist with a huge amount of creativity. (There’s also a professional poker player under the same name, and I’m not entirely convinced that he’s not ALSO John in some kind of disguise.)

He has a really provocative style that combines 3D models with painting to create some really interesting mixed-media paintings. His clients include D.C. Comics, The Walt Disney Company, Mammoth Records, Sony Pictures, MGM Studios, Marvel Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Electronic Art, and now, little ol’ us!

When we were thinking about the moment to assign to John, our thoughts went right to dragons. Specifically, our dragon. This moment shows where Nightshade the dragon is slain, and plummets to earth (not too much of a spoiler; we won’t tell you how it happens!).  With John’s 3D prowess, we knew he could deal with such a massive form in a really cool way. And we are so, so thrilled with the result. I love the distressed feel of this image, it feels like a cellophane film strip about to burst into flames. His version of Nightshade is truly terrifying – a perfect end to a perfectly evil creature.

Check out more of his amazing work at his site! http://johnvanfleet.com/

Edit: Here’s the obligatory awkward reaction shot, this time from a very sickly Guin! Even with the plague, she’s super excited about this dragon.

guinthumbsup

Thumbs way, way up.

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Rockin’ Ryan Hill

This week, it is my pleasure to introduce Joseph Ryan Hill’s contribution to the fairy tale:

“Firefly hovered low enough for Scars to jump!”

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ryan for quite a while… he’s one of my oldest friends. And though he’s been in comics for a very long time (starting at Dark Horse), he’s now one of my favourite colourists working in comics today. However, he’s an amazing artist and one of the few artists who can combine action with flair.

We gave Ryan a moment full of action and he rocked it! Maybe it’s his animation influences (Zelda?) that inspired his choreography of the Nightshade the Dragon, Scars the Troll and the Woodsman on Firefly. Or maybe it’s his comics influences (Stan Sakai?) that pushes his bold linework. Or perhaps it’s the colouring influences (Macross?) that paint a scene that is both vibrant and exciting. Whatever his tools, it’s working and Ryan’s work makes the world a better place!

Sadly, he doesn’t have a website (shakes angry fist in the air). But here’s a couple wonderful writes up on his new Judge Dredd book from IDW, so go get it:

WIRED: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2014/01/judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

MULTIVERSITY: http://multiversitycomics.com/reviews/review-judge-dredd-mega-city-two/

 

Ryan Hill’s rocking illustration makes Durwin go “Oooh!”

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Remarkable Robin Carpenter

When we show off the book to anyone, this is the image that people always stop on and squeal a bit. I know I definitely did. This is the work of Robin Carpenter, a super talented young illustrator from Vancouver, BC. After graduating from VanArts in the Game Art and Design program, he came to Emily Carr University, where he is finishing up in the Illustration program. He has already began to make his mark on the illustration and concept design world, and we’re really glad to have his fantastic work in this book!

This scene is where our woodsman meets Karolle, the satyr. We didn’t put him into the graphic novel portion, but he’s a key player in the development of the woodsman’s character. We only had a vague image in our heads of what he would look like, and so we left it up to Robin to give Karolle form. And he did not disappoint! Karolle is is wisest creature in the forest, but I love how his cuddly exterior means you have to look a bit deeper than the surface to see who he really is. Which is really what this book is about!

And if somebody doesn’t make a stuffie of Karolle, I don’t even know why.

See more of Robin’s work here: http://robinoart.daportfolio.com/ or follow him on tumblr!

Hourly Comic Day 2014!

February 1st was Hourly Comic Day and I actually caught it early enough in the day that I was able to participate! Of course, it took me til the next day to actually post them…but that’s better than last year’s, which never got posted at all!

I misplaced the adapter to my Cintiq so my friend let me use his Galaxy Note with Sketchbook Pro installed to clean up my drawings. I’ve never used something like that before to do more than doodle on, but it definitely is something I’d consider buying for travel drawing and sketching. The following was using the factory stylus and the Sketchbook Pro app, of which I am a big fan! (No one is paying me to say this, but they can certainly send me one for free if they’d like.)

hourlycomicdayhourlycomicday2hourlycomicday3hourlycomicday4hourlycomicday5hourlycomicday6

hourlycomicday7

That was fun! Once I get started with these, I want to make a lot more. It improves my memory, for sure.

OMGYAY

I received my preview copy in the mail today! (It hasn’t made it all the way to Canada yet, poor Durwin.) It was the most exciting moment I’ve had with this book so far. We worked so long on this book, to get it finished and then proofed and edited, to finally have it in my hands as a finished thing is an incredible feeling.

So incredible that it deserves a ridiculous animated gif!

omgyay

Click to play!

Only about 6 weeks until it can be in your hands as well. Yes!

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Magnificent Michael Stribling!

Michael Stribling is one of those artists who has such a huge range of style that you’d swear he’s two or three people posing as one. His work can range from painterly realistic to 3D cartoony. And whatever he does, it looks great!

Michael’s worked in illustration, graphic design, mural art, video games and comics, most currently as Art Director of Interactive Content at Leapfrog Games. Personally, my favorite work is what he does for comics. He’s great at capturing the action of a scene or the power of a character. I love what he does with characters like Wonder Woman and Superman, so we knew he would do something awesome with ours. And he did not disappoint!

This is the sequence when the princess gets snatched up by the evil vines and the two heroes must fight them off. I love his take on the vines, the red color makes them look even more vicious and they really pop against the neutrals of the characters. The emotional tone of all of these pieces is different, and I love to see all the different interpretations of each scene. This has a much murkier and dangerous feel to it than what we did in the comics section, and it’s hard to say which direction I like better

(And the woodsman’s hair looks super luxurious, which I appreciate.)

For more of Michael’s great work, check out his website or his DeviantArt page!

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Page of the Week

This week’s page is one of my personal favorites. The top panel shows a proud Ridley escorting his lady around in the newly-fixed Panhard. It’s one of the first panels we finished completely, and served as a reference for the styling of a lot of the other pages. The bottom is a dramatic view of the dragon, the first time we get to actually see it in the book! So, it’s a fairly important page to the story and as a reference to the rest of the visual style of the book. I remember having a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to do the bottom panel’s background. It had to be something that wasn’t too busy or overdone, because the focus needs to be on the dragon. Mimicking the style of trees from the top, but simplifying them down to their base elements, ended up being the perfect solution. And now it’s one of our favorites!

We’ve talked a lot about the fantasy side of the book on this here blog, but not about the history side. So let’s remedy that right now!

We wanted Ridley to live through some extraordinary times. And while every era in human history is pretty fascinating, we felt that the early 20th century held a lot of interest for both of us. There was so much happening with innovation in technology, society, fashion, you name it. But, tackling a historical project also means hours of research to make sure our details are correct. Questions like “when exactly were spiral notebooks invented?” (1934, by the way), or “when were crayons available?” (1903!) came up whenever we wanted to put any kind of detail or prop into the story. We both learned a lot, about subjects we hadn’t even considered before starting.

Major details, like the car Ridley is driving above, required some more in-depth searching. We had to find a car that would have been available in England in the early 1900s. Panhard et Levassor was an established woodworking and machinist firm before making their first automobile in 1890, and by 1900 they were one of the largest and most modern automobile manufacturers in the world. No wonder Ridley was so excited about it! When we learned about this car, it jumped out to us as a good fit, and also as a gorgeous machine in itself. It was a little hard to find reference for when we were looking, however. Once, I even found an old advertisement on the wall of a hotel in Victoria, and for a long time that was the best full shot of the car we had. Now, it seems like it’s everywhere! There was even one up for auction recently (although it’s a slightly different model than ours). We ended up finding a video that a car enthusiast had taken during an antiques car show and posted to Youtube as a source of major reference, especially for the engine. Oh well. I guess if we decide to bring it back in another book, we’ll have all the reference we can handle!

Last, the good PhDs at Comics Alternative gave us a shout out on their podcast highlighting the January Previews offerings. At about the 1 hour and 4 minute mark, they talk about Beautiful Scars. And yes, we are both nice and heartwarming! Have a listen

http://comicsalternative.com/2014/01/08/episode-69/

Beautiful Scars Fairy Tale: Meet the Spectacular Steven Tabbutt

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Steven Tabbutt’s work, his work is a study of contrasts. It can be detailed, yet graphic. It can be painterly yet flat. But mostly, his work can be stunning yet provocative.

“Princess Lily was named for the beautiful flowers that flourished on the edge of a terrible wood named the Idyllwild.”

We assigned Steve the start of the fairy tale, thinking that he would create a simple portrait of Princess Lily. I don’t think we were prepared for the beautiful piece that he turned in (and on hindsight, I don’t think he does “simple”). This lead image distills some of our goals with the fairy tale. Narratively, it displays the strength and resolve of the princess. Visually, it plays with decoration and detail. It’s a fantastic way to open the fairy tale!

Steve is one of those artists that successfully balances both a fine art gallery practice as well as a busy illustration career. He exhibits in gallery shows in New York, Paris and Tokyo. But, if you can’t go to one of those openings, you can find his work for such clients such as the New York Times, the Smithsonian Art Museum, and even the Grammy Awards. And now you can find his work in comics! Visit his website, and prepare to be knocked out. Again.

www.steventabbutt.com

Edit: It wouldn’t be an artist post without a ridiculous reaction photo! Guin freaked OUT when she saw the detail of this piece. Still cannot believe how this guy is able to do what he does. He’s a magic man, I tells ya.

ridiculous face

WHAAAAAAAA

 

Beautiful Scars: Our Favourite Page of the Week

And… ACTION!

Continuing the tour of our upcoming graphic novel, we wanted to share an action sequence.

This is a fun page to show off because, amidst all of the action, we get to reintroduce Scars the Troll. In the top section, Ridley is flying high in his DIY racer, but in the bottom story, the Princess and Woodsman are being overwhelmed by the Dragon’s minions. Our goal in running concurrent storylines throughout the graphic novel was to blend Ridley’s memories with Maddie’s fantasies. When two moments line up, we illustrate the idea that one memory can directly affect an idea. We wanted to counterpoint young Ridley’s exuberance against Scars’ stoicism (in reality, the troll is happy on the inside!).

Our book made the cut for CBR’s January Flippin’ Through Previews highlights! March 11th can’t get here fast enough!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/04/flippin-through-previews-january-2014/

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.”