Saturday, August 25, 2018

First pass of layouts completed!

Wow, so this next graphic novel is going to be 50 pages with 4 pages of epilogue. I had no idea how big this thing was going to be until I finished the first pass of layouts.

And here they are, below! That's a hell of a wad. (I really give myself a lot of work to do, don't I?)

I'm going to let it sit for a while and come back to it fresh so I can improve on it. In the meantime, I'll be working on my website.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

New graphic novel: layouts

I'm now working on my next book, a fantasy graphic novel called "Rumours of Wolves". This story follows on directly from "The Penance of Borund the Bear", showing the fate of Duchess Karria.

The story is complete, so now I'm teasing the detailed synopsis into a script with thumbnails, and then into rough layout pages where I figure out the action from panel to panel.

Apart from close ups, each panel means answering a bunch of questions. Is it an establishing shot? How much of the environment do I need to show? Does the story make sense from panel to panel? Am I introducing a new character here? Can we see his face at this camera angle? Who's talking, in what order, and how much? (Even the dialogue balloons need to be thought out, so that I can place the characters the right way in a scene and with enough space around them for their speech.)

I use very simple models and mannequins in Maya to figure out the perspective and composition of the trickier panels. This lets me play around with camera views, and highlights problems I might not have considered (for example, thick stone walls mean you will have deep windows!). The more problems I solve at this early stage, the better.

Here's an example scene: three riders on horses, and a fourth character standing nearby. I have poseable 3D mannequins, but at this early stage, I don't bother posing them yet.



(Oh, and transparency allows me to see inside the buildings, too!)

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Penance of Borund the Bear is here!

The book is printed and ready for sale! Hooray!

Technically this book is number two in the "Bear Wolf Trilogy" (while "One Step Ahead" is book one), but this new volume is actually a prequel.

Also, after book three (coming next!) I am going to... add a book four. Because I am terrible at planning.

Anyhoo, here's the cover, and if you'd like to grab a copy then head on over to the Indigo Puma website. There you can see details of my books, sample pages and artwork, and the shop.

I'm planning a major rebuild of my website and shop, but in the meantime, you'll have to make do with Gumroad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Penance of Borund the Bear... Almost there!

Guess who just got a proof of her new book! Woot!



This is an illustrated short story, ie mostly prose but with 16 pretty illustrations throughout. Although this is book two, it's actually a prequel to "One Step Ahead" -- if you're wondering how Borund the Bear ended up with such a high bounty on his head, then here's the answer!

While all these books are printing, I'll be rebuilding my website and the shop so that you can actually grab a copy. I'll post a link when it's all done.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Illustrating "The Penance of Borund the Bear"

I've been working away steadily on "The Penance of Borund the Bear" and I'm on the final stages for the interior artwork. Half of the images are finished, and the other half are coloured but need lighting details added. In a week or two, I'll work on the cover, and then... Done!

And then I can get started on book three!

Here are two images I recently finished. Borund the Bear is working as a palace guard on night shift so that he can fiddle locks and search rooms without anyone catching him. Unfortunately, he is about the open the WRONG DOOR and then... Things will go wrong.



And below is Duchess Karria, posing as a messenger so that she can escape from...

Well now, that would be telling.


I'm pretty much on track to get this thing finished by April, and then it'll be off to the printers!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Head sketches

I'm gearing up for book two: "The Penance of Borund the Bear" which will be an illustrated short story (mostly prose but with some illustrations). I'm doing the final edits to the story, so I'll be working on the artwork soon.

After "One Step Ahead", I just wasn't happy with how I was drawing faces, so I've been studying this book and doing some practice: Anatomy of Facial Expression.


This is an incredible book and I highly recommend it!

I started with bits and pieces of faces. Trying to do upshots and downshots of faces means fighting with your brain a lot. It's tricky.


After a lot of frustration, I started drawing faces from photo reference. (The weird-looking top left image is my loose, reference-free warm up. This helps to get started on a drawing session.)

Faces are such subtle, nuanced things. A philtrum curling inwards or outwards is the difference between a slight duck-face and a tight-lipped expression, and it really doesn't take much to change the face's entire mood.

Often I would find that the photo reference was smiling harder than my drawing, so I'd go hunting for clues to find out why: lower lid covering the lower part of the iris, wrinkles around the eyes, the cheek crease (caused by distortion of the malar fat pad, something which DOESN'T EXIST IN OTHER ANATOMY BOOKS, DAMN IT!), the stretch of the lips...

Faces are tricky, but I'm going to decode them! Or die trying.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

"One Step Ahead" now with the printers!

OMIGOD! I uploaded my printable PDFs tonight, after so many colour tests and checking through everything so many times. It's impossible to know exactly how the colour is going to come out in the final print, so all I can really do at this point is hope. But, my printer did a beautiful job of "The Pique of Death" last time so I think this book will be in good hands.

Here's the cover! Now I'm going to go collapse for a while.