I finally finished 7 Pirates last week. All up I think it was a 21 month journey. The last month or so was a heavy crunch to get the last pages colored. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Although in my typical artist self-loathing opinion... some of the first few pages are a bit spotty :> I wont post any of the later pages (spoiler police...) but here are a few from the middle of the book.




sorry, no words. The lettering is in French and I only have access to the high res files without it.
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Sword and Sorcery

Quick update with a few early character ideas for my next project, which I hope to get going after 7 Pirates is finished.

Elfin Spear

This first one was done more recently, I was playing around with using simpler coloring techniques and doing more work at the drawing stage. I'm somewhat attracted to the idea of this look, with very simple flat coloring. Of course because it's less time consuming but I also like the way it forces a focus on good design. and I have tended in the past to rely on doing a lot of rendering and painting instead of solid drawing, which I want to focus more on in the future. Getting it to work on actual pages might be another story altogether.

Snow sword

This one is kind of the same thing but worked up a little bit more. Pencils a bit sketchier. I've wanted to update this site more often but it looks like once a month so far. I am penciling the last 4 or so pages of 7Pirates and they are quite panel heavy, so I'e been a bit snowed under. Mostly the book has been about 8 panels a page which is light for a French book, but a few of the last ones are 10 or 11 I realise now, despite getting a week to do a page, doing a whole album with 12 panels a page would definitely be a a lot of work! I have had it easy so far :) More respect for French artists. Not as easy as it looks.
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Page 36 Process animation

A Look at the process I am going through for the 7 Pirates pages atm.

Layout Process

The layouts here (done by Jérôme Lereculey) are quite fleshed out, and as I mentioned earlier, It was quite a task to figure out how to interpret them when I started. I have been keeping quite close to the composition. Mostly because the idea to have someone else do the layouts in the first place was to limit the amount of back and forward with the writer and editor concerning small changes to the storytelling. which, with a language barrier might have been messy. Not to mention time consuming. Also, I find if the composition of a panel is working well, changing small parts of it can cause a domino effect (which normally ends badly!). The upside of having to work like this is that I now understand a lot more about where exactly certain elements of the art lie. Obvious really, but it never occurred to me how much the composition and posing of a character influenced how they come across. Because even though I designed all the characters at the start and Jerome then used them as reference, his interpretation of how they would act changed the way I viewed the story. So in some ways the end result is much more of a mix of his style and mine than I thought it would be. And of course having to draw someone else's poses forced me to get over weaknesses that I would have otherwise covered up. I have changed the workflow I use a few times over the course of the project. At the moment, I am printing the layouts at about A4 size, tracing the basic placement of everything. working out any perspective properly. And then doing a rough version of the page at that size. Then I scan that rough and print a larger blue line version which I do final lines over. Then scan and remove the blue in PS etc. Before that I was doing roughs at full size. And before that I was just drawing the rough with a light pencil on the final bit of art board. and then doing a more finished line with darker pencil. I chose the page above because it’s a more recent one done the way I am currently working. But it’s probably not my favorite page ;) and doesn’t show how good some of the layouts are that I get. So here’s another one of page 23 which I showed a colored version of in my last post...

Jerome layout Page 23

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7 Pirates

Here are some pages that I finished a few months ago dealing with typical pirate action :>

Some info on the book: Although I am probably not the best at giving a stripped down slick story pitch the idea is that Editions Delcourt is putting out a series called 'Sept' with the concept of 7 different writers all writing a story based on the motif of '7 Samurai' and such. So there are other books along side mine with a similar theme but vastly different setting, written and drawn by different creators. Starting in 2007. Some of the other artists I have noticed around the place are Sean Phillips who is doing 7 Psychos (he has some great stuff on his blog from it). and Luigi Critone who is doing "7 Missionnaires" (also some amazing pages on his blog!) There is a bit of coverage here (for those able to read French) you can see some of the covers 7 Pirates is actually what you might call an unofficial sequel to Treasure Island. It's written by French author Pascal Bertho. Set some years after the first, Jim being an adult now. Revolving around 6 characters that were in Robert Louis Stevenson's original and 1 new one. Something of note is that I ended up not doing the layouts for this project, they are done by Jérôme Lereculey who is also drawing 7 Voleurs (Thieves) but everything else is mine. I will post some of the process up later, His layouts are quite detailed and complete and it was a challenge to draw my own page from them to begin with. I think not controlling the composition and storytelling gives the book a different feel to my normal work, but I'm learning about how to lay out a European size page this way. It's set to come out in france around November 07 . More art and stuff soon
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Here's another warmup sketch (you can maybe see the transition from 'how do I draw again??' to moderate functionality...)
I'm updating this wordpress install so things could get screwy. I've become more and more unhappy with the look of my site and it's usability. typically I tried for a wholesale custom redesign of everything but hit a brick wall when it came to the code. I'm not really a big fan of the standard two column blog, preferring something a lot more direct (my folio is probably a good example of what I mean) but it's hard to put the extra functionality in there at the same time (basic blog archive/links etc) without knowing a lot of code. Anyway, I think I'll have to keep it simple this time. I'm planning to post a bunch of 7 pirates pages btw, there is no NDA on any of it. I'm just trying to figure out what to show.
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Almost made it to a year...

Not quite a year since the last post...I guess theres always next time. but for now here's a small update: The comic (BD/Graphic-Novel/whatever) I have been working on for the last year or so is called 7 Pirates and this is a back cover spot illustration featuring all the main characters. the printed version will be quite small so I tried to make it relatively simple and graphic. here is a bit of the process: thumbnail - drawn at actual thumbnail size. I did not realise it had to be a vingette at this point and the background was dropped. Rough drawing: and for anyone who is interested, the lines sans coloring.
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oh well...

Yes, I haven't updated in months... But i have an excuse, kinda. I got an offer earlier in the year to do a French graphic novel/album for Editions Delcourt which was hard to refuse because it deals with pirates! It's a once shot that should come out late 2007 (and probably wont be translated into english I'm guessing). so I've been trying to keep my head above water with that. lots of unfamilar ground, but I'm getting used to it now. I'll post some stuff for it soon, but the action parts of the story are not til a bit later and I haven't gotten to those pages yet, so not a lot of spectacular scenes to show off. Here is another concept for the story I talked about in the last post I'm thinking about working it into a longer piece, but I'm not sure if the story will hold up so I'm reconsidering the whole thing. Anyway I'll post more later, I have a bunch of other sketches that are unfinished, but I wanted to post some kind of update now.
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