Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Retrospective: Celebrating Shilliam Snakeback's 40 Year Anniversary

Okay, so Shilliam isn't 40 years old, it's still quite a magnificent title, don't you agree? While Shilliam hasn't had much time to shine in the comic recently (which will change very soon, I assure you), he's easily one of the most fun characters I've ever drawn and written.

These three images of Shilliam are some of the earlier images I have. In fact the one on the far left is the initial design of him. Obviously his design contniued to be altered and changed.

Some more design sketches of Shilliam. His neck got far longer, and his body got wider. You'll also notice his 'Eyes in the Back of My Head' move from the opening of episode 8.

And here we are, the most recent and final design of Shilliam. He became a lot heavier on the bottom, but his long neck stayed. This sketch shows him in comparison to Terrance, to give you a general idea of his size. Shilliam is huge, and could probably give Cyro a real run for his money.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Magical World of Edvard Alton

Edvard was one of those characters that required very little tweaking in terms of character design. His final design isn't too far removed for his initial sketches; he came out looking almost exactly like I wanted him too. Edvard is a fun little character to write and draw for. I like his nose, his big ol' ears, and especially his fun outfit. That's part of the fun of creating characters; you can draw things that you wish you could be.

For those of you who are curious, Ed was named after two people: Edvard Munch, who you should recognize as the artist who painted The Scream, and Alton Brown, host of probably the best show on television ever, Good Eats. That's a little bit of trivia for you fans out there. When I originally put Edvard into Episode 8, it was just for a short sequence. But since then the character has grown on me, and his part has grown considerably. How much? Well, you'll just have to keep reading Lancaster to find out!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Okay, let's get this party back on track. Recently I decided to pick up a new sketch book and dedicate it solely to character, gadget and location designs for Lancaster. There's not a whole bunch in the book right now, but as time goes on there will be, and it'll get posted here. My goal is to fill at least two pages a week (which I've been really lax with so far), but I am off to a fairly decent start. Want to take a look? Of course you do!

The first page of course has to have Lancaster himself on it. I've also been drawing quite a bit of the Attached spirits recently (really sharp Ghost Detectives will also know they're A3 Classified
Self-Aware Apparitions), even though they haven't yet appeared in the comic. But they will, and in a big way, too. Mark my words.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Character Style Sheet

To help out people who will be submitting to Northcod Residential, I made up a quick Lancaster character style guide to show some of the basic parts I use for making a Lancaster character.

Like any other cartoon or comic, every character is made up of a collection of simple shapes. These shapes make the character easy to draw from different angles and in different poses, too!

So now that you've got a basic idea of how a character from Lancaster's world is put together, go check out the guidelines for Northcod Residential and think about what character you want to make!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lancaster goes to Print!

One thing I always knew I wanted to do if I ever printed Lancaster was to redo all of the art and the story as well. Lancaster started out as more of a 'let's see if I can actually do this' sort of thing, so a lot of the early story is really loose. Also, and not to sound conceited here or anything, my art has really improved over the two years that I've done Lancaster. So much so that it almost hurts to see some of the older pages.

Here are three pages from Episode 3 - Hotel H-E-Double-Hockeysticks. Lancaster arrives at Angston Suites and has to deal with Frank Nurd, the surly bellhop. I originally had Frank play a bigger role in the story, but I think 4 antagonists would have been too much for one story, so Frank just played a bit part.

And here is the same sequence as it will appear in print. Admittedly, the art didn't improve much. In my defense though, the entire first part had to be done in a week. The bell joke remained (come on, who can't resist a desk bell?), but a lot of the dialogue was tightened up, and Frank, as a character is a lot more fleshed out than before. In the first strip, he just seems kind of grumpy. In the new one, it's a lot easier to tell he just plain hates his job, but the only reason he hasn't been fired is he's Hoyton's nephew.

Sorry I can't show you folks more, but if I did, you probably wouldn't be inclined to pick up Furrlough #162 to see the rest! It should be at your local comic book store within the next week or so, or you can order it when it pops up in the Radio Comix Online Store. If you're feeling particularly saucy, pick up Hit the Beach #13 for some more art by me. Non-Lancaster this time, but who knows what the future brings?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Of Goats and Pandas

Terrance was one of the characters I spent the longest working on before I finally started his story. Initially I didn't plan to take Terrance into Episode 8, but so many people really liked Terry, so I decided to alter the plot a bit to include him. Hey, he may even find some use beyond Episode 8 as well. As you can see, his design has changed a whole lot. Even earlier designs have him way chubbier, too. Here Terrance is pictured with an early version of Lowe the gravedigger, who will show up in Episode 9.

Here is another early version of Terrance alongside some early versions of Gorton. He started out being more grunge than goth, but that wasn't what I was going for. I altered his design a bit, and as you can see in the middle, made him one of the shorter members of the cast. This gives you an idea of how long Terry was in development; I was working on him even before Episode 5 started.

Surely by now you've heard that Lancaster is being thrust, kicking and screaming into the print dimension via Radio Comix. Since the earlier pages have a lot of really bad art(and some good ones! don't get me wrong!), and because I've wanted to change a few story ideas without any kind of retconning, I'm redrawing the whole story from scratch.

Lancaster is being serialized into Radio Comix's 'Furrlough' magazine, and though the issue of Lancaster's debut is about to hit the stands, that's not gonna stop me from showing off some of the pages a bit early. Be back here tomorrow to see a few side-by-side comparisons of the original pages with the new ones to give you an idea of what to expect.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Eclipse Technicians

Sorry I've been a bit lax with the updates here, but I've been pretty busy getting things done around here(some of which involve the future of the comic!), and you know how life can be. As long as I can keep the comic going, it's all good, right? Right!

Here's a recent character design I pulled out for small background role in the Lancaster story. Secondary and background characters can be just as important as main ones, and I like having Lancaster's world filled with unique characters who, while their story may never get fleshed out, you can easily imagine one for them.

The Eclipse Tech here is a good example. For the purposes of the story, he'll have very little dialogue and won't ever do anything directly impactful to the story. But his design and what mannerisms he'll display reveal that he's a character unto himself, and that a story could easily be told from his point of view.

As the storyteller, I can control the flow of the story, which can easily make reading kind of boring and just 'something else to do'. But being able to put in these quirky characters turns the comic into a bit more of an interactive experience, and part of what makes writing and drawing Lancaster so much fun.