A brief transmission

It’s been a while, and I apologize. I guess you might say we’ve hit a bit of a hiatus.

drawingI’ve been, as usual, extraordinarily busy. I had two appearances: ETSUCon in Johnson City, and Free Comic Book Day at Mountain Empire comics here in Bristol. I stressed out and lost my mind preparing for these, getting postcards printed from old October Game pieces, getting posters made, getting the second printing of chapter 1 of Other Sleep, supplies, et cetera. Annoyingly time-consuming. Oh, and buttons! Check these out!
buttonsBoth appearances were damn successful, though, more successful than my only other con, Rob-Con was last year. I was astonished by how many people I met who were giant monster fans and wanted me to do mutant sketches of them. I got a few awkward snubs here and there, like a guy who put down one of my books simply because it didn’t have any “meta references” in it, and things like that, but the good outweighs the bad.

Seriously, real talk, Godzilla fans? Are my favorite people to talk to. They are the best, friendliest, people. I want to be friends with all of them.

So on top of these things, I’m working on comics for Burst Reach 3, nearing completion. Also painting a nursery and doing other family responsibilities because I’m going to be an uncle soon? Aw crap.

So yes, unfortunately, things get in the way and Other Sleep is what gets set aside. Heroes Con is in June, and I’ve pretty much confirmed today that I’m sharing a table with a buddy of mine, and just ordered MORE copies of chapter 1 to sell there. Next up? Transportation, hotel, all that jazz. Yikes.

I’m hoping to get back on track and working on chapter 7 this month. We’ll see. Fingers crossed. Thanks for sticking around!

[Brett]

 

Emerging once more

Chapter 6 is finished and ready to read! At 18 pages in length, it’s no slouch. I think it’s my favorite chapter so far too. It only took about 90 pages or so for me to hit a point where I actually seemed to know what the heck I was doing, heh.

I figured a lot of new things out in this chapter, especially in coloring it, and I’m really happy with the results for once.

So why did it take longer than I said it would? Well, aside from taking my time with it and refusing to rush things (despite every desire to do that), I had a very very busy January, which I wrote about at length over here on my main blog

In short, I did the following: Drew a 10-page silent comic, did 4 watercolor paintings on canvas for a local art show, got involved in a Moebius tribute show at Floating World in Portland, got paid to design a logo for a website run by a local newspaper, and got involved in stand-up comedy. Yeah, hectic.

The future’s looking good, too. I’m doing an album cover for a friend’s metal band, will possibly be at THREE(!) comic conventions this year, and some other fun stuff. I’ll be sure to keep you updated on these things, of course.

Alright, back to work. Enjoy the new chapter!

It all comes slowly unraveled

IT’S FINALLY HERE. After three months of waiting and wondering, chapter five is finally online! GO READ IT NOW. It’s the biggest chapter to date, a whopping 22 pages. That brings the total page count up to…uh, hold on…EIGHTY-EIGHT PAGES. Without a doubt, I WILL break the one hundred page point in chapter six.

Which…optimistically? Should be online in January. There’s no way I’ll get it completely done in December, what with the holidays, girlfriend, second job that I THINK I acquired but not entirely sure of, et cetera.

Anyways, this chapter…I have mixed feelings on. Story-wise, it’s important, and it has some great moments, but you can tell I worked on and off with it over the course of three months, and that hurts a little to look at. Some panels are just shambles, some bits had to be redrawn digitally and stick out way too much, and my skill level back in September was just not the same as the pages that were drawn post-October Game. I’m REALLY happy with the coloring though, and happy that I didn’t have to really sacrifice any dialogue for space purposes like I’ve done in previous chapters, so there’s that.

Chapter six will be something else, I think. I’ve had it written for months, but now, at this point in time, I want to restructure it a bit, make it stronger, shake things up more. We’ll see whether that pans out or not in the future, but right now, that’s the plan. The cover alone is a little bit of a departure already, and I want to see if I can carry that freshness through to the end, yeah?

So that’s that. Back to work. Stick around, it’ll get better.

Back in the game

Crap. This place has been a ghost town lately, hasn’t it? I apologize. I really, really do. But fear not! I haven’t forgotten about Ninel!

September was a sluggish month for me, and well, I spent the entirely of October taking part in this thing called the Bill Counts October Game. It was a silly challenge to produce a new piece of art every day for the entirety of the month. And I did it. I managed to draw or create something every single day, and it was grueling, and it was all-consuming, but I made it through to the other side, and I feel like I’m a stronger artist because of it. I wrote about it a bit more at length here on my main blog, and you can view the gallery of all 31 pieces right here. So it kind of goes without saying that this poor comic didn’t get looked at or touched over the course of the entire month, further delaying chapter 5.

BUT! I’m back on track! Progress is being made, and the chapter will be done and online this month! I mean it this time! It’ll probably look fairly obvious that a month passed between a bunch of pages, but hey, that’s progress.

On top of that, I was interviewed by a friend not so long ago, and you can give that a read here. Some friends of mine have formed a stand up comedy collective known as Beat About, and they’re using their Tumblr page to also promote local artists, musicians, events and what have you, and I had the honor of being the first person interviewed. These guys have been making an effort to bring something a bit different to Bristol. One of them, my good friend Sterlin, prints zines and gets some wicked punk bands to play here, and I’ve been working with him quite a bit, producing flyers for the shows he sets up and/or providing art for his zines. It’s something I’m proud to be a part of, and I’m proud to call these guys my friends.

ANYWAYS. As I said, I’m back on track with chapter five. This thing’s still going. And I apologize again for so much radio silence, but it’s not  been for nothing. Hope you all stick around, and that I’m not too little too late.

[Brett]

INFLUENCE: Rubber’s Lover & Shinya Tsukamoto

This one may be a bit of a mess. Bear with me.

I recently went on a Japanese film kick for no real reason other than I hadn’t been on one in quite some time. It started with a 1993 cyberpunk movie called Rubber’s Lover. I had watched it online years before and basically forgot about it until I found a copy on DVD back in June. I freaked out, snatched it up, and months later finally got around to actually watching the damn thing. I took my time with it, pausing the movie frequently to sketch out certain shots that were composed in a really neat way. There was an emphasis on one-point perspective, somewhat like Stanley Kubrick, but only if he’d been hit in the head a few times and fed a fistful of mescaline or something. While watching, it dawned on me that the lab that the bulk of the movie takes place in is kind of similar to the lab in chapter 4, where Marie and Shinya keep all their test subjects in isolation tanks. When I was drawing those scenes, I was recalling a movie I thought I had completely forgotten about without realizing it…

You can tell by now that this happens a lot, and I really enjoy finding out that something I thought I had pulled out of thin air actually derived from some obscure thing I saw years ago.

Rubber’s Lover is a movie that really owes a lot of debt to Tetsuo the Iron Man, the debut film of Japanese writer/director/actor/madman Shinya Tsukamoto. That name is familiar, yes? Because it’s most certainly where I got Shinya’s name from! Tetsuo the Iron Man used to be one of my favorite films, a deranged piece of black and white body horror cinema that I would force upon any of my friends who I thought could deal with something so mental. Lately, with more recent viewings, it’s lost its edge to me, and now feels just kind of silly, but there’s no denying that barely six years ago, this movie was a big deal to me.

(oh hey, here’s the entire movie on Youtube! Go give it a shot!)

In fact, most of Tsukamoto’s movies were a big deal to me. I once considered him to be a favorite director of mine, even though his films are all really a bit too frantic and messy. Tetsuo II: Body Hammer was way too ridiculous, and I can’t recall much of anything about Hiruko the Goblin or Vital. A Snake of June is gorgeous and erotic, possibly his masterpiece, but it’s still not without a multitude of flaws. I want to say Nightmare Detective is really good, but I barely remember anything from that either, and have yet to see the sequel. Nevertheless, though my opinion of the man has changed (I tried watching Tetsuo the Bullet Man on Netflix and quit barely 10 minutes in), his work, and the work of other similarly deranged Japanese filmmakers, left more than a small impression on me, and I think it shows quite clearly in most everything I do.

I can’t really explain how it shows through, there are just certain…gritty aesthetics, hallucinatory pieces, things like that. Maybe I’m the only one who sees it, I dunno.

Also, despite my current opinions, it didn’t stop me from buying Bullet Ballet the other day, one of the few Tsukamoto films I haven’t seen. We’ll see what happens when I try to watch it later this week…

[Brett]

Persistence be damned

So. I clearly don’t update this blog a whole lot anymore, and I really do apologize. I don’t know what to tell you.

I’ve been busy. I’ve been lazy. I have a social life again, I have a girlfriend, my job goes from being dead as bones to super busy, family responsibilities pop up, a mouse invaded my room, and sometimes all I want to do is sit on my bed, eat Slim Jims, and watch Arrested Development.

In short, I have been all over the place, experiencing all kinds of things, hardly any of which are art related. I don’t think I drew a single thing in either of my sketchbooks for the entirety of August, and I’m ashamed of that fact. At the same time, the push I went through to get chapter 4 done exhausted me, and I slipped back into that “holy shit this sucks why do I even bother” mood.

It’s a weird internal struggle: I want to work fast, I want to be efficient, I want it to look good, but if I don’t feel like it looks good, if I’m just pushing through and working on the comic just for the sake of getting it done, without any real sense of accomplishment, why am I bothering? And that’s a dangerous mindset to get into.

Luckily, there have been a few writers and artists and others that I’ve been emailing, a shot in the dark really, and those that have responded have been fairly positive, and that’s encouraging. Also, one of the reasons I have a girlfriend now is the fact that she decided to  talk to me because she liked Other Sleep. Also because I’m devilishly handsome and charming, of course, but you get the idea.

One dude in particular has told me that he’s really enjoying the comic, but that he feels like I’m only using a percentage of my full talent, and that he fully believes that while I am getting better, I can push my work so much further. His words have been rattling around in my brain, and I feel like I should listen.

So while I would still like to be quick and efficient, I’m going to stop worrying so much about self-imposing any deadlines on myself and instead focus more on just making Other Sleep the best damn comic I can. By the time Ninel’s story is over, I’m hoping to be a completely different, and stronger artist than I was when I first started it earlier this year.

My overall goal is, no matter what, to keep moving forward. I mean, that’s what it has been, even when I was in school, but I need to keep reminding myself of that, that I can, should, and will do better.

Obviously, that also means not being lazy, and finding ways to overcome the inevitable bog I find myself in. I usually have some other projects of sorts on the side to keep me moving, but not lately. That’s another thing I need to deal with.

So again, I apologize for a lack of blog content here, but I want you to know that I’m not stopping, that no matter how much life gets in the way, no matter how lethargic I get, I will still be working to finish this comic, and I hope you all stick around for it.

And to everyone who has had kind words about Other Sleep, or about any of my other comics or whatever: thank you. You’re the reason I keep going.

[Brett]

Chapter 4 is online!

It’s been a long time coming, with about 6000 things getting in the way, including and especially my own bone-headed stupidity, but here it is! Chapter 4 is online! Go read it now!!

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