Holy moley, it's 2015!
Nothing like a little imminent DOOM to start off the new chapter of Roeke!
The cover for this chapter was made completely by the sister thing: Amanda Brewer, how cool is that?. The robots were designed by James, and all the art beyond the cover is by me.
Looking at the schedule I've cooked up for myself for the year, I can say that if I keep up with it, it will be probably the most productive year of my whole life. Several times more busy than I was last year, at least. Wish me luck! Oh, and don't forget to subscribe to Roeke over here:
Tapastic should make things a bit more convenient for ya, so you'll never miss a new page! That being said, I just started publishing there and it'll take a little while to get current. I'll let you know when it catches up, too.
Oh, also, why don't ya leave me a comment now and then? Remind me I'm not making this in a complete vacuum, VALIDATE MY EXISTENCE.
Okay, thanks, bye!
Gooooood Morning In-ter-net!!
Today, Roeke's crafty side repairs a busted elevator control panel. Oh, what excitement! Hahah. Pages like this make me realize why some people wait for pages to pile up so they can binge read ;)
Here are a couple picks of my table at Rose City, as promised:
I was going to post some photos of cosplayers, too, but Weebly is being annoying right now so I opted not to in favor of getting this post up this century...
But, there you have it! We'll see y'all next week!
There's an amazing comic artist by the name of David Aja (pronounced A-Ha, as in "Take on Me"). He draws the Hawkguy parts of the amazing Hawkeye comic. He calls his layout/thumbnail sketches "Little Shits." So, now, let me show you my... little shits.
Wait. That didn't come out right.
SHIT, neither did that!
(okay, I'm done now).
Well, thanks for checkin' this out, y'all!
Next week, we'll chat with James and Amanda about their process (I'm doing the 'interview' tonight, as a matter of fact). Then, on the 27th, we'll maybe sneak a peak at issue 2, which'll start September 3rd.
So, next issue, Roeke's getting out of the forest and into the concrete jungle, where there's trouble a plenty waiting. That, however, will have to wait until September while I work on coloring that stage (that is, I'm getting a head start) throughout August.
But, as I said last week, I plan on supplementing with more behind the scenes material, so you'll still have SOMEthing to check out in the interim.
So, those of you checkin' us out every week: THANK YOU! I really hope your enjoying this book, 'cause I got four stages to go and a lotta Robots to kill. And now that stage one is done, you can binge it like you do on netflix. Tell a friend!
Also, speaking of robots, big ups to my man James Lloyd-Knox who, I promise you, delivered way cooler robot designs than I could have come up with on my own. Particularly the Guardian, who I had the least grasp on conceptually.
Finally, three cheers to Amanda Brewer, the patron saint de los colores! Back when I was first writing and drawing this, I realized I kept imagining things in color when I coulda made it black and white. I knew jack squat about coloring, so, naturally, I passed the buck-- and boy, what a great call that was! Now the bots (particularly the Torch) really glow with energy, and we've got our 8-bit skyline keeping my early 90's action game aesthetic alive!
Anywho, see you next week for BTS, and September 3rd we'll find...
A SPIDER IN AUTOMATIC CITY!
Da Daa, Da Daa!
A pretty quiet page with a time lapse, and our penultimate update for Stage 01.
What I could barely manage in B&W, Amanda has made all better with her colors... namely, the transition from late night to early morning. That is one bright-ass moon, eh? I think we did a decent job of making Roeke look like she's about to transition into sleep-walking, too.
Next week, we will be giving you TWO pages! Mostly because I feel that the last page wouldn't stand very well completely on its own, as the page before it leads right into it. Storytelling! And that is gonna wrap up stage one, we did it!
I don't know if I told you guys this, but I'm learning to color myself now, so I can let Amanda get back to our other project, Autumn. I'm five or so pages through issue 2 on that front, and when that's done I'll just have lettering to do.
That being said, I'm new and slow and coloring is sometimes kinda frustrating! In order to be absolutely sure I can keep pace with my one-a-week schedule, we're going to be taking August off, and starting stage two in September.
But, I plan on giving you at least SOME excuse to come to the site in August, as I'll publish more behind the scenes for issue one! In addition to my own concept sketches and page layouts, I wanna get James' robot concepts in here with maybe some commentary from him. Ooo, and let's interview Amanda or something and she can tell us about her process and NOT killing me! :P
Other than that, we're just a couple months away from me tabling at my first con! Rose City Comic Con (RCCC) is September 20 and 21. I plan on having a limited print edition of Roeke 01 for sale there, and maybe some art prints or something? And Jenny bought me a card-reader for my phone, so's I can take credit cards for payment there, woo! I went overboard and got extra exhibitor badges for everyone so it could be a packed table at times, haha. Don't know what, if anything, James and Amanda will have there, but you can meet them and thank them for me :) I'm sharing the table with my buddy James Ratcliffe (dubbed "Sleazy James" to differentiate the two), so you should check his stuff out, too!
Interested in attending the con (and why wouldn't you be)? Check out more info and see my name in the exhibitor-artist alley list at http://rosecitycomiccon.com/
Well, that ended up being a long one! Come on back next week for the final TWO pages of Roeke 01!
Quiet page, Manda color good
TWO pages next week, end of Stage 01!
BTS in August, Stage 02 starts in September!
I do my own coloring in Stage 02 (and beyond)
RCCC's gonna be crowded Sept. 20 and 21
All those water jugs I drew and Roeke collected are coming in handy!
This page is essentially the mission statement of where the book will be taking us next. She's going to "the city," taking on the 'bots one by one, and finally assaulting Sky Base Zero to get Miri back from "him."
We also take a moment to show even the toughest mom's need to have a good cry now and then, as the adrenaline gives way to the crippling fear she must be facing.
Unlike some people drawing this comic, Amanda has proven that she pays attention to light sources, or the lack thereof. Her rings around the last fire dying out I think really turned that big mess panel into a neat composition, without sacrificing any of the "your home is ruined" detail.
Now, Roeke is all packed up and ready to start her adventure. Next week: moonlight and woods! Can you even stand the excitement? :P
Until next time...
I hope upon seeing the title of today's blog you all finished it in your head with "Never Surrender," because I did. :)
Well, the robots have won. Poor Roeke. Comic's over now, guys, you can go home. HA! Just kidding. If you think a little unconsciousness is gonna stop our intrepid heroine, you've got another thing coming!
Artistically, this is one of my faaaaaaavorite pages. Can you tell we had fun with it? I loved tilting the "camera" with Roeke's POV as she hit the ground. Then the drifting out of and then back into consciousness like a falling leaf. All of which Amanda nailed and enhanced with the color art. All to end with the super pulled back long shot, showing just how alone she is now. What a bummer!
Well, you basically have to come back next week, right? Who could leave it be on this note?
Until next time!
I've never really thought this was something that people take stances on, but I am decidedly pro-sound effects. Yes, it can be done wrong or cheesy or what-have-you. But to have NOTHING there? You mean that explosion didn't make a sound? Dumb.
I'm a fan of the Torch looking back over his shoulder like, "She's still up?"
Well, we'll see how long that lasts, now that it's three-vs.-one.
I really like that action streak amanda did in the jump-kick panel, like it's popping on contact with Roeke. Neat design. And did you guys catch my Spider-Man swipe in panel 7?
It's 10:30 and I'm rockin some Ida Maria as I prep this page to be published.
The Guardian stands revealed, the last- and deadliest- of the 'bots! What is it guarding anyway? Definitely not Roeke or her house, dats fo sho. The two close-ups are my favs of this page, especially Roeke's "oh shit" face at the impending rocket. Manda made Guardian's death-stare robot eyes real scary. Good job.
Then we end another page with Roeke rushing to catch up with the other robots, who are escaping with Miri!
Win or lose, this fight's wrapping up soon... we're rootin' for ya, Roeke (except James, he has a tendency to always root for cool robots, even if they're the bad guys).
Don't miss the next exciting page, same 'bot day, same 'bot website (or whatever)!
Neither these robots nor Roeke seem to be giving in, eh? And that foot kicking Roeke looks a bit different then the two robots we've encountered so far, wouldn't you say?
Drawing wise, panels one and three are still some of my favorites from the whole issue. Which is then balanced by panel 8, where I forget how to anatomy.
If you notice some of the shapes and backgrounds come out a little blobby? That's all me. AmTip (like a pro tip, but from an amateur!): The more corners you cut as an artist, the more knives your poor colorist will be stabbing you with later. So, uh, let's give it up for Amanda for not committing fratricide! Yaaaaaay! ;P
Well here's the "script" for page 16 and 17.
Well, it's almost 11 and I gotta get this thing posted. Catch you folk next week!
Haha, get it? I wonder if "achievement writer" is a paid position. Hire me!
Do you like looking into Roeke or Miri's eyes? Well, thank Amanda, 'cause I just drew some ovals and circles, she's going in and rendering them herself because otherwise they "look funny." I didn't even ask her to, she just does.
That very middle panel (#7) was difficult for me. I still don't know if it worked or not. Does it look like she's trying to push off from the Spider with her legs? That's what I was going for.
The blood Manda colored adds so much more weight to this scene then when it was black and white. I wanna get her a tissue.
She's fairing pretty well for it being two on one, and now she's got a weapon! Come back next week to see how that changes things...
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
Well, the fight's out! Robots are lookin' to punch Roeke's lights out. She better back up, and guard her grill...
Choreographing a fight scene is a really fun challenge. Getting Amanda to color it without a proper script is a mean mean thing, though. But, as you can see, we got through it. Panel 5 is definitely my fav on this one, with the robots calmly walkin' out on her. Those dicks!
Then I'm gonna end every page with Roeke charging, haha.
Well, page 14 is pretty much exactly the same as my layouts. But look at panel 1 of 15, completely different angle! I think that is one of those spots I made a conscious effort to get more profile shots in, so as to elicit that side-scroller feeling. Also, dramatic foreshortening is hard :P
Anywho, think that's it for this round, see youse guys next week!
The robots are finally here! What do they want with Miri? And why does Roeke recognize them? Read on, true believer (I think I got that from somewhere...)!
Amanda went and turned a mundane stare down into a hyper-action anime staredown! And the colors go well with the website logo! It's all about Roeke's eye in that second to last panel, though! And did you see the bits of orange in the smoke... it's like it's a real fire! Good job, sisses!
Oh, hey, the robots are here, so now's a good a time as any to reveal our FINAL COLLABORATOR, haha. Actually, I've already mentioned him and this: But those sweet robot designs are compliments of one James Lloyd-Knox. We'll get him a bio up on the about page soon!
Well, it's already past 10 and I wanna get this thing posted, so I'm calling it there.
See ya next week!
Here we go!
Somethings happened, could it be.... ROBOTS!?
Don't tell anyone, but I think this comic will read a lot better in whole chapter chunks instead of this page-a-week model. So... sorry about the slow start. I need this page-a-week though, creatively, because it's like a deadline. If we HAVE to have it out every week, then I HAVE to keep working on it. If I didn't start this website, if I didn't start posting this thing, I really doubt we'd have gotten as far as we have. It was also important to me, as you'll probably see by the end of Stage One, to take my time establishing Roeke and Miri's relationship and routine so that the impending action and the four issues following are all properly motivated.
Anyway, chapter one will be done in late July, if you wanna come back and enjoy the story at a more natural pace!
Oh hey, some BTS stuff! Don't strain your eyes too much trying to read my chicken scratch. But you can see that not a lot changed from my original layouts.
Artistically, this page is pretty rewarding for me. That middle tier where Roeke is just starting to run and has barely broken into the panel is still one of my favorites, and Manda made it look great in color! Then, of her own accord, she did the yellow and the red backgrounds in the last two, working on a couple levels I can really dig: slow, then stop; followed- more importantly- by caution, then alert! Also, I think I made a good call in reframing it from layout to final. *Pats self on back*
Well, that's all I've got this week, see you Roekers next time!
Whoa! We're halfway there!
Well, for Stage One. Did I tell you that this comic will have 5 stages in all?
Once again, compliments to the color chef, Amanda, for her improvisation and flexibility. There was never a script for issue one, and she works from the art without my lettering there. So at first she didn't know it was supposed to be heading into night time on these last couple pages. But it was a quick turnaround for her to go from that to bathing Roeke in moonlight on a pretty, clear night. Go Amanda!
Also, who-- or what-- is Nyant, other than a terrible name? (Inside joke, sorry). Well, let's just say Miri's conception wasn't immaculate...
I've got some ideas of what I might be doing for my next project that I'm pretty excited about, though not ready to divulge more info on, so basically I just typed this sentence for no reason.
I'm also gonna start teaching myself to color, so I can free Amanda up to go back to a comic she's drawing with me (Autumn). Well, that's the idea anyway. We'll see how it goes :P
I'm plucking away on the pencils for Stage 3, and have only 4 (and a panel) to go. I'm writing and doing some design work for Stage 4, and am staring down Stage 5 on the horizon.
Well, see y'all next week, right? We're closing in on robots... or, rather, robots are closing in on ROEKE!
Halfway done with Stage 1
Amanda colors good
I'm gonna learn to color?
Hey, we made it!
Did you miss us? We missed you.
The saga of grumpy toddler is coming to a close as our story is about to get a lot more robots in it!
11/10 Parents agree, when a kid is that grumpy, it's probably because they're tired.
Amanda was joking with me while she colored these two pages that the reason Miri spit the food out is because Roeke has been drugging her, and Miri was starting to catch on. She was too late this time, as the poison sapped her consciousness, but she's wise to Mom's act.
Amanda also went as far as to say that the impending evil robots are the real good guys trying to rescue Miri. But I guess that remains to be seen.
Anyway, it's occurred to me that I drew this book as well as write it, so I'm thinking of treating you guys to a behind this scenes look at my layouts and character designs... of course that means a trip to Amanda's to scan all that in, so it won't be until next week at the earliest, but keep an eye out, anyway!
Take it easy, y'alls,
Next week: A moment of peace and quiet for Roeke!
Today we have another day of domestic bliss depicting Roeke's perfect family life.
You know, Miri looks like she's old enough to be feeding herself... but, uh.. what's Roeke know about raising kids? We'll see in future installments that she hasn't had a lot of examples to go by.
Anyway, I really like how the forced perspective turned out in panel 5, with the spoon there. And, then, it looks like there is a limit to mom's patience. Let's see what happens now... (well, next week...)
Be Excellent to Each Other,
I have no idea what happened to today. I got off work around 4, got lunch and made my way home where I hung out with Jenny for a while. Then, all at once, it's suddenly after 11pm. Now it's nearly one in the morning because my dumb-ass still needed to eat dinner, (internet), and prep today's page and this very blog post. So, you'll excuse me if this is brief (already not the case, I know...).
How 'bout all that tech junk, huh? My hat's off to Amanda for not strangling me after coloring this page. Seriously, I made a bunch of amorphous blobs and she turned it in to a work bench :)
I feel we captured Miri's melancholy pretty well here. I can imagine that "Yeah" being a half-sigh. And mom's hardly focused, to boot. INTERNAL DRAMA.
Well, thanks for checkin' up on me, Ima go to bed now.
Another Wednesday, another post, my friends!
Oh, also, I'm moving the blog back to Wednesday. The Friday thing quickly stopped making sense to me.
Miri looks positively possessed by Satan in that middle panel (5) and I love it. I'm also quite fond of panel 3, the long, marching shot. I think I successfully communicated the "this distance I'm crossing now doesn't matter because it is ON, little girl" feeling I was going for. Liked it as soon as I drew it, still like it now. AND YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT FROM ME.
Roeke is a pro, btw, just throwing her dress and hitting the mark without looking, haha.
And "What is wrong with you today?" Maaaay be a terrible thing for a parent to ask, but, uh, I needed the implication that Miri isn't always such a shithead? IDK, PARENTING.
So, how was your April Fools Day?
The universe sought me out to celebrate, wanna hear?
So, I work at Game Stop, for those who don't know, and today I was subbing at a different location (wasn't that nice of me?). Well, I get there, and the code I was given for the safe isn't working, so I can't put any money in the registers. Opening time rolls around as I'm just getting the right code from the manager, and I go to unlock and open the doors. But my key won't turn.
Also, my key won't come back out. And the doors are still shut, so, y'know. I'm not open and the store is losing business. UGH.
Luckily, it wasn't TOO terribly long until the manager got in, with his key that wasn't stuck (obviously, the door has two locks, in and out, so he managed to get in). He manages to get my key unstuck, if a little bent. And very politely informs me that I had it in backwards. Goooooo me!
I'm subbing there again today, wish me luck!
Blog back on Wednesday, obvs
Mother/Daughter Conflict maybe not the status quo?
I'm not great at keys
You know it's my first year tabling at a con when I see this and get uber excited! That's right, Ratcliffe and I are on the Artist Alley list now, that's as real as it gets (before the show anyway. And if you click it, it'll lead ya right back here!*
*Oh, James! When your site is up lemme know and I'll link to it all over the place!
So, page 6.
Well, I'm 2 for 2 on nudity in my comics now... what a pervert! But hey, I got to show you that scar. How'd she get that, you wonder? Well, read on!
Oh Miri, so much 'tude!
Apparently, I broke continuity with the clothes hanging on the tree.. so Amanda was kind enough to fix that as she colored the page.
The last panel may have been my worst one yet. If you think Roeke looks slightly derpy, just be glad you didn't see the original rendition of the panel. I don't know what was wrong with me that day, but I just could not draw that close-up.
Manda did a great job with making her hair look wet, I just drew some squiggly lines, the color sells it.
Well, that'll do for this time.
Hello, my lovelies!
How'd you like page 5? Me too/neither, as applicable.
The line about improvisational narratives? That's probably the most meta thing I've ever written, seriously, might as well have drawn myself saying it, haha.
Miri doesn't talk much, does she? One of my little cousins barely says a word either, but you can always tell that her brain is working, she understands you and she's actually quite clever. Miri, though, she's just grumpy.
Amanda's colors made the river panel stand out a lot better. The extra shadow splotchies on the ground helps sell that 'middle of the woods on a nice day' serenity.
Anywho, thought I'd spend the rest of this post telling you all what's going on behind the scenes of Roeke!
Their are going to be 5 stages/chapters/issues in total, and I've plotted the whole thing out. I've outlined the major beats and know pretty much what happens on every page through the very end. I've scripted through issue 3, and have, in fact, started drawing it. Issue 2 is penciled, inked, and partially lettered, and Amanda is several pages ahead of us coloring issue 1.
If we get to a point where we're far enough ahead, I might start posting twice a week. But I'm terrified of running out of finished work and having to delay mid-story. I'd rather just take a break between each chapter and post otherwise uninterrupted. We'll see how that goes :)
Well, take care, y'all. Be excellent to each other!
Howdy there, everyone!
I've got some cool news for y'all (well, for me, anyway)!
I'll have an artist alley table at Rose City Comic Con this September (COMMENCE AIR GUITAR SOLO)! I'm splitting it with my homeboy, James Ratcliffe, a fine comics illustrator himself. We also got Amanda and James (Lloyd-Knox) badges, too, so they could man the tables when I pee or whatever, oh, and I guess so you can meet and chat with them or something.
This is my first ever con as a table-haver, so, y'know, excitement! I'm plotting what I'm gonna do with my half the real-estate.... Chapter one of Roeke will be done by the end of July (sticking to my current schedule), so a print version of that seems to be in order. Maybe do a print run on Virgin Nation, too, if budget permits? I think Amanda might want to get some prints in there for sale, too. Obviously, we've got a while to figure it all out, and I'm totes open for advice and opinions if you've got 'em!
Anyway, to our regularly scheduled blogging:
You may notice that this is, in fact, Friday-- and not Wedenesday. I've decided to spread my content load out a bit each week, so you'll get the new page on Wednesdays still, but then you can come back and read the blog on Fridays. Thrilling, no? I love watching the stat-tracker graph trace beautiful mountain ranges.
As for page 04, I'd like to say I like panels 3 and 5 in particular, I thought they turned out well. It was important to me, too, to contrast Roeke's sentimental captions with a crying baby, because even when Miri's not okay, she's still Roeke's whole world. Parenting 101 stuff, right?
Man, definitely need to be more mindful of how much space I leave for word balloons, my improvisational solution of breaking panel 1 with panel 2's dialog worked out-- and even helped lead your eyes through the page, sure-- but I'm telling you that was a happy accident while resolving the lack of balloon-space in that second panel, heh.
As always, mah Sisses colors good. It was her call, you know, to give Roeke blue eyes. I hadn't told her what color yet (forgot to mention, really), but I was thinking brown. When I got the blue in, though, man, and that shade and piercing shine, yeah. Of course I went with that, it looks great!
I'm starting to think my commentary would be better served as a retrospective, since I keep finding myself not saying a bunch a stuff because I realize that none of you have read it yet. I'll probably still do the mini-comments, though. And then do a big one at the end of ... each chapter? The series? BOTH!?!?
I'm tabling at RCCC
Blog has moved to Friday, comic stays on Wednesday!
I stole this device from Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue's newsletter!
Peace, y'all, be excellent to each other!
Alrighty, week two and our second post is here!
And you're technically getting two pages!
Please forgive the sizing issue, you won't believe how limiting Weebly can be in this department. I also wasn't considering the format I'd be publishing in when I started drawing this back in the day. Rest assured though, this is the only double page spread in the series, so it'll all be nice and readable from here on out.
The preceding paragraph was written, of course, before I realized that pictures too large for the area are given a scroll bar. Not the classiest way to view the image, but one can read it without squinting now. You see, the scroll bar doesn't show up when you're in the page editor, so I never noticed until I published it. But enough about all that.
So, the following is the song that I stole the title of this chapter from:
Anyway, I like it.
Once again, I would like to sing all praises for my dear sister/colorist, Amanda. I drew a squiggle and some fluffy lines, and-- with limited resources-- she gave us a beautiful sunrise. After that it was a simple matter of throwing in the title and credits and now we'll be getting on to Roeke's whole reason for choosing this life...
Thanks for checking us out, hope to see you again next week! Click here to go straight to the new post!
I was gonna write about how page one is here and hooray and finally and all that! But I feel that may be a bit much lately...
I could do a commentary track, I suppose? Things like, "That's supposed to be two leaves knocked loose by the ascending bird, but James joked that the bird was pooping and by the time Amanda colored it, that's what it became."
My photoshop-fu is not very mighty, so enjoy the exclusive look at my blue-penciled sketch lines! Ooo Aaaaa.
The solid-color "gradient" for the sunrise was Amanda's call and complete brilliance, she's taken my NES palette challenge to the next level by giving us a background we'd see in an old game... bravo.
Story-wise, we've established our main character and bit of her morning routine. And she's bored! Well, Roeke, be careful of what you implicitly wish for...
I wrote the last paragraph and deleted it twice. Part of me feels like a magician revealing his secrets (I'm not), or or... pretentious some how. Like the work is somehow worthy of such discourse. I think I should leave it be, let the page speak for itself, and let the audience read it as they will. Too many lit-classes, I suppose. Now write an essay on how my brilliant masterpiece uses the character, Roeke, to dissect, compare and contrast the hard, but simple living of farm-life versus the hustle and bustle of a more urban environment. And supposing all that, what does the bird symbolize? Or the shape of the clouds?
OR, you could just tune in again next week for the next update!
Well, it's still technically February, so Roeke's not late. In fact, you can see the cover for chapter one riiiiiiight NOW!
And, you may have noticed, that page also states page one will be here this Wednesday, it's true! It also just so happens that that's when I plan on updating every week-- because, new comic day! MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!
*Ahem* Anyway, I'm very excited to share this with you all, and hope you'll dig it. I also hope I get a solid fix down for the whole page sizing thing, it's been a pain.
As I stated before, my sisses, Amanda, will be doing coloring duty on Roeke, and I will pester her about gettin' info to make a bio for her on the about page. I also need to get one up for James, as he helped me design the robots Roeke has to fight (yeah, robots!).
Anyway, we'll see you for the start of chapter one on Wednesday!
Born in California, Justin now resides in Portland, OR. He's had a passion for comics from a very young age