Drive Write: Droblar.com Launches

Drive Write podcast

Drive Write: Episode 12 – Droblar.com Launches

This week on Drive Write, I give a mid-month update on my NaNoWriMo progress. I also introduce (formally, and kinda/sorta for the first time) the Droblar webcomic. I talk about why I started drawing, how the story came to be, and some technical and scheduling challenges that I’m learning to navigate as I go.

The artist I mentioned who got my attention focused on #SundaySketch-ing is Jake Powning. Find Jake and examples of his incredible swordsmithing at his website.

Enjoy, please visit the comic site at droblar.com, and feel free to leave questions/concerns/critiques in the comments.

Advertisements

The Droblar Are Coming

Unless you’re very, very new to the site, you probably know that I’m working on a graphic novel for my kids. I’ve decided to publish it as a free webcomic online at Droblar.com. The plan is to launch Droblar on Tuesday, November 5th. From that point on, I’ll update weekly on Tuesdays.

Where I’m at right now

The Droblar are coming!I’m still playing with the process of digitizing the artwork. Currently, I draw the comic in pencil on paper and then ink it by hand. From there, I scan the inked artwork into a cheap Photoshop knockoff for coloring and type setting.

Needless to say, it’s not the best system and I’m certainly not taking advantage of the best tools.

So!

Later this month I will receive a shiny, new MS Surface Pro 2. I will name her Igor and she will assist me in bringing my abby-normal creations to life. She’ll have a swanky, touch-sensitive stylus, a fresh install of Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro, and a steep learning curve.

My goal?

Master the derned thing as quickly as possible so I can settle on a coloring/typesetting process. If I can avoid shelling out the $50/mo for Adobe’s CS suite, then… uh. Good!

I can see now why artists need kickstarters for their projects. If you want to do something well and on a schedule, it takes planning and a budget. Go figure… o.O

So that’s where we’re at. Igor should show up toward the end of the month. Until then, I’m drawing deeper into the story. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying to get faster. And I’m trying to tell a better and better story.

Cheers and stay tuned!

-Andy

Sunday Sketch: Danica

I haven’t done a Sunday Sketch in a while. Sorry about that and please accept my apologies if you enjoy them. Illustrating is definitely a sideline to my writing and it’s suffered due to my travel schedule this past month.

Speaking of travel…

One of the things that happened at Worldcon was that I was able to talk one-on-one with Howard Tayler from the Writing Excus… wait, excuse me. Howard Tayler from the Hugo award-winning Writing Excuses podcast.

I was hoping to track down some nuts ‘n bolts-type info on illustrating graphic novels. Specifically, I was having trouble finding online, educational resources and mentorship for authoring and illustrating them.

It’s tough enough to sift through novel-writing resources. For novels, there’s a lot out there and finding the stuff that works for you can take some time. When you get to graphic novels, things simply get weird. Everything focuses on superhero fan art and doe-eyed anime preteens. Plus half the stuff out there is in Japanese. I took one semester of Japanese in college and holy-hard languages, Batman.

ANYWAY…

I was talking to Howard about that stuff, but the most valuable take-aways I left with were:

  1. Something that I should have admitted to myself all along, and
  2. Something that was very good for me to hear.

Something I should have known all along:

START THE DARNED PROJECT!

I mean, it’s not going to draw itself and the more you learn, the more you know you have left to learn. If you wait until you are absolutely perfect at a particular thing (doesn’t really happen, btw), then you’re pretty much guaranteed to never actually DO anything with the thing. If you think that you get better, and then get better, and then suddenly you barf complete projects and sneeze finished manuscripts, you’re wrong.

And I was, too.

Again.

Just like writing a book… start.

… and then keep at it.

Something that was very good for me to hear:

“You’re never happy with the artwork.”

Now why is it a good thing to hear that the project you’re committing hundreds of hours of investment into will never make you happy?

Easy.

It lets you move on. You’re never going to be happy with the art. Deal with it. Or… don’t do it. Don’t start. Quit. Go do something else. Something that you find rewarding.

But if you can’t quit? If there’s simply no way you can’t not do this project? Start. Do the thing. If you can’t be happy with the art, be content with it. Keep moving.

Hearing a pro like Howard make that statement was just the push I needed to get over myself. To appreciate what I could do. And to accept that I’ll be able to do more – and do it better – later.

Even if that means I will never be happy with the artwork.

Droblar: Dani Miller

Too excited not to share

Ok. Ok, ok, ok.

I probably shouldn’t be posting this, but I just gotta. I’m way too excited about the project not to share.

This is only a test panel for stylistic choices, pallette selection, and whatnot. For instance, I know this isn’t the font that I want to use. I’m not sure yet about the dimensions. Etc, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

BUT STILL! They live! My little droblar guys are live, inked and in color!

As soon as I figure out how I want to publish the story, I’ll start posting them to a dedicated website. I already have one reserved (droblar.com), but for the near future these little fellas will live only on the blog. Also, new panels won’t come out very quickly as I only draw on Sundays.

I’m rambling.

Aaaaanyway, the story is finished. All that’s left is to draw it. And I’m awfully excited to say that it will look…

something…

like…

THIS!

Droblar - Page One

 

Sunday Sketch: The Miller’s Mill

As per normal, I’m late posting this week’s Sunday Sketch. You’d think that snapping a pic with my phone and emailing it to myself would be quick and simple, but NOOOOO…

At any rate, this is the concept sketch for the mill in the Droblar story. I like the general sense of the setting. However, there are a few things that I’m not happy with. Specifically, the thatched roofs and the water.

I need to spend some time practicing water, in particular. The mill doesn’t show up too much in the story, but the underground settings almost all have water dripping on or running through them. Also, the Droblar spray water to drill new tunnels, so I’ll have to figure out how to draw that, too.

I hope you like this week’s Sunday Sketch and please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

The Miller's Mill by Andy Rogers

Sunday Sketch: Flight From The Bystrica

This week’s *cough* belated *cough* Sunday Sketch is from a scene towards the end of the Droblar graphic novel.

I’m obviously still playing with the visuals for some of the characters. For example, the Droblar in this sketch is supposed to be Bing. This looks more like Steve’s head/neck shape with Bing’s face. Also, the girl in this shot is far too mature looking for what I have in mind. I’m having trouble drawing kids and I haven’t played around with costume ideas for her yet, either. =\

I was also trying to play with motion in this sketch. I like the way it turned out for Bing and the girl. The monster chasing them is supposed to look like it’s vaulting from rock to rock on long claws. I’m going to have to play with that some more to really capture the movement as I’m envisioning it.

I hope you all enjoy the sketch of this scene and please let me know what you think in the comments.

Droblar: Flight from the Bystrica by Andy Rogers

Sunday Sketch: The Death of Ma Miller

#####

Tabatha Miller’s nightmares started the evening after her mother died. However, it wasn’t until she laid Ma in the ground with Papa and Little Pearl that they started finding Tab asleep in odd places. Curled up inside the pantry. Down in the apple cellar. Up in the gear loft of the paddlewheel house.

At times like that, they would wake Tab up and light lamps to chase away her nightmares. Other times, Papa would find her walking and guide her back to bed, still asleep.

#####

Ma Miller's Funeral

This is a rough sketch of one of the opening panels for the Droblar story. Please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

Sunday Sketch: Character Development

I’ve been working on the faces of the characters in the graphic novel that I’m making for my kids. I want to make them a little more friendly and lighthearted.

I’m not there yet, though. I think they’re coming across too cute/goofy.

This week’s Sunday Sketch is a character development piece for Bing, the main Drobo in the story.

He’s coming along… still haven’t dialed the face in yet, though. Feel free to leave thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

20130527-095341.jpg

Sunday Sketch: New Pens!

Today’s Sunday Sketch is the result of bit of experimentation. I’ve been playing around with drawing eyes and decided to practice inking over my pencil sketches.

One piece of advice from Doug Hills in his book Manga Studio for Dummies is to try as many different types of pens as possible when you’re learning to ink. Taking that advice to heart, I picked up about forty bucks worth of pens to play around with.

My favorites by far are the Faber-Castell artist pens, both the straight pens and the brushes. I also really like the Copic Multiliners for fine work. If the Copic’s were a little cheaper, I’d consider keeping a bunch around for everyday writing.

At any rate, here’s the inked sketch. Let me know what you think and feel free to offer advice in the comments.

SundaySketch_20130512