Monday, December 28, 2015

Episode Page 8: Developmental work flow

I wanted to share my work flow. 
This comes as a response to a request from my boy Fred (The Master) Hurt! Fred is getting back on the pen as we speak. I am expecting some great things from him and wanted to make this Rant / Blog Post as a mini tutorial to him but yinz might get something from it too...

Initial Plot:
(the reader then realizes that the scene is in flashback - this should take one page)
HY! then wakes startled and confused, he his bed, and in a cold sweat.

That's it simple and too the point. I use this technique because comics are a visual medium. I took a cue from Jack Kirby and Stan Lee on this. For most scenes this works perfectly. #1 Writers are normally not visual story tellers. They know what they want to say and convey but most of the time it does not translate well to sequentials. So I like just having a few lines. describing the scene. which leads me to my next flow point...
What helps from the writer is pacing notes, such as how many pages he projects that telling this scene will take. Then LEAVE THE STORYBOARDING TO THE ARTIST! MOST (not all) Writers make HORRIBLE story board artists (in general) .... if they could draw then they would provide thumbnails. This is not a hard and fast theory... because there are some writers who do great story boards and great panel by panel descriptions. This normally comes from experience comic writers or those who have a knack for visual storytelling.

Initial Thumbnails

I normally start doodling the basic breakdowns. I like to use a 5.5" x 8.5" sketch book, using only blue bic pen. For some reason the blue pen gives a nice feel. I also cant erase which is even better. Because normally what comes about first the best stuff. I take the plot points and make them into sequentials.  This technique allows the artists to play his role as director. (where the writer is the writer... you as artist are normally the director). But NOT ALL ARTISTS ARE GOOD VISUAL STORY TELLERS! JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE CAN DRAW A CHEESECAKE T&A PIN UP DOES NOT MEAN THEY CAN DRAW A GOOD sequential art story. Most of the time pin up artists suck at story boards. Please remember there is a big difference  between sequentials, posters, covers and dynamic splash pages (pin ups). The last 3 sell comics the first one keep people interested, reading and coming back...

Initial Script:
PAGE 8 Normal Page

Panel 1
Close up on HellYeah! with war paint of face (still in flash back)
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

Panel 2
Silhouetted Jungle scene

Panel 2
Extreme close up of HellYeah!’s eyes
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

Panel 2
Large background panel,
HY! Sitting up in cold sweat. Eyes ablaze, possibly on fire. Muscles tense and veins full.
Both hands in tiger claw striking position
“I am the black fist tiger lotus!”

The writer then looks at the thumbs and comes up with the text. Again a play outta Kirby/Lee handbook. Though this does not work in every concept. This works best if you are the artist creator and main force behind the project. As an artist like me you tend to have some nice ideas but as for making the story flow you struggle. You see this in my first 2 episodes of SOAH. But as I got the feel of things and watched a BUNCH of story writing and sequential story telling tutorials, I think I got a little better.


Enter the way of the Manga Studio Warrior... Yup basic blue line pencils of my thumbnails. There may be some variation but mostly they don't change much. They are what Professor David Moyers would call initial illustration study. Kind of a warm up for final inks.

INKING IS NOT TRACING! (Big Philip Thompson ... who jacked up my lines as a kid!).Inking is the art of bringing pencils to life. By giving them depth, range, and value. Man...I am good. I just made that mess up! On the real, Inks make or break a comic. I HATE when artist use nior black for shadows. Notice I used Nior on this page, yes. And I used to cover up horrible art work! I didnt want to take time to draw the jungle scene. But what I didn't do is use it to obscure the characters or main lines. It is my theory that the pencilist /inker's job is to provide the lines. The colorist's job is to provide, hue value shadow and shade... If you give them a great lines they can cover over what ever they want in black (which should be used sparingly). They can give the scene / panel the color and darkness needed through color instead ink. 

Initial Flats
Flatting is a thankless job. It gives the colorist selections on how to color. It is my opinion too that the writer is the script writer / producer, the main artist is the director, the flatter ties it to give life in color, and the colorist is the special effects technician. The flatter should be a jack of all trades. He should be able to clean up bad lines when needed, add nice prelim effects (not the velvet painting) and direction for lighting. He should be an apprentice while the colorist should be the MASTER. The colorist should be able to fix what the flatter missed. NO an colorist should not rely on photoshop effects to cover bad art but he should be able to produce computer graphics, patterns, give items deeper texture and touch up bad art when needed. 


this is generally how it should look when the colorist gets the photoshop file...

see the final page in print! (when it prints!)
but in the meantime you can enjoy the online vintage black and white version below...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Episode 3: Grace...No Mercy! Starts Today!

Page #1 Episode #3.  GRACE NO MERCY!
You ask why is it so small... the harder to make you read it my dear!
Really it's so you will click on the image and go to the SOUL OF A HERO website! It helps my SEO bouncing you around like this. 

This issue starts out with GunShow. His murder is the crux of why the story is. What was/is in the briefcase is an item of high importance but one (except me and Flip) know what's inside. (heck I might not have told Flip what's in it...). But I always liked the idea that Q. Tarantino had in Pulp Fiction about a mysterious briefcase!

I would love your feedback! And if you make comments we send gifts! Its just that simple. Make a face book, blogspot and website comment I WILL DEFINITELY send you a Soul of a Hero Gift!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Victory CIGAR!

After lots of code, cursing, crying... its time for the victory CIGAR!

Support a brotha's creative venture
 by buying a t shirt from the web store 

Purchase today securely on 

Thursday, December 24, 2015



Friends, Fans and Family! The Soul of Hero is BACK! Yes it’s been quite a while. It may seem that I have not been creating anything but that is farthest from the truth. The real story is that I have been working feverishly getting this episode / issue 2 and 3 together.

Also I have enrolled full time in art school and have that thing I call a job that I have to go to every day. I want to thank my professors at the Art Institute in Atlanta (Dunwoody Campus) for all your encouragement teaching and help. Check your desks for a special gift!Dr. Wood thanks for believing in me and allowing me to grow as an artist in the mists of my crazy career schedule! (note I still have your gift. I couldn't find a secure place to put it, so I will give it to you in person!). Prof Hawkins... I learned that Sfumato works well for making depth in comics, Prof Bolling... I learned new tricks in illustrator to help my production work flow. Prof McGonigle... I added the finger you so eloquently pointed out I missed :P , Prof Moyers... THANKS FOR PUSHING ME! This man is awesome! He forced me to learn how to paint traditionally and to draw what I see and not what I think!. This truly helped my digital flow! All of YINZ have had a great and powerful input and influence on me! I have noticed that my skill set has increased. The art of episode #3 takes a great jump from episode #2. ( and prof McGonicle’s influence can be seen in the progress form episode #1 to episode #2 also!)

MO Good news! I got a new job, I no longer work for the county but now work for the state! I am thankful that I have less responsibility and more authority at this new gig. But enough with the boring work stuff.

I want to give a HUGE shout out to one of my best supporters and friend Mike Bertucci. Mike had been there since the beginning. When I say that I men when I was a kid drawing with him on his dining room table! He motivated me to get my butt in gear and get this issue out. My next shout out goes to Big Phil Thompson. Yet another motivator. Though his is not officially on this project. Phil was a key inspiration to me in getting into comics as a kid! Next goes to Fred Hurt! Hands down, BIG FRED is one of the best raw talent artist I know. He has been putting in work since  we were in middle school. I have always been a fan of his tight stylized line work, and as yinz can see it still influences me today. The last goes out to Joe Szejk. Brother... You are my sidekick in this. Things are hard but you will overcome! SOAH is waiting on you, and your creative input for these next issues.  

Ok now that I got that out of the way... I want to say that as a Christmas present to you yinz, I have posted episode #2 in its entirety. But you will notice that it is in black and white. That is by design.... (well not really because Donny has not finished the colors) but you will be seeing the online version in black and white and the print version will be in full color (when Donny gets them colored and I get them drawn... and when Flip writes the scripts...). Anyhoo I love YINZ thanks for the support!

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