Wednesday, September 8, 2010


It's been far too long since this blog was updated. Here it is, September, and the last post was in June. Yikes, guys.

We've been very busy over here at PFS, mostly with Big Life Stuff, but also with Big Art Stuff. We have finished all of the art for issue 1 of Beautiful Scars, which is very exciting. I am working on a surprise to be included in the issue as well (it's really great). Now that life has settled down a little, we can start working on issue 2. We will finish up posting the pages soon, so check back for those!

Life is great, if not very hectic right now. Take care!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Page 17 - Falling In Love

Ah... young love.

Top storyline: Ridley literally falls heads over heels (bum over noggin?) in love after seeing Emma for the first time. How else is he going to impress the girls? By falling out of a tree after being smitten?

Bottom storyline: The Princess is ripped out of the Young Woodsman's life. Being both brave and stalwart, he will face the danger to save his Princess--no matter the cost.

Over all, a real fun panel to put together.

Guin and I wanted to say thanks to all of the folks we saw over Heroes Con in Charlotte last weekend. We had a blast. A shout out to our booth mates: Bernie Wrightson, Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin, Chris Moeller, John Van Fleet, Dave Dorman, Matt Wilson and the ever-moist Scott Hampton. It was three days of comics, nerdiness and overall FUN. We'll definitely give Heroes Con a go next year! A special thanks for all of the kind words of encouragement from those who perused Beautiful Scars--your positive mojo is crucial to getting this thing done! Until next page...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Heroes Con this weekend!

Hey all! Durwin and Guin will be at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC this weekend. We'll be there starting on Friday! If you're there, please stop by and say hello. Durwin will be promoting the trade paperback of Bonds, due out this July, and we'll have some artwork and new stuff to show as well. We'll be sitting near our pals Dave Guertin and Greg Baldwin of Creature Box, Scott Hampton, Chris Moeller, Dave Dorman and more! Come by and say hi to all of us.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Final Hurrah

As you may know, Bonds is being compiled into a trade paperback. This means fixing typos, adding sketches and even creating three more pages of storytelling to fill out the narrative (more on that later).

All of this on top of my teaching load at SCAD, which mercifully ends this week (more on that later as well!).

But I'm now in the mental space to worry about the blog, and for the next couple of weeks, I will post Bonds progress as it completes. However, no worries, Scars will continue to be posted as well. For now, enjoy this pencil sketch and mark July 7 on your calendars when the Bonds trade hits the shelves!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Page 16 - Look Out!

We're chugging along! Soooo close to being done with the first issue. I can't wait to hit the last page. And then get cracking on issue 2!

We get our first glimpse of the love of Ridley's life, the precocious and adorable Emma. Ridley was waiting to catch a sight of the first car he'd ever seen, but didn't count on setting eyes on Emma as well. We used a Panhard & Levassor model for our antique car - it would have been around in England about that time. That was probably the trickiest research that we had to do for the whole book. There aren't many reference shots around for this particular model, but we did find one that someone had restored, which was very lucky. They look like kind of a pain to drive. But Emma and her dad don't seem to mind.

And! Drama! No wonder the woodsman was so upset on the last page. Snatching the poor princess off her feet like that, HOW RUDE. Will the woodsman turn into a Man of Action? Is that dark silhouetted Scars really behind all this? Find out next time...on page 17!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Page 15 - First Glimpse of Scars!

See, we still do comics! :)

Lots has been happening over here at Chez Perpetual Flights. But, we're still plugging away on Beautiful Scars. Only a few pages left to show you! Wow!

I like this page a lot. Lots of action happening! We've got Ridley the daredevil on the lookout for whatever is coming over that hill, and our first glimpse of Scars in Maddie's imagination. Looks pretty frightening, doesn't he? Well, something is exciting the Woodsman, but you'll have to wait til the next page to see what's got him so upset...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grad School

It's been a while since I've posted! Thanks to my lovely partner for taking over while I buried myself in grad school work.

I was in Dallas/Ft. Worth last week with the Hartford Art School and it was a blast. We met a lot of fantastic illustrators, and it's so nice to immerse yourself in a group that thinks the same way you do. 100% illustration 24/7, man. It's the good life.

We had an assignment where we had to execute an illustration based on our experience in Pasadena (the last contact period we had). Well, let me tell you - that trip was a life-changing experience for me, not in small part due to the trip to the Disney Archives and seeing Mary Blair's concept work for Alice in Wonderland in person. And Eyvind Earle's backgrounds from Sleeping Beauty, just lying on a table. Just right in front of me. People, it was like a religious experience for me. I briefly contemplated making a break for the door with them under my coat, but decided a life of crime was not for me.

I felt like I needed to pay homage to that part of the trip with my piece. I feel sometimes that California is one big movie set, with all kinds of characters. So, I decided to do my own "adventures in Wonderland". I wanted to do something more interactive than just one flat piece, so I made it three-dimensional. I made myself as Alice, my program head as the White Rabbit, and then a couple other characters to interact with each other. I wanted to do something semi-sequential, so I did three panels that become a sort of triangle that stands up and forms a sort of "playset". Each side has an overhang which characters on strings can hang from.

Unfortunately, I shipped the piece back to myself before getting on the plane, and never got a good shot of it set up, so I'll have to wait til the Fed Ex guy shows up to show you the final setup, but I can show you the backgrounds. When it makes its way back to me, I'll take some photos of the finished piece.

This is my first panel, representing Pasadena with the rose gardens. I put in a Kenton Nelson-inspired lady in the background since we visited his studio. And an In-n-Out burger sign. Because they are delicious.

This is my second panel, based on a trip we took to Hollywood (and a ridiculous tequila bar). I love a place with good Mexican food, and Pasadena had it in spades. Yummers.

My third and final image. I think this one is my favorite. I took a little liberty with the Hollywood Hills and put in a beach (the one thing I didn't go to, but wanted to!). I have the castle in the back as a little nod to my Disneyland trip.

I loved the patterns and the repetition in this whole piece, it got very addictive. I had so much fun with this, I can't even tell you. Stay tuned for the whole shebang assembled with characters!

ETA: I uploaded the wrong versions, duh... so, these are the seriously final versions. There's not much difference but there is to me!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Page 14 - Danger Lurks Ahead

Welcome to North Carolina. I'm on break from SCAD and Guin is in Dallas showing off her latest illustration (more on that next week). But even though I'm off from teaching (at least for this week), I get to relax by working on comics.

On this page, we finally get to introduce Scars the Troll into the story. Here, you can tell that he is a pretty tough customer. We can also see young Ridley climbing a look-out tree in a monkey like manner...

More importantly, you get to sense how we are using two storylines against each other. The emotions on the top tier–determination and apprehension–are meant to set a mood on the storyline beneath it. Guin and I are trying to have the grandfather's narrative affect the granddaughter's imagination. Since we are not relying on balloons for the B story (Maddie's Fantasy story), the acting has to be spot on. The Princess, and the Young and Old Woodsman are nonetheless oblivious to the danger that lies ahead.

Next post... the danger that lies ahead!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Bonds Trade Cover

The folks over at Image Comics have decided to collect the three issues of Bonds into a trade paperback. The good news for me is that I got to create a new cover for the event. The bad news for me is that I had to do this the weekend before finals week. Well, art is about energy and focus. So I looked at this as an opportunity to see what I could do in 48 hours...
So, it always starts off with a sketch. A dozen to be more precise. As potentially the last illustration I would create for Bonds, I had to think about what I wanted to say. If you can say it in words, you have a shot to illustrate it. For me, Faith's path of vengeance meant that she collected souls. The tattoos represent every soul she killed, but for the cover I wanted to somehow show the people who were also important to her story...we are, after all, who we let into our lives.
Originally, I wanted to riff off of the Coles Phillips fade-away technique. But I decided that I wanted portraits of her family and foes to emerge from the shadows. I also wanted to have the Wolf Spirit's head turn into fire. These two elements, shadows and fire, seem to best represent Faith's life and death.

For the final trade which should be in the stores in early July 2010, I also plan to create a new prologue to the story. But this will have to wait until Scars 1 is completed... And I thought that I received an illustration degree, not an MFA in Juggling!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cover Up! Final Cover

Tah dah! The Final cover. We still need to add cover indicia (publisher's logo, chapter number, etc.), but you'll see all of this when it hits the stands. All and all, this was a fun (yet necessary) diversion. Back to interiors next week!

Cover Up! Part 3

In Photoshop, we tend to use subtle effects to push our design to the next level. Because all of the hard work is done with graphic shapes and line, it's simply a matter of creating focus. We'll use gradient effects with a dissolve to push trees backwards and forwards.

We'll modulate value and color in the holding lines.

Overall, we'll use Photoshop to soften some of the harder effects a vector program creates.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cover Up! Part 2

Once the shapes in the sketch have been determined, it's time to create holding lines. For this cover, our concept was to hearken back to the fairy tale styles of Kay Neilsen and Edmund Dulac with a bit of art nouveau line found in the works of Aubrey Beardsley and Will Bradley. No pressure, eh? We went to a vector program to control the line precision.

After our lines were created, we colored the lines and added flat shapes of color. There's something jarring about black line in "classic" illustration work. Using brown line is a great way to soften the overall piece. As we create the layers of background needed to complete this piece, we'll move to lighter and lighter shades linework, finally using gold for the castle.

Using into a flat perspective, the next layer to solve is the city before the castle. Thinking deco, we used repeating patterns and colors instead of traditional perspective. The buildings in the back are smaller than the building in the front.

Now it's time to design the final elements. The castle, clouds and cherry blossoms. Next up, Photoshop!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cover Up! Part I

Beautiful Scars is a book with a lot of planning behind it. Though we are producing artwork for the project in earnest this year, this project has been percolating with Guin and I for a while. It's been almost 4 years since we first outlined Beautiful Scars at a Dennys at 2 in the morning (but that's a blog for another time).

To pitch this idea to Mark Smylie at Archaia Studio Press, we put together a page of art, a synopsis and a rather sparse cover.

As we near completion of issue 1, we decided it was time to create a new cover. This new image + the pages you see in this blog will be solicited together for review. It's time to gussy up the cover image. Here are our starting pencils:

As you can see, we are just designing our shapes, rhythm and flow. As soon as we are done with our rough sketch, it's time to refine our composition. The original sketch is lightened and darker marks refine the characters, details and size relations. Next post, we'll go to color!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Page 13 - The Game is Afoot!

A Story–Tier 1: Ridley is cajoled by his mates to climb the infamous oak.
B Story–Tier 2: The Princess and the Old Woodsman trade stories. The Young Woodsman stands back.

As visual storytellers, Guin and I are trying to set up idyllic scenes in two different worlds on the same page. In Ridley's world, the colours are pastel and the sun is out. In the Princess' world, we play with warmer colours with the figures, but cooler colors in the forest.

As writers, this page is designed to mark the warmth and safety in both worlds. On the top tier, the kids are being kids–they feel indestructible (a common concept among kids). On the bottom tier, our players are obviously close. On the entire page, no one has a care in the world. Until the next page, that is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Page 12 - New Year Resolutions

Welcome to the new year. The break has been eventful... travel through North Carolina (Hi Scott, Dave, Janet), travel through Indiana for Christmas, back to Savannah for the New Year (and new school year). Moreover, back to the grindstone.

It's always an interesting balancing act with things you have to do and things you want to do in life. Beautiful Scars is a thing we HAVE to do in life, and so welcome to the first page of 2010. And the theme of this page is Old Acquaintances (Happy New Year, all!)

Storywise, Ridley meets up with his mischievous chums by the Old Oak Tree. There is only one road leading into town, and these friends are going to be waiting for a new discovery that will be heading down the road. In the B story, the Princess recognizes the Old Woodsman and his apprentice. Obviously there is a lot of love here.

We use a graphic device to help separate the stories and in this page, I feel it really comes through... The black field separates the B story (bottom) from the A story (top). Until next time!