Page Array – The Official Home of Zack Giallongo A cartoonist working on original graphic novels, comics and other cool projects! Mon, 30 May 2016 21:17:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 HOW A GRAPHIC NOVEL IS ACTUALLY MADE PART 4: LIFTING THE LEAD Tue, 04 Nov 2014 15:27:43 +0000

Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this ??? part series!

Hello? Are you there? I’m sorry I haven’t called or written in awhile. It turns out that Actually Making a Graphic Novel takes up a lot of time! But enough excuses. I’m back with the next part of this series, and I own the mistake of my long absence! But since you’re here, let’s get to the rock and roll!

Just a quick recap: Last time, I talked about working out the entire story, script, and layout in thumbnail form. After that’s been approved – which could mean okay’d by my editor, or just given the mental thumbs up from me – it’s time to start drawing the actual art!

I’m afraid to say that there really isn’t a whole lot of magic or secret tips to impart at this stage. It’s really just a matter of doing the heavy lifting! So, I think it’s best that I just detail my own personal working methods as opposed to teaching you how to draw. Which would be hard since I’m here and you’re over there.

The first step is actually a very recent addition to my arsenal. In the past, I used to rule out my pages and layout the comic panels by hand. But now, with the acquisition of a large format printer (an Epson Stylus Photo 1400), I’ve taken to creating my layouts in Photoshop and printing them out! I use smooth Bristol cut to 11″ x 17″ with an image area of 10″ x 13″. These are pretty standard comic dimensions, but depending on your project, your mileage may vary.

In addition to printing out the black borders for the panels, I also print out the dialogue and captions in very light blue ink on the pages. The text has been placed in roughly the area that it will go, but the light blue will not reproduce in the scanning, that way I can still change its location if need be. The reason I lay in the rough text is VERY IMPORTANT! Many comic artists do NOT leave enough room for the necessary text in the panels, thus words need to be crammed in by the letterer, or art that you’ve spent so much time creating needs to be covered up. Either way, it’s tragic and sloppy, but easily avoided. So always remember, before you pencil in a single figure, ROUGH IN YOUR TEXT AS CLOSE TO ACTUAL SIZE AS YOU CAN. If the text is not leaving you very much room for the actual drawing, think about breaking down your layout differently, or editing your text.

After that, the penciling begins. I don’t use anything fancy, just a regular off-the-shelf mechanical pencil. Some people like to use blue pencil for their rough drawing. This is because the blue will not show up when scanned and gets rid of the need to erase after inking. But I’ve never been comfortable working that way and I like the small detail and versatility that the mechanical pencil affords me. Try out lots of different methods and you’ll find what’s right for you! Admittedly, I have a pretty heavy hand and erasing can be a bit of a chore, but c’est la vie.

My pencils tend to be really, really, loose and rough. I like to get as much energy as I can, and then refine at the inking stage. I am also not a tremendously tight inker, but that is by choice. I like things loose and kinetic and so I’ve chosen to keep my comic art like that without going too far into the realm of complete chaos.

Remember too, that most artists work big, generally double the size of the final print form. This is basically a cheat so that your drawing will look sharper and cooler when reduced down to a smaller size! However, keep in mind that lots of tiny details and textures will likely also become lost once they are reduced down, so try to avoid futzing over little tiny figures and other minutia. It will only bring you heartache!

After a page is penciled, it is then ready to be committed to the page with ink for ALL OF ETERNITY! Scary thought, right? Fear not my intrepid cartoonlings! That stage is for another installment!

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A Wild Zack Approaches! Thu, 19 Sep 2013 18:22:32 +0000 Hi everyone and welcome, again, to my Zlog! As you can see, my site here is getting a major overhaul, and the Zlog is now a part of that. I thought about deleting all of my old posts since the images are all broken or no longer exist, but for now I’ll keep them on the off chance that someone finds them useful. As time goes on, I’m hoping to update the Zlog regularly with a few ideas, recommendations, and whatever else crawls into my bloated head! So stay tuned…

Mega Man Dreams Thu, 02 Dec 2010 03:14:00 +0000 Every so often in our careers, we get to be a part of something nostalgic or special to us that we’re proud of. I have friends who have officially written comics based on tv shows they loved, adapted favorite childhood books to comics, or contributed art to trading cards based on a beloved movie franchise. This story isn’t quite as encompassing as those, but I’m really proud of it nonetheless.
As a kid in the 80’s plugged in to his NES, I loved the Mega Man games. My first exposure was when a babysitter of mine brought over the first game. She explained the rock-scissors-paper mechanics and I was happy to sit and watch her blast through the various Robot Masters (You could battle them in any order you wanted! It was AMAZING!). She was stuck forever battling – and losing to – Ice Man and thought for sure that he would melt under the fire weapon. I remember suggesting that maybe electricity would work instead, and the rest was history.

But the games aren’t really what this is about. Just after college, I discovered the existence of Mega Man (or rather, Rockman) manga that existed in Japan. Like most dorks, I’m careless with money and saw it fit to purchase whatever volumes I could find, mostly on eBay. And no, I couldn’t read a word of them. But I didn’t have to! I knew the stories and the artwork was fun enough for me to follow along and wish like crazy that I had had comics like these when I was a kid. I hated the Captain N and Mega Man cartoon versions of the blue bomber. I always thought they were made by people who didn’t know what Mega Man was, or just didn’t care. But these comics seemed more true to Rock’s roots and I got a thrill out of them. Then I discovered Hitoshi Ariga.

Ariga was creating Rockman manga based on more or less original stories rather than strictly following the plots, thin as they were, outlined in the games. He infused the tiny flashes of light on the screen with personalities and motives and generally expanded the entire world of Mega Man into a wonderful comic universe that even someone unfamiliar with the games could enjoy. I remember being totally jazzed when Ariga embellished the original six Robot Masters. In the first game, the story claims that they were creations of good Dr. Light, stolen and reprogrammed by villainous Dr. Wily. Rather than have Mega Man merely blast them to smithereens, Ariga has Mega Man free his brothers who go on to form a kind of heroic super fighting robot team!

It was at the MoCCA Artfest that I totally by chance happened to meet Jim Zubkavich. Both of us were working on our own mini comics and both of us had some interest in videogame comics. At the time, the first Lifemeter anthology I had helped edit came out. Jim, however, was the project manager at Udon Entertainment. It wasn’t long before we were talking Capcom and Mega Man. And in a heartbeat, I was talking about Ariga and his loose, infectious style.

Jim gave me a bit of a hush-hush wink. “It looks like we may be getting the Mega Man license soon.”

“You’ve got to see these books.” I said. Jim, himself one of the biggest and most genuine fans of games, comics, art and Mega Man I have ever met, was interested and told me to send him the covers and whatever information I had on them. I think it was the first thing I did when I got home.

Weeks, months, YEARS went by! I would often see Jim at other conventions and he would talk about successfully getting the license to Mega Man. Then he would let me in on all the red tape to cut through getting the books and the rights to publish them officially in North America. It was slow going, like most thing in publishing are. But it was exciting knowing that each time we met, I was a little closer to holding the books and being able to read them on my own.

Sure enough, in 2009, the first volume of Mega Man Megamix by Hitoshi Ariga and published by Udon was released. As I understand it, the books have been doing well and the Mega Man fan community is pleased to finally have them official and in English. The lettering, translation and localization are all stellar. This year, I even received this amazing piece of original artwork of my favorite Robot Master sent to me by Jim from the hand of Hitoshi Ariga himself.

And, if you look in the back of each volume of Megamix, there is a list of thank yous. At the bottom of the list, past all of the Japanese names of folks who actually did something, is my name. It’s a small thing and yet one that I am really excited by. It makes me proud to have my name attached to something I’ve loved since boyhood in a small way.

Mega Man Megamix volume 3 was released on November 17, 2010 and would make an amazing holiday gift for any fan of the Blue Bomber!

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Con Wisdom #1 Wed, 26 May 2010 21:34:00 +0000 Since about 2005, I’ve been hitting various comic and anime conventions as an exhibitor, and as an attendee for a few years before that. Conventions are something I really enjoy doing. It lets me travel, see friends, and meet all sorts of new people in the industry. Plus, there are worse ways to spend a weekend than making a little cash from selling your work! Con-going has been essential to my career and it will be for yours, too.

Now, I’ve seen a lot of tables and con-goers and exhibitors while in the trenches. Some of it good, some of it really, really off-putting, all of it from either in front of or behind the table. So, I thought I would throw together a rather ad-hoc list of tips and tricks for your next comic show! It’s a really simple bullet-list for exhibiting, and is in no way complete or a primer for such a thing. Although it might be a step in that direction. So, without further ado…

  • If you don’t talk to them, they won’t talk to you. When people come to the table, I usually say hello. Say hi. Acknowledge their presence. For goodness’ sake SMILE! It’s a big turn-off to visit a table and feel like you’re intruding or interrupting or are otherwise not welcome. But-
  • Don’t make your epic comic sales-pitch unless you are asked or unless it is DAMN SHORT. Really. Going to a table and automatically receiving an impassioned dissertation on why I should read your comic is kind of a red flag. If I want to know, I’ll ask. Otherwise, I feel like you’re pushing it on me and at best, I will be listening out of politeness, not interest. Now, if you can give me an idea of what your comic’s about in a sentence, then go for it. But use your judgment. To that end-
  • Avoid cute pitches or calling out to people unless you actually are charming and welcoming and a good people-person. And chances are, you’re not. At San Diego Comic-Con, a friend and I were wandering the floor. While idly passing a table, a voice rang out “Hey! You guys like dark comedy?” My friend responded, “Yes, but I hate a hard sell.” and we kept walking.
  • Remember, there is a direct correlation between the quality of work and how hard someone hustles. I have never bought a comic because a freebie or flier was shoved under my nose.
  • Freebies: To sample or Not to sample? A lot of people think logically, that offering a free sample of their comic will draw folks in. And it will. But honestly, 9 times out of 10, that’s all they’ll take. Postcards, fliers, and bookmarks are all okay for free promotion I think. And people do take them to legitimately remember a comic that they either don’t have the time or money to purchase on the spot. But free comics or previews are tougher. First off, that’s your main work and it should be of value. In my experience, when someone gets something for free, that is exactly what it is worth to them.
  • Don’t put out a bowl of candy. It’s a lame ploy and disingenuous. I can think of exactly one example where I’ve seen a bowl of candy that was acceptable and relevant to the rest of the table. Unless you’re that person, don’t do it.
  • Think about your display and placing interesting items out. Figures, cut-outs, relevant objects; they can all be useful in attracting people to the table. This is especially true when 95% of what 95% of the people are selling at these cons are rectangular and flat. But be prudent! Having a lot of junk out will minimize your table’s real estate and, worse, will visually overwhelm your visitors. Also, think twice about fragile or precious items. You can put up as many signs as you want, but they WILL be handled.
  • Commissions? If you want to do commissions or not, it’s your choice. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I’ve found it very helpful to display sizes and prices. 9 out of 10 folks will know they want a drawing, but not in which format. Having predetermined sizes and prices will help both of you out immensely. And, you can always negotiate other types of commissions if the case arises. Also-
  • Don’t take commissions you can’t finish! Granted, this may or may not apply to you based on your schedule or work ethic. But if you’re anything like me (and I know I am) a take-home commission will get finished 9 months to a year after the con has ended. Yuck.

Well! That was a decent start! granted, I think this list focused on what NOT to do. But in a future Con Wisdom, I promise to rely more heavily on the great things you SHOULD do! Also, feel free to comment with any thoughts you might have. My list here is based purely on my own experience, which is the only experience I have. Til next time!

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