4/27/08

Work-For-Hire #1

I don't do a whole lot of commissions or work-for-hire stuff, but occasionally a paid art project comes along, and if it is interesting and/or I think I can do a decent job at it, I take it on. This was a project for a company that designs an alcohol education course for college students. They had a comic scripted and their artist flaked out on them. They had a small budget, so I told them the work would be cartoony and simple color. Who could turn down the offer to draw kids playing beer pong. Luckily, they were happy with with the finished product.

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4/23/08

Pin-Ups #2: Grifter


First time in a while I brought out the india ink to make a real mess of my drawing table. Grifter has always been a favorite character of mine.

4/22/08

New York Comic Con #2: Post-Game

Breaking news from the New York Comic Con...turns out I am a Skrull!

Yup, the skrull masks were a big hit at the large Marvel booth, but just a drop in the bucked of the merchandising that was NYCC. This was my first major con, and I think I am still recovering from the sensory overload that is a major comic convention. Rather than give a thorough blow-by-blow of the con, I'll just provide the highlights as I saw them.

  • Got my copy of Civil War #1 signed by penciler Steve McNiven and inker Dexter Vines. Steve is a really nice guy, and it was cool to flip through at look at his layouts for Civil War.

  • Saw a panel on creating an independent television show, which included Redeeming Rainbow, an off beat comedy pilot worth checking out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrBBhX-W6vA

  • Met Rob Liefeld, and got my original Youngblood #1 copy from the early 90's signed, along with a copy of the new Youngblood series. I also snagged a signature Derek Donovan, the artist on the new Youngblood. I talked to Rob for a bit about Super Seed, Armageddon Now, and also spent time flipping through pages of original art. Wow, do those pages pop in person...just awesome comic action as only Liefeld can draw.

  • Picked up a copy of the Mouse Guard hardcover by David Peterson. David signed it and drew a quick sketch in there. I had an interesting conversation with Peterson about his choice of format for Mouse Guard. He said he originally planned to self-publish, and wanted a unique size for his book to make it stand out from the rest of the small press work out there. So, he took a legal size piece of paper, folded it in half, and came up with a square sized paper, that he liked because it allowed for nice widescreen panels for establishing shots that didn't have to be as thin as on a standard comic page. Photobucket

  • Checked out the a new Marvel video games for Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Much like their respective movies, the Iron Man game looked great, the Hulk...a little suspect.

  • Met Mark Poulton and Steven Sistilli, the creators of Koni Waves. I've interacted with Mark on message boards over the past couple years, and seen this series develop. I picked up the First Wave trade, which collects the first 4 Koni Stories. Series artist Steven Sisitilli tossed a sweet sketch on the inside of the book for me as well.Photobucket
  • The loot. One of the best things about the Con was the massive amounts of discount trade paper back bins. Yes, I went to town. I picked up Daredevil Visionaries 2-3, which collect the celebrated Frank Miller run that includes the classic Daredevil/Electra storyline. I picked up the first two StormWatch:Post Human Division trades for $5 a pop. I also grabbed a Darkness Trade with art by Silvestri and written by Ennis. I also got a ton of freebie comics as well.
All in all, it was a good time, and I'd definitely hit NYCC again. Not quite sure if I'm ready for San Diego though.

Super Seed #12- Pinup Gallery





I want to share some of the Super Seed pin-ups that I've done, and that other artists have done. A lot of the criticism my comic has taken has revolved around Super Seed not being "visual" enough, and if I could have turned back the clock, I probably would have entered a more visually dynamic submission. I think Super Seed as a concept lends itself to some outstanding visuals, and hopefully this snippet of pin-ups can help showcase this.

4/18/08

Sketches and Layouts #2- Free Agent and Ninjas!

A pre-con sketch. For this one, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to do a finished piece or just a sketch. I think it ended up somewhere in-between. It was for a Free Agent Sketch Challenge at the Liefeld boards. If you are looking for a great place to see lots of fun comic art updated daily, head over to those forums. The art threads are great.

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4/17/08

New York Comic Con #1: Pre-Game

I'm off to New York Comic Con this weekend. This will be my first major comic con, and I'm trying to mentally prepare. To get me prepped, I just listened to the Around Comics podcast episode 122, which was all about the do's and don'ts of comic conventions. I think I'm ready.

While I'm not sure entirely what to expect, I am setting out with a number of goals in mind. In no particular order:


  • Pass out all of my Super Seed postcards...probably going to take all weekend.

  • Meet the Zuda Comics gang, and thank them for giving Super Seed a shot on their site. I also am looking forward to meeting the High Moon and Bayou creative teams and seeing some of their work up close.

  • Get some books signed! I'm packing a select number of comics by a number of creators that will be there.

  • Check out some panels and exhibits. Some things that look cool include: The Incredible Hulk and The Spirit first looks, Comic Writer's Talking About Writing, and Comics Experience: The Art of Storytelling.

  • Meet Rob Liefeld and some of the members of his board. I've been "hanging out" at his forum for the past few years. There's a ton of talent that posts over there, and I've collaborated with a bunch of them. It'll be nice to put some faces to screennames.

  • Do some artist hunting. I've a project called The Reclamation that I'm currently looking for an artist to collaborate with. Planning on surfing Artists Alley looking for an up-and-comer that might want to collaborate.

  • Get some deals! I love hitting up the quarter bins, and I hear cons are a great place to buy trades at a deep discount.

Looks like it's going to be a busy weekend.

Super Seed #11- Contest Results!

Alright! Here it is, the results from my Super Seed scripting contest. Drumroll please...

Runner Up- Rodney Brown


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I really like the attitude Rodney gave the Mother, here. No reason to assume a super pregnancy would be any more enjoyable than a regular one. I also like the concerns of the father on page three, as he seems to be second guessing the whole Super Seed idea.


First Place- Alan Adelberg

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Alan made a couple different choices, putting the father in the delivery room with the mother, which was not my intention when drawing the piece, but it still works. I like the flow of the dialogue and really like the script transition between Page 1 and 2, "...a healthy baby- Oh, boy!) I thought that was great writing. One interesting thing about both entries, both had a character concerned that the baby would come out breathing fire, and that was no where in the pictures. Just an odd coincidence.

I'll be contacting both winners, taking their sketch and NY ComicCon requests. Thanks again to all who participated, and thanks for the interest in Super Seed.

4/15/08

Super Seed #10- Ads

Being involved in this month's Zuda competition has been very interesting. I'm planning on doing a whole forum post over at the Zuda boards detailing "Lessons Learned" from competing...but we'll let that wait until after this month's competition is done.

One of the interesting things I've had the opportunity to study is advertising effectiveness. In a previous blog post, I showed two of my banner ads that I've been placing around the net that have been working. But this ad below has been far and away the most effective in terms of getting clicks. Unfortunately, I haven't mastered turning page views into favorites and votes over at Zuda. Fact is, there are only so many things that one can control.

Anyway, here's the ad that's been very successful.
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4/14/08

Pin-Ups #1- Multiforce

Took a (much needed) break this weekend from Super Seed, and spent some time finishing that Multiforce pin-up. (See the sketch layout from this earlier post.) It was nice to spend some time drawing a few mainstream characters for a change.

Penciled on 11 x 14 bristol board and darkened in Photoshop.

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4/12/08

Super Seed #9- Postcards

Receive my shipment of Super Seed Promo postcards in the mail yesterday. They look nice, and the deal I got on them from gotprint.com was quite reasonable. I spent today hitting up the local comic shops to spread them around. One thing I've been pleased to find is that comic shops, at least in the Cambridge/Boston area, are very supportive of local creators and were enthusiastic about the contest.

I also had some requests for postcards, so I mailed a bunch out today. I'll hopefully get rid of most of them next weekend at the New York Comic Con. But if anyone wants one, just fire an email with your name and address to superseedcomic@gmail.com.

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4/9/08

Super Seed #8- Time for a Contest!

I think it's time for a contest!

While Super Seed has certainly received it's fair share of critiques, one of the things that I've always thought it had going for it was its strength as a concept. The challenge is of course in the execution. The idea of a fertility clinic specializing in superbabies is just that...an idea. But what kind of book is this? A horror book, about the dangers of powers gone awry? A comedy book about the wacky things that happen in a world with powers obsessed parents? A super hero smash fest that takes place in a hospital?

The options are endless, and I think I wrestled with them all. Case in point, the pages below. I flirted for a short time with making Super Seed as a more lighthearted, cartoony book, more focused on gags and humor. I tried to shoot outside my usual comfort zone, experimenting with a style I hadn't tried before. While this approach was quickly "aborted" (bad pun intended), I do have the pages below that hint at what that approach might have looked like. But I never scripted them...

The Contest

Your turn to write. I've provided the sequentials, you provide the words. I'll choose the top entries, and put them up to a vote. You game?

Submissions will be accepted until 11.59 PM next Wednesday, April 16th.

Winning entries can be emailed to superseedcomic@gmail.com or can be uploaded online, with the links pasted as a response to this thread.

The Prizes
  1. Your choice of an original piece of Super Seed art OR I will draw you a sketch of a character of your choice.
  2. I will stalk the comic book creator of your choice at this month's New York ComicCon and get you something signed from them.

Good Luck!

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Super Seed #7- Promotion and the Genius of Zuda

I've been selectively placing the following ads around, trying to drum up additional interest in Super Seed. This process has made me realize part of the genius of the Zuda business plan. Each month, they choose 10 contestants who are absolutely passionate about their comics. The cost to Zuda isn't insignificant...at $500 per comic, that's 5 grand a month. But it seems clear to me that Zuda is getting a two-for-one deal for their money. First, they're getting content (which is the reason people go to the site in the first place.) And second...they're getting tons of advertising. It seems to me that some contestants spend well over their $500 winners pay on advertising (one even advertised on the front of MySpace! That's serious coin.) And even those that don't pay a dime in dollars, still spend their time and energy plastering the Zuda name all over the internet on their blogs, facebookmyspacefriendster pages, and try to alert every person they know about the site. Can you put a value on that? I'm betting Zuda planners can and did, and I'm betting it's a lot more than $5000 a month.

So kudos to Zuda and its business savvy. No time to talk. Need to pimp Zud-err, I mean Super Seed.
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4/8/08

Super Seed #6- Promo #1: Extraordinary

So, Super Seed is up and running on Zuda. Looks like my comic is middle of the pack in terms of the visible stats (views, favorites, rating) but I've been pleased to receive some solid comments. This looks like it will be one of the most competitive Zuda contests, both in terms of the quality of the comics and (perhaps more importantly) the effort put into marketing.

Speaking of marketing. Check out my first promo. Had a lot of fun with this.

And if you haven't already checked out Super Seed, what are you waiting for?


Read it here!


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4/7/08

Super Seed #5- LIVE AT ZUDA!!!




Follow this direct link to read Super Seed at Zuda Comics now! http://zudacomics.com/node/333

4/6/08

Super Seed #4- Sketchbook


Turns out I don't have a Super Seed sketchbook. I've been going through the eight folders of thumbnails, research notes, ideas for future Super Seed stories, etc. that I've collected over the past three years and found I have surprisingly few SS-related sketches. I guess I just don't like wasting artwork...usually if I draw something, I end up turning it into a finished piece. But I decided to toss up a few unfinished pieces in a little collage. You'll see my pencils are very rough and unpolished...since I ink my own stuff, I can get away with it. (I hope.)

Super Seed #3- Origin Cont.


I wrote the 22 page script for Super Seed in 2005. At the time, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit the effort and energy into actually drawing the thing. About a year and a half later, I dusted off the Super Seed concept, and decided to whip up a very short (5 pages) story set in the world of Super Seed as a test run. Here is the first finished Super Seed piece for that story “Birth Perfects.”
I was happy with the story, and decided it was worth investing the time into a full story.

Super Seed #2- Origins

Three years ago, I found myself in a serious rut. I was completely bored at work and succumbing to an “Is this really all there is to my life” melancholy that seems to be all the rage with twenty-somethings these days. We’ll call it my quarter-life crisis.

On a whim I happened to peruse through the continuing education course catalog offered at my alma mater, Georgetown University. It had been three years since graduation, and while I certainly felt I had given Gtown enough of my money already, I saw a course that looked interesting. It was titled comic book script writing.
It had been a while since I’d done anything comics related. Back in middle school and high school I logged in thousands of hours on comic projects, racking up over 100 pages of sequential artwork. Some of it actually wasn’t half bad. But as I discovered the joys of beer and women, my time spent at the art table took a serious nose dive (see chart.) And once I settled into a post-college routine, I never picked it back up. Taking the comics writing course was the single biggest factor in getting me back into creating comics.

The course was led by A. David Lewis, author of The Lone and Level Sands (
www.captionbox.net) and the product of that class was the issue of Super Seed that will begin being published on Monday. So, I’ve been working on the Super Seed concept for three years now, and have put a lot into it. I’m pumped that its getting wider exposure now, and hope it delivers.

Getting back into comics definitely contribited to me getting out of my mid-twenties funk, as it became clear that there was a creativity void in my life that needed filling.



4/3/08

Super Seed #1- Intro


What is Super Seed?


Oh, just the project I've spent the last three years developing. Over the next few weeks, I'll give the whole back story to the creation and development of Super Seed. I'll talk about it's origin, I'll post early scripts, sketches, and also talk about where it's going. I've got BIG plans for this title.


Speaking of which...Stay Tuned. In the next couple of days I'll be dropping MAJOR SUPER SEED NEWS. Can't say anything just yet...but Super Seed will be getting a high profile relaunch.

Sketches and Layouts #1- MultiForce


A man named Grok (great band name) has been putting together a collection of pin-up commissions from artists with a MULTIFORCE theme. What Grok did was assemble a massive PDF with images of all of his favorite comics from various comic universes. He's asked artists to peruse the the PDF, select a bunch, and draw them as if they were a badass superteam...a MULTIFORCE.

I've decided to help him add to his collection and take up the challenge. Since I spend most of my time doing sequential art work for my own comics stories, drawing some mainstream comic characters is a welcome diversion. Here is my rough layout. I intend to change up Captain America some...he's not quite working for me. But overall, I like it.






Housekeeping #1

I’m going to do my best to keep this blog nice and organized for easy navigation. As you can see by the current state of my drawing table, organization is not always my strong suit. But I’m trying.

Anyway, what follows are the blog posting titles I plan on commonly using.

My Comic Projects
  • Sketches and Layouts- These will be works in progress, rough sketches and doodles, that might one day grow up and become...
  • Pin-Ups- Finished pieces good enough to receive the Tyler James seal of approval. (Mental note- get official looking seal.)
  • Script Doctor- These will be excerpts from comic scripts I'm working on, showing how I approach writing for comics.
  • [Comic Title]- Projects that are in full swing (ex. Super Seed) will be getting their own section in this blog. They are that important.
  • Events, Appearances, Promotion- Occassionally I'll get up from my drawing table and from behind the keyboard and try to meet some readers and comics fans.
  • Creator's Toolkit- My yet to be framed M.Ed. degree from some school in Cambridge would suggest that I have an interest in helping others with their pursuit of knowledge. What pearls of wisdom I've gleaned from my time working on comics will be discussed in these posts.

Commentary Posts

  • On the Racks- Reviews and critiques of mainstream comics.
  • In the Trades- Recommendations for must read trade paper backs and graphic novels.
  • On the Tube- TV Commentary.
  • On the Shelf- Book reviews.
  • In the Ipod- Must hear music.
  • In the News- When I have no choice but to comment on current events. Hopefully I'll leave this primarily to reputable news outlets, such as The Onion or The Daily Show.

That should keep me busy for a while. Enough with the logistics...on with the content!

Welcome!

Thanks for checking out my blog! This will be my primary depot for all things comics-related, including projects I’m working on, sketches sketched and story ideas a brewin’. Since I’m a full-service comics creator (writer, penciler, inker, colorist, and letterer ), I’m always doing something comics related. So expect regular updates. Additionally, I’ll use this space occasionally to comment on comics (I read a bunch) and other forms of media (I watch nearly every show on network television, and I get my $20 bucks a month worth from Netflix.)

No need for an elaborate intro. Thanks again for stopping by, and hope to see you again real soon.

-Ty