Wednesday, June 13, 2007
"You can call me Jay..."
This will probably be the last opportunity I get to post before heading off to Charlotte for this year’s Heroes Con. Spending will have to be light this year. We had Bruce (our Suburban, named after the shark in JAWS) looked at as a precaution for the trip and ended up with $750 in repairs. That took a healthy chunk out of our trip fund. Not to mention June is a rough month for Suzanne and me anyway. We both have a multitude of relatives with birthdays, anniversaries and what-not to buy gifts for. Plus Father’s Day. So, no original artwork this year and no commissions from Craig Rousseau. That really makes me sad because he always does such a nice job on them and we have a wall set up in the den where we hang the framed work. Oh, well. Maybe next year.
I mentioned in my very first post that I was working on a “writing project” I hoped to have published sometime before they put me in the old folks home. Well, unfortunately for me, it’s also a “drawing project.” Yes, it’s a comic book. (Oh, excuse me, graphic novel.) Which won’t surprise anyone who’s even glanced at this blog. I say “unfortunately” because the drawing part is what’s holding me up. I’m pretty confident in my writing these days. (Though, since I’ve been sitting on this so long, I keep seeing scenes from my story pop up in other works like HEROES, SUPERMAN RETURNS and SPIDER-MAN 2 and have to rewrite them to avoid cries of “Rip-off!”) But the drawing part is really scary.
The biggest criticisms I got from Marvel Editor Tom Breevort in his somewhat grouchy critique of my work in San Diego about 10 years ago was that my faces were mushy and my style was inconsistent. All true. This problem has reared it’s ugly head repeatedly as I’ve tried to design my characters. So, I thought maybe doing a traditional animation-style model sheet would help.
The dude in the drawing posted here is my main character. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by posting this. (Especially since this is probably the only place you’ll ever see this stuff…ha ha.) We’ll call him Jay. ‘Cause that’s his name. When I first conceived this book right after college (see?) I based his look on my face. I was the right age and I thought it would make it easier if I just looked in a mirror when I needed to draw a difficult expression. That’s another old animation trick. Problem is, I’m a lot older now and look nothing like I envision Jay looking now. So I “cast” him. I’m a big fan of VERONICA MARS and one of my favorite characters on the show is Stosch “Piz” Piznarski. I kind of identified with his quiet, dorky demeanor and he had the perfect look. I decided to base Jay on him. But I didn’t want to just draw the actor all the time. When you do that, you end up with Nick Fury looking just like Samuel Jackson all the time and it’s distracting. So I just took Piz’s look as a point of departure and ended up with this. I kind of like it. I’ll probably tweak it a little, but I think I’m close. Strangely, the profile ended up looking like Luke Wilson, which was completely unintentional.
Okay, it’s 9:00 and time to get to work. Hope you like the sketch.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 6:00 AM