The first issue of the new Pirates of the Caribbean comic comes out a week from today (on September 28), so I thought I’d post this reference stuff I made for my pal and collaborator and all-around incredible artist and storyteller Joe Flood (I’m writing, Joe’s doing the art, and Marissa Louise is doing colors). Though he’s one of the cleverest artists I know and could have figured this stuff out on his own, we had a tight turnaround, and ships can seem random and daunting with the lines and ropes and whatnot, so I thought this might help.
My newest CREEPS book comes out a week from today, just in time for October! I’ve always like fall-centric spooky kid stories, and I’m glad to have gotten to do one. I hope you’ll pick it up for yourself or a kid in your life. And the other Creeps books are available, too, of course!
Here’s what some fancy reviewin’ folks have said about the series:
"Schweizer has created a story with just enough icky, spooky action for middle-grade readers who want horror stories but don’t want them too scary...The mixed-gender, multicultural team guarantees that this series opener will appeal to a broad range of readers." Booklist
"An excellent complement to his prose, Schweizer's cleanly paneled art is bright and busy, ever ready with a gag that helps blend the ghastly with the goofy, making his gang's antics reminiscent of Scooby Doo...Silly fun with a smattering of science." Kirkus Reviews
"A wide range of readers will tear through this well-written and zanily-drawn book, and they will be eager to see what wild adventures the four friends will have in the next volume." School Library Journal
Between watching Mad Max and its sequels/imitators, reading Kamandi, and wanting to work through my actual (though steadily diminishing) fears of a robot uprising, I've had a flurry of subjects swirling around in my head that I'd like to see through to a story but whose elements were so disparate that I could find no narratively credible way to approach including them all.
A week or two ago, though, something clicked: one single narrative reason that made muscle cars, cowboys, trucks, killer robots, and animal people all an intrinsic part of this narrative world. So I spent a good amount of time this weekend (at the table before setup, on the train, etc) working through these ideas and the first couple of days back sketching them up. Here are some of those sketches.
Anyway, it's something I could do in very short installments, rather than as one long narrative, so I'll be able to do things with it concurrently with other projects. And while drawing cars is a pain, it's also a whole lot of fun, and working on the Creeps showed me that it's something I need in my wheelhouse. So I'll probably start posting up the odd story or design thing here and there in the not-too-far-off future.
The Rogue One trailer reminded me that I wanted to draw up a couple of Star Wars posters. These are just color roughs, mind you, not the final pieces. Grindhouse Boba Fett and Hillbilly Car Chase Luke & Biggs.
Nearly finished with my sample pages for this graphic novel pitch I’m putting together. Here are the steps that I undertake to get from rough sketch to finished page, showing one panel from one of the pages.
I wanted this project to be watercolor, but had no end of trouble with the production side of it. I think that the aesthetic lends itself better to the organic way that paint allows dirt to blend with everything else. Dirty time period. Lucky for me, the incredible Kyle T. Webster helped me figure out how to use his great brushes to do the painting digitally atop a flat base, and I’m really happy with the effect. It’ll take a lot of practice to make it do what I want, but I feel like this is a good start.
If you want to hear my thoughts on this project, I've been documenting them on a series of video journals:
Working on sample pages for this graphic novel that I'm pitching. Considering doing the colors with watercolor. A few obstacles to that:
1. Scanning and preparing files. I have difficulty getting both crisp inks and the nuances of the watercolor. Bringing out one almost invariably muddies the other.
2. Time. Though textures (mud, thoroughfares, streets, etc would be easier and look better) go quicker with watercolor than digital, the page as a whole easily doubles the amount of time spent coloring it. Maybe more. Comics have a fairly tight financial margin to begin with, and I don't know that I could commit the time without a substantially larger advance, and I doubt that using paint would increase sales enough to justify the difference.
3. Production. I can't get the inks that I like on watercolor paper, and so I need to ink it and laser print the line art. The trouble is that the type of WC paper that I most want to use doesn't pick up toner very well, even when the printer adjusts the pressure on his machine. The background in this instance was done with a dark brown color hold, for instance, and it printed very spotty, as are the dust clouds. I've tried a handful of production techniques that allow for the degree of control I want/need in order to tackle the art, and haven't yet found one that works.
Anyway, I'll still fiddle with it, but I probably won't pitch with the condition that it'll be hand-painted, because I don't know if I can pull it off. I may try instead the flat-color-with-crayon/black-pencil approach that Matthieu Bonhomme used in Esteban, or some variation of it. The old 6th ward is a dirty, dirty place, and so I feel like there needs to be a textural element to convey that effectively. If paint can't do it, something else will have to.
Today’s WARRIOR WOMEN WEDNESDAY drawing: THE FERNIG SISTERS
On April 30, 1793, the French Revolutionary Government's National Convention passed the Law to Rid the Armies of Useless Women, barring women from the military. The Fernigs had, probably coincidentally, escaped this decree by mere days, having followed orders to accompany General Dumouriez. Discovering too late that he was not under orders himself but was, in, fact, defecting to the Austrians, the Fernigs fled to return to their role as soldiers for the French, but were seen as fellow traitors and refused entry.
Some women continued to fight after the law was passed, but whether the Fernigs would have been among them is a purely academic question as they were barred from their homeland for much of the war.