Chewing away at issue 8

Right now Korim and I are doing our damnest to make #8 the best damn issue we've ever done on Neozoic. Just finished a very nice double page spread, pretty happy how it turned out. This month's colour inspiration is Hiromasa Ogura and Makoto Shinkai. Those guys have a large collection of wicked background layouts in their animation projects.

Here's an IGN review of #7 . I'm not surprised it also shares the MAKE-NEOZOIC-MONTHLY-PLZ notion with the one on "Comics and Other Imaginary Tales". Not that I blame them, not at all. It's been a given since the very beginning that Neozoic's meant to read better back to back.

Seeing the actual pages in print, over-saturating the colours on my comp was a good idea after all. There's a slight hint of desaturation and darkening but more importantly the pages read well.

There's quite a lot of stuff going on in the new issue so far, course lots of fight scenes but also there's the return of the dinosaur stampede orgy. Those made me feel very nostalgic, I used to go crazy trying to make sure each one didn't all look the same.

I'd probably still feel the same way now, hehehe.


Retrospect on issue #6 and #7

It's been almost a couple months since the last entry, I'm happy to say that I just finished colouring Neozoic #7... 15 minutes ago.

September had been a crazy month for me, some freelance work kept me busy on top of winning a couple film festival awards and hitting NYC to attend the New York Anime Festival [run by the same people behind NYCC]. Soon as I got back I had to scramble to get the next issue out the door. By far it's been one of the toughest ones Korim and I worked on, for the amount of detail the both of us put into the pages this time around. Me I'm pretty happy how a lot of them had turned out.

There weren't a lot of reviews of issue 6, but here's a couple I found:

Kleefield on Comics
Comics and... Other Imaginary tales

In issue #6, many of the pages had been either night scenes and dark interiors, it's been difficult making the colours pop just right. Overall that book had been a joy to put colours on, at least for the first 5-6 pages where I got to paint a jungle scene or two.

I braved about 3 tropical thunderstorms and power outages to finish this particular beast, which by far is my favourite double page spread -

[
To my horror, Quebecor had been the new printing company we had been using since issue 5. The paper they used was so thin, much of the ink soaked into the paper fibers resulting in a very dark desaturated look in the pages. In addition to having the same paper stock for the cover again for the second time, you can imagine the look on my face when I flew into a great flaming inner rage.

I died a little inside.

So in order to try to overcome that, I started overcooking the colours on issue 7 - by overcooking I mean cranking up the contrast and the saturation. WAY UP. A good chunk of the book takes place at dusk, sort of like with issue 3 and 4, for me that instantly means the green light to abuse all sorts of atmospheric effects.

Which I did in excess.

Issue 7 was by far one of the toughest books Korim and I worked on for the sheer amount of character detail we shoved into the pages. And we got to see more blood spilt, yay~! Crowd scenes still kinda scared me though, I haven't done those in a while. Time flew by pretty fast in the book, I got to do vary up some colours in the sky to show how much time had passed between each scene. Took a few all-nighters looking out my window to figure out which ones to try using, watching the sun rise was fun. And it made my eyes burn.

The work files I kept had varying levels of brightness of the pages, one version of those would be for the final print at Quebecor, and the not-as-bright version in case we switch printers again for the trade-paper-back.

Yes you read right, there will be a trade.

I got the affirmative from our writer Paul Ens that we'll have one for next year. When? I have no idea at all.. Might get a better inkling once we finish the last issue, from there we can start planning book tours and all that jazz.

Moving on forward, I had already coloured the issue 8 cover a while ago but I wasn't too happy how it turned out. I'll need to go back and fix it before we start working away on the last issue. I got no idea what to expect in the next script other than the slim possibility of a massive dinosaur stampede orgy. Ahhh... How nostalgic. Fun times.


FanEXPO day one-three!

[Edit 18.10.08]
Forgot to throw in some photos I took of the whole event, so here they are!

It's been crazy sitting in the same area as J.Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes and Tim Sale. The people traffic was through the roof for all three days. Would've been nice if all the Red 5 guys could sit with us but ah well. Maybe someday.


So Friday's come and gone, but overall was pretty chill.

High points:
- pretty much broke even
- met old friends from previous conventions
- Curry's Art Store gave us some free art swag
- Korim and I did an impromptu interview on camera with FanEXPO staff
- took a photo with J.Scott Campbell
- grabbed two of Adam Hughes' new sketchbooks, the ones left over from the mad rush at SDCC

Low points:
- Liana K didn't seem to be around FanEXPO today, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was too busy to attend
- I got lost around the harbourfront area this morning
- the convention was not in the MTCC's North building, but in its South building [up 3 escalators, 5-10 min trek in the skywalk, down 4 escalators]
- con food sucks, not a single decent place to get grub in a 1 block radius so I had to walk a couple blocks further to find food

[I'd upload some pics, but I'll wait till all 3 days are done before I do another one of those compilation photo commentaries.]

Time to pass out, g'night everybody!


FanEXPO countdown

Time flies wayyyy too fast. T-minus 7 days till FanEXPO hits downtown Toronto!

As it turned out on this PDF of the floor plan, it looked like we ultimately didn't get that bonus guest booth BUT we still have a spot in the Independant Press/Artist Alley area and on the FanEXPO listings for "Special Guests".

You can find J.Korim and myself over at table A28!

We're just behind the cluster of DMF, Marvel, and G4 Tech TV booths. Be sure to look out for this lovely piece of table display and the stacks of Neozoic comics we'll have piled up on the table for your perusal. Fingers crossed we'll also have our early copies of issue 6 to display as well.

According to the map, we're also just a tiny skip away from comic giants J.Scott Campbell and Adam Hughes - *doubletakeWHAAAT?!

I'm looking forward to meeting those guys at Udon Entertainment again, I haven't seen them for aaaages! I missed Jo Chen at Otakon, but at least Alvin Lee will be around for FanEXPO XD~

Agh, so exciting, this year is gonna be awesome!


I made a small surprise visit to Otakon just last weekend and peddled Neozoic issues 1-5 and our FCBD special with Atomic Robo. I didn't expect to find comic fans familiar with Red 5 walking around the Artist Alley, but they seemed pretty happy about picking up a bunch of FCBD issues that their retailer ran out of or didn't stock back in May.

There were plenty of OOOHs and AHHHHs when con-goers were flipping through pages, but I had something else on hand that made them go completely ballistic:

I included a 5 page sneak preview of Neozoic #6 in my pop-up portfolio, everyone made happy stank faces at a certain double page spread that looked as if it'd come out straight from a videogame concept art book [best analogy I can come up with].

By Sunday afternoon, all my Neozoic issues were GONNNNNE.

Comic fans I'd tend to think are hard to please in general, but if they like what you have, they'll always come away from your table all happy and super lit. I think that's one of the best kinds of compliments an artist can get.


I survived Toronto Comicon, and all I got was an Atomic-Robo t-shirt.

Everything you need to know about my two days at Toronto Comicon is in the image below:

[Horrible photos and LOLZ-inducing narrative deftly written and edited by moi.]

Toronto Comicon was fun. Short. But fun.

Met shitloads of artists and con goers, most of whom were very nice and generous people. Met a TV personality and didn't know about it till I Googled her. Liana K co-hosted a show with ED THE SOCK. That's so awesome.

Sunday morning sucked for me though. Woke up at 6am. Got to the train station at 7am. Found out the trains wouldn't run till 9am, so I was stuck out in the drizzling rain zoning out with a mp3 player for 2 hours while dying for some form of caffiene.

My badge kept falling out so much I swore it was prejudiced against asians. At least until someone kindly handed me some duct tape, and some wine gums. Yum.

Over the weekend I yoinked an Atomic Robo trade from Scott Wegener's table, and later on grabbed one of his t-shirts for twenty bucks. I didn't go around asking for autographs or sketches from some of the big artists wandering around like Greg Land or Joseph Linsner, but I did get to shoot the breeze with them for a bit.

There was a Women in Comics panel that I missed the intros for, at first I was paranoid it was going to be some sort of feminazi schtick, but I was surprised at the boozing and schmoozing going on at the hotel bar and grill. While I was there I had a Sling and a Mike's Hard Lemonade, nothing crazy as I had to be sober enough to make the 2 hour trek home on public transit.

Now that it's all over, I'm fried and happy. Now to get busy on the last half of Neozoic #6!


Just a heads up

Neozoic 5 is coming out this month, so be sure to call up your local comic retailer to reserve a copy!

In other news, Korim and I will be heading down to the Toronto Comicon on July 12-13 and the FanEXPO on August 22-24. No idea where we're sitting just yet, but be sure to look out this table easel with the issue 6 cover on it.

EDIT: Hold up! I got something better instead! Take a look at this -

What do you guys think? Should hopefully make it easier for people to find us in the crowd, yes yes?

In any case, I just remembered Scott Wegener from Atomic Robo's going to be coming up for the Toronto Comicon as well. It'd be great if the convention staff had our tables next to each other. Then we can call our tables the official Red 5 booth! Except we've only got Atomic Robo and Neozoic issues to hand out. Heehee.

#06 Cover

By far, the best cover we've done yet.


Back from FCBD 2008

I'm not in any of those btw, I'm not very photogenic so I stayed outta these ones for peace of mind. The turnout was not bad actually considering how crappy the rainy weather was.
[Click for more ▼]
I stopped by the Labyrinth before hopping over to the Beguiling at noon and picked up the Imaginary Friends FCBD special which btw was very pretty to look at.

I was all like "WHERE THE FREEBIES AT~" and got pointed over to the back of the store where the owners Dan and Jessie had the stuff. They were gonna put it all outside until it started raining, and now they're trying to set it all up inside their tiny tiny store space.

I was running outta time so I speed-walked over to the Beguiling and met up with owner Chris Butcher, who was nice enough to point me over to a pub right beside their store where the local guest artists could sit and draw away from the rain. Unfortunately for some people the pub wasn't open for business so asking for alcohol was outta the question. But we had pizza~ And my goodness I had the best slice of Thai Pie evarrrr~

J.Korim swung by later and we got ourselves all nicely set up on these really cute small tables. I was told to bring in a bunch of extra Atomic Robo/Neozoic FCBD freebies because they didn't have enough, so I brought in like 20 or so. Big mistake, we were running low within half an hour LOL. Someone came in later on with a partial shipment of the issues so we were back on our feet giving out the freebies and signing or sketching stuff whenever people asked. There were a lot of kids who stopped by as well, they were adorable when they asked their little questions on who did what on the book and made their sketch requests <3.

I didn't meeta lotta Neozoic fans per se, but I did meet a bunch that liked what Red5 put out so far, and new fans that would love to see more Neozoic. There were ads all over the place for the general public to come stop by the comic shops, so of course there were many people who came in all new and fresh to this comic reading deal who could pick up a bunch of freebies to dig into.

When we nearly ran outta books to hand out, we ducked into the Beguiling and checked out some graphic novels they had since guest artists got a 10% discount on top of the already discounted price for FCBD. Korim got some trades of The Losers, and I grabbed me Wanted cause I kept hearing how good it was [which the dreaded movie adaption with Angelina Jolie will appear sometime this summer I think].

Before long it was around 3:03pm and we had to head on over to the Silver Snail. I thought the turnout at Beguiling was busy but Silver Snail was effing crowded!

I suppose it's a given if you got guests like:

- Stuart Immonen (Ultimate Spider-Man, Next Wave, etc.)

- Leonard Kirk (Marvel Adventures The Avengers, World War Hulk Aftersmash: Warbound, Agents of Atlas, etc.)

- Ty Templeton (Howard the Duck, Bongo Comics, Exterminators, etc.)

Aside from a bunch of Star Wars cosplayers loitering for fanboys at the front, there were a couple of police officers on the job as well to make sure no one was shoplifting during the mayhem. It was kinda hard wading through a lotta people up on the second floor of the store to get to our tables. By then we had our stack of freebies ready for giving away and did our thing until we ran out. There would've been more downstairs but they've been swiped by all the customers in the morning rush, so the manager dressed as Silent Bob tells me.

That's a good thing innit?

I came home all happy and glowing with all the free swag I managed to get. Aside from the Imaginary Friends special I got these sample freebies as well:

- Maximum Ride
- Hellboy
- Gekiga
- The Death-Defying Devil
- Ignatz
- Iron Man poster

So yeah, that was my FCBD in a nutshell. How about you guys? How was it over where you were?


Free Comic Book Day 2008

Ok, I've got this all figured out. On May 3rd, next Saturday, I'll be hitting up The Beguiling, The Labyrinth and The Silver Snail, in that order, for Free Comic Book Day. Not sure where my buddy Korim's going but I'll see if we'll meet up at the same places. If there are any Neozoic comic fans in the GTA, I look forward to possibly bumping into some of you ;).

So far I managed to dig up a few reviews of Neozoic #4, here they are if anyone's curious in reading some:

IGN [editor's choice baby!]

Comics and... Other Imaginary Tales
The Pullbox/Heroes TV

Just several hours ago I got a a huge package from Red 5 that had 40 copies of every Neozoic issue from 1-4, I'm still waiting on #5 but since it's not printed yet it'll have to come later. Thankfully they're all relatively in mint condition, being protected by pads of newsprint in a cardboard box inside a cardboard box. I'll be selling those at the Toronto Comicon, and if I have leftovers, I'll probably bring a bunch over to Otakon 2008 as well ^^.


Retrospect on issue #05

If #05 could be summed up in one word:

So I managed to find a final lettered version of issue 5 on the FTP where we stow our work files, good chance that it's the preview file that will be sent around to a bunch of reviwers interested in giving it a look-see. I flip through and I do my usual self-depreciating-artist routine thing that plenty of artists do. Seeing the book as a whole with the lettering made a world of difference to me as opposed to just seeing them page by page in the order I worked on them. Truth be told, I'm still not used to it heheh.

I figured out how to do the night scenes but they're hell on my eyes. When I wake up and start chipping away at them in the mornings, I percieve the colours differently than I did the night before. [Blasted sunlight! I shake my fist in anger at youuu~!] I couldn't tell if the pages were too bright, too dark, not enough saturation or whatever until the sun rose a little higher outside.

Think it turned out well enough. I got to switch the colour palletes around for the night scenes, messed with fire effects, and light-filtering-through-tree effects. Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention:

NO DINOSAUR STAMPEDE ORGY~~!!!!!! At least... Not on a ridiculously epic scale like issue 3 or 4.. Painting dinosaurs at night time was a lot more fun this time around because you can have their eyes all glowing and stuff as they're hiding in shadows. It's all very "Peekaboo I see j0000~!"... sorta....

Oh before I forget, if anyone wants to spoil the premise for issue 5 for themselves, here's the link. I mentioned before that issue 4 takes off mere seconds after issue 3. This time several hours have gone by since the dinos were doing their best Godzilla tapdancing impression with their friendly neighbours, the humans. Imagine the aftermath of something like that yeah? Dinosaurs tapdancing on your roofs? Gotta be winning material right there.

Previous posts:
"Night Scenes are HARD"
"Issue 5 progress/cover roughs"


Neozoic 4 previews

You want 'em? You got 'em!


Comics Continuum does it again

Not that it should be any surprise at this point, but they got themselves an early hardcopy of issue 4 and decided to scan the first 6 pages or so. [Careful, they're a lil dark.]

If anyone here doesn't mind an early spoiler for about a fourth of the book, then by all means feel free to check it out. It'll be some time before Red 5 busts out the official previews for their next issues, I'll keep tabs on when those come out and post them here.


Bits and Bites

Still tinkering away at Issue 5, we'll be done with that soon. Worked out most of the night lighting problems that cropped up. Paul hit us up last week with this piece of news: Diamond wanted the cover for the next issue done by the 7th for their Previews magazine, which is today. Of course we pretty much dropped everything to get that outta the way.

This morning I got two words in Paul's email:

I can safely say #6 has the best cover we've done to date.

In other news, Red 5 Comics wins Diamond's New Publisher award!


#05 cover

I was so undecided on the overall lighting for this cover I ended up making a day and a night version. This is one of the day versions, the rest had varing amounts of light and smoke effects. Yeah. I got silly with it, had way too much fun with the fire hahaha.

Y'know.. Sometimes I get paranoid on how muddy this might turn out in print. I try to crank up the levels and saturation as much as I can without destroying what I got. But maybe I should just work on my overall colour pallete.. Sigh.

Coming June 25th.
Diamond order code: APR084085


Night scenes are hard.

I know I said I was looking foward switching up the colour pallete on issue 5... Trying to paint a bunch the way I usually did with day scenes has been difficult so far. Unless there's a definitive light source like the moon or a torch I could dish out some extra visual contrast.

Not on the pages I'm on right now. Imagine huddling under the shade of a tree in a dark forest in the middle of the night with the campfire out. I'm staring at the monitor and musing how it's no wonder that filmmakers and animators had such a hard time doing night scenes.

Wrapping my brain around how to go about making this work without the pages coming out so dark the pencils couldn't be seen.

Which reminds me...

A friend recently sent a copy of some scanned issues of Neozoic that a group has been distributing online [along with a ton of other titles by the big two and such]. Kinda cool to hear someone was interested in spreading the word about Neozoic and all, but I couldn't help but notice how dark the scans were. [Was that intentional?]

In any case, if anyone out there actually went and downloaded a scan of Neozoic, hopefully it's enough for them to go get it in print. There's one incentive I can think of really: because the original looks better.


Issue 5 progress | Cover roughs

So far it's been a little slow, my nerves are a little frayed from losing a week over fixing computer problems, one of which involved my foot and the powerbar.

[Click for mini-rant ▼]
It's one thing to scan and purge whatever virus or ad/spyware was hiding on the hard drive but man... The Bamboo Fun driver issues popped up to give me the "please reinstall tablet" prompt, adding to the lag the system idle process was causing on the side. The chugging was so loud I swear my computer was groaning in agony. Stopped trying to tough it out when programs began closing in on themselves, particularly while I was saving my work. After pulling my best Hulk impression for having to redo a double page spread three times, I finally nailed down the colours for the first 3 pages.

I chillaxed a bit this morning to play some Patapon on the PSP. Damned theme song is stuck in my head, but awesome game nonetheless. Great way to pass the time while Photoshop files are saving.

Issue 5 takes place at night so I was able to use a lot of purples and blues for once. Brushing up on fire effects right now since there might be a lot of torch lighting going on. Orange rim lighting here we come!

While I'm mulling over lighting options for the rest of the book, feel free to check out the rough layouts for all the Neozoic covers [1-5] so far:

[Still haven't seen 10 000 BC, I think I'll have to take a raincheck on that for now.]


Red 5 at the Eagle Awards?!

According to the list of all the nominees, the names of the guys behind Atomic Robo are on plenty of the categories. Let's see what we've got:

Wegener up for best new artist
Clevinger up for best new writer
Red 5 Comics up for best publisher
Atomic Robo up for best new comic
Atomic Robo up for best comic hero

Technically speaking you could enter in the name of a new nominee, and if there are multiple entries for said nominee by other interested parties, then the name goes on the list.

Allow me to get to the point.

It's a bit short notice since voting closes Mar. 22, which is like a couple weeks away, if any of you guys out there really liked the work that the Neozoic crew have been putting out, feel free to stick our names in there as well.

The comic biz is a tough place for new publishers like Red 5, hopefully the work we put out so far is incentive enough for people to give us a chance.

Spread the word, spread the love.


IGN on Neozoic

This morning Paul just emailed over a link to this really nice review of issue 3 over at IGN. News to me, I had no idea they reviewed comics, but what really grabbed me was this nice big shiny banner on the side:

Check the score, 8.5 outta 10~!!
Made my morning it did. It's nice to see the book finally getting some serious attention.


Neozoic FCBD preview, Issue #3, other things

There you have it, the first two pages of our FCBD one-shot freebie!

Pencils/Script: J.Korim
Colours: me!
Concept/Editing: Paul Ens
Letters: Troy Peteri

Diamond pre-order code: FEB080036

As I mentioned in a previous entry, Korim took up writing duties for the one-shot. The other day I had the chance to peek through the finished PDF file with the letters and everything and found some minor changes to the script. Shouldn't be too much of a big deal as the main point still gets across fine, overall the finalized version kept the flavour from previous issues. I don't think many people would notice the difference.

I'd love to show the original rough layouts and all but nah, don't want to spoil the fun just yet. It's gonna be a while before May hits.

And speakin' of which, just heard some bad news from Atomic Robo's Scott Wegener about FCBD since we're basically gonna be in the same book. I didn't know this before, but apparently since Red 5's one of them "Silver Sponsors" we don't get the same privileges as the Big Two.

Will someone please explain this discrepancy to me? That almost negates the purpose of having FCBD to begin with!

And then I read this little footnote on the official FCBD site:
* Each retailer will decide the guidelines for receiving comics.

Bottom line: Bug your comic retailer to grab some FCBD freebies!

By the way, if anyone hits CTRL+F for "RED 5" on the FCBD Silver Sponsor page, you'll find that we're right under the compilation comic Imaginary Friends are putting out.

Spread the word, share the love. And remember, it's FREEEEEEEEEEE!

[Issue 3 and other things ▼]

At a seemingly-but-not-quite-so-ungodly hour of 8:45am this morning, I woke to the sound of fists pounding at my door. Peeking outside the window to see a FedEX truck by the driveway, I raced downstairs and finally got my hands on a white package from Red 5 comics containing my copies of Neozoic issue #3. Usually I'd expect a key from the postal office in my mailbox so I could unlock the parcel locker, but this works fine too. [Thanks Mr. Chitwood!]

Looking through the issue I can say it's fairly close to what I had in the computer. If the pages look too dark in places it might possibly may be my fault. Other than that, YEY IT LOOKS GREAT! But what are those fuzzy white dots on the pages? *rubrubrub.. Oh it's gone, never mind. Oooh, the paper feels nice and texture-y~! Ahem.

At the back, behind some of Korim's Talpid concept sketches, you'll find bios from some of the people at Red 5 along with all the order codes for our back issues. My ugly mug's in there; if someone's saluting at you, that's me.

In other news, I got interviewed by Comics and Other Imaginary Tales! Suffice to say, even though it was over IM I was a little nervous with Gwen so I broke out in boring semi-technical speak here and there. I used the word "varied" quite often, because these days there are like a bajillion ways to colour comics as opposed to flat colours or black and white way back when. There's cell-shading, there's gradients, there's vectors, there's dodge and burn, there's traditional and mixed mediums... Regardless of how different or similar some methods are, everyone's got their take on how something should be done.

I was lucky to be raised in an age where comic colouring took on more importance in the business. At first there were people like Liquid!, then there were the colourists at Dreamwave Productions who threw anime-styled cell-shading in the mix along with Udon Comics who also introduced the world [and impressionable young artists] to Hyung Tae Kim and other digital painters on the internet. Oh and how could I forget Ashley Wood, he was the perfect example of a do-it-all guy who could make comics the kinda artwork you could put in an art museum.

So yeah, I come from the school of thought where comic colours aren't just something to slap on pages. Considering the workload many colourists tend to have, throwing colours down does sound ridiculously tempting. Some of us don't, because purposely doing a bad job on a book regardless if anyone notices or not, reflects badly on us as professionals. Call it pride if you will, in the end many colourists just want to do a good enough job they won't kick themselves for.

I tend to kick myself quite a bit still. Ow.

On a semi-final note, that 10 000 BC movie looks pretty cool from the short trailers I've seen. I should check it out soon.

Issue 3's out tommorrow by the way.
Anyone gonna grab a copy?


#3 Coming SOON!

So far I've been able to sniff out a couple reviews by the following places that have received advance copies, in case anyone wanted to know what others might've thought about the book:

It's hella early to ask but if anyone else out there did purchase a copy or happened to flip through it at their comic retailer, I'm curious to know what you guys thought of this issue as well.

Kinda wish we had an official Red 5 forum for this stuff, but y'know... Better than nothing right?

[Hope this crazy ass weather lets up soon. Ugh.]


Neozoic FBCD short DONE!

As of 1:17AM yesterday morning the last page was coloured and uploaded for Troy to do his lettering magic! Eight pages of freebie goodness done! I felt like a train letting out steam at a platform.

Allow me to say the f-word. That was so.. Much. FUN.

Korim and I chillaxed a bit on the short since the layouts themselves were very simple and there were no crazy battle sequences like in issues 3 and 4. Even without the speech bubbles it was very easy to tell what was going on. Speakin' of which, the FCBD roughs he sent me actually had some dialogue he wrote up for fun. Dunno if there were any script changes since then, I remembered it being a rather cute read.

"Cute" in terms of short and sweet badassery.

Takes place way before any of the events in issue 1 came around. One of the dinosaur species from a previous issue makes an appearance here, but there's no real way of knowing which one it is because that issue won't be out till the end of May.
[

Doing the FCBD short felt like working on a clean slate. No more yellow-orange-y backgrounds for me, yesiree. This month's inspiration for colour cues was a bunch of stuff from J. Scott Campbell's MySpace page that Korim emailed me, most of which were beach/city scenes that had very vibrant summer sunset-y colours like purple, magenta, turquoise...

I went with green. Trust me, it worked. Made popping things out a whole lot easier with the colour contrast and everything.

There was still plenty of silhouette action going on, lighting effects were a no-brainer except on this double page spread where I maxed out all the lighting potential it had short of throwing on the dreaded lens flare.

Learned something new again, I got to try painting water splashes which I've never done before. Was kinda fun actually. Google was my best friend in helping me figure out how I could try going about that stuff. I would almost hope for an underwater fight scene somehow someday, because trying to duke it out with a giant dino with lesser chances of survival in the sea than on land sounds awesome to me.

Some more of that funny revision business happened again:
- forgot the PDL logo on some of the shoulder guards
- painted clothing bits as armour and vice versa in one panel
- shifted the last panel up to make room for a mini-ad
- forgot to paint in some of Lilli's eyebrows

Had to stop what I was doing for 10 minutes each time to fix them up and re-upload. Oh man. My mind must be slipping.

In any case I'm glad the short turned out alright. I really hope that anyone who gets the chance to see it will have yet another reason to check out the series.

[Some tidbits about issue 5, Paul tells me it takes place mostly at night, which means I get to rearrange the colour pallete!]


Retrospect on issue #04

There's just something that's gotta be said about books that are done months ahead of their release. I mean this issue isn't gonna be out until the end of APRIL.

Now hey what am I talkin' about? That's what this blog is for!
[

Issue 4 picks off right after the last panel in the midst of the chaos that was issue 3. This time around it focuses a little more on the characters, so that pretty much means no dinosaur stampede orgy [WHOO HOO]; though of course that doesn't mean no obligatory fight scenes with the big guys and tons of debris flying everywhere. To my count there's at least 3-4 of them.

There's still a bit of blood to go around, me I'm wishing I got to paint more of that and maybe some viscera like in issue #1. Ah well. Word of advice, don't ever piss Lilli off. She'll spray your pants with flesh-eating acid and you'll find yourself living a scene outta Planet Terror. I know she don't look it, but she can be sensitive. Korim's been pulling off better facial expressions lately, so I thought I'd kick it up a notch and make 'em go BAM like Emeril.

Time-wise the sun's still making the big rise in the sky, so the theme in this issue is orange. Lotsa orange.. Dust clouds.. Oh, and rim-lighting! Korim asked me to put in some more of that ala HTK, but not as in-your-face since he knew it bugged me that it was an oft-abused technique and all. I said "ok", and did it sparingly just enough to help pop out more objects against the lighting. There's a whole buttload of back-lighting action going on in #4, so making out the shapes was really important.

I noticed there was this funny trend where in each issue there were double page spreads on 2-3 and 22-23. It got broken as of now, there's just one of them this time on a different page. *GASP! Reduced lag times on the computer! Whootages!

Some of the technical problems behind issue 4 were another story. Korim was sick in the middle of all the winter downs when I accidentally killed my Graphire 2 with some static electricity. We had roughly a week until the deadline on top of that.

While panicking/waiting for more pages I got me an emergency replacement tablet, a Wacom Bamboo Fun, which oddly enough made me think of pole-dancing pandas. It was alright, but the texture on the tablet surface wore down the pen nib like crazy, just using it for three days wore it down by almost half. Then there were those irritating driver glitches where the response got cramped and sluggish at random times, new driver or no. Usually that bit was easily remedied with a quick reboot.

I figured out why the USB cable on the Bamboo had two ends, it was so you could easily unplug and plug it back in whenever it tried to sneak back into crappy default mode. Also made a somewhat-wonderful discovery: my Graphire 2 pen works on a Bamboo tablet. So yay! I have a spare!

Time was a little tight on issue 4 because we had to prioritize the FCBD short. Luckily Paul helped buy some time because Troy was generous enough to give us an extra 4 days to finish off #4 and the short, given he's been busy juggling lettering duties on other titles. Sorry for cutting it so close every time. Thanks man, we owe you one.


Red 5 FCBD 2008!

Hur-friggin-ray for Free Comic Book Day! It's the day when all the indies and the biggies get a chance to let their work shine in the spotlight and anyone who wants to check out some titles but can't spare the change can come in and grab some one shot specials guilt-free.

This is pretty much what the cover looks like without all the FREE COMIC BOOK DAY logo/text extras. It's got two mini-stories, one by the Atomic Robo guys, and another by the Neozoic crew. Everything you need to know can be found right here.

Retrospect on issue #03

I've got one word to describe this: EPIC.
I mean, just look at those previews!

[

The script had the issue starting at the very crack of dawn, so I had to start off with a lotta deep reds, purples and pinks, then as time went on I built it up so the skies had more oranges and yellows for emphasis. The dinosaurs were all in bigger groups than before so I had to find more ways to colour them up without them all looking the same or blending in too much with the background. There were a small bunch of crowd scenes sure, but there was quite a bit of flying debris here and there, mostly huge dust clouds and such.

From the previews alone you could so tell I went crazy with the special effects. Korim's layouts in this issue made it easy for me to pick and choose where the lighting should go. I've picked up a few new tricks working on this issue and I'll be carrying those onto the next one.

A whole lotta love went into this issue, I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that the printing process goes over smoothly. Experience usually tells me that a good chunk of colourists and illustrators are never 100% satisfied with the final print because of how damned finicky we can be with how things should look on our screens and in our hands.

"First issue I thought had the contrast levels cranked up with a slight yellow tint. Second issue was better, maybe slightly oversaturated here and there, and not enough contrast in some areas."
- Blah blah blah.

It's this train of thought I have where as I'm mulling over the final print, I kinda wonder to myself if there's something that could've improved on the pages before they were sent off to the printers. It can be an unhealthy habit, but damn is it hard to break.

Remember how I mentioned that working on Neozoic was like doing storyboards for a movie? This issue says it all.


Retrospect on issue #02

It was a step up from the first issue where there was a whole lot more dinosaur action going on. Very fast-paced stuff. Korim had way too much fun with having Lilli jumping around a herd of hungry dinos the first few pages.

I started playing around with more light and dust effects and using a little more various colours and textures for the dinosaurs. I didn't have to worry too much about that in the first issue. The more you do, the more you learn; my custom brush list seemed to have expanded twice its size since the last book. Hn...

Sigh, all those poor dinos just can't catch a break.

Retrospect on issue #01

When I first started colouring Neozoic, the writer Paul Ens asked me to try emulating the look on Korim's concept art, which was all very loose and sketchy, a little dodge and burn-y. So in response, I made a bunch of scratchy brushes and did a very rough semi-cellshade-ish render of the test page he gave me.

[

He liked the look and I stuck with that and began refining the style for the other pages. All in all, Paul's been pretty good with his responses; anything longer than one word usually meant I've got something to fix or tweak. For instance, there have been some revisions where certain areas of the pages needed to be brighter, or "brighter-er" to better reflect the mood depicted in the script.

In fact, that's exactly what I named some of those edits.

There were some characters like Kyni and Bovi that I had to come up with colour schemes from scratch because the original sketches were monochromatic. A few of those can be found on the back of issue 1. Me personally I dug the original concept for Lilli Murko. Scars on a smoking hot sword-slinging babe, especially on her face, screams character. [I'm a sucker for badassery, what can I say?]

Took 16 days to finish colouring 24 pages plus the cover. Was late by 2 days but at least Troy, our letterer, had the bulk of the book to work with while I was chipping away at the remaining pages. I had been contacted to work on the book while I was doing post production for my grad film at Sheridan College, so as soon as I had finished it up and graduated and moved back home, the first thing I did when I got in the door was fire up the computer and opened up Photoshop. Fun times, no really.

It had been years since Korim and I got to work together on a comic, getting back into the groove was a bit rough at first but once we hit the right notes we went on like a rolling stone. The experience overall had been intense, and I was very happy to hear that the people who had reviewed the book enjoyed the artwork.

Neozoic #1 cover edit, FINALLY!

I remember when this cover first came out, the two right hands thing bugged a few people who noticed the slip. It's not that much of a big deal; at least they didn't have to stare at the cover for the whole 6-8 hours it took finish this. So of course when the issue was brought up we wholeheartedly agreed that it shall be remedied ASAP.

And some good news-


It's a bit of a shame we couldn't go in and correct the cover before it got sent off to the printers, but hey, at least it'll look the way it's meant to on the trade right? Right??


#04 cover

Diamond pre-order code: FEB083990

Every time I look at this cover I always think of the movie 300, mostly because of the colour schemes and the overall tonality. Korim and I finished grinding out the pages for this issue, and I'm happy to say that it might even be better than the third issue.

#03 previews [pages 01-03, 05-06]

Some more official previews courtesy of Red 5 comics.

Issue 3's out this month on the 27th! Diamond Pre-order code: DEC073864

#03 cover

Diamond pre-order code: DEC073864

Easily the most epic issue I've coloured yet, until issue 4 that is. I'll save that story for another time.

#02 previews [pages 01-06]

[Note: These pages were originally leaked scans from Comics Continuum that got tweaked up a little here because they were too dark to view properly.]

#02 cover

Let's do a who's who on the cover. Our lovely leading lady, Lilli Murko, is stalking a triceratops in the background while Milo, a mysterious little girl from a race of humanoid underground dwellers, is standing in the foreground.

Yeys for more dinosaur texture experimentation! They make my job so much easier.

#01 previews [pages 14-18]

Here are the official 5 page previews that Red 5 comics put out to promote their startup titles.

#01 cover

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Neozoic #1, the "Double right hands" original.

I want a huge-sized poster of that. Just for kicks.
Check the cover edit here.


Don't feed the dinosaurs - an intro post.

They'll bite the hands that feed them, I'm tellin ya.

These big guys love their fresh meat, and I mean they love the taste of that extra bit of adrenaline that gets pumped into their meals while they're having lunch on the go.

With exception to the vegetarians of course, but still!

It's never a good idea to let them mooch free food off you. They'll follow you home and next thing you know, they'll bring their friends, and those friends bring their friends, and so on, and so on.

[

Ahem, that aside, what's there to say about working on Neozoic?

It's like making uber-detailed storyboards for an epic Hollywood summer blockbuster movie, minus the bad sex scenes. Pr0n0z with the dinos? I don't think so.

There's quite a bit of blood to go around when the dinos get hacked up in places we almost feel their pain ourselves, the poor things. But what about the humans? Well, being that Neozoic's supposedly PG-13 ish, we don't really get to see entrails or body parts flying around. Do we need to? Maybe in a grindhouse flick, that's stuff's mandatory. Otherwise, just having lots of blood says quite a bit.

It can be pretty freaky when we find out what the insides of our bodies look like when we're all ripped apart and everything.

Y'know how it is... Let's not traumatize the kids just yet.


Ah, how rude of me. Allow me to introduce myself:

I'm Jessie Lam, the colourist on the comic. Figured I'd start up a production blog of sorts for the people who are interested in following the book and seeing the sheer amount of madness that goes into making it. As spoiler-free as possible of course.

Currently in the middle of colouring up some extra pages for a Neozoic short for Free Comic Book Day 2008, I'll start adding some previews and covers as soon as I got some more time on my hands.

Hopefully this long-winded ramble suffices as a decent first post in this unofficial Neozoic blog. Till next time!