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!

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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.

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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!