Colouring Tests: Fabled Kingdom Chapter 1

I’ve been doing some colouring tests, with the goal of moving towards doing colour comics. Despite having drawn comics for almost 20 years now, I feel that my biggest weakness has always been my aversion to colour. After drawing manga-style black-and-white (or greyscale like The Dreaming) for so long, I think I’ve done all there is to do on that style of art, and it’s time to move onto something else.

For this reason, I’ve been looking to build a colour palette I’m comfortable, and learning to use it. I started colouring Fabled Kingdom art from Chapter 1 as practise, and so far, it looks surprisingly good. Each took 2-3 hours at the most to do – I deliberately limited myself to the amount of time allowed since colouring is about speed as well as quality.







In the end, I’m actually looking for a more simple colouring style, so my colour comics will probably not look like this. I’ll probably aim to change my drawing style to something more cartoony and western to suit a two-tone colour palette, unlike this one which has 3-4 tones for each colour.

Bizarre Note: I’ve shown my colouring to a number of people, and while most agree that the colours look beautiful, some openly preferred the greyscale version. Interesting to see why they do that, but hey, everyone has their preferences. At the end of the day, what matters is the story and characters.

Fabled Kingdom v2 Shortlisted for the Ledger Awards!

Exciting news! “Fabled Kingdom” v2 got shortlisted for the Ledger Awards, which is the Australian comics industry award for excellence. It was a handful of books chosen out of about 200 entries, so this is a good thing for the “Fabled Kingdom” series of course (all three books). It’s also helpful at conventions (and elsewhere) for advertising reasons, so I decided to make some printable placards to and book bands for this.

Here’s what they look like:

Other News: As for what else I’ve been doing, I’ve just finished a short colour kids mini-comic called “Counting Sheep” and printed it. Let me just say that at 14-pages long, I’ve still yet to nail down this colouring thing, since I’ve noticed that the colours were different on my monitor and on my printer. Best to do more research on this. Also, my short 20-page horror story “Mother and Son” seems to need a bit of a workover because of mild pacing issues at a particular point in the story, so I’m looking at that soon to see if that can be smoothed over.

“Fabled Kingdom” v1-3 is Done!

Hi all! Having spent the last few months just racing to the finishing line for “Fabled Kingdom“, I haven’t had much time to blog or do anything else. So here is so updates and new doodles professing my love for the anime “Mob Psycho 100″.

Fabled Kingdom News: I just got the edits for the last chapter of “Fabled Kingdom” v3 back today, and there’s no major changes. There’s about 2 more pages I feel I need to add to bring some closure for 2 characters that will make the 3 books feel more self-contained, so I’ll look into doing that. Hopefully I’ll get those copy-edits sorted, and then the book test-printed in the next few weeks. I’ve also started to write book 4, but I’ve decided to take a year off to produce a “World Bible” for “Fabled Kingdom,” so I can properly flesh out the religion, politics, clothing/building designs, map and history of the continent before I continue, since book 4-6 happens partly in the Kingdom of Westerwick.

Art Evolution: After I’ve finished “Fabled Kingdom,” I started drawing with biros for no apparent reason. I was stunned by the freedom I have with the linework – here’s some Mob Psycho 100 fanart that I did just to test out different biros. I’m liking it so far!

I randomly found some highlighters, and decided to draw this picture of Mob.

Ritsu was just stretching when his brother approached from behind. Mutual observation?

Lord Reigen gives Mob his “Sorcery Crush” massage, but hits a bit too hard. Reigen, Mob’s a teen, you don’t need to give such a strong massage.

Fight for the last takoyaki. Who will win? (ANSWER: Dimple licks it, and no one wanted it after that)

 

What I’ll be doing for 2017:  Experimenting with more biros. I’ve got 2 other shorter projects in the works, one of which the script is already complete. That one is the second half of “Short Ghost Stories“, which has been nagging me at the back of my mind since 2013. I’ll get these other stories done, so I can get this out of the way permanently. The other is an experimental graphic novel, which is the first of the kind I’ve done, though I’ve got to iron out the script first. Lastly, the “World Bible” for “Fabled Kingdom” will be the background project.

Using Augmented Reality in Comics

Hi all! I’ve sent the email below around on my mailing list, which you can sign up for here.

Latest Appearances: 

  • I’m a special guest at Sydney and Brisbane Comic-Con! See you all there! It’s on the 10-11th September (Sydney) and the 17-18th September (Brisbane).
  • Manly Zine Fair on the horizon, on the 24th September @ 11-2pm! It’ll be my first time at a zine fair!
  • More events on the horizon, please see the sidebar to the right of the page!

Meanwhile, my latest book “The Book That Made Me can be purchased here on Fishpond or in a bookstore. I have a short comics-prose story in it!

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As someone who has a degree in Information Systems, I often keep tabs on the technology sector for any new and interesting technologies that may be on the horizon. Thanks to the recent success of games like Pokemon Go, I’ve been interested in the type of technology Pokemon Go uses in the hope of integrating it with my art and comics, namely “Augmented Reality“.

 

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented Reality” is a way of adding an additional layer of information to an existing object in real life, using technology such as smartphones to recognise real life objects using the phone’s camera. This is often done in real time, which can result in fascinating ways to add interaction to something that is static. For example, I’ve used it to add music, purchasing info and artist statements to art, and I’ve also used it to add work-in-progress and colour art to book 3 of “Fabled Kingdom“! This was all done using a company called “Zapworks“.

Watch several Youtube Video here for how I’ve added it to the art I sold at my art exhibition:

Why use it?

I’ll be using this technology to add some flair to the third volume of “Fabled Kingdom” (and eventually the first and second volume too), including things like reviews, work-in-progress art, additional character/location sketches, and background notes and information. My motivation for doing this is to add more value for my readers, for any of you who may be interested in more information about the world of “Fabled Kingdom“.

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Other Stuff:

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I’m now on Chapter 19 (of 21) of “Fabled Kingdom” v3! Book 3 should be out in Jan/Feb 2017!

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I’ve started experimenting with the watercolour function in Clip Studio Paint. I gotta upgrade my colouring skills, especially on the more portable tablets such as a Surface 3!

Breaking Through the 50% Psychological Barrier

Hi all! I’ve just finished Chapter 18 of “Fabled Kingdom,” thus successfully breaking through what I call the “50% Psychological Barrer”. I talk about it below, which is what I sent around on my mailing list. I want to start talking about my work process more to help other creators, so join my mailing list if you want the latest essays first.

Upcoming Events:

  • SMASH convention on the 20-21st August, where I’ll be doing a panel called “The BentoNet: Publishing in Print and Global Distribution” at 11:30am – 12:30am.
  • Also, Comic-Con Sydney and Brisbane in September! Can’t wait!

 

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I just finished Chapter 18 (of21) of “Fabled Kingdom” today, folks. The chapter is all toned, and I’m currently proof-reading it before I send it off to my copy-editor Karen. I am feeling pretty stoked, because that means there’s only 3 chapters left before the end of “Fabled Kingdom” (the first self-contained arc anyway).

How time flies. It feels only like yesterday when I was celebrating finishing book 1. Now, book 3 is due in early 2017, probably February.

I don’t often speak about my work process as a comic artist, but passing the halfway mark is always the hardest point in any of the books I’ve ever done. As far as I know, it’s the most difficult thing for everyone, but especially difficult when you’re on book 3 of a trilogy.

The reasoning is simple. Book 3 of a trilogy is always the point where you have to gather all the stray plot threads of a story and start weaving them together. It’s a process that shouldn’t be done in a thoughtless manner, because you can very easily make a mistake. This is the point where – unless you’ve planned the story out from the beginning to the end – it becomes quite obvious when an author is just flailing around and has no idea how to take the story to its logical conclusion. When that happens, it can be cause for disappointment – I know I’ve been turned off an author when they prove unable to properly finish a story they’ve started.

I’m pleased so far with the progress of “Fabled Kingdom“. I can safely say I’ve wrapped up 85% of the story threads, with another 10% to go in the remaining chapters, while leaving 5% open for future books. To make sure things go smoothly, I even broke with tradition and got the first half of the book edited before I started chapter 18 – and I’m glad my editor loved it and is excited to read the next chapter. I consider this crucial in wrapping up a story in a satisfying manner.

There’s no easy way to break through that psychological barrier, the one that every writer will accost at some point in their journey in writing a story. Perseverance, experience and the willingness to mentally hurl yourself through that wall is the only thing that you can do. I haven’t done this since I last wrote “The Dreaming” back in 2007 (the last trilogy I wrote), but all those sleepless nights are a big payoff when you look at your work and you’re mostly satisfied with what you see.

Meanwhile, in the next installment, I’m going to talk about my new discovery: Augmented Reality Comics and Art Galleries!