Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Megaton Man Meets Connie Carlyle

Here is the panel that precedes one already posted, in which Trent Phloog returns to his New York apartment only to find a tenant who is subletting. See previous posts for more the identity of this mystery roomie!

Left to right: Light blue Col-Erase and graphite pencil on layout bond, with lettering on canary yellow tracing paper, traced from a blown-up sketch (see below); ink on Clearprint 1000HP Design Vellum, April 29, 2014
Below is the original 2003 sketchbook page from which the original thumbnail derives:

2003 sketchbook sheet working out a couple of related scenes (Megaton Man discovering the Megatropolis Quartet headquarters is closing, and finding Connie at his old apartment). Note the loose fitting yoga pants Connie is wearing, replaced by the ubiquitous tights girls wear these days. Note also that I'm changing her name from Colleen to Connie!

From Thumbnail to Ink: Persistence Pays Off

Here is a look at a thumbnail sketch of Megaton Man, from a 2008 sketchbook, in light blue Col-Erase pencil and some graphite, approximately 5 inches across. I always like the energy of this pose, and my sketchbooks are filled with lots of quick, energetic sketches like this.

Below shows the scan, blown up to 8.5" x 11", with some tighter blue and graphite penciling over it, with some white out, and a corny gag lettered as well. Below that is a tighter tracing with a Uni-Ball on canary yellow tracing paper. Both of these are from 2012. On the bottom is the inked final on Clearprint vellum, done this afternoon.

It's still a corny gag, but it shows I finish what I start, and that persistence pays off. Never throw anything away, you still might be able to salvage it for something useful! An experiment like this not only proves that I can go back and retrieve something from the past and bring it to life again, and can extract some of the energy from what would otherwise be a throw-away little scribble, but it also helps fuel the new ideas I'm thinking up for the character. At this point, Megaton Man is 30 years old, and virtually all the ideas I have for him and his supporting cast have either been brewing in the back of my mind for some time, or are interpretations of older ideas that might have greater potential now than before. In other words, everything is to some extent an interpretation or reinterpretation, or reinvention.

Final drawing in color.

(I need to date it 2008/2014.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Roomie Do-Over and Rex Rigid

Here are a couple more pieces from today: A refined pencil and simpler ink rendering of Connie Carlyle (see a previous post; the first try was too liney), and the same for Professor Rex.

Ink and pencil, both on Clearprint vellum. See a prior post for the rough sketch.

Professor Rex Rigid in his lab coat, in pencil on clear tracing paper, and ink on Clearprint vellum. I'm particularly proud of the stethoscope and rubber gloves in his labcoat pockets. One never knows when one will need a full figure of Rex Rigid for a fan club or something (one in this case being me).

The original pencil page in my current sketchbook, 11" x 14". Rex looked a little cramped in there, so I redrew him separately and will place him back in digitally. The rest of the sheet I intend to ink pretty much as is.

Megatropolis Tech: The New Roomie Revealed!

Here is the pencils and inks of a new panel in which Megaton Man arrives at his old New York apartment, only to be greeted by Connie Carlyle, student at Megatropolis Tech, who has been subletting the place. With the Stella Starlight android, will three be a crowd?

Left to right: Light blue and graphite pencil on bond layout, with canary yellow tracing paper; ink on Clearprint 1000HP vellum; refinement of Connie's figure on clear tracing paper.
Below is the sketchbook sheet from 2010 which includes the thumbnail for this panel:

See previous post for further developments from this sketchbook sheet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More Sporty: The Secret Origins of Digger Munro

Here is the development of a thumbnail sketch into what is essentially a model sheet for a new Megaton Man character, Connie Carlyle, who goes by the name "Digger Munro" when she plays sandball (beach volleyball), and "Sporty" when she attends Megatropolis Tech, a third-rate trade school for megahero wannabes. Unbeknownst to him, she's been subletting Trent Phloog's New York City apartment, and he finds her there and meets her for the first time only when he returns, exiled from the Megatropolis Quartet.

Left to right: The original thumbnail sketch, blown up; the Col-erase light blue and graphite pencil tracing on Clearprint 1000HP Design Vellum; the inked final, also on Clearprint.
The conception for Sporty began on a sketchbook sheet circa 2010. I've made a conscious effort to conserve little scribbles like this and see how far I can develop them into finished pieces. In this case, scanning and printing out at Fedex enables me to blow up a lot of sketches and turn them into something more permanent while still capturing the original energy of a quick, dashed-off thought. If the tracing doesn't work, I can always try it again, without having harmed the original. This is a bit of a cumbersome process, but it has its advantages over the old analog method of penciling and inking on the same sheet, which destroys the original. I can work looser and freer, and I don't have to erase (or re-ink when the erasing fades the ink)!

The original sketchbook page, circa 2010. You can see the 2014 development of the thumbnails to the right, featuring Megaton Man and Yarn Man, posted elsewhere on this blog.
Sporty is a dumb name for a character, I will readily admit, and will immediately recall Sporty Spice, who people will assume I'm ripping off, but Colleen does not have very much imagination in that regard. I've always thought of sporty as a somewhat ridiculous adjective, like jaunty. Maybe I'll give her a sandball teammate named Jaunty!

The scene with Yarn Man packing up at the Megatropolis Headquarters, also thumbnailed on this page, is related to Megaton Man eventually going back to his old apartment to find Sporty ensconced there, although the two scenes do not immediately happen one after the other.

This is the following page in the sketchbook, helpfully dated August 16, 2010, showing some of the development of the character. Here she seems older and more athletic. The wrist adornments are obviously inspired by Kerri Walsh, who wore all kinds of bracelets and bangles in several Olympics. The reason they are all watches is because Sporty's aunt is a TV home shopaholic!
On the second page following, Sporty has moved some of the bangles to a leg (perhaps to cover one of those athletic bandages), and has definitely taken on the appearance of a young woman I happen to know. Most of my characters are composites of different people I've known, either in terms of personality or physical appearance or both. (The Sporty sketch is shown developed elsewhere in a recent post).

Here is the second page following in the sketchbook. Why I was trying to draw Megaton Man with realistic proportions I can no longer remember (I did it in Megaton Man #10 and in Return of Megaton Man #1, of course). I think I was trying to harmonize the character with the "more realistic" sandball storyline I was dreaming up (and perhaps with a potential adaptation into a dance piece by Tome' Cousin in mind).

Moving Day at MQ HQ

Pencils on layout bond, inks on Clearprint vellum, April 19 and 21, 2014, respectively. A sequence I'm working on with Megaton Man (actually Trent Phloog after a particularly frustrating day at the office) and Yarn Man. After terror attacks have brought our megaheroes back to Megatropolis, the Quartet decides to abandon the old Manhattan skyscraper headquarters. The incandescent lighting gives it an antique look that befits retreading some familiar terrain!

I'm intentionally revisiting tropes from the very early issues of the Kitchen Sink Megaton Man, including MM's secret identity and his and tense relationship with the remaining Megatropolis Quartet, but adding twists that will CHANGE THE MEGAVERSE FOREVER ... and also simply because I have no new ideas! (But since when has anyone read an American comic book for anything less than the reworking of an old, familiar idea?!) More to come... (See earlier posts for some of the events leading up to this moment.)

Oops! I forgot to ink the "Q" above the elevator door...!

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Megaton Man Pencils and Inks

New Megaton Man panel with Yarn Man, penciled April 19 then inked on Clearprint vellum April 20. Happy Easter! (See also my Ms. Megaton Man blog for more views of work in progress...)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

First Look: New Sidekick for Megaton Man?

This is a preliminary character study for a new character in a Megaton Man storyline I am working on.

(The original sketchbook page, from August 2010, and the development of the character is discussed in a subsequent post on this blog.)

Update: Here is a second inking attempt side-by-side with the first. The differences are subtle between the second and fourth figure (both inks), the first being a bit over-renderended, the second more simplified. The size I'm working here has a lot to do with it; if I had blown up the sketch a bit smaller it would probably make inking it a bit more comfortable. As it is, it's a bit too large and the tendency is to put in more lines. The nice way about working with ink on vellum is that the original source sketch or pencil remains unaltered, and I can try different experiments if I'm not thrilled with the first result. (The downside is the potential to overthink the piece and never be satisfied!)

Left to right: the original thumbnail sketch from 2010, approx. 5 inches, scanned and blown up to approx. 18", with additional detail added with a Uni-Ball Grip 0.7 black pen; ink with a crowquill on Clearprint 1000HP Design Vellum; a more refined graphite pencil on same; and a second ink, simplified.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Long Return to Megatropolis

This is the complete post-Megaton Man Weekly Serial storyline that I have posted thus far, all in one place so that you can read it continuously using Blogger's "lightbox" feature. Click on an image, and a scroll of images will pop up; you can advance through the images without stopping. For more glimpses of this work in progress, see other postings on this blog.