Sunday, February 16, 2014

Metal Warzone in Comic Book Issue 5

My good friend and great supporter, photographer and videographer of metal bands, Adrian Mejia of Metal Warzone news and media web site, will appear as a Vampire character in my Vampire Guardian AngelsTM comic book Issue 5 "Rule of Blood". Please check out Adrian Mejia's Metal Warzone Web Site. \m/\m/

Original Comic Book 4 Drafts

Here are some behind-the-scenes images of my Artist Andrew Setter's original inked, uncolored drafts of the pages of Vampire Guardian AngelsTM Comic Book Issue 4, "Resurrection: Afterlife". The process consists of Andrew drawing and inking, and Chad Hammontree, my colorist/letterer, adding the final color and text to the pages.

To see samples of some of the final, fully colored images by Chad Hammontree,
click here for Comic Book 4

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How do I come up with my Stories and Characters?

I get these questions a lot so I'll try to explain it as best I can in this post. :)

For the first three comic issues, it was easy since I was turning my already existing novel into comic book format. So it was just a matter of migrating the characters and select scenes and condensing the stories into 24 plus pages each.

It was a little bit more of a challenge with coming up with the sequels. Since I had decided that the sequels were no longer going to be in novel format, I needed to continue the stories on in comic book format, thinking up new plots, scenarios, developing and expanding characters, creating new characters, and find a new and unexpected direction the story should take. The more strange and bizarre, the better.

No set formula, just inspiration:
The best way I can sum it up is this: An idea just hits me, and I go with it. I rely a lot on feeling, atmosphere, even what I eat or drink or the music I happen to be listening to. It may come one year and last for weeks, it may just last one day. Each year that the comic book was written, I look back and I can tell what inspired me.

My first inspiration: In the novel, stories 1 and 2 were were inspired by my being a "recovering Catholic" and questioning some aspects of why we believe in saviors. After I had written those, I needed to come up with story 3, which was inspired by.....

....My next stories were from what comes up in my dreams. Yep, dreams. Story 3 was the result of a bizarre dream I had.

And comic issues 5 and 6 were the product of some very bizarre dreams involving ancient Vampires, Catholic reliquaries and the "incorruptible bodies" of Saints.  And then I started listening to more black metal music. And all these came together in a week of strange dreams. Well, you can see how my imagination started to run wild.

But not all Issues are inspired by Dreams. It's unpredictable.

Take for example, Issue 4, which was more of a character expansion, as in what had happened to a character's son or father and to develop them more. But there was still the challenge of what direction I wanted to take the character to. And it's still developing.

And more issues have yet to be written, so who knows what will inspire those?

So in short, there will be days when I don't "feel" anything, or find no inspiration, and then there are weeks when I get so inspired that I can write the entire story line in a week and keep going, thinking up new scenarios and plot lines, what's next  for my characters, and create new characters.

There is no magic formula. It's just inspiration that's needed. :)

Please read my writing and self-publishing disclaimer here

We are on our 4th Published Issue!

Check out all 4 issues of the Vampire Guardian AngelsTM comic book series!
More issues in the works!

How I Format and Publish my Comic Books

I'm often asked about what software I use to write or format my comic books, and what's my process:

-I use Apple's iWork Pages application to write the script in screenplay format. I turn the final script into a PDF file and send this along with sample images of how I want backgrounds and characters to look like to my artists.

Comic Book Panels/Pages:
 -My artists Andrew Setter and Chad Hammontree draw, color and scan each individual page. I edit and proofread the dialogue and the pages for story flow.
-After final proofing and editing and any changes made, my art director Chad Hammontree sends the final PDF files of each page/panel to me, which I convert into .tif and add to a new document in iWork's pages application. One image/panel= one page, and I could have up to 25 pages of images. I convert the final pages into PDF and upload to my print-on-demand publisher, as an interior file, and createspace prints the book.
-Covers: My art director also sends me final pdfs of the front and back covers which I format into one .tif file on photoshop, and upload the exterior file to my print-on-demand publisher createspace's cover creator template.
-Publishing: I use print-on-demand publishing, really easy to use and they do excellent work, with glossy covers and a fantastic print job.

Note: I chose to publish my comic books in an 8.5 x 11 size, 'cause I'm pretty much a rebel and a little non-traditional. I also like to do things a little bit differently. I feel that the artwork needs to be showcased at a much larger size. And can be framed too!

 That's pretty much it. I could also use Microsoft Word as long as it has a PDF converter. The programs I use are basic: a word document program, a PDF converter, Photoshop, and a print-on-demand online publisher. I store my files on an external HD, and through online file storage.

Please read my writing and self-publishing disclaimer here