February 08, 2012

So I was recently asked by Kaboom! Studios to do a short piece for the new Adventure Time comic book... based on Adventure Time... the cartoon on Cartoon Network. I started writing and doodling ideas as soon as I got the email. I was so excited... HONORED to be asked. Adventure Time is one of my all time favorite cartoons. EVER. I don’t know many people who would disagree themselves. Pen Ward and his team are pretty fantastic. All of the amazing characters! It is boundless in it’s ability to explore ideas... any ideas... piling weird on top of weird, and then chopping it in half to watch the weirdness ooze out. 

The inaugural issue of Adventure Time is out in comic shops today! Wednesday February 8th! Go pick up a copy from your local comic shop! I just got a box of them in the mail, and I really couldn't be happier with how the whole thing turned out. Ryan North's story with Shelli Paroline's art is SO good. It was like READING a secret Adventure Time episode. I can't wait for issue#2. 

And now that I have said that... phew! (Go buy it.) Here is a little more about my comic.

I was given 7 pages to work with... to focus on any side character... and told not to focus on Finn and Jake. So I picked Tree Trunks. I picked her because I have a fondness for elephants, and she’s so much fun to draw... like a toaster oven sized elephant with oven mitts for ears. This is what most of my rough drafts look like... really quick just trying to get the idea out:

When my story was finally approved I decided I wanted to do it in watercolor... because I wanted to get the bright colors I love about the show, but I also really wanted it to be clear that I wasn’t trying to mimic the art of the show. I wanted it to feel like my comic as well as a tribute to the program. 

I did the line art first, so I could keep my lines pure.

And then painted my watercolors on another sheet at my light table. I had to turn the overhead lights on once in a while to see what I was doing... but I very much painted them in the dark.

If you want to read the reason I decided to do this, read on.

The reason I didn’t paint on the same paper is because of something called trapping. If you are an artist who works in print you know what I’m talking about... and if you’ve ever seen a color comic printed in a newspaper or a book and there are weird magenta or cyan or yellow shadow around the lines... that’s what I was trying to avoid. It has always confused me how other artists scan watercolors to print. To trap line art on a watercolor, to me is like recording music in mono, and then making it stereo. You just can’t do it. So maybe there was a way to do it that I just didn’t think of. The idea came to me after looking at a Richard Scarry book where they break down his process... and seeing that he painted on paper that didn’t contain the line art made SO much sense to me. So I wanted to try it.

I can say the process was a lot of fun... and when I finally put them into the computer, and laid the color on top of the lines... it was magical. Like watching a photo appear in a developer bath. 



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