Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ELDRITCH! Things: How'd they do it? part 2

So here we are at the coloring stage. It took quite a few passes to get the right palette we wanted. Actually "few passes" is an understatement. I was very concerned about over working the pages with too much color, which combined with the inkwashes would just result in a heavy handed mess. On the flip side, if there wasn't enough color, Eldritch! could end up looking drab.

First stage: Just laying in the background color.



Second stage: Starting to vary my tones a bit. I've also started on that sunset sky and pulled in a teal color to really punch up the ocean. As you can see, I left the figures in panel 2 back and white to emulate the tattoos on Anya's arm.



Third stage: Added in my shadows and painted in the sunset. At this point I then overlay a texture from my texture library.



Fourth stage: Now with color ideas in place. Aaron and I felt that the colors were too intense. So by duplicating the layer, keeping it at about 47% opacity, turning it to gray scale, and fuddling with the curves, we found a way to desaturate the colors with out losing the contrast. SCIENCE!




From there it goes to Aaron to letter and sound effect up. For the final version you'll just have to visit www.neweldritch.com. And while you're there, minds well vote. And fave. And leave a comment. (I can't wait to stop saying that.)
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Let's have a moment shall we? Have a seat. Right there. Just more that giant octopus.

We've been on quite a long month journey. And the fact that you have stayed with us through it all, is a testament to your dedication to the art of ELDRITCH! And I want to thank YOU. You've done well and deserve the praise as much as Aaron and I. And win or, forbid, lose - we couldn't have gotten this far without you.

We're still a little over a day away from taking the stage for final judgement, so I urge you to help us get the last votes. We are within grasp. And to thank you for all of the blood, sweat and tears we offer you this:

CONTEST #4: THE LAST CONTEST

If at 9am PST on APRIL 30th ELDRITCH! is declared the winner, Aaron and I will chose FIVE names at random to be drawn by me in a future installment of ELDRITCH!. Being ripped asunder by tentacles is what you've always wanted, right? OF COURSE IT IS. Just don't forget to leave a comment so we know who you are you big ol' terminator.

So keep voting, getting people to vote and fave and all that. DO NOT STOP.

Now, I would hug you, but I'm covered in Nutella and it's sticky.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

***Update #2**** Ok - CONTEST 3-D is on! If we break 650 faves (with votes attached) by midnight PST tonight, we'll pick another winner. Exciting yeah? So what are you waiting for? Get votin'!

***UPDATE*** Contest #2: There was such a rapid response, Aaron and I decided to do another contest. This time, if we rally to 550 Faves (with Votes attached) by midnight tonight PST, we'll pick another winner. GO!





"ELDRITCH! WANTS FAVORITES. It HUNGERS for them.

It wants 500 favorites by midnight tonight (PST), and has demanded we get them by any means necessary. If we fail to provide its dark smorgasbord, it will be forced to take its sustenance where it may (THE CATS ARE IN DANGER). And so Aaron and I are having a contest:

Go to the Zuda site, VOTE for us, FAVORITE us, give us a STAR RATING, then leave a comment saying you want in on the contest. If we reach 500 favorites by THE WITCHING HOUR (12 AM, PST), we'll randomly select a winner from the comments and send you the following:

1) One copy of Serenity Rose Vol. 2, signed by Aaron Alexovich.
2) One copy of Sullengrey Vol. 2, signed by me, Drew Rausch.
3) One SKETCH Aaron Alexovich, of any character from ELDRITCH!
4) One SKETCH by me, Drew Rausch of any character from ELDRITCH!

500 favorites by midnight, and all this could be yours! (If you've already voted, you ARE eligible... just make sure to leave a new comment so we can see you there!)

And please, make sure you guys hit the big green VOTE button before adding us to your favorites. Everything counts, but your VOTE counts most of all.

TIME GROWS SHORT. Please sign up, VOTE, and save our comic (and our CATS) from the cold embrace of oblivion now! We can do this!

Monday, April 26, 2010

ELDRITCH! THINGS: How'd they do it? part 1




One of the most frequently asked question to an artist is "How do you do what you do?" Right below that is "Aren't these nachos tasty?" which is usually followed up by "Can I touch your books?" Then there's horrible anxiety.

Right now, we'll deal with the first one and apply it to ELDRITCH!


NOTE: At no time do I admit to knowing what I'm doing. But that's the beauty of art, right. If you get bored, just imagine that you're riding the Carousel of Progress at DisneyWorld. We'll just go around, stopping at various animatronic robot filled windows, and...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


PAGE 1

Not many artists have the privilege of having their writing counterparts live nearish enough to work in the same room with them. I consider myself lucky. When we began the "creating" process, Aaron had already did wee thumbnails that neither of us could comprehend without a solar powered magnifying glass supplied by NASA, so I did my own scribbles based on the script and what Aaron acted out in front of me. (Seriously Hollywood, you really should see this. OSCAR!)



As you can see, this is terrible. But that's ok. I'm just getting the idea down. Since this was the first time I had ever worked in these dimensions, we felt it was VERY important to make sure we had the flow of the page down to our liking.



Ah, here we go. The pencil stage. This is where the fun happens. Or so I've been told. While you were trying to decipher the above image and wonder why there's a ball in a sea of lumpiness, I've printed out the thumbnail and begin lightboxing a rough on to 8 1/2 x 14 white paper. It's not fancy by any means. In fact I may have stolen it from Kinkos.

I'm doing a lot of thinking here, trying to remember all the characters performances. Panel 2 was tricky. I had to translate Anya's tattoo into actual characters and still have enough room for the Bathysphere and lettering (which Aaron made work like a champ). I sure do love panel 3. As you may have noticed, I slightly moved Anya's arm coming straight at you to more 3/4 view. This was to allow the viewer to get a better look at her arm. Doodle, doodle, doodle...



... and we find ourselves at the inking stage. I had thought of hiring Rosie O' Donnell and the guy who played an alien in that one episode of Star Trek to help talk about this. But that just sounded awful.

I'm among the many artists that aren't really a fan of inking, feeling like it loses some life being all finalized. However, I wanted to do a heavy amount of inkwashing, and I was afraid the pencil wouldn't hold up. So out came the bottle of Speedball.

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New Zuda rankings are up today. If you haven't voted yet, this is the time to do so and maybe get some of your friends and family to do so too. All of your support has been just fantastic. There are only a few days left as the contest comes to a close on April 30th, 12:00 EST. We really need YOUR help to continue the EVOLUTION!

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Aaron says: "For the next 6 days leading up to the FINAL VOTE (aw gawd!), I’ll be posting character sketches I did for the original ELDRITCH! pitch way back in 2005. None of these guys appear in the Zuda eight-pager, and they’ll all be in line for a MAJOR design overhaul if we manage to pull this off, but I thought it’d be fun to show them off just the same. Also: If we can’t dig up enough VOTES, this might be the only chance you have to see them, ever.

(Seriously. Second place gets THE ZILCH.)"

See what the future of ELDRITCH! holds by clicking.

REMEMBER: IF WE WIN - WE ALL WIN.

NEXT TIME: We talk about color. *shudder*

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ELDRITCH! Meet & Greet: TED NEWBARN

I hope you guys have really been digging these little backlot tours into the on goings of ELDRITCH! No one's complained yet, so we'll go with a big "yes".

This one's going to be a bit brief since I don't want to give too much away.

TED NEWBARN


(this sketch was made with 2048 levels of sensitivity)

"Husband to Jess. Father to Skyler. Lives just down the street from the Sobczeks. Ted Newbarn is a real estate agent all too eager to be seen as cool, with-it, and above all normal."

He also gets really emotional all the while butchering lyrics to "classic" 80's songs. That's right. The pop-collared, spray-tanned, walking midlife-crisis that appears in screen 8. That's our Ted.

It seems like only yesterday... the clock going past midnight, Aaron and I sitting in front of my computer sketching the thumbnails for screen 8, me laughing so hard after reading the script till I started hiccuping so bad I couldn't breathe. The passing out. First thing that came to my mind when I came to was "This needs a John K moment." Hence the jiggling adam's apple and the lone single tear. The fancy red car, the fist pumping, the hairy chest, the wearing sunglasses at night... this is Ted at his purest.

You may notice that Ted bares a striking resemblance to Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore. That's because he was modeled after Christopher McDonald. With a bit of William Atherton (Walter Peck from Ghostbusters) spliced in.
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Standing back and looking at the astounding number of people, what is it - over 70,000, that have checked out Eldritch! - that's a lot of people we have touched. In a good way. Not in the dressed as a monkey, years and years of therapy way. It's been quite a turnout and we couldn't be happier. We just want to make sure your voice is being heard, so if you haven't voted, faved and commented, we ask you to please do so. There's a little over a week left and the competition is reaching Twinkie size proportions. (Trust me it's a big Twinkie.)

We appreciate all the help you guys (and girls) have given. Keep it up!

As a special treat here's a rare moment with Christoper McDonald.



Next Time: Eldritch! - A special "Making of" moment.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Zuda: How does that f*cking work?

What a weekend eh? I got fist bumped by Kato Kalin at the Anaheim Comic Con. How was yours?

Another ranking has come and gone and ELDRITCH! is still at the top spot. Don't bring out the cake yet, with 11 days left in this month's Zuda competition the battle still rages on. To all of you that have helped support us by voting and helping spread the word thus far, Aaron and I owe you a great deal. It's exciting and we couldn't be prouder and more thankful. But we have to keep it up. The contest is hemorrhaging fierceness and of course your help is needed more then ever.

That's what today's blog is about. You and Zuda.



We've gotten many reports about how the inner workings of Zuda have caused some brain 'sploding over the past couple of weeks. Being new to this form of comicking, Aaron and I did some sleuthing and dug up a few answers, which we will pass on to you using this handy visual aid. (Thanks Aaron!)



Voting, Favorites, Rating, and Comments ALL MATTER. Didn't know that? Well neither did we. That was until we came across this post by Zuda head honcho (Nightcrawler fan and fantastic Volley Ball player) Ron Perazza:

"Okay guys, you've seen the ten competitors and you've read their comics. The competition is officially on! I'd like to point out some of the finer points of how we're collectively evaluating these comics.

First off, there is the vote. You'll see the big VOTE button right on the Competition Page and on the Comic Information drop-down on the Comic Page itself. This is your number one decision making tool. Vote for the comic you want to see become an ongoing series.

Next up is the RATING. You'll find this just below the vote, in the Comic Information section of the Comic Page. This is a more subtle tool that lets you rate each comic on a scale from one through five stars. While you can only Vote for one comic at a time, you can Rate them all. This will be a crucial tool in close races where more nuance is needed in order to accurately express your opinions. Incidentally, the Rating tool will also come in handy for letting us know how you feel the ongoing series (like BAYOU) are going.

We've also got FAVORITES. It's in the same Comic Information panel, near the bottom. Some people have confused this with voting so let me clarify. You can Favorite any comic you want, any time. It will then show up on your Profile Page. It's a simple way for you to navigate to the comics you like (yeah...I mean, once we have more than 12 on site) and for letting other people know you're tastes. Especially if you're active in COMMENTING. Comments, of course, can be found directly beneath the comics themselves. A quick sidebar about Comments: the newest is at the top, closest to the comic. I know this is a bit backwards but we're trying something out here - bear with us. The thinking is that we want the most recent comments up top, near the comic itself. That way the comic and the comments are updated near each other so that users need to do as little scrolling up and down the page as possible. Let's see how that works and feel free to give us FEEDBACK on it.

Jumping around that Comic Information section you'll see that we're tracking the VIEWS as well. We figure some people just like to read without any greater level of participation. That's ok by us and as far as the competition goes, having a widely read comic is a great indicator of success. It's worth noting that this is one of the criteria that does not require registration. This is an indicator of how many times the comic was read by anyone, registered or not.

So, what I'm saying here is that everything counts. The Vote is obviously the main indicator, but we're looking at the rest of this information as well. Check back here on the blog or on the Competition Page itself for updates about who is in the lead, who is in second place and so on."

- posted on Zuda.com November 2, 2007 - 10:07am

Hopefully this answers some of your questions about the not complicated mathematical formula of Zuda and makes it easier on all of you feeling overwhelmed when attempting to vote for ELDRITCH!



NEXT TIME: More art, less wordiness.

"It’s not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." –Darwin

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

ELDRITCH! Meet & Greet: OWEN



This is not Owen. This is Yog. Also known as Space Amoeba for some odd American reason. I think many of us can relate to Yog. I know I can. All big pointy headed with multi tentacled arms waving around frantically. Although some of you may feel more like the man in the bottom right hand corner looking, not at Yog, but at the obviously more exciting thing happening to his right. No, the other right.

This whole Zuda experience has been a lot like that. The sheer amount of positive support that ELDRITCH! has been getting has just been mind blowing. Every time I look to see the comments (oh believe me we read them) I am thrown off my chair and onto the floor with a soggy thump. So thank you, each and every one.

OWEN SOBCZEK (SUB-check)(s)

"Th' hell?" you say. Well from how I understand it, when this was a wee seed in Mr. Alexovich's Cingulate Sulcus, Owen was a happy go lucky guy having a very strong fondness for keeping posies in his pockets.

"Owen is a sensitive, romantic young lad with a keen interest in all things mysterious. Although he's no slouch on the "enormous brain" front himself, Owen has never been able to dig out from under the shadow of his overachieving big sister. Owen would just love to prove her wrong about something, anything... especially the supernatural."

Here's my first crack based on Aaron's early designs. (You may also notice that Eldritch! was originally called Fester. But that's a story for another blog.)



As you can tell by reading Eldritch!, we scrapped that idea.

Yep tossed it.

As Stabbing Westward would put it in almost every one of their songs, we "threw it away."



Aaron told me that when this was pitched as part of the DC Minx line, the editor thought Owen's cute boyish looks would be quite popular with the ladies. Both of us felt Owen, to yang to his sister's yin, needed to be more shy and withheld. And not not have pocket posies.

Aaron wanted a more awkwardness to him. We added a twill coat, obviously a few sizes to big for him (maybe to emulate how he feels so buried beneath his big sister's shadow), added glasses that he could obsessively take on and off, and went with a different hairstyle. No longer coiffed in a pointy industrial hawk style, I opted for a more, hair in the face - cut it himself uneven look. Also gone were his "Big eyed - I'm wearing a cowboy belt buckle" outgoing personailty, replaced with again a social quirk that Aaron and I share a common understanding of.

For a bit more on the Sobczek siblings, check out Aaron's side of events at www.heart-shapedskull.com.
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As it stands we're holding steady at the #2 spot. We hear it's a neck and neck race. So even if you have voted, and faved, and commented, and after the nap you've taken, you can still help us spread the word by posting a link on your twitter-blog-facebook deelie.

LINK-------> www.neweldritch.com

Oh and hey - do you like to draw. Do you have some Eldritch! fan art that you want to share. Well Aaron has created a special place for you to put it - IT'S "THE OFFICIAL ELDRITCH! FAN LAIR". It a great place that is like a desert flooded with orange and green and blue and shiny vinyl pants and odd angles to play a guitar in and fishbowl lense-ing. In other words... PARADISE!



We appreciate your support.

d.

Friday, April 9, 2010

ELDRITCH Character Meet & Greet: ANYA

"I've seen shit that'll shock your eyelids."

That was FUN wasn't it. Aneeeeeeeeeeeeeeee - way.

This marks the first post (in what will hopefully be many) in a segment called "Meet & Greet". Here I'll give an insight into the character creating process for ELDRITCH. Hopefully you'll find this interesting since this is one of those rare occurrences where two artists have collaborated on a story, one of them sitting in the writer's chair. Shall we begin? Yes, let's...



ANYA SOBCZEK (SUB-check)

"Anya is a laser-focused, bull-headed overachiever with a passion for scientific truth (and the armful of Darwin tattoos to prove it.) Since she was a kid, Anya's been dead certain she and her enormous brain were bound to change the world... but she figures out exactly how to do that."

Anya didn't really differ from the original concept sketch Aaron had done. The one thing I really wanted to emphasize is her toughness. She's a no-nonsense, kick your ass if you argue with her, stubborn chick. I've always identified with women in strong roles and this is no exception. She's the the stronger personality of the two siblings.

I went with more of a "deathrocker" look, combining the roughness of punk while still keeping the spooky female quality that many goth boys drool over. The sides of her head are shaved, with a big mountain of teased purple stained hair in the back. Two long braids dangle from in front of her ears, finished with plaster monkey heads - showing her love for Darwinism. Her outfits will definitely have that DIY look.Torn outfits that have been stitched, stapled and safety pinned together. Many of them with some sort of Frankenstein patch or screen, still keeping with her love of science motif. I gave her a hard twill utility skirt over tights with a couple of studded belts.

Visit www.heartshapedskull.com for the second part of this trip into artistic genius.


Huge thank yous to EVERYONE who has supported ELDRITCH this week. It's really mind blowing and humbling to see all the Serenity Rose and Sullengrey fans get together and support us in this little endeavor. But we're not done yet. If you've voted already (Air high five), you can still help us spread the word by linking www.neweldritch.com to your favorite social media gathering.

ELDRITCH
Click banner to vote!

Also don't forget to Favorite and leave a comment. We want to hear what you think, your voice is an important part of this giant tenatcled machine.

I promise the next post will have 0% clownings.

SCIENCE!



- D.

Monday, April 5, 2010

BIG NEWSESES in 3... 2... 1...

If you saw me over the weekend at Wondercon, you may have heard me going on about why a homeless guy tore the head off some poor marshmallow peep in front of me, his turned inside out face releasing a straggly beard that strangled the brightly colored sugar coated body like a vampire squid. The details are vague, but it had something to do with Jesus and chickens birthing chocolate. Your guess is as good as mine.

Most of the time, however, I was hinting at some big ass news of earthshaking proportions . If you live anywhere between LA and San Diego, you actually felt this announcement rumbling beneath your feet. I'm really sorry if we knocked down your picture frames.

But this announcement isn't about Easterings or tectonic plates shifting, it's about a story that many of you have been waiting for, while others are just going to be glad to be entertained for a brief moment.

This is about ELDRITCH.



Expertly written by Aaron Alexovich (Creator of SLG'S SERENITY ROSE, lead character designer for INVADER ZIM & AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER)with art by me, Eldritch is the latest entry in to the infamous ZUDA COMPETITION!

ELDRITCH is the story of Anya Sobczek's(SUB-CHECK)bull-headed quest to find the source of her brother Owen's hideous, near-uncontrollable new "demonic" powers, a quest that pits her up against a pretentious coven of super-powered teenage witches, a gibbering tentacled man-eater of a baby, a hidden laboratory of atrocities, and one pop-collared, spray-tanned, walking midlife-crisis named Ted Newbarn... who could very well be the most dangerous living thing on earth.
SCIENCE VS. SUPERSTITION and a bubbling infection about to crush California with a thousand quivering tentacles.

We ask that you take a minute and read the beginnings of our little tale and vote the hell out of it using Zuda's easy voting system. All of which is sound right HERE!

After that, keep tuned in here, as we dive deeper and deeper into this modern action adventure!