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Creating a graphic novel but stopping along the way to take some photos, eat some food and admire great art!

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5 Seconds – Jake and Ellie

With Project Tabby funded and getting finalised for funding, it’s time to provide a quick sneak peek at the next project I am currently working on 5 Seconds. The premise of 5 Seconds is Jake developing the ability to see 5 seconds into the future with Ellie following along for the ride. It’s not a superhero story (no spandex!) but what could you do with that little extra time.

Character designs for Jake and Ellie :
5 Seconds, P.R. Dedelis, artwork, Jake, Ellie, Graphic Novel, Kickstarter

Untamed by Sebastian Jones

Seven Days for Seven Souls

I was provided a preview copy of Untamed that’s currently crowd-sourcing on Kickstarter for review and it was a delight to read! Make sure you check out the Kickstarter link and get your pledge in.

Red, Untamed, Kickstarter, Sebastian Jones

The story was well structured and feels much more live a movie than a graphic novel with each chapter building up to the conclusion. (Don’t worry there’s no spoilers!) The premise of the story is a Stranger’s return from the dead to claim 7 specific souls as part of his deal for vengeance.

There is thematic similarity to Kill Bill (where the Bride has a kill list) but that’s where the similarity ends. Fusing a well developed world (Asunda) infused with different characters creates a richness to the story.

The artwork carry the story to a different levels. There are amazing action sequences showing incredible movement. (On a personal note, I love it when a writer trusts an artist to tell the story without overuse of narration or dialogue!)

Red, Untamed, Kickstarter, Sebastian Jones

The use of colour is quite purposeful and has a painted quality to them. The use of dark and light is incredible! It worked exceptionally with the artwork. There have been too many great stories and artwork ruined with bad colouring but the colouring work on this graphic novel enchances it!

Red, Untamed, Kickstarter, Sebastian Jones

Thanks for the preview copy and your time to answer some questions. I loved your work. How long did you take to develop your world Asunda?

I have been building the world of Asunda for well over twenty years now, ever since I was a teenager growing up just south west of London. At first it was an escape into a diverse world where I could exercise my imagination and play director (dungeon master) to an awesome bunch of guys through D&D and LARP.

I have an amazing team of guys who I push boundaries with. Darrell May, our art director, is an anthropology major. It is important that a reader believes… in everything. There are reasons for stone markings, certain buildings, and so on. Each part of the world must know its own history. So I wanted to get away from traditional British accents and Princesses… for now. That is in another part of the world.

There is a complexity to the characters. How did you design them?

The character building is usually drawn from personal experiences, or other sinners and saints. I like to enrich worlds with flawed heroes and villains; where at times those lines become inexorably blurred. But I do like the extreme personalities, they are fun to explore. I want to make a fantasy world that is character driven and the backdrop, which is vast and volatile, really could have been a Western, post apocalyptic, or whatever. I believe that once the characters honestly grab the reader, he or she will be fully immersed and in love with a universe rich in culture and mythos.

What was your inspiration for the “hero” of the story?

Toshiro Mifune, Clint Eastwood, my old man… my own inner demons… feelings of failing as a good man, and wanting to do better.

What made him redeemable compared to the other 7 souls he was seeking vengeance on?

I would like to think there is salvation for me at the end of the day lol. The other seven, maybe with the exception of one, could also find redemption but choose not to. There is even one of the seven who doesn’t really deserve to die, no more than our own hero deserves to live. But, as we put ourselves in the shoes of the hero we have to pose the question:

“Would you damn yourself and kill those in front of you to save the ones you love… no matter what the implications are? A bad man would… and so would I.”

I mentioned in my review some similarities to Kill Bill and how this felt more like a movie. Was this your intention?

It’s funny you say that, as Kill Bill was referenced by Cameron Hatheway of Bleeding Cool. Originally I had written the outline for the entire comic series as a movie screenplay, ten years ago. My own purgatory mirrors the Stranger lol. I was always inspired by the cinematic giants, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah and Akira Kurosawa to name a few. I then transcribed my script after several iterations into a comic book format, and with Darrell laid out the series with Peter Bergting’s brilliant mind and talent. We have an animated show in development with Film Roman (The Simpsons, Ultimate Spider-Man). I wrote the pilot with Andrew Cosby (Eureka), and we are producing with Lloyd Levin (Watchmen, Hellboy, Boogie Nights) and Andrew Sugerman (Conviction, Shopgirl).

As far as the comic series, I had originally wanted to release them as printed single issues: 7 issues for 7 days, which can be downloaded individually online via Kindle, iBooks, Nook etc. Each issue has some of its own bonus world content. With regards to print, as a boutique publisher it just made more sense to go to the hardcover.

Good luck with your Kickstarter! It’s already funded now so anyone who pledges will be guaranteed the project will go ahead!

Red, Untamed, Kickstarter, Sebastian Jones

Check out Sebastian’s Untamed Kickstarter!

Project Tabby – Portraits

Click for Epilogue – Page 2

This won’t be the final layout but thought I’d share the portraits page of the 2 families of cats in Tabby! All the names have now been revealed. One of the rewards was to name of one the cats! (This actually affected the name of the other cats.)

Avengers, Black Widow, Spider-Man, sexy, Tabby, P.R Dedelis, artwork, roughs, fish market, Manly Daily, Daily Telegraph, Sydney, newspaper, graphic novel, Marvel, Felicia Hardy, Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man

Abandon All Hope by LA Keim

I was provided a 7 page preview of Abandon All Hope (AAH) written by LA Keim. Comics are an interesting medium and a trap many writers fall in is adding too much narration. This was not the case for AAH though, with the writer letting the artist (show don’t tell!) build the scene and the story. As a preview, it leaves a lot of questions unanswered and I am now curious at what happens next!

Cover :
LA Keim, Kickstarter, AAH, Abandon All Hope

The preview alternated between 2 scenes, a grassy meadow in bright sunlight juxtaposed with a night time invasion by an alien invasion force. The artwork is consistent through the preview with some of the action panels being the highlight. There was no issue with the colouring for the daylight sequences however I would have the preferred the night sequences to be darker with a lot more shadows.

Overall it’s an excellent start to AAH, setting the scene and the background for the story to come.

Sample interior :
LA Keim, Kickstarter, AAH, Abandon All Hope

Sample interior :
LA Keim, Kickstarter, AAH, Abandon All Hope

Thanks for the preview and your time to answer more questions about Abandon All Hope. What’s happens next in the story?

The story revolves around Alejandra (woman in the first page), a cloned soldier forced to find humanity in a world now inhabited by the Alien race that attacked it two years ago. Earth has become a lonely post apocalyptic wasteland. Alejandra travels through what is left, facing all kinds of evil. After the death of each clone another is produced through an advanced cloning station and thrown out like a human vending machine, sent back to where the last one died. With the cloning station experiencing troubles, it stops production of new clones and with only a few left it is a race against time and death to complete what she has been created to do.

The story is not just an action packed sci-fi journey it has a lot of drama, twists and turns and questions to be answered. Alejandra’s mind is a complex maze firing on all cylinders.

Did you have inspiration in developing the story?

Most of the idea came from my own wild imagination as far as I can remember. The story started out as a full length screenplay long before it was turned into a graphic novel series back in 2012. The concept was just way too big to get into productions without a studio budget to back it. I wanted the world to see it sooner than later and with the popularity of comics/graphic novels growing, we believed now would be a great time to make the switch from screenplay to graphic novel. Graphic novels and comics allow a writer more freedom, creation with no limits.

The only thing in the story that I sought inspiration for was the our heroine. My main focus with Alejandra was to bring back a strong but troubled female hero, with many layers to their personality that would keep her journey through the story interesting as she develops through so much trauma and pain. I was a huge fan of Ripley (Aliens) and Sarah Conner (Terminator) and I think these two characters gave me a lot of the inspiration needed to bring Alejandra to life and make her a deadly but lovable character. She is strong willed, brutal and born to fight but she also has that beauty and tranquility about her as well.

How did you assemble the team for the project?

We (Free Fall Productions Australia) began the series with our own work. I designed most of the pages myself first, by free hand drawing then we progressed with a more digital 3D style. We still weren’t happy with our style, it didn’t quite catch your eye. When looking through the market we noticed that our art work was nowhere near up to standards. They did however become great example pages to give the artist an idea of what we wanted. We scrapped what we had and went on the search. We were only new to the industry so did not have many contacts. We looked to Deviant art first and also a few facebook groups, which is where we found our colourist Kirsty Swan and then freelanced.com to find our illustrator/inker James Beihl. We looked at several artists before deciding and we believe we have found the perfect team to bring this amazing story to life.

What are your next steps for the project?

We will be heading into Crowd funding through IndieGoGo late Feb 2015. The idea is to raise the amount needed to pay our art team fairly to complete the rest of the book. If we raise the amount needed full production will begin and we are hoping to have the first book in the series ready by June or July 2015. Pre orders (through our website) for the book will begin half way through production. When the book is completed and published we will get more into promoting and start going to comic conventions and do whatever is needed to get the series out into the world.

Thanks so much for your time and I wish your all the best when you post up on IndieGoGo.

Project Tabby – Black Cat Detailed Sketch

Click for Epilogue – Page 2

One of the pledgers loved the previous Tabby – Black Cat Reward, that he requested a detailed Black Cat & Tabby sketch! Check out Tabby swinging along with Felicia Hardy!

Avengers, Black Widow, Spider-Man, sexy, Tabby, P.R Dedelis, artwork, roughs, fish market, Manly Daily, Daily Telegraph, Sydney, newspaper, graphic novel, Marvel, Felicia Hardy, Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man

Project Tabby – Finished

Project Tabby is now over after its 50 day run in Kickstarter! It finished up yesterday just over $3100 in pledges from 100 backers! The support from everyone on this project has been truly humbling and I really can’t thank everyone enough. It’s still a surreal feeling to actually reach this point.

Tabby as a story has been bouncing my head for a quite but I have to thank Judy Teh for making me finish writing it! Big thanks to P.R. Dedelis for his awesome work from translating words on a page to brillant sequential artwork. If I remember right, I interviewed more than 100 artists before deciding to go with him.

Kickstarter, Tabby, P.R. Dedelis, Voon Ann Chong, artwork, funded, advice

The Wall of Fame is currently under construction. Everyone who has pledged will have their name added to the Wall of Fame.

I’ll add some special “Thank You“s in this page as well but to everyone who gave me advice on the Kickstarter, comic creation or just well wishes, it was greatly appreciated! It was fantastic to have so many people believe in the project and sharing the link around to help build the buzz around the Tabby.

Thank you once again to everyone who came along on this ride to make Tabby a reality! I have other projects in the works and will hope you can stay on the ride for those.

3-2-1 Kickstarter by Felipe Cagno

Click here for the Kickstarter link.

Felipe Cagno has established an interesting hook for an anthology :

  • 3 Pages
  • 2 Characters
  • 1 Twist Ending

I did know quite what to expect but I LOVED it! It really challenges the traditional story telling to illustrate a story with the above constraints. Felipe has assembled a talented group of artists, colourist and story tellers (Felipe writes a few great stories too!) for this anthology.

321, 3-2-1, Felipe Cagno, Kickstarter, graphic novel, artwork, writer

It really has everything, a little science fiction, Gothic backgrounds, fantasy and about everything in between. Felipe Cagno picks up a lot of writing for this work and it’s great to see him extend himself to different genres and styles of story telling.

There’s no fault in the artwork! The artists are all absolutely amazing. If you haven’t pledged for this work make sure you do it! It’s over a 100 pages and over 30 wonderful stories.

A Gentleman’s Wager :
321, 3-2-1, Felipe Cagno, Kickstarter, graphic novel, artwork, writer

Where did you get the concept for 3-2-1?

I got a Master’s in Film Production at Chapman University and during our first year, the conservatory year, every student had to produce what they called a “321″, a production exercise for students to get a whole feel of making a short film from scratch. The idea was to make a 3 minute short film with 2 characters and shot in 1 location.

When I released my first comic book series, “The Lost Kids: Seeking Samarkand”, I met a lot of artists wanting to collaborate with me and I knew then my next book would be a collection of short stories, that way I could work with a team of artists. I went back to the “321″ from Chapman and adapted it to my own format.

Since locations were not a problem in comic book format, I thought about something that would challenge me and push me to be a better writer, that’s how I came up with the twist ending. My favorite kind of stories are those that end in a surprising way and stick with me.

How long did you take to get all the writers and artists on board?

It was actually really quickly. By January, 2014 I started sending out the invites and by March, 2014, the team was formed. Because the stories were so short, 3 pages only, the artists were all up for it, they could accommodate the pages in their work schedule. The writers I invited were all friends that I trusted to help me out, everyone with a strong sense of storytelling, I’d discuss ideas with them or pitch them themes asking for scripts, it was a lot of fun for everybody.

Of all the stories, Best Buds was my favorite. I really didn’t see that ending coming, great job on writing this one and Bianca Pinheiro’s art was perfect. Do you have a favorite story in the anthology?

Best Buds :
321, 3-2-1, Felipe Cagno, Kickstarter, graphic novel, artwork, writer

Not a favorite, but I do have a story that’s more meaningful. The story “A True Panda’s Love” was inspired by my fianceé and I wrote that in partnership with Vitor Cafaggi as an homage to her and our relationship, so that’s definitely a very personal story. Obviously, real life ends a bit differently than the comic book but that’s for readers to figure it out.

Thanks for you time and the preview copy. I’m sure your Kickstarter will exceed its target without any problem!

Click here for the Kickstarter link.

Artwork of Dan MacKinnon – From the Ashes Kickstarter

36 year old Dan MacKinnon is a fantastic artist who has been illustrating several fantasy pieces. He’s also about to launch his Kickstarter “From the Ashes” where the world is rebuilding from the devastation unleashed by Wraith King Arthon.

Garruk (Inked) :
Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Garruk (Coloured) :
Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Thanks for your time Dan.
Where are you from?

I’m from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Currently living in Duncan, British Columbia. I live on the west coast for the climate but I will always consider myself an east coaster. Where I’m from and how where I grew up are a big part of my identity and something I’m very proud of. I just got married moved in to a little house in the country with my wife and my big ol dog, Bruenor.

Were you always an artist?

Haha . . I spent 13 years as a tree planter and worked all across Canada and the US. Ive planted just over one and a half million trees by hand and am fiercely proud of the time I spent and the things I learned doing it. I went to university to be a teacher because I didn’t get accepted in the fine arts program. I taught English in China for a while then went back to planting trees.

However I have always been an artist but after I didn’t get it to art school, I kind of gave up on it as a career but I never stopped drawing. At some point I decided that it was an itch that I needed to scratch or I would never forgive myself so at the age of 30 I went back to school for illustration. I finished a 3 year college program in Toronto and have been a freelance artist for the last 3 years.

The works I’m showcasing all have a fantasy element. How would your describe your work and influences?

American comic book style meets dungeons and dragons with a touch of traditional illustration is how I would describe my style I suppose. I love the dynamics and explosiveness of modern comic book storytelling but I have a real desire to keep things realistic, even when drawing unreal things. Comic books and fantasy art asks you to suspend your sense of disbelief so much already in its subject matter that I feel like the artwork has to keep you grounded or it might as well be a cartoon. If it doesn’t look real, I’m never afraid something real might happen. If it all looks like a cartoon, there’s no fear that there might be real consequences to the actions of the characters and that ruins it for me.

I am heavily influenced by Jim Lee. I have lots of other guys who I love like Stuart Immonen, Wayne Reynolds, Marc Silverstri, Jeff Easley, but it all comes back to Jim. He was the guys I learned to draw by copying so he’s the guy I always to back to for inspiration.

I noticed a lot of your work are based on Magic the Gathering (MtG) characters. Is there any particular character you enjoy illustrating?

My favourite MtG character is probably Ajani just because he looks so cool. I can’t get enough of that insane weapon he wields. The worlds of fantasy had me in awe as a kid and keep me creating to this day. I was mesmerized by the artwork in the players handbook and the monstrous manual. I couldn’t get enough of it and that’s what drew me to MtG. I like the game itself but its the artwork and the world that keeps me interested. Crazy monsters, unbelievable worlds, the power of magic, the fury of dragons, this is the kind of stuff that excites me.

I love fantasy artwork as well! However do you much “superhero” work?

I stop loving superheroes because it all seemed so boring. It all took place it plain old today in the plain old real world. Every background was skyscrapers and cars, every character was essentially the same, jumping around in their underwear flexing their muscles. I find it nauseating these days. D&D and MtG showed me stuff Id never even thought of, it continues to blow my mind to this day.

What work do you have completed?

I recently did some work for the Design Mechanism on the RPG game, Runequest and I got to do some illustrations for their players handbook and draw some of their monsters. I was one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever had the privilege of doing. The thought that there are young people out there playing Runequest looking at my drawings and getting inspired to draw or create still chokes me up even after the 4th book. It’s a dream come true to be able to give back to an industry and a genre that inspired me so much as a kid.

I’ve just finished working on Mythic Britain, my fourth book for Runequest which just came out. I did a 60 page graphic novel called The Merciful for Underbelly comics a few years ago. I’ve finally stopped pretending that I’m gonna do anything other than draw monsters and wizards for the rest of my life and I can’t tell you how good it feels.

From our previous discussion, I know you are launching a Kickstarter “From the Ashes”. What can you share about that project?

It’s a story I started 20 years ago! I can’t believe it’s about it’s about to launch. Here’s a sample page.

Kickstarter, From the Ashes, Dan MacKinnon, MtG, Garruk, artwork

Thanks for your time and good luck with your Kickstarter when you launch!

Dan is currently available for commissions (pricing information on request), please contact him danmackinnonart [at] gmail.com

His work is also available :

Project Tabby – Kickstarter – Last 5 days

Only 5 days to go on the Tabby Kickstarter! Trying to see if we can reach the $2500 stretch goal. On offer will be a free A4 print (limited to ONLY 250 copies) by Voon Ann Chong. This one is an incredible piece of Tabby Junior and Cait. Last chance to get your pledge in.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1917428739/tabby-action-romance-and-lots-of-cute-cats

Tabby, Kickstarter, Tabby Jnr, Cait, Voon Ann Chong, P.R. Dedelis

Artwork of Robert Sage

Robert Sage initially created artwork in oils for various galleries and art fairs. He has started his transition into story telling and more sequential work. He’s also currently on first play through of Final Fantasy XII and reading Douglas Adam’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

Above the Treetops :
Robert Sage, Artwork, Oil

Thanks for your time to answer a few questions! How would you define your work?

In my illustrations, I play God with physics and biology to create fantasy and sci-fi realism with a surrealistic twist. I am trying to do this with my current project, creating my webcomic as well. I often play with scale, making subjects smaller or larger to make ordinary objects and places seem magical by giving it a new perspective.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?

A lot of my inspiration for my work comes from being out-doors, traveling, or being generally curious about the possibilities of every-day things or experiences. I find life’s little micro-dramas to have a lasting effect even though we tend to push them to the side of our imagination. Creating a fantasy out of that, instead of say dragons and castles, is the primary focus of my artwork.

Are you currently studying? Where do you see your next steps?

I’m attending classes at CGMA and hope to finish their program for concept art and character design. Once I am finished or during I hope to find a job working in concept art for movies or games.

You mentioned earlier that you wanted to move more into story telling. Is there anyone (or works) in particular that you follow?

Two of my favorite storytellers have to be Hayao Miyazaki and Shinichiro Watanabe. Hayao for his portrayal of women and female leads as well as his focus on nature and whimsical themes bordering on the surreal, and Shinichiro Watanabe for his ability to bring together characters with such broad backgrounds and create a story that is as much about them as it is about the world they live in.

Visually I find myself being drawn to artists such as John Singer Sargent, for his loose brushwork but steady composition, and Magritte for his subtly outrageous portrayal of ordinary objects in extraordinary ways. More recently I find myself drawn to more contemporary artists like Stjepan Sejic and Miles Johnson for their ability to create realistic figures from their head.

Are you currently working on any projects?

I’m currently working on a scifi webcomic called “A Cup of Martian Coffee” I hope will be ready at least by mid February. It is a story about Jess, a shapeshifter that travels the galaxy photographing alien life, ruins, and unfamiliar planet-scapes; TEN, a sentient robot who gave up space piracy to open a coffee shop called “The Eye” on Mars, and a girl named Dana, a graphic artist born in 1990, who after waking up from being frozen finds her graphic design knowledge is 113 years out of date, so finds a job working at “The Eye” to pay the bills when she is not traveling around with Jess as her artistic apprentice, and finding adventure along the way.

Wow! That sounds like an interesting story.
Thanks again for your time and good luck with your future endeavours!

You can contact Robert for commission through social media or by emailing him robert.jones.sage [at] gmail.com.

For more of his work please check out :

Snow :
Robert Sage, Artwork, Oil

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