So I asked a few friends of mine, mostly people I’ve collaborated with, to send me a single image and a short bit of text about one thing that inspires them. It’s a simple question, but I think gives an interesting peek inside how artist’s see the world:
Sunday, May 26
November 29th, 2007
Author Brian Wood
(I missed posting last week, and it was down to not being able to get online reliably while at the in-laws for Thanksgiving. Apologies for that, and here is one of two posts I’ll put up today and tomorrow)
So next week is the release of NORTHLANDERS #1, the first issue in my new monthly ongoing book for Vertigo. I have a mini-site for it here, with interviews, previews, advance reviews, cover images, some notes on my research, and solicitation information on the first three issues. Based on the preliminary initial order reports I’ve seen, orders for it were very good. When you head to the shop this week, find a copy of CSN with the book on the front page. Or find one of these promo posters that I *think* were sent to retailers this week (maybe next week).
Here is the first seven pages of the book, annotated. I left off the dialogue and captions for this (you can see them here). Following these seven pages are several non-sequential b/w pages from the next three issues. If you want to look at these in another window, go here.
November 16th, 2007
Author Brian Wood
I started off in comics as an artist, but my slow speed and somewhat noncommercial style turned me into a writer pretty quickly. But I try and keep active with my artwork, drawing covers for DMZ, mostly. I also pencilled, inked, and colored (as well as wrote) DMZ #12 which, despite all my bitching about how much it took out of me, I hope to do again someday. Anyway, I make these covers in a fairly unconventional style, I think.. for example “pencils” never happen with me. I can’t remember the last time I used one. Here’s a breakdown of how the cover for DMZ #14 came to be:
1. This is the sketch I emailed in to my editor Will Dennis. This was done pretty quickly in Photoshop with my wacom and a couple photos. I’ll often use photos, generally my own, to indicate what I’ll eventually draw by hand. As far as my cover sketches go, this one is pretty loose. Most of the time I have such a clear idea in my head of what I want, and since I make these digitally, I’ll just go ahead and start what ends up being the final, working at 600 dpi. Saves a lot of time. The “sketch” I did for Global Frequency #1 was, essentially, the final cover. Anyway, this sketch was approved and I was given the go ahead.
November 9th, 2007
Author Brian Wood
H, I’m Brian Wood. I started my week of guest-blogging last week from Lucca, Italy, which was a weird way to start. I was in a fantastic mood, but I was posting from the hotel at 3am after something like 19 hours of being up and on the go. Plus I was drunk. So I wasn’t as focused or as organized as I probably should have been. I make no apologies, though, because I had the best excuse in the world. So here is a round-up of some various topics and updates, and I make no claims to the focus and organization of this column either.
As I said, Lucca was really something else. I have a greater appreciation for comics, and I came back with a drive to improve my craft like never before in my life. I was sitting at these portfolio reviews every day, and these artists would come in and blow my mind, one by one. How do you review or advise an artist who drops a stack of hardcovers in front of you and says these are his most recent half dozen books for the French and Italian markets. My translator would lean in and whisper “this next guy is really famous.” The work was perfect. Literally. I had nothing else to say. I needed to learn Italian for “your work? It’s perfect.” I WANTED to tell him to forget about America, forget about working for DC Comics. How bad could he really need it? What, illustrating a book by Jodorowsky is less preferable than a random fill-in on some DCU book? Shit, I’d trade places with him in a SECOND. We should all be so lucky.
November 3rd, 2007
Author Brian Wood
Just rolled into my hotel room, again at 3am-ish, just coming from the BD party… Edizioni BD being the Italian language publisher of SUPERMARKET. It was your standard bar-at-the-SDCC-Hyatt affair (albeit in the shadow, literally, of a 500 year-old cathedral), but I got to chat briefly with Gipi. Which is one of those things that you repeat to yourself in your head while it’s happening, because… is it really happening? Yes. Gipi. (I also had dinner and drinks with, among others, Massimo Carnevale aka God Of Comics Covers, but the impact of that is slightly less than with Gipi since Massimo and I know each other already). Also, I participated in a panel discussion on “reality in comics” with, among others, Bryan Talbot.
I was talking to a friend earlier today and made a joke about how maybe my career in Italy is going better than in America. I have four new books out in Italian, was an invited guest of Lucca Con, won an (Eisner-equivalent) award, seem well-liked by the professional community and my book DMZ is being exhibited. It was a joke and a pat on my own back, obviously, but I did spend some time thinking about the practical matters of moving to Lucca or Firenze, if only for a year. No where else on planet earth have I felt so welcomed, inspired, and moved by other human beings. Ciao bella Italia!
Every day for two hours I review portfolios, which is an editor’s job, but I am the closest person in Lucca to a representative of DC Comics, so the honor falls to me. It’s an odd two hours, working with a translator and trying to figure out how I give advice to these incredibly skilled artists who have half a dozen published albums in France who want to “break in” at DC. Talking to them is much more of an education for me than for them, I’m pretty positive.
I feel energized. I feel positive. This trip is the perfect balm to the last several weeks of horrible deadlines, endless (and pointless) online conversations/arguments about Vertigo sales numbers, stresses related to launching a new series, etc. Here there is no bullshit that I can see, no snark, no bad vibes, no rivalries. I come back to my hotel and my email with some work crap to solve that would have seen me, two weeks ago, having panic attacks but now I want to sit down and make it all work. Good vibes, man, can you dig it? I sure can…..
Two days left. I need to get up early tomorrow to have a couple hours to play tourist and walk the walls and take pics and buy gifts for my wife and daughter. Driving to Lucca on Wednesday with Riccardo, we passed some ancient Roman aqueducts, and I desperately wanted to stop and look. It may be the researcher in me talking, but the idea of 2200-year -old technology, amazing for its time (these works ran for kilometers and kilometers and the amount of incline, from its end point to its start, is in some cases only a couple of centimeters – think about that), and its something I can run my hands over, is very compelling. These churches in Lucca and Firenze have tombs with gravestones embedded in the floors, well worn from centuries of people walking over them, and I want to kneel and place my palms on the marble and think about the past.
November 1st, 2007
Author Brian Wood
It’s 3:21am and Riccardo (Burchielli, my DMZ artist), Cinzia, and I just rolled into the Hotel Napoleon Lucca after a full day and night out in Lucca. As you can see above, tonight Demo won the Grand Jury Best Short Story Award (for “Emmy”) and Riccardo won Best Artist. I plan on posting something proper about the Lucca con, complete with photos and a full write-up, but since its only been one day so far maybe I’ll write an extra report tomorrow.
I will just say that to say this is the best convention I could have imagined is an understatement. Lucca is a medieval walled city and the convention is literally everywhere – tents are set up in every main street, in every piazza, and in beautiful ancient churches and you stroll around as you please. It’s the most beautiful location ever, and combined with the European outlook on the art of comics and an espresso bar every 50 meters, I never want to leave. Even the worst of the cosplay feels elegant. 25,000 people visited the con today, and they are hoping for a total for the 4 days of over 100k. Lucca is the largest European con next to Angoulême.
Congrats to Becky and Riccardo on the wins. If you feel like poking around on my Flickr, there are pics from my stays in Firenze, Riccardo’s house in the country, and Lucca.
(And to Eric in the comments, I’ve had more than my share of cracks at titles like you suggest, and I am not opposed to taking on work like that in theory, but I’ve been turning it all down because it hasn’t felt right yet. I don’t want to write a company book just for the sake of it.. I don’t think it would be any good unless my heart was in it.)
Bye for now from Lucca, Italy.