The NYCC walkthrough

I had to take a couple of runs through the famed Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan and I was kind of miffed because some family members who wanted to be there couldn’t for various and UNDERSTANDABLE reasons.
 
 So I used the power of the iPhone 5 to record the entrez-vous process getting into the con… Which according to Alan Harper on Two and a half Men means “enter you.”
 
 Yeah. He’s a dope.
 
 So I recorded Thursday and Saturday of the Con to show the difference in the limits of mass capacity in fire codes.
 
 And the occasional celebs and unintentional butt shots.
 
 I tell you this, girl dressing up in cosplay are a world different than they were in the nineties.
 
 And thank God for THAT. πŸ™‚
 

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Location:Manhattan

VALIANT NEWS: A time for ETERNAL KICKING

I’ve been kind of bouncing around for awhile. Doing some great projects here and there and I don’t really see that stopping soon. Many people have asked me about my cosmic meanderings from working on Green Lantern Corps to Smallville (where I got to set the designs for the Smallville Batman and NightWing …. And boy did fanboys become annoying about the NightWing thing…lol) to Valiant’s BLOODSHOT#0 to drawing Katana for DC’s Villain month as well as pencilling and inking most of Katana issue 9.
During that time,I had been pretty split in my focus because the main thing was accomplishing my dream of finally not just owing my own transmedia company, but finally getting it it’s own website…a place to finally have a home for housing some IP’s I’ve been putting together since I was 17.
And now that is finally accomplished. More on that on my next blog.
I have been in talks with Valiant and I’m looking to settle in a bit. As long as Valiant will throw work at me, I’ll keep slinging the art. They have a great scheduling system, and great characters…. ingredients to make a great cake, let me tell you. I will finally get time to do the work I’ve wanted to do, and not the type of work where I have to rush and hurt my work (and potentially myself) to make crazy deadlines. I think I’ve come to the point where although I can’t say it won’t happen again, I’m getting too old to be doing these all-nighters and working all day, everyday, and weekends.

I have to be smarter nowadays.

I need to love myself more.

There’s great things that are in the works that will be primed to explode if I plan everything right and I really take care of myself.

So these will be the next following years of ME.

I’ve been back logged a bit so I have a ton to blog about. So I hope you’ll stick around while I plot to make some history. πŸ™‚

I will be working on some Archer and Armstrong for Valiant. And I’m sure they have bigger things planned for me and I’ll post those plans and art when it’s primed to go. Stick around, guys. !!

Now pardon me while I lay down a bit…;)

Cross

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Helping out the Superboy

In the newest issue of Superboy,(#20), I got to help out the editor by doing the last five pages. It was again as crazy a schedule as one could have and I had to throw in 1/4 ChrisCross, and 3/4 rush job. But I never got to draw Superboy in any version in my life…. So you know when asked, I had to jump on it. And also you can see I aided and abetted Superboy’s BEATDOWN.

Hey, He wins in the end.

Don’t worry. πŸ™‚

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WHAT WE CROSS’s HAVE TO BEAR

As an artist, you have to see things in the ether, then explain it on paper or some other medium to get your point across. Me, I use continuity format in verbal and graphic form….
Nick CROSS uses animation. It’s obvious to me what he’s saying without saying it….
…. And it equals and sums up to “no matter what you try to do, it’s the same crap every day. It makes the world go ’round.”

But it does make you think about what you’re into and how you contribute. It’s an animation called PERIHELION.
Now…. You’ll either think that Nick Cross is nuts because of weed addiction….

…. Or that he has the balls to “say” things no one will say.

He was working on a film named Black Sunrise. And if he stopped doing that to create something like this, it was something that kept him up nights until he got it out of his system.

Now…. See what Crosses like us wrought.

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WHAT FANS CAN DO

I was first blown away with what a fanbase can do when I saw the fan film of a guy who wanted to redo the opening film intro to BladeRunner. It was cool. Very moody. Very Artsy. And it fit. But would never be used. And I’m sure that was cool with him/her. But it begs the thought that if you don’t like what you see, or you dream of something funkier than what exists already, isn’t it cool that with computer applications and social networking principles, you can accomplish that and show everyone?
Hey, you never know whose watching, right?

I was linked to this cool as heck animation from a studio called Blackmeal. And I guess they thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we came up with a funky intro to the Marvel block on the Disney XD channel?”

It’s really something to see. Simple but very action-oriented.

I hope Disney looks at it.

Check it out!

BLACKMEAL – MARVEL from BlackMeal on Vimeo.

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The GREEN LANTERN CORPS TOUR OF DUTY

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To say that doing this issue was a cakewalk would be the lie of the century considering the time allotted to complete it. With Hurricane Sandy, that hybrid storm had pretty much shut everyone down. I was coming home from a much needed vacation and the lights and power had just come on as I literally walked in the door of my apartment.
Poor Peter Tomasi hadn’t had any power until a couple of days later.
And time was dwindling in which to make the deadline that was set to get this annual out.
But when the script started to file in, it was all about getting the talented Scott Hanna and Marlo Alquiza to get the inking done… And they did great work considering the time we had to get it done. I’m pretty sure that Wil Moss, the editor, has had an excuse to use Just For Men after that process. Me, I just shaved my head bald. :)Peter Tomasi, I feel, is doing something with GLC that separates this book from the other Green Lantern books. It’s oviphagy translate as space opera. It’s cinematic and prolific. It’s a movie in every book. And it shows in the current work that artist Fernando Basarin accomplishes in every page.
So I had to step up my game a bit. But there’s only so much one can do when time is limited. (Mind you,this is me never being satisfied. πŸ™‚ )
With the inkers doing their thing, the glue that made this book really pull was Wil Quintana. His pastel hued palette reminds me of watching the really cool anime of the past. Like watching Mighty Orbots. And it would work like gangbusters over the work I was producing on this book.
I’m still apologizing to him for the extra double-splash page I did on top of the myriad of other double-splashes in this book. He had to color both and then sandwich them together.
There were a ton of double-splash sequences in this book that I’m about to post with this entry and I just thought it would be great for you guys to look at the work unencumbered by lettering, so you can get the idea of the breadth of work that went into getting the book done.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did doing it. Even if Peter Tomasi is a madman. And Fernando. πŸ™‚

THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL PREVIEW

Buzz Comics, a popular Francophile forum and website for geeks everywhere has just posted the preview for TheGreen Lantern Corps Annual that was hard to do but fun to read.

http://www.buzzcomics.net/showpost.php?p=1347523&postcount=4

The GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL COVER: THE PROCESS

  Without my scatterbrain behavior totally taking over, i did say i would post the latter of the sketches that i did in creating the concept for NIghtwing and show my sketchy versions of the Batmobile.  I don’t have time to do that today… and it’s been awhile since ive posted any real art. 

I decided that i would go the “process” route, first.  A ton of people may want to know what it’s like to get into the comic business. It’s a weird time. Things are going digital and a lot of people are trying to find out how they fit in or how they can fit in.  So they’re creating their own ways to put themselves out there. It’s literally the Gold Rush in th new frontier minus the horses, cowboy hats, chaps… then again, this IS the comic crowd… πŸ˜€  and bad teeth.   

That all may be another discussion. But what if you want to know what the process is being in it already?  It’s not an easy job.  You’re designing on the fly, you have crazy deadlines and you sit a lot. You have to make it a purpose to get away from the table as much as you can and still get your deadlines done.    You’re in the zone and then you get an email or a call.  It’s your new potential editor.  He/ She wants you to do a cover and then the interiors of a book that needs to be out soon.  SO what’s the process?

 ONE: They tell you what they want.  They give you a summary of what is needed on the cover to sell the book. Something snazzy. Something that will pop off the shelf.  Something that will make them not regret calling you in the first place. And then, if you’re an older artist, and been in the mix for awhile, let them know you haven’t lost a step. Maybe even picked up a new step or two in your journeys.  Time to show them off.  The editor gives your reference, and sometimes a tiny sketch of a stick figure of an idea to get you jumping off.

TWO:  You do a quickie sketch.. a series of thumbnails that will give them something to imagine.  In my case, it’s the Green Lantern Annual cover.  I did come up with one or two, but lucky me, they liked the version i did the first time.   Went for dynamic and looked for areas to draw your eyes and still give a ton for the colorist to do.

Understand: colorist or COLOR PAINTERS nowadays are very proficient in what they do. Talk to your colorist. Love your colorist. Send them flowers… Dom Perignon, cheesecake. This breed of artist will make you or break you. Especially if you’re inking yourself.  You have a plan, you’d better let them in on it and leave them alone.  You tick them off and they’ll lick all over your paper and still get paid LAUGHING. πŸ˜€  

THREE: Send in the thumbnail and wait for approval.  In the meantime, go wash some clothes, cook something, stretch, go the the gym or love your partner because it can take from 5 minutes to a day to get an answer back and you’re going to need some time to yourself.   WHen the email comes in to GO FOR IT, you’ll have a limited amount of time to get it done.  SO…

FOUR: MY PROCESS: i draw the accepted thumbnail and flesh out the cover in blue pencil. It’s the necessary process that i love but inkers hate.  Nothing ticks them off more than having to erase blue waxy material off after they’ve done fine inking. I solved that in later steps.  After i blue it on the paper, i go back in and hit it with the 2H. All the linework, all the line thin to thicknesses, all the shadowing  goes into this stage. And since i’m inking i don’t care what i do, i can always fix it in Photoshop.  So that’s done. Only indications are made to create sfx. Like trees or leaves or ground textures, or energy burst or whatever.  That will either be posted on the page in Photoshop after i pencil or after i ink. It all decides on what i need to do.

FIVE: SCANNING. Every artist in the industry by now should have a scanner. If you don’t, you should be flogged with a wet towel. It saves on redoing things, it’s easier for the wallet… keeping you away from FedEx, USPS or any other courier, and once on your desktop, you can import the image into any application as long as you know what you want and what you’re doing.

Me, the image goes into Photoshop.  I darken the image and use the paths to use controls in the appy that will help me get rid of the excess blue lines. I usually hit the level controls, and hit the graytone slider and play with it until i get the darkness ‘i’m looking for. It’s important because once i turn it into blue line, everything has to be there.  I then go the Saturation slider and pull it way over to the max turning the blue pencil areas into glowing blue oversaturated color and then slide the Hue bar until i turn it yellow. Once it’s a light color, it’s easy to pick out the color without worring about what’s going to show once you go blueline.  

Only hit the brightest colors that muck up the page. Never the darkest. unless you know what you’re doing.  Trust me. It’s a hassle to have to touch up and refix any lines that you render away once you to that.  Go to the Adjustment path and find the Replace Color Path and use the dropper to snag the color you wish to lighten.  there’s a percentage slider at the bottom. 87% is the best. 

Why? Cuz i said so.  And i’ve done it for years. IT’s the number that pays to play.

Then hit the okay button and watch the magic.  Just keep playing around with it until you get the most of the color you don’t need without totally washing away your linework. It’s a thing you have to practice.

Once done…

SIX: BLUE LINE…. By this time, you’ve cleaned up your work and hit it back to grayscale.  And then RGB. Yes. RGB.  WHY?  cuz i say so. Hey, it’s my technique. Stop arguing.

Now by this time, i’m rummaging through a ton of images i’ve altered and collected and created from scratch. Rain, clouds, Trees and building backgrounds( For when i really need to step up the pace…. far away shots to add to already drawn scenes—inkers really thank me for that)  Whatever i need to do to make it look really visual without it looking like the computer took it over. I have NO problem using computer images in my work. NONE.  It’s all tools, people.

Don’t let anyone tell you different. If i must use my Mom’s Bostonian accent, “Wuhk Smahdduh, Naht Hahdduh!”

Whatever amount of layers it takes to make that happen.. like in the images below, i created a storm in the space firmament and put some cool burst effects on top of it and popped that “screen” mode to really marry the images.  Then it was a bunch of carving out the images around the drawn figures, but when it was done… over the blue lines, i collapsed it and printed it out on legal 11×17 art board with DC guides in blueline and black and white sfx.

DC guides?

Oh yeah, i scanned those too. Just in case of emergencies and i need to use my own paper. 

Oh yeah, DC gives you free paper. Marvel does too. In fact, any comic publication sends paper along with the script and vouchers. Keep that in your head for when you get in, mate.

SEVEN: INK THE PAGE.  I used severl diffent tools but my mainstay is permanent ink marker pens like Microns ( http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival)  brushpens. Anything that keeps me from having to dip that brush in more liquid ink. Sheesh that stuff gets messy.  I move with the times.   I tried using crowquills and those things never responded well for me and as patient as i am, i’d rather eat doodoo pie than try to  make those things work.  I always snapped the points on that thing no matter how gently i used them. Ugh.

EIGHT: After i ink the page to my liking, i scan it one last time… now prepping to set them into two files after i clean theim up with the same technique i used to do the pencils… only easier.

One Is the massive TIFF file, which is usually shot at 400dpi. I’ve sometimes had to set it a 300 dpi for DC and sometimes 600 dpi.   Any bigger than that and you’d might as well be drawing on the Empire State Building.  After i save the TIFF file, i then reduce the image to 70-100 dpi and turn it into a jpeg.  Both pages are either sent by email, if it can fit or i use Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) to link editors to those folders after i put the images there.

It’s a great tool to use.

And you send the vouchers off and wait to get paid, Jack. 

 

BOOM.

 

Then the colors by Gabe Eltaeb!  

Bonus material, by the way.

 

Yeah, this was kind of long, but if you persevere through the forest, you learned something, right?

GOOD.

 

SO … if you still don’t get a thing i just said, pictures are worth a thousand words.  And i got progression pics here that should speak-a-plentay.  If you don’t know by now, you will never ever know…oo-oo-ooh..

 

okay, that was just dumb. But you get the idea. 

Next posting will be the rest of the images of ths Smallville: Detective concept work. 

 

 

And stop laughing. 

 

I hear you.

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BLEEDING COOL’S Eric Esquivel interviews CHRISCROSS about Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Smallville:Detective and things Milestone

    It was great doing the type of interview that i did with Eric Esquivel technique-wise. And he’s a spirited lad. πŸ˜€  You can tell in the questions he asks.  He likes to stir that pot. I’m good with that.

No beating around the bush, no sidestepping, no half-stepping either.

   If i could only do more interviews where i’m getting the questions by email that allows me to continue to answer as if we’re actually talking back and forth like this one….. instead of the same “here’s my question, fill in the blank” response, my interviews would be more organic.

 

    One thing is for sure, after the interview, it got me thinking about where Milestone Media would be if it was allowed to fully realize it’s dreams. What kind of company would it be if it were to break away from DC to become it’s own entity?  Would it be the next Dark Horse? Image?  Would it be connected to movie houses and production companies?  How would the characters be regarded?  How would the populace respond to an exclusively independent African American owned company?  How would the owners have evolved?  Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis (my apologies for almost forgetting to type you here, Mike)… What kind of leaders would they be if the roof off of Milestone had just exploded and the world of transmedia were at their fingertips?

 

IT was a great ride when it was forefront in the comic world’s eye.  And they changed the industry. I can only hope that when it’s my time to shine, i’m able to carve my part in this slab.

 

That being said, Eric posed some focused views on questioning culture in comics and if what was being done was enough.  

Go.

Read what i said.

Even the goofy parts. πŸ˜€

 

Oh yeah. i just caught a wave.  I really miss Dwayne.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/11/25/talking-with-chriscross-about-the-disa…

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PALMIOTTI INTERVIEWS ART THIBERT AND CHRISCROSS…INDEPENDANT ROAD PODCAST

  This is probably the second podcast i’ve been interviewed on about me and my work through the years. My boy, Vito, is more the expert in doing the podcast thing. I need to get into it more.  I really decided that in the last couple of weeks that people really need to see me. Me. DIVA-CROSS.

Peter Palmiotti does  a podcast called INDEPENDENT ROAD.  He’s a freelancer himself so he understands the rigamarole.  What’s funny is that Art Thibert…. T-Bear for those still calling him THIGHBERT… is just having this quiet conversation with Peter and then here i come..

“HELLO?  HUH-HELLO?  IS ANYONE THERE?!!” 

ALL loud and ghetto… πŸ˜€

But it’s funny and had me laughing like this bumbling dude that just burst in the door like Kramer in Seinfeld.

The only thing i didn’t ask was “who saw that turnip slide into the elevator??” and spaz so much my afro… if i had one… would shake like a fern tree in an earthquake.

 

annywayyy…

So, Art (Thibert) was great and so was  Peter.. the next Charle Rose…

and i got to finally talk to a great inker like Art , whose work i’ve collected way before i got into comics.

 

So listen in, and enjoy.

 

i called T-Bear STINKY.  heheh…..

T-Bear cuz its not ThighBert. 

oh.

 I said that already.

Just listen.