As I begin the fourth issue of "Johnny Space Commander!" , I thought I would post some of the pages as I worked on them to let people in on my process. Below is page one of issue 4, I haven't decided on a title yet.
The first image is just an inked page. Simple enough. I draw with pencil then ink with Sharpie marker. The image is then scanned and cleaned up, extended lines get erased, stuff like that.
After scanning, (I have to stitch the two or three pieces together) I create 3 layers to work with. To do that I have to get rid of the solid white areas, that can a real pain, so I can add color behind the inks. Sometimes I'll forget a mouth or an eye and have to go back to paste it on top. After that is done I can start laying in the backgrounds. I have a folder full of watercolor backgrounds that I have painted and scanned. The page now looks like I have done some kind of wash over the whole thing.

Now I can start to use the paint bucket to lay in big solid areas, shirts, pants, skin color, things like that. Finally I use my stylus to add some simple shadows and darken in areas to give the characters some form. I'm not painting the Mona Lisa here, so I really keep it simple. The KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid!) works just as well here as it does in the other parts of my life.
The last part is lettering. That means that I actually have to write the script now I suppose. Up until now I've been drawing from a basic page by page outline. Totally the MARVEL method, as performed by a normal guy like me on the weekends and after work, in between kids, taking the dogs out, running errands and basically living my life. 




I am going to start showing off pages of my sketchbook. When I say sketchbook, what I mean is the myriad scribbles and sketches done on random pieces of paper laying willy nilly about my home and car. I have no "sketchbook" as in a book or pad of paper to keep my ideas organized. I am not that person.
I tend to draw a lot of ideas, on pretty much anything I can get my hands on, and I manage to lose more than I keep and use. This is one I managed to hang on to. It is a collection of space pirate sketches from the latest issue, "The Villainous Space Pirates of Phobos!"
You can see the ideas I had drawn for Johnny and Dick's undercover outfits, as well as a design for an abandoned plot line with Dick working in the ships mess hall. It was really funny, and I am sure it will show up later, but I just ran out of room in the story.



Time for the family and I to get out and do a little yard work in the beautiful fall weather. I have gone ahead and designated a shrub for each family member to work on.



     About a year ago, I told my wife I needed to do something. I went downstairs and started drawing "Johnny Space Commander and Dick Droid!". I had no idea what I was doing, but I had to get this thing out of my head. The thing that had been in there for so many years, formless, aimless, but there none the less. I had drawn a comic strip for many years. That was different. This was a book length story, could I do that? A comic strip is like telling a joke. Panel, panel, gag. This had to have a story. A real story. Beginning , middle and end. It had to make sense, more or less. And it had to be colored, and words had to be written legibly over at least 25 pages. Lots and lots of words! I have no patience for that.
     I had to see if I could do this. 
     Four pages. I'll draw and write four pages. Like a movie preview, an old fashioned serial. No problem.

Once I started It came pouring out of me. Pencils done. Ink it. Sharpie pen all the way, I have no patience for using a brush on this tiny scale.  I have been a watercolor artist for a good 20 years, so my idea was to color the thing right over the top of my drawings. Each page I looked at as an artwork by itself. This seemed to be going well, I couldn't stop. 
Robots, Aliens and Romance! Regurgitating festering years of MAD magazine and comic book addiction into some type of ridiculous mess on paper.
Action and Romance! Sort of. The kind of romance found in the Ian Fleming names I applied to the characters.
I needed to show our star doing what he does. Some kind of action set piece. 

And of course I couldn't forget the robot sidekick!

The whole thing ended with a fart joke. Classy right? 
    I was so excited! It looked great, a little primitive compared to later work on the book (Look at those hand drawn and lettered word balloons!), but at the time fantastic! And it was so easy, like I  had finally started doing what I should have been doing all along! 

To be continued....