Wow! My last blog post was back in January of this year, SIX months ago! I feel bad about that to some extent. As a younger person I remember when blogs were the place to go for information and updates from your favorite creators, now it seems to be all social media. Have blogs all waned away like mine it seems? Well, big question I suppose, let's take a look at this new image I made!
You're probably all familiar with my comic Joe Death, I just finished drawing the second issue and wanted to ease into coloring it by making a one-off single illustration. It's also a chance for me to unwind and do something for "fun" in the larger world of Joe Death regardless of whether or not it fits in with the specific story I'm telling in the comics currently. While this character, what the heck, lets call him Tom, doesn't show up in the first five issues I've planned this type of image is aspirational, almost like concept art. If, like me, you're a fan of Ralph Mcquarrie you'll notice that his design work for the early Star Wars movies is basically showcased in many large illustrations. Instead of just leaving the costume, spaceship and landscape designs on loose vellum pages he integrated them all into finished paintings. There may be a better name for this type of approach when creating a visual world but I like to call it Aspirational Illustrations. They are suggestive, exciting, emotion filled images. Still with me? Let me try to explain the creation of this one.
In addition to loving Mcquarrie's work I'm a huge Dr. Suess fan. His visual language and silliness has always been in the mix of inspiration for Joe Death. A print of this rather obscure and nefarious Suess cat has been hanging on my wall for some time now, I love him. He's a character and a story unto himself. With a little tweaking I think he would sit just right in the world of Joe Death.
I picture him as something of a counterpart to Joe, a lawman of some kind but more street, more city cop. Disheveled demeanor, crumpled clothing, a tramp, completely lovable. One of my favorite parts is the frayed left side of his mustache while the other side remains a bit more composed.
After settling in on a design I thought about the relationship between Tom and Joe. Was it businesslike? Cordial? Competitive? Comradely? It could've been any of these, and maybe all of these have been used to describe their past relationship but in this moment they're old friends sharing a private oasis in the midst of ruins, sand, and stars. Looking at my thumbnails now they all look extremely similar, though at the time I know I was trying something different with each iteration, mainly with the skyline and background.
This is the final tight sketch before the final drawing, I'm also working out the placement of Blue and the exact face and expression of Joe. And lastly, a value study. A part of me will always see Joe Death as a black and white comic but after seeing those bright blues and cozy yellows I'm excited to press on with color.
And lastly (for real this time) if you'd like to know more about Joe Death or even consider supporting it please check out my Patreon by clicking HERE.