Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What's that smell?

It's a new semester abornin', teens! That means this first blog entry is filled with long lists and boilerplate, rather than my usual oh-so-stimulating and brief musings about drawing and the comics biz.

I do this blog for two main reasons:
* Providing ILL193 students a place to access information and images relevant to class
* Providing myself a forum (and you, if you care to respond) to air ideas and reactions to things going on in our field. In this, I have the help of our department head, Chuck Pyle, who sends me all manner of interesting links.

Feel free to check out past entries.

Now, however...

Link to Statement of Class Policies and Philosophy (Please read)

WEEK 1-- Policies, Materials List, Assignment and Supplemental Art!

Updated Supply list

* Pencils, of your preferred hardnesses. ALWAYS bring to class.
* Sanford Col-erase Blue or Light Blue Pencils. ALWAYS bring to class.
* Strathmore 400 or 500 Series or Utrecht 14" x 17" bristol board, smooth finish. (Trim down to 11" x 17")
* Kneaded and Pink Pearl or synthetic erasers (e.g., Staedtler-Mars White). ALWAYS bring to class.
* 30/60/90 triangle--the bigger the better. Look for one with a raised straightedge for inking
* Raphael 8404 Series Kolinsky sable brush, size #2 or #3 or #4 , (or the less expensive Escoda 1212 series, size #2 or #3 or #4) available at Pearl Paint and Jerry's Artarama. OR, alternatively, an excellent brush pen: Brush pens can be found at the Kinokuniya Stationery Store , 1581 Webster, Japantown, on the 38 Geary bus line.
* Pen nibs and holders (I'd suggest Hunt 102 and an assortment of others. I really like the Deleter nibs and holders from Japan. They are sometimes available at the Kinokuniya BOOKSTORE in Japantown, but they are a bit difficult to find because a lot of their clerks don't know they carry them. Deleter makes its own excellent holder that fits both styles of Deleter nibs, but their nibs seems to fit fine in traditional holders too.)
* Pelikan Waterproof or Speedball Super Black India Ink (Higgins Black Magic is a passable second choice.)
* Pentel Presto or Pro White or Dr. Martin's Bleedproof White or Pilot Correction pen or other correction pen
* Micron Pigma black pigment liners, sizes 03, 05 and 08, two of each
* drafting tape or dots

Optional, recommended, and ultimately indispensible:
Drawing board with parallel rule or T-square; stick-style or pencil-style eraser; architecture-style lead holder, leads and special sharpener; sanding paddle for making chisel points on pencils; electric eraser (for erasing ink); French curve, flexible curves, ellipse templates; compass; 2H or 3H pencil (or lead and lead holder) for doing side-of-the-pencil shading and fills of black areas; a 6" metal ruler for ruling backgrounds; light box, tone screens.

Carrying a sketchbook is a good idea.

Always bring blue pencil, black pencil, erasers, paper (such as a sketchbook and a ruler or triangle to class!

In-class assignment: two panels with figures, in perspective

Homework Assignment#1:

Due 6 February.
Do 6 thumbnails and layouts for the attached 3-pp. script. Thumbnails (two alternate versions for each pages) can be tiny doodles. Choose the better thumbnails to develop into layouts, one for each page of script. Layouts should be 10"x 15" (original art size) on tracing paper or other paper. Pencil is fine, ink only if you want to. Examples of layouts are provided here.

You decide where in the action to put the panel breaks, that is, how much story you can tell in each panel and how many panels to have.


The Setting: Interior, a diner in a city in the American Southwest, just before sunset.

The Characters:
Vegas --Ruggedly handsome guy, about 34, with beard stubble, long sideburns and shaggy medium-length brown hair. He's wearing a dirty overcoat and looks like he might be homeless. He is subject to vivid but fleeting visions and has a paranormal power: He can create sudden good luck for himself, but it's always at the cost of bad luck for someone innocent nearby.

Charlene -- Waitress at the diner

The Padre --A skinny old white man in a tattered dark, western-style duster or long coat. He has a wild, insane look in his eye and carries an old revolver similar to the ones Clint Eastwood had in The Outlaw Josie Wales. He has long hair and a beard, as if he'd been wandering in the desert for years. He is an arsonist -- and mysteriously immune to the physical effects of fire.

p. 1
In close-up, Vegas is startled out of his thoughts (a flashback shown on the preceding page) by feeling the Padre's gun barrel on the back of his head.

Pull back to reveal that Vegas is seated at the counter. Panicked diners flee. (Any exterior shots of the diner should feature an empty police car.)

There follows a couple panels' worth of exposition by the Padre here. He's talking about how unhappy he is that Vegas survived a fire earlier in the story, and that he has been following Vegas. Someone named "The King" has no further use for Vegas, the Padre says.

In an extreme close-up (of his hand), Padre cocks the revolver, by using his thumb to pull the hammer back.

Vegas uses his power as the trigger is pulled and the gun explodes in the Padre's hand. Vegas ducks in that instant.

But the zero-sum game nature of his power takes its toll: Behind the counter, Charlene falls back, wide-eyed and panicked, shot in the chest.

p. 2
Again Padre's thumb is on the hammer of the intact gun. (We realize that the foregoing violence was just a passing vision of Vegas'.)

As the unhurt Charlene stands frozen and almost cowering behind the counter, The Padre still has the gun to Vegas's skull. The diner is now empty except for these three, with cups and food wrappers scattered . Vegas' hands are up and he says gravely, "I deserved to burn in that fire. I still do."

The Padre looks shocked and inspired by this. He lowers the gun a bit and eases the hammer forward, saying "amen to that." Vegas' words of contrition have bought him a little time. (The Padre discards the idea of executing him on the spot, but we don't know what he's up to yet.) His hands still held up, with great sadness in his eyes, Vegas quickly says "sorry" to Charlene. She asks what for.

He starts to say "For whatever happens to you" (because of the use of his power), but The Padre cracks him on the head with the butt of the pistol.

Some minutes or hours later, Vegas' consciousness returns from blackness. We see him in extreme close-up, looking very bleary and disoriented. Basically face down on the car seat, he has bled from his nose and mouth.

He discovers he is handcuffed to a rail in the caged-in back seat of a cop car, driven by the Padre.

The cop car zooms across the nighttime desert, on a dirt road, past rock formations and some of those oil wells with the see-sawing pumps on them.

The Padre has a lit cigarette lighter in his hand "God has given you a fine day, Vegas..."

To Vegas' alarm, Padre throws the lighter onto the front passenger seat, where it instantly spreads. "A fine day to die!" (The Padre himself cannot be harmed by fire, and tosses the lighter casually)

For this week, just thumbnails (two per page) and layouts, for all three pages.

MORE-- examples of page layouts to clarify the concept and maybe inspire!

NEXT WEEK: Review of key concepts, deciding what to do pitch on.

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