Archive | September 2015

The Red Solstice – Inking step by step

This is part of Page 04 of the free webcomic you can find here:

Original Pencils by Rocco Rabar-Krce:

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First: when I saw the panel, I saw this on my mind (Pencils by great Marc Silvestri):

 Marc is sick, probably one of top 5 pencilers in american mainstream comics, that’s for sure. However I wanted to keep the feeling BUT not having the reference on screen but in my mind. So this step by step was to show myself if I was close to the original idea or not.

Step 1:  
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I inked with the Frenden’s Inker – Manga Studio 4 Organic Brush 2 the characters focusing on spots and blacks instead of shapes and outlines.

Look at the faces and see that I didn’t outlined almost anything.

Step 2: 

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Then I created the machinery surrounding it, in a different layer, of course. The main focus was to bring the chrome and metallic vibe to it against the tubular transparent glass with slightly inner watery turmoil. I kept the same brushes except the white lines on the gas, which was made with also Frenden’s Dry Brush Inker Darker 2. The whole machinery above was outlined almost with no volume since the main focus was the characters.

Step 3:

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Adding some blacks. You see that what’s popping up and then what to enhance with effects.

Step 5:

 

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Finally: The script suggested dusty, abandoned and and spooky environment. For that, I used several Manga Studio Brushes: For instance I mixed black and white Blurred spray 2 Airbrush. Inside the glass tanks to increase the feeling of the turmoiled environment I added a pick of black  Droplet Airbush. I enhanced the sensation of volume with dry brush around one section of every connecting tube above the glass tank.

On the top of the panel I created a line Cross-hatching (for tone scraping) 2 decoration effect so the panel could be faded to black.

And here’s the final lettered version (also done by yours truly): 😉

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so, well… I hope that you liked this. Remember the book is for free theredsolstice.com/…/TheRedSolsticeIssue01.pdf:

Bests

CDC

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Different inking tools: Digital inking.

Part Three of the Different Inking Tools series. You can read the previous two here:

Part 1 – Nibs, quills, brushes

Part 2 – Inks and paper

I have been with some internal struggle. The old “why do you ink?”

Pencilers, pencils, right?

Inkers used to ink using traditional tools. That lead to a piece of art to maintain, or show on portfolios or even sell as originals for the collectors. Today I am not at the stage of selling originals, since, well… my comics are not that known.

But, at this day and age, comics are mostly digitally produced. Penciling, inking and coloring are made mostly on computer softwares, leading to reduce to one medium the whole process. Only some artists still relies on inkers. I am a huge fan of those artists that still works on traditional styles (Shawn Crystal, Sean Gordon Murphy, Zack Howard, Matteo Scalera…)

– So, Softwares helps to develop a full product, a full page.

– Then, the inker is either not needed, or needs to improve his skills to the digital media. I am an inker, I can not lay down and die. Still there are plenty of good inkers out there, Some inkers today also inks digitally. Jonathan Glapion, Daniel Henriques and some other artists uses their Wacom Cintiq Companion and deliver pages inked digitally.

– At my current artistic stage, still there are some pencilers that does not like to ink / have the time / have the confidence to ink themselves. I have found several people that fits into the first group: Artists that does not like their own inks. My offer to them is to give a proper service of quality, trust and confidence towards their work. I don’t accomplish that always, but still is a progression to make.

So, this internal struggle ends with Scott McCould words:

“Digital comics and digital comic art are still drawings”.

So, as a conclusion theory:

– Since I know some pencilers who still needs inkers and I work digitally for them.

I’ve been digitally inking more and more since 2013, I started inking digitally back in 2012 very often. Then, my first pencil/ink gig, MDS. Then, I decided if I’d have some back end gigs to work in, such as  Starburn, where payment will or will not ending being as close as my basic Page Rate, then I wouldn’t work on a medium that would make me waste money on traditional tools. So, for that I started spreading my inking knowledge and started inking, first using Adobe Photoshop, then with Manga Studio/ Clip Studio Paint.

Tools in use:

First rule is that before you start inking digitally, have some experience drawing with a different medium, which is the digital tablet. Like riding a bicycle the best suggestion is to start from a basic tricycle when you are a child to one with training wheels and then a real bicycle. Basic tools are cheaper, helps you to find your best line and see if this is your thing. Don’t start with a expensive digital screen tablet if you are not sure. My suggestion is start with a cheap Bamboo tablet. Bamboo is the cheaper digital tablet from Wacom and works fine with digital drawing tools. This Wacom Wireless Bamboo Pad Review – YouTube will help you out.

The most difficult thing (at least for me) is to get used to the fact to split the connection hand/eye in two. When you start with a digital tablet, you’ll realize that you draw over a limited space, but your drawing appears on a screen so controlling the small detail, the correct angle of your wrist and the tilt angle of the tablet would take some time to adjust for first-timers. Once you control that connection (and budget) you can upgrade your tool to a bigger tablet. I can’t recommend enough Wacom Intros Pro Tablet.  It’s bigger, more sensitive, it can work wireless and it’s sensitive. The side pad helps you with some program buttons and the small circular sensitive wheel is very useful for rotation and zooming.

For Screen tablets, one of my next posts will be focused on the experience on purchasing my Huion 185 HD tablet. Maybe with a video. XD

Disclaimer: Never, never ever  never and ever think that you would make it inking digitally using a mouse. Reasons are so many, this post would take hours to read.

Ok, let’s see about these tools:

 

Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop is the mot common graphic editor in use. Adobe set of creative softwares are the Holy Grial  for creative people. Talking about them means long hours of debate. this photo editor software is also great for drawings and inking jobs. Photoshop was my first inking software for choice when I started. I inked several small stories and my first published work, Trixie Dynamite. 

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Advantages: I had a long relationship with Photoshop over my industrial Design / Trade Account Manager years. But not for drawing. I was a self taught user, so I guess I couldn’t even understand 15% of the software capabilities. It’s a very intuitive software but still is needed to know the basics. Key shortcuts leaves you almost no need for complexed program mixtures, so leaves most of the work to the art and your craft skills. Take a look at this tutorial to get used to ink in Photoshop.   You can enhance your inking work with great brushes

Disadvantages: First of all, Photoshop is a EXPENSIVE software. Adobe has created a Cloud version for creative people that for a monthly fee you can use the whole Adobe Suite. However, It depends on the user, for me it’s good to use, but not my natural choice. At the time I was inking on Photoshop, brushes were not very crafted and I didn’t like the Wacom Stylus sensitivity  nd the modular line it created. Today brushes are easier to create and to find, so I think it would be as good to use as Manga Studio.

 

– Smith Micro’s Manga Studio / Clip Studio Paint: Once I was invited to work in Starburn, I dedided not to got against the flow and listen to my friend Kóte Carvajal’s suggestion and move to the software almost every artists I know uses, Manga Studio. This software is appointed as the best comic software worldwide. Period.

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Advantages: If you are used to Photoshop it’s almost no effort to move to Manga Studio. Most commands and the screening are exactly the same, but the main focus in not photo editing, but creating comics. It’s heavily cheaper than Adobe Photoshop. You can get the Full Pro edition for 200 USD  and Smith Micro, the software developer, sometimes makes their sales cutting up to 75% its price off. That’s the version I got.

Another advantage: Software page settings. I have set up the USA comic book settings.

Another Advantage: Frenden Manga Studio Brushes are the most life-like digital brushes I have meet up. I can have Hunt Quills, Sumi brushes, Dry ink brushes, Microns. That’s one of the key characteristics of Manga Studio and Frenden makes half the magic. I really ove that set of brushes.

Another Advantage: Material Library: 3D modeler, Color Pattern, Framing Materilas, Effect lines, a whole lot of helpers. Everyone is a world to explain and it has helped me a huge lot to my work.

Disadvantages: Probably it’s my computer (a MacBook Pro) and not the software itself, but sometimes the high resolution files tends to reboot the computer.

So, as everything in life, must gain experience on everything in order to make a wise choice. For me at least is Clip Studio Paint.

Bests CDC

 

 

Finding jobs as an inker for newcomers.

Digital inking WIP - Artist: Dragan Vignjevic, Inks, me. Done using Photoshop.

Digital inking WIP – Artist: Dragan Vignjevic, Inks, me. Done using Photoshop. One of the first digital inking things I did years ago.

I have been asked… well… not many times, but some times… about how to get jobs in comics… I like to reply in a long detailed way to be specific about the subject because I like to give my little knowledge to people that ask for it… just because I didn’t got it all the time when i started.

These are the sad set of truths than no one likes to read:

Aiming high of yourself, but start low:

Well… First of all, get experience. My first paid job was inking 8 pages for a short story for only $5 USD per page. At the time I was obviously worried since my inking costs were just 5 USD per page (Between scanning, printing an 11 x 17″ opaline sheet and the use of materials). However, despite that scenario, I decided to do it digitally as a inking trainee, and most important, to end up having material to show around, and then making profit of it, if there was any. I did the gig on time, I delivered the pages one day before deadline; I did it fine – editor loved the job even thou I did it while I was ill, so it was a great start. I learnt how to ink digitally, and face deadlines while I was in bed.

However, accepting $5 USD per page is a contradiction of making a living out of inking. With that rate you are lowering yourself and it’s a dangerous thing to keep thinking that inking is a quick and easy work that worths $5 per page. Is not good for the business, but I took it because it was MY start in the biz.

It took me from 8 to 10 hours per page. Thinking “I’m 35 and this is not worthy NOW” all the time was excruciating, I must admit. Still I take from 6 to 8 hours per page, but quality has improved, of course… at least I think that. But one thing was almost clear. Having zero experience on the business made me accept this first job to catch the train before it leaves me behind. Start moving myself and ask the first questions.

At the end: I think that having this first deadline with a limited number of pages was helpful.

Day 165 pinup inks

One of the many collaborations with penciler Erik Roman.

Teaming up:

From that moment on, I kept searching for inking jobs and I got great response from several pencillers that were looking for inkers for teaming up. That helped me more grow confident every day about my craft skills. However, most of them offers me non paid jobs. Back end or work for free jobs.

If you want to be an inker, my strong advice is that work on your inking skills over not famous pencilers, but amateur ones with an eye to a strong collection of professional inked jobs as a work guidance. I know it’s tempting inking cool known sequentials, but some of those well known artists does not like it and the ones that do then, asking for permission is the polite thing to do. But the main reason I don’t recommend inking known pencils is that those stablished artists have all the know-how about the art. Almost every drawing situation (line weight, lighting, texturizing and modular lines) are solved from the pencils. They have passed their training period and then, if you ink that you won’t be learning that much. Introducing yourself to  amateur artists for me is the best option. I posted an ad in a comic website forum and three artists came from there. One of them, Erik Roman I have worked with him in two different projects and still we follow each other. With those teams you create, work from pin ups to sequentials and you both will be growing on the spots to pulish your art.

And think of this: If you get a gig from one of the big publishers, then this article is not for you, because you are obviously more crafted than me. 😉

However, beware what artists you team up with. Your inner work ethic must be the curator of the deals and choosing.  I can remember when I started finding a guy who told me that inking for free for him would make me break in Marvel or DC Comics. (That was, well… quite insulting… I’m not that dumb, sir). You’ll also find artists who’s style is – to say the least- painful to ink.

Once you gain more trust on your work, I think it’s time to set up a collaboration and start doing comics. If you want to break into comics, comics must know that you do make comics.

However this is the most awful truth: Many pencilers will not be trustworthy on their regular schedule. Prepare to nights of jamming up pages, and days of nothing on your drawing board. I could have 6 paid / pitch project one month and for a week I could have never received a single page to ink. Those days are, for me, the worst. It makes me feel a burden, not talented enough and many times, like a mom bitching about the importance of trust in the team.

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My collaboration today, The Drif T. To be pitched at this year NYCC. Hope it works!

Collaborations: When and where doing them:

Collaborations are a good way to show your craft but beware taking so many. Most collaborations are work for free and / or back end projects. Choose carefully.

Some of them are paid, mostly are from 5 to 10 pages comic pitches, even one or two collaborations are paid the whole first issue but it’s up to the creator and his/her pocket. But for the most part, is a work for free thing.

If you have the mindset focused on the craft instead of making any money, do as many you can.  I know many artists does not like work for free or back end work. I also don’t like it, but for starters is a necessary evil. Throughout the last 3 years I developed a rule: Do one back end project at a time, only one and the rest of the time must be paid work. That would assure you published work, exposure, but must be realistic on that. Not everything gets to the eye of an known editor or publisher. Then, the one collaboration I do must be outstanding in quality, with a name or a guy I must trust and hopefully published by an at least partially known publisher. Starburn is a book done that way. And after Starburn, The Drif T is also done that way.

If the editor can’t pay you: Focus on pitches. At least you won’t work 22 pages, but 8 or 6. Make him clear that you want to be credited and if there’s an interested publisher, editor must pay you for your work and send you copies of the book so you can move them around and last but not least, ask the editor permission to use the material as additional portfolio.

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Trixie Dynamite 2, the follow up to my first gig.

Setting a realistic page rate: 

That’s something hard to define, but looking at some examples helps to set your craft into a realistic and competitive range. If you are starting into comics, having a very low page rate won’t give confidence to artists / editors to hire you and having a high page rate won’t even worth their time. I have seen inkers setting their page rates ridiculously high in comparison with the quality of their art.

By the time you set your page rate you would probably have some cool comics out there for people to read so probably setting your page rate would be something that grows with you. One thing as important as having a competitive page rate is to deal with your rights and duties. For instance: requesting a time production schedule range, and a payment method. I use to give an realistic range of production (6 pages in a 7 day period) and after sending a low res JPG files (150 dpi) for corrections, the editor points some corrections for me to fix on the pages. Once all pages are approved I wait for the payment (I use Pay Pal) and only after that I release the high res pages (11 x 17 ” 600 dpi Grayscale Tiff files).

So, summing up: aiming high, teaming up with artists your level, collaborations and setting a realistic page rate are a great idea to work your style up. But have in mind that more on the projects you will be start working on that will ending up to make yourself a name, a reputation, and just after that, reputation and better paid job would help pay your bills.

If you know any other way to be involved, please, let me know… still I am also a beginner in this job.

Thanks for dropping by. I am thinking in showing you the real benefits of back end gigs. I have some mind blowing numbers.

Bests

CDC

Things that keeps me moving forward 3: History Documentaries

Human History timeline, click to enlarge and know what was happening in history at the same time.

Hello:

Last year I wrote about how much having influences and motivation helps in a work that you are constantly by yourself.

Part 1: Grant Morrison Talking with Gods

Part 2: Things that keeps me moving forward 2: Once Upon a Time The Superheroes

I started trying to get knowledge from things I used to study when I was a child and I was driven to BBC History documentaries from the whole Roman Empire, Dark Ages, Religion, Scotland, British kings and Egypt. My favorites were Summer, Hittites and Assyrian histories, which we are not used to them and shows how the world started in the Anatolia peninsula and Mesopotamia, actually. It’s weird how places we connect with a distant unknown society today was the whole base of what we understand now as our way of life. I almost watched them all twice.

Think of this: To put it simple: We all know the story of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartans, Right? they fought King Darius’s son Xerxes, who was a Persian King. Persia wanted to grow west by crossing the Thermopylae pass  and then move as a revenge to a previous invasion (First Persian Wars, think the battle of Marathon). Are you set in time? Let’s travel a long back then: Persia hold the Anatolia Peninsula and the Mesopotamia region. Before Persia, this  peninsula held the Assyrian Empire, a warrior society, undefeated in battle.

Hattusili III

And then the Hittites, a religious, scientific and warrior society so developed that settled their biggest and most important city Hattusa, on a mountain developing its own water system based on a modular clay half tube. Amazing. they also are the firsts of have accurate economic system and writing documents using the clay tablets and cuneiform writing method. They praised lions and their kings were reflected in them.

Gilgamesh

But before all of them, the societies were created in the Mesopotamic region and Egypt…  the Summerian society created somethings that we are so used today, like the number 0 and beer. Ur and Uruk are their most known cities and were created back in 38th century bc when people started to settle and began farming crops. They were the first cities to began organizing themselves into a pyramidal structure, often ruled by faith (that made me wonder if faith is something people create to separate will from duty)… I swear that this documentary makes me feel the weight of time.

I had some favorite people over those documentaries:

Alexander The Great

  • Alexander The Great was so clever and always faced straight at impossible problems. The Gordian Knot Legend was the clearest example of that. If you don’t want to spent time solving a problem… go straight to the solution at once.

Pharaoh Akenathen

  • My favorite pharaoh? Not Tuttankamon, of course, but his father, AkenathenAnd here’s why: Hunchback, ugly, ill and despised by his parents, became pharaoh without wanting it. And changed the whole religious society (gods and law) to the point of changing gods (from a whole pantheon to a single and very logic god, the sun, or Aten), changed his name and also moved his whole capital city to created his desired city, Amarna. Extreme Bullied-children syndrome. by the way, you may know his wife, Nefertiti. This documentary of the finding of this mummy is great.

Emperor Constantine I The Great

  • I am also very fond or Constantine The Great. This Roman empire of the Constantine Period. and that’s why: He might have committed the most biggest lie in order to cross a single bridge. And that lie makes me wonder the whole religious system we live in…This is actually something that blows my mind and now that I’ll be visiting Rome in like a month it’s something I am planning to do. Constantine was an emperor from 306 AD to 337 AD. He was the son of a former emperor and a general of the pretorian guard. He marched with his army to Rome to fight for the throne, which was something many many emperors and aspirants did. Just look at the list of roman emperors to see how many they were and how brief was their time on the throne. He was outside Rome and needed to cross the Melvian Bridge and fight Roman general and also usurper Maxentius (but also an emperor). by that time Christianity was the lower classes and soldiers most common religion, but still they were persecuted. The Christians grew constantly after almost 300 years after the Death of Christ. History tells that Constantine, just before facing Maxentius on the Melvian Bridge, saw a light in the sky and suddenly God (the Christian God) told him to fight under the banner of Christ and he’ll be crowned emperor. He did. He ordered his soldiers to paint the then Christian Cross on their shields and they won the battle. Then he converted to Christianity, gathered the first Christian Concilium (Nicea, 325 AD) where were appointed almost all the christian message/doctrinae we are being taught. What’s is not clear is that he probably did that in order to surprise his enemies beliefs and gain the favor from his Christian soldiers. The Arc of Constantine, located at the Roman Forum which shows his prowess, shows no christian symbol at all and this documentary was a bomb to me.
  • So Constantine The Great was the one who set the fire of Christianity to be an accepted religion in Europe. What came later was, to put into a single word: complicated. Even this documentary, quite subjective in my opinion, shows the most ramifications of Christianism. Still it’s a good view if you want to see religion as a case study and not a faith. I know that would be hard to separate, thou.
  • This another documentary from the BBC helps us locate ourselves places that in the Bible are considered divine, but actually they are very real: Do you think that Paradise is actually Bahrein?
  • And that Armageddon is actually a crossing near Jericho?
  • And…?

Also, I’d love to do a comic where Palmirian Queen Zenobia  meet Constantine I the Great, even thou there are 70 years gap. Better now than later, since ISIL is destroying all Palmirian Empire ruins. too bad that history does not respect itself…

Well, there are lots of things I learnt from these documentaries… I’ll make another part about Middle Ages, Scotland and Vikings!

Besides I have also a great post in mind about comic book podcasts.

Bests

CDC

LA RUTA DEL COMIQUERO. We made it!

Hello, there!

Let me show you this 8-part documentary, La Ruta Del Comiquero: An overview of the chilean comic book creator scene.

This is a 8 chapter web series that I have been involved in the last 4 years alongside chilean film producer @Introfilms (Nico Lorca, Tam Odette, Jaime Norambuena, Felipe Opazo) and co-written with my partner in crime German Valenzuela.

in its 8 chapters we discuss from indie creators, fanzine, to big publishers. And it features interviews with talented editors and creators such as Eduardo Risso, Gabriel Rodriguez, Cb Cebulski, Chris Ryall and Nelson Daniel.

The documentary is in spanish. I am leaving this here because I know that a lot of you are interested in the process of making comics and this is a worldwide platform.

Whole Series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOvJHe_IKy7Uqq9Vhf3gqJrnuBgwXx5Bc

Teaser:

Capter 1: Chile: Un país de comics:

Chapter 2: Editar en Chile:

Chapter 3: Fanzinero

Chapter 4: El Extranjero

Chapter 5: De Tiendas y Galerías

Chapter 6: Eventos: Primera Parte

Chapter 7: Eventos. Segunda Parte

Chapter 8: Chile: Un país de Comic

Bests

CDC

New inking portfolio.

Hello:

After several months I felt it was the right time to update my inking portfolio. My last portfolio featured works from One Must Break (Remember that is being TPB’d and released this NYCC this october) and we’re talking March / April 2015. I have been very busy these lasts few months, which is great, but still, I need to update my material to get to new and interested eyes who might be willing to hire me for my latest works.

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So, having that in mind it really felt that time indeed is right, since my pal in crime Kelly Bender was a guest at this last weekend Singapore ComicCon where he was promoting his latests books, Starburn being one of them. We finished Starburn a month and a half ago and Kelly got permission from Markosia to print a small limited number of copies for his local market.

One of the main guests of that ComicCon was CBCebulski, Marvel Talent hunt and probably THE GUY you need to dazzle with your art to if you want to seriously break into comics. And Kelly – Ozzy praise him, he gave him a copy.

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I hope that he likes it. In my honest opinion, my best work there is always the last issue of the 4. I always say to Kelly that I thought that I got into the core of the book once I stopped inking Brian’s pencils and started to be more interpretive and let myself go and explode the spectacularity of each panel. So… In case guys who will have the book on their hands, please, I want to tell you that I am proud of the entire book, but I am REALLY Proud of the last issue and a half. (I’d love to be more constant on that, thou and have a whole miniseries with the same quality of art).

This new portfolio features Starburn #4 but also it comes with a sneak peak of the 2015 latests jobs, like The Drif T pitch (Inks over Elvin Ching); One Must Break TPB (Inks over Diego Toro) and The Red Solstice (Inks over Rocco Rabar – Kcre).



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Bests

CDC

A little essay for my love of comics

 

I don’t know if this happens to you sometimes,… but there’s some days that I feel like absorbed on the daily duties of making things to get paid, the anguish of getting new jobs and getting my artwork in a better stage that it’s easy to forget the fact that I love comics. It’s easy to think that I ink stuff and not seeing the whole picture that is telling a story and make the process a great experience for me.

This next essay (edited and fix’d somewhere) I wrote on a stressed day, when I felt ripped off by my usual motorcycle repair store for the third time and that mood made me wonder things:

Captura de pantalla 2015-09-11 23.32.00 copia

Santiago is like New York City back in the 70 and early 80’s. Take, of course most of the cultural awareness off, all the monumental sightseeing and the bon apetit that makes that city worldly known and you have that mixture of a place who struggles to become something catchy and the rudeness and pollution on the downtown of a city that only breaths smoke. People here does not give a damn what you do, your own accomplishments and your dreams. Actually, If there’s any chance to spit on them, they will do without hesitation by using Santiago trademark characteristic: indifference.

It’s Friday 3 PM…I am walking from my studio to my usual bike repair shop, after calling them all afternoon to make sure they would fix my bike on schedule. After 3 unluckily hours calling them, I decided to make the one hour bus trip to see that, once again they are far behind schedule but also they are having a party with a huge brested model dressed as a Harley badgirl rider. I lost part of my afternoon while I am on a deadline hurry because they didn’t delivered what was promised. Some people in this city are so self absorbed on their own bullshit that they have  lost the value of the promised word.

That didn’t upset me. I am used to this kind of polluted system. Hell… I am even a part of it. I am also an stressed asshole. Since I became an Inker  I am lacking of social skills because of my self imposed seclusion and on the same time, I created the ability to see Santiagueans just the way they are.

The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering comics – Chiarello / Klein. ©Dc Comics

But I digress… on this small trip I am carrying this book. And I haven’t realized up until now that what the thing that made me happy it’s something I take for granted now… It’s a book about how to color and how to letter comics. The DC book of coloring and lettering comics by Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein. But on my ride to the moto repair store and back I can’t read a word. I am thinking. Wondering some feelings. Struggling to find out something…

I lived for comics. I grew up for the thrill of the next issue waiting and the excitement of the quest for them.

That thrill moves me away from the Santiago city transportation system to a travel in time. To my childhood.

Why can’t I read comics now?

I have always been that shy (not shy… antisocial and introspective most likely)  kid who lived on his daydreaming of become an artist.  When I discovered comics not only found lots of characters and stories… I found a safe place in comics. I swear… I felt safe on comics. I developed a way to read comics while walking without hitting a traffic ligh or a bump not even once. I devoured comics but I also gained all knowledge that provided to my mind thirsty of wonders.

My best evening plan after school was to walk through out my city looking for those hidden newspaper stands that had some lost and fogotten comics. When I saw one, the excitement was better than a drug. Sometimes even than the comic itself. But I used to do that by myself. I didn’t have comic book friends up until my late 20’s. I even knew some school classmates that read comics, but for me, comics were only a satisfaction and a quest for one. For me.

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“Los Chicos Que Coleccionaban Tebeos” Helio Mira / Julian Clemente, Panini 2013. Story of kids and their comics. I felt touched of those experiences.

I have recently read a book about some other people’s experiences with comics. My friend Julian Clemente (Now the Marvel Panini publisher in Spain) wrote Los Chicos Que Coleccionaban Tebeos (Panini 2013) and that book inspired me to write this on my cellphone while I am on a bus.

Comics defines ourselves. The experience of that magic moment that you experience twice or three times in your life helps to set the kind of person you are. If I have to name some special moments of my life were those involved with comics here they are…

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La Patrulla- X #8 (UXM 147. My brother found this issue torn and left alone on a street. Thanks to whom may had been the previous owner)

My first Marvel comicbook was one my brother found on a dirty street on our summer holiday back in 1986, probably, on a small place named Altafulla, Tarragona, like 110 kms south of our birthplace, Barcelona, Spain. He found Uncanny X-men #147, spanish edition (La Patrulla- X #8, Forum) when the Claremont/ Cockrum/Rubinstein/Oliver team takes us into the battle between X-men and Arcade. Smashed and dirty. It was the opening of a new world to me.

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Transformers Vol 1. #15. Spanish edition it was #11. That was my first comic I started collecting monthly

However I wasn’t into mutants or superheroes back then. My main love were The Transformers and the Marvel edition, also Spanish, Forum. were my official comics entrance to this world. I started reading Transformers #11 Forum (Transformers #15 USA). That comic created the collection freak in me. And analyzing that is quite obvious. It featured my favorite toy robots on a comic about a freak who claims is the lord of robots on a Marvel Comics comic. Good for you, Shooter. You basically nailed me with that.

Years came by. I was introduced on Spiderman (Sal Buscema/ Todd Mcfarlane / Alex Saviuk) and La Patrulla-X (Uncanny X-men Marc Silvestri run) and 5 years later, now then in Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, where I moved with my family, I was a monthly buyer of those comics and The Transformers I mentioned earlier. Some other comics came to me, like Los Vengadores (The Avengers) and Los Nuevos Vengadores (West Coast Avengers). Forum published a monthly comic book named Marvel Heroes that featured the greatest miniseries (Avengers vs- X-men; Mephisto, Wolverine and Kitty Pride and Kraven Last Hunt), But it wasn’t after I decided to collect Marvel’s 1989 CrossOver Atlantis Attacks that I wasn’t fully aware of the Marvel Olympus.

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X-men #1, Spanish Edition. it featured – for me- the worst of the 4 covers Jim Lee drew for that issue.

1991. (One year later than you, my american friends…)

I think I was at the right place and the right time. After Claremont/Lee/Williams/Rosas X-men #1 was published, comics went crazy hot for me. I have always been a Jim Lee fan since day one. Spain was publishing at the same time his Punisher run and even his Alpha Flight run. I realized that X-men was a perfect fit for me by the day Forum annouced it. Packed with bombastic panels that you knew that they were even better than the previous monthly comic you bought it left you asking for more. Issues #2 and #3 and even #4 were at the same level…

1994:

Image. The collected Star Comics Italian edition of Early Image Comics. I got a couple of those on my student trip to Italy in 1994.

When Image comics was being funded and created… news came to my country in a slow pace, the feeling of that it would be better invaded me. I remember seeing small bits of it and when I traveled to Italy and found the early Image main comics collected on one monthly issue named only “Image”. On the same comic, you had issues from WildC.A.T.s, Youngblood and Spawn. Then, Two months after Italy a friend of mine appeared at my place with Youngblood#0, the first spanish Image Comics published, and oficially launched my comic rampage period.

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Newsstand located at Via Roma, Palma. 20 years later…It’s still there. I found WildC.A.T.s vol 2. Issue 1 there.

Walking all the city of Palma de Mallorca looking for newstands and bookshops (there were no comic book shops yet) was my favorite passtime. I carefully selected the bests for me: a supermarket newsstand we use to visit frequently that was always supplied and I could ask my parents for some issue of the re edition of Marvel Secret Wars once in a while; near where we lived there were four newsstands:2 supplied with old stuff I used to visit and buried comics beneath their stocks of unwatched material for better times; and one, 24 hour opened where I could get the Bravura and Legend stuff (I remember getting the first Hellboy like at 3 AM)…  But if I have to pick only ultimate rush moment for me, was the time I saw WildC.A.T.s #1 (#5 usa), spanish edition. The first issue after the four issued miniseries. It was early December 1994. I knew it would be expensive and I saved money for weeks. And when I saw on the newstand it was a mix of fear, thrill and happiness. I got it and read it twice walking back home. It was pitch black so I stopped under street lights to have a look and devour all the details on each complicated panel. If I sleep that night with that comic on my hand I wouldn’t probably be exaggerating. It was the overcoming of an expected excellence. It was the ultimate happiness. Because reading comics was also attached to a quest for them. In an era of no globalization, no Internet, no Amazon… you grew with your collection and every comics you read was the prize of the previous quest finding it. A prize for me alone. That’s why my childhood comics are so precious to me, because they are attached with the feelings and emotions that went close with me.

Today…

Today, on my way back home, after the bike fuck-up… I look at my DC Comics Guide and I feel that I am carrying a book just like having a carrot on my hands. I am using them as a art reference for my inking. And I felt that the sensation of that lost trill kills me.

I hardly read comics now. I work in comics full time since 2013 and each one I grab is for artistic references or the inking techniques to learn from. Even once in a while on weekends I grab a graphic novel and read it. I read of some artists who felt it happened the same to them.
Love for comics is there, as always. It has turned into a grown up kind of love. The love you feel is urging to re-live as a camp fire. The love resides on the back of your mind and when you have a free moment like the one I am having now, while I am on a bus back home, you feel yourself driven into those warm and beautiful and beloved moments of your chilhood that I wish they never will go away from me.

Bests

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