Thursday, December 1, 2016

Making Marjorie of the Weirdlings

Hey there, Dee Fish here. For those of you that don't know me, I'm the creator and artist of the webcomic "Dandy & Company" and the graphic novel "The Wellkeeper". As an artist and storyteller, I've also co-created and drew the Hashtag Comics series "Carpe Noctem" and have drawn stories for the IDW comics "Atomic Robo", "Star Mage" and "White Chapel" and the Image Comics "The Perhapanauts" and "The Mice Templar".

That bit of exposition aside, I wanted to do a little "step by step" blog showing the techniques I'm using to bring my latest concept to life, a comic called "Marjorie of the Weirdlings". It's a new comic I'm working on centering on a young Transgender girl named Marjorie that discovers a ring that transports her to a weird and dangerous world of monsters called Weirdlings. But when she's there, she becomes the most powerful Weirdling of them all and has a serious problem: Why go home at all when you discover a magical fantasy world where you get to kick butt.

So here is a step by step of the creation of a single page from start to finish.

Step 1 is the clean line inks. Drawn on a standard sheet of Canson 11" x 17" blue lined comic board, I ink over blue pencils using a Pentel Stylo inking pen and a Pentel Pocket brush. This initial step is purposely free of rendering and is inked in a clean, open style. I scan the art in at high res and place the art in Adobe Photoshop for production.

Step 2 is the rendered inks. Using the same Pentel Stylo, I add rendering to add volume, texture, light and shadows. I re-scan the art at this step, placing it as a separate layer over the clean line inks.

Step 3 is the reduction of opacity on the rendered layer to 50%. This creates the grey rendering level used for black and white printing that I feel gives the art an animated and unique feel.

Step 4 is the application of flat colors to the line art. I decided that this comic really needs COLOR to make the WeirdWorld pop and come to proper life. I used a gradient here for the sickly yellow sky of the Weirdworld which is on a separate layer in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 5 uses the rendering line work to add modeling and depth to the color. Using the rendered line art layer, I create a selection that I can fill using darker, slightly tinted color from the flats. This enables me to give the art a modeled and rounded feel with only the line art and not the colors.

Step 6 applies a painterly texture layer over the background elements to add additional mood and texture. This is applied ONLY to the sky, rocks and smoke and helps pop the characters even more.

From here, it's a matter of adding the lettering and it's on to the next page. I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes peak of the Making of "Marjorie of the Weirdlings"!

The black and white, 12 page preview of the premier issue is now available as a part of "The Big Pond Comics Sampler #1" and can be ordered for JUST $3.50, online along with all the rest of my titles.



Monday, October 24, 2016

"Marjorie of the Weirdlings" Preview!

So, here’s a 6 page preview of my latest adventure. A comic called “Marjorie of the Weirdlings”, that will be premiering the weekend of October 28th at MEGACON TAMPA!

But now onto the content of page 6. This is the page that establishes Marjory as transgender. The page I expect to get some poop over.

When designing the character, I realized early on that she had to be trans. I was putting a LOT of my childhood frustrations, identity and anger issues on the page wrapped in an otherwise fun, magical adventure. But I quickly realized that Marjorie was me. But a me that was able to come out and live as she knew she should decades before me.

I agonized over the exact verbiage she should use in her narrative. I wanted her descriptions to avoid specific labels or politically correct press release speak. She's a 13 year old transgender girl, not a political activist. Nor am I trying to have her description fit into any one sub groups agenda by using specific buzz word definitions.

Ultimately, I wanted her description to seem fitting for a kid that knows what she is but has a hard time finding the words to express that. So I used the verbiage that felt natural to ME when I was thinking about myself at that age.

I understand that there are some folks that will take issue with her describing herself as being born with "boy Parts" as that is not the currently accepted terminology. It implies that the shape of our genitals is automatically gendered. I GET all of that. But for the life of me, I couldn't justify having that kind of philosophical tightrope walking coming out of this characters proverbial mouth.

When I was still struggling with myself in this, I wasn't thinking in such terms. I still partly don't. I, as a 41 year old trans woman, don't think of what is between my legs as female anatomy regardless of my ever strengthening gender identity. I have decades of reinforcement in the opposite direction to overcome. So, for me, I wanted Marjorie's thoughts to mirror my own from he point of view of a very young person trying to express very mature concepts. I felt that her thoughts and experiences in this area needed to be honest.

So, if her specific verbiage upsets you, I am sorry. But I had to be honest as a writer and write truthfully for my character. Life is a never ending journey of self-discovery and this character is on that same journey.

If the book finds an audience and continues past this first issue, then I will have the time to explore this aspect of her and allow those ideas to evolve. But I do hope you can understand why I'm expressing this concept as I am choosing to.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Making Marjorie - Part 1

Hey there, folks. As I'm working to develop my latest concept into an actual comic, "Marjorie of the Weirdlings", I thought it would be cool to let you folks in on a little of the behind the scenes processes I'm using to make this comic.

Now, while I am planning on going to crowdfunding to help get this book make in full color, the initial print of this premier issue will be in black and white. However, I really wanted to make this book stand out with a unique look that blends the highly rendered style I'm known for on books like The Wellkeeper and Carpe Noctem and a more open, animated look similar to my Dandy & Company cartooning.

As such, I came up with a fun trick to create a look that will hopefully be a best of both worlds solution.

On the left, you can see the original, clean and open line art. I scan the art first with only this level of inking, which is more familiar and cartoony. (And eventually, way easier to color. lol)

Afterwards, as shown in the middle frame, I go back and ink in shadows, atmospheric effects and textures in a style similar to how I usually ink on projects like the Wellkeeper. I LOVE to noodle.

And in the panel on the right, you can see the finished, black and white effect. The layers are placed directly over each other, as the highly rendered art is reduced in opacity 75% to create a very unique and animated style that I'm hoping folks will dig.

Keep on checking back for more regular updates on the production of "Marjorie of the Weirdlings #1". Thanks and I hope you continue to enjoy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Meet Marjorie

In development now, MARJORIE OF THE WEIRDLINGS© is an ALL NEW comic about a young girl named Marjorie who discovers a shadowy world of magic and monsters where she might be the weirdest of the Weirdlings!


Marjorie of the Weirdlings, all art and characters is ©2016, D. Fish.