Under the Hood: “The Long Bow”

Artist Joe DellaGatta wanted to share the work that went into bringing a page of science fiction author Michael Swanwick’s first-ever (fantastic) comic script, “The Long Bow” (starring Telemachus), to life. Click on any image below to see it bigger.

Now, take it away, Joe:

So, here’s a bit of my process. It’s usually the same, project to project. After reading the script, written by Michael Swanwick, I begin to do tiny layouts. Roughly 1” x 1.5”. This allows me to focus on basic shapes, flow of panels, panel sizes, and a rough idea of lettering space needed. This is before I gather any reference, or develop any designs.

After the thumbnail stage, I’ll do a quick pass at all the lettering. I enjoy doing this myself on smaller stories, and, I like to see hand lettering on pages. It doesn’t happen too often these days.

This stage also allows me to reassess my page layouts, and see if I need more or less space in certain panels to accommodate the balloons/captions.

These are my quick passes at the character designs from the story. I asked Michael for a brief, physical description of each character, then started to come up with their looks. I tried to incorporate a little fashion sense from Ancient Greece, and a VERY simplified Kirby influence to some of the clothing.

At this point, I’ll scan in my tiny thumbnails, and enlarge them to the full size I’ll be drawing at. Then, I’ll paste in the scans of the rough lettering, leaving the balloons a solid blue color just as a placeholder. This saves me a little bit of time at the pencil stage because I’ll know where the lettering will be, and I won’t be drawing anything unnecessarily in those spots.

From here, I’ll print a “low opacity” copy of this, and start penciling the figures, backgrounds, etc. right on this layout.

Now, I’ll take my rough pencils and lightbox the essentials onto my final boards (11” x 17” bristol), along with the lettering.

This shot is pretty self explanatory. I’ll go through and ink the page with an assortment of pens, and fill in larger areas of black with a brush. I use the same pens to ink the lettering and balloons, and I’ll use white ink for any corrections or stray marks.

When it came to coloring, we hit a couple snags. Eventually I asked Andrew and Chris (editors) if I could take on coloring duties, and they were trusting enough to allow me to do it.

Everything was colored using Photoshop CS5. Flat colors usually work best with my art, so that was the initial idea. But I wanted something that made the work look a little older, and offered something slightly different. Which brought me to the “halftone/dot” pattern, like in old comic book printing. The halftone pattern also made it possible for me to unify the color palettes on each page. By lowering the opacity of the halftone layer, and making it a color that that fit in the page’s color scheme, I applied it like an overlay that made everything more cohesive.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in this project. Michael wrote a great story, and Andrew and Chris did a fantastic job gathering all these different creators to put together an amazing book. We hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for reading!

-Joe DellaGatta-

You can find Joe on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and DeviantArt.

Find Once Upon a Time Machine vol. 2: Greek Gods & Legends in comic stores April 11, from Dark Horse Books.

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CBR Preview and an Early Review

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Comic Book Resources has an exclusive preview of some beautiful art from Volume 2. They’re showing off a couple pages each from the epic “Theseus and Metrotaurus” by Ronald Wimberly and “Game Changers” by Ben Kahn (script), Alexandria Huntington (art), and HdE (letters).

Check out CBR’s preview here.

Meanwhile, the book’s just starting to get some advance reviews. The first one’s short, but very sweet!

On her review blog, Carrie Griffin says: “This was everything for my Greek Mythology loving heart. I loved how much these short comics felt like the original myths but also the changes to them. This was a great fresh take on each of the tales used and is one of a kind. Also, the different styles made each tale stand out on their own. I recommend this to anyone who loves great comics and/or Greek Mythology.”

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Volume 2 Release Date!

The news is out! And this future ain’t too far away. Once Upon a Time Machine vol. 2: Greek Gods & Legends is in stores on April 11, 2018!

Make sure your local comic and book purveyors order it with the info below…

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“Ancient” Greece: the year 3016 AD. And 4079 AD. And 6060 AD. From the trials of Heracles to the love songs of Orpheus, the myths and gods of the past are reborn in wondrous and scarcely imaginable futures. Witness exciting new visions of the Greek tradition from the hands and minds of Ronald Wimberly (Prince of Cats), Paul Pope (Battling Boy), Toby Cypress (The Gravediggers Union), Conor McCreery (Kill Shakespeare), Andrea Tsurumi (Accident!), Hugo & Nebula Award-winning science fiction author Michael Swanwick (Stations of the Tide), and many more of today’s most inventive creators. Edited by Andrew Carl & Chris Stevens, of the Eisner & Harvey Award-winning Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream.

On sale everywhere April 11, 2018, from Dark Horse Comics.
See where you can pre-order it here.
224 pages / Paperback / $17.99
ISBN-10: 1-61655-666-8
ISBN-13: 978-1-61655-666-2
Diamond order code: DEC170082

Cover by Farel Dalrymple

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Preview the Book

It’s about time!

We finally added a hefty preview of the book to our website. For a while there, Facebook was the only place where you’d find a wide range of art from the Once Upon a Time Machine. But now you’ve got it here, too! So if you haven’t already picked up the book, go ahead and check out the “Preview!” page on our site to see what you’re in for.

You can also read the full first story from Time Machine at Dark Horse’s website.

Between con season, Locust Moon’s recent projects, and the two of those things combined, we haven’t been as good with online updates as we’d like. But you’ll be hearing more of us, I guarantee it!

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See you in Baltimore!

Visio-2013 Floor Plan - Final.vsdWe’re here in Baltimore now for our first Baltimore Comic-Con! We’ve only heard great things about this show, and it looks like it’s going to be a great weekend.

So this Saturday and Sunday, come find us (Andrew, Chris, and Josh) at Table A152 in Artist Alley, at the Baltimore Convention Center.

We’ll have our usual set of Once Upon a Time Machine goodies, along with the latest addition to the Locust Moon Press catalog, Quarter Moon #1. We’ll also be carrying around a one-of-a-kind, top-secret portfolio of select finished art for our upcoming Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream anthology (printed at the book’s final printing size, 16″ x 21″!) – ask nicely, and we might let you take a peek!

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The Harveys!

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The nominations for the 2013 Harvey Awards were announced recently, and we were honored and humbled to find our book, Once Upon a Time Machine, nominated in the category of Best Anthology. We have to thank everyone who has supported us in buying the book, reading it, spreading the word and, of course, nominating it. For many of us involved, Time Machine was our first published work – and it took a lot of time, sweat, learning, and love to put it out into the world. We have been consistently overjoyed with the response the book has gotten, and this nomination is a big deal and great validation for what we tried and continue trying to do in comics.

If you’re a fellow comics creator, you can vote for what you found to be the best comics of the last year in the final ballot here: http://www.harveyawards.org/2013-final-ballot/

“The Harvey Awards are one of the comic book industry’s oldest and most respected awards. The Harveys recognize outstanding achievements in over 20 categories, ranging from Best Artist to the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame. They are the only industry awards both nominated by and selected by the full body of comic book professionals.”

From everyone at Locust Moon and Once Upon a Time Machine, thank you again for all your love and support!

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Haverford Township Free Library Comic Con

946251_10151788556267238_1422697153_nAll photos in this post courtesy of Nate Prentice.

Earlier in July, we visited the Haverford Township Free Library for their first-ever Comic Con. It was a small affair, held just 20 minutes away from the Locust Moon Comics retail store/home-base. And it was loads of fun. We had a blast talking to lots of kids and their parents, sketching, participating in panels, and even helping to judge a great kids’ art contest.

Andrew Carl (Editor; Writer, “John Henry”), Chris Stevens (Producer; Writer, “The Boy Who Drew Cats”), David Tanh (Writer, “The Tea Garden Park Soapbox Grand Prix”), Dave Proch (Artist, “A.L.I.C.E.”), Rob Woods (“The Venusian Shepherd Boy Who Cried Space Wolf”), and Jimmy Comey (“Kid Yimage and the Really Big Hole”) all showed up for the festivities. Dave, Rob, and Jimmy spent nearly all day with pens in hand and noses to paper — they never stopped drawing!

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The library had their own advance copy of Paul Pope’s Battling Boy on-hand, which we all took turns flipping through and drooling over. Dave was inspired to recreate some of the magic, just for kicks:

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Jimmy joined a Superhero Sketch Showdown with Mike Townsend and the great Bob McLeod.

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Andrew and Chris sat on a panel with Matt Phelan and Dawn Griffin to discuss the process of of “Creators Creating” — from idea to publication and everything in between.

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Dave and Rob lead a “Let’s Draw!” workshop for the kids, with the help of Matt Phelan and Bob McLeod. And we’ve got video!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=nSdBc-Zvd_o%5D
We hope the Haverford Library Comic Con returns next year – because we’ll be there!

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