Breakdown: The Miller’s Daughters, page 23.

Over the last year I have been working on a long-form graphic novel, which will eventually comprise a collection of original Fairy Tales and macabre morality plays. The first of which, the Miller’s Daughters, is about half way done.

The villain of the story, a wandering Rake, has embarked on a killing spree. As you can see, the story gets pretty grim:

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Page 16 of the Miller’s Daughters

The hardest part of the story, frankly, has been that I am now at the point where the Rake is murdering the protagonists of the story. I really don’t like writing about kids getting killed, but it’s a ghost story… So I have to get through this part.

Here is the script for page 22, in which the Rake confronts Ophie Miller.

Page 23

Top Panel: The Rake is perched on a branch, several baby badgers are sitting around him, staring curiously. The Rake is clasping his hands together, looking up like a man at prayer.

Text Box:

The Rake, seeing his quarry treed in such an unfortunate manner, sat down to taunt his prey.

Panel Two: The Rake’s head and hand fill about 2/3rds of the panel. He is looking up, menacing. Little Faeries, stars, and flowers are flitting about his head.

Text Box:

“You, with your hair so dark, in that tree so high, remind me of the fairy stories, young miss,” said he.

“Of lost spirits in the wood, of sylphs, sidhe, and baine,” said he.

“Won’t you join your sister, dear?” he asked, as sincere as a jackal at an abattoir.

Panel Three, lower left hand corner: Ophie is incensed, in a defiant pose she is clutching one tree branch for support while gesturing at the Rake with her free hand. She is yelling.

Text Box:

Ophie replied only with a string of newly-catalogued curses, the depth and vivid imagery of which would have changed the nature of naval operations for centuries if they had been heard by any other ears.

Panel Four: The Rake looks shocked, eyes wide open…

Text Box:

Some so boldly vulgar as to give even this calloused Rake reason to blush.

Final Panel: Text:

Fancying up a new demise for so skillful a vulgarian, the Rake rummaged around in his rucksack until he found a decent sized package; all brown paper, grease stained and wrapped in twine.

Tomorrow, I’ll post the preliminary pencils for this page as part of the Workbench Wednesday update.

Monster Monday: the Shishiga

Russia is lousy with monsters. Seriously. You can’t swing a wet kobold without hitting some sort of gremlin or beastie. And the farther you get from the cities, the more bizarre and unusual the monsters get!

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The Shishiga is an aquatic goblin that haunts the swamps and lakes of Russian and Slavic regions. I’m not positive that the Shishiga actually goes as far as Western Europe, but I think it’s safe to say that any area with Baba Yaga legends probably has Shishiga lurking about and mucking up the waterways.

Shishiga 1

Shishiga are not fond of clothing, they are described as being naked little fiends, with clammy white skin and tousled hair. The common Shishiga is most often seen sitting on a log or shoreline, muttering to itself and combing its hair. Sadly, this is also an omen that the person seeing the Shishiga is going to drown soon, or die of mysterious causes. Whether this death is caused by the Shishiga, or it is just acting as a messenger of death is unknown.

Shishiga4

Shishiga are notorious for harassing people, (a common goblinoid trait) and like to steal things from unwary people’s homes. The all-time favorite pastime of the Shishiga, though, is bringing misfortune to drunkards. Shishiga have been known to enter taverns and steal money, cause accidental lewdness, and manipulate a victim’s clothing so that their pants or shirts would fall off when they attempt to stand up. Some might say that drunks and cowards manufactured the Shishiga to pass the blame for their poor behavior, but those well versed in goblin psychology know the truth.

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The Shishiga artwork in this post are concept sketches for the Shishiga page in my upcoming coloring story book, Grimmleigh’s Mythic Horrors. My current book, Grimmleigh’s Beastly Oddities, is available on Amazon now.

 

 

Time Lapse Theater: the Vampire Brides

I have been working pretty diligently on my next coloring book, Grimmleigh’s Classic Monsters. Previously this week I showed off some of the concept sketches for upcoming pages, and today I thought I would show the process from start to finish.

First, I take a picture of the rough pencils from my notebook, and import that into ProCreate on my iPad. Here is the photo:

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Now that the reference picture is in place, I get to work doing final pencils, then digital inks. At that point, I set aside the black and white art for the coloring page and backgrounds… But a lot of the time, I like to get into the picture and add some color. Here is video showing that process!

(I uploaded the video in HD, so it might take a minute to convert)

Fan Art: Selina and Harvey

One of the projects I am working on re-imagines the Batman mythos, with Bruce Wayne as the psychopathic one percenter who gets his kicks by dressing up in body armor and beating on street people in the slums of Gotham.

Selina Color
Selina Kyle

Selina is a young woman with a mission: She has been gathering up and caring for the feral cat population of Gotham City. The little warehouse space she shares with her feline wards is cold, and feeding so many unwanted cats gets expensive. Selina is not above petty theft (and the occasional bigger heist) to keep the kitties fed.

Harvey
Harvey Dent

Harvey Dent was once the hot-shot District Attorney playboy of Gotham City. He was assigned to prosecute Boss Sal Maroni, who offered evidence linking the heads of the Wayne Foundation to organized crime rings throughout the city. Unfortunately, the courtroom was the scene of a horrific terrorist attack that left 17 people, including Maroni, dead. Harvey Dent was assumed killed in the attack as well; the truth may be worse.

Harvey Dent has been wandering the alleyways of Gotham’s slums, fighting a one-man war against the petty thugs and drug pushers of the city’s underbelly. The fate of his victims is determined by a single flip of his lucky quarter.

Tea-Time with Tony Poulson

Tea Time? More like rambling lunatics at 2am. Tony Poulson is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and a really good illustrator, too. He was kind enough to talk with me last night about his work, movies, and the creative process.

Gwen

Hey, Tony! Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to chat with me tonight! I know you have a lot on your plate with Comic Con coming up, and your show at Watchtower starting in a couple of days…

Thanks for asking. Truly. I always tell Jimmy (one of my co-panelists on the Geekshow Podcast) when I see him (which is often recently) that GEEKSHOW is definitely fuel for creativity. Fun as shit and honestly like my younger years with my friends chit chatting about geek stuff (sadly mostly all those friends “like” the same stuff, but aren’t as entrenched like I am).

You have a show starting at Watchtower Cafe this week, why don’t we start with what you do artwise for the people who aren’t familiar with you yet?

Since getting into Comic Con 3+ years ago I created a series called Hand Over the Hero.  I take classic and current characters and literally draw them being handed over by their friends, counterpart, etc.  It was an accidental idea from a greeting card I created for my wife ages ago.  She’d always joke about wanting to take a kitty with us on a date (back then we only had one, Gypsy, and now we have a stampeding herd…for realz).  I drew a confused cat being handed over and said “here, take your damn cat” on the inside.  The card sat on a shelf for 4 years before I turned the same concept into this series.

Working on this tonight after my conversation with Cori and Mike (at Watchtower Coffee)  

El1

 

Is that El?

Yep

Nice! I love it!

Thanks! Gotta add the waffle.

Hahahaha!

You work primarily with markers, and I envy that. Markers can be unforgiving… What is your process like? Are you the “concept, execute” type, or do you have 50 plates spinning at the same time?

I love the process of laying down some color and moving on. Don’t get me wrong I dick up here and there and even get the dread bleed through onto other colors, but you work with it and you get good at covering up. I started with Markers in high school and honestly don’t recall why I picked them out of everything in the art store (insert awesome story here about rescuing a princess from utter death and her bestowing a set of the kingdom’s finest art supplies here).

Well, now that I think of it, Kat Martin and I used the most intoxicating markers in high school when we drew the school’s massive weekly calendar during my term as a student body artist. Yep, that was it. Markers were also easy to transport and “setup” anywhere I could carry my bag of supplies (unless you ask the TSA in Denver who had to shut down their screeners and call every available supervisor to check my suspicious bag of art supplies after Denver Comic Con…I mean it only looked like a homemade bomb the way i stack my paper and markers). I also love pairing them with Prismacolor pencils and a few highlight pens to give the whites the POP they need. And yes, I have an ungodly amount of projects going on at the same time.

Pika

I’ve always loved the way you sling color. One of the first things I saw of yours was some Star Wars art you did, with Yoda at a bar. It was so elegant, yet simple, yet intricate… That can be really hard to pull off!

I see your dad helping you out at your booth during shows. Who’s the better salesman?

Him for sure.  He’s the life of the Con.  73 years old and the man will stand for 3 days straight, never complain, and talk to anyone and everyone. It’s so fun to be with him selling something… he’s been my #1 fan of for all these years. I used to go to trade shows with him so it’s cool to see it come full circle

Tony and Pops

I call this the “Gwen Stacy” question: All of your art is being dangled over the George Washington Bridge, and you can only save ONE piece. Which one is it?

MY art or what we own in our collection?

BOTH.

I’d say I’d save my Silvia Ji Original piece because it was the real first art piece I purchased and as far as my own work – GRAB THE HARD DRIVE – I don’t know what to save.  I’d say I’d pick my piece from that Star Wars show you actually had at Frisch – it was my first group show, the first time I cut out and mounted my art, and it’s C-3PO and R2 being denied at the Star Bar because of the oldest rule in the book “no shirt, no shoes, no droids, no service.”

I was really blown away by them (the Star Wars pieces). I almost bought them about a thousand times!

Thanks for sharing the Eleven sketch with us! Stranger Things was awesome, and a great throw-back to some classic movie moments. What is you favorite classic horror or sci-fi movie? (at this point, Tony says “waffle is go” and posts this pic:

El2

Now that is hard to pinpoint – but, not so much sci-fi, but Big Trouble in Little China is one of my all-time movies. Netflix suggests I watch it since recently viewing from the night before. No joke.

OH MY GODS. I adore that movie more than both of my kids. I love that Jack Burton is actually the idiot sidekick. It’s my favorite Carpenter movie.

I recall you loving that film.  Also, Swamp Thing.  I remember watching that on TV in my parents house back in the 80’s and remembering how disturbing it was when everyone starts to turn into crazy creatures.  Practical effects still make me all giggly inside because it’s fucking real!!! Bubbling skin is literally bubbling skin (well make-up skin), but still!!

Who are your favorite illustrators working today?

My friends, Jake Parker and Alex Solis.

Jake is so good! I fanboy so hard whenever I see his stuff. I really love the Society of Visual Storytelling site, he does a lot of great classes on there.

I can truly say I pay $15/month and have only watched 1 class. wtf is wrong with me???

I have a subscription, too. I was about an hour into the comic book class, and Jake says “you’ll learn a lot from just drawing, too.” and I was gone. Still pay the sub, because I know I’m going to dive back in head first when I run out of steam on these 15 projects.

Thanks for talking with me about your work, Tony! Other than the Watchtower show, where can people check out your art?

Instagram will give you the live stream @thetonus and my site has most of my current work for sale thetonus.com.  I also have apparel available at thetonus.threadless.com and that is always a work in progress to get the right print on the right product.

Flash

Seriously, Tony! Thanks so much for talking with me tonight. Have a good one!

Hold on one sec…

whatcha think?? (final pencils for El drawing pop up on screen)

El3

Hahaha! That is so great!

Suddenly, Tony and I both realize that Art Drop Day is two weeks away and panic. Well, I panicked. I think Tony kept drawing and fired up Big Trouble in Little China again!

Tony Poulson’s Hand Over the Hero series can be seen at Watchtower Cafe’s Gallery of Rogues (1588s State Street) from August 19th through September 9th!

Workbench Wednesday: Sucky Job Edition

Here’s a look at what I have going on this week on the “workbench,” which is actually a couple of spiral-bound sketchbooks. Unless I’m sculpting, in which case it really is a workbench.

My creative process is pretty wonky, but it works for me. I sit down with a paper and pen, and just start doodling. I learned this (and a lot more) from a few Jake Parker videos at the awesome Society of Visual Storytelling. Just sitting pen to paper gets the hand warmed up, and gets your brain synched up with your fingers. From there, you either end up with some ideas that you can expand on, or you just spent some time warming up. If ideas come, I work on those next, if it’s a warm-up session, I try and work on projects that I started earlier. Most of this happens between 11pm and 3am, which seems to be when I am at my most creative.

This week has been all about the (surprise!) monsters. I started out working on a new book project chock full of mythological monsters from around the world, but my brain decided that it wanted to draw classic movie monsters with lousy jobs.

A couple of these will get expanded upon, and probably end up in one of the books. The old Strigoi might end up in something else altogether; he’s just the right amount of creepy, so I’ll flag him in the creepy file for later.

And the Winner is…

Last night’s Midnight Monster Madness poll went well into the morning, with a lot of really good (and goofy) candidates for this week’s art drop. We had everything from a chupacabra to the elusive Gingersquatch suggested, but there was one clear winner in the, ahem, pack.

It seems people are crazy for werewolves. Very specific werewolves, in fact; you seem to like your lycanthropes in leopard print. At tea parties.

And this is why I love you.

Here are the pencils for this week’s art drop!

Werewolf tea party

The finished piece will be 5×7 inches, inked on card. It will be hidden somewhere in Salt Lake City either Friday or Saturday this week, stay tuned for more details!

Monster Monday: the Nachzehrer

My Spectral Consultant whispered something into my ear last night.

Regular content is a must if you are going to make it in this world..” it whispered. Then it licked my ear. CREEPY. I opened my eyes, and my dog was standing on my chest, staring at me. Could my chihuahua actually be my Spectral Consultant? Impossible.

I’m listening to my consultant, though. Dog, Daemon, or daisy, it was right. I need regular stuffs to keep the peeps coming back. I like monsters. YOU like monsters (please like monsters). So, let’s check out a monster!

This week, we’re going to travel to the middle of Olde Europe, and take a look at a rather twisted sort of vampire. It’s hungry. It’s dead. It likes the taste of pyjamas.

My fellow cognizants, please keep flash photography to a minimum. It’ll eat you. Please extend a hearty hello to the Nachzehrer.

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“Get your own shroud!”

The Middle Ages were tough, folks. People were dropping off like flies, mostly due to diseases that simple hygiene and a lack of raw sewage could have helped prevent. But, if there is one constant in the human condition, we will look to the supernatural for the cause of a problem, even if the physical world is crawling with the answer.

Scared people were desperate to explain why so many friends and neighbors were wasting away. It couldn’t be the piles of trash and roving rat colonies, so it was most likely some sort of malevolent entity. Maybe someone who was already dead… Far easier to rationalize Uncle Peebo coming back to life than think too much about the river of poo you had to jump over to get to your job at the muck sorting factory.

This is pretty much the conclusion people in parts of Germany and Poland came to. Whole families were dying, and it was probably because someone in the family shuffled off this mortal coil, got bored, got hungry, then came back to eat mom and dad. If the first person in the family to die took their own life, that made the evidence even more damning.

The Nachzehrer would feast off the life energy of its victims, causing them to waste away. It was a lot easier for people to believe that a vampire was killing everyone in town than dysentery or plague, so the belief spread and people kept on dying.

The Nachzehrer was a bit quirky, even for this period of time. They really liked the taste of their funeral shrouds, so if you were hunting one, all you had to do was hold really still and listen; the Nachzehrer could be heard calmly munching away on its clothes. They also liked to sleep in their tombs, sucking on its shroud with one eye open, clutching its own thumb.

Nachzehrer Sleeping
“munch…munch… munch”

The Nachzehrer was also a bit of a show-off, and liked to climb into church towers during the dead of night and ring the bells. Anyone who heard the bells ringing during the night was most likely to die. It’s also said that the shadow of a Nachzehrer would kill anyone it came into contact with, and something about them being able to turn into pigs, but that’s just goofy.

If you found a Nachzehrer, you could end its killing spree by placing a coin in its mouth then chopping off its head. The coin would paralyze the vamp for some reason, which we can just chalk up to Middle Ages Logic. There is even evidence that some overzealous hunter skipped the coin altogether; the remains of a woman in Venice were found in a plague grave with a brick shoved between her teeth. That’ll show her!

Nachzehrer

I will be featuring a Nachzehrer in an upcoming book; this drawing was the first coloring page, but I’m going to re-do it; something about the Nachzehrer’s passion for garment eating is too good to pass up!

Is there an old monster you would like to see highlighted here? Let me know in the comments section!