Saturday, 10 April 2010

Logic Dictates Commentary

Okey dokey there girls and guys! I've decided to start posting the odd (very odd if you ask me) commentary of things I have either written or coloured. Sometimes it'll be about the writing or the thoughts behind it, sometimes it'll be about the colouring techniques I've chosen and sometimes it'll be about how I did it. This time it'll be a mix of all three.

Before I begin I want to send an enormous amount of props to Rui Onishi who was the penciller and inker for this. The artwork was stellar and made my work a whole load easier when it came to colouring! I would very much like to pimp Rui's DA page here:

The fully lettered version of this story is available here:

The Story

The story started as an inkling of an idea that tinkled in my head after a conversation probably a year ago with Josh Van Reyk of TF:Mosaic, but that never turned into anything concrete. After admiring Rui's work I asked who Rui's favourite character was: Shockwave.

One thing that always made me intrigued about Shockwave was that he was cold and logical, more robotic than the others. The origin of the story was, why did he become that way, he surely hadn't always been that way, what would be the the thing to make you shut down like that? The answer for me was grief and pain. Shutting down his emotional centres and pain receptors was/is his only way to survive. Revenge is what drives him but in order to get close to the one who did this to him, killed his friend, the thing he cared about the most, he needs to be methodical. He needs to be able to get close, and if he felt rage he couldn't do that, he'd get sloppy and killed. The notion that he was in disguise, appearing loyal and working to undermine and destroy Megatron seemed an interesting unexplored avenue to go down. It's a bit more "real" that just making simple grabs for power. In addition it doesn't undermine any established IDW continuity.

The key thing with one page comics is that you have to either reveal something about the character or tell a story with a twist, there's no room for waste. When I write a Mosaic I try and ensure that the story lives beyond the one page. At the end of this story you have learned something new, something that has deepened your understanding of the character and something that informs the next story you read about Shockwave. If that sounds easy, it isn't, and I don't always get it right, but that's what I'm aiming for.


Here's the page without words:

The Mosaic begins without letting you know who it is is narrating, but whoever it is they're stepping out of hell. He's all emotion, the first panel is all fire, though somewhere far away the two still moons of Cybertron are icy cold. When we get to the second panel, Shockwave is out of focus - lost. Behind him the fire illuminates him but the colours as we look down on his lost friend are all cool and cold, lifeless. Everything in front of Shockwave has a cold hue, and the colour scheme on the fallen comrade is also deliberately cold. Normally colour schemes are set on TF's but I had a chance here to choose colours that suited the story best. Whoop!

As the story progresses we get closer and closer to the stages of his transformation, more foreshadowing of who he is going to become. As we see the transformation the colours get cooler, the colours get colder. The final image has Shockwave cool in colour against a warm background, the only heat coming from his cannon arm and single, logical eye, a sign of what's lurking behind it. The only other hint of rage we see is his POV of his attacker and the murderer of his friend - Megatron. This panel is very deliberately not like any of the others. Red isn't really used anywhere else on the page and makes this the most angry panel, a sign of his mental state at this point and the beginning of his change. Even the panel borders are different in colour at this point. i think of it like a very quick cut in a film, just a few framed flash, a spike of pain, before returning to the main scene. Everything after this panel though becomes more logical, more matter of fact until we see his purpose and plan spelled out in cold logic.


A few folks have asked about some of the techniques I've used. At some point I may do a tutorial but until then, the smoke was done by lassoing the smoke linework, increasing the selection radius a bit and then putting the smoke all on a layer above the linework. Then I use a lot of rough, speckled brushes to do shadows and highlights which I then apply a light Gaussian blur. After that I do another few specks of black/grey/white on the smoke layer, using orange and yellow linear dodge on any fire elements.

As for the starry sky, I get asked this a lot and its very difficult to explain. I start by using some star brushes until there are too many stars, and add some coloured haze depending on the mood I'm after. I then use the burn brush to make some of the regions of space darker than others, and making it look like specific clusters of nebulae stand out. Then I pick a different sized star brush on a linear dodge to make some very bright stars and keep all the stars from looking uniform.

Well - there's a lot in there, hope it helps with either the writing or colouring of your own project or adds to your enjoyment of the story.



1 comment:

Coffee Catholic said...

I read all of this and I wish that I could come up with a deep and thought-provoking comment but... I just don't have the brain cells right now. Kids. Lambing season. Husband down with a bug. Trying to write my TF wannabe novel... My brain hurts lol. So please accept my super-short but honest version:

Nice. This was a *great* read. Thank you for taking the time to write all of this.