Have a Gay Christmas, with Santa and Rudolph. 🙂
Have a Gay Christmas, with Santa and Rudolph. 🙂
I’ve began working on a couple of new comics projects, a rompy sci-fi story and a dark historical fiction. Both are in very early stages of development, so I have no idea when (or if) they’ll be out, but I’ll try to keep you up to date on my progress here.
For the historical fiction I’m approaching the writing a bit differently to what I’ve done previously. In the past, after working out the plot and characters, I’ve tended to write a full script, dialog and all, and then started on rough sketches. While it works, I find it doesn’t take the page layout and flow into account, so when I get to drawing stage, I may have trouble fitting in the dialog, getting the layout right, or getting the page breaks to fit with story. It makes sense to use a full script when there are two or more people collaborating on a comic, but since I’m doing all the work myself, I figured I could do more of the writing by drawing, not only speeding up the process, but hopefully improving my visual storytelling in the process. So this time around I’m only doing a short summary of each scene, before moving on to very rough sketches. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m planning on doing the comic in contrasty black & white, inspired by Eduardo Risso’s beautiful comics, though my drawings are nowhere near as good as his. I have a bit of a love for open-source software, and Linux in general, so had originally planned on drawing the comic in the Gimp, using my own Gimp Book plug-in. I had even done some tests in both Krita and the Gimp, working with 1-bit, black & white, graphics, and was quite happy with Gimp. Krita is great for painting, but I found it easier to work with 1-bit graphics in Gimp.
You may be asking yourself, what are 1-bit graphics. It’s graphics where each pixel is either completely black or completely white, used mainly for print to get clean smooth lines. The problem with printing grayscale line drawings, is that the nice anti-aliasing that makes the lines look smooth on your screen, get rasterized for the printer, and make your lines look fuzzy on paper. Of course, for this to work, the 1-bit line drawing has to be of a relatively high resolution, at least 300 ppi, but preferably 600 ppi or more, so you don’t see visible pixelation in your smooth line art.
To get on with it. I bought myself a new laptop a month ago, a ThinkPad Yoga 12, and was having some trouble getting it to play nicely with Linux (admittedly mostly due to my laziness). The laptop has both a Wacom digitizer and a touchscreen, which was what was causing me trouble. So I decided to run Windows 10 on it for a while, and wait until Ubuntu 15.10 comes out in October. While Krita worked fine under Windows 10, Gimp would for some reason almost crawl to a halt when used with the Wacom pen. So I decided to take a look at the demo of Manga Studio 5 (aka Clip Paint Studio). I had used Manga Studio EX 4 previously to draw The Raft, and knew it was really the best software out there for doing 1-bit line art (yes, better than Photoshop). After a little testing, I found that it had improved a lot. For one, it had an option to make the interface more touch friendly, while still giving you access to all the features of the full interface. It meant I could comfortably use it on the Yoga, with the keyboard folded away, without really missing it. After playing around with it a little, I decided to upgrade my Manga Studio EX 4, to 5 (or Clip Paint Studio as they’re now calling it…horrible name, I know), and am doing my historical comic using it.
As part of testing CPS/MS5EX, I did one page in a similar style to what I have planned for my historical comic. The page was completely random and nonsensical with no script or planning, and has nothing to do with the story of my historical comic, it was more about testing the features of the software, such as the perspective ruler, the pose-able 3D characters (used for the first panel), panel layers, vector layers, speech bubbles and more.
Click on the image, to view it in higer resolution.
As for the rompy sci-fi story, I’ve yet to decide on how to make it, but one of the options I’m looking into is stylized CG using Blender, if I can do it in a way that isn’t waaay too much work. 🙂
Oslo Pride started a couple of days ago, with Pride Park opening tomorrow. This year I’m taking part in a gay art exhibit at the City Hall Gallery (Rådhusgalleriet). There are nearly 60 artists participating, with everything from paintings, sculptures, photography, video art to a huge photo tapestry and, of course, my comic. I’m exhibiting my short comic Stranger Danger, which I colored for the occasion.
If you’re in Oslo, please check out the exhibit. It opens on June the 24th, and runs until June the 29th, opening hours are between 11 and 18. We also have a small “sampler” tent in Pride Park in Spikersuppa you can check out.
If you’re not in Oslo, you can still enjoy my comic online in the new updated full color version right here.
Finally there is a new comic here at queertales.com. I just finished a short nine page story called Stranger Danger, that you can read right now!
Hopefully the wait for my next comic won’t be quite as long. 🙂
While there haven’t been many updates here in recent months, I’ve been busy with comics related work in the form of writing a series of tutorials on Making Comics with GIMP, and doing some major updates to my GIMP Book plug-in.
In the meantime my little 9 page comic has been moving along exceptionally slowly. I’ve pencilled all the pages, and inked two, but coloring still remains. Eventually, whenever it’s finished, I’ll publish it here on queertales.com.
It’s well into the 24th, and I should have gone to sleep hours ago, but instead I sat up and drew this. I hope you enjoy it, and have a Gay Ol’ Christmas!
I’ve moved some relevant blog posts from my old site, ragtag.net to here. They contain some early sketches for The Raft that I thought you might enjoy. I’ve collected these posts under the ragtag.net tag.
You may also have noticed that this site hasn’t been updated for almost two years. I’ve been a bit busy with life and other projects, including some open-source software development. One of the tools I’ve developed is GIMP Book. It’s a tool for managing multiple pages, such as comic books, when using GIMP.
For those of you that don’t know GIMP, it’s an open-source graphics and image manipulation program, that works on Linux, Windows and Mac. It works in much the same way as Photoshop, except that you can get it for free from gimp.org.
I’ve also been trying to bring an old artistic 3D renderer back to life, called Jot, by writing a Blender exporter for it. Jot let’s you render your 3D animations with a hand drawn look and feel. I’ve rendered out the status of David (modeled by gabrielmda) in Jot, to give you an impression of what it can do.
As for more comics, there just may be some in the near future. I’m currently, albeit extremely slowly, working on a short 8-9 page comics using Gimp Book. In addition I’ve got several projects on the backburner that may, or may not come to fruition.
These include a couple of longer stories, that I may turn into either comics or novels with some illustrations (as drawing long format comics is just too much work, and I’m lazy). In addition I’ve wanted to bring Now and Then back to life, either as an animated film, as originally intended, or as a painted comics. Either way, I’m not making any promises, and it may be another year or two until queertales.com sees another update.
Here is a little Christmas card for you, that I hope you enjoy.
As you might have guessed from the card, I’m spending Christmas in Thailand this year. Last year I was up in the Norwegian mountains with my family in -25C, and now we’re down in Hua-Hin, in +30C. Both times I caught a cold.
I must admit it feels a bit strange spending Christmas in the sun, but I think I could definitely get used to it. 🙂
A big สุขสันต์วันคริสมาสต์ to you all.
(A small disclaimer: I wanted to do detailed shading to it, but just ran out of time, and I used photo-reference completely blatantly for that picture).
After a few months of regularly publishing new page of “The Raft” online, the story is now complete, with all 60 pages available here.
You may notice that underneath each page of my comics, there are a few icons. The first is for downloading the comic you’re reading as a .cbz file, the second gives you a thumbnail view of the comic plus a copy of the manuscript, the third is for sharing the comic with your friends through social media sites (please do), and the last one just sends you to the front page.
If you would rather read it on paper, it’s still avaible in print at a reduced price of only US$9.95 for the remainder of 2011. A big thank you to all you guys who bought my book so far.
Phrases like that are commonly heard when discussing gay characters in fiction, but what do they really mean?
On the surface they simply mean that the characters gayness is not important to the story, but if you dig a little deeper it has a more subtle and darker undertone. Many people, both gay and straight, attach negative connotations to gay themed comics, books and films, and by saying that the main character “just happens to be gay”, they are trying to distance the work from the feared “gay” label that might otherwise brand the story. But is it so bad for a book or film to be called gay, if it in fact is gay?
A straight co-worker of mine argued that the film “I Love You Phillip Morris” wasn’t really a gay movie, because it was entertaining for a straight audience. To me, “I Love You Phillip Morris” is most definitely a gay movie, it has a gay lead character who is out and proud, a coming-out story, a gay romance and gay sex, the only thing that sets it apart from most gay comedies is that it has famous lead actors and a big budget. Maybe “gay themed” has become synonymous with a low budget, low production values and limited talent.
It is understandable that major publishers and film studios avoid the gay label. They like to stick to tried and tested formulas that they know will sell. A gay lead character could easily scare away 90% of the straight audience, which would make them loose money on the project. Smaller specialized publishers, who have lower costs, can afford to cater to a niche audience.
A gay tale that is well told, should be able to find an audience based on it’s own merits. However this does not seem to be the case. The film studios may actually be right on this one. Once a story is labeled gay, most straight people, especially guys, will avoid it. They don’t want to see two guys kissing and they don’t want “the gay agenda” shoved down their throats. I guess it’s partially because people like stories they can easily relate to, and partially it’s good ol’ homophobia.
Maybe we haven’t come as far with gay rights as we think. We still find the need to mention that a character “happens to be gay”, somehow deflating his gayness and making him more acceptable to a straight audience, while you never hear anyone say that someone “just happens to be straight”. In fact a sentence like, “007 is a special agent for the MI5, who just happens to be straight”, sounds palpably absurd.