Mutation Madness ( a Preamble to San Diego Comic-Con 2012)

I leave for San Diego Comic-con tomorrow, I have very mixed feelings. On the one hand I LOVE Comic-con, and the last 2 years I went were awesomely fun. On the other hand, some friends that live in that area, who I was expecting to see will not be there this year. Add to that the mix of awesome fun things I unexpectedly get to do , with the frustration of not just not getting to things, but the time wasted trying. As an example last year we went  to see the premire of the new Torchwood episode, unexpectedly the whole cast came out and chatted a bit beofre watching teh episode from teh front of teh audience with us, then everyone got a souveneer mask on the way out!   On the flip side, I wanted to get meet the Torchwood actors, to maybe get a pic or have them sign my limited edition mask. I had to get a ticket, the tickets were in a bag, it was random if you get a good ticket that gets you in, or a bad ticket that means get back on line or give up. First I spent 30 minutes walking briskly around the area I was told the line started, no one that worked there had any idea where it was, eventually I was sent outside, across the street, and into a parking lot with no shade, next to dumpsters and industrial machines. behind the center. There was a line but there was no official person just fans, I asked a few what the line was, different answers from different people, I eventually realized this line was for like 8 different things, but for some reason we all had to wait in the same line. Big bang, smallville, torchwood, and many others, all forced to wait in a line many times longer that was necessary, and you could only choose one thing. after 30 minutes on the line an official actually confirmed all of this, 30 minutes later the line started moving, an hour or so after that, I got to the ticket area, we spilled out into a semi-open area with 8 or so mini-lines  unmarked or unclearly marked as to what they were for, again, no officials were there, and when i eventually found someone, they didn’t know, I had to ask fans and hope I was on the right line. Eventually I found it and waited about 10-15 minutes on the mini-line for Torchwood. When I was about 20 people from the bag someone got a “good” ticket, and they announced that was the last one. Now, I had waited all this time in line and didn’t even get my chance at picking  a ticket. I also had passes the point where I could get into another mini-line, and was just done. What a waste. Meanwhile it’s a similarly mixed bag with meeting artists and showing them my work, or presenting my portfolio to editors. For every, wow nice stuff, good expressions and back ground detail, there is a you need to work on your perspective, and your stuff looks too cartoony. My favorite was at Image con a few months ago I showed 2 different image artists the same samples, and one specifically complimented my perspective, and the other specifically said it was way off. The thing is I am VERY aware how far from perfect my work is. I am always working on my weaknesses, and I believe getting better. The page below was one of three page roughs, I did last September. Then I did the “pencils” and started the inks, I probably spent 6 hours up to that point maybe more. Recently I decided to finish those pages to bring to Comic-con. It took me 9 hours to get the first page done, I redrew the Raph in panel two no less than 5 times. You may think I am exaggerating, but if anything I am under estimating the total time. I wanted to finish all 3 , but in retrospect that was never gonna happen in the time I allowed myself. I know I can do a page or two a day in color! I’ve done it under a deadline. But, when I have “unlimited” time I redraw and redraw and second guess myself forever. Part of this is my own standards, but much of my “perfectionist” nature comes from outside myself. I have many artist friends and family member who tell me I am my own worst enemy and I should relax and less it be a little less than perfect sometimes. They are all on my side, and I appreciate that and they are not wrong. However, the reason I take a decent page that can be done in 8 hours and work it for 15 hours is because it will be better at the end. There is a diminishing returns affect for sure though. the extra 8 hours makes it maybe 20-30 percent better.  Which means, in half the time, the quality would still be 70-80 percent as good. Even when I am done, as with the page below, I have to fight not to fix things. I want to re-draw the front shell plates on Raph in panel 2, and add something to draw more attention to the gas bombs he throws in panel 3. These are objectively correct alterations I could/should make. Over time I will see more. Maybe most people never will never notice, but the editors, and other artists, and my father always notice more flaws than I do. So, I quest to eliminate as many flaws as I can, just so they can find ones I never even realized were there, or maybe place more importance on the imperfections, I thought were good enough. Imperfection is a great descriptor, because I almost never have mistakes, I usually know exactly where I failed and why, and just decide it is not worth even more time to fix it. Many of my “pencil” samples have been difficult to ink, or had too much detail to ink, ect, so this time I am bringing stuff I have inked myself digitally. I am sure they will have problems with that. They will defiantly have problems with the grey tones I used on this page. But I think it looks good, and in that one small way I guess I don’t care what they think.  Believe it or not I will have fun :p





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