Visionary is LIVE at SDCC! Booth M-10 Small Press Pavilion!

7/19-23 San Diego Comic Con @ San Diego Convention Center
Booth M-10 at the Small Press Pavilion
Wednesday 6pm-9pm / Thurs-Sat 9:30am-7pm / Sun 9:30am-5pm
SDCC Blog Announces Visionary’s Return!
Visionary makes it’s triumphant return to San Diego Comic-Con! Join Visionary’s Mike Munshaw, Sophia Openshaw and C. Edward Sellner for an epic week! Get Visionary’s latest comics, graphic novels, prints, and merchandise! Happening NOW!!

Weekly Visions 7.13.17: Spotlight News!

Welcome back to your weekly dose of all things Visionary!

This week we’re spotlighting exciting news from several of our studio clients, partners, and friends! Lots of cool stuff going on at every level of the comics’ world, and we wanted to make sure you knew about these particular gems.

Next week – We will be LIVE at San Diego Comic-Con! Join us for an update from the show floor!

 

Image result for gotham by gaslightGotham by Gaslight Gets Animated Feature!

The next direct-to-video DC Comics-based animated feature has been revealed to be an adaptation of the ’80s Elseworlds story Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (via ComicBook). The first-ever DC Comics Elseworlds story, Gotham by Gaslight was written by Visionary’s own Brian Augustyn and drawn by Hellboy mastermind Mike Mignola, with inks by P. Craig Russell. The story features a Victorian-era take on Batman that’s on the hunt for serial killer Jack the Ripper.

The synopsis for the comic book version of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is the following: “In an age of mystery and superstition, how would the people of Gotham react to a weird creature of the night, a bat-garbed vigilante feared by the guilty and the innocent alike? The very first Elseworlds tale re-imagines the Dark Knight detective in Victorian times and pits him against the infamous murderer Jack the Ripper.”

 

 

 

A kidnapped Princess uses a dating app to find Knights to rescue her. Meanwhile, her captor discovers what true love means to her. By Ricky Lima and Nicolas "Lonku" LondiexKickstarter Spotlight: Happily Ever Aftr a Fairy TaLGBT

From the creative mind of Ricky Lima!

In this pseudo-modern twist on classic stories of knights in shining armor, Gretchen, the daughter of an evil king, kidnaps Princess Emily to be her bride. Now she must win the heart of her princess while dealing with her disapproving father. Meanwhile, Emily plots her escape using a hero/damsel hookup app on her phone. Soon enough there is an army of knights descending on the king’s castle, each eager for the chance to save a princess. Will any of the knights be able to free Emily from her pint-sized captor? Will the king learn to accept his daughter for who she is?

From the Creator:
“I hope that readers can enjoy the variety of relationships on display in the comic. I really wanted to spotlight all kinds of different love! The graphic novel is written to complete the whole Happily Ever Aftr story. It’ll be a self-contained book with a satisfying ending.”

Kickstarter ends July 31st. Check it out NOW!!

 

Image result for third-eye comicsThird-Eye Comics Blows Up!

Third-Eye Comics, owned and operated by the amazing Steve Anderson, is one of our favorite local retailers! They hosted Visionary at their annual FCBD event this past May, and this past weekend they moved into a spectacular new location at almost twice the size of their former shop! If you are local to Annapolis, you owe it to yourself to check them out!

 

Greenbelt Arts Center Debuts “King Kirby!”

Local comic fans and fine art aficionados are going to want to check out the original production, “King Kirby” being staged by the Off the Quill Theater Company from July 28th – August 12th. The play is about the trials and tribulations of Jack Kirby in the world of comic book art, celebrating his 100th birthday this year. A gallery showing featuring Kirby art will run concurrent with the play, showcasing the King’s contributions to the medium! Get More Details NOW!

 

Visionary’s CCO C. Edward Sellner Interviewed

Thanks to Josh Davidsberg of Your Money & Business on Maryland Public Television, Visionary’s own CCO got a chance to reflect on his career in comics! Check it out!

 

 

Weekly Visions Returns!

And we’re back! It’s been an insanely busy year for all of us over at Visionary, lots of changes inside and out, and we very much needed the time to regroup and refocus, so we appreciate everyone hanging in there!

Weekly Visions officially relaunches as of today, and we’ll have word of when our Sunday My Comic Life feature will return next week. Get Creative also returns today, but as an ongoing feature in Weekly Visions! Check out our first spotlight below!

 

Upcoming LIVE Events

Tis’ the season… CONVENTION SEASON! Once again, Visionary is all over the place, supporting local conventions, library shows, and other community events! Check out the shows coming up in the next month in full detail below, then scope out the rest of the year down a ways! Find your local scene and come check us out!

 

FredCon Logo Convention7/15 FREDCON @ Spotsylvania Town Center Mall :: 10am-7pm
Join Visionary’s Mike Munshaw for the second-year of FredCon! Mike will be doing commissions, as well as debuting new sketch cards and prints. Also find Visionary’s entire line of books, prints, and merchandise!

 

 

7/19-23 San Diego Comic Con @ San Diego Convention Center
Wednesday 6pm-9pm / Thurs-Sat 9:30am-7pm / Sun 9:30am-5pm
SDCC Blog Announces Visionary’s Return!
Visionary makes it’s triumphant return to San Diego Comic-Con! Join Visionary’s Mike Munshaw, Sophia Openshaw and C. Edward Sellner for an epic week! Get Visionary’s latest comics, graphic novels, prints, and merchandise!

 

 

8/5 Washington County Free Library Con @ Washington County Free Library
11am-4pm  :: CCO C. Edward Sellner will be doing his My Comic Life Panel!
Join Visionary for the third year of Washington County Free Library Comic-Con! CCO C. Edward Sellner will be doing his My Comic Life panel, and we will have all our latest releases and merchandise on hand!

 

 

 

 

 

Dover Comic-Con Logo8/19 Dover Comic Con @ Dover Public Library
10am-5pm  :: 1:30pm CCO C. Edward Sellner will be doing his My Comic Life Panel!
Visionary returns to Dover Comic-Con for the third year mega event! Join Visionary’s CCO for his rousing panel on building a comics career, check out all our new releases and enjoy a day soaking in the pop-culture!

 

 

 

 


 2017 Confirmed Show Schedule

DLGX10

Art by Steve Ellis

The following are confirmed shows for Visionary this coming year. More details coming as we get closer to each! Click the Event to go to their main page, or the location for map and directions.

8/26 Southern Maryland Comic-Con @ Hollywood Fire Department

9/1-3 Escape Velocity @ Gaylord Convention Center

9/10-11 Maryland Seafood Festival @ Sandy Point State Park

9/22-24 Baltimore Comic-Con @ Baltimore Convention Center

9/22-24 Baltimore Book Fest @ Baltimore Inner Harbor

 

 

 


Visionary’s spotlight on cool creative projects and initiatives, from projects the studio is working on, to ones our creators and partners are doing, to great finds on crowdfunding sites! Get the lowdown! Get inspired! Get Creative!

Bharata – The Project 

From Sunish Chabba and illustrated by Visionary artist Ishan Trivedi, Bharata takes inspiration from traditional Indian folk art forms, Kishangarh paintings &  miniature paintings as the central theme while the characters are imagined as part of the Indian royalty.  Bharata is India’s original name, and the whole deck is an ode to the stories of Kings & Queens, art forms & history of that land. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of work coming in the form of a fully custom illustrated playing card deck. This project also has a second deck inspired by tarot as a stretch goal.  The campaign has already surpassed it’s goal with lot of reward levels to join in! But hurry, the campaign ends July 12th! Check it out NOW!

Visionary Update

Greetings to all our subscribers! We wanted to give all of you a heads up on our current status!

You may have noticed our posting schedule has gone a bit astray, we hoped to get on top of things this week, however, it appears our main site is in need of some upgrades and TLC, we also have some core content we need to get polished and done for some of the cool things coming this Spring, and finding the bandwidth to do that and maintain our thrice-weekly posting is proving daunting.

So, we are taking a little hiatus, not more than a week or two, to regroup, get some core content updated, get some cool things in place, build up some lead time on content, and will then resume by end of February at the latest.

We appreciate folks checking out our posts and content, and we want to make sure to give everyone who comes to our site the best experience. Thanks!

Get Creative: Art Auctions & ALIENS

Welcome to Visionary’s latest weekly feature, an online e-zine overflowing in celebration of the creative arts! Every Tuesday you’ll get a brand new ‘issue’ with all kinds of content, ranging from previews to reviews, from giveaways to exclusives. We’ll take you behind the scenes with interviews with some amazing creators, debut online galleries and works in process, as well as hook you up with special promotions for finished projects.

 

Please Note: due to scheduling issues this week’s My Comic Life and Weekly Visions postings were canceled.
My Comic Life will return February 5th, and Weekly Visions will return February 9th.


Get Creative Get Togethers – Visionary Sunday Nights at the Movies

Smithsonian IMAX

Hidden Figures & The Matrix Double Feature
Sunday February 5th @3:00pm :: Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater
Join us for a Visionary Films Double Feature! We’ll be attending the new release, hit movie Hidden Figures, then sticking around for an exclusive screening of the classic The Matrix! Then join CCO C. Edward Sellner for a roundtable discussion of both films afterward.
Tickets are on sale now! Click on the Film Links above to purchase! You must purchase tickets individually for each show!
Signup on the Studio Facebook Event!

Just announced for February 12th: It’s an ALIEN & ALIENS in IMAX Double-Feature!
Details Next Week!


One of our regular features for Get Creative will be spotlights on great art auctions from the Inkwell Awards, a non-profit dedicated to the art of comic book inking, with annual awards and outreach initiatives throughout the year.

Check out the latest offerings in this week’s AMAZING AUCTION!
Includes: 2 new Joe Sinnott original art sketch covers with Dr. Strange and Wonder Woman!!! This week we also recognize 2 prolific artist donors, Ken Lashley and Ed McGuinness! And a Sal Velluto/Bob Almond Bloodshot OA sketch cover! TWENTY items in all! Thanks for your support! Hurry, only three days left to bid!   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Visions 1.27.17: Your Visionary Deadlands Checklist!

PR Banner Weekly Visions 6-30-16Welcome back for another round of Weekly Visions! Sorry for the delay, our CCO still needs to work a bit on how he schedules posts. (sorry…)

Anyway, we thought it might be a good time to give everyone a full checklist of our currently available Deadlands titles, with links where to buy them, just in case anyone out there has missed any of the current releases.

We’ll be announcing the digital debut for Raven and Cackler soon, as well as adding print copies for both books to our online store! So, this is the time to get all caught up, so you’re ready for the new stuff when it hits!


Deadlands Digital Comics Available NOW in the Visionary Online Store

Based on the game DEADLANDS from Pinnacle Entertainment, Visionary Comics presents five one-shots by industry superstars, bringing the weird Western world of DEADLANDS to comics!

Deadlands Devil's Six Gun Cover Main from Visionary Comics Production StudioDeadlands: Devil’s Six Gun :: Buy it NOW for $1.99

In this issue: The Harvey Award-winning HIGH MOON team of DAVID GALLAHER & STEVE ELLIS tell the story of inventor Copernicus Blackburne, who risks even his immortal soul in his Faustian quest to build ‘The Devil’s Six-Gun!’

Author:David Gallaher
Artist:Steve Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands Massacre at Redwing Cover from Visionary Comics Production Studio

Deadlands: Massacre at Redwing :: Buy it NOW for $1.99

In this issue: Written by Jonah Hex scribes Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, ‘Massacre at Red Wing’ tells the story of Clementime, a warrior woman who journeys south in search of her mother, swearing to kill anyone and anything that gets in the way.

Authors: Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray
Artist: Lee Moder & Michael Atiyeh

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands Death Was Silent Cover from Visionary Comics Production Studio

Deadlands: Death Was Silent :: Buy it NOW for $1.99

In this issue: A silent bounty hunter rides into a remote town, but the town holds dark secrets that may turn the hunter into the hunted. Superstars RON MARZ and BART SEARS team up for a weird Western tale unlike any other!

Author: Ron Marz
Artists: Bart Sears & Michael Atiyeh

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands: Black Water :: Buy it NOW for $1.99

In this issue: JEFF MARIOTTE & BROOK TURNER weave a tale of mysticism, eternal love, and maybe a sea monster or two in ‘Black Water,’ as a wealthy man searches the Great Maze for the beautiful woman who has haunted his dreams for decades.

Author: Jeff Mariotte
Artists: Brook Turner & C. Edward Sellner

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands The Kid Origins Cover from Visionary Comics Production StudioDeadlands: The Kid :: Buy it NOW for $1.99

Based on the game DEADLANDS from Pinnacle Entertainment! Visionary Comics and Pinnacle Entertainment bring Billy the Kid to DEADLANDS! 12 years old, family wiped out, and all alone in the middle of the wild Weird West… hunted by werewolves. Grab a gun, there’s killin’ to be done! The print backup series collected in its own special edition.

Author: C. Edward Sellner
Artists: Oscar Capristo, Ale Aragon, & C. Edward Sellner

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands Volume 1: Dead Man’s Hand :: Buy it NOW for $9.99

This full-sized edition includes the four one-shots originally published by Image Comics, two new short stories, and an exclusive teaser for the first upcoming Deadlands novel!

Called the “all-star western” series, this collection features tales woven by such masters of the medium as David Gallaher, Steve Ellis, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Lee Moder, Ron Marz, Bart Sears, Jeff Mariotte, and Brook Turner. New short stories written by Deadlands creators Shane Hensley and Matt Cutter, debut new talent in the industry, and get the first teaser of New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry’s Deadlands novel, Ghostwalkers! Plus tons of bonus content, including gaming stats for all the main characters for Deadlands RPG fans, and an exclusive sketchbook section.

 

 


Deadlands Novels Available NOW on Amazon and Finer Book Stores

Based on the game DEADLANDS from Pinnacle Entertainment, Visionary Books presents the first two novels published by Tor Books, bringing the weird Western world of DEADLANDS to prose!

Deadlands Ghostwalkers MMP CoverDeadlands: Ghostwalkers :: Buy it on Amazon NOW

By New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry.
Illustrated by Aaron Riley & Steve Ellis.
Brought to you by Visionary Books and Tor Books.

The town of Paradise Falls faces utter destruction and the only ones who can save it are already in need of being saved themselves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlands Thunder Moon Rising Cover ArtDeadlands: Thunder Moon Rising :: Buy it on Amazon NOW

By best-selling author Jeffrey J. Mariotte.
Illustrated by Aaron Riley & Steve Ellis.
Brought to you by Visionary Books and Tor Books.

Fear is abroad in the Deadlands as a string of brutal killings and cattle mutilations trouble a frontier town in the Arizona Territory, nestled in the forbidding shadow of the rugged Thunder Mountains. A mule train is massacred, homes and ranches are attacked, and men and women are stalked and butchered by bestial killers who seem to be neither human nor animal. Meanwhile, a ruthless land baron tries to buy up all the surrounding territory—and possibly bring about an apocalypse.

 

 

 

 


Raven and Cackler Coming  Soon!

Subscribe Now to Not Miss Any New Release Announcements!

Get Creative Debuts and YOU Get FREE Comics!

Welcome to Visionary’s latest weekly feature, an online e-zine overflowing in celebration of the creative arts! Every Tuesday you’ll get a brand new ‘issue’ with all kinds of content, ranging from previews to reviews, from giveaways to exclusives. We’ll take you behind the scenes with interviews with some amazing creators, debut online galleries and works in process, as well as hook you up with special promotions for finished projects.

Visionary’s own will be front and center on a regular basis as we start teasing our projects for 2017 and beyond, introduce all our awesome staff, and debut our latest creative initiatives. But don’t think we’ll stop there! We plan to bring you the best of the best from beyond our humble abode. We’ll also include work from our ever-growing family of creative contributors, and our own staff’s highest recommendations of the cool stuff we love.

Whether it’s comics, books, film, television, theater, music, or fine art, you’ll find us celebrating the power of the arts in every form! We’ll even put out special challenges to encourage our readers and fellow creators to truly… Get Creative!


Get Creative Get Togethers – Visionary Nights at the Movies

Smithsonian IMAX

Sci-Fi Sunday Special Christopher Nolan 15/70mm Film Takeover
Sunday January 29th @5pm :: Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater
 Join us for an exclusive showing of Nolan’s visionary movie prologues for The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and his upcoming film Dunkirk, and then enjoy an exclusive screening of the full movie Interstellar! After the show join Visionary CCO C. Edward Sellner for a roundtable discussion of the film. Tickets are on sale now! // Signup on the Studio Facebook Event!

Nolan Night

Hidden Figures & The Matrix Double Feature
Sunday February 5th @3:00pm :: Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater
Join us for a Visionary Films Double Feature! We’ll be attending the new release, hit movie Hidden Figures, then sticking around for an exclusive screening of the classic The Matrix! Then join CCO C. Edward Sellner for a roundtable discussion of both films afterward.
Tickets are on sale now: Hidden Figures / The Matrix  // Signup on the Studio Facebook Event!

hidden-figures-750x315_orig


To celebrate the launch of our new Get Creative feature we figured what better way than US giving all of YOU a ‘feature-warming’ gift. We know a lot of our fans haven’t been around since Visionary launched, and many of you all out there may not even remember our previous digital publishing initiative where we released over 70 issues into the digital market. Since we plan to relaunch that initiative later this year, we thought it a great time to reintroduce some of our classics – for FREE!

Simply click on the links below to be taken to each book’s order page on Drive-Thru Comics, the original digital comic source. Like what you see? You can find even more titles on sale now below!

Get ’em While They’re Free!

Digital Visions #1-4


Visionary’s original comics anthology with four issues, all free! From Soul-Merchants to Insane Ice-Cream Vendors…from a futuristic hell, to feudal Japan, to the colonial Americas…from a mob that rules magic, to one man’s dream to rule the square ring of professional wrestling, Digital Visions has it all!

Issue 1 // Issue 2 // Issue 3 // Issue 4


Buy Visionary Books and Comics Online NOW!


My Comic Life Sundays: Penciling 101: The Layout

MCL Banner

Welcome back! Our Weekly Visions post last Thursday announced more details about my Smithsonian IMAX Get Creative Get Togethers launching this coming Saturday the 29th with an incredible night of Christopher Nolan 15/70mm films specials. We also announced the second event on February 5th with a double-feature of the brand new hit film about the ladies behind NASA, Hidden Figures and the mind-bending classic The Matrix. Signup for the first outing NOW!

Catch up with the My Comic Life Comic Strip on our Reader>>

Catch up with the My Comic Life Column at our Archive and Resources Page>>

My Comic Life Column 017: Penciling 101 The Layout

C. Edward Sellner cropped

Last time I started to really get into this series on penciling by going over the basics, including tools of the trade, setting up safe, bleed and trim zones, etc. It was essentially focused on logistics and materials.

This time I’m going to start talking about the first and most important step in actually creating a page of comic art – the layout.

Anyone who’s done art on any kind of regular basis has learned the best way to start is to sketch, loosely and lightly, in order to get a feel for the image. Starting with a light, loose sketch allows the artist to frame out the image, get proportions and anatomy, as well as perspective and lighting roughed out to then build on. It’s essentially a ‘feeling out’ stage where the artist can explore options, angles, composition, etc. Keeping it light if using pencil and paper, means you can erase and make changes easier.

Now, some artists, after they’ve been doing this work for years, even decades, layout and then jump to more finished versions pretty quickly. Others of us struggle a bit more at this stage, trying to get the exact look we want. Every artist sometimes hits a total wall on a given piece and will wrestle with it to no end. Doing all this in simple layout sketches means saving a lot of work once you decide you need to change something.

I’ve included two samples below of my own layout stages for a couple pieces of art. The first set is a cover I’m doing for a short story, the second set is an art print of Wonder Woman for an upcoming event.

As you can see, each successive layout I shift elements, tighten linework, add details, sometimes scrapping a part of the work and starting over, sometimes really defining those parts that are working well.

So, it should be pretty clear that this process really is a process of composing the image – from the basics like getting the proportions and anatomy right (as mentioned above) to the finer elements of framing the main focus of the image, creating elements to guide the viewer’s eye, etc.

Now, the simpler the image, the easier the layout. A quick head sketch is pretty simple to setup and start rolling pretty quick. Make that a full body sketch, little more effort at this stage to get limbs and body in proportion, moreso if that body is at an extreme angle needing foreshortening etc. Add a detailed background? More characters? More effort. Now, take all those elements for a single picture – turn that picture into a panel – and make a page of 6, 8, or 12 panels. Hopefully, you’re starting to see how important the layout stage is to crafting a good comic page.

The layout is when the artist is creating the single most important element of the page and that is the storytelling. Remember, in an earlier column, I spoke about amazing artists who then try their hand at comics and don’t do well? A large part of that is a failure to take into account storytelling from the very beginning, starting with the layout of the page.

Getting the Lay of the Page

Now, if you’re working with a full script, the basic layout of the page has already started in the process of the writing – in other words, your script will dictate, basically, the number of panels for any given page. The number of panels can vary from 1, what is more often called a SPLASH page, to 3 stacked, to 4, 6, or 8 panel grids, or more. Some can use very basic layouts, others more complex. A well-written script will be sure to have the story pace accordingly with the number of panels, for example:

SPLASH pages should be scenes worth that full page. They should be great establishing shots to establish scene or mood, great action shots, or critical turning points of the story worth the space and focus.

From there it becomes a fairly simple inverse relationship based on two key content elements: text and art. If there is a great number of specifics needed in the art to show scale or the full complexity of the action (say a city being ripped apart, or two super-teams clashing), or if there is a lot of text, dialogue, captions, etc. then that panel needs to be bigger. If there are fewer elements of art and dialogue (say a headshot of a single character saying a single word) the panel can be smaller.

Again, if you’re dealing with a full script, its important your writer be thinking through this as well (as they learned during the Writing 101 series), but, ultimately, it falls on you as the artist to translate that script to art. In doing so, you may decide the panel count needs to change, or feel part of a given page needs to be pushed to the next page to pace and balance better. These are issues it’s fair for an artist to bring back to a writer, and ones a good writer should listen to from their artist.

Once you start picturing the general content of the panels on any given page, the next important piece to bring into the mix quickly is how you want to then arrange those panels on a page.

Keep It Simple – OR – The Stack and the Grid are Your Friends

To the side are several examples of typical page layouts pulled from the work of Jack Kirby.

As you can see, they show a range of not only panel counts, but how those panels are arranged.

But perhaps the most noticeable thing is also the most common thing about each of these: they are all fairly simple, blocked panels in simple stacked or grid layouts.

A stack is when panels stretching the width of the page are placed one atop the other, like the upper left image of three panels.

A grid is when smaller square or rectangular panels number across the page, then are in tiers down the page, with the most common being the classic six-panel grid seen at the lower left position.

Now, while having complex panel layouts may look cool, I usually strongly recommend artists just starting out in comics do more basic layouts. The reasoning is very simple – a basic stacked or grid layout means your storytelling will absolutely be clear and easy to follow as far as this stage is concerned.

Again, that is the single most important element of a sequential page of art, that the story flows easily for the reader and they are able to naturally and automatically follow through the proper sequence of panels to see the story unfold and enjoy it.

Those complex layouts you see by more accomplished artists that can blow your mind are actually incredible masterpieces of pacing, order, layout and composition in order for them to work. If you haven’t fairly mastered all those skills and try a complex panel layout for some ‘cool effect’ chances are you’ll end up losing a reader somewhere in the midst of it, and that will knock them out of the story and instantly be a turnoff to them.

Variety Really IS the Spice of Life (and Comics)

A final thing to mention this round, and we will come back to it later, is that it’s also important to vary your page layouts. Now, obviously, again, your script will hopefully include a good bit of variety in pacing and panel counts already, but you may find a good run of 4-6 panel pages, which is the general average. If all you do are basic grids, page after page, that’s going to get visually boring to a reader. Pretty much any kind of repetition, even at a basic layout level, becomes distracting and boring. So, add variety where you can. Maybe one 4 panel page would work better with slimmer, wider panels in a stack. Or a 6 panel page can use some varied panel sizes to shift the grid lines (as shown above).

NEXT

We’re going to continue focusing on layouts but start adding in actual composition of the art in panels and look at how artists can use layouts to add a lot of strength of story in the art as well as the basic panel setup.

Resources

Printable Paper has a number of basic comic page panel layout templates you can download for doing layouts and practice.

NOW DISCUSS…

My Comic Life Patreon Promotion

If you want more great content like this, support his Patreon campaign today by clicking the image!

About C. Edward Sellner

A full-time professional freelancer, Sellner has credits as a comics writer, prose author, colorist, artist, and editor from multiple publishers. He is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Visionary Creative Services, one of the best-known production studios and digital publishers in the industry. The studio opened in 2006 and since then has published over 70 different titles in its digital line, and been involved in over a hundred different projects in production. Its clients range from Hollywood producers to international sports stars to other studios and publishers. It became the first independent studio to enter the licensing game with the announcement of its Deadlands license, which has since been published in comics from Image and IDW and novels from Tor Books. The studio also hosts a successful internship program where interns get practical, real-world freelancing experience, including paid work on actual jobs fitting their skill levels. Learn more at www.visionarycreativeservices.com!

Weekly Visions 1.19.17: Get Creative Official Launch & Con Season is Coming!

Get Creative

January 24th, Visionary’s latest weekly feature debuts!
Weekly posts celebrating the arts, with creator interviews, online galleries, reviews and more!
Get it & Get Creative! Subscribe NOW!

 

 

 

 

Bar Outside

Digital Art by Richard Clark

Visionary is committed to connecting with fans, partners, retailers, distributors and our local communities! We do so through an ever growing number of diverse events, both in the virtual, and real world! We invite you to join us!

 

Got an event you’d like us to come to?

You can invite us!

Calendar

 

 

 

Upcoming LIVE Events

Get Creative Get TogetherVisionary is proud to introduce a new series of informal get-togethers based around, celebrating and providing opportunities for the creative arts. From film to comics, live performances to fine art exhibitions, these will be smaller, more personal events with Visionary staff and creators designed to celebrate, uplift and directly experience the arts. New events will be added on a semi-regular basis and sign ups and details will be included here.

 

Smithsonian IMAX

Sci-Fi Sunday Special Christopher Nolan 15/70mm Film Takeover
Sunday January 29th @5pm :: Samuel C. Johnson IMAX Theater
 Join us for an exclusive showing of Nolan’s visionary movie prologues for The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, and his upcoming film Dunkirk, and then enjoy an exclusive screening of the full movie Interstellar! After the show join Visionary CCO C. Edward Sellner for a roundtable discussion of the film. Tickets are on sale now!

Nolan Night

Hidden Figures & The Matrix Double Feature
Sunday February 5th @3:00pm :: Lockheed Martin IMAX Theater
Join us for a Visionary Films Double Feature! We’ll be attending the new release, hit movie Hidden Figures, then sticking around for an exclusive screening of the classic The Matrix! Tickets for both available soon!
Then join CCO C. Edward Sellner for a roundtable discussion of both films afterward.

hidden-figures-750x315_orig


Online Events

inkwell

NEW YEAR, NEW AUCTIONS LIVE NOW! The non-profit Inkwell Awards’ fundraising auctions are back and this week we have an eclectic assortment (books, prints, sketch covers, original art) of 15 collectible items donated by more generous supporters in our community! We have copies of our new and much-anticipated Ms. Inkwell Gallery book signed and available! Other items from Michael Golden, Allan Bellman, Andrew Pepoy, Bob Wiacek, Lee Weeks, V. Ken Marion, Ryan Stegman, Michael Dooney, Rafer Roberts, and Frankie B Washington! Thanks to all!!!

Visionary is proud to support the non-profit Inkwell Awards, an organization that educates and raises awareness of the art of inking!

 


DLGX10

Art by Steve Ellis

2017 Confirmed Show Schedule

The following are confirmed shows for Visionary this coming year. More details coming as we get closer to each! Click the Event to go to their main page, or the location for map and directions.

Where will your vision take you?

My Comic Life Sundays: Penciling 101: The Basics

MCL Banner

First, in case you missed our Weekly Visions Post this week, I announced a new, semi-regular time to Get Together and Get Creative. Thanks to a cool new partnership with the Smithsonian IMAX, we’ll be turning select new releases and special showings into Visionary films – I’ll be attending the show, and those wishing to can join me for an informal roundtable discussion on the merits of the movie afterward. Our first one kicks off January 29th at 5pm. Get all the details here>>

Hope to see you at one soon!

MCL_034

Catch up with the My Comic Life Comic Strip on our Reader>>

Catch up with the My Comic Life Column at our Archive and Resources Page>>

My Comic Life Column 016: Penciling 101 The Basics

C. Edward Sellner cropped

Last time I did a quick ‘sketch’ of penciling comics in general. This time I want to start digging into the topic and getting more concrete on specifics.

But before I do, let me put out two reminders that bear repeating:

First, the 101 round of series on each stage of creating comics is aimed at the basics, for beginners, just as I did with the writing series. So, a lot of what you read here may be stuff you’ve heard already if you’ve been at this any length of time, but, I try to include some pointers and tips I’ve picked up that will hopefully still make it worth your while even if you’re a pro.

Second, very little of what I share are hard and fast rules (though there are those as well). A lot of ‘creating’ is open to any number of options including tools you use, size you draw at, stylistic choices, etc. My goal is to share some of the most common used approaches and techniques for you to use or not as you wish, but are especially helpful if your goal is to produce work that may lead to you getting hired in the industry.

Tools of the Trade

9581209To do pencil artwork all you really need is a pencil and some paper. Once you start, you’ll probably soon after need an eraser, trust me. But if you want to start working to the norms of the industry you’ll start fine-tuning that process pretty quickly.

In fine-tuning that process, the first step is making sure you are producing art that fits the standard specs for whatever kind of comic you plan on doing. Now, again, lots of freedom here to just create stuff, but if you plan to submit this comic for print or digital release, or do it yourself, then you need to be more intentional in how you approach this.

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Most print comics are printed at a 6.875″ x 10.4375″ size, but the original art for those sized pages are most often done on 11″ x 17″ sized paper. For printed art of most any kind, it’s pretty standard for an artist to work on anywhere from a two to three times larger size space than the final printed format. The reasoning here is simple – the amount of detail you see in a printed comic page would be hard to include if the work were being created at that size. The additional advantage is that any small mistakes that creep into finished art at a larger size are even more reduced and fade out when the art is printed smaller.

Some artists work on different sized paper, to begin with, which is fine, but what is critical is that the ratio relationship stays the same so the page of art can print properly set on a standard comic sized page.

The most common used paper for comic art is bristol board, which is a high-quality, thick paper stock with a very smooth finish. Bristol board has even more advantages for inking, but still stands out even just for penciling work. The smooth finish lends itself to tighter, smoother lined artwork. It’s also sturdy for erasing (I’m telling you… erasers… lots of them) so that the paper does not scrape or tear. One negative is the smooth surface can also lead to smudging or smearing, so it does pay to be careful as you work.

On the actual pencil front, you’ll find a wide range of tools there. A good starting point is a 2B pencil, as it can lay down solid, dark black lines. But as you progress in your work, you’ll most likely find yourself wanting to use different strokes, shading, and varying darkness in the linework. That’s when you’ll want to expand. There are twelve grades of pencils from the hardest (H), to medium (F), up to very soft (9B). You’ll find these useful in creating different tones, shading, and textures.

Of course, beyond pencils, there are all sorts of art tools to create art, from charcoal to pastels, to paints. But remember, we’re talking about penciling comics and for the most part, those don’t enter into this discussion unless we’re talking someone doing full and finished art.

Get In the Zone

Once you get your tools set up, the next important thing is to learn the ‘zones’ for a page of comic art. This is absolutely critical to make sure the art will look right on a printed page. This falls on the penciler, and is being covered in the penciling series, because, understandably, it is the Penciler creating the initial art, which then is handed off to everyone else on the team, so it makes sense to do it right from the start.

There are three zones or areas on a page of comic art, each serves a very specific and important role in laying the art out for print.

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From the exterior edge of the paper in, there should be a border outside the art, which is essentially the buffer edge of the page, no art should be in that area, and any that is will most assuredly not be seen in the final printed version once it’s setup and sized down. On a standard 11″ x 17″ art board, this border would run 1/2″ on the sides, and 13/16″ on the top and bottom, defining a space to work in of 10″ x 15-3/8″.

The next zone or area is called the Bleed Area, or Full Bleed Area. This is for a specific form of printing that can print to the edge of a printed page, with no visible border running the exterior in the printed format. Art can extend into this area, but it’s important that nothing critical or central to the image as a whole extend into it, as it may or may not be fully visible in the printed version. (See below to better understand why.) Art that can fill a Bleed Area would include backgrounds, furthest extensions of limbs, or objects that can be cropped without losing definition of the figure or object, etc.  The full work space including the bleed area is the above mentioned 10″ x 15-3/8″ as defined by that buffer zone.

Next is the Trim Line, which on a standard 11″ x 17″ sheet is 5/8″ in from the edge of the paper on the sides, and 1″ in on the top and bottom, defining a space of 9-3/4″ x 15″ in which to work. The trim line is crucial because it is the average line of where the page will be trimmed in the process of printing. As books are run through a printer, there is a trimming or cutting stage, that is pretty accurate but not 100% – so the trim line represents the average line of the cut. This is why there is a small buffer on the outside of the trim line, the Bleed Area described above, and on the inside of the line defining the final zone.

That final zone is the Safe Area, sometimes referred to as the Live Area. It is 1″ in from the sides and 1-3/8″ from top and bottom, defining a work space of 9″ x 14.25″. As its name implies, the Safe Area is that area which is guaranteed to be centered and visible on the printed page – none of that will bleed off the edge or be cut in the process of trimming. So, obviously, it is within this zone that all important, central elements of the art should be fully contained – character faces, important props or elements of the backgound, etc. This is also important when it comes to lettering, as all lettering, captions, dialogue and sound effects should be 100% in this area only, but we’ll cover that more later.

Above is a great graphic from Blambot that shows the various lines and dimensions. Now, if you’re doing this work regularly you’ll find it easier to get art boards that have these lines pre-printed on them, and fortunately, there are several to choose from. My preference, as well as that of many artists, is Blue Line Comic Pro art boards. These not only set off the bleed and trim lines, they include marked notches for dividing a page into thirds, halves, etc. for most basic panel layouts. They also use that buffer area at the edge to provide an artist space to make notes on series, page number, etc. Once you start generating multiple pages of art on various projects, you’ll find it pretty important to label the pages so you can find them once again if needed.

Doing It Digital

Wait, what does penciling have to do with digital? I know at least someone out there is asking that and it’s a fair question.

Penciling in comics is not so much the means or tools used as the step in the process, still referred to by the name it acquired before computers existed. Those of us who create comics fully in digital still go through a process of ‘penciling,’ meaning we set up the page specs (file specs in this case), and create the initial art using custom tools, and the process of composing and defining the art generally looks similar to sketching and pencils on paper.

In most art software the Pencil tool is generally not a tool you want to actually use as a ‘pencil’ for drawing. There you go pretty exclusively with brushes. As above, you can use any number of settings to accomplish the same, and different artists will have their own preferences. Personally, when I’m ‘sketching’ or ‘penciling’ art in Photoshop, I used a standard round brush, set to multiply and around 40% opacity. Most of my work I set the brush to 3 pixels, though will sometimes thicken that up in the initial sketch when I’m doing thumbnails or roughs (more about all that stuff later). The point though is the process is similar, even if the venue is different.

Now, if you work exclusively in digital software, but are working on comics intended for print then you need to setup the same specs as listed above, especially concerning setting up your zones on your page. I’ve included download links for my own personal digital page templates I use for art, which are template files set to standard size for original art, and have both a layer with guidelines, as well as Guides you can make visible by clicking View > Show > Guides for Bleed and Trim lines. I’ve even been extra nice and included single page and double-page spreads.

For digital comics, if you’re creating the work for a specific digital venue, the best starting place is to review any and all guidelines and specs for that venue. They tend to differ a lot based on how the venue loads and displays art. However, most of the same general principles apply here, just as above, with differences accounting for format and venue.

As with physical tools, you can create the art at a variety of spec sizes, as long as the final file hits the right ratio and proper resolution or DPI for the art to display well. Art intended for print must be created at a minimum of 300DPI, any lower and you risk the art looking pixellated on the page. More detailed art, like full digital renderings, will often jump to 400, or even 600DPI to keep crisp edges and rich colors defined in print. Digital venues range based on their format. Apps and panel based venues often require higher resolution images so that the art remains crisp and clear even when you zoom in super-tight.

Obviously, one major difference here is that most digital venues for viewing comics do not match fully to standard print size. Reading comics on a computer means you’re going to want to lean more toward horizontal or landscape art to better fit a standard computer screen. Comics that display on a smartphone are usually panel by panel, so if you are targeting this type of venue you will want to lean toward more standard sized, smaller panels that then work zoomed in on the smaller screens. Of all digital devices, tablets are the closest reading experience to print with the ability to display decent sized, full print pages and still be readable.

The Best of Both Worlds

I’ll do a whole series on this somewhere down the road, but worth at least mentioning here – I generally encourage creators to think about all their options when they create a comic. You may start with releasing this comic you’re doing in a digital format on Comixology or Drive-Thru, but if it were to take off and you got that call from a print publisher wanting to do a collection – just how much would you hate yourself if you created all the content only for digital and not a high enough resolution or format to work in print? Don’t do that.

I think DC does the simplest, best answer here with their digital first series like Injustice and Legend of Wonder Woman. Their file specs for digital comics create web-screens that are optimized for most computer screens, but also, happen to line up to 1/2 of a standard comic page. The screens are then paced storywise and artwise to allow each consecutive set of two screens to be assembled into a single page for print. So, keep all this in mind as we press forward.

NEXT

Now that we’ve got those basics out of the way, next time we will start getting into some actual art! Promise!

Resources

Blambot is a definitive resource site for lettering comics, with fonts, tutorials and additional resources.
(I feel it only fair to mention them now since I plugged them above.)

Blue Line Comic Pro art supplies provide perhaps the most popular comic art boards on the market. With Pro and Custom boards marked with bleed and trim lines as well as panel hash marks, these are great time-savers for artists.

Standard 300DPI Comic Page Template TIFF File Download

Standard 300DPI Double-Page Spread Template TIFF File Download

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About C. Edward Sellner

A full-time professional freelancer, Sellner has credits as a comics writer, prose author, colorist, artist, and editor from multiple publishers. He is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Visionary Creative Services, one of the best-known production studios and digital publishers in the industry. The studio opened in 2006 and since then has published over 70 different titles in its digital line, and been involved in over a hundred different projects in production. Its clients range from Hollywood producers to international sports stars to other studios and publishers. It became the first independent studio to enter the licensing game with the announcement of its Deadlands license, which has since been published in comics from Image and IDW and novels from Tor Books. The studio also hosts a successful internship program where interns get practical, real-world freelancing experience, including paid work on actual jobs fitting their skill levels. Learn more at www.visionarycreativeservices.com!

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