Tuesday, November 29, 2011

STS-31: Another Headshot

This is another headshot for one of our comics that won't see the light of day for a while. Admittedly, many character designs for it will evolve and change, but this one, in particular, likely won't much at all.

Coming soon: The finalized colors for the flyer we've shown previous and some character designs for another project that's nearly off the ground!

And, as always, every Wednesday sees a new page over at Of Stars and Swords. If you're liking what you're seeing, let us know! And if you REALLY like it, well...hopefully sometime in the near future we might have things like t-shirts, posters, and other random things like that.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

STS-30: Flyer - Inks and Process

Okay, so here's a little bit more than just art. This is the same flyer we showed the pencils on a few days back, but this time, it's inked! Here's the usual straight-blacks that one normally gets with these kinds of things. Now, there aren't a lot of heavy blacks here. They're mostly being used to pull Seren out from the background elements. But the other reason is this isn't the last step for inking when it comes to Of Stars and Swords.

After the blacks are in, all the pages get a nice wash of grey. Caroline uses this to help define subtler tones and shading. It also adds something to the overall feel of the finished pages, giving them an older, rougher look that helps the mood of a fantasy comic. Plus, as great as the black always look when she's done with that step, the greys just pull everything together. Here, especially, you can start to see what's going to happen with the background and where the logo/text is going to go.

Fully colored and text-filled version to come soon! Hope you like it and I hope you're keeping up with the comic, too!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

STS-29: Of Stars and Swords Flyer - Pencil

So here are the pencils for a flyer/poster/cover image we've put together for Of Stars and Swords. We originally had a much simpler idea, something only focused on Seren and then the logo along with some text, but we couldn't find a good way to do it. So it quickly developed into a movie poster-styled image with all of the main cast for the first arc of the comic.

The layout took some time, but it's come together wonderfully. While I helped with the planning and making sure things looked right, this real weight here is, again, pulled by Caroline. I'm especially happy with Chloe there, on the bottom right. And it all looks even better in color!

Oh, and those arrows? Light sources.

Monday, November 14, 2011

STS-28: Character Design Sketches

Today's update consists of two things! Amazing!

The first is Caroline's base sketch for our redesign of Aram. The importance here was in the clothing, as we needed to start basically from scratch. We worked with the idea of the heavy shoulders and a longer coat, with Caroline really working out how the bracers and ankles would look. The staff gave us some trouble, as we didn't want to be too boring or flashy...so Caroline came up with the little bend in it with the spherical top.

The next sketch is our attempt to design some robes for Baldur. You can see the three basic ideas we put together for styles at the top. In all honesty, there was really no contest with what was the strongest, but it was good to work others out on paper to see. Colors took some thinking, as we wanted a sun motif without being too much. And, as you can see, Caroline loved designing the shoes. I just had to look at them and say "They look great."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

STS-26: Aram, Inks

Look! We have art again!

So here is yet another character design for Of Stars and Swords. This is one of the main cast, Aram, and a character that we realized needed a heavy redesign from our initial take. So Caroline and I planned out his new outfit together and then she made this. In all honesty, this design is one of my favorites and I'm glad we took the time to do it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

STS-25: To Caroline

There is no art here. Unless you consider the words to follow art, and I'm not arrogant enough at this exact moment to consider them that good. However, there is something more important than art here.

One year ago today, Caroline and I were married. It was a very small wedding that we handled all ourselves, an insane thing that I would never recommend anyone do. At the same time, when I proposed to her months before, I really did nothing special beyond the traditional down-on-one-knee thing. The point I'm dancing around is this: I've yet to publicly embarrass her in relation to us, and I think our one year anniversary is the perfect time.

Not that this is hugely public. Not a ton of people read this blog, but enough people do that I've decided this counts.

And that's enough explanation.


First off, there is no way in any hell it has been a year. I can still clearly remember everything from the chaos of planning to the blur of our wedding. Okay, the blur was just that. I'm...still not too sure what all happened, but I'm fairly sure we were there and things did, in fact, happen. The real point is, time is going by far too fast and I felt like starting with a generic complaint that neither of us can do anything about would be a nice microcosm of me for you to read!

It has been an amazing year, though. We talk about it all the time, but that makes it no less true. We have a webcomic that everyone reading this should be reading, too. We have another in the works. We have a graphic novel in the early stages of development. We have a couple of other things that are in even earlier stages. We're both getting better, too. Your art is miles ahead of where it was months ago, and it is an amazing thing to watch you bring these stories to life. There really isn't a word to describe it well, but you do it in ways I could never dream. No matter how much I say it's not how I imagined things, trust me, it's better.

None of this would have happened without you. And I mean that not in the literal way since we're working together. What I mean is this:

I could not do any of these things without you.

I am a different person because of you. I know in some ways, you know that, but there are some things that are impossible to articulate that are different. You give me a confidence that I have never had before. You make me truly believe in what we're trying to do. You make me believe in myself in a way that I never dreamed of. This crazy dream of actually making comics and telling stories for a living only exists because you have taught me that we can, in fact, do it.

I know this is me talking about work and that might not be what is expected, but you know how important this is to me. A very strong part of me needs to tell these stories. I need to get them out. I hope others will enjoy them, and you constantly have to remind me that people do, in fact, enjoy them beyond just us. But this need to tell these stories and to truly do it would be nothing without you. You have, quite literally, helped me to be the person I know I need to be.

Now, for the likely more expected things that are no less important.

You have made me a better person on the whole. I am happier than I have ever been, more confident in decisions, and actually able to look forward to the insane challenges we put before us to do what we dream of. I never tire of having been around you nearly 24/7 for the last year. In fact, whenever I am home without you something feels wrong. In all honesty, it is a feeling I never want to go away. I think one of our greatest things that we have is that we can be around each other all the time and love every second of it. Alone time isn't really needed or wanted.

You really are my better (and shorter) half. In our work and in every moment of the day, it applies. I would have it no other way. All of the difficult things are worth it. I have no doubts in that, which is saying something.

This is what life should be. We do this together. And by this, I mean everything. The fact that we share hobbies, interests, and damn near everything else is wonderful. Screw those idiots that say it's unhealthy. They have no idea what they're missing.

I'm already going in circles, as I'm honestly bad at articulating these things because I feel like they're all known quantities already. But I wanted them here, right here, for a reason. I want those people that see our art to see this and understand who we are.

Right now, you're asleep...or you should be. I've just watched time shift backwards and give me this extra hour in the day to write this. You probably won't even be able to read it until the afternoon. But speed isn't necessary, because you do know all of this. So I'll stop trying so hard and simply leave this with one last thing.

I love you, Caroline. You are, without a doubt, the best thing in my life.

And I just wanted to have all of this here for you to both remind you, embarrass you just slightly, and to put a smile on your face.

Because that smile never, ever gets old.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

STS-24: Baldur, Complete

 And here is the finished piece, fully colored! Our take on a usually-brutish type of character, a Half-Orc, that is instead an intelligent priest. Of course, in the webcomic, you'll be seeing him more in heavy armor, but hey.