I just got a chance to compile all of last month’s #INKtober sketches into one big image. These are all characters who will likely show up in the Trapezius Pepper story that I’m currently trying to wrap my brain around (in addition to some of the characters I drew during previous #INKtober challenges). I do like having this visual representation of Stoutsburg’s citizens to help me keep track of everybody. I’m tempted to pin all these mugshots onto my wall and use string & post-it notes to chart everyone’s relationships and affiliations. Conspiracy walls aren’t JUST for detectives and crazy people, right?
It’s that time of year again! Keeping up the #INKtober tradition, I’ll be creating an inked drawing every day in October. I’m sticking with my technique of doing 3″x3″ head shots, which is usually manageable even on busy days.
In previous years I drew a bunch of random characters to see if I could come up with any designs that might fit in the Trapezius Pepper comic I was wanting to work on. In 2012 I focussed on human characters and in 2013 I focussed on bears and raccons. This year I’ll be tackling humans AND bears AND raccoons. And now that I’m picking up steam on the comic and have gotten further into the writing of it, I thought I’d focus on specific characters I know will be in the story.
This first sketch is of Trapezius himself. You can never get too much practice drawing your protagonist.
If you want to see more concept stuff from the Trapezius Pepper comic while I’m still working on it, check out my Patreon and consider becoming a patron: http://www.patreon.com/steverolston
Each of the original drawings will be available to purchase as soon as they’re posted on my Instagram. You can get one for $10 USD via Paypal (includes shipping). These inked drawings are on 3″ x 3″ pieces of bristol board, signed on the back. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to call dibs.
You can also check this blog post to see which original art from previous years is still available: http://steverolston.com/89m
If you’re an artist, I hope to see you join in on the #INKtober challenge. And I hope the rest of you enjoy the show!
Hey Vancouverites, I’m doing another FREE demo at Opus Art Supplies in North Vancouver (near Capilano Mall) on Sunday, September 7th from 11am to 1pm. I’ll be discussing the process of creating comics and I’ll explain the typical stages of Script, Thumbnails, Pencils, Inks and Lettering, using examples from Emiko Superstar and some of my other comics.
(they made up that title, not me)
Space is limited and registration is required. Please register in advance by calling the North Van store at 604-904-0447.
If you’re looking for a more in-depth learning experience, my next Introduction to Comic Book Production course at VanArts starts up on September
15th 22nd. It’s a 12-week course that runs on Monday nights from 7-10pm. I take my students through the process of writing, thumbnailing, penciling, inking and lettering a four-page comic. There’s a strong emphasis on clear storytelling, in addition to teaching all the other things I’ve learned during my fourteen years as a comic book artist.
Feel free to email me any questions you may have about the course. Or head over to the VanArts website to register now: www.vanarts.com/courses/introduction-comic-book-production
9pm ET / 6 pm PT this Wednesday, July 30th @ www.livestream.com/steverolston.
You may have seen me talk about a comic idea of mine called TRAPEZIUS PEPPER. It’s a project I’ve been wanting to write & draw for quite a few years now. A series of comics revolving around a writer-turned-gambler in a city filled with crime, corruption, mystery and, of course, talking bears and raccoons.
I’m getting serious about it now and have created a Patreon page so people can show support for the project by kicking in a little bit of money each month.
With this Patreon, I’m going to take TRAPEZIUS PEPPER from a collection of scattered ideas and form it into an ongoing webcomic series launching later this year. Since I’m still experimenting with the visual style and character designs, I’m going to start off by drawing some one-page comics to get a feel for it. And I’ll be giving my Patreon supporters exclusive early access to that work for as little as $1 a month.
Patrons who pledge at least $3 will also get access to Creative Process posts where I show off and discuss how each page comes together. Go on, head on over to my Patreon page to find out more! And spread the word!
If you want more of a taste, you can download my digital #INKtober sketchbook, RACCOONS & HUMANS & BEARS, OH MY!, which is a collection of character designs I was exploring for the TRAPEZIUS PEPPER stories.
I’ve just made my latest sketchbook available to purchase online! “RACCOONS AND HUMANS AND BEARS, OH MY!” is a collection of my INKtober sketches from 2012 and 2013, including some notes about the drawings, the characters and what inspired them.
You can choose between the physical booklet, which is available in my Etsy Shop, or a digital PDF version, which is available via Gumroad. I’m quite happy with the cute little booklet but I also like flipping through the pages on a tablet or smart phone. I chose Gumroad because I’m curious about their Pay-What-You-Want option, which allows creators to set a minimum price and then the customers can decide what they want to pay. I’ve set the digital price at ZERO, so you can download it for free or choose to give me a little something for it.
While at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival the other weekend, local funny guys Ian Boothby and Dave Dedrick had me as a guest on their SNEAKY DRAGON podcast. I had a great time, bullshitting with them about comics, Madballs and Ninja Turtles. You can give it a listen here:
And don’t forget to gaze with wonder upon Dave’s rendition of us as Madballs…
I just stumbled across Hansel Castro‘s unflattering review of my 2003 graphic novel One Bad Day and I think I’m in love with it:
“I recall Steve Rolston’s artwork for Greg Rucka’s “Queen and Country” never impressed me: the simple cartooning was at odds with the maturity of the story. He draws and writes for his own graphic novel, 2003′s “One Bad Day.” It’s a fluffy, familiar Hitchockian tale. Marie Leblanc is a “wrong woman” who inherits a singularly unimpressive McGuffin” and is pursued by varied thugs and a killer with the heartless name of Tinman. (That the Tinman has a clingy girlfriend that shows up at the scene of his hits is the novel’s most clever idea.) Ed Brubaker described this as “Slacker Noir”, which is about right: this is noir (albeit printed in green ink), and it’s not trying too hard.”
“RATING: GOOD ENOUGH”
It’s a somewhat brutal review but I can agree with most of it. I mean, I definitely tried my best but not everyone’s first graphic novel is going to be solid gold. One Bad Day is out of print but I still have some copies available in my Etsy Shop if you want to judge this “good enough” comic for yourself.
Another chance to see me out in public, if you’re in Vancouver!
The VANCOUVER COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL (aka VanCAF) is this weekend, May 25-26, at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in the Yaletown district of Vancouver, BC, Canada.
This a very good show that focusses almost entirely on creator-owned comics and the creators themselves. And best of all: it’s FREE to attend! So wander on down to the Roundhouse and pop in for a look around. I’ll be there (Table B-3) selling my comics, original artwork and my newest sketchbook, “RACCOONS AND HUMANS AND BEARS, OH MY!” I might even have a handful of prints of the BEER ROBOT drawing I did the other month.
I will also be talking on a couple panels on Sunday afternoon:
BROUGHT TO LIFE: CHARACTER DESIGN
Sunday, May 25th, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
Featuring Aaron Diaz, Kadi Fedoruk, Tyson Hesse & Steve Rolston.
This panel, featuring talented and experienced character designers, will demonstrate some of the core concepts of designing a character–from a purely aesthetic viewpoint to the rich imaginings of character-driven details. Learn how to create characters of different body and facial builds while still retaining strong cartooning ideals.
Sunday, May 25th, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM
Hosted by Ian Boothby & David Dedrick and featuring Steve Rolston.
SNEAKY DRAGON, Vancouver’s tied for 3rd favourite podcast, returns to VanCAF with a live show with guest Steve Rolston (Queen and Country, Ghost Projekt, Pounded and Degrassi: Extra Credit). Join hosts Ian Boothby (Eisner winning writer of The Simpsons and Futurama Comics) and David Dedrick (host of the Completely Beatles podcast) as they unlock the Secret of the Mummy’s Curse! Or just joke around about comics, either’s good.
Beat Route Magazine posted an nice little article about VanCAF after talking to myself and fellow comic creator Sam Logan.
Over the past year or so I’ve been doing the occasional storyboard gig for a San Francisco-based agency, Rebel Unit Media. Some of the jobs have been storyboards for live action commercials while others have been for animated instructional videos. I’ve enjoyed the experience and it’s been good to stretch my storyboard muscles again. It also forced me to work looser and faster than I normally do when drawing comics.
I thought I’d share some of the storyboards I did for FLAMESTOWER, a product that lets you charge your electronic devices using heat from a fire:
You can view the final live-action video here: vimeo.com/87621984
Next up are some storyboards I did for an INFOR commercial with a Rubik’s Cube theme:
Very much unlike the work I do in comics. But it can be interesting to tackle different challenges than you’re used to. You can see the finished video over on the Rebel Unit website.
One of the writers at Rebel Unit is Mariko Tamaki, whom I collaborated with on the graphic novel Emiko Superstar. It’s been cool to work with her again. And the last time she was in town we met up and she gave me some slick prints that Rebel Unit had made up to celebrate their various projects, done in a minimalist style by artist Matt Chase. Recognize the cubic spaceship?
This last batch is from one of many projects we did for SALESFORCE, the cloud computing and customer management company. I’ve drawn plenty of computer-filled offices and cubicles in various comics like The Escapists and Public Relations, but I’ve probably drawn three times as many just for Salesforce.
So there’s a peek at some of the storyboards I’ve done lately.
On a somewhat related note, you should all keep an eye out for Mariko’s latest graphic novel, THIS ONE SUMMER, which just launched from First Second Books. It’s another collaboration with her illustrator cousin Jillian Tamaki. I haven’t read it yet but their previous graphic novel SKIM was excellent.