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Inktober Week 4
Posted By Scott Hallett at 10/28/2014 4:13 PM

More than likely, I'm not going to make it to 31 drawings by this Friday. That being said, I'm currently at 20 drawings of varying success and quality, and if I had to stop today (I don't plan to, but you never know what life will throw you), I'd call this Inktober a success! My art output has been very light as of late, so producing 20 drawings in 28 days is a win in my book, especially considering I am proud of (most of) them.

This October, I've also finished some concept work I can't show you, for a project I can't tell you about. I will say that I am extremely proud of what I accomplished, I felt like I really pushed myself, and if/when I can show it I will. I think there may be some more art in that universe done soon, but we'll see. Really wish I could share!

Ok, back to Inktober and over-analyzing. Here's what I learned from week 4.

What I've Learned So Far

  • I like a clean-ish line (a la Inktober 15 below). I've experimented with really varied lines, and unvaried lines and I feel that my personal preference is somewhere in the middle. I think I've gravitated there most of the time anyhow, but it's good to reassess every now and again.
  • I need to stop 'cheating out' on faces and expressions. I think I'm more capable than I give myself credit for, and I need to just try and produce the best work I can without the shortcuts.
  • I can draw cute and pretty women! I've been accused of drawing boxy, ugly women which, hey 'beauty in the eye of the beholder' and 'if it's good enough for Katsuhiro Otomo', but it's nice to know I have it in me. I'm never gonna draw pinups, but that's more so because I find that a bit gross and misogynistic more than anything else.
  • I need to draw really terrible pictures every once in a while. I tend to think that every one has to be a winner, and if I don't feel like I'm going to put down a winner, I freeze up and don't move forward. It's almost like exercising demons in a way. Draw the terrible pictures so the good ones can be free.
  • I find drawing details therapeutic. I need to find a fine line, but it can be a very zen experience drawing every ringlet of chainmail on a goblin. I can itchy sometimes if there's not enough detail in a drawing. Pros and cons to that I'm sure.
Here's the output for week four.

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Inktober Week 2 (and 3...)
Posted By Scott Hallett at 10/21/2014 5:11 PM

So technically today would mark the end of Inktober week three, but I currently only have two weeks worth of drawings. A few busy weekends, a Canadian Thanksgiving, and a paying illustration gig have all conspired against my best intentions. I have not given up though, and this still remains my most successful Inktober to date.

I'm finding in this last batch of drawings that I've rushed a bit more, and as such I think the drawings might be a little weaker.

What I've Learned So Far

  • I think I like the style that comes with some varied brush lines combined with pens. It's as close to my digital set up as I've been able to come. I like a good mix of varied and steady lines.
  • I think I solved my issues scanning marker/ink wash files! I'll have to try it out going forward, but the last marker file I scanned came out noticeably improved.
  • I still really struggle with brush pens. I'd take the plunge and try out a full brush and ink setup, but I'd be afraid that the issue is not the brush pen, but my skill level with it. I think I'm a bit too accustom to the ham-fisted approach I have digitally, and I struggle to scale it back in the analog world.
  • I'm not a fan of the more 'scratchy' style of inking. Or rather, I'm not a fan of the way I'm capable of doing it. Years spent drawing clean, readable lines has conditioned me to perhaps not take the chances I should when it comes to that style.
Here's the output from weeks two and three. Here's hoping I can still catch up by the end of the month!

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Inktober Week 1
Posted By Scott Hallett at 10/07/2014 10:12 PM

Another year, another Inktober! If you're not familiar you can read all about Inktober over at the creator Jake Parker's site. This isn't the first time I've attempted Inktober, but it is currently the longest I've survived. I always felt like I wasn't doing important work when I tried, but felt that with my art output being very minimal these days I needed to set a schedule and commit. I really wanted to follow a theme, but didn't have a chance to decide on one, and wanted to try and push myself by experimenting, which might not have fit a theme that well. I'm happy that I've stuck with it this past week, even if the results in my eyes have been mixed.

I thought I'd collect all the Inktober posts I've done so far into one place. I've been posting them individually over at my tumblr, on twitter, Facebook and instagram (if any of those are what you're in to), but figured it would be great to collect them here week to week and reflect on what worked, what didn't etc.

What I've Learned So Far

  • I have a hard time committing to a particular inking style and/or tool. Be it ligne claire with pens, brush, markers/washes. I like them all for different reasons, and while I think a change in style can be just another tool in the toolbox, I find it can sometimes be divisive for people trying to follow along with your work. They may like one style, but not the other.
  • Right along with the first point, I have a hard time sticking to a particular style in the drawings themselves. I dance between somewhat realistic to more cartoony and whimsical. Again, this is fine, but I do personally feel like the realistic style is my weaker style, and those pieces tend to never turn out how I want them.
  • References are your friend! For the longest time I thought that as an artist I had to be able to render everything I'd ever draw from memory. While I'm sure it's possible for some artists to do so, for me if I want to draw a bike, I need to look at some pictures of bikes to get it right. Sounds simple, but I keep needing to remind myself.
  • I like markers & washes, but struggle to scan them in properly in order to add some colour. I know it's possible, but I'd have to spend some more time with it to be able to get it right.
  • I am not yet competent enough with a brush to be able to do what I want. I have much more success with pens than I currently do with brushes/brush pens. I may be the only one who notices this.
I'm hoping to learn a lot more in the coming weeks. At any rate, here are the Inktober pieces from Week 1.

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New Storefront Open at society6.com
Posted By Scott Hallett at 9/08/2014 5:18 PM

I've decided to try my hand at selling some art prints of some of the work I've either had positive responses to, or that I personally enjoy. Rather than incur the up front cost of prints and shipping however, I've opted to open up shop over at society6.com. I've started with art prints and a few select phone cases for now. Somehow I don't see some of my art as being "mug worthy", but let me know if you'd like some art on something other than what's on offer. I've ordered a print myself to be able to better speak to the experience. I found the marketplace itself to be straight forward, and will update on any feedback that may come from the shipping and product itself. I've seen society6.com used quite a bit by other artists, so I'm hoping for good things.

The artwork I've included is all featured in my gallery, as well as below. I tried to purposely include only original characters that I own, or characters that aren't copyrighted. I believe the characters in the "Video Game" piece are characterized enough to be a bit universal, but will pull it down if that's not the case. As always, feedback is always welcome. Enjoy!

The Sakai Project
Posted By Scott Hallett at 7/23/2014 3:23 PM

Out in finer book stores everywhere today, The Sakai Project! I was lucky enough to be a part of this incredible coffee table book, compiling artwork and interpretations of Usagi Yojimbo, all to benefit creator Stan Sakai and his wife Sharon to help them through some recent medical expenses.

This will probably stand as a career high for me. Not only was I absolutely enamoured with the character of Usagi Yojimbo when I first saw him in toy form as part of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line of toys, but this book is splitting at the seams with a who's who of comic artists. I can't possibly name them all, but there are a lot of childhood heroes here to say the least (you can see the full list of all 262 artists here). I mean honestly, I alone share a page with great artists like Sean Bahr, Jeffrey Brown and Skottie Young. Jerry Ordway is next to us, Richard Corben on the back of that and Bill Sienkiewicz (who I credit for my love of New Mutants, and for teaching me comics artists didn't all have to draw the same) is a page flip away. Never mind the fact that probably my two favourite artists today, Mike Mignola and Guy Davis both are included inside.

Artistic endeavours, and comics especially don't always come with great health benefits. Sometimes artists can barely pay their bills with the money they make, probably why so many hold down day jobs. What's really great to see, and speaks to the comics community is their willingness to step up and help out when they can. This book was published by Dark Horse Comics and produced in association with the Comics Art Professional Society (CAPS). CAPS will also be holding periodic auctions of original artwork from the book, with all proceeds going to the Sakais, so check their website for more information.

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Unfinished Comics
Posted By Scott Hallett at 9/04/2013 10:13 AM

Life certainly has taken a few interesting turns these past few months. As I'm starting a new job (working from home), my wife has started her own business (I worked on the website of course), and as new comic opportunities are beginning, one unfinished chapter has been nagging at me for quite some time...

Around the time Fablewood was just hitting store shelves, and my involvement in Popgun was coming to light, I was approached by a writer whose work I admired, and asked if I'd be interested in drawing a kid's comic for him. Now for anyone starting out, this seems like a golden opportunity. You get your name out there, you get tons of exposure, and your just steps away from quitting your day job. Right?

I have to be up front and say that I was never that naive. I loved the idea of having a whole book that I drew up on my shelf. I enjoyed this writer's work, and it would have been great to be involved with a project he was putting together. I had no allusions that I'd be rich and famous making this book. I know for every Walking Dead, there's hundreds of creator-owned books that only make a few issues before folding, if they even get off the ground in the first place.

A pretty common thing new (and old) artists in comics will see is writers approaching them promising half the rights to a creation if they'll just draw the book and get it out there. When the book isn't making any money, this is 50% of nothing. Now, I'm not necessarily against this out and out. There are different situations, different people involved and different factors in all situations. Were you to write, draw, color, and letter your own creation, and it still didn't make a cent, you'd have 100% of nothing. Sometimes, the collaboration can be a learning experience, sometimes having a team to promote something lends some synergy to the project, sometimes the project just sounds awesome. I believe it's your right 100% to be paid for the work that you do, but I also believe that waiving that right or potentially postponing it is well within reason as well. I will always entertain a pitch if it's with people I admire and respect, even if there's no money up front to do so. It's never black and white, as they say.

The other thing I have to be honest about is the fact that I worked slow. Working a day job, and having a semblance of a life means that you don't have time to sit and draw everyday, all day. Some pages can take me 5 hours, some pages can take me 10 hours. If you only have one or two hours spare time at night, well that's a snail's pace. The one thing I have always been, however, is honest about that. Whenever I enter into a new project, I let people know that I'm still working a full-time day job, and that will effect my output. So this project saw about 25 pages completed over the course of 2 years. I wasn't proud of that fact, and I'll own up to that being disappointing. To be fair, about half way through, I started to get the wind knocked out of my sails which may have slowed me down, but I'll get to that later. Recent stresses at my previous job have also been the reason the site hasn't been updated in quite a while. I think that's a fact that's shaped my style a bit. I could work day and night, trying to be as detailed or amazing as Jim Lee, but the fact is I'll never have the time. So I focus on stylizations that are perhaps easier and more natural for me.

So, as this project progressed, it became clear to me that the writer was very put upon. The whole world has conspired against him; all of the talented artists he's worked with have disappointed him, and he'd be a famous writer by now if he didn't have to deal with all the nonsense around him. There was not a pleasant thing to be said about anyone who he was working with at the time, some of them artists I've admired for years. In fact, he had had (and has had since) some pretty public falling outs with artists he's worked with. Now, I'm a huge fan of music, and I've always said that there are artists whose work I'd buy sight unseen, but I'd probably never want to meet them. The art can sometimes be sullied by the personality. That's what happened to me. The idea of completing this project, with someone who didn't seem like he wanted to be there, who didn't have a single encouraging thing to say (I can only imagine what was said about me), was waning. So I manned up, and bowed out, freeing the writer to find someone else to complete the project. Quite a bit of vitriol, and threats of finding some kid out of college who could complete it in three months, and I was free to move on. So I did.

Some time later, as positive press about the writer's other books was coming out, I dropped him a note, asking how things were and congratulating him on everything that was coming out. Again, I always did enjoy his work. What came next shocked me. I was offered a "work for hire" arrangement to move the project forward (something I had just assumed had happened without me). This took the shape of 5% of the movie rights to the project, or $100 to sign over the concepts and character designs I had come up with. I was stunned. First, I couldn't imagine a new artist wanting to come on board and not take a crack at their own designs: I didn't create Spider-Man... these weren't iconic designs, just some people, locales and creatures I was personally proud of. Next, I was insulted. Doing the math again, 5% of nothing is still nothing, and $100 hardly seemed worth it. So I declined, explained I'd rather just hang on to the designs for the creatures etc., and that a new artist would probably be chomping at the bit to start over. A lot of the concepts I came up with actually influenced and changed key moments in the story. I know a lot of artists would love that opportunity.

The response I got was expected, but disappointing none the less. I really hadn't emailed to drudge up all that nonsense again, just to pass on my congratulations. I recognize that passing those designs on would be a great wrap up point and way to allow the work done not to be wasted. However, I took issue with the fact that that work could be so under valued. I offered to discuss a reasonable value for those designs, as well as the concepts I contributed that helped shape the story, but received no response.

I sat on those concepts for over two years. It wasn't until the writer made headlines this past March with some shady Kickstarter practices around another one of his other projects, and that I saw how he had respected that artist (of whom I'm a huge fan), that I decided to put up my concepts, designs and finished work for everyone to see. I can't see why I should let the work I did go to waste, just because of the sour way things went down. I may re-use some of the creature designs I did in future stories. A lot of the design work was done independent of any story elements laid out. It was done more as a world building exercise than as a direct result of the script (of which there was only 10 or so pages at the beginning). I also ran with some concepts based on the ideas of the book, sort of suggestions for locales or characters met along the way.

You can view everything in the comics section of the website under "Unfinished Comics" (hopefully the only entry going forward), or by clicking here.

As I'm moving forward with life, and enjoying the experience, it is nice to get this weight off my chest and some of this work that I've always been proud of out in the open.

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Sandor (The Hound) Clegane
Posted By Scott Hallett at 3/16/2013 4:41 PM

I very rarely find myself wanting to draw other people's characters. I always start with an odd shape or a basic idea, and eventually flesh it out into a new character. Then, naturally, build an entire world around them and get paralyzed by the sheer weight of it. Rinse, repeat etc. Some stories or worlds stick with me though. The "Song of Ice and Fire" characters are a good example. I've only watched the show, so I don't know if they're completely off base from the novels, but I get caught up in that world none the less. Another world that sticks with me is "Adventure Time"...

At any rate, here is "The Hound". He's very under utilized in the show to date, but perhaps that changes. I like the complexity of a completely ruthless killer that can befriend a lost princess and has a complete aversion to fire. I didn't stay faithfully close to the design on the show, I just sort of ran with the idea. Hope you enjoy!

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