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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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Experimenting with Digital Inks (Again)
Posted By Scott Hallett at 3/04/2013 4:26 PM

I was just experimenting with a quick picture on my lunch hour (pencils to finish -- 1 hour) using some brush presets that illustrator (and all round awesome artist) Ray Fenden created. I've always struggled with inking in Photoshop, and while these were probably the best I've seen, I think I've come to a conclusion: I kind of don't like inking digitally anymore.

I have spent a good chunk of time creating pictures using digital ink (mostly using Adobe Illustrator). From what I can tell, the only real way to simulate the freedom of pens/brushes is by using Manga Studio and a Cintiq (or equivalent -- please see Krishna's great write-up on the Yiynova MSP19U Tablet Monitor). To be honest, it's a huge investment for me at this point, and while I had a good time with (and am proud of) the work I produced in Illustrator, I find it actually slowed me down a bit. That seems like a rough trade off when it should really help to streamline the process.

All that being said, I may be just be having an off day, and will be back to digital inks again. We'll see!

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Super Mario Bros. - Yell Fire!
Posted By Scott Hallett at 3/02/2013 9:55 AM

I had posted this over at my tumblr, but if my stats are anything to go by, no one visits that page. I think I may either a) shut it down, or b) use it as a process site and post each phase of a drawing piece by piece. Then I can post a whole full write up on this site, which I'll always consider my "main site". Any thoughts?

I've had a love/hate relationship with Nintendo my whole life. It was my first video game console, and I played it into the ground, but I feel like lately either Nintendo's lost their way, or I've out grown (most) of their games. Either way, I've probably spent more hours finding out my Princess was in another castle than with any other game.

I have done some colours for this piece, but currently don't like them. I'll have to try again or at least try and salvage them at some point.

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Which Plug To Pull
Posted By Scott Hallett at 2/05/2013 1:32 PM

Trying to dust off and get back into the groove of things. I decided to add some color to an ink drawing I always liked. The idea was to get this printed on a custom phone case, but I never got around to doing so. These guys would have first appeared in the piece "Déjà Vu" I did a few years back.

No real goals here, just trying to clear the cobwebs and remember how to make art. No excuses either, life's been good but extremely busy. I'm not going to get myself to make any promises, just trying to be better and more consistent. No plans, just art.

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