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Launching Lost Ship

A short sci-fi comic about a small crew searching for a lost ship

Today’s the day! Lost Ship, the comic I’ve been working on since October 2018, is ready to be released into the wild.

It’s 26 pages of grayscale sci-fi comics with two bonus pages of concept art. Plus, it’s 100% free. ✨

The Pitch

The crew of the Babylon is the last of the Space Exploration Force, a group tasked with surveying the unknown. Faced with dissolution, Captain Harlow has one last idea — try to find the lost ship Mesa.

Read Lost Ship

Thank You

It was a real blast making Lost Ship. I set out to try to make a non-violent sci-fi comic as best as I could. I’m happy to have accomplished my goal of finishing and releasing it.

Let me know what you think of it, and I can’t want to share what I’m working on next.

Re-Lettering Lost Ship

Why I decided to redo my hand lettering with a font

As I have been wrapping up Lost Ship, I began to worry about the legibility of the lettering in the comic. My lettering has improved over the last year, but some of it is a little rocky.

So I decided to re-letter the comic with a font. It’s incredibly important to me that people can read the comic. While the lettering lost a bit of character in the move to being a font, I believe it’s a worthwhile change because it’s much easier to read.

Side-by-side of the hand lettering vs font on a text-heavy page

Here’s another example:

An example of a page with less text

It was easy enough to make the changes in Clip Studio Paint. I overlaid the hand lettering with a layer of white and then put the text objects over top. That way I can easily toggle off the font lettering if I need to for some reason.

I made the most of Comicraft‘s New Year sale where each font is the price of the year (e.g. $20.19) in preparation for this change. The font I’m using in Lost Ship above is Monologous. Also, Blambot is another great resource with plenty of generous licensing options.

I would like to continue to improve my lettering skills, but there’s also a significant part of me that wants to just commit to font lettering moving forward. Fixing typos and making adjustments to font lettering is so much easier. Regardless of what the future brings, I’m going to keep prioritizing legibility with my comics.

Lost Ship Concept Art

A look at the ship, character, and emblem designs

I’ve been working on Lost Ship for the last few months, and it’s nearly complete (woohoo!). It’s a sci-fi comic about a small crew that explores the unknown parts of the universe.

All that’s left to do is print the project and release it out into the world. Before that happens, I thought it’d be cool to share a bunch of concept art from the pre-production phases of the project.

At the time I started the project, I was really into drawing different ship designs, which is what led to the initial idea for the comic.

The final designs varied a little bit from those initial ships above.

Exterior and interior designs for the Babylon and Mesa
Unused ship designs
Bridge and hallway designs for the Babylon

Once the ship designs were set, I started to design the emblems of the organizations in the story. There are two main ones: the United Space Federation (U.S.F.), which is a governing body made up of the nations of Earth and the space colonies. The second organization is the Space Exploration Force (S.E.F.), which is a subsidiary of the U.S.F. that goes out into the unknown. But the Space Exploration Force is underfunded and on its last leg, with the scrappy crew of the Babylon being all that remains.

Emblem sketches

Finally, the character designs. Lost Ship has a primary cast of five characters, so I wanted to make sure each person is as distinct as possible so they’d be easily recognizable.

I wanted the uniform designs to be simple and clean. While there are no spacesuits in the comic, I did explore what they might look like too.

Harlow, the Babylon’s captain, had the most design iterations.

Initial Harlow sketches with color
Some more sketches with a slightly refined design

I introduced the cape to try to make Harlow’s uniform more visually distinct from the other crew members.

The rest of the crew didn’t get nearly as many design iterations as Harlow. Harlow is the one drawn in the most panels, so I wanted to get their look as right as possible.

Some more sketches and exploration of what the various characters could look like
Color palette experiments for Tessa using markers

Here is the character sheet I used as reference while drawing the comic. Even though the comic is grayscale, it’s fun to use color in the concept art to get a better sense of the characters and world.

From top-left to bottom-right: Axel (pilot), Harlow (captain), Tomas (security), Tessa (navigator), Mia (doctor)

There you have it! A bunch of the concept art from Lost Ship from the planning phases of the project. Even though the comic is pretty short at 26-pages, it helped me a bunch to explore and develop the characters and setting.

Thanks for checking out the concept art, and I’m looking forward to sharing more from Lost Ship as I wrap it up.

A Look Into the Process of Making Lost Ship

Trying a new step where I make a med-fi pencil mock-up after doing thumbnails

I’ve been working on a new 28-page comic called Lost Ship over the last two months, and it’s been enjoyable to work on a project that’s pretty small in scope. It’s about a small crew that explores space to try to discover new things.

I tried something new with Lost Ship where I made a medium-fidelity pencil version of the entire comic after I finished the thumbnails. I drew this version at the size I intend to print the comic at so that I could get a fell of how it read. It’s super cool to be able to page through it before the actual comic is done. This makes the process look like:

  1. Create low-fidelity thumbnails to figure out the panel layouts and who is in each panel. The art is very blobby and rough at this stage.
  2. Create a medium-fidelity mock-up of the comic. The art is still rough, but I try to make it somewhat clear what the camera angle, dialog, and other stuff in the panel will be.
  3. Pencil and ink the full-size pages and then eventually clean them up.

So Step 2 is new for me, and it’s been a huge help with Step 3 because when I go to layout the page and draw each panel it’s a lot less of a mystery.

Here are some photos of the med-fi mock-up:

As you can see, the art is pretty rough. But that’s okay since it’s just for me (and you too now I guess 🤓). Here’s a mostly finished page for comparison:

Lost Ship_006 - WIP
Lost Ship Page 04 WIP

I think I’ll continue with Step 2 as part of my process for future projects. It takes a bit of extra time, but it’s been worth it so far. I’m going to share more pre-production designs and sketches from Lost Ship soon. I’m aiming to publish the comic this December.

Inktober 2018

My art and thoughts from my second time participating in the month-long challenge

Hooray, I just finished the Inktober challenge this year. I drew a different illustration each day in ink based on the prompts provided by the challenge. I also made each illustration space themed since I’ve been working on a sci-fi comic.

Last year I didn’t follow the prompts which made it difficult to figure out what to illustration. I’m glad I stuck with ’em this year.

Here are some of my favorite illustrations from the challenge:

Inktober 2018 - Day 02 Tranquil
Day 02 – Tranquil
Inktober 2018 - Day 03 Roasted
Day 03 – Roasted
Inktober 2018 - Day 08 Star
Day 08 – Star
Inktober 2018 - Day 09 Precious
Day 09 – Precious
Inktober 2018 - Day 14 Clock
Day 14 – Clock
Inktober 2018 - Day 15 Weak
Day 15 – Weak
Inktober 2018 - Day 19 Scorched
Day 19 – Scorched
Inktober 2018 - Day 26 Stretch
Day 26 – Stretch
Inktober 2018 - Day 29 Double
Day 30 – Double
Inktober 2018 - Day 31 Slice
Day 31 – Slice

Finally, here are the prompts:

Inktober 2018 Prompt List
The official Inktober 2018 prompts

I had a blast adapting each prompt. Inktober was a fun way to start each day. Participating in Inktober again builds my confidence because I can pretty clearly see how I’ve grown as an artist since last year. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but I’m getting better and truly enjoying it.

I put all of the illustrations together into a PDF if you want to check them all out.

NINA

A four-page sci-fi micro-comic

I made this little comic called NINA over the last few weeks as a way to get back into drawing page-sized comics traditionally and experiment with some new tools. It’s inspired by Blade Runner and Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame!. It was drawn on 9″ x 12″ bristol with technical pens. I added tone in Clip Studio Paint. I hope you enjoy it.

NINA_001NINA_002NINA_003NINA_004

A Few Thoughts on Shintaro Kago’s “Dementia 21”

I was picking up a book I had on hold at the library and a manga on display caught my eye. Dementia 21. What a strange name. The bright yellow letters really stood out. I decided to check it out and give it a shot.

Wow, am I glad I did. It’s the best comic I’ve read this year.

Continue reading “A Few Thoughts on Shintaro Kago’s “Dementia 21””