Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Man of Peace

Another interesting thing I've been working on lately is another graphic novel biography. This one is the authorized illustrated story of His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet. The book is written by William Myers, fulfilling a promise he made to the Dalai Lama in 1993, and fully painted by Tibetan artist, Rabkar Wangchuck.

The book tells the full life story of the Dalai Lama, from his humble childhood, to his maturity as spiritual and political leader of Tibet which coincided with the Chinese invasion, and up until today when he still lives in exile from his homeland, living as a writer and proponent of peace.

 And what's my role in this?

Though production on the illustrated biography has been slowly progressing for a while, Tibet House US, the organization that is sponsoring the production of Man of Peace, is very eager to speed up the process, and hopes to have it published next year. It is an enormous undertaking, and as of this writing, there is still about half the book not yet painted.

Based on my experience creating stories for Rotary International and the Ronald Reagan biography I illustrated, they contacted me to help speed things up. This seems to have become a bit of a niche that I've fallen into; a kind of book I call "Graphic Non-Fiction." Basically, they hired me to draw rough pencil layouts for Rabkar to paint over. Having two artists on board should save time, while I provide the basic page designs and storytelling, Rabkar concentrates on the authentic Tibetan details and likenesses of the real-life characters who populate the story. Here's a before-and-after peek:
My pencil layout, on the left... Rabkar's painting to the right

In the end, as you can see, the finished product bears very little resemblance to my own work. In this case, that is desirable, as we would not want the second half of the book to look drastically different from the first.

Mostly, my contribution here (besides speed), is the addition of a little more variety and dynamism in the storytelling and camera angles. The look and feel of the story is still completely Rabkar's, as he makes his own changes and adds cultural flourishes that I'd never even think of. Like this:

From my perspective it's a very unusual project, as my work will not be at all recognizable in the finished product. But it's a fascinating story that I'm proud to be associated with.

I'll post some more teaser images and process soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

What to do this week outside of San Diego...

Here's a little suggestion for everyone out there who is NOT going to COMIC-CON, but would like to show solidarity with "Nerdom" this week... Get out and see PACIFIC RIM in the theater. I MEAN IT! It's a totally fun movie that needs the support of fans who enjoy sci-fi, anime, robots, monsters, and all that good stuff. Guillermo Del Toro makes awesome movies, and works with comic book creators we all admire.


Hey, I liked Despicable Me 2 too, but it's a travesty that Del Toro's original concept took 3rd at the box office last weekend behind two sequels: DM2 and Grownups 2 (really?).


I'm serious about this. Just relax and enjoy some giant robots punching monsters in the face. It's great.

There are other important reasons to support this film. If you don't believe me, listen to this pretty woman with pink hair...

ComicBookGirl19 makes some excellent points. And she has a robot sidekick, who is strangely absent from this video. But I think that proves she knows robots.

The Last Extinction Trailer

A few months ago, I mentioned a project that has kept me very busy during the past year, and finally I'm able to show off some of the work. The Last Extinction is the first novel by Writer / Producer Michael Hanrahan, a natural history filmmaker for the Discovery Channel and other media. His book will be published soon, followed by an 'enhanced' eBook version, for the iPad, Nook & Kindle. This enhanced version will include the animated sequences that I have been developing, as Creative Director on the project. Here's a peek at the teaser trailer...

In the following weeks, I plan to post a lot more about my experiences on this project. In short, Michael brought me on board in May of 2012, to help him bring his vision to life. After working closely with him to develop storyboards and concept sketches, I assembled an amazing team of digital artists from around the globe, and worked with them to create some amazing (sometimes disturbing!) visuals for animation.

I'll write a little about the process and show off some of the beautiful 2D and 3D work soon. Meanwhile, for more information about the project, creative team, and release dates, please visit LASTEXTINCTION.COM.

Friday, July 05, 2013

More D.A.R.E. Illustrations...

Last year, I was pleased to collaborate with my friend, the multi-talented Scott Hutchinson, on some classroom workbook materials for D.A.R.E., using illustrations and graphic storytelling to help teach kids decision-making skills for safe & healthy lives. This week, we're at it again, developing a series of posters to teach a  younger demographic of children. Here are a couple examples...

Simple, but fun.
(you know, for the kids.)