Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Opening the Door to Color

Natashia gives Petro a back scratch in return for a swig of beer.

...And the people said "let there be color" and there was color...
...So my ascetic vow to B&W is now gone out the window, as you can see.
A whole giant slew of complications lays ahead because of this, but the color fiend in me has been awakened and there is no going back!

The "green-spill" (green reflections) from our makeshift green screens is no longer a harmless gray. It's like a green slime that infests every single images and requires sisyphean nitpicky work to get rid of.
Certain garments and objects which were selected for production for their lovely texture in B&W are actually of hideous irrelevant hues. take for instance Nanna's dress...
The peachy orange was a perfect mid-tone gray, setting off Nanna's white skin perfectly. In color it's almost the same color as her skin!
In the image below you can see an attempt at the left side of the dress, right under her hair, to change the dress color to a yellowish green.
So often obstacles become opportunities for invention, and in this case, the idea to allow Nanna's dress to change colors with her moods was born. I can't wait to see her in black, burgundy and turquoise!

Nanna during dinner preparations. (I stalked these particular metal, pink kitchen pieces on e-bay for 6 months until they dropped to a price I could afford. I love love love them.)

Below are a few tests of the outdoors areas:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

And So it Was...

Alexandra Ceribelli (Isness' prop-master) and myself showing off the trailer. Notice the sample miniature at bottom left. Brought it in as an attraction. Only problem was the demographic it attracted: females 8 and younger!

So glad I made the push to finish the trailer for MoCCA!
There's nothing like that river of comics lovers drifting by your work and commenting freely to give you a reality check!
Although a good deal of trailer copies were sold, ISNESS remains rather elusive to the average viewer.

Most comics connoisseurs regard photo-comics as a lesser form because the handcrafted process is bypassed with a click the camera. The signature style, so coveted in this art form seems to be absent.

They say:
"Why not draw"?

From the other art millieu this work flirts with, filmmakers, I often hear:
"So why not just make a movie, then"?

It will certainly be a challenge to get this work to speak it's own singular language clearly enough as to cast these questions moot.

Another point that came through loud and clear was people's desire for color. So consisted was this comment that I am now reconsidering my earlier commitment to absolute B&W...
The added technical complication this will introduce is daunting... yet the pleasure of departing from an austere palate and dabbling once again in color is, I must confess, tempting...

I was lucky to sit two tables away from Seth Kushner, the multi-talented photographer and comics artist who's currently producing "Culture Pop" a photographed documentary comic series about some of New York's most fascinating characters. He offered some insights and we exchanged work (Work exchanges between artists is one of MoCCA's sweet little side benefits. I also exchanged with Nick Moore for two super-cool T-shirts with an image so wonderfully morbid, the recipients, my kids, refused to wear them, alas...)

I'll be posting the full trailer here soon and your comments will be most welcome. Until I figure out how to do that, here's one of my favorite frames from it:
Although the kitchen maquette was hardly finished when I shot it, this composite demonstrates well how the miniature and life size will co-exist.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's MoCCA Time of the Year Again!

...And the 16 page trailer is done! ...And not a moment too soon.
I'm posting the lavish cover image and extending a warm invitation to you all to come visit me, and the many other amazing artists at MoCCA.
And yes! It's this weekend!

Saturday, April 9
Sunday, April 10


at the 69th Regiment Armory
68 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY.

Monday, February 28, 2011


There was a short-lived fantasy that I would be ready with the first volume of ISNESS fot the MoCCA festival (April 9)...
NO CAN DO. Drove myself nuts (and those around me) for about a month until I faced reality.
Maybe June. But ISNESS will be all the better for it.

Meanwhile, to keep you all in the loop, I'll be posting images from the process and preparing some teasers to give out at the festival.

In the studio, miniature building is the new big game and it has taken over every nook and cranny I have real-estate rights for.
Miniature set building, as I soon found out, is no walk-in-the-park. There is a mind boggling number of scales to choose from and they all don't talk to each other...

The house rooms are being built in 1/12" scale a very common doll house scale (Every inch in doll house world equals a foot in real life).
The other scale I finally settled on for the beach-side diorama is called "HO" and is a classic model-train building scale (Evey 0.14" represents a foot)

...If you choose HO, you'll find plenty of trains stuff and diorama stuff but very little furniture or anything of modern design.
...The military scales such as 1:35 have very little beyond WWI and WWII. (Vietnam era is oddly absent) and no living quarters or furniture...
...The very common 1:12" doll house scale is designed mostly in Victorian style and has no military stuff...
...Most of the vintage doll-house furniture designed in the 50's and 60's in the style of the era, are of odd scales and hard to find.

It's truly the wild west out there when it comes to scales. The scale schism, I call it. Obviously, nobody out there has planned for ISNESS and it's mix of Vietnam era military equipment and mid century furniture.

So after months of savvy e-bay hunting It looks like I will be building, at least the kitchen from scrap. Crazy detail work. But If I followed the rules of sanity, this project would have never lifted off, anyway...

The beach diorama is coming along slowly. Here is a snippet of the further-inland area, the forest where Hunter roams. Lots of painted plaster of Paris, trees and turf from trainz.com.

Lars' room is a lot of fun to work on. He's a child who's raising himself as a thinker, in a very unsophisticated home and his choices of objects is most fascinating to me. Can't wait t fill his shelves.

The decaying concrete walls for Natashia's room. Most will be covered with wallpaper but I got carried away with the organic, messy process. Foam-core covered in paint, plaster of Paris then splashed with inky water.
When it dried I cracked and repainted it to accentuate the cracks.

Bought 30 brand new doll house windows (price undisclosed...) only to deface and mutilate them later.
They don't make post-apocalyptic windows in 1/12" scale.

A wonderful miniature garment designer, Thelma Lewis DeMet jumped on board and contributed some of her wonderful hand made pieces to the shoot.
Most of them will end up in the master bedroom which does not appear untill volume 3 of ISNESS.

Photoshop can do ANYTHING I want. Here's a test combining Lil' and her imaginary live-dolls interacting. Threw in a lens flare and some blur and converted to B&W and voila! (I don't mean to say that it's fast! Just keying out the bodies can take up to an hour for each image. At least 1,000 images will go into each volume. Sanity? Say what?)

So many options for the cover. And the fonts! So many cool fonts to choose from! I'm so glad there will be 4 volumes! This means I can design 4 covers!

A typical state of my pages: Partially edited, partially keyed out, partially desaturated...

I WILL be at MoCCA Festival with promotional material, teasers, posters and samples from the 1st volume, so DO stop by and give me a word of encouragement!