Oliver's Travels

the development of a new world

Getting back to business…

March22

It has been a while since I posted anything. I know, I know. I have been very, very busy though. Tons of progress has been made on Oliver’s Travels. Issue one is completely drawn and the painting is moving along really well. We even have an official logo (thanks Kirby)!

Check back soon, there’s more to come.

Josh

On a Jet Plane…

April25

Sketches on a plane

Earlier this week my day job had me winging my way to San Francisco for a meeting. Man, that is one long plane ride. With a lot of hours to fill I turned to my favorite time killers, drawing and reading. I did some work on refining the storyboards for chapter 5 of Oliver’s adventure in Elsewhere. Then I busted out the sketchbook for some pen and ink fun and did the above sketch. It is a little rough and wobbly in places but it came out all right.

More to come soon.

Josh

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Chasin’ Waterfalls

April11

Chasin' Waterfalls

All right, it has been a while since I posted. To long in fact. But a lot has happened in the last couple months that has kept me away from blogging. But I want to get back on the horse and start updating with more frequency. I have not been blogging but I have been drawing so there is a lot to share. To get things started I have a new piece that my wife and I finished for the book. We also submitted this to the Spectrum Fantasy art book, we did not get in this year but there is always next time.

Enjoy folks and as always thanks for stopping by.

Joshua

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The Creative Diet: Starman Omnibus

January5

I have heard the old adage “you are what you eat” a million times in my life and I have always regarded it with some skepticism. I mean if that were true I would surely be a walking, talking Swedish Fish by now. But the idea that we are in some small part made of what we consume has always struck a cord with me, especially when it comes to our imagination.

It is with that in mind that I am kicking off a semi-regular feature here on the BCC blog. I am calling it My Creative Diet. I have always been interested to see how the things I have read, watched, eaten, heard and visited have affected my creative process. Plus I enjoy sharing the things I love with my friends.

To kick it off I am going to recommend Starman, no, no not the semi-classic 80’s movie staring the “dude” himself Jeff Bridges, the fantastic comic series from the 90’s by James Robinson and Tony Harris.

My first exposure to Starman was in college. My roommate Darrin and I would go to the comic store every Wednesday after 2D design. I remember those trips so fondly, we would head out as soon as class ended and go get comics then stop at the Highland Park diner for the best cheeseburger and pie Rochester had to offer. It was a weekly ritual that was rarely interrupted or deviated from. I know what your thinking and no, I was not very popular with the ladies.

On one of those trips Darrin bought Starman 0 which came out as a part of the Zero Hour event going on in the DCU at that time. Darrin was hooked after the first issue and started buying it regularly and I did what any poor college student would do. I read his. Anyone that ever had a roommate knows how this ends. Your roomy moves away with his or her stuff and six months to a year go buy and you are rummaging around looking for that “thing” that you remember having and it dawns on you that it is in Iowa or wherever your friend has gone and it was never yours to start with.

Needless to say I lost touch with Starman and missed the bulk of its six-year run. I was very excited when I heard that DC has recently begun re-releasing the entire series run in a series of hefty graphic novels. On a recent vacation I was able to sit and dig into the first volume. Some of these issues I had read in college but a lot of comics have passed through my hands since then and it all had the vague, hazy film that time seems to stain our memories with.

Reading it again was a revelation. Let me say first that I love the Justice Society characters. For those of you who are not fluent in comic nerd, these are the first generation of heroes in the DC Universe. Before Superman, Batman and all the others you know there was Doc. Midnight, Hourman, Mr. Terrific, Starman and so many others. This book is as much about their story and legacy as it is any of the new characters that are introduced. These characters are from the greatest generation and they represent a different time in America and in comics, in a lot of ways the story of Starman is about bridging those two eras of comics.

At its heart though it is a story about fathers, sons and the legacy we leave both good and bad. That is what makes it work so well. This is a story about a son reluctant to take over the family business, to give up his own dreams for his father and his community. Only instead of a building and loan, or a vacuum cleaner store the family business is super heroing. Once he takes over the mantle he starts to learn more about his father and what he went through and why he did it all those years. In turn as his father sees his son take on his legacy and do it in his own way. It makes for a great relationship to read.

James Robinson creates real people in these characters. By the time you finish the first issue you feel like you met a new person in Jack Knight, by the time you finish issue five you feel like you have known Jack your whole life. He owns a collectible store, he likes old things, he likes old movies, and he has issues with his older brother and his father. He feels real, unique and believable and it makes the fantastic situations he gets in seem that much more real. Maybe that is the key to writing stories like these, an anchor of realism makes the fantastic easier for the reader to buy into. I am not a good enough writer to know, but this series certainly made me think about it.

A lot of credit goes to Tony Harris. The art is fantastic and exciting for me on a couple levels. The first is Tony Harris. He is a gifted penciler and creator who has over the years developed a very unique signature style. The roots of that can be found here in this book. You can really see his style take shape over the first five issues and then become refined. His page layouts improve and become more and more creative. His figures and facial expressions get better and better. It is really something to watch an artist find their way like that. The second thing was the design work, the character designs were so good and well thought out. Some of it was small details like the retro art deco style of Opal City and it’s citizens. Other things like having Jack fight crime in his street clothes and black leather jacket instead of a costume created a visual break that reinforced the changing of the generations and the darker tone of the modern day story. It is really great when an artist and a writer feed into each other like that.

There is just so much in this first volume that is everything I love about comics and why I keep reading them. Not only was this first volume a rip roaring action packed four color adventure, it really got me thinking about my story telling and how I am crafting my characters. I already have the second volume of this great series and I am ready to dig in!

If any of you out there have read Starman I would love to hear your thoughts and if you haven’t you’d better have Amazon open in another window, do yourself a favor, click buy now… do it.

Thanks for putting up with my ramblings.

Joshua

I have heard the old adage “you are what you eat” a million times in my life and I have always regarded it with some skepticism. I mean if that were true I would surely be a walking, talking Swedish Fish by now. But the idea that we are in some small part made of what we consume has always struck a cord with me, especially when it comes to our imagination.
It is with that in mind that I am kicking off a semi-regular feature here on the BCC blog. I am calling it My Creative Diet. I have always been interested to see how the things I have read, watched, eaten, heard and visited have affected my creative process. Plus I enjoy sharing the things I love with my friends.
To kick it off I am going to recommend Starman, no, no not the semi-classic 80’s movie staring the “dude” himself Jeff Bridges, the fantastic comic series from the 90’s by James Robinson and Tony Harris.
My first exposure to Starman was in college. My roommate Darrin and I would go to the comic store every Wednesday after 2D design. I remember those trips so fondly, we would head out as soon as class ended and go get comics then stop at the Highland Park diner for the best cheeseburger and pie Rochester had to offer. It was a weekly ritual that was rarely interrupted or deviated from. I know what your thinking and no, I was not very popular with the ladies.
On one of those trips Darrin bought Starman 0 which came out as a part of the Zero Hour event going on in the DCU at that time. Darrin was hooked after the first issue and started buying it regularly and I did what any poor college student would do. I read his. Anyone that ever had a roommate knows how this ends. Your roomy moves away with his or her stuff and six months to a year go buy and you are rummaging around looking for that “thing” that you remember having and it dawns on you that it is in Iowa or wherever your friend has gone and it was never yours to start with.
Needless to say I lost touch with Starman and missed the bulk of its six-year run. I was very excited when I heard that DC has recently begun re-releasing the entire series run in a series of hefty graphic novels. On a recent vacation I was able to sit and dig into the first volume. Some of these issues I had read in college but a lot of comics have passed through my hands since then and it all had the vague, hazy film that time seems to stain our memories with.
Reading it again was a revelation. Let me say first that I love the Justice Society characters. For those of you who are not fluent in comic nerd, these are the first generation of heroes in the DC Universe. Before Superman, Batman and all the others you know there was Doc. Midnight, Hourman, Mr. Terrific, Starman and so many others. This book is as much about their story and legacy as it is any of the new characters that are introduced. These characters are from the greatest generation and they represent a different time in America and in comics, in a lot of ways the story of Starman is about bridging those two eras of comics.
At its heart though it is a story about fathers, sons and the legacy we leave both good and bad. That is what makes it work so well. This is a story about a son reluctant to take over the family business, to give up his own dreams for his father and his community. Only instead of a building and loan, or a vacuum cleaner store the family business is super heroing. Once he takes over the mantle he starts to learn more about his father and what he went through and why he did it all those years. In turn as his father sees his son take on his legacy and do it in his own way. It makes for a great relationship to read.
James Robinson creates real people in these characters. By the time you finish the first issue you feel like you met a new person in Jack Knight, by the time you finish issue five you feel like you have known Jack your whole life. He owns a collectible store, he likes old things, he likes old movies, and he has issues with his older brother and his father. He feels real, unique and believable and it makes the fantastic situations he gets in seem that much more real. Maybe that is the key to writing stories like these, an anchor of realism makes the fantastic easier for the reader to buy into. I am not a good enough writer to know, but this series certainly made me think about it.
A lot of credit goes to Tony Harris. The art is fantastic and exciting for me on a couple levels. The first is Tony Harris. He is a gifted penciler and creator who has over the years developed a very unique signature style. The roots of that can be found here in this book. You can really see his style take shape over the first five issues and then become refined. His page layouts improve and become more and more creative. His figures and facial expressions get better and better. It is really something to watch an artist find their way like that. The second thing was the design work, the character designs were so good and well thought out. Some of it was small details like the retro art deco style of Opal City and it’s citizens. Other things like having Jack fight crime in his street clothes and black leather jacket instead of a costume created a visual break that reinforced the changing of the generations and the darker tone of the modern day story. It is really great when an artist and a writer feed into each other like that.
There is just so much in this first volume that is everything I love about comics and why I keep reading them. Not only was this first volume a rip roaring action packed four color adventure, it really got me thinking about my story telling and how I am crafting my characters. I already have the second volume of this great series and I am ready to dig in!
If any of you out there have read Starman I would love to hear your thoughts and if you haven’t you’d better have Amazon open in another window, do yourself a favor, click buy now… do it.
Thanks for putting up with my ramblings.
Joshua

Character Development: Brisby

December20

I love sketchbooks, I love seeing an artists thought process and the changes that happen to a character as it develops. When I was in school for Illustration at RIT they had special collections of famous artist and designers sketchbooks and journals that you could look through. I used to love sitting there with the white gloves on gently turning the pages and exploring the thought process of these great artists. It is the same for me when I go to a convention, I can just pour over the portfolios and original art and I always leave with at least a couple sketchbooks in hand. That is why one of the regular features on the BCC blog will be Character Development. It will be a place for me to open the sketchbooks and show how some of the characters come to life. It is not that I think my process is some kind of a revolution in character design, far from it actually. But this is the kind of thing I would want to read at comics blog.

The two main characters of our tale of fantastical adventure are Oliver and his faithful dog Brisby. Oliver went through a lot of sketches and refinement (that will be shown in a future post). Brisby however is based on my dog. Her character design was completed almost from the first sketch. There were some changes and simplifications in her markings but that was about all. With her, it is not so much the design as the personality that I have to practice getting on the page. She servers a  very important roll in the book. Where Oliver is focused on getting home and protecting her, she is the observer. She is the one looking around going “Do you see this? There is a flying snail over here!”

Above are several of the development sketches and drawings (click to enlarge them) from my sketchbook that were used to bring her to life. I feel like these are a great place to start but as the book develops and I draw her more I want to continue to push myself to give her more and more personality. To act on paper as they say in animation.

I hope you enjoy them and thanks for reading.

Joshua

A drink along the way…

September4

This is is the first of what will become a regular feature here at the BCC blog. A new piece of art every single week(ish). This will hopefully keep folks checking back and keep me motivated to draw!

To kick it off we have a pin-up featuring our fearless adventurers Oliver and Brisby. These two and their search to find a way home will be the heart of our story.

The wonderful colors were provided by my lovely and talented wife Leah. She is getting a better handle on the world and characters with each painting and I am really excited to see the art shaping up like this. It gives me a lot of hope for the future of this project.

I will have more soon, thanks for reading.

Joshua

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File this one under old news…

July31

During the school year I teach Drawing 1 and 2 at Finger Lakes Community College. They asked me to put a few pieces into the faculty show back in April. I was more than happy to join in with the other talented artists there and hang some of my work. It is a rare chance for me to see my work in a gallery setting. It was also the frst time I showed off the new look of the book. It got a very encouraging response. Some of it even made it onto RNews when they came out to do a story on the show.

So dear reader even though this happened a while ago I still wanted to share some pictures, I hope you enjoy them. I will be back soon with new art to post.

Thanks for reading.

Joshua

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San Diego Dreamin’

July24
This seems like a fitting time for me to launch the official blog of OtherLand. It was a trip too San Diego two years ago that inspired me to get serious about my dream to do a comic. I showed some old art and got some pretty rough but constructive critics but I was on fire with inspiration. I sat with my sketchbook late into the night coming up with new ideas and revisiting some that had been with me a long time. When I got home I drew this…
It was the start of something. I spent the next year working up new ideas, sketches and eventually pages to take back the next year. I will show some of those pages when we get a little bit further along with this grand adventure that is bloging. All that led to me returning to sunny California with a preview book in hand. The cover of which you see at the top of this post. I handed the book out to a ton of publishers and got as many people to look at it and give me feedback on my portfolio as possible. I learned so much. After leaving I made choices and changed my approach from a monthly to a Graphic Novel.
That leads us to today. I deep into the development of the new book, I am writing and drawing it and my wife is painting. But it is not done and won’t be until next summer. That is why I am here, at home dreaming of warm sun, big waves and a convention hall filled to the brim with awesome.
Now dear reader, you know where I am starting from and you know the goal, to have a completed Graphic Novel on sale a year from now.  I will be sharing as much of the creative process and myself with you as I can in hopes that you will keep me honest and keep me working.
I have so much to show you all and over the next year and hopefully you will stick with me on this adventure.
Thanks for reading.
Joshua

This seems like a fitting time for me to launch the official blog of OtherLand. It was a trip to San Diego two years ago that inspired me to get serious about my dream to do a comic. I showed some old art and got some pretty rough but constructive criticism, but I was on fire with inspiration. I sat with my sketchbook late into the night coming up with new ideas and revisiting some that had been with me a long time. When I got home I drew this…

It was the start of something. I spent the next year working up new ideas, sketches and eventually pages to take back the next year. I will show some of those pages when we get a little bit further along with this grand adventure that is blogging. All that led to me returning to sunny California with a preview book in hand. The cover of which you see below. I handed the book out to a ton of publishers and got as many people to look at it and give me feedback on my portfolio as possible. I learned so much. After leaving I made choices and changed my approach from a monthly to a Graphic Novel. I took the advice of the folks I met at the Convention, my friends and family, and changed the style of my drawings. My wife joined in the project with me and has been watercolor painting each page.

Cover to the preview book from Comic-Con

That leads us to today. We are deep into the development of the new book, I am writing and drawing it and my wife is painting. But it is not done and won’t be until next summer. That is why I am here, at home dreaming of warm sun, pumpkin waffles, big waves and a convention hall filled to the brim with awesome.

Now dear reader, you know where I am starting from and you know the goal, to have a completed Graphic Novel on sale a year from now.  I will be sharing as much of the creative process and myself with you as I can in hopes that you will share your feedback and keep me working.

I have so much to show you all and over the next year and hopefully you will stick with me on this adventure.

Thanks for reading.

Joshua

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