Friday, April 29, 2011

A brief history of Sore Thumb Press

Mid 1990s, I joined a local Amateur Press Association called Comicopia. We were a membership that produced bi-monthly material and commentary. I proudly debuted a 20 page comic story called 'Perry's Trip'.

I look on it now as simply awful. As a matter of fact, much of the artwork I produced for that APA shows an artist needing alot more practice and growth. That being said, I used the APA as an opportunity to flex my creative muscles, and debuted several characters, including Perry and Slam McCracken (more on him later).

The late 1990s, I began working at a local animation studio as clean-up artist on a Teletoon series called Bad Dog. Over time, I handled many different tasks on various productions, ultimately becoming a freelance storyboard artist.

During free time, I sketched random ideas. One of them blossomed into a few comic pages featuring a girl from the future, named KT and her entourage. Although I found KT alot of fun, one of her side-kicks really appealled to me:

I thought the idea of a fish needing a robot suit was cool (of course, the concept has been used in Jimmy Neutron and Megamind, but I'd like to think I was first). After alot of redesigns (many of which I'll showcase in a future blog), I decided that Pike Armstrong (as I came to call him) was strong enough to deserve a strip of his own. The concept is basically my love-letter to the super-hero comics I was exposed to as a youngster, with an unflappable hero sent from a doomed world, choosing to protect his new home from crazy menaces (sounds a bit familiar, I grant you).

Pike wasn't the only idea I'd been refining over the last decade or so. A sketch inspired by the Far Side lead to another character I'm fond of: Slam Mc Cracken, hard bolied detective.

I worked up a pitch involving Slam, and was chosen as a finalist in Platinum Studios Comic Book Challenge. Afterwards, I took the time to produce an 8 page webcomic and was selected for DC Comics Zuda competition (I didn't win, unfortunately).

Much more on Slam when I devote a blog entry just for him.

In the meantime, I've filled scraps of paper with sketches and scribbled ideas, and stuffed them all in a drawer next to my art table. I'm excited about all of them to different degrees, and look forward to tinkering with them.

Which brings us to the present: I've decided to try fundraising to be able to produce finished material for several of my concepts. This blog is the first step, hopefully a tool that may pay dividends long term.

I'm honestly looking forward to the future of my fledgling publishing venture!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gotta start somewhere!

When I was a young teen in the carefree 1980s, I remember strolling into a local depanneur, and noticing a spin rack near the door.

That's where I first discovered comic books.

Leafing through the colorful pages, I was immediately and irrecovably hooked. Using my allowance, I purchased an Incredible Hulk issue (having been a fan of the Bill Bixby series) and read it cover to cover. Through a classmate, I was introduced to Capitaine Quebec, a store that sold only comic books! I collected a variety of titles, including the New Teen Titans.

That particular comic book influenced me significantly. The art was filled with energy and mindboggling detail, and I became a big George Perez fan. I remember creating my own Teen Titans story on foolscap, with the colored mass of papers stapled together proudly.

I still own that 'comic book'. It doesn't look half bad!

As I grew older, I dreamt of breaking into comics, working for either DC or Marvel. Considering the tiny odds of catching some editor's eye, I never formally applied. At the same time, I never really applied myself to properly learning the craft of comic art. Taking Illustration & Design at Dawson College opened my eyes to the hard work and training required to become a successful illustrator, and I was always intimidated by that reality. My skills have slowly developed over the years, although I'm still light years away from George.

Over time, my desire to produce my own comic books has grown. Many germs of ideas have popped into my head, and several have been developed to a point where I'm quite pleased with their potential. Self publishing is incredibly daunting, especially in today's challenging marketplace (comic book sales are on a rapid downward spiral); that being said, I believe strongly that a quality product released regularly can develop a sustainable fanbase. I really can't see what else I'd be happier doing, drawing comics just feels right.

And that's what this blog is all about.

Here, I'll be introducing my concepts, and showcasing what I've managed to accomplish with them so far. Each week, I'll present sketches, background insight into my creative thought process, as well as finished pages. Over time, this blog may become the outlet where my polished material is presented, we'll see how things go. My goal is to ultimately have completed issues for all of my concepts, available to download or purchase. With luck, I'll be able to continue the stories and/or have them collected as graphic novels.

Although I've come this far, I'm not afraid to ask for help. You'll notice a Paypal donation button off to the side; any donations would be sincerely appreciated. Working on this comic book publishing project is a part-time sidebar to my regular work. Any funds I can gather become a tool allowing me to realize my dream and get my concepts off of my drawing board.

I thank you in advance, and hope you'll come back next week!