2014 has been a busy year so far. Here’s an update on everything I’ve been working on:
The Interminable Cockroach Man in: Beware the Breadophile
It’s been seven years since I dedicated any real time to character animation. Since college, my focus had been on character modeling, and then expanding that focus to work on my drawing skills. This gap in my artistic development was something I planned on remedying, especially after seeing Rooster Teeth’s series RWBY and being thoroughly impressed with the way a small team was able to capture a 2D style and produce a solid action cartoon on a web schedule. (I even borrowed a few techniques from their playbook – for example, here’s Monty Oum describing a technique for adding outlines that are much cleaner than the Maya Toon profile lines. I mixed this with a stroke filter in After Effects for my outlines)
This project took me from the beginning of January up until Monday afternoon. That entailed modelling, texturing, and rigging four character models, two sets, and various props. I also created backdrops and numerous 2D assets, drew out storyboards, cast voice actors and hunted them for weeks on end to get them to read their lines, searched for stock music, created sound effects and found stock for what was outside my ability to produce, and animated, rendered, composited, and edited the final short that you see here.
The Interminable Cockroach Man: Wing It
September of 2013 saw the relaunch of The Interminable Cockroach Man web comic. The first run served to showcase a number of problems with my approach, including an inconsistent art style and a page-by-page writing style that led to gaps in page postings and scripts that tended to re-tread a lot of the same ground. A fresh start was in order with a much more focused and planned out approach. It was also during the course of this comic that I discovered Manga Studio, which has quickly become my favorite piece of software for digital drawing.
In May of this year, the first issue wrapped. The print copy made its debut at the Alabama Phoenix Festival, where I spent the weekend with the team from Matter Deep Publishing and got a taste for working a convention booth and speaking on panels.
Olympia Heights: Lightning Rod
Behind the scenes, I’ve been working with my sister, Amy Leigh Strickland, on a comic adaptation of her Olympia Heights series of novels. The comic will be an alternate retelling of the series with a focus on the Hellenic versions of classical mythology, rather than the neoclassical approach taken by the novels. The first book will be a 200 page black and white comic focusing on Zach Jacobs, the modern incarnation of Zeus, and will launch a Kickstarter campaign in October.
So far, I’ve designed mortal and divine forms for the sixteen main characters from the novels, as well as characters new to the series, such as Iapetos and Herakles. I also developed a workflow to draw the ancient scenes in the comic to resemble ancient Greek painted pottery.
Draw Down Dead
This is not a 2014 project. Rather, it is one that I started working on for mobile developer Rocketmind in December of 2011, and continued work on through 2012. I modeled and textured the characters Brushfire Bill, Coffin Top, Seamus O’Gattlin, Pistol Fist Pete, and a series of parts for a modular henchman model. The Beta version of the game went up on Google Play this week, allowing me to finally show of these models.