Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Paper Dolls & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether

I'm excited to say that I have the opportunity to work with Rick Burchett to design a Lady Sabre paper doll for the beloved web comic Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka, thanks to an overwhelming response to the kickstarter campaign to get this beautiful comic into print.
Claudette Colbert

When Greg asked me to do a paper doll of the sassy and brazen Seneca Sabre, I just about flipped my lid.  I've been playing with paper dolls since before he was born!  My mom had a set of Hollywood stars paper dolls with glamorous outfits and accessories.  I played with Lucille Ball, Claudette Colbert, Elizabeth Taylor, Gene Tierney, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Jane Russell and all the greats.  I didn't even know who they were, only that I loved their dresses, hats, fur coats, pantsuits, purses and bouquets. Their poses were so confident: Claudette Colbert holds one arm up and looks off to the side in disdain, while Lucille Ball looks you right in the eye with both arms outstretched. Gene Tierney has her hands on her hips, giving you a smoldering come hither look.  My design (coming soon!) has taken some of my favorite elements of these dolls, with
updates of my own that ring true to her character. 

Lucille Ball's summer dress
Looking at my poor paper soldiers of war, I wonder how they survived 4 little girls playing with them--switching outfits, prancing them around at their imagined celebrity events and tennis matches.  They certainly wouldn't survive much more at this point with the yellowed tape holding a dainty feet and hands in place, so I decided to start restoring them for myself.  I scanned them in and doctored them up in Photoshop and Illustrator.  I searched the internet for missing body parts: Lucille Ball's hand, Gene Tierney's foot, Ann Sothern's arm from the elbow up to the fingertips. After trying to iron out, unfold, straighten out and repair the fragile outfits just so I could scan them, I decided they would be sturdier and more fun to play with done in cardstock, which I plan to do with Lady Sabre. After all, people are going to want to dress her up for love scenes,  arm her with swords and guns and play out imaginary battles.

Sharpen up those scissors!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Scenes from Shooters

I stopped by Olympic Cards and Comics in Lacey, Washington on Free Comic Book Day last Saturday to see if I could track down Eric Trautmann, author of a moving graphic novel called Shooters, co-written by Brandon Jerwa and illustrated by Steve Lieber. It's about a soldier who comes back from the war completely unable to find his place in the world.  I recently learned that the book had won a Prism Award for an accurate depiction of mental health issues.  Truly well deserved. This is one of those stories that I revisit again and again in my mind.

I sauntered into the store on Saturday at 10:15 and was greeted by probably the most epic FCBD I have ever seen.  Running into Eric within a minute of entering the place was a minor miracle!
The truth is, I was on a mission.  I had been so moved by the book and inspired by the drawings, that I had to create some fan art of the book.  I scanned, printed, cut-up, glued and reassembled many of the pages to display them in pop-up, 3D format.  I would say pop-up card, but it's not the kind of thing you would send for a birthday or Hallmark holiday.  My focus now for my pop-ups is to make them more of a piece that you can set up and display, but easily fold away.

Prototype of the mountain scene
The first one I created captures the scene where the main character Terry Glass contemplates heroism from his wheelchair.  I loved the way that Steve Lieber presented the scale of the different elements of the scene.  The mountain is large, but the statue upstages it, while Glass and his buddy are very small (actually smaller in the original drawing since I stole the wheelchair picture from another page).  I worked a Dr. Frankenstein on these images, so this is really a composite of Lieber's work. I admittedly am self-conscious about cutting up other artists' works, but it is all in humble admiration of their craft.

Yours is the only citation being awarded, son.

The second piece is a combination of a few pages, but I wanted to capture all the feelings in one place. The father's regret, the horror of the battle scene, and the funeral scene in which it is obvious that his fallen comrades will not be recognized for what they have done. In fact, their deaths will be swept under the rug.

I'm happy to say that I did get to meet Eric that day and share my pop-up cards with him and express my admiration for his work.  Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my copy of Shooters to be signed!  I was also way too early to meet Brandon Jerwa.  I'm sure I'll track those guys down again sometime. I'll definitely make another field trip up to Lacey to check out the store.  Maybe on a day that's not quite as nutty as Free Comic Book Day.

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