Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A (belated) cannon salute

Here's one for The Boys on Memorial Day. Couldn't have said it better meself.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Another good ship

I just added a new link to the right: my college friend Paula's blog, People Paula. She basically just dismantles the entertainment industry with razor sharp observations and insights, and its incredibly gratifying and damn funny to boot, way funnier than Joan Rivers could ever hope to be, and as a benefit, unlike Rivers, she doesn't look a botoxed, hatchet-faced Gorgon. So check it out.

** Wait, I'm getting a vision...I see....I see The 10 years.**

Whoa, that was weird.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Master Pilot

On our little trip last week, I had the opportunity to stop by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Western Mass. with Molly and Mom, and I was once again blown away. There's a tendency of 'artists' - and I use that term very loosely here - to look down on their nose at illustration, and the granddaddy of illustrators everywhere, Rockwell. And while I usually parse my words and try not to offend, this time, I just can't help it - these people are idiots. Yes, he's preachy and treacly and sentimental and old ladies have his prints on their fridge magnets. But anyone - anyone - that claims they admire art and it's subsequent necessary mastery of things like draftsmanship, composition, gesture, and color use, and then says they aren't blown away by Norman Rockwell are either total numbskulls, or have their heads so far up their art asses that they can see their own artsy fartsy tonsils. That's just the way it is, sorry.

These are most likely the same folks who also think this is really, really cool. Once again, these people are very, very stupid.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A sailor's dilemma

As you may or may not know, I'm a rabid poster fan, and my design sensibilities have been informed by all manner of poster art from the very begininngs. What I've been trying to accomplish visually with The Basic Virus is an homage to not only the ideas' beginnings in poster form, but to the simple, clean design concepts present in the early 20th centuries advertisements and billboards. Above is a frame from the Prologue of The Basic Virus, my new webcomic; before I get any further (Episode 1 is coming soon!) I'd like sound off about the difficulties of translating a design concept from a more antiquated medium to our current faster-cheaper-more-out-of-control way of making cool stuff, and maybe get a few helpful recommedations along the way.

Below is the firsy of two examples of the poster art I really love, both 'borrowed' off the fabulous site La Belle Epoque Posters, which I often surf in my off-hours and wistfully hope that a spare 3 grand has suddenly appeared in my bank account.

The first thing we can say is that, besides being executed by a draftsman superior to me, it's what seems to me a charcoal and chalk drawing on printmaking paper, turned even more vibrant in the litho process, while mine is clearly a product of Illustrator and Photoshop, on top of pen and ink. See how his whites are more evocative, his lights more blended, the sublte shading creating a greater sense of drama. And this is what bugs me. While I admit I'm not the greatest digital artist to stroll in face of the Earth, I consider myself competent enough in what I do. I'm troubled by the fact that it might just be that, lest I actually do every single one of my panels in the traditional manner, I may not be able to exactly duplicate the feeling I get when I look at these posters in my comics. And this bothers the hell out of me.

Here's another wonderful one, not only for it's similar use of the gradient shading, but it's straight up design sense. Man, don't you wish companies still paid for ads that look like this?

I'm OK that I can't duplicate these master's work: my work is my own, and I have my limitiations, like time and narrative pacing. But I'd really be blue if I thought that the feeling these give is unattainable in the digital world.

**Sorta unrelatedly, Clickwheel will be at the San Diego ComicCon this July, and invited me to tag along as a Contributing Artist: we might get to be on a panel and everything. How official. In any event, I'll be doing my darndest to get my sorry ass down there. Sweet!**

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Animatic? Comiccast? Podcomic? Avast!

I just got a message from T Campbell today that said that he went ahead and changed my keywords in iTunes from 'comiccast' to 'animatic' specifically because that's what Clickwheel is calling it, and we should all be on the same page as far as a searchable terms. This seems entirely reasonable to me, and I think I can give a little to get a little.

But this brings up an interesting point: what the hell do we call these things?

I've frankly been a little underwhelmed by the Web 2.0's nomenclature system. "Blog", for me is just a etemological laziness, and "Vlog" is just plain silly. But being one man with one very small 'blog', I can't really do anything about those.

But what we're doing here with these 'moving comics' is hefty enough that I think it does deserve it's own little word. The reason I have problem with 'animatic' is because, having come from animation and film, I know exactly what an 'animatic' really is, and my new...thing...'Fading Fast', is not an animatic. An animatic is a rough filmed storyboard of a film- or animation-in-progress. It helps the director and creators plan better for all the work that lays ahead: it's kind of a filmed blueprint. And while the camera moves may end up being similar, I think there's one weighty difference, and that is that, in a filmed comic, the story is MEANT to be told in this static format.

I'd hate to think that we're all just doing comics because we dont' have the time to do animation. Comics contain a special uniqueness which gives it power, and that is the resolution that takes place in reader's own mind: animation, god bless it, lays it all out for you. Hence, animatics are a stand-in for larger action that the creator is asking you resolve, only temporarily, and thus I think they're resolution jumps are less polished, because it's just for the creators, and everyone knows what it will look like in the end. A "moving comic" purposely (hopefully) has given much more thought to those transitions. Comics have the ability to much more powerful or touching or funny or whatever because the reader's mind is an implicit player in the medium.

So...animatic is out, for me at least. I was excited about the term 'comiccast', because I think it is technically correct: it is a broadcast of a comic, which, while besides being descriptive, brings up an awesome Buck Rogers image of the RKO tower shooting comics into outerspace (come to think of it: I'll be working on that image cool!). But it doesn't roll off the toungue, and like the creators of Kleenex will tell you, it's gotta be fun to say in order to catch on.

So I'm at loss. Any ideas out there? Hmmm...

(PS: I'm on the East Coast for a week for weddings and graduations and such, so I won't be updating for a bit...lemme know if you want to hook up.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Boarding The iTunes vessel

My first comiccast, a translation of my comic Fading Fast, is gonna be available on iTunes starting tomorrow, courtesy the ever-supportive folks at Clickwheel. The age of podcomics in ramping up, where comics, animation, storytelling, sound design come together to form a new way of communication and art. And I have to give a shout out to the Clickwheel guys for pretty much getting behind whatever I do. Why can't everyone be this cool?

Check out the props here.