Monday, 28 June 2010

Starman and stuff

I think the best experiences I've ever had drawing another person's script for a major publisher was an issue of Starman by James Robinson, which is odd to say considering the number of odd delays and other weirdness that occurred while drawing the issue.

My starting to draw the issue was initially delayed because DC thought James was too far ahead of schedule on Starman.

James patterned the two baddies in the issue on a real-life couple he was acquainted with and he thought it'd be cool if I drew their likenesses. I'm always up for drawing likenesses in comics so I happily waited for the couple to provide photo reference.
Then waited less happily.
Then just waited.
Then we decided to stop waiting and James suggested I draw them to resemble a couple of actors, but we agreed not to go for full-on likenesses for them.

This was during DCs dalliance with their own expedited shipper -- I think they were called Airborne Express. This delivery service were next-day delivery wannabes of the worst sort, James said "If FEDEX are the police, Airborne Express are the Keystone Rent-a-cops" -- I'm probably mangling what he really said.

Anyway, this shipper lost a whole package of artwork To be fair, they blamed Purolator Courier for the loss. PC was their Canadian partner. PC blamed AE for the loss. Regardless, it was the only time any courier lost an art shipment of mine. Wade von Grawbadger had to ink over photocopies of the pages, so he really stepped up to make the issue look as good as it did.

So, there's a whole record of other people making decisions that ended up making me come realy close to blowing the deadline on this issue .

I eventually put a few pages up for auction on ebay, including the one above. The one above was won by an inker from England. He asked for a Starman commission and I agreed. He wanted something that kinda summed up the relationships in the series. Then, of course I let everything else get in the way of doing the commission.

I'd thumbnail out some roughs and even transfer them to board, but then a deadline would come calling at it would get put aside. Returning to the piece later, I'd hate what I did and start again, only to have something else come up.

After a while it became really embarrassing -- I decided I had to put more into it than I normally put into a commission to make up for it, but that required more time and, again, another deadline would come barreling in and push this aside.

This eventually got forgotten until I was about to move out of my studio several years ago and I stumbled across several of the drawings. Decided to stop everything, I sat down, picked one of the roughs, finished it off and mailed it that day. Finally. I felt like a serious fuck-up for taking that long to get to it, but at last it was off my back.
Last October I got a delivery notice, went to the post office and was given a large plastic bag with the cut-up remains of the FEDEX box I had shipped the artwork in. It was opened in customs, the paper I wrapped the FEDEX box in was shredded and only my address was legible, so it shipped to me. And I had to pay to get the package, too.

The art was bent up a bit, but I knew how to fix that. The bad part was I tossed everything having to do with this after I sent the package, so I wasn't even sure I could remember the guy's name properly.

If I felt like a fuck-up before. . . .

I'd recently signed up at comicartfans and have been posting various pieces for sale there and the guy contacted me last week. He was understandably very upset.

I got his address and packaged the art and sent it again the next day. I've been told that bubble envelopes and cardstock are better packing materials if you expect something to be opened by international customs than my usual method, so I did that.

I figured I've been pretty harsh in writing about some other people on my blog and thought it past time I can direct some of that back. Whatever reasons seemed reasonable to put off doing this commission years ago were, ultimately, bullshit reasons. At the very least I should have realized it was taking too long and reimbursed his commission money and just sent the page. It was just ego and stupidity that stopped me from giving up on drawing it.

1 comment:

R. George R. said...

I’d say you’ve redeemed yourself quite well. A drawing like that is the result of bullshit? Bravo, toro, bravo!