Browsing articles tagged with " Tips"

Using 3D to Direct my 2D

Jan 30, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

So here’s the plan.

Now that I’ve completely rebuilt So-Called Living issue 1 to be a little more “artist friendly”, I’m taking it to the next level. Using Maya (the 3D software package), I’ll be storyboarding pages for Jamie myself. I’ve downloaded some pre-rigged characters from, so that I can pose them, and position the camera where I want, to achieve the scene that I want to see in the final product. Each rendered scene will then be taken into Photo Shop where I will be laying out the comic pages, panel sizes and word bubble placement. After which I’ll hand it off to Jamie and have him draw the scene I laid out. Not sure if anyone else does this, but I think it could work out pretty cool.

In case I wasn’t clear… The final pages will be all hand drawn, no 3D art will be used in the final product.

Revising So-Called Living Book: 1

Jan 4, 2013   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

It’s 2013… time to get my shit together!

Now that both my Top Cow Talent Hunt submissions are sent off, I can get back to working on So-Called living.

After showing Jamie my Top Cow script, he asked if I could format our So-Called living scripts the same way. You see, what’s different about my So-Called Living scripts, is that my descriptions were vague, on purpose, for two reasons. 1: I see Jamie everyday and we talked through every panel in person. 2: As an artist I assumed he would want the freedom to express himself, and not be tide down to my vision of things. So here’s where I went wrong…

Drawing a comic is a lot of work and according to Jamie, he would rather me break the panels down for him, so he has “less thinking to do” (his words not mine); Thus allowing him to focus more on creating the art asked of him, and less about directing the story itself. Fair enough.

Also, I never broke the story up into pages (panels yes, pages no). I did this to put less constraints on Jamie’s creativity, but now I see the errors of my ways. My panels were labelled, PANEL 1 – PANEL 90. Not a good idea.

So that leaves me with my latest task. I have to go back to book 1, expand on my descriptions and break my panels up into pages. So far it’s taking me longer to do that than it did to write the story in the first place.

FYI: I’ve never written a comic before.

Rewrite… again

Apr 17, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Yesterday my goal was to finish writing book 3, instead I ended up rewriting most of it, but that’s ok ’cause in the end, I know the book is that much better for it. When it comes down to it, I’d write that beeeatch over 100 times if I need too ;)

Push Through The Crap

Apr 11, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

I was talking to Jamie yesterday, informing him of the piss poor job I was doing on the script for book 3. If there are any other writers reading this today then you’ll understand, that some days everything you write comes out shit! You’re tired, agitated and maybe even a little hungry, but yet you’re determined to write anyway, and so you do, and that’s fine, but you’ll be writing it again. ’cause if you’re like me, you’ll know its crap when you’re writing it, but you know what… screw it. Just keep writing if you want, get it out of your system. Then after a day or two away from it you’ll come back, realize the mess you’ve made of things and then fix it. I like to think that I have some good stories inside me, and some bad ones, but they all have to come out, and I don’t always have control of when, but I can control what I show to others. If you’re not confidant in your work, be it writing or drawing, don’t try to pass it off to someone else hopping for praise, you’re only lying to yourself. Part of being good at what you do is learning to accept your failures, and the other is learning from them.

A Much Needed Kick in the Ass

Apr 3, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

As I mentioned in a previous post, the story for the second issue of So-Called Living was less than stellar according to those who read the early script. I can’t stress how important it is to have a group of people you can trust to tell you that your story is shit. Sure it’s nice to hear how “awesome” your story is from your friends and family, but in the long run they are not helping you, but If you’re the kind of person that takes criticism badly and sulks over bad reviews, then chances are your friends aren’t going to tell you the truth, even if you ask for it, that’s just the way it is. I’ll admit, when given a bad review, I probably appear angry or upset, but never with the reviewer, always with myself for not doing better or catching the problem from the start. If someone doesn’t like your work and you trust their opinion then there’s a good chance you have to go back to the drawing board (or in my case the keyboard), and that’s just what I did.

I wrestled with different ideas in my head for a few days, and then yesterday it hit me! I ran down to my office and started writing, and you know what? The story is sooo much better for it. So in the end, after the smoke of criticism clears and you get down to what really matters (maximising your potential), you’ll be all that much happier with the end result, trust me.

The Plan So Far

Mar 27, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

So I’ve decided that So-Called Living will have a limited print release, and that we’ll be focusing on digital distribution for the most part.  I’ve been checking out, a distribution site for digital comics, not exactly sure how good they are, but the price seems about right, $150 plus their cut of sales (if I read that right). But before all that, the plan is to get a promotional print ready to hand out at FanExpo. The actual release date of So-Called Living won’t happen till we have at least 3 of the issues completed. At which point we will release 1 a month for the next 3 months, which should give us enough time to complete the 4th and final book of the mini series.

Jamie’s 2nd Step

Mar 23, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Hello! Today I’m going to introduce you to the Jamie way of drawing comic pages (for all I know this is how everyone does it, so bear with me). As you saw in previous posts, Jamie had roughed in a few story board pages based on my script (example on left), which is a great way to plot out your pages and work out the visual timing of your story. Now that Jamie is done making scribbles, it’s time to get things cleaned up. This is his first phase in the clean up process (image on the right). It’s not much, just a bunch of boxes on a white sheet, but it helps get a better sense of the space he has to work with.

When asked “Why do you do all the pages in boxes first? Why not just draw a single box and fill that up with your pretty pictures as you go?” Jamie replied “Just not how it goes“… so there you have it. ;)

Oh wait… this just in, Jamie has expanded on his answer. “...allows me to jump around. It’s like when we make a game, why don’t we start with the title page and loading screen? Movies are done the same way, they don’t shoot it in sequence.”

For those of you not up to date, me and Jamie make video games for a living, and this conversation I’m having with him is via MSN and… Oh wait there’s more!

…especially when you’re doing a new book with new characters. It allows you to jump around with that character and work out a lot of his style and expressions”…ok I think that’s all he’s got.

Good answer Jamie! I know you didn’t know this was an interview question when you answered me, but you do now. ;)

The Facts

Mar 20, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Yesterday was suppose to be the day that Jamie read my script for book 2 and I got started on book 3, but neither of those things happened. Not sure what Jamie’s excuse was, but for me… I fell asleep. If you’re a writer, and you’re that tired, go to sleep. I’ve tried to write while sleepy before, and it never works out. I’ll always come back the next day and rewrite any of the gibberish I wrote in that zombie like state, because if you force it, you’r not going to be happy with the results. Speaking of zombies, lets get to today So-Called Living facts

Fact 1: Zombies exist in the world of So-Called Living.

Fact 2: It’s not an outbreak, just an every day nuisance that people have learned to deal with. This isn’t the Apocalypse, this is Tuesday.

…still, just the tip of the iceberg ;)

Storyboard Pages: 7 & 8

Mar 15, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  2 Comments

Here are two more story boards for So-Called Living. Here you’ll learn a little more about what’s going on with Jack & Jill. This is also where the story starts to pick up. Not sure how much I can show you guys after these pages, but I’ll leak what I can ;)

Page 7: Set in front of an oversized moon.


Page 8: Looks like our couple gets into a little trouble. I made one request of Jamie on this page, and that was to turn jack around, so it looks more like he’s pulling (almost dragging) Jill away from an awkward situation rather than running for his life.

Storyboard Pages: 5 & 6

Mar 14, 2012   //   by Mark Maia   //   So-Called Living: The Blog  //  No Comments

Got some more storyboards for you guys. This time around I’m posting the versions with my comments written on them so you guys can follow along, but I’ll also reiterate my notes for those who can’t make out my chicken scratch ;)

Page 5: Starts off with a news report on TV (if you couldn’t make it out). I actually had to black out one of the panels with comments, but trust me they were awesome comments ;)


Page 6: I originally wrote “..catch more bees with honey” but the saying is actually “… catch more flies with honey”. I considered leaving it in there and having Jill correct Jack, but I couldn’t get a good flow that I liked that wouldn’t change up the rest of the page.

In the panel where Jack is throwing out the chilly fries (the panel with the red scribbles over black scribbles) I requested that Jill be in the frame to continue the flow of her walking away without Jack that starts in the panel above (the panel with the black scribble that says “you showed him”.