Sunday, July 16, 2006
San Diego Booth #5433
Gone to California!
By the time you read this I'll be sitting in a plane heading west. The mother of all 'comics' conventions is here, following the family tradition (anything done more than once becomes a tradition around here, just in case you haven't noticed), Megan 'The Pagan' and yours truly will be attending the 2006 version of the greatest Geek Festival known to mankind. We'll take this unique opportunity to premiere our new book called: "(Veinte Mujeres Con) PISTOLAS".
"PISTOLAS' is a gorgeous, limited edition (500 copies only) volume, made with love by an independent publisher and printed by a caring and quality obsessed woman. The book features some of the sketches seen on this blog (entirely re-drawn just for the book) and new drawings you haven't seen before.
I'm very proud of this collection of drawings because the production values are out of this world, beautiful, thick and luscious paper throughtout, no filler, no bullshit, no Kinko's special, just pure unadulterated line drawing madness, exploring and celebrating the female form of course, as we should, because let's face it already: women are the only reason why this bitter life is still worth living; just take a good look around you, aren't you disgusted with politicians?, the fucked-up environment, gas prices, the Middle East about to explode, North Korea's version of Don King aiming to nuke you just for fun, idiot Bush and his merry band of retrograde neocon assholes raping and maming Iraq and its people, turning that country into a parking lot, imposing their brand of corporate democracy on the rest of the world, can't even watch one second of decent TV, all you see now is recycled garbage, blind celebrity worship and ill-conceived reality programs which showcase humans at their worst, basking in all their humiliating and shameless 'glory'. However shitty life really is, all of this is forgotten when you stand on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan (right across the street from Macy's) for 2 hours.
Recently I was asked by a snot-nosed punkass-comic book fanboy: "Women? is that all you draw?" I had to restrain myself and show composure beyond what I'm capable of, I wanted to head-bunt him ala Zidane, just lift him off his feet a few and smash the bastard's head against the bumpy concrete, time and time again, just enough to render him into an unidentifiable and bloody lump of human flesh, instead I just replied " What else is there to draw?, cartoon fuckin' animals", I tell you, the nerve of the kid.
Anyway, as I was saying before I interrupted myself, we'll be at booth # 5433, my name is not in the directory so don't look for it there, the booth is under my pals Kandrix & Laurie, if you're in doubt of where I'll be exhibiting my wares, check the program under KONSEQUENTIAL STUDIOS . There will be prints and books and live drawing and fun, fun, fun!!
"Pistolas": From Idea To Reality
Before I even thought of the book I have had this image dancing in my head for years, finally I fleshed it out last year at the Long Beach Wizard Convention, I am very fond of this particular drawing for reasons unknown to me, I knew I would eventually find a place for it.
Now, as some of you may already know, my "books" are simply collections of selected drawings following a common thread, putting these collections together is not rocket science for sure but it does require a considerable amount of work, mostly planning.
I have drawn hundreds of women with guns but not all of the images can fit in the particular chosen format or co-exist in harmony with other drawings; when designing an artbook you must take into consideration many factors for the book to "read" well and achieve a kind of visual flow or like they say in comics and animation "continuity".
I think the hardest part of putting together a collection of drawings or songs or anything for that matter is...well, the 'putting together' part and I believe it's even more difficult when you're bringing together images that were created separately and for the most part have very little connection with one another, stylistically speaking or otherwise, unless you're compiling a retrospective volume on somebody's work over a period of time, themed 'artbooks' such as 'Pistolas' can benefit from a common style of drawing and sense of unity.
After agonizing over things like which images will make the 'cut', the format, the title, the page count, the materials, printing methods and effects, etc., etc. I then reconciled all of my choices with the economic factors such as cost of printing, retail price, wholesale price (if applicable)
Potential page breakdowns and possible formats & layouts.
I've decided (after much debate with myself and looking realistically at my possibilities -read time/money limitations-) to go ahead and make this a limited edition artbook. The economics of supply-and-demand rule the printing industry, the more books you print, the less expensive they become, so I was well-aware that this would basically cost me an arm and a leg for 500 units, using the best materials and labor possible.
With most of my preliminary work done I was ready to strike a deal with an overseas printer for 10 different titles, but that was before we got hit with family emergencies which threw things for a spin to say the least, in fact I wasn't too sure that I would be able to have another book ready for the San Diego show, but at this point is where I met Nicole Hankel from ABLE PRINTING in Calgary, Canada.
Nicole is an amazing printer, extremely knowledgeable and detail-oriented (as you will see later on) and an even more amazing person, we haven't actually met but I feel as if I've known her all my life, she knew about my struggles with family issues and my extremely short deadline to get this project done in time for the Sand Diego show (a mere week away) she volunteered and came through with flying colors. Many thanks to Nicole, her crew and my boy Kandrix who introduced me to this incredible woman.
The Making of "Pistolas"
The following is a kind of chronological overview of the genesis of this book, I'm planning on doing an expanded article on this subject (including digital coloring of the cover) for an upcoming issue of DRAW! Magazine:
Building a 'Dummy"
The (pencil) cover art was scanned in and colored in Adobe Photoshop, after several color proofs and much trial and error, test prints were generated (on an Epson StylusPro 4000 printer) to create a 'comp' or 'dummy'. This comprehensive prototype built to the actual specifications of the final product aids a great deal in planning the book to avoid technical pitfalls such as bleed (overprint) areas, placement of graphic elements and such.
The pencil drawing serves as a "peek-a-boo flap" engineered to be placed right over the actual cover.
Measuring and cutting the 'flap' to perfectly match the cover.
Measuring and cutting the cover lining to be wrapped around a 30mm. card board. Both, a hard cover and soft cover versions were designed and mocked-up.
Applying spray mount (glue) to the board to simulate the actual laminating process used by the printer.
Inside pages ( Epson test prints) to complete the 'dummy' book.
The 'dummy" also helped me in determining the order of the inside pages. Here's one of the 2 working prototypes built to spec after the holes were drilled and the spiral coil was inserted.
The Real Thing by Nicole Hankel
It all starts with a few sheets of paper....
The Skid on the left will be transformed into A Monk's Tale (Kandrix & Laurie's comics), the stock on the right is destined to become a gorgeous art book
Then we add a little bit of ink...
Process Black in Foreground, Process Yellow in the Background. (Missing from photo are Process Magenta and Process Cyan) We buy Ink by the Kilogram. The larger cans weigh 2.5kg, and we can easily go through 2.5kg of ink in a single shift on a newsletter with average coverage - text and photos.
Heavy Ink Coverage, such as the front of your
artbook, will go through it much faster.
(Hey! This is boring... Get to the REAL artwork!!! You know what we came here to see!)
Here's one of the girls hanging out as a negative on the light table.
On the assumption that you are not that familiar with the printing process, I'll give a bit of a short tutorial of the process.
It's summed up in five easy steps
1. Pull out remaining hair waiting for Artist.
2. Output digital files to negative
3. Burn negatives to metal plates
4. Hang the plates on the press, print the artwork, let dry
5. Trim finished printed product, collate, bind, ship.
Ok, seriously... the artwork is output on a device called an Imagesetter. (Think a bloody big printer that prints on raw negatives using a finely calibrated laser). Once the image is imaged on film, the film is developed (We use a film developer that makes the ones that you used to find in the 1hour photo shops look like a miniature. Ours will process film up to 18 inches thick). The negative is seen on a light table - everywhere that light shows through the negative will appear on the final printed image.
The stripper who works with the negatives (whose mind went RIGHT to the gutter now? that's what the job is called...stripping.) will mask them using masking sheets which allow only the portions of the negative that are to be printed to be burned onto the plate. We use a punch register system that allows for exact alignment every time (note the holes in both the negative (above) and the plate (below).
I believe this is the yellow plate. (For the cover there were five plates - one for each of Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, Black and the Spot Varnish).
We burn the negative onto a metal printing plate using UV light. Everywhere that light passes through the negative image is left on the plate (it shows up as a greenish/blue/teal colour). When printing, the ink only sticks to the plate where image shows, and the remaining ink is washed off using a water/chemistry bath (fountain solution).
Here's a shot of the front of the press open - you can see the plate for the spot varnish mountedon the cylinder - in front you can see ink rollers - Heidelberg has quite an involved roller train that allows the pressman a great deal of control over the ink.
After the plate is mounted on the press, ink and fountain solution are added and.... Kazam! the real magic happens here... then we wait patiently for the ink to dry.
What you've all been waiting for... The Cover Story!
Printed and ready to cut. The colourful squares on the far edge of the sheet are a colour bar which allows the the pressman/woman to measure the strength of each of the process colours (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black) to ensure that inks are even across the page, and they are running at an appropriate strength - different sections of the page require more ink, and the pressman needs to ensure that the ink flow is neither too heavy or too light.
Sheets are removed from the press in small "lifts" to allow the ink to dry without offsetting on the back of the next sheet. These sheets are finished and ready to be cut after they finish drying. (Doesn't that varnish look hot!?)
Here some of the girls are hanging out after being cut down, ready for collating.
Our shop have the girls lounging on every flat surface... they seem to like it back there! (They want to know when more of their friends are going to come for a party.)
We've checked with them, and they are all quite comfortable, and are looking forward to their holiday with you in San Diego.
As we cut everything down, we believe in the old adage "cut once, measure twice". Here's the cover with the overlap sheet.
Thick paper really stacks up - Covers are cut and ready to be collated. You can really see
the varnish reflecting the light if you look at the circle/number.
The girls are ready to go for a ride... here we're loading the collator.
And another shot of the collator tower. Lots of paper!
Quality Control Process
And of course, we have to ensure that we pass through rigid quality controls, so our Quality Control Supervisor "Tycho" is seen here personally testing out the thickness of that cover stock.
While Tycho heartily approved of the stock, she began to have a few second thoughts on the wisdom of destructive testing. Is that thing loaded?
Hope you enjoyed - and this is what you were looking for.
I think you will be very happy with the finished printed product!
#3 700 58th Avenue SE
Note: (Nicole and Alberto will expand on these topics in an upcoming article for Draw! Magazine)
I'll see you in San Diego!