Michael Stock

Posts tagged mike garley

Comic Books / Lettering

Samurai Slasher 3

Halloween is fun for many reasons but in recent year it has come to mean another volume of the fantastic Samurai Slasher! I think Mike Garley has started structuring his entire year around this labour of love. And it is BLOODY awesome!

As always, Mike gathers a stellar cast of artists so I have an interesting task of trying to fit the lettering to the art. Where normally I might alter the lettering style to suit, this series has its own lettering style that has remained largely consistent across the previous two previous volumes.

This volume did present the challenge of lettering some more less common elements which allowed for something a bit different.

As always the entire series has a larger dollop of SFX throughout which are characteristically on point. You can pick up your copies from  Mike’s web store, or check out his list of convention appearances and then you can pick one up in person, and get it signed at the same time.

Blog

VS Comics Interview – Part 2

Originally published in VS Comics #3 – March 2013

Mike Stock // Digital Editor & Letterer // Interview

Can you talk us through your process, and any tools you use?

I could, but then I’d have to kill you … nah, all the dialogue, balloons etc. are created in Illustrator. I created my own blank templates in the software that are the US and UK page sizes and have bleed, trim and live area guides. I have separate layers for artwork, balloons, text, and SFX.

Lettering page template

Lettering page template

This set-up means I can drop in the artwork and scale it down to the page size so I am always lettering over the same size canvas. This also means I can just drop in updated art files as amendments come in – often I’ll start lettering over pencils and then the inks and colours come gradually as they are signed off. I like to involve the SFX in the artwork as much possible so they are made in Illustrator but then imported into Photoshop where I can manipulate them and the original image to blend them in in whatever way suits the style. The style is different for each story; it is dependent on that of the writing and the artwork. Sometimes it is quite simple but occasionally there is a bit more work involved like in Swan Song, for instance.

In Swan Song there is an immediate pace change to, say, ‘Eponymous’ and ‘Day and Night’, which are both full of action and are often very dark. Instead we are set in a geriatric ward of a robot-run hospital so the pace is quite thoughtful and the colour palette is very clean. There are several characters straight from the off: three humans, one of whom speaks solely through video screen; two robots, both with their own personalities; and a sort of mainframe computer who calls the shots. After reading the script and looking at the art I set about creating a sort of style guide, which outlined the dialogue for each of these characters.

Style guide - Swan Song

Style guide – Swan Song

The humans have normal white balloons, which I tweak slightly for the video character, and I chose a dialogue font that I felt had lots of personality. For Sadie and Stevie I gave their balloons’ corners and a pattern to emphasise their robotic-ness and a casual sans serif font (like what this is written in now) that contrasts the font used for the human dialogue. I coloured the pattern in relation to the speaker to help distinguish the dialogue and personalise it further. For the computer I squared up the balloons further and took the kink/bend out of the tails, sort of removing as much personality as I could. In cases where I make a style guide like this I’ll include it on a new layer in the Illustrator file and keep it locked and hidden so it is always close to hand, should I need it.

Logos and titles will often follow the same process as SFX but usually involve a lot more sketchbook (random scrap paper) work, I usually find it much easier to adapt and rework a typeface by hand. Photoshop gives me a lot more flexibility to have the element interact with the artwork should I need it to. Quite often I will also be entrusted with the production of the finished comic, either in a print-ready PDF or a digital format. For compiling these files I use InDesign; it links all the artwork files which means the original art is amended or changed and then I can just refresh the InDesign file and hey presto.

What are you working on outside of VS – Tell us about it.

Jon Lock has just got Afterlife Inc. #3 successfully ‘Kickstarted’ so I can look forward to that over the coming year, lots more Dead Roots too as that’s released quarterly. Also in the works: The Six should have popped up on your radars during LSCC (2013); Destiny’s Fate #3 is well on its way and has been really good fun; The GeeBees is shaping up fantastically and is due out this spring; I’ve just finished one issue of The Pride and there already 6 more in the pipeline; and something really funky called Raygun Roads with Owen Michael Johnson.

Urbanality - logo and credits

Urbanality – logo and credits

What inspires you?

Creativity; it sounds like a cop-out but, creativity is contagious. If I’m having one of those days where I’m not feeling creative I go hunting for other people’s. I collect images that make me think, make me laugh, or feel sad, happy, confused; anything, basically, that makes me stop and look at it again. I don’t leave them on my computer or share them on Pinterest or something weird, I print them out and stick them in a big ol’ scrapbook; which I can flick through.

SFX - Afterlife Inc.

SFX – Afterlife Inc.

Where do you see yourself in five/ten years time?

Well I’m new to comics as far as I’m concerned but I look forward to burrowing further and further in. I’ve not really been lettering for that long either so I’ll keep learning for now. Maybe in 5 years time I can be living off of comics … I think I’d like that.

www.michaelstock.co.uk
@sheriffstocky

And there you have it. It was really fun to read through this again and, retrospectively, see where it has taken me; particularly the bit about what I was working on at the time. Jon Lock’s Afterlife Inc. rolled straight off of the success of #3 and into a MASSIVE collected edition called the ‘Book of Life’ which was also a huge Kickstarter success! The Six preview (available for download still) went down very well too. Destiny’s Fate led to an awesome anthology by it’s writer Devin L. Michaels called ‘Capitalism and Other Stories‘ which I lettered and did a lot of design work for. We finished all 6 issues of The Gee Bees which now exist in a hardback collected edition. I drew the cover art for that, a bit out of my normal comfort zone but I enjoyed it none-the-less. The Pride is going strong, we just released #4 of the main series and #2 of The Pride Adventures which are made up of shorter stories following the same team, filling out some of history of the Pride’s universe. And finally Raygun Roads was just nominated for ‘Best Comic’ at the British Comic Awards we lost out to Image’s The Wicked and the Divine but it was an honour to be recognised for what is a strong, and truly unique, comic book.

Design / Lettering

Happy Halloween

A few of us UK Indie Small Press comics people got together and made a free Halloween comic. The comic was available to download and we all shared the link amongst our individual fan bases in hope of advertising our creator-owned projects to a few more people. After a week the link was removed and the individuals were free to do what they want with their respective properties.

Contents:

  • Chop Chop Chop! by Peter Mason
  • Afterlife Inc. – The Black Room by Jon Lock and R.H. Stewart
  • Peg Powler by Samantha Holmlund
  • Descending Outlands – Halloween Special by Shaun Dobie and Paulo Oliveria
  • A Date with Death by David Hailwood, Tom Suleri, and Ken Reynolds
  • One More Family Secret by Luke Cooper
  • Bertie Bear – Prelude to Terror by Andy W. Clift
  • Think Yourself Dead by Stu Smith, David Hailwood, and Brett Burbridge
  • The Gee Bees – The October House by Steven D Quirke, Kel Winser, and myself
  • The Kill Screen – Out of Sync by Mike Garley, Josh Sherwell, and myself
  • The Witch of the West Wood by Giuseppa Barresi
  • Little Terrors – A Halloween Tale by Jon Scrivens and Patrick Cline
  • The Red Mask from Mars Vs the Halloweener by Vince Hunt and Shaun Dobie

Cover Design

I also had the honour of designing the cover for this little anthology, Mike Garley (who compiled the book did all the layouts, and co-ordinated all the creators and their stories) had suggested we wanted to feature as much of the artwork as possible so I used big chunky letters (adapted from a BlamBot font) and chose some artwork to fit inside them, I was given free reign to pick the art so that was fun. I went my instincts for the most part, tried not to dwell n what was being included and what wasn’t and I had fun cropping them together as the letters overlapped. I was really happy with the result.

Halloween Cover

Spoilers

The following is for showcasing my lettering and may include SPOILERS (many of these stories will appear as bonus material in collected editions I imagine).

Halloween Black

Created an un-cropped logotype version of the cover text for Mike Garley to use throughout the book.

The Gee Bees - The October House 1

I had a lot of fun doing the story title for The Gee Bees story and it also required thought bubbles which are uncommon nowadays so I tried something different with them.

The Gee Bees - The October House 2

The Gee Bees - The October House

The Kill Screen 1

The Kill Screen story required ‘syncing’ symbols throughout so I had fun slotting them in where required.

 

The Kill Screen 2

The Kill Screen 3

Lettering

The Kill Screen #2

Issue #2 of The Kill Screen is ready for it’s launch at Leam Comic Con on the 18th October. It was another really cool issue, and amazingly Josh’s art gets better and better. For me the highlight of the issue was these cool health bars Mike had me design, they are another example of the interesting story-telling techniques he comes up with.

“Grab it now and treasure forever.”Word of the Nerd

“This is a book with real legs.” Down the Tubes

“The stellar work from issue #1 was just the start for The Kill Screen as writer, artist & letterer continue to maintain this fantastic read” – Comics Anonymous

“A fascinating look at a different type of dystopian future. I highly recommend checking it out.” What’cha Reading?

“A fantastic read, with an incredibly original concept, and it’s not coming from the Big Two or Image, but from the UK Indie Small Press scene. You have to get your hands on it however you can!”Bleeding Cool

“Kill Screen #2 is a real treat, and offers a promising premise. Go grab this thing today.” Unleash the Fanboy

” It continues to be a welcome change from zombies and will make anyone who loves video games smile.”  Fanboy Comics

“Like the internet? Like games? Like comics? Well then read The Kill Screen because it is right up your street!”Nerdly

“It could easily rely on just its unique concept to carry it, but the three creators of the comic put their hearts into it and make it a very well-written and entertaining piece of fiction.”A Place to Hang your Cape

Spoilers

The following is for showcasing my lettering and may include SPOILERS.

Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.45.34 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.47.13 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.49.06 Screenshot 2014-11-21 13.50.20

Lettering

The Kill Screen #1

Issue 1 of The Kill Screen is complete! It was a lot of fun and the outcome is a REALLY strong story so I look forward to selling it at conventions with Mike and Josh. This is how Mike describes it on his site:

“Humanity has reached its Kill Screen. Now only the strongest will survive as computer errors transcend from the digital world into our own, destroying everything in their way.

Set two years after ‘The Kill Screen’ event, humanity is left on the brink of extinction leaving the remaining survivors caught in a deadly 8-Bit fight for survival.

No one knows what caused computer errors and technological faults to infect our world, but with a wide range of different dangers, threatening the lives of the survivors on a daily basis, no one cares. Surviving is all that matters.”

Some of the reviews have been fantastic already:

“10/10 – Edge of the seat moments mix with brutal but very human moments. Brilliant!” Comics Anonymous

“A fantastic read, with an incredibly original concept, and it’s not coming from the big two or Image, but from the UK indie small press scene. You have to get your hands on it however you can!” Bleeding Cool

“9.5 The Kill Screen is a must read – it offers a unique premise, and strong execution.” Unleash the Fanboy

“Startlingly original. The concept alone makes it worth checking out.” Gore Press

It also featured a limited edition variant cover by Ian Churchill!

Spoilers

The following is for showcasing my lettering and may include SPOILERS.

Screenshot 2014-11-21 10.20.52 Screenshot 2014-11-21 10.21.28 Screenshot 2014-11-21 10.21.39 Screenshot 2014-11-21 10.22.25 Screenshot 2014-11-21 10.23.19

Comic Books / Lettering

The Kill Screen

The Kill Screen Logos

A title change and a logo re-design later and Mike Garley announced our upcoming comic series with Josh Sherwell, The Kill Screen.

The Kill Screen - Cover New

There is more information about this awesome story over on Mike’s website, including a 10-page preview. I designed the logo and will take on lettering responsibilities for this exciting new journey in which I look forward to reuniting with a long-time collaborator in Mike and getting to know Josh (with whom me and Mike worked with in VS Comics) better!