Sunday, February 17, 2008

3 Months? What the??!??

Hey everyone,

it's been 3 months since the last post. We've been busy with all sorts of stuff. The one complaint everyone has is the sheer lack of time. It's not like we're sitting around watching TV all day long...but nonetheless it's a poor excuse.

But I do have to confess something...I've been cheating on you monkstale blog...with the Calgary Expo blog....though it hasn't been too serious yet, I can see that our relationship will be getting deeper and deeper. I hope you don't hate me, afterall, you know I still love you...

- Kandrix

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm flying, Jack!

Here's an overdue post...a pic of Kandrix and I on our first wedding anniversary weekend in Banff. We hiked up a mountain (symbolic) and realized 15 minutes into it how out of shape we both are. There was a family of 4 a fair distance behind us on the trail the whole way...A young couple, about our age, and they had a baby and, like, a 4 year old...and they were carrying them. yah. Fast forward 2 hours...we reached the top about 15 strides ahead of them. Ha HA! Victory!

We had celebratory grilled cheese sandwiches at the Panoramic Restaurant - yes, there is a restaurant on the mountain top - and got sleepy in the sun, so we decided to ride the gondola down to the base (also symbolic). They snap your photo all cheesy-like before your descent, and it's conveniently ready for purchase by the time you reach the bottom. They say the first anniversary is 'paper', so we figured photo-paper is as good as any!


Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanksgiving, eh?

Well, it's a long weekend for us up here in Calgary, Canadian Thanksgiving is about a month before Thanksgiving in the States. Personally, I think it's because of the turkey Canadians get the smaller ones, while the Americans get an extra month to plump up their turkeys.

Speaking of which, we've had two seperate turkey dinners, our own (which ended up being only the two of us), and one with my dad's side of the family. The funny thing is the turkey for two was bigger than the one for 12 (they had lots of other stuff). So, I guess that means turkey everything for the next couple of weeks!


Monday, October 1, 2007

Studio Renos! Argh!

So...what have we been up to? Well, we've always had a home studio, but we've been putting off home renos for a very long time. In fact, we took out one of our toilets and it was resting on our balcony for about a year...I'm sure it's the most awesome patio seat you've seen!

But seriously though, we've been up to our necks in crazy renos, both our bathrooms were redone, and we were living without a bathtub/shower for a while. There's nothing like toweling off in the kitchen! Ugh!
Here's a couple photos of the studio room. We ended up putting more stuff in it while some of the other rooms were being worked on. There's stuff everywhere! And it's going to get worse before it gets better!


Friday, August 24, 2007

Artist Alley 17 in Toronto!

The best thing about coming to Toronto is all the friends we get to see on the other side of the country! We're staying with our good friends Jarett & Stacy from Purepwnage, we had dinner with Bobby Chiu, Kei Acedera, Stephen Silver, David Colman, Thierry, Joe Weatherly, Shane, Sean & Kevin...and that's only the first night!

It's a great show on many levels...we've got issues #6 & #7 for the Toronto fans (so you can finish reading the series!), lots of networking, and of course hanging out with everyone. We're excited to be here, and this will also our last show of the year.

If you've never seen us before, come visit us in Artist Alley 17, and get a free mini-book!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quick photos

Just got these, thought they were awesome so we had to put them up. After San Diego we went to Las Vegas with our good buddies Kelly Dowd & Jim Demonakos...more on them later!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Series Done!

Wow! I can't believe that after five years, we've finally completed the mini-series! For those of you that have been following us from the start, we originally thought this would only be a three issue series, but it's definitely grown since we begun! Getting this book done is a huge accomplishment for us, it's like a gigantic 'monk' off our backs!

So, where have we been over the last while? It wasn't easy getting #7 finished, we wanted it for San Diego, and we worked our tails off to make it for the show. Here's a quick recap...

At this point, only a third of the book has been sent off to press.
Friday: Last day of work for both of us before we go on "vacation" from our day jobs. Artwork continues frantically. We're already later than we planned to get the book to our printer (she's awesome, more on that later!)
Saturday: The two of us barely slept, she's cranking out pages, I'm helping with some shading, and assembling the sheets digitally. Sheets are slowly FTPed up for pre-press.
Sunday: 'Only' four pages to go at this point, but we're both pretty burnt out...
Monday: Nicole, our printer, calls us several times over the day. We feel the crunch and we're working as hard as we can because we know she's pulling a huge miracle/favor/shotgun for us. Finally at 6:00pm, the last sheet gets uploaded! Hooray!
Tuesday: We sleep in a little bit, then head down to Able Printing to help Nicole out. For #7, we would cut, collate, the print run. Two of the sheets were actually printed at 5:00am that day. Lucky for us, it was really hot that day, and by the time we trimmed everything, those sheets were dry. We're there from 10:00am to 6:00pm, and the two of us are swapping shifts to take care of some personal things before we leave for San Diego.
Wednesday: We have an early morning flight to LAX at 7:00am, so we need to be at the airport by 5:00am. We've barely slept, and it's really rough for us...which I'm sure it's the case with lots of creators. We drive our rental from LAX to San Diego, pick up some friends, eat some awesome sushi, and setup at the show. Preview night didn't really work out for us, we had some stuff that was missing, so we decided to check out the show instead.

Well...that's it for this post, we'll write more about San Diego next time!


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Comic Sweatshop

This weekend is the moment of truth...we have to get enough finished this weekend or we're really in trouble. Laurie's on her third page of the day right now, I finished up our pre-production section (4 pages this time), plus I've got a bunch of pages to clean up yet tonight...and it's boiling hot here in Calgary today...and it's supposed to get hotter tomorrow. So it's really like a comic sweatshop...

There's nothing more satisfying than working like crazy while sitting at a desk, but smelling like you've been outdoors moving boxes...yum...the stench and sweat is uncomfortable to say the least. Anyways, here's that page I was mentioning before (pg 19), completed and shaded.

And here's a sketch from the battle scene (by Laurie of course).

Back to pages!


Friday, July 13, 2007

Road Blocks

I came to a quick realization tonight, it's how much I actually struggle with writing dialogue, and how this happens with every issue. When we're working on the book, we have almost a set routine. We work out the story, pencil & clean up pages, get too close to our deadline, ingest lots of caffeine (and other unhealthy foods) and squeak by.

When it comes to developing the story, we write everything as plot points, as in figuring out everything that happens. In our thumbnails, we usually jot down some quick notes like "Zhen says something to this effect"....which is great in one sense, but really tough in the other. So, lettering the book becomes really painful.

Did I mention I hate doing dialogue?

The idea's there, but the specific words are not. It's tough. Writing something like this, or our pre-production sections is really easy, I guess it's because it's essentially my own thoughts, but coming up with what people say? Without out it sounding corny or really stiff? Yeesh!

There's not a whole lot of days left to finish up the book. We're both pretty confident that we can make it in time. We even changed our flights to give us a few extra days to get things ready for San Diego. Lots of excitement going into it, and hopefully we can channel that energy into solid production time.

Well, that's it for now!


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Late night thoughts

Laurie just finished up this totally awesome page...normally, she'll pencil up a page then pass it over to me to clean up, then I'll pass it back to get shaded, and finally all the digital stuff (letters, cropping, etc.).

This time, she handed a page that was penciled & shaded, with partial clean was really cool to work on. I ended up 'punching up' the main characteers more, so they pop off the page better. It took her a while to get the page to me, but overall I think the process was faster because she could shade parts (in this case all of it) of the page in.

Looking back (although it's really not that long ago) it's funny how we've changed our production process...I think it always starts out the same, but we tweak it as we get closer to our deadline. At the moment I'm helping with some of the shading, but I don't think it's anywhere close to as good as Laurie's stuff. I'm also only shading the soldier characters too...her stuff seems to have so much more energy & fluidity to it.

It's late....going to bed now, gotta go to work tomorrow!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Creeping Deadlines

It's been a couple days since our last post, and we're getting closer and closer to our deadline. Laurie & I moved an extra desk downstairs so we could be working side by side during this deadline crunch. Normally I'm working upstairs in the studio room, but it's also gotten really hot (weather wise!) here so it's much cooler downstairs. I tend to get distracted when I'm surrounded by computers and I figured the less distractions I've got, the better.

We've also got very different work habits, I can get a good head of steam going early in the morning, while Laurie is like a night owl. I like to have loud music with heavy beats going, and she like to have a movie (usually animated) playing in the background. So we've done some compromising between the two of us.

So we're now at our second last weekend to be working on issue #7, we're both pretty confident that we'll make the deadline. I think it's important when you're trying to make a deadline is to eliminate your distractions and to not give in to your temptations. Case in point, there's a couple of movies that came out that we both want to check out really badly, Ratatouille and Transformers...under any normal circumstance, we would've checked them out opening we're saving them as our 'reward' once the book goes to print.

Well...that's probably my cue to stop writing this blog, as it can also be a distraction!


Monday, July 2, 2007

Last day

Well, we're into the last day of our 3 day production fest, yesterday's scores were the exact opposite from Saturday. I was able to clean up 3 pages, and Laurie penciled one. We talked about it last night and today is going to be the ultra-production day. I was thinking about how many days we had left before we need to send this to print, and I started freaking out because I was 'a weekend short'...after I got a grip on reality, I didn't feel so bad.

We pretty much need to average 2 finished pages a day, which isn't too bad. I know I've been able to clean up 4-5 pages in a single day when I'm into it. Laurie's been able to do 6 pages in a single day it'll be a good challenge, but not impossible.

My wrist & hand hurts like crazy, I always grip my pencil super tight, so it's like I'm getting a workout on my wrist. I've never found a way around that, unless I'm actually inking with a brush. I usually end up icing my entire forearm when I'm at work because of it.

Here's a peak at page #5 inked, so far it could be Laurie's favorite page out of the entire Monk's run. Well, that's it for now! Onto to Booster Juice & crazy page production!