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Hey all.  Usually when I make a journal I have to apologize for a year of inactivity.  This time I've been posting art semi-regularly and I hope you've all been enjoying that.  Thanks to everyone who stops by and even more so to those who take the time to comment or favorite a pic.  I've been playing around with video more lately, recording some drawing sessions on Livestream and today I posted a sped of version of one of those sessions on Youtube.  Links below:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWWK4l…

livestream.com/nelsonblakeii

Following me on Twitter is the best way to be notified when I'm about to stream.  I usually tweet about an hour or two before I start streaming, though there is no rhyme or reason to what times I stream.  Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2

Upcoming books:
Witchblade #165
Witchblade/Darkness Western issue
Artifacts #29

Should I start using this journal for all that opinion stuff?  I'm being convinced more and more that broad internet opinions are a waste of time.  Then again, this journal or a blog is a much better format than Facebook or Twitter for that kind of thing. Still on the fence....
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Dream Theater, Chimp Spanner
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Saints Row(part1!), SF3(just a lil)
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Thought I had arrangements and didn't.  Sad clown.  Looks like I'll be here drawing comics and playing Assassin's Creed.  

Honestly, I'm shifting my focus much more towards pages these days anyway.  There'll be less con sketches, commissions and original art from me for awhile.  It's not a forever thing, but I'd like to put out a lot more books this year and I think I've got a good thing going towards that end.  Thanks to all who wanted on the commission list.  Your support is always appreciated.  

In the meantime, I'll still be posting sketches and what not on DA and my tumblr, since I always sketch for warmups.  

--NB2

Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2 or @nelsonblake2
tumblr: nelsonblakeii.tumblr.com
DA: ...oh waitaminute...
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Dream Theater, Chimp Spanner
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Saints Row(part1!), SF3(just a lil)
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hey guys, I'll be attending Heroes Con.  If you'd like a commission, now is the time to get on the list early.  I'm doing pencil and copic sketches.  Drop me a note with your requests, or hit me up via twitter or Email. Rates are generally between $25-50 for 8 x 11 and 100+ for 11 x 17, varying by request.  

Thanks!  Hope to see people at the show.

Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2
Email: nelsonblakeii@aol.com
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Dream Theater, Chimp Spanner
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Saints Row(part1!), SF3(just a lil)
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
I've been crazy neglectful of my Deviantart page, but I'm glad that people still come around here to check out my work.  While working on Magdalena, it was really hard to post, because I was working mostly on pages that I couldn't show and I don't finish sketches enough to feel that they are worth sharing.  I'll be posting a lot more now, and you might notice that I'm posting a lot more color work.

Coloring has always been a lot of fun for me, but it was kind of a hassle when I worked at TopCow offices(I still work for TopCow but I'm in NYC right now.)  I had to scan, clean things up, then work with the Wacom and there just wasn't enough time to mess around with it.  Messing around is a lot of fun, and it's how I get a feel for something like coloring or a new style.  The only thing is, I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and the very act of cleaning up linework to post online takes me an hour.  When I was in California, I didn't even scan 99% of the work I was doing.  

Enter: the Cintiq.  I'm working mostly digitally now.  At first this was just for efficiency and adding some techniques, like the ability to color sketches in one hour instead of say, three.  After getting my hands on it, I've decided to use it for pretty much everything.  I'll still do covers, splash pages and commissions by hand, but at least for awhile, most of what you see here will be digital work unless I'm posting something older.  It may be different for everyone, but transitioning to the Cintiq was pretty seamless and easy for me.  Being able to flip the work to view errors or replace an entire part of the drawing without destroying paper with an eraser makes drawing much less stressful for me.  

Mark Silvestri once said, "Doing comic book pages is like taking an SAT test, every day for 14 hours a day."  Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, until now.  Now doing pages feels like sketching at a convention or a coffee shop, and I love that.  It also allows me to ink my own stuff.  I LOVE Sal Regla's inks, and Sal is a great guy on top of that.  If I'm in a situation where I need an inker, he's my first choice.  As it is though, I like the feel I'm able to get when inking my own work.  It's less about the line and more about movement, shape and design.  

Since I'm doing digital work, I'm more cognizant of the ease of viewing things on a phone or a tablet, so there is a new tumblr for that: nelsonblakeii.tumblr.com

The deviantart page will updated even more regularly from now on, since it's so easy to turn my sketches into something more finished.  The tumblr is more for social media stuff, and because DA isn't so great on some devices.  So far, everything on the tumblr is 100% digital.  Until I master the tool, that'll be my focus for a bit and most original art will be commissions.  

As usual, thanks for taking the time to look at my stuff.  I appreciate the support and I'm glad to be back around these parts.  I forgot how great the DA community is.  

-NB2

Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2
Tumblr: nelsonblakeii.tumblr.com
Comics: Magdalena is all up on comixology comixology.com
or you can go to the Top Cow store topcow.com
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Dream Theater, Chimp Spanner
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Saints Row(part1!), SF3(just a lil)
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hope to see you there!
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Dream Theater, Chimp Spanner
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Saints Row(part1!), SF3(just a lil)
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Uh...yeah that's pretty much it.  Anyone in upstate New York, I'll be signing in Saratoga with Ron Marz and several other creators.  Come out if you can!

Then later in the month, I'll be at Baltimore Comicon, which is always a GREAT show.  Hope all of my east coast buddies can make it out.  I'll be sketching and doing commissions at the Top Cow booth alongside Chris Dibari and other Top Cow creators.  Should be a blast.  

I ramble on Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2
  • Listening to: Bad Meets Evil, New Symphony X, Arch Enemy
  • Reading: Dance of Dragons(soon)
  • Watching: Documentaries
  • Playing: Rock Band 3 Pro Guitar, LA Noire
  • Eating: Chicken Wraps
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Working on that issue right now.  Really enjoying drawing it.  We're pretty ahead of schedule right now, so from a production end should be cranking out the book very regularly for the rest of 2011.  Mags #7 just came out last week, so unless Diamond trucks get hijacked by Vin Diesel, Tyrese and Paul Walker, we're good.  

Now you'll notice that Keu Cha is doing issues 7 and 8.  This was planned from the beginning of the run.  Dave, Sal, other Dave and myself take over again starting on issue 9.  As long as people keep picking it up, we're on it indefinitely.  Can't wait until you guys see the completed covers from 9 and 10.  Definitely my favorite cover work so far, and Sal and Dave are excellent as usual.

There are a couple of notes in my deviantart inbox, and I'm not ignoring you guys.  As soon as I hit the midway point of this issue, you'll be seeing some responses.  I also want to thank everyone who has replied and kept up with this deviantart page.  I make no promises, but 2011 is looking like a pretty good year for some art updates.  I'm faster than I've ever been and have been able to do a lot of sketching on the side in between pages.  

Also, if you want to hear me talk crap for 140 characters or less, follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/nelsonblake2  

I want to thank all of the people who've followed me over the past couple of weeks.  I apologize for all of the rotten things I say, but I promise more of the same.  

More soon!

NB2
  • Listening to: Testament, Eminem-Recovery, How to Destory Angels
  • Reading: The Comic(as in comedy) Toolbox
  • Watching: Battle Star
  • Playing: Red Dead Redemption pretty soon :)
  • Eating: a little better
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
www.silenthillresorts.com/news…

Get some of that Asgard up in you.
  • Listening to: Testament, Eminem-Recovery, How to Destory Angels
  • Reading: The Comic(as in comedy) Toolbox
  • Watching: Battle Star
  • Playing: Red Dead Redemption pretty soon :)
  • Eating: a little better
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hey Devs,

I'm passing on The Big One this summer.  I've been doing a lot of signings and conventions for the release of Magdalena, and now that I'm in the middle of the first six issue arc, I'd like to just go two or three months without leaving the studio to sign books.  A lot of people think I'm crazy for passing on SDCC, and maybe I am, but the way I look at it, this is the best con to duck out of.  It's the longest most insane convention of all, and let's face it; it's only about 30% comics at this point.  SDCC is still fun, and I'll probably go next year, but I need a little break(read: time to work) before NYCC and the holidays jump all over me and Patience.  For all those going, I hope you have a good time, and I hope to see you all in New York or Baltimore.
  • Listening to: Testament, Eminem-Recovery, How to Destory Angels
  • Reading: The Comic(as in comedy) Toolbox
  • Watching: Battle Star
  • Playing: Red Dead Redemption pretty soon :)
  • Eating: a little better
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
I'll be over at the Top Cow booth!  Heading out to do a signing in Iowa, so I gotta keep this one short.  Time to hunt some demons!

-NB2
  • Listening to: Chimaira, Black Dahlia Murder
  • Reading: Comics! The Killer, KickAss,
  • Watching: Sports, Rescue Me
  • Playing: Almost nothing...
  • Eating: Kinda poorly
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Mags is on the way out.  I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about this.  Much more so than any other comic I've ever done, i think everyone came together.  The artists, writer and editors are all on the same page, and I think we put together an enjoyable comic book.  I've never said this before, but I think people should buy this series.  

And it looks GREAT on the iPhone/iPad.  Dave McCaig really knows what he's doing, man.

So, going with that, here is the latest Newsarama preview.  

www.newsarama.com/php/multimed…

And you'll notice, as Mike Choi, David Lafuente and myself were discussing, the colorist's name is on the cover.  I think it's absolute BS when a colorist isn't given his due.  On some comics, colors are the 2nd most important(and highest quality) visual element.  This isn't 1980 anymore.  Photoshop and high printing values allow colorists to really shine.  

I also want to thank everyone who bought Murderer.  That book sold out!  We hardly have any copies left in the office.  That blows my mind, man.  I'm really grateful.  

Lastly, I'm going to fire up the blog again.  There will be art there, but it'll also be the place where I go into extensive discussions about the creative process, and some aspects of the professional side of comics.  I like deviantart to mostly be a gallery, so I'll drop a blog alert when I really have the urge to make with the yackity yack.  

Magdalena drops April 28th(I think, heh).  Once it does, I'll be putting up some of the artwork from issue one.

But issue two is already bettah!

Thanks everyone,

NB2
  • Listening to: Chimaira, Black Dahlia Murder
  • Reading: Comics! The Killer, KickAss,
  • Watching: Sports, Rescue Me
  • Playing: Almost nothing...
  • Eating: Kinda poorly
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hey everybody,

First let's get the business out of the way:

WONDERCON SIGNING SCHEDULE
- Friday
2:00 - 3:00 Rick Basaldua

3:00 - 4:00 Nelson Blake II***

4:00 - 5:00 Michael Broussard
4:30 - 5:30 Ryan Winn

Saturday
11:00 - 12:00 Sheldon Mitchell
12:00 - 2:00 Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rahsan Ekedal
2:00 - 4:00 Michael Broussard, Ryan Winn

4:00 - 6:00 Nelson Blake II, Rick Basaldua***

Sunday
11:00 - 12:00 Ryan Winn
12:00 - 1:00 Michael Broussard, Rick Basaldua
1:00 - 2:00 Joshua Hale Fialkov, Rahsan Ekedal

2:00 - 3:00 Nelson Blake II***

3:00 - 4:00 Sheldon Mitchell

So drop on by the Top Cow booth to say hello, talk comics(or anything, really), or get a comission.

Comissions!  I'll be doing pencil and copic sketches from anywhere between 25 to 100 bucks, depending on the size and content of the pieces.

I've been neck deep in Magdalena.  LOVING working on this book.  The whole team has been a blast to work with, and the main focus is getting the book done on time and improving with every issue.  So far, so good!  I'll start posting more sketches and interior pages from Mags once the first issue comes out on April 21st.

I normally don't self promote, but I think this is going to be an awesome boook, so April 21st, head to your comic stores, check it out, and if you likey, JOIN USSSSSS.....

Twitter!  twitter.com/nelsonblake2 …;

This is my only real outlet these days, besides making Marc, Mike, Sheldon and the Basaldua's cry in Halo 3(ya'll heard me!)  Had to quit Dragon Age, haven't opened Mass Effect, haven't watched a full NBA game in over a month...oh comics, you are so demanding.

Good news is, this is one of the greatest jobs in the world, so it's easy to make the little sacrifices.  Except Mass Effect.  That's a huge sacrifice.

Hope to see you guys at the conventions.  I'm going to be at C2E2, of course San Diego, New York, and also a few other signings here and there, but probably mostly on the West Coast for now.  To all of my fellow deviants, the work you've been doing has been absolutely fantastic.  I can't wait to start commenting again, because this has been a very inspiring site lately.  

Hope life isn't kicking anyone's butt too bad,

NB2
  • Listening to: Between the Buried and Me, All That Remains
  • Reading: Scripts...need a new fiction novel, suggestions?
  • Watching: Sports, Rescue Me
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10, FarCry 2
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Here's the link:  www.newsarama.com/php/multimed…;

Hope you guys dig!  I enjoyed working on the story.  Sal Regla does fantastic work over me.  I love every line.  Then of course there is the phenomenal Dave McCaig doing the color work.  I can't tell you guys how much I love Dave's stuff.  Not only does he work over some of my favorite artists, but he's a storyteller with color, not just a color theory guy, or a rendering guru.  He's one of the few guys that I can really say improves the artwork, and takes it a step further.  

I'll be posting more soon.  Enjoy your holidays.

-NB2
  • Listening to: Incredibad, Dream Theater, Roc La Familia
  • Reading: Scripts...need a new fiction novel, suggestions?
  • Watching: Sports, Rescue Me
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10, FarCry 2
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hey guys,

After I wrap up Murderer, I'm taking over the new Magdalena series.  Can't get into specifics, but the always awesome writer(and fellow Giants fan) Ron Marz announced me as the interior artist while at Baltimore Con.  Ryan Sook will be doing covers, and if you're familiar with his work, you know they'll be awesome!  I'm super psyched to be working with Ron again, and not to talk it up, but we will bring the thunder.  Can't wait.

In other Baltimore news, they explained a little more about the premise of some of the Kirkman books, which I hope you all enjoy.  Studio mate Sheldon Mitchell strngbroda.deviantart.com will be drawing Stealth, which has a cool concept.  For all that info and more, see the CBR coverage of the Baltimore Con Top Cow Panel right here  comicbookresources.com/?page=a…

Also, I'll be scanning the completed step by step of that comic panel as soon as I get into (editor) Phil's office tomorrow.  You guys can see my overworked perspective grid, haha.

As always, thanks to my followers and fav'ers.  I'll be posting some more Magdalena sketches when I wrap Murderer, if you like that sort of thing.  

-NB2
  • Listening to: Incredibad, Dream Theater, Roc La Familia
  • Reading: Scripts...need a new fiction novel, suggestions?
  • Watching: Sports, Rescue Me
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10, FarCry 2
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
I'll be at the Top Cow booth doing sketching, signing and commissions.  Come on over!

On a totally unrelated note, Incredibad is AWESOME!

That is all.

-NB2
  • Listening to: All That Remains
  • Reading: Conspiracy Stuff
  • Watching: UFC, Se7en
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10(soon!), lil bit o' Fallout
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and smoothies
michaelstewart.deviantart.com/ asked me this question, and as I started to respond, I realized that this would make a nice, long, painful Journal entry.  Being the sadist that I am, here is my answer:

Honestly, I'm probably the worst example of a TC guy, in a lot of ways.  A lot of the basics I've learned come from animation, painting and studying film.  

So far, the most useful thing that I've learned from Marc, by far, is how to approach a blank piece of Bristol paper.  Marc is helping me close the gap between a great sketchbook and a great comic book page.

I might post some examples, but this is basically how
--the Image/TC/Wildstorm layout method
No blue pencils, no lightboxes or anything, because that stuff stiffens up your work.  The clean up is all based around using a kneaded eraser to lighten up your lines, and then tightening the final.

--using light strokes to draw "outside-in"
Some people lay out big shapes that are only thematically relevant to the actual drawing, but not really a part of the structure.  With Marc, the drawing starts as big abstract shapes and then slowly turns into a finished drawing.  On the surface, this is a confusing process, because it isn't until the very last phase that you start to really see things take shape.

As a more animation/shape based artist, the challenge with this method is to keep the gestures as loose and spontaneous as what is in sketchbook work.  If you watch Adam Hughes draw-which as a method(not quality) is more similar to my approach--you'll see that a lot of the early structure is handled in seconds.  But this is something that is very successful on an individual figure basis, not as much on the level of the comic book page.

After seeing Marc's method, I became determined to get the best of both worlds to get the most out of my talent.  As with anything, you have to figure out how the principle relates to you.

So the conclusion was a 50/50 compromise between Marc's method, and something that is more like Adam's approach to structure and gesture.  At the outset, it's all Marc, which is really fantastic,  I can confidently say that I never hesitate on bristol board due to this method.  It's so non-committal as far as drawing goes, yet wholly effective as far as composition goes.  You just lightly rough in the outsides of the shapes, the figures, establishing foreground/middle/background and such.

Once the shapes are in, the *location* of each element is locked in stone.  This step is finished when you are guaranteed that there will be no proportion or compositional issues.  These silhouettes might not be exact, but they are a close enough approximation that any structure you use will fit in a neat little box.  

Then I pick up most of this with a kneaded eraser.  Even though your bristol board won't get "white", this is more than sufficient for a super-duper clean page once those dark lines are in.  So put any worries about dirty or smudgy pages out of your head.  Jim Lee, Joe Mad, Marc, J Scott and several other artists use this method of clean up.

After erasing, I go back into it with a very quick, loose, spontaneous sketchbook approach.  The normal dangers of this approach--proportion, composition, getting things to work together--are no longer a concern because of the Marc Method(tm).  So now you have the freedom draw according to whatever you want to emphasize, and pay attention to overlapping, movement, fold theory, design, negative space, fine tuning silhouettes, etc.  

Hopefully that was informative, and will prove useful to anyone curious about this particular method.  There's other stuff that I've learned, and more to come(going over layouts with Marc tonight, coincidentally).  So as I learn more of that stuff, I'll translate it here.  In the mean time, I might post a step by step that breaks down a lot of what I talked about here.

I can't discuss learning art without mentioning: Brian Stelfreeze, Scott Iwahashi, Walter McDaniel and LeSean, who contributed greatly to my artistic foundation.
  • Listening to: All That Remains
  • Reading: Conspiracy Stuff
  • Watching: UFC, Se7en
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10(soon!), lil bit o' Fallout
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and smoothies
Hey guys!  A couple of people have read the various comicnets and know that I'm working on Murderer, with Marc and Kirkman.  Suffice to say, it's pretty sweet to be working with those guys.  I've been an Invincible reader since Corey Walker drew the series, and I'm such a Marc fan that I moved all the way out to LA just to have him paint the digital walls with my blood every night in Halo 3.  Working with Ron Marz, Phil Hester, Bryan Hill, Chuck Dixon and Robert Kirkman, I have to say that I've been a pretty lucky dude when it comes to the writers I've been paired up with.  Story is always first with me, and all of those guys know how to tell great stories.  

I'm psyched to be working on the project, and hopefully you guys will enjoy it when it drops this winter.  In the meantime, here is a link to the Newsarama article, and the awesome cover done by Marc Silvestri and IFS.  

www.newsarama.com/comics/08092…

The script is awesome, btw.  

Almost forgot--if any inkers want hi-res pages, leave a comment here and I'll make sure to set some aside for you.  If anyone else is curious about sketches just because, lemme know and I'll put those up as well.  For some reason, I always think people are bored by sequential work.  I should follow Ryan Ottley's lead.  Can't go wrong there, haha!

-NB2
  • Listening to: All That Remains
  • Reading: Conspiracy Stuff
  • Watching: UFC, Se7en
  • Playing: 2k10, Live 10(soon!), lil bit o' Fallout
  • Eating: Chicken
  • Drinking: Coffee and smoothies
1 day only, check here for a frame by frame slideshow of him sketching Sawyer from Lost.  Pretty awesome stuff.

tinyurl.com/psyqqm

JSC has always been one of my favs.  He's a big influence, even though it's not necessarily obvious from looking at my finished stuff.  Cool thing is, some of the stuff I learned from Top Cow has brought my method closer to his (we have the same eraser, ha!), so it's nice to know I'm not coming completely out of left field.

Enjoy

NB2

Go Lakers.  I know, Mike Choi.  It hurts to watch Kobe win.  So you're in for a long spring.  :)
  • Listening to: Killwhitneydead, PTH, The Roots, Lupe
  • Reading: Homer
  • Watching: The Office, 30 Rock, West Wing
  • Playing: An hour of SF4 a day :)
  • Eating: cereal
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
Hey guys,

Sorry about not updating.  I've been neck deep in Darkness issue 78 and ankle deep in Street Fighter 4.  There should be some cool stuff on the way though.  Drawing next to Marc Silvestri and Mike Broussard is really opening me up to some things.  I'm loving Cali so far, and working at Top Cow is a dream come true.  No complaints outta me.  Except I gotta draw faster!

Other big news for true fighting fiends is the recent release of Street Fighter 4.  This game has removed all interest I had in any other games.  I won't call my Rufus "killer"...but he's aight.  :)  I think I'm going to go to Evo this year.  SF4 fans on DA can hit me with a note if you want to play on Xbox Live, but I warn you, I play in the wee hours after the work day.

I want to give a lil' shout to Jake Ekiss for becoming a full time professional, and Justin Copeland for doing his thing with the digital art.  Can't wait to see what you've been cooking, mate.

-NB2
  • Listening to: Killwhitneydead, PTH, Cryptopsy, Lupe
  • Reading: Homer
  • Watching: The Office, Dollhouse
  • Playing: An hour of SF4 a day :)
  • Eating: cereal
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water
It wasn't totally recessioned out, which was nice.  The con was plenty crowded on Sunday, and there was no drop in energy.  But I wasn't selling stuff, so don't trust me.  On a lighter note, I love all of my "comic book" friends.  I got no dramatic stories, man.  Maybe it's luck, but I know some of the coolest people in comics.  Everyone at Top Cow is fantastic, from the big boss Matt Hawkins on down to the Adam(s) that work the booth.  Reilly Brown, Mark Brooks, Tommy Lee, everyone at 12 Gauge/Gaijin--cool cool cool.  I love it.  

I won't name drop all day, but I will post pics!  Not something I usually do, but this camera has to be used for something besides referencing hands!  

Hope you guys enjoy the pics.  

-NB2
  • Listening to: Killwhitneydead, PTH, Cynic, Scar Symmetry
  • Reading: Homer
  • Watching: Anderson Cooper, NBA
  • Playing: Nothing! Too much work!
  • Eating: sandwiches
  • Drinking: Coffee and Water