Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bobby's Biggest Bubble: The end is in sight . . . but I'm squintin'

Few people have been writing and asking for updates. So here goes:

I'm still changing a few things that bother me (like the gum balls) but overall the book's is looking better then I hoped. Coloring and shading have been the time consumers of this project as I expected. I'm constantly altering the coloring, its something I have always struggled with when not just coloring characters. Characters I have no trouble coloring - it's backgrounds. ARRRGGGHHH!

I was also concerned about the second half of the book - because several pages toward the end were the most challenging, So I started to work backwards, from the ending. That REALLY helped more than I expected, because I was constantly worrying on how to tackle a few pages (especially the big ending).
I am so happy how it turned out . . . and relieved.

I would love to show you all those BIG pages now - but I need to keep some of the pages off the Internet and out of access to the general public. Plus, I don't want to give away the entire story. So, I will show the latest coloring to one of the black & white sketches I posted some time ago.
This is the 2-page spread of pages 24+25. It still needs some cleaning, shading and highlighting. Also note the bubble bleeds out of the right side of the frame and off the page. This is something I started doing on many pages with frames to help show the bubble's massive size. There's no room on the pages for Bobby's Biggest Bubble!
Two weeks before sending the work out. Back to work!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bobby's Biggest Bubble: Now and Then

I mentioned in my previous post how I been enjoying bringing back old characters into my children's book. There are about 6 characters now throughout the book that were a part of different projects from my past. This post focuses on two favorites: Gramps and Mrs. Sugarpants.

These were supporting characters from my comic strip: Home of the Brave. Gramps was an ex-super soldier/spy who had been living in the attic for well over 3 decades. Everyone thinks he's senile, except his grandson, who knows that all the wild stories Gramps speaks of in the past are actually true.

In Bobby's Biggest Bubble, I use Gramps as the local park curmudgeon, Mr Krumple. I was tempted to name him Mr. Seaman, an actual grumpy neighbor who yelled at us back when my friends and I were teenagers. (But, that last name just wouldn't be appropriate for a kid's book.)

In Home of the Brave, Mrs. Sugarpants ran the local store.  She had terrible hearing and the worst eyesight in town. She also had visions of grandeur, believing her store was so popular that it was always filled with celebrities.

In Bobby's Biggest Bubble, I gave her the same job - the local store owner - but with one important change: her name. It had to be changed for the children's book . . . so I toned it down from Sugarpants to Applebottom. It's a safer name and I think kids will enjoy the newer name.

Friday, August 10, 2012

More: Timmons and the Lumpy Bumpy Monster

Found several more dummy pages in my archive drives.

These images were saved as GIFs, which explains the grainy-pixel texture of each image. These are pages 6, 8 and 14 to the 32 page story.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Chopping Block

Most people who know me, know my brother Thom Romer. Back in the 90's, when Al Gore was creating the Internet -- Thom and a creative group of people got together and started a web designing company called the "". It was exciting to see him start from a 2-man operation into the company it is today.

When The Chopping Block created a logo/mascot for the company, many friends and business acquaintances sent versions of "Choppy" (seen here):

It was fun seeing the different styles and concepts people would come up with. You can still see some of the designs here: Friends of Choppy.

The following images are a couple of submissions I sent to my brother:

First, I sent my brother this cartoon. Not sure, but I believe it was around Thanksgiving time.
{If it wasn't , I have no idea why I thought of this . . . }

Next, there was this cow block design, which was made shortly after I made a just as offensive Christmas card (which you can see below.)  Looking at this today, I wonder now if my brother originally took this as my opinion towards his company (which was NEVER my intention!)
CHRISTMAS CARD CIRCA 1999 (in Color Pencils)
Yea . . . sometimes . . . sometimes it's not a good idea to bring back old images.
Yeaaaa . . . no idea why I was makin' bathroom humor cow cartoons back then . . . 

Blatent Plug Alert!:
It wouldn't be right for me to end this without mentioning my brother's side project called ChopShop, which sells some of the best iconic cultural t-shirts you will ever find on the internet. Tell 'im brother Jim sent ya, he'll probably give ya a discount!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes: Bobby's Biggest Bubble

I can safely say that bigger is not better. 
Originally I picked 8.5" by 11", the standard letter size, to be the size of my first children's book, Bobby's Biggest Bubble. 
The reasoning: it is the most economic and largest size to print a children's book. I wanted the bubble in the story to appear bigger than life. But the 11" by 8.5" format makes the images too wide, creating too much filler background.
Too much background = the focus on the bubble is diminished. 

I was also having technical troubles with the 2-page spread pages. When making 22.25" by 8.75" images at 300 dpi on a computer (each image having about 12 layers of line work and coloring) the computer hits a memory limit and the workflow starts to slow down. Especially since I would often have several pages open at once for reference, keeping the style, lines and colors consistent from page to page.

The solution was easy:
Changing to a slightly more compact format of 10" by 8" for the inner pages makes the workflow faster with an overall better composition for the story - this simple change makes the book look better. (The overall size of the hard cover will be about 10.25" by 8.25")

Since this is my first try at self publishing, I'm looking over everything, learning as I go and I can safely say I like how things are turning out. It’s been awhile since I shared some of the artwork. Below is another sample of page 21 from the book in the new size format, where Bobby is just beginning to find out that making the biggest bubble isn't as easy as he thought it would be. 

(PS: I'm sure I'll make changes to to this image too before it's all finished!!)