Tuesday, April 23, 2013

OilCan Drive, A Rock and Roll Love Story

I meant to post this on Saturday. I wanted to share with the everyone that all of the old OilCan Drive art and comics had been shown on the OilCan Drive web comic site and it was now time for some new art and stories. It felt like an accomplishment that I had run the site for a full year and this "coming soon" piece of art would mark the next chapter in showing my favorite cartoon band off to the world.

But, then the weekend happened.

Everything was ready for the roll out on Friday. Wednesday marked the last day of pages that I had in the archive and Friday would show this new piece. I uploaded the piece and was working a bit on the site on Thursday night when, all of a sudden, I lost my connection to the site. I rebooted my router to see if that was a problem but I still couldn't make it work. It was weird that I couldn't work on the site but it was even weirder was that I couldn't even view the site. I could see it on my phone and I could see it when I took my computer to a nearby coffee shop but, at home, nothing.

After a few emails back and forth to the people who run the servers that OilCan Drive resides on I found out, somehow, my IP had been tagged and I was being blocked from my own site. A few more emails back and forth and I was back up and running. Problem averted. I was still ready to roll. I added some things to the site and went to bed.

Saturday morning I checked the site to make sure everything was still working. I noticed there was an update to the web comic theme I was using to make the site work the way it does. I clicked on the update and that's when it happened. Everything on the site still looked the same but every comic and page I had posted in the past year was totally gone. I panicked. I clicked some buttons, tried to fix it, and then something even worse happened.

I clicked the link to get into the administrative page of my site and all I got was a blank page. Nothing. I didn't know what to do. And that's when I freaked out a bit.

I need to learn to take a step back and take a breath sometimes. But, in situations like this I usually try and do too many things at once as my mind is spinning and I wanted to do something, anything, rather than sit back and do nothing.

So, in my freaked out wisdom, I completely tore down the site, uploaded a fresh copy of WordPress, and began to rebuild the site from scratch.

In retrospect, I liken this move to finding out the window in your car doesn't roll down and, in response, you tear the car apart and begin to rebuild it from the ground up. Probably not the best idea. But, it's what I did.

I do wish I could go back in time and stop myself from hitting that "update" button but I am now playing the hand I've dealt myself. And, as much as I wish I could blame this whole thing on some cyber-hacker terrorist attack on my WordPress site I think I am really the only one to blame.

The good news is that the site is getting back to where it was. The designer of the Inkblot theme I am using on the site, Michael Sisk, has been absolutely awesome in helping me with the questions I have as I rebuild the structure and make it look like the site I know and love. I highly recommend Inkblot to anyone thinking of starting a web comic site. It's easy to use and how often is it that you can reach the actual designer of the program by email and he writes you back right away to help you out? Thank you, Michael! You are the best!

Right now it's still a little shaky and I am still rebuilding a lot of the content but the good news is that I've set it up enough that it won't interrupt any of the new web comics' schedule. It may be a bit dusty on the site and excuse the rubble as I rebuild, but the story will go on without a hitch.

In other news I sent out a bunch of the OilCan Drive merchandise for printing this week so all I have left to work on is the book itself and the album. For once in this crazy schedule the only thing left is NOT everything but only a few things...big things to be sure... but I am getting there.

But, don't worry, it's not like the schedule is getting any lighter. I now have "rebuilding a website" to add to my list of things to do. It's always something...

Have a great one!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Catching Up

Wow, a week between blog posts. I am really falling behind. But, if something had to suffer given my busy schedule the blog is something I could put off for a week. And, if you think this blog has been quiet lately my plans to update regularly to deviantart have completely fallen apart.

But, the thing is, right now, no news is good news. Things have been going really well on the OilCan Drive project. All the merchandising art is done and all the designs are almost complete. Stickers, postcards, trading cards, business cards, and the giant 4'x8' banner I am designing are all done and all that's left is to pull the trigger and send them out for printing. I also have two designs for t-shirts. I did two because my first was shot down by a few friends. I came up with a new one and then other friends said they liked my initial design better. So, I figure the easiest way to settle the argument is to print up both and see which one sells better. There are worse problems to have than having two t-shirt designs to sell.

Once I get all the merchandise sent out to be printed the last two giant elephants in the room are the actual OilCan Drive comic book and the EP album. But, both are coming along well. As I show off the inks here for the art that will grace not only the cover of the OilCan Drive book but a few pieces of merchandise you can see one of the new interior pages sneaking out from behind it. I think Brick is slowly becoming one of my new favorite characters to draw.

And the album is completely tracked except for the vocals. Yes, all I need to do now is sing and it will almost be done. It's getting there. And I even penciled the art for the cover of the album this morning. So, that is getting done too.

So, the only thing I am falling behind on is this blog and keeping you all updated on what is going on. I'm at a point where I've done so much work I don't even know what I've shown you or haven't shown you. So, if there is anything you're curious about or would like to see more of shoot me a comment or email and I'll put something up.

For now, I am going back to inking a page. More to do and running out of time. But, I think I'm still good. Talk to you all soon!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting Ahead of Myself Again...

Once again I got ahead of myself and started inking this piece before I remembered to snap a photo of the pencil sketch. But, as soon as I remembered I grabbed my phone, clicked off a few pics, and went right back to inking.

This illustration has been a long time in coming. Somewhere in the middle of this crazy schedule I've given myself I hit a point where I was drawing stuff but nothing seemed to look right. It's the reason there are so many variations of the Ryan Burke trading card and this piece (which will be used for the new book cover, sticker, and banner) took about three times to get right. But, I think it was worth the wait because I absolutely love the way this piece is coming out and I'm happy to say I feel like I've finally gotten my mojo back and the art seems to be flowing freely again.

I'll keep inking this piece and try and show you the finished illustration later this week.

For now, have a good one!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sneak Peek

Here's a sneak peek of the new OilCan Drive trading cards directly from my computer screen. They'll be printed and available at the Denver Comic Convention which I'll be attending on May 31-June 2nd at the Denver Convention Center.

And, as you can see at the bottom of this screen shot, there is a bit of the back design of one of the cards showing as well. I finally figured out a place to put those silhouette pieces I did of the band oh so long ago. Now I need to write out some copy on the back of each card and I can put this part of the OilCan Drive project in my rear view mirror.

As they say, all that's left to do now is everything. Time to get back to it.

Have a great day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Bit Of Color

Here is a bit of color added to the newest Ryan Burke piece.

I also finished up the fronts of all the trading cards but am still struggling a bit with the backs. The layout and design are done but I still haven't decided what kind of text I want on the back of each card. If anyone out there has any ideas throw them at me. I'm open to anything.

OK, back to work. I have a few of the interior pages to finish up before I call it a night. And then Week 10 starts tomorrow. I can't believe I'm already halfway through my schedule and there is still so much to do.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

In Progress

I told you yesterday I've been working so quickly that I've been forgetting to take some in progress photos of what I'm working on. Well, with this piece of Ryan Burke from OilCan Drive I barely put the ink lines down when I remembered to grab the camera and snap a quick pic.

Other new pieces I haven't been so lucky with.

But, the pencils came out great and the inks followed suit. Chalk up one more piece done in the long list of things I still need to complete. Everyday I get a little closer to completion and I think if I keep going at the rate I'm going everything should turn out fine.

For now it's time to scan this piece into the computer and get some color going on it.

Then it's back to the drawing board to ink four or five more pieces today. Time to bunker down and get back to it. Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

OilCan Drive Chocolate Coins

Along with all the stuff I'm personally doing to bring the OilCan Drive project to the world this summer, Monika has also been getting in on the action in her own special way.

Last week she sat down one night and started sculpting coins with Henry's, the bass playing ape's, face on them. She quickly finished the initial sculpt and then started making molds of the coins. The next thing I know we have a bunch of Henry chocolate coins painted in edible gold powder and paint that are ready to eat.

She picked up some baggies and I fashioned a quick piece of packaging out of an OilCan Drive business card. If all goes well you'll be seeing these coins, in both chocolate (gold) and vanilla (silver) flavors at this year's Denver Comic Convention. How cool is that?

Do I have the best girl in the world or what? She's super talented and wicked crafty. I would never in a million years have been able to come up with something as cool and fun as this.

As far as my side of the project goes, I keep drawing and inking away. I keep forgetting to snap photos of the work in progress but I have a few new pieces I can show off in the next few days. Nothing as cool as these coins of course but I do the best I can to keep up.

Also, for those of you who are webcomic readers a new friend of mine, Kira Woodmansee, launched her own webcomic a few months ago called "Castle WhatsItsName." It's been really fun to sit and talk with someone who is right at the start of her own web project like I am. We compare notes and trade tips and it's nice to meet a kindred spirit who is in the same boat as I. You can check out her comic  HERE.

OK, back to inking (and hopefully remembering to take some photos.) Have a great one!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy April!

April comes and it's time for a new blog header. I've decided to use one of the pieces I did of Ryan from OilCan Drive that I won't be using for the coming printed projects I have in store for the Denver Comic Convention. 

The convention is only two months away now and there still seems like a lot to be done.

The OilCan Drive comic book is coming along well and, right now, I'm working on page 21 of 28. The cover is penciled and just need some ink and color this week. The four trading cards are almost done and just need their backs written and designed now. The t-shirt design is almost done and needs a few more tweaks. I also designed a postcard to give out to people and I'll be putting the finishing touches on that this week as well.

As far as the music side of the OilCan Drive project goes I recorded all the tracks for the fourth song this afternoon and have two more to go before I can begin mixes.

So everything is pretty much on schedule and getting done. It still feels like I'm a bit overwhelmed and things like having to do taxes this week and dealing with the craziness of my HOA board and their new management company are making my head spin.

But, I found out tonight that my cousin's son died this weekend while skiing in Oregon. He was 23 years old, lost his way in the woods, and his body was found by a rescue group tonight. I can't even begin to explain how that feels. It definitely makes anything I'm going through very small by comparison. My heart goes out to my cousin and his family. I know his son was loved and will be missed dearly.

In the end, drawing a comic book and recording some songs about a bunch of imaginary friends in my head doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

Have a great April and, if I am quiet, it just means I have my head down and I'm working away on some fun things to show off in two months. See you soon.