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Tag: Jewish comics

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Anatomy of a Comic

We recently completed our 20th comic for Tzivos Hashem's Kid's Zone, a magazine for Jewish kids, so we can finally show off the previous one since it's now seen print. Aquatic Adventures starts off with a SPLASH! as Joey and his pals are pulled into the river while fishing off a dock...

...where they come face-to-face with a huge talking fish! It was fun to have room to blow out this panel to a sizable semi-splash at the bottom of the first page. Now underwater, little bubbles/circles begin to appear, which I used throughout the three pages as a design element, in the panels and gutters, leading the reader's eye. We carried this through to the word balloons of the fish, which we also gave a different font, more open and round than the comics font we usually use (one based on my own hand-lettering). Mary approached coloring the fish differently than I probably would've, weaving warm and cool colors together, and shading various blues and greens. A nice touch, adding depth and color to the fish, helping to pop the Big Guy from the watery backgrounds.

On page one (below, left), I established the scene, the boys fishing off the dock on the river, the city in the distance. We used cool and warm colors to distinguish one panel from another, and to break things up. I prepared a diagram (below, right)  to show shapes and flow of the page. The orange line shows a couple main shapes. The blue line tracks the flow of the text/word balloons and sound effects. The red line shows further the composition of the page, how I used the fishing poles and line to direct the reader's eye so the action flows naturally from panel to panel.

I wish I had even more room one page 2 to show the magical underwater world in which the crew finds themselves, but somehow was able to pack a lot of stuff into this panel (shown larger here than in the printed comic). For all the underwater scenes we considered and could have cast everything in darker hues, but decided to bring it to life, keeping things colorful and magical.

Pages 2 & 3 (below) appear in the mag side-by-side, bleeding together a bit. The red line I drew for page 2 shows the general flow for the page and panels. We kept the background for the masthead white to pop the title, utilizing the bubbles as I mentioned earlier. On panel 2 I used a series of arcs (as suggested by the sunken ship), carrying them through the whole panel and to direct the eye to the proper following panel. I bled out all the background for page 3 to establish an underwater backdrop for the talking fish and Joey, using panel borders for cutaway shots and an inset. Because this page is therefore more free-flowing and open, I overlapped word balloons over panels to make sure the reader followed along in the right order.

Here's a close-up which shows how we bounce and balanced warm against cool colors. Notice again the difference between the fish font and boy's speech.

I've written and posted more about how we've created this comics series, which we've now been doing for five years. Read all the comics at Google+,  or Facebook. It's already been a good run...with more to come!

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Comics for Jewish Kids: Process

Work in progress for the latest strip for Kid's Zone, the magazine for Jewish kids worldwide!

Pencils in Photoshop...

...converted to blue line and printed on 11 x 17 smooth card stock...

...then inked traditionally with a brush, some markers.

We scan, LiveTrace in Adobe Illustrator - this page is all lettered and colored in that program. I'll post the story when it sees print.

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Jewish Comics: Pizza, Dreidel-Face, Jesters, Talking Sun & Giraffes

I just posted a slew of new comics for Jewish kids, from a series for Kid's Zone magazine we've now been doing for nearly five years. They feature: a pizza-eating contest... ...a super-sized, spinning, anthropomorphic dreidel... ...a mysterious, riddling jester... ...a spacey talking sun... ...a trip to the zoo, and giraffes that speak! View and read all the comics at Google+, Facebook or in our Prime Projects section of this site. Background details, info and insight into the creative process have been featured here on this blog previously. My wife, Mary and I just finished another which features Big Talking Fish! So I'll post that as soon as it drops.

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Lots More Comics for Jewish Kids

Since my last post on the Jewish Kids Comics series, we've done a few more installments, and I've now added them to the Blue Moon Studios Prime Projects section of the site (click link & scroll down), as well as in Photos at my Facebook page.

The series continues to be a challenge and delight, as we cover many aspects of Jewish life and culture, including the Hebrew alphabet, Jewish history, holidays and diet.

Every once in a while I get to throw in a little pun, like the Wild Lunch lunchbox, or my wife, Mary gets to color kids with different funny shades and colors.

The scripts and stories also deal with suggestions and reminders for kids on how and when to help others, and how to work together.

To read some or all of these stories in the entirety check either of the links above. We've already completed another installment, which I'll post as soon as I get the high sign.

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Jewish Comics: Mitzvah

I'm tardy in posting this strip we did last August for Kid's Zone magazine. This one focused on doing good deeds for those in need, so the star, Joey and his pals get together to raise money.

They get some good advice from someone who may look a tad familiar, though for the final art they had me add a top hat.

And here's a sneak peek at the layout for page 2 (of 3). At this point I still worked the old-fashioned way, scribbling with a marker with a board on my lap. My process has since changed, which I'll be sharing soon on this blog.

Read the whole comic (and those done previously) in our Prime Projects section, or at my Facebook page.

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Building a Robot

On this blog in April I posted about Jewish Robot Comics. For that installment, I needed to design a robot, the Sedertron 2000, who would be built by and interact with the star of the recurring strip, Joey. Sometimes I have a good idea of a design of character in my head before I begin to draw. Other times I'll work it out at the old drawing board in the studio. But on most occasions faced with that fun challenge, I like to just doodle and play on the page while watching TV or sitting outside, to let the sketching take me places, especially when I'm not sure where I'm going or have just a vague, Will-o'-the-Wisp idea of a character design. For this robot, I wanted him to be fun but formidable. My first stabs...

...were not on the right track. These looked not personable enough, or too scary. His head was looking like a toaster or insect or a Stormtrooper. Had to change gears:

Better in some ways, but too silly, clowny and simple. Then I began to hone in:

Yeah, that's more like it! Now to just complete the design for his full figure:

I also needed to come up with an old professor/teacher, who was quick and easy. He came out right away on paper exactly the way I saw him in my mind's eye.

More details of the robot were refined as I worked on the layouts and pencils. My wife and I ended up coloring him differently than I'd originally intended, which was probably mostly red and grey. I like him better this way:

To read the full story check out our Prime Projects section, which also features other Jewish comics, and other assorted projects. And you can find more Fricke robots on this blog.