Kody’s Production Blog

  • A scene, barely alive. We can rebuild it. Better than it was before.

    Better…stronger…faster.

  • andrewcrobinson:

    Saturday night special done Karachi style. #wip #imagecomics #Standstill #andrewrobinson @inverse_la

    More awesomeness from Andrew Robinson. 

  • Sketchbooks & Notebooks

    When used properly, your sketchbooks and notebooks are an extension of your memory. They’re idea traps. Rather than fill them one at a time and retire them to the bookshelf, I prefer to keep old sketchbooks active as long as I can. I usually have 8 or 10 in rotation, and some of the sketchbooks are up to 15 years old. 

    When I start a new project, I grab one of those old sketchbooks and get to work. A quick flip-through helps me revisit the ideas and discoveries I was able to trap inside. It’s a great refresher of the things I’ve learned, sometimes forgotten, and along the way, many of the discarded/forgotten ideas will find a new home in current projects. I’ve got color swatches, strange character designs, unused page layouts, pen and brush tests, story ideas, interesting typefaces, life drawings, photos, whatever. It’s very surprising how new ideas connect with old ideas over time. 

    Give it a try!

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  • The Brick Wall

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    Here’s a little trick I use when I’m writing. In fact, I JUST used it on a script earlier this morning so I decided to blog about it knowing some of you might find it useful.

    When I’m working on an outline or a script, I sometimes hit a tough spot where I just can’t work through it. It might be a vital chunk of dialogue that needs to have real impact, or a story turn that isn’t working the way I need it to. No matter how long I work at it, I just can’t break through. Most times I don’t need the trick, I just keep working until I get it solved. I step right into puddles and smash my way through the rocks. Perseverance pays off and I can usually find my way. But the big ones. The brick walls. Those are different.

    Rather than beat your head against that brick wall, make a note right there in your story in BOLD ALL-CAPS to revisit the problem another day. Then move forward to the next scene. Don’t look back.

    A funny thing happens when you jump over those problems and work deeper into your story. You actually create context, and more importantly, a bit of hindsight. When you build out your world a little more and figure out where you’re headed, that problem area becomes much easier to work out. Often, what you thought was an impossible problem is now completely obvious with this new context.

    Give it a try next time you hit that brick wall.

  • Sketch Work is Ugly.

    Sketch work is ugly. Comic artists are the exception. Our sketch work will often have a quality about it that most other sketches don’t have. Our job is drawing, it’s what we do all day long, so there tends to be a little more attention in the sketch work we do. We happily publish and sell our sketches to make a few extra bucks like a carpenter sells his saw dust.

    However, sketching is ubiquitous in most other creative industries. Grabbing a pencil or pen to rough out ideas isn’t the exception, it’s the norm. Filmmakers, inventors, designers, party planners, bakers, and even writers. These sketches are typically hideous, and in many cases, downright embarrassing. The dirty little secret is that comic artists do it too. Yes, we’ll publish our sketch work, but only the good stuff. Just like everyone else, we tend to hide our failures. 

    When creators hide their sketch work, it’s easy for us to assume they’re working without it. It’s an illusion, and we’re great at hiding the rabbit. It’s important to remember that sketching is not about good drawing, it’s about good thinking. It’s not even about drawing. Sketch work can include notes, prototypes, whatever gets you to the idea. It takes time and work to uncover the good stuff. Most of it will be a horrible unusable mess of ideas. But if you keep digging and refining, you’ll find those ideas worth keeping. If you want the treasure, you have to shovel dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. 

    We look at the finished films of Scorsese and we think he created his story with cameras instead of a storyboard. We see a functioning machine and we think it was created in a factory instead of a note pad and a black marker. We read JK Rowling and marvel at the printed words but never think about the hand drawn spreadsheet used to craft the story. The truth is that on the surface, sketch work is ugly and crude. But if you look a little deeper, you’ll see that sketching is where ideas are born.

    Here are a few bad sketches by brilliant creators. Enjoy.


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    JK Rowling hand drawn spreadsheet for Harry Potter.

    Eminem lyric sheet.

    Coppola’s notes in the Godfather novel.

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    Breaking Bad prototype.

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    You should probably go out and buy a few pencils.
    —Kody

  • Some thoughts on magic.

    Comics, games, stories, apps, animation, movies. We fall in love with these things because to us, they’re magical. Here’s the bad news. If you choose to become a magician, to create the things you love, that magic will no longer exist. It’s gone—Completely and forever. 

    You quickly find out that what you thought was magic was actually smoke, mirrors, and deception. The illusion is wrapped in duct tape, rubber bands, and a rabbit stuffed inside a bag somewhere under the table. If you choose to become a magician, you’ll never enjoy magic the same way again. But I’ve got some good news. The good news is that there’s a better kind of magic. The magic of process. Figuring out how to hide that rabbit, that’s the real magic. That’s the magic that only magicians get to experience. 

    The creative process. That’s your magic.

  • Kody’s San Diego Comic-Con  schedule

    I won’t have a table this year at SDCC, but you can find me in a few different spots from July 9-12. 

    THURSDAY:

    2pm–2:45pm — PANEL DISCUSSION
    Room: 23ABC
    Image Comics: Where Creators Own The Mainstream — The mainstream is whatever we want it to be. Killer robots, ghosts, absurdist comedy, and space adventures aren’t niche, but in comics, we sometimes treat them like they are. In reality? They’re as mainstream as anything else, thanks to their wide-ranging appeal and the astonishing execution from Kody Chamberlain (Punks), Keenen Marshall Keller (The Humans), Chip Zdarsky (Kaptara), Marjorie Liu (Monstress), Alex Grecian (Rasputin, and Michael Moreci (Roche Limit). Come find your new favorite comic.
    —> This one should be a blast, a great topic with some of the most underrated talent in creator-owned comics. Don’t miss this one —Kody 

    4pm–4:45pm — BOOK SIGNING
    Booth: #1918 
    PUNKS signing with CBLDF
    EVERY RULE OF THE COMIC CODE WILL BE BROKEN IN THESE 32 PAGES. To say thanks for the assured mutual destruction, 20% of all profits will be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Help support an amazing cause and be seduced by the innocent. Or corrupted by the corrupt. Either/or. —> A great cause, and a great group of people. Don’t miss it! —Kody

    SATURDAY:

    10am–10:45am — BOOK SIGNING
    Booth: #2729
    PUNKS signing at the Image Comics booth
    —> Drop by, get some books signed, and let’s talk comics!