Why Black & White ?
Some time ago I was asked why I did not want to do Keepers in color.Cost was my answer.
That's plain and simple but not really true.
For the truth I'll have to say B&W comics are special to me.
I grew up reading comics like so many others back in the 70's, Getting my comics at the drugstore spinning rack or 7-11 store.In 1978 my Grandmother brought back from England a stack of comics from the UK. They were magazine size most on newsprint and all B&W with color covers.
comix 001
The artwork really jumped out at me. I think because now without color, I looked at the line work and how space was used. Also not to mention that the comics were nothing like American books.I should also add that even the Marvel comics were in B&W and magazine size.This had me hooked, I also realized this was the closest I had ever seen what a finished page of comic work looked like before the color was added. I really liked this look. *yup, I was hooked on ink*Then this happened also in 1978.
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ELFQUEST... My Dad had started bringing me to a real comic shop in East Hartford CT called The Bookie.And in 1978 there they were, Issues 1,2 & 3 sitting on a magazine shelf. These blew my mind as a kid who loved this sort of fantasy thing. I could not help but think that this was so much better then the Conan magazine.Elfquest did more then just change my view on color to B&W comics, But what comics could be as far as story and content.
comix 003
By 1984 the comics field was really changing and books like Dave Sim's Cerebus along with Eastman and Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really made me start looking for the indy press creators.Through the 80's and into the 90's there was so many creators putting out work and most of them still are.
I even at the age of 16, Started thinking that maybe someday this is what I wanted to do. I won't even go into my discovery of MANGA in the mid to late 1980's. Which my love for is still going strong today.So as you can see, It's more then just a cost effective reason.
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In August of 1991, I tried my hand at self publishing with KEEPERS.With some good press and better then favorable reviews I was unable to go beyond 3 issues. All because of low finances and bad planning and a few bad decisions on my behalf. It's been a long hard road, And Now I will soon begin a new.

I'll soon be published with the help of Wilder Publications in a graphic novel format.

Why a graphic novel series? Because I want to give people a solid full story at an affordable price like I have see done with manga books and really, Times have changed. Maybe someday I'll do a bimonthly comic. But not right now.

And yes, It will most likely be in Black & White.

Now I have been away from Live Journal for a long time.
I will be back from time to time to keep this site a little more updated.
But you can find much more at my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PhilipOwensKeepers

I had a conversation some time ago with some fellow artist over what paper we all use.
It got me thinking about what I used long ago and what I use now.
Well living in the north east I have always drawn on Strathmore paper.
When I started drawing my own comic pages, I used Strathmore 300 Series Bristol Smooth
finish 14x17 and then I would trim it down to 11x17.
Then one day my friend Mark Bode hooked me up with Strathmore's 500 Series Illustration Board.
I have a mix of both Plate and Vellum and both are great but a little pricy.
Depending on what you get or need the price ranges from $1.50 to $4.00 a sheet.
I think it's worth it when it comes to working on book covers and posters.
This paper will have a stamp imprint at the corner. Just like in this link.
Now lets get onto what I'm using now.
This really is the same paper I have always used.100lb 24 sheets, It just comes 11x17.
I would draw out my own blue line borders.
Now speaking of Blue lines bring us to this.
yup,it's the same paper,just with non-reproducible blue lines for pages.
It comes lined for covers,But I have not tried it as of yet.
Here is a link just to show you the many choices and rough prices. Though with some looking around you should be able to find either of these at around $8.00 a pad of 24 sheets.
So as you can see I'm a Strathmore fan.
But that does not mean I won't try new paper brands and neither should you.
Every artist I know uses what works best for them.
A good blue line is canson's 150lb smooth Comic Book Art Boards.
These are used by a few of my friends and I must say I tried them out a year ago when Canson offered a tryout packet of their comic boards.
I liked it but stuck with my Strathmore because of price and it's just what I use.
Now here is a link to 'Blue Line Pro'. I have not had the chance to try their product out as of yet,But I plan to. http://www.bluelinepro.com/Merchant5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=BL&Category_Code=003cap

So as you can see there are some choices for you with what kind of paper you want to use.
You have to be comfortable with what you use.
Not every artist wants to use smooth and not every artist likes blue lines when they do a page.
And remember sometimes the more expensive paper is not the best
I hope this was of some sort of help out there.

Another Sad Day with the passing of a Great Artist.
A few hours ago I learned of the passing of Jeffrey Catherine Jones.
I wanted to post something. But what?
I poured a cup of coffee and put on Led Zeppelin's Latter Days vol 2.
Just to help me get my thoughts in order.Having been sick with a cold
these last two weeks,writing my thoughts down has not been very easy.
I'll start with a photo.
Every so often artist come together and there was such a time as that for Jeffrey Catherine Jones.
I knew of his work years ago and was a fan.
Now a few years ago I made friends with him on facebook and discovered he was now a she (transgendered)and thought to myself If I should call her Catherine.
Now I know some people might say OMG! but it had no impact other then being happy with ones self is all that truly matters. Now that is all I'm going to say on that and I only mentioned it here for those that may get confused because you didn't know any better of that.
So many web sites are up today posting all kinds of news on her passing.
But I wanted to do my very little part so her work won't be forgot, and maybe some of you out there have never heard of her yet you saw her work over the years.
Please check this link out to see the The documentary on her,and there are a few clips. http://macabfilms.wordpress.com/
Here is another comics news site I use. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=32407
The first time I saw her work was on book covers when I was a kid about the age of 10 or 11.
She was to me another artist up there with Frazetta.
Now I never "knew" her and I feel very fortunate to have had any contact at all with her over the internet.
Here are just a few of Her works.
These photos don't even scratch the surface of her body of work.
I feel we loss her to soon.
I so wish I could say more but I have not the words.

Comics a changing industry.
I could not help but want to write today my thoughts on how comics are changing.
and now with Wizard Magazine folding I see so many places they could have saved money
and prospered.They could have been a resource to both people in the industry and fans.
But like so many others, we saw the writing on the wall for Wizard and that if they did not change
they soon would be gone.
and now it has come to pass.

But the Industry.
it survives and changes. conventions are big business now and are so over crowded it boggles the mind.
Just 10 years ago I would barely break even doing sketches now at the last show I did. I drew more in
a weekend than I do in the studio in over a two day period.
people are more willing to try out something new and it seems are hungry for it.
I do think the salvation for the independent comics creator is the graphic novel or maybe more in the line
of the way Manga is produced.
Shonen Jump is 320 pages, color cover with a black & white interior.book dimensions are roughly 7"x10"
with a cover price of $4.99. (No wonder it's the world's most popular Manga)
or even smaller sized Manga is priced between $7.99 - $10.99 with roughly 200 pages.
the thought of putting out a 120 page book out three or four times a year could really break up the stress and it has a longer shelf life in book stores like Barns & Noble and Diamond does not have to be your only distributor (amazon is a good thing). unlike doing a 28 page book every month where if your lucky you get picked up by a comic shop let alone Diamond.

Now let me jump back to the fan market.

comics going digital is also a good thing for us creators and opens ground for all the web comic people.
But I still think it has a year or two before we get a hand held like an iPad the right size where as a fan were happy with it.
I use to think the market was doomed because it was getting to the point that creators were doing work only other creators would read. Not true! I see 10 year old kids getting into comics all the time now and the female ratio has jumped. No I don't have 'stats' I see it when I go out and at conventions.
I think as creators we just had to wait. the market will grow and it is,as long as there is good material out there.

what is bad is the waist. over pricing and flooding the market with crap is a way to kill the market (I won't bother on what companies do that).

people only have so much money to spend on comics,Manga,movies, books, music and video games. So like myself,will only spend it on quality not quantity.

Now I could be wrong and maybe I'm seeing something that others don't. But I have faith in our industry and in all the new fans that are made everyday out in the world. Just think right now there is a kid out there who just discovered comics. (I'm saying this because a friend of mine has a 10 year old son who just discovered Spawn) and now everything is comics to this kid and now his Mom is a fan because she reads them before he does) That's our future! these will be the people that will keep comics alive.

So if you read this whether you agree or not.

this is just how I see it.

The New Year...
And so it begins.
I have not really had to much free time to think about the New Year.
Halloween came and went so fast I really never had the chance to enjoy it.
And before I knew it Thanksgiving ran so fast into Christmas Eve that now here I sit
as it turns from January 2nd into January 3erd.
For three months I worked and spent so much time sick it flew by.
Now I look ahead to the New Year. To all that I have to work at and accomplish.
It's not going to be easy but there is a love to all this work.
This last year was not waisted but I feel I did not work hard enough on my goals.
I have to make money to survive and stay ahead of bills so I can work in the studio.
But I think it's time to cut back a little on the day job and put all my real energy into my work.
The next few months are going to be the hardest with all this work to complete and
new work to start.
I miss getting excited over attending conventions and it's why I have not attended any
as a guest in so long.
Without having a finished Keepers product in hand. showing up just to draw for people
didn't do anything for me. But that is going to change by Spring and I am excited to start
booking a few conventions for spring & summer.
So here I toast the New Year and all that it will bring me.

Happy New Year Everyone.

WOW! Two post in one week!...
So I am going to try to be a little more active here on LJ.
having three facebooks really has taken me away from here.
yes,that's right three. One is for friends and artist that I know
and the other is my fan site for Philip Owen's KEEPERS.
This one is open to all so I don't have to really do anything but post
Now if your someone I know here on LJ and you have a facebook also and want to
interact with me. My personal fb is http://www.facebook.com/PhilipOwen.Keepers
Now I also started a group that meets up the second Thursday of every month
the "Drink and Draw Social Club-Western MA Chapter" this has slowly grown
and is a lot of fun. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Philip-Owens-Keepers/175989279084177#!/group.php?gid=131288316924008
So as you can see I have been making good use of fb.

Wicked Faire is just around the corner and I will be attending. but I will not have a table.
I go to this event just to have fun and shop. http://www.wickedfaire.com/
I will be posting the shows I'll be at that I'll have a table sometime in January.

Everyone Have a wonderful Yule and a Happy Christmas!

Happy Solstice and Yule...
Last night was spent going in and out watching the Eclipse and sipping a hot
spicy chai latte that I made myself.
I want to write about how I was feeling then and how I am feeling now.
but the words escape me.
So many things are going through me at this moment that I guess it will have to wait till
I have sorted out everything.
So much I want to write about and I have no idea where to start.
o.k. time to move on before I really start repeating myself.
jumped on the Harry Potter poster kick like so many others and it was fun to put this together.
Now I have to start getting my home ready for Friday nights get together while also heading down to CT to help my Mom out who has been very sick this past week.
This means I'll finish up cleaning here tonight or tomorrow. The studio is a mess and NEEDS to
be cleaned up before Friday and then next month I have to figure out if I should put another drawing table in here for a future student to work at.
Yes I have to much to do. and I have not even gotten into all the artwork and writing that has to be worked on.
I so hope the coming new year means more time to work on my projects.

The Month is almost over...
October nears it's end for another year and I find myself a little sad because I did not get to enjoy this month like I usually do. I did do some things I'm very happy about. I pulled off getting a monthly "Drink & Draw" started here in Western MA.
Attended The CT Ren Faire twice with good friends & reconnected with artist friend "Jane Starr Weils" along with making two new facebook friends from "Paragon Jousting".
On the creative side my writers block has been broken and my sketches have me wanting to work harder then I have in weeks. I think I owe this to my friends and fellow artist who are in there own way magic to me.
I am almost finished with landscaping my Mom's property and soon won't have to worry about it till spring.
Things I'm a little bummed about.
I missed out on a convention that I could maybe have made a little money at. and about money,it's been so tight that it's been hard to decide how I spend my off time. I missed going to Salem this month which I do every year. But there is always next month.
No Halloween parties or get together for me this year it seems.
Halloween. It looks like I'll be sitting home with some ale or a bottle of wine watching movies or drawing.
It does look like I did have a full month but I feel like I only did half of what I wanted to do.
As November soon begins I wonder if I can keep this creative vibe going along with keeping my head above the bills.
Just like so many friends,the day job can really hurt the creative process and slow you down.
I have KEEPERS vol 1 to finish and ready, along with a lot of work ahead of me through the fall and winter because before I know it spring will be here with conventions and shows to sell my work. So I better be ready for it.

made my day!

the last few days...
It has been so draining this week. the heat,the crap at work, bills , Bear's ongoing trips to the vet and the realization that this is going to be an all work summer.
I have so much unfinished work and my stomach is just a mess from all the stress.
(wish I was rich)
I'm sitting here at 2:44 Sunday morning July 18th. Cowboy Bebop is on the t.v. and I have some Welsh cookies to comfort me. (by the way. http://www.welshcookieman.com/ these rock!)
I think I would just give up on everything if not for so many good friends to talk to and have my back.
I am really blessed with such good friends.
I may have talent but if not for my friends I would not have a book being done or getting work as a storyboard artist.
My friends hand me these chances. so all I have to do is do my best not to let them down and shine with great work.
When I needed help because of finances it was my friends who were there when I had no where else to turn.
I only have one real fear. and that's that I will let everyone down.
I said I wish I was rich. Well in a lot of ways I am. If you count my wealth by the friends I have.
This note was going to be about the last few days and it turns into something else...

Saturday when Elle and I got back from the emergency vet.We decided to stay up and head out anyway to the Highland Games. I needed the distraction and my Mom wanted me to go get her some Scotch pies. (Which did not happen because the pie people raised there prices WAY to high) so maybe next month I'll bake some for her myself from scratch.
But we walked around in the unbearable heat had something to eat and picked up some hard to get food. Did I mention the Welsh Cookies!
and I picked up two used King Arthur books. one is "The Return of King Arthur The Legend through Victorian Eyes" the second is "The Landscape of King Arthur" which was really photo rich. I love getting used really cheep books. We only stayed a couple of hours because the heat was to much to take and I think we just wanted to get back home to Bear and some sleep.
Bear has been doing well and he took really well to the new food he has to eat. He's not out of the woods just yet,but I feel something will be done soon so this won't happen again to him.
weather it's the food he has to be on or surgery to keep from ever being blocked again.
I just want things in the house back to normal with the cats.

I have lots of work to do tomorrow and planning out pages and storyboards.
But I now have a couple of books to read and maybe some inspiration will strike which would put me in a much better mood. for the moment I don't have to worry about Bear or my Mom and other then this heat that is so distracting. Maybe I can get myself in a much better frame of mind


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