Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flight 8 - The Clockmaker's Daughter pt.2

Previous posts

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter pt. 1


The Clockmaker’s Daughter began a long time ago when I jotted down some ideas a couple years back. I had two characters, The Clockmaker and his daughter. The original goal for this little story (or whatever it was going to be) was an animated short. Something evocative, moody, and visually interesting. Smoky, dark, Victorian London.

Unfortunately for this little project I never made it much further than the characters and establishing that one of them was sick. I shelved it for several reasons the largest being I had only a sort of beginning, no middle, and the vaguest of endings.

That’s where this all began.

The time rolls around for Flight 8. I thought through the different stories I have on my list of short stories, comics I want to make and I kept coming back to this Clockmaker one. I knew I didn’t have much of story there, just a couple characters, and that one of them was sick and the other would go on a journey to try and find a way to heal them. Was the daughter sick? Was it the father? I didn’t know and I went back and forth for a long time in the back of my head while I was mentally preparing (juggling client work) and getting my thoughts together.

When I had the time I dove back into the world found it sprawled out, all around. It opened wide and all sorts of elements flowed in filled in the gaps in the story. What began as an idea with no middle or end to speak of developed into a non-linear mingling of
1. An original fairy tale 2. The curse of the Clockmaker's magic clock. 3. And the journey of the Clockmaker's Daughter's to break the curse.
(How she effects the fairy tale itself will be told in the story, I don’t want to spoil it for you.)

I don’t mean to make it sound that easy, it certainly wasn’t. In fact to even get everything boiled down to those three elements was a huge struggle for me. I went back and forth for weeks and weeks, refining and refining, spending most all of my free time over Christmas and the first week of January pouring over my notes and drawings trying to get at the heart of the story and make sense of all these elements.

When it clicked at 3 in the morning one night it was magic. I had the complete story and I just got up and went to work.

For this story I did a lot of writing-writing, it’s my most text heavy short graphic story to date. I say writing-writing to differentiate it from drawing-writing. Mostly I do drawing-writing where I’m sort of writing words but it blends into drawing-writing with pictures and back again.

Here’s a look at some of the writing-writing and drawing-writing for The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flight 8 - The Clockmaker's Daughter pt.1

The final edition of Flight will be released this week. I can’t thank Kazu enough for extending to me the invitation to contribute a comic for Flight 6. It’s been an incredibly important part of my life for the past several years. I’m not just being dramatic when I say there will be Flight sized hole in my heart. See, I’ve met some of my favorite people through Flight and had so many opportunities presented to me because of it that I would not have gotten otherwise. I’m grateful for the chance I got to make some stories for it and I’ve loved working on the books. Once again, my thanks to Kazu Kibuishi.

Enough of that. Ok, well first of all, I can not wait to get a printed copy! The stories in this final edition are so good and the art is stunning as ever. I really think everyone stepped it up to give the Flight series the best send off possible. Some of my favorite Flight stories to date are in the book and in my professional estimation, my personal best short story to date. (Though you may be the judge as to whether or not it is successful.)

While the last two years I have consciously focused my personal artistic development on my drawing, working as hard as I can to improve my visual vocabulary and visual storytelling, I still love to write. I can’t express enough how I enjoy the thrill that comes from making up a satisfying story and seeing it through to completion. Especially when you make it through a particularly challenging project.

My story for Flight 8, The Clockmaker’s Daughter was one of those particularly challenging stories for me. It’s one that I wrote a few kernels of ideas several years ago and it’s hard to believe the transformation the story underwent, developing from a simple story of a man who makes nice clocks (with no actual middle or end) to a full on attempt at a real fairy tale with adventure, transformations, and (my personally favorite element of any story) a eucatastrophic ending.

Over the next few days I want to take you through my experience writing the story as well as show you how I went about making it.

From The Clockmaker's Daughter. Finished panel.


If you’d like to see my previous stories for Flight you can preview them here.

Flight 6, Walters.


Flight 7, Onere and Piccola.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Hagrid - in stages

The Harry Potter show at Gallery Nucleus (@gallerynucleus) is almost here!

I've gotten such a great response to my piece for the show through my blog here, Facebook, and my Twitter that I wanted to take you guys through the stages of it.

The thumbnail.

Light under-drawing.

Beginning the final line work.


And there you have it.

Posts continue next week, M/W/F with more from The Hidden People.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The upcoming Harry Potter show at Gallery Nucleus (@gallerynucleus) is going to be an amazing collection to see. Here is my piece for it.

I first started to read them in high school and quickly burned through the first three or four books. The wait between books was agonizing but incredibly worth it. I fell hard for them after the first chapter, that was all it took. I distinctly remember my first time reading it, I was amazed by what I was reading in a way that I really hadn't before with any other book. I just loved it. And the books only got get better.

One of the first of many, many moments I fell in love with was early on was Hagrid on a flying motorcycle bringing the freshly orphaned Harry to Dumbledore. The introduction of the giant, wild man on a flying motorcycle, and the phrase, "The Boy Who Lived." That was it for me, I loved it.

For this piece I was under a pretty significant time crunch but Nucleus has always been so great to me that I can't turn them down (you might remember the Terrible Yellow Eyes show!) so I decided to make a finished drawing in tribute not only to Harry Potter the books but also to the incomparable Mary GrandPré illustrations.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Tomte - The Hidden People

Another piece for The Hidden People in progress, rough.

I'm fascinated with the idea of a tomte.

"A tomte is a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore. Tomte were believed to take care of a farmer's home and children and protect them from misfortune, in particular at night, when the housefolk were asleep."

I also love the idea a tomte looking just as scary as the things it is scaring. I've never been a big fan of allegory, to quote J. R. R. Tolkien,
"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of the reader. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

But I do love the notion of C. S. Lewis' Aslan being "not safe but good."

I like to think of a tomte in this way.

And lastly, there's a little Harry Potter influence in my thoughts regarding a tomte as well. I like to think they could summon something like a Patronus.
Hence the owl.

Friday, June 10, 2011

fairy mother - final

Here is the final drawing for this new piece from "The Hidden People."

17.5" x 21"

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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

fairy mother - in progress

Here are a couple preliminary stages for this new drawing for "The Hidden People."

photos of the final drawing on Friday.

Monday, June 06, 2011

more Hidden People, trolls.

I am several drawings into this project now. The end result, either watercolor, digital, or whatever usually isn't far from my mind when I'm drawing and in some ways it actually affects the way, how I draw. But this time I am completely focusing on pure drawing, letting these pieces stand alone. I'm very much enjoying pushing my drawing as hard as I possibly can.

It's been tremendously rewarding so far and I can't wait to show you more rather than these little glimpses.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Éowyn - finale

You might remember a a couple weeks back when I was working on a piece inspired by Éowyn and the Nazgûl (that's a link to a collection of those development posts.) You also might remember it was for a kind of contest judged by some of the best of the best working in Sci-fi and Fantasy art today. Well, whatever became of it?

Here's the complete judging results.

I was floored to see I had incredibly nice things said about my piece by people who's work I've followed since college.

And here are specific mentions of my piece by the judges.

"Cory’s stylized version captures a storybook-like illustration. The line work coupled with the watercolor effect takes it to a level where one can dream and envision the scene, and thereby feel it. It doesn’t have to be realistic to capture a real mood." - Greg Manchess.

"A fine piece of work Cory. Love the linear aspect of the style and the wispy nature to your background and smoke. The only weak part for me is in Eowyns anatomy, upper body is perfect, but the lower seems too elongated (upper leg too long) and I’m not sure how that back leg is turning." - Donato Giancola.

"I really love the wet on wet bleeding going on in this piece. There is an ethereal glow here that is gorgeous. The organic quality of the line work and the distinctive stylization really make this piece stand out." - Eric Fortune.

"I had a really hard time narrowing the entries down to my favorite eight. But no matter how I broke it down, this image just kept coming out on top for me. It’s satisfyingly expressive, energetic, and narrative." - Dan Dos Santos.

In the final deal I scored a hot honorable mention. Sounds good to me.

In the end I had three specific goals for this little project. 1. Kick start my drawing for The Hidden People. 2. Potentially make a small splash on a great blog. 3. How could I not draw Éowyn when presented with the opportunity.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Here are the stages of this first piece for The Hidden People.

Thumbnail, rough, drawing.