Upcoming class on Story and Art

Story and Art - Class Header

Here's the blurb:

Story and Art
Learn to Create Children’s Books and Comics with a Career Professional
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Overview:
Join professional writer and artist Kody Chamberlain for a four week course on Storytelling and Graphic Art where you'll learn a highly versatile and in-demand skill set that includes concept development, outlining, story, scriptwriting, character design, storyboarding, art production, and business. The skills taught in this course will apply directly to things like children’s books, comic books, graphic novels, storyboarding, concept art, character design, web comics, newspaper strips, editorial illustration, entertainment design, editorial cartoons, manga, and more. Details here.

How I created the end credit sequence for Captain America: The Winter Soldier

First, the title of this blog post is an outright lie. I literally had nothing to do with that credit sequence. But after a chat with my pal David Mack in Lexington, Kentucky a little over a week ago, I pieced together a nice string of events that may have helped all this come together. More than anything, it's a great example of networking in action. 

To figure this out, we'll have to jump back in time about ten years ago. My longtime studio mate Ron Domingue helped bring in a guest speaker to Lafayette, Louisiana named Joshua Davis. For those that don't know Joshua, I'd describe him as a motion graphics artist, designer, and illustrator, but also one hell of a programmer. These days, he's also a public speaker and a teacher. He's created a vast body of work, earned countless awards, and he's built a loyal following of designers, developers, and illustrators all around the world. 

Joshua's workshop that day was a mostly a result of Ron's persistence to bring him to our area, and the AIGA (The American Institute of Graphic Arts) was a great way of doing that. I hadn't been a member of AIGA since college, but I do try and keep tabs on guest speakers and events. If I recall, Joshua's presentation was titled 'space' and it was an exploration of art, design, color, controlled randomness, and a bit of an autobiography. Wonderful stuff, and if you have a chance to see Joshua speak or view an installation, I highly recommend it.

After the presentation, a small group of us went to a popular Cajun restaurant here called Prejean's. Solid food, usually, and it's got a fun atmosphere for guests. At that dinner, we got to talking about comic books and David Mack came up as an artist Joshua was deep into at the time. I mentioned that I knew David a bit from comic cons and that he was a super nice guy. 

The following week, I introduced the two via email, and as it turns out, David was also a fan of Joshua's work. Simpatico at its finest. Referrals and introductions are constantly happening behind the scenes, but it's also a currency that must be spent wisely. In this particular case, it seemed like the right thing to do.

I've seen David a few times since at various conventions, but for whatever reason, the subject of motion graphics didn't come up. This past weekend at Lex Con, I wandered over to David's table to drop off a copy of my comic series PUNKS and we ended up on the subject. He gave a big shout out to the brilliant team of designers, animators, and programmers that take his illustrations and concept art, and push it around the canvas. Fascinating stuff. 

David casually mentioned that befriending Joshua Davis and their ensuing discussions on the subject was one of the main catalysts for his interest in motion graphics, and as a result, we all got to enjoy his spectacular motion graphics work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 

You're welcome. 

Kody
March 19, 2017

EDIT: An expanded thread from David:

Logo design - Sketching is the key

A shot of my sketch work for the CURT custom knives logo. From the start, the goal was to keep it clean and simple, to unify the logomark and the logotype as one unit, rather than having them exist as two separate pieces. Clean, simple, sharp. 

There were about seven sheets of sketch work in all, but this is the one where I figured it out. I kept going a few pages after this one, but I kept coming back to the sketch circled below—That's usually a sign that something is working, so I put a little more focus on it and sketched out the two variations beside it. I had several other ideas that were usable, but this one just seemed to click.

In a way, it serves as an exclamation point within the logo itself. The easy stuff is the hardest to find.

Kody Chamberlain - kody@kodychamberlain.com

Prototype

Today I'm prototyping a new project. It's the deluxe edition of an upcoming non-fiction book project I've been working on for quite a while. Creating prototypes and doing mockups is something I genuinely enjoy, but rarely get the chance to do.

For the curious, this is done with white matte board, x-acto, tape, and various scraps of paper. I'm mostly trying to get an idea of the size I'll need to work with based on my projected page count, and the design and placement of the items hidden underneath. 

Here's a little peek at the prototype, and I'll offer up details as soon as I can. 

Logo design

Spotted this great photo from ALL ABOUT BOOKS AND COMICS this morning on Twitter. As a comic creator, nothing is more inspiring than seeing a fresh batch of comics on the shelf on a Wednesday.

Looking a little closer at the photo, it's actually a prime example of why our industry should focus as much on logo design as we do on cover art. Unlike novels or movie posters, our industry tends to rack titles in a way that protects the book from folding or slumping with humidity, and that means much of the book is hidden from casual buyers. Almost none of the artwork on these covers is visible to buyers, so if your logo doesn't communicate to the audience, they'll ignore the book completely. In short, your logo might be the only thing they'll ever see.

Los Angeles, 2016

I've been meaning to do an update on this weeks earlier, but my schedule has been insane and the deadline crunch has been brutal. Hopefully this will serve as a solid update.

Earlier this year I pitched the idea of a screenplay contest to my friend Ahmed Siddiqui at BCKSTRY.ORG. For those that know me, this is something I've wanted to do for a few years now. Ahmed loved the idea and was eager to help pull it all together. In the blink of an eye, Ahmed had pulled together the rules, the entry website, and all the bells and whistles needed to launch such a massive project. 

The prize? Meetings with agents and managers in Los Angeles. For those that don't know, it's quite difficult to get anything looked at by anyone, especially if you live out of state. Having solid representation in Los Angeles is an absolute nescessity. My manager Ford Gilmore agreed to help make this a reality and reached deep into his rolodex to line up a series of meetings this past week. It's an interesting connection because Ford is originally from Baton Rouge. With the prize in place, the LA to L.A. contest was now a reality.

With over 30 scripts entered, 10 finalists were selected and they showed up to pitch their scripts.  The following morning, we battled and fought over the best of the best and selected our three winners. It was NOT an easy task. Honestly, I felt like we had seven great scripts, and each and every one of them had a real shot at winning. So many great scripts from Acadiana writers, that's something I did not expect. The talent in this area is superb. Picking the three winners was no easy task, but in just a few hours, we worked our way to a unanimous decision.  

With the three winners selected and the scripts well-polished, we hopped on a plane and landed on Los Angeles early last week. 

I had a few surprises lined up that I didn't want to mention until I was 99% sure it would come together. First up was dinner with one of the highest grossing and most respected screenwriters in the history of film, Steven E. de Souza (Die Hard, Commando, etc.) Steven reached out to me several years ago after reading my comic SWEETS, and we've struck up a bit of a loose friendship/mentorship. He's a writer I have a great deal of respect for, and when he agreed to dinner, I knew we were in for a treat. Steven dropped knowledge about pitching, writing, film history, stories from the set of Die Hard, and more. Three hours later, we were taking photos outside the restaurant and our heads were spinning. 

The first meetings of the weekend were at the Rothman Brecher Agency. Learning to pitch an idea isn't a natural skill, it takes practice, and we did a lot of practicing the weeks leading up to the trip. Still, nothing compares you for the real thing except the real thing. I wasn't in the room, but from the recaps I got from the winning writers, sounds like it went pretty well.

Early the next morning, I invited the writers to meet my very good friend Josh Fialkov for breakfast. Josh isn't just a great writer, he's also one of the best at pitching his ideas, I've seen it first-hand multiple times. Josh has a way of boiling down the big ideas into a clean simple pitch, and he gets results. Having written a ton of comics, screenplays, and has been staffed on hit shows at NBC and SYFY, Josh knows his stuff. Breakfast was a whirlwind of questions and answers, pitch tips, business advice, career paths, etc.

I knew they'd get a lot out of talking with Josh, and breakfast was rocket fuel for the two pitch sessions our writers had with management companies that same day with Good Fear Film + Management and Management 360. By all accounts, the meetings were highly informative, and if we're lucky, fruitful. 

Everyone we met got a wonderful gift bag with treats from Tony Chachere, LCVC, Parish Parcel from Russo, and Chris Stelly & Sherri McConnell at Louisiana Entertainment were very supportive of the contest and our efforts to showcase our Acadiana screenwriters. Thanks to all that helped out. And a special shout out to Josef Hensgens for following us around, snapping photos and video to document the experience, and taking care of just about anything we needed without hesitation or trepidation.

Now that I've had a few days to digest the events, I'd have to say it was a massive success. Simply pulling back the curtain is enough to change someone's outlook on what's possible, and the process of actually connecting with key people in FILM and TV is a game changer for writers looking to work their way into the industry.

I'll probably expand the update with images as they come in, and hopefully, we'll have a little documentary-style film to share in the coming weeks. 

— Kody Chamberlain
    Sept 19, 2016

Rejection

Image via JIM LEE on Instagram.

Image via JIM LEE on Instagram.

Earlier today, comic book artist Jim Lee posted his very first Marvel rejection letter. You'd don't really see this kind of honest input anymore because people are overly sensitive and tend to freak out when their work is critiqued. Modern rejection letters are mostly boilerplate text designed as good public relations material.

Too bad, because Jim's letter is the kind of stuff that can actually be HELPFUL to young artists.

SMUT AND JEFF

An all-original comic pitch with artwork by newcomer Gavin Guidry, and colors by K. Michael Russell. Damn proud of how this pitch came out, give it a look! 

JEFF is a typical teenaged boy spending the last week of summer vacation stressed about high school. It's a very familiar feeling of being a boy unprepared for the journey into a man’s world. After being mocked and ridiculed, Jeff is determined to find and steal the one item he’s told will transform any boy into a real man: His very first porno magazine. 5 issues, 32 pages each, full color.

Creative Team:

Kody Chamberlain (writer)

Kody is a writer/artist specializing in Crime/Thriller/Horror, but has a diverse background in entertainment creating idea-driven properties for the best publishers, producers, and studios in the business. His original high-concept thriller THE FOUNDATION was optioned by FOX for feature film development, as was TAG, his collaboration with comic book legend Keith Giffen. Kody's hit crime series SWEETS: A NEW ORLEANS CRIME STORY won a Spinetingler Award, typically reserved for prose crime fiction. Other credits include BOOM! Studios, DC Comics, HarperCollins, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, LucasArts, Marvel Comics, MTV, ReelFX, Sony Pictures, 343 Industries, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. 

Gavin Guidry (pencils & inks)

Gavin is the newcomer on the team. With no major professional credits under his belt, the successful funding of this Kickstarter would be a huge step in the realization of a lifelong dream. He would love nothing more than to draw stuff for you. A native of the New Orleans area, Gavin currently lives in Hammond, LA with his wife, young daughter, and desk hogging cats.

K. Michael Russell (colors)

Michael has been working as a professional comic book color artist since 2011. His credits include the upcoming Image Comics series GLITTERBOMB, HACK/SLASH, JUDGE DREDD, Eisner and Harvey-nominated IN THE DARK: A HORROR ANTHOLOGY, and many other independent and small press projects. He launched a comprehensive online comic book coloring course in May 2014 at ColoringComics.com. As of this writing, over 1700 students in 70 countries have enrolled in his courses. He lives in Long Beach, Mississippi, with his wife of sixteen years, Tina. They have two cats. One is a jerk.


Rob Guillory (character designs & covers)

Rob is an Eisner and Harvey Award-winning artist best known for his work on Image Comics’ CHEW. Born, raised and currently living in the fine city of Lafayette, LA with his wife, their two kids and assorted alligator-fighting cats. In addition to drawing comics, Rob is an aspiring pro-wrestling valet. This is a lie. Likes include: Pie, naps, nice people. Dislikes include: People who don’t understand turn signals.

The Music Connection

I don’t think or talk about my childhood much, but the death of so many great musicians recently got me thinking about old memories and older friends. As a kid, we spent a lot of time relocating to various trailer parks in a tiny broken-down Airstream trailer. I spent as much time as I could sitting outside in my dad’s pickup truck listening to 8-track tapes because that trailer had four other people living inside. I remember being jealous of the other kids in the trailer park that had their own bedrooms. But in that rusty old pickup truck, I discovered music. I didn’t have comic books or access to a TV. Just the music. Looking back, my dad had a surprisingly good selection. James Brown, The Commodores, Otis Redding, Zeppelin, Journey, some classic country like George Jones, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams. ..and stuffed into the glove compartment: Richard Pryor. Most of the music I came to love as a kid is linked to friendships of some kind. It’s amazing how music can lay such a strong foundation for stacking memories.

I don’t think or talk about my childhood much, but the death of so many great musicians recently got me thinking about old memories and older friends. As a kid, we spent a lot of time relocating to various trailer parks in a tiny broken-down Airstream trailer. I spent as much time as I could sitting outside in my dad’s pickup truck listening to 8-track tapes because that trailer had four other people living inside. I remember being jealous of the other kids in the trailer park that had their own bedrooms. But in that rusty old pickup truck, I discovered music. I didn’t have comic books or access to a TV. Just the music. Looking back, my dad had a surprisingly good selection. James Brown, The Commodores, Otis Redding, Zeppelin, Journey, some classic country like George Jones, Willie Nelson, and Hank Williams. ..and stuffed into the glove compartment: Richard Pryor. Most of the music I came to love as a kid is linked to friendships of some kind. It’s amazing how music can lay such a strong foundation for stacking memories.

The first script I ever wrote

Have a look at the very first script I ever wrote, it’s not dated, but was probably done in 1994. My wife was digging through some old boxes and she found a scrapbook of things she kept from our early years together.

There are some big problems here, and I remember not really understanding how to tab everything over properly (done manually with a lame word processor) but I think it’s a very fun look at the script that started all this comic book nonsense. 

Enjoy!


— Kody


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