Open Studio 3/23/2013 #5 cover

What is the Open Studio?

Kav has posted this sketch for the cover of Rapid City #5

Kav's first sketch for #5's cover

I like it. The line next to kinetic, is that just a guide for you, or are you seeing that on the actual page? If on the page, I don't think we need a divider like that between back and front. Or, if we do, just to divide the fron t from the back, we could wrap a line pretty tightly around Kinetic. The way Walt Simonson would. Also, the fight is looking pretty good, but I think it will be more dramatic if Max has his head rocked back a bit so that we can see the rage on his face... Or, if not rage then just cruelty and malice. -Josh

Open Studio - 7/22/12 - Cover 4

So I've been thinking about this cover since I started coloring issue 1. Kav did such a good job with this image -- it's so different -- that it's been sort of nagging away at me throughout the last couple weeks. In turn, I've thought of a few different ways to approach coloring it, but I wanted to start off by sharing a couple archetypal images that I think we could draw on for it. I have included a color palette for each one. I ask you guys, do any of these strike your imagination for how it should be approached? Here's the inked cover before we begin:

Now, when I first looked at this, I thought of Norman Rockwell's "The Soda Jerk."

While searching for that image online, though, I came across another Rockwell diner scene that has a different mood: "After the Prom":

More of a night-time scene, at the very least.

Anyway, that got me to thinkin'...I should probably approach this with as many options as possible. I started thinking about other famous diner images and immediately remembered Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks":

What also came to mind was Neil Gaiman's Sandman, issue 6...the whole THING is in a diner. I looked it up, and it turns out that Robbie Busch colored the issue in a lot of ways that I didn't remember. It gets crazy by the time the orgy and murder is going on as far as colors go. I stopped and remembered the look that drew me to it in the first place and it is best typified by page 9:

So these are my initial source images when I started thinking about this. Of course, now I've begun remembering a bunch of other diner scenes in other media that I'll have to break down for their palettes. While I do that, do you guys have any thoughts on any of these that I've posted so far? Love, Micah

It is hard for me to think about color like this, which is why I am glad you are there to do it for me! Trying to just look at the colors, I think I like "After Prom" and "Nighthawks" the best. -Josh

here's some ideas:


I found some that were similar to this one, but I like yours as good as any. If we are going for a realistic look, I like this. It strikes me as fully reminiscent of my old lunch shifts at Steak n Shake.

This one, on the other hand, is too boxed in, I think. There's something anti-graphical about the color balance or something.



Yeah, red seems to be a big color for diners-the rest of the B/G usually is earth tones.  Not so much white as in the above pic...Josh hates moons and anything white.


True, but the eye is most attracted to brightness and light, so it's a great color to use in graphics. As a demonstration, look over this array of the top 25 print ads of 2o1o and notice which ones your eye goes to first.

In this case, unless it's a night scene, it should be dominated by white since diners have large windows that let in sunlight. Look at how much white is in "The Soda Jerk" above.



I'm not opposed to white-the table, windows and back wall could be white.  Also the floor but Josh hates the black n white.  And you're right about the black and white thing-when I was a ballet dancer I noticed the dark haired dancers drew the eye so I dyed my hair black and the chicks loved it.



Open Studio 5/19/2012 (pages)

Here are Rapid City pages 16 - 20-Kav

Nice page. They look very natural and relaxed. In panel 2, though, Sidekick's paunch looks a little odd.  He looks almost unhealthy. He should be thick, like a wrestler. Maybe think someone like Bam-Bam Bigelow  You know what it is, in panel 2, his gut seems to continue getting bigger even below his belt-line. Usually, in the case of "a few extra pounds", The belly recedes at the belt-line to accommodate the groin.

Also, his hair is missing in the last panel and shaded out in the first one. This should be an identifying characteristic for him, so include it as often as is reasonable. It wouldn't hurt to make it a little bit longer either. And since we are talking about designing Sidekick, he should also be as lovable as possible. He is the warm heart of Rapid City. Everyone likes him because he genuinely cares about the people he meets... I mention this because the hatching, eye-shading, and short hair in panel 5 make him look (just slightly) like a homicidal clown with a hangover (just ever-so slightly) -Josh

i remember you urged me to make sidekick look heavier so that's why the paunch.  will fix hair and belly. thick, not saggy.  i get it. want me to remove homicidal clown eye shadow?


Really nice. I was thinking that this kind of shift is where we should use an establishing shot, but then I see that you have essentially worked that in at the bottom of the page. Not the traditional placement for one of those, but you very effectively set the scene. Nice. -Josh

yes for pages  like this an establishing shot is critical-if one is not scripted I will fit one in.  PS its now nightime on these pages and will be in DB today.


I was afraid that panel 1 would be hard to draw, you pulled it off. Very nice. Panel 5 is just great. Kinetic looks like such a doofus back there. Very nice.  yeah he thought he was gonna be a big hero and he's uneccessaary-this has happened to me.

Ok, here it is. The big moment. Panel 6. I love Kinetic's reaction. The pic is sexy... but maybe TOO sexy. Not too sexy for our precious reader's delicate eyes, I mean too carefully, professionally, sexy. It looks like it was posed by a photographer. (what lucky person IS holding that camera?) This picture is the result of Anne Marie trying to temp Kinetic back home to her. It should seem more playful.

webcam? ok i fix -kav

The matching lingerie is strange and unlikely, and fishnets like that are Hourglass's style but not Anne Marie's.

my thinking here was AM wants to be like HG she borrowed a pair of her fishnets


As it is, this looks more like something that was found on the web rather than snapped in a moment of playful taunting.  This pic needs to show that it is clearly Anne Marie, that the person with her is clearly a superhero, and that they are being playfully sexual. So, this is how you achieve all of that in one image. Anne Marie, with her shirt off, is behind Hourglass who is fully clothed. This shows that there IS nudity going on without actually revealing anything. Anne Marie is reaching forward over Hourglass's shoulder to snap the picture. She is raising an eyebrow at the camera like "How about it, sailor?", while Hourglass is turning back toward her with amused surprise. They are probably both a little tipsy. -Josh

-yeah i get it now- a closeup-this is one of those panels that stresses me out-i spent a lot of time looking for a pic-i know i'm not going to be able to find the scene you described so i will have to do something a bit different-mostly showing their heads


Kinetic's reaction here is priceless. I love it. I also love that he can't stop looking at the picture.

One other thing, I just re-read these script pages and I realize I left out a detail. It should be darkening as these scenes go on, turning night. I hope that this will not be TOO drastic a change for you to make. As it was my omission that caused it, I will be happy to pay you for it if it turns out to be a page-worth of work.

All in all, very nice work here.


no josh its night slowly lightening. ps in that review  he compared me to Mike Alred!  thats pretty awesome! dynamic is what i strive for.  PS stressing a bit-I am penciling 5 RC pages, 5 CM pages and doing revisions.  Gonna be busy today.