Yaoi Art: “A Shot in the Dark” Pencils (Age: 18+)

I finally have some pics to share with you with some hot guy-on-guy action! (Alright, fine, sweet guy-on-guy action, but still, the shirts come off… πŸ˜‰ )

(UPDATE: And now I have even sexier pencils to show for our next comic, “Artifice”!)

Here are the finished pencils for the first comic in our upcoming book of yaoi short stories Yaoi 911™ called “A Shot in the Dark” and drawn by the very talented Karla Diaz C. In its 16 comic book pages, a Junior Apprentice must save his now helpless boyfriend, a Senior Apprentice, from a tremendously powerful and crafty demon after a summoning goes terribly awry. If you’d like to follow along with the script, you can download a copy here. If you are interested in learning about how these pages were made, click here. And if you’d like to see what the pages look like inked, click here.

Please note that some of these pictures are not safe for work and are not for children. If you are under 18 years of age, please do not click to read the complete article or read any further.

Pencils Page OnePencils Page TwoPencils Page ThreePencils Page FourPencils Page Five

Pencils Page SixPencils Page SevenPencils Page EightPencils Page NinePencils Page Ten

Pencils Page ElevenPencils Page TwelvePencils Page ThirteenPencils Page FourteenPencils Page Fifteen

Pencils Page Sixteen

Clicking on a thumbnail page will activate our cool Javascript-based Lightbox viewer. Once you have activated the Lightbox, use your arrow keys to go forward and back and hit ESC to quit.)

You might have noticed that some panels on pages 7, 8 and 9 seem to be missing something — the “hologram images” which the Demon is ripping from Ethan’s mind. They will be composited (superimposed) over pages 7, 8 and 9 using Photoshop during the finishing stage so we can give them that magical look. Here’s what they look like without the backgrounds:

Hologram Pg 7 Pnl 3Hologram Pg 8 Pnl 3Hologram Pg 9 Pnl 1Hologram Pg 9 Pnl 3

And when composited together, they will look something like this (except that they will be in full color and a whole lot cooler)…

Page 7 CompedPage 8 CompedPage 8 Comped

So those are the finished pencils — keep tuning in to Yaoi 911™ to see the finished comic come together before your eyes as these pages get inked, colored and lettered.

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12 comments

  1. :looks good and to be in color too: I should really go practice some, er, a lot more…i really like the backgrounds, i mean charas are good too, but it's the details like backgrounds etc that make a story flow easier, i hope that makes sense…
    cheers nara

  2. Thanks Nara!

    Yeah, those detailed backgrounds… I had, of course, already seen Karla's excellent character designs for this comic during the prep stages, but when I received the first fully rendered pencils, I was just amazed and really pleased with the detail she had put into each page.

    Personally, I love really detailed, rendered art — and it's definitely one of the things that attracted me to Karla's work in the first place.

  3. I know I'm not welcomed here, but I must ask…you're going to color this? I ask because I'm not used to seeing manga in color [except for the intentional works displayed in Range Murata's Robot books] I know there is color manga out there, just not used to seeing it. ^_^

  4. Well, that's, of course, my hope — that readers will see the larger full-color format as a special plus as opposed to a liability.

    The truth is, as a filmmaker, I know full well that it's very risky to go against the grain in bringing a product to consumers — particularly as a newcomer. There are often very good reasons for things being the way they are.

    But maybe, just maybe, enough people will see the advantages of what I have to offer and be willing to pay a little bit more to be able to have that kind of yaoi book.

    I hope, I hope, I hope… πŸ˜‰

  5. It's ok, I like hearing you talk! Honestly, one of the things I've always like about Class Comics [yes, I know it's gay-porn ^_-] is that lovely color and mag-stock he prints on. When we worked on Diplomatic Immunity for Class I said to him, I know you use the staples, I can deal with that, but we like tone/BW. 0_0. He was so cool about it, and here he was the commisioner. I thought this was an incredible show of tolerance on his part since we worshipped him all ready and here we were being hired and making demands. So, when we turned over our art, we gave him the toneless linework in case he ever decides in the future to have it colored and printed, in true Class Comics-style.

    We played with the 8.5×11 style on some doujinshi years ago, but found that our fans likes the traditional 7×10. (>_>) but I do admit to liking those shiny-page color-mangas from Murata; have you browsed through 'Robot'. It's from DMP. I recommend taking a look if you can, the production values sound like what you're going for.

    -Tina

  6. have you browsed through ‘Robot’. It’s from DMP. I recommend taking a look if you can, the production values sound like what you’re going for.

    I haven't — but it's been recommended to me before. I guess I'll have to check it out. πŸ™‚

    And maybe Class Comics, too. Sounds like another excellent resource I haven't read yet. ::blush::

    We played with the 8.5×11 style on some doujinshi years ago, but found that our fans likes the traditional 7×10. (>_>)

    Interesting. I'm going with the 8.5" x 11" trim mainly because I want to publish the art as large as I can get in a standard printing size. (Bookstores already stock a number of 8.5" x 11" books, so I at least have a shot at these books fitting into their current shelves.) I'm curious, though, how did the fans let you know they wanted the smaller, more traditional size?

  7. Well, we always put our emails in our books [being fanworks and all] and so we've a great repoire with our fans in terms of them emailing us [especially to talk about Trigun!] When we started our circle out there was me, a young woman known as Minako Julia Stryzga], and Caroline Monaco [kheelan]. We published large format for 'Kenshin' and 'Trigun' [I wrote for both but they each wanted to draw their own likes.] The chicks wanted it smaller, like traditional Japan style doujinshi. 7×10. It was overwhelming, the emails and comments at cons. Now since our Trigun work sells more to guys, we can still get away with a large format, they don't mind; but they love it that we send it to them in a clear magazine bag! [I guess ladies aren't the only 'collector types']. LOL!

    I can send you a copy of FUTZ if you like, to get a feel for the size. We had some extra we're giving away because the printer trimmed a bit too much from the top/sides, so we didn't sell those. Even if you aren't a Trigun fan, you might like the BL. Right? ^^

    Now Class Comics is…very explicit tongue and cheek porn. Lovely, I mean, beautiful aesthetic IMHO, but very 'in your face' with the sexuality. I can send you some Logan books they've done if you like [not a huge fan of Logan as I am Patrick, but Patrick was gracious enough to send me some copies as a gift.] Lovely printing. Very High quality. He's based in Canada, so I don't know where he's printing.

    -Tina

  8. Um, not welcomed here — why would you say that? Of course you are welcome here, Tina! πŸ™‚ I expect commenters to respect my comment policy, but Yaoi 911™ isn’t about excluding people or making them feel unwelcome — especially if they are smart, interesting and have lots of experience/knowledge re: yaoi.

    And yep, this book is going to be in color. There are things I am doing as a publisher that are hopefully “smart” choices — getting the word out with this blog, hiring a pro for my cover design, having realistic expectations for sales in a niche market, etc…

    And then there are the things I am doing just because I want to create the yaoi book I’ve always wanted to read.

    One thing I’m doing is creating a large format book — 8.5″ x 11″ — on high-quality coated paper. Why? I like my art big. In particular, I like my art of the cute boys kissing big. A lot of energy is being put into creating (IMHO) really beautiful, detailed art — I don’t want people to have to squint to be able to appreciate it. I want my readers to be able to curl up in their beds and really be able to feast their eyes on the sweet guy-on-guy action.

    And another thing I’m doing is creating a full-color book. Sure, I can enjoy a book with nice crisp, black-and-white line art, but the truth is, the one thing I always find I miss in these yaoi books is color. I love color. I love color in art. It makes a big difference both in my ability to follow a story and enjoy that story. And if the cute boys are going to kiss, I want them making-out in full, glorious COLOR.

    Publishing-wise, these are not “smart” choices.

    There are good reasons why almost all manga is a particular size. One is, of course, tradition. But that tradition has created certain expectations that have shaped the manga market. For one thing, having one size for a particular genre of book makes it easy for bookstores to stock your book on their shelves — and you want to make it easy for bookstores to stock your book. For another, consumers get used to a particular size and have probably adapted their reading habits to that size — you can stick one of those small manga books in your purse, for example, good luck doing that with an 8.5″ x 11″ book — and confounding consumer expectations can be dangerous. (It can also pay off, they might really like it, but it’s risky…) Finally, there’s the fact that smaller books are cheaper to publish — they use less paper, they cost less to ship — and in running a business, cheaper helps you live to publish another day.

    There are good reasons why almost all manga is black and white. One is, of course, tradition. But the main reason is that it’s tremendously more expensive to make a book in color. Like over four times as much. There’s the expense of paying an artist to color your book, of course — not trivial. But particularly, it’s the printing costs that add up fast. Paper for a black-and-white book runs through the press once to get that black ink — paper for a color book runs through 4 times to get each color for the CMYK inks. You get charged for that, and the extra ink, and the extra set-up costs — as you can imagine, it adds up fast. So, you need extra cash up front, which isn’t easy for a small publisher. To control your expenses, a color book nearly always needs to be printed overseas, which is complicated and scary. And you need to charge more for the book, which is risky in a market where consumers are used to paying less, perhaps much less for a manga book.

    Is it any wonder why pretty much every yaoi book is black-and-white and pocket-size? Really, so long as people are willing to buy them, it’s the “smart” choice. And in a risky business like publishing, you really want to make smart choices.

    So why am I doing this?

    Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned from filmmaking, it’s that if you want to make great art, you have to make art that you, the creator, think is great. Yes, you keep your audience in mind — and when you are marketing the piece that’s the only thing you keep in mind — but if your main goal is to create a work you think will please others, you are sunk.

    Artists aren’t psychics and trying to guess what some unknown “audience” will really love is a recipe for mediocrity. The only person’s taste you can really, truly know is your own — so you make the work you love, the book that would be your heart’s desire if you saw it in a book store.

    I am writing stories I’ve wanted to see my whole life. I am choosing to work with artists whose art rocks my world. And the book I’m going to publish is going to be big and it’s going to printed CMYK, because I’m dying to see the boys kissing in full, glorious COLOR.

    Not “smart” choices. But I don’t think I’m the only one who’d like to have a nice, big, well-written full-color yaoi book — so hopefully, in the end, it will turn out to be the right choice.

    But even if it’s not, I will have made the book I wanted to make — and that’s ultimately what’s important to me. Creating this book is a realization of a dream. And I choose not to follow my dream by half-measures.

    Alex

    P.S. Well, heck, I guess I had a lot to say about this! That was a good question, Tina. I think I should probably pull this out into its own post later, but I’ll leave it here as well, just in case you have more good questions. πŸ™‚

  9. Very interesting. There is really a lot for me to learn about the doujinshi side of things. And I'd like to take you up on the offer of letting me look at those books, but I fear for your shipping costs. Are you going to this year's YaoiCon? I'll be there and maybe we could do an exchange, postage-free. πŸ˜‰

    Oh, and BTW, I was in Borders tonight and got my hands on Vol. 2 of Robot and you were right, the format is very much what I envision for <span style="white-space:nowrap">Yaoi 911™</span>. And also useful research-wise was seeing that the price point for these types of books seems to be a consistent $24.95. This is good news, because I was afraid I'd have to price my book at $19.95 — a cover price which would have made the financial side of printing in color very, very challenging. (And, as I expected, DMP did their printing of Robot Vol. 2 overseas, in Taiwan.)

  10. I won't be at Yaoicon this year, but next year is mandatory for me. ^^; What I can do is leave an evnvelope for you at the DramaQueen table. Just go there and ask for 'Akito' and she can give it to you. ^_- Color printing stateside can be close to ridiculous. LuLu.co is the only online color printer where one can get a 'by the book' quoted price, but even that is steep. The beauty of LuLu is, they distribute for you, and print per order so you don't have to expend cash capital on a stock of books. But the base price is…harsh.

    -Tina

  11. What I can do is leave an evnvelope for you at the DramaQueen table. Just go there and ask for ‘Akito’ and she can give it to you. ^_-

    Sounds great. πŸ™‚

    The beauty of LuLu is, they distribute for you, and print per order so you don’t have to expend cash capital on a stock of books. But the base price is…harsh.

    Yeah, that's the major downside of these Print-on-Demand folks. I'll definitely use a POD for my pre-publication galleys — the ones I'll send to Publisher's Weekly, etc. — but the only financially feasible way to handle even small print runs is still offset printing.

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