Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Only a couple days left of 2009. Lots to think about. Much to be thankful for. And a whole lot to look forward to this next year. To start 2010 off right, and to end 2009 with a bang, I'm having my first ever contest.
1) A signed hardcover copy of Missile Mouse: the Star Crusher.
2) A signed copy of Flight Explorer.
3) A signed print of the cover art for Flight Explorer (13 x 19 in).
4) The original inked art for the back cover to the Star Crusher (11 x 14 in).
There are multiple chances to win and you can enter up to FIVE times. Here's how:
1) Comment on this post. Make sure to include your email in the “email” field (will not be published) and let me know what your favorite post of 2009 was. I'm also interested in knowing what you'd like to see more of for 2010. Inktober again? More MM? Ease off on the MM? More finished stuff? Less sketchy stuff? Let me know. This counts for ONE entry.
2) Become a fan of Missile Mouse Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter. This will get you another entry. If you’re already a Facebook fan or Twitter follower you’re good to go. This counts for ONE entry.
3) Want to get the edge? Order a Missile Mouse commission. This counts for THREE entries.
That's it! Good luck. Contest ends in one week. On the night of Tuesday, January 5th 2010 I'll randomly select the winner and announce it on Wednesday. Cool?
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I can't think of better company to be with on the book shelf. My friend Kazu's book Copper is out as well and it's a must get. Actually, this photo doesn't quite reflect reality. When I got to the kids graphic novel section MM was tucked down underneath the displayed books. So I took them out and put them up top inbetween Copper and Amulet. You can do the same if you want next time you're at B&N. I don't mind.
Here's a closer look at the book. Both the paperback and hardbound copies:
Amazon notes it as "In Stock" as well.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
We are just a couple weeks away from the release of the Missile Mouse graphic novel. Perhaps it's too early to post this, but I can't wait. This was put together by the amazing Darren Rawlings. He far exceeded my expectations with it. Also posted it on youtube here.
And Ideology of Madness has posted my first podcast interview/visit. Go check it out!
I had a great time talking with these guys. And if you can handle an hour of me blabbing about myself you'll hear all about my first gig as an artist and how Missile Mouse almost never happened. Tried really hard not to sound like an idiot.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Missile Mouse: the Star Crusher (Available in Jan) is getting lots of good reviews! I've been posting these on twitter, but here the are in full for you non twitter types.
Scholastic is really putting their graphic novel foot forward, and this first installment in an ongoing series from writer/illustrator Jake Parker is proof. Parker, an animator at Blue Sky Studios, has created an action/adventure sci-fi hero in Missile Mouse, a pint-sized secret agent who packs a big punch. The storytelling is fairly straight forward for the genre (good versus evil, inter-galactic war, surprise double-crosses, et al.), but Parker’s illustration work is what really makes this book pop. His background in animation is apparent; with clean lines and solid coloring, each frame looks more like an animation still than it does a comic book panel. The humor is definitely there for kids–which is appropriate since the book is geared toward eight- to twelve-year-olds–but I do wish there was some subtle adult humor peppered throughout.
When his mission to recover an ancient star compass goes wrong, intrepid Galactic Security Agent Missile Mouse finds himself saddled with a partner. Agent Hyde, the son of a senator and a rookie, is willing to please, but part of his job (according to Chief Maxwell) is to keep Missile Mouse from making costly mistakes. The two are to retrieve a missing scientist who holds the key to a horrible weapon, the Star Crusher, in his hereditary memory. They rescue Ulrich Vondorf from the Rogue Imperium of Planets (RIP)—but not before RIP gets most of the info they need. Missile Mouse must find the last stash of dark plasma before RIP, but that’s not the only hurdle GSA’s finest is going to face! An animation artist for such companies as Disney & Nick as well as a comics artist, Parker produces a first full-length graphic novel that’s a gem in story and art. Bright, action-filled, at times wordless panels keep the pages turning. Intelligent space opera and a realistically rounded hero will have young fans of the future demanding the next volume. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)
Missile Mouse, or MM to his friends, is an agent in the Galactic Security Agency and the kind of gruff loner ideal for deep-space adventuring. After he botches a mission and lets a valuable star compass fall into the hands of the dastardly Rogue Imperium of Planets, he partners up with a hotshot young agent, cramping his reckless-but-effective lone-wolf style. Their mission is to rescue a kidnapped scientist who holds in his outsize noggin the knowledge to construct a black hole–generating doomsday device that sure could come in handy for the baddies’ plans to rule the galaxy. The setting and overall look of this graphic novel owe much to Star Wars and the Halo video games. Parker’s fluid lines and animation-quality characters make for uncluttered action sequences, nicely kept PG with laser shots that knock weapons out of hands and more KOs than kills. MM’s fearless brashness makes for a winning hero, and the able mix of humor and urgency make for a solid space caper.
— Ian Chipman
Thursday, December 10, 2009
The Missile Mouse book release is getting close! Only a couple weeks away. Did a call last night for a podcast with Ideology of Madness and we talked about a bunch of MM stuff and more. They say it'll be up in a week or so. I'll be sure to post a link to it when it's up.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Big thanks to everyone who became Facebook fans of Missile Mouse!
So today I want to share with you the process behind one of the pages from the from The Star Crusher. This was one of my favorite pages to work on in the book, but it was also a beast. As you can see from one of the panels from the page above.
Step 1: the Thumbnail
I couldn't find the thumbnail for this page, but I drew it at about 1 x 2 inches, very loose and simple, almost just stick figures.
Step 2: the Sketch
I draw this at the actual print size which is 9 x 6 inches. I keep it really loose, which helps me to focus on layout, composition, and shape and not get bogged down in details. This gives me a good sense of how it will look when printed.
Step 3: the Rough
I don't have a scan of this step, but I took a photo of the page in the middle of inking. I take my sketch page from step 2, scan it, blow it up, and print it on 11x 17 paper and use it as a guide for my roughs via the light box. You can see the roughed-in drawings in the spots not inked yet. I don't labor over the rough too much preferring to reserve some of the exploration of the drawing during inking.
Step 4: the Inks
Here it is fully inked. Microns on heavy stock laser printer paper. I bought a ream of this stuff at my local print shop and made my own guides in Photoshop, then printed them myself on my Epson. The ream cost about 35 dollars for 250 sheets as opposed to comic paper which is a buck a sheet at it's cheapest. I also letter it at this stage using a proprietary font I made from my handwriting.
Step 5: the Flats
Once the page is scanned and imported into Photoshop, I lay in the flat colors by selecting and filling, and/or using the hard round brush. I keep the characters on a separate layer from the background.
Step 6: the Final Color
Here's where I add in all the shadows and highlights and the effects like swoosh-marks, sound effects, and gun flash. And it's done. On to the next page!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wow what a warm response for the Bear and Rabbit image in the last post! Thanks for all the feedback. I'm really digging these two guys so expect to see some ore of them soon.
This is the back cover art I created for The Star Crusher. When Comic-con Came around Scholastic used the image to make some postcards for me to take with me. I made Missile Mouse, the transport ship, the planet and the space BG all on separate levels so we could adjust the composition as needed with the copy that they're throwing on there. You can see MM's ear covers a little more of the spaceship in the bottom one.
Friday, August 7, 2009
This is a recent commission I did for someone. Since finishing the book it had been a few months since I've drawn MM and I admit I got a little rusty. Below is a video of me drawing this commission. You'll notice I had to erase parts of Missile Mouse a few times before getting it right. If you want one of these original Missile Mouse drawings you can order one here.
Drawing a Missile Mouse Commission from jakeparker on Vimeo.
Friday, July 31, 2009
I began with sending them some sketches of possible cover ideas. These were pulled from various scenes in the book.
Scholastic liked the one with the alien bursting through the ground and asked me to develop that further. I drew up three more designs and sent them over.
After seeing those they decided to just stick with the original idea and I went ahead and inked it. I inked the background separate from Missile Mouse so my art director Phil Falco would have more freedom in designing and placing the title.
With inks finished and approved I colored it. Below is the color I sent to them. They liked it but felt it was a little too dark for a kids book. A couple color adjustments were made and if you want to see the final for print click over to the link on amazon here.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Because of the complex shape and my looming deadline I got a friend of mine from Blue Sky to model this craft for me based on my sketch and ortho drawings. He then positioned the model according to my roughs and gave me screen grabs which I in turn drew over. Thanks again for your help Dave!
And here it is in action!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Artist's note: I had an extra long skinny piece of bristol, so I wanted to design something to fit the paper. Fun experiment. Try it some time. Get a odd shaped clipping and design an object that fits that space.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher is finished! What an adventure this has been. I feel like Frodo returning to the shire. I actually went to bed at 10:30 last night! Below is a screen grab of all 172 pages colored and finished. In the coming weeks I'll post a few of these pages bigger so you can see them better. I'm really happy with how it all came out. This is by far the biggest project I've ever tackled and though it was brutal at times I enjoyed every step of the journey. Star Crusher will be out in January of '10 so put that on your calendar. I wish it was sooner, but such is the world of publishing.
Also, I just bought my plane tickets to San Diego so that means I'm officially going to Comic-Con this year. If you want to meet up or say hi I'll be at the Flight booth probably. I'll have more details as we approach the convention.
Major props go out to all those who helped me on this book. Specifically, Anthony Wu, and Jason Caffoe who assisted me on coloring the thing and Katie Smith who corrected all my spelling errors. Also, Tom Saville, and Mike Lee who lent their helping hands on coloring chores as well. Dave Strick who did a little spaceship modeling for me (more on that later). And Kohl Glass with general story advice. Thanks guys!
And of course, I could not have done this book with out the tremendous help and support of my wife, friend, and the goddess of our home, Alison. She's basically gone without a husband for the past year and wants you all to buy this book so it will have been worth it!
Ok, I'm going to live life a little this weekend and then it's on to book 2!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Agent Hyde is a Junior Agent in the Galactic Security Agency. As I mentioned in the Missile Mouse Profile, GSA rank is signified by space suit color. Missile Mouse being a Senior agent with a special "Solo" status is given the colors yellow and red. Junior Agents wear orange and blue. This coloring system may have to do with my countless hours of playing with Lego Spacemen. As a Junior agent Hyde is not authorized to go on any mission alone and must be paired with another agent.
Agent Hyde was born into an upper class family of galactic politicians. Hyde was the last son of a powerful Galactic Union Senator. Overshadowed by zealous brothers all vying for power as future galactic officials Hyde realized early on he could never achieve what they could. He became disenchanted with politics and decided that if he was truly going to make a difference in the galaxy he had to get down to work with his own hands.
My first couple of design passes left him looking too young, and too cute. I decided to scratch these and went ahead and designed the drawing at top.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
This was another MM commission piece. I'm glad I set this up because it forces me to come up with new MM stuff that I otherwise wouldn't have thought of. Here's a scan of the sketch before inking it:
Monday, March 9, 2009
Again this was another commission piece. Order your own here.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
As promised here are some pages from the Missile Mouse graphic novel. The first one is page number one of the book and I've already colored it. This was actually one of the fully finished pages I put in my book proposal for the publisher. Here we join Missile Mouse on an expedition searching for a downed transport ship. He's followed by two hired porters who are a little more familiar with the area than he is. In the foreground is the bones and toothy skull of some long dead beast, foreshadowing that danger is ahead for MM.
The rest of these are a few random pages from the book that I like. While flipping through the pages I couldn't decide which to share, there's so many of them I like. I finally narrowed it down to these. This page was a lot of fun to draw. A while back I posted concept designs for this alien slug monster . You can see those here, and below is what made it into the book:
I had to have MM get eaten by this guy. What good is it having a space slug if you don't put any one in him?
And lastly a nice shot of MM demonstrating how to use the Jet Pack in close quarters. Panel 5 was a bit of a chore to figure out, but all in all fun to draw.
I'll post a few more in the coming weeks.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Missile Mouse stops to check his six while out hunting down an escape monster from the Galactic Security Agency's maximum security prison. He's riding the TK-3, a bipedal scout runner perfect for the rocky terrain in which he's hunting. The agency once kept a herd of thognarts for assignments like these, but the care and feeding of them proved to be too costly. And their temperament made some situations dangerous. So the GSA switched over to a mechanical alternative.
This was a recent commission I did for a Missile Mouse fan out in the UK. Glad it made it to you safe! If you want your own piece of original MM art go here.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Ulrich Von Dorf has one of the most brilliant minds in the Galaxy. He is a Cerebellian, an ancient race with the unique capability of genetically passing down knowledge from generation to generation. Ulrich comes from a long line of scientists in his family, which means his brain possess all the knowledge gained from his ancestors over the last few millenia. His knowledge and memory of ancient and advanced technology is immeasurable, making his brain one of the most valuable assets to the Galactic Union.
His most recent studies have been in the field of galactic energy consumption. For the last 20 years he's been trying to unravel the mystery of "infinite energy" a technology that his ancestors stumbled upon, but ultimately were never able to harness.
In "The Star Crusher" Ulrich is kidnapped by the RIP (Rogue Imperium of Planets), and it is up to Missile Mouse to rescue him and figure out just what the bad guys wanted with him and that mind of his.
Here Ulrich is testing his Thermal Flux Disruptor. He's not quite sure what it does, though the first time he fired it up it he noted in his logbook that all the birds in the neighborhood flew backwards for a few days.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I apologize for the compression on this. I probably should have shot it at a higher resolution.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Missile Mouse is an agent for the Galactic Security Agency (I'll have a post on the GSA sometime later.) He is an expert pilot, a crack shot, and can dish out a good punch. What he lacks in finesse he makes up with brute force and dogged determination. You could say he's the hatchet as opposed to the scalpel. The GSA isn't quite sure what to do with him, but they need him. Just when they think he's too much of a liability he proves them wrong and becomes an asset they can't function without.
Missile Mouse is a Rodentian, though he has never set foot on the home world his race comes from. Dire circumstances caused his father to escape the planet in secret with baby "M" and relocate to an asteroid belt in a nearby system. When tragedy takes his father from him M takes off on his own and joins the GSA becoming Missile Mouse.
MM wears a standard GSA flight suit with ArmorFlex™ undergarment. It is blaster resistant, blade resistant, water proof, and chemical proof. The outer suit provides thermal insulation, shielding from solar radiation, stabilizes internal pressure, and protection from micrometeoroids and other space debris. The GSA signifies rank by suit color. MM sports the elite colors of gold and red indicating he is a solo agent.
MM also wears a standard GSA utility belt. When fully charged this belt can emit a powerful force field strong enough to shield the wearer from solid and electromagnetic attacks. The belt also has a security feature that when activated electrically charges the suit shocking whatever comes in contact with the suit.
MM is one of the few agents with enough coordinated ability and physical competency to pilot a jet pack. He prefers the UberTech™RS600 for it's weight to thrust ratio and compact size. The RS600 utilizes an advanced form of electrostatic force to produce high exhaust velocity. With no moving parts it is extremely quiet and a perfect tool for MM. MM pilots the jetpack using two control mechanisms located around the ankles of each foot.
MM likes his blasters like he likes his jet packs: compact, lightweight, and powerful. The snub nosed PS-5 collapsible blaster fits his criteria perfectly. When not in use the blaster collapses into a compact disk that can be stored in a pocket on hung on a belt. Perfect for dangerous missions when you don't want extra baggage getting in your way.
Well, that's all for now. I didn't get into MM's goggles. I'll have to save those for another post. I have several other profiles lined up to do. Whether I get time for that or not remains to be seen. Also, work progresses on the graphic novel. I passed the hundred page mark last week. A gratifying moment indeed. Now I only have 60 pages left to ink, and then it's color time.