Portfolio

Introduction

Hello,

I’m Alan O.W. Barnes, and this is my virtual portfolio for comic book illustration/sequential art.

I’ll begin with this video, a time lapse of me drawing a pin up for the project for which I am mostly known called “Big in Japan”.

Big in Japan is an illustrated novel series. It’s a Godzilla parody about a rock band who fight Kaiju (giant Japanese monsters) in a huge cowboy robot.

We’ve sold a few thousand copies, and we got a pretty cool write up on MTV.com (though it’s been a few years and they removed my images)

Here’s another illustration of the robot.

Click on any image and a larger version will open.

and here is another interior I like to show because I actually have a good image of the pencils to compare with the final work.

Please understand we were going for sort of a steampunk esthetic in these images.

Sequential Work

But I realize you want to see sequential work, not just illustrations.

This is a 5 page story I did as a try out last year.

I know that there isn’t a whole lot of acting in this piece.

The emotions at play are pretty subtle.

Acting

Here is a page from a comic I’m drawing for the Epic battle Campaign in conjunction with “Be the Match” (bone marrow donation charitable organization).

The gag is that Vitus doesn’t have a last name…well established in previous pages.

And here’s a page from “Wonder Cat”, a comic I drew for a small company called “Odd Sea Entertainment”. The gag is that Wonder Cat is a really lame super-hero. This specific page is a gag where we play with the idea that the hero is always depicted watching over a city on a gargoyle.

 

Style

This is probably a good time to pause and talk about the various styles I draw in for sequential work.

I’m really attracted to this Simonson/Toppi-esq style…like this Harley Quinn cover I did a few months ago.


Here are the inks…pre-colored. I think the “geeks” like to see a lot of marks…they call it “detail”.

😉

I also do that cartoony thing like Wonder Cat…One can do much more expressive work the more cartoony one goes.

But I think what makes the most sense for modern comic book art work with serious subject matter is sort of a neo-storyboard look. Plenty of “detail”, but also cartoony enough to push the acting.

Here is a page and a half from a 5 page story for a magazine called “Mad Scientist” that are currently on my drawing board.

The grey tones are done in layers (black in one, white highlights in one, and grey in one) so they can either be reference for the colorist or using blending modes they can actually speed up the coloring process.

I also do a bit of digital painting.

A little about me

I thought I was going to be a rock star.

I actually have a masters degree in music composition. In addition to a ridiculous number of gigs, I taught music and audio at a couple different colleges for about 15 years.

When I got into my mid 30s (I’m currently in my early 40s) the reality that I wasn’t going to be a rock star sank in…so I started working through my other creative outlets that are less age dependent to figure out next steps for me as a creative.

I still play a lot of music, but it’s mostly progressive bluegrass, Irish, classical and other acoustic stuff.

I always wanted to draw comics. When I hit 36 I went to art school to achieve that vision…so I’m WAY overeducated. In addition to my MM in Music comp from Belmont, I also have an MFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design. I graduated in 2012.

Here’s a recommendation letter from June Brigman (co-creator of Power Pack for Marvel…she also drew Star Wars, Super Girl, and a ton of other stuff. She drew the Brenda Starr comic strip for 15 years). I would say June is my main mentor.

Alan Barnes is an exceptional artist. I first met Alan as a student in my Sequential Art class at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His focus and enthusiasm for comic art advanced his artistic skills faster than any student I’ve taught in my ten years as an instructor.  He is hard working and always open to criticism. He continues to study and improve and is constantly producing sequential art. 

June Brigman

Professor of Sequential Art

Savannah College of Art and Design

Atlanta Campus

And here’s a recommendation from a friend named Shawn Crystal. Shawn currently draws Mother Panic at DC.

To whom it may concern, 

Alan was a student of mine. He was working towards his MFA in Sequential Art while I was running the Sequential Art Dept.  I was amazed by his drive and work ethic. He was definitely one of the hardest working students I ever had. He always conducted himself in a professional manner and was great at taking feedback. I think Alan would be a great addition to your studio. 
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
(e-mail address available on request, but I don’t think I have permission to publish it on my web page)
Sincerely
Shawn Crystal
And here is a somewhat long-winded essay about me written by Tom Knight, a media production/advertising collaborator…who wrote this without prompting.

I think you get the main idea…I’m a REALLY hard worker. I set a goal and I achieve it.

Currently I do ad work (here is a video I made for the Grammys)

I teach animation/illustration for the Art Institute and Kirkland College as an adjunct.

I draw the Marrow Man comic for the Epic Battle Campaign in association with Be the Match.

Additional Images

Here are some parting images from Marrow Man, Wonder Cat, and a few convention sketches.

-AOWB