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Showing posts with label wolf's head. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wolf's head. Show all posts

The Impossibles (Story Fragment)

A few years ago I submitted the following pages along with a story proposal (titled “The Impossibles” to a publisher of some renown, but the pitch was sadly rejected. I sat on it for a bit, but I liked it enough that I wound up re-purposing a good chunk the story proposal for what would eventually become my ongoing comic book series “Wolf’s Head.”

While I was prepping for a recent art/craft show, I came across the pages and thought they’d be fun to post here. Sadly it’s not a complete story and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but if you don’t mind that you might get a kick out of it. And who knows… maybe one day I’ll revisit “The Impossibles” again. One thing I’ve learned with art: never say never!

Oh! Some of you might recognize page 1. What I just said about re-purposing story and art? Well, I took that page and used a tweaked version of it for the cover of my short story collection “Stories! 2015 to 2019” which you can read for free right here.

Have fun!

The Impossible Cover Page by Von Allan
The Impossible Page One by Von Allan
The Impossible Page Two by Von Allan
The Impossible Page Three by Von Allan

Pssst! Click on the image to make it bigger!
The Impossible Pages Four and Five by Von Allan

Christmas Craft Sale 2023 in Ottawa

As has become a bit of an annual tradition, I’ll be one of the exhibitors at the upcoming Vanier Artisans Christmas Craft Sale on Sunday, November 26th. This has been a really fun event in the past and the organizers (led by the amazing Charlotte Taylor) create a really great atmosphere. And the mix of artists is really neat; comics will be represented by yours truly, but there will be a wide diversity of artists and artistic practices at the show. Crafts, clothing, food, art, you name it!

One of the things I enjoy the most is the spirit of solidarity that everyone shares. In some events I’ve done in the past, that spirit has been sorely lacking. It’s hard to put into words, but I’ve certainly experienced a hostile competitive attitude in some of these other events. It’s a shame, because I strongly believe that we’re all in it together and that competition between artists should not be an element of any art show.

I was tasked to come up with a poster for this year’s event. This time I wanted to do something with Santa Claus, mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever drawn the big guy before. The problem with that is that Santa is so iconic it can be hard to “shake” other influences when approaching a design. I did what I could in that regard and came up with something that hopefully captures the ol’ elf in all his glory. With a little bit of wonder thrown in, too. I also included the final pencils ‘cuz I know that some folks like seeing the “process” from pencils to the final piece. It was a great deal of fun to do, too. And it all came together pretty quickly; literally I went from not having any firm ideas — save for the notion of including Santa — to getting in an image in my mind’s eye. That image held through right to the final colours and poster design.

The show will be at the Vanier Community Service Centre (270 Marier Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1L 7H8). And I’ll have not only comics and graphic novels (including WOLF’S HEAD!), but various art prints, cards, and whatnot, too! If you’re in town, why not drop by? It really is a lovely event!

Vanier Artisans 2023 Christmas Craft Sale Poster by Von Allan

Pencil version of the Vanier Artisans 2023 Christmas Craft Sale Poster by Von Allan

Wolf's Head Issue 18 on Kindle

Panel examples from Wolf's Head 18

I’ve pleased to announce that WOLF’S HEAD 18 is now available worldwide on Amazon’s Kindle platform. Now, if you’re asking yourself if this issue was later than normal, you would be right! The last number of months have been difficult to say the least and a lot of things went on the backburner. The big one was, of course, the death of my oldest friend Dave. In fact, this issue is dedicated to him. He had read quite a bit of WOLF’S HEAD and really enjoyed it. It was actually harder than I thought it would be to complete this issue, mainly because I know that he isn’t around to read it. So it goes and all that, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t thinking of him quite a bit while I was working away on this issue.

There have been a number of other events that compounded with Dave’s death to really slow things down. That said, things are back on track now and I’m very pleased to get back to WOLF’S HEAD, a series that I adore. One of the things that I love about serialized storytelling (as opposed to working on a “beginning-middle-end” stand-alone graphic novel) is that the story takes one in unexpected directions. Back when I was working on the early issues of the series, I never thought that Lauren, SankĊ, and their friend the AI would have some of the adventures they’ve wound up having. That some of these events have surprised even me is pretty cool. I think (well, hope, anyway!) that this helps keep you (dear reader!) a little unsure of where things are going, too. That really is part of the fun of doing a series, regardless of its form. Back when I was working on those early issues, did I ever expect Lauren to be in Alaska and have the adventures she had there? Nope! Did I know about her road trip back down south, with her wonderful VW van and all of the rest? Nope! Did I know about the characters she’d meet along the way? Chuck Freight, Foolbert Bong, Fang Ting Him, Maggie Vraic, and all the rest? Nope! And did I know that Richard Blairstone, a bit of a “throwaway flunky” back in those early issues, would become the “heavy” he has? Nope!

Finding joy and being surprised in unexpected turns of events is amazing! It really is! I hope you find that, too, and with that in mind I’ll ask you this: if you enjoy WOLF’S HEAD, if you love it, please help spread the word about it. Review it! Tell your friends and family about it! Talk it up! Write me a letter telling me what you love and — gulp! — what you don’t! If you’re receiving this update via email as a subscriber, forward that to people you think might like the series and my work. Partner with me and help get the word out!

Folks, don’t forget this very handy tip: if you are shopping from somewhere other than the United States, simply replace the amazon.com part of that link with your preferred domain. For example, in Germany the “dot com” becomes “dot de” — therefore, the series can be found at https://www.amazon.de/dp/B08MTGCS49. Nice and easy, eh?!

Before I forget, here’s the trailer I did for the first hardcover edition of the series, collecting the first six issues. This book is beautiful to hold and early reviews have been very positive! This one, for example! There are many ways to engage with the series, but there’s something about holding the physical book in your hands that is pretty special.

Von Allan’s Wolf’s Head Comics at DARC (Digital Arts Resource Centre)

Von Allan in front of his Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario

Well, this is really neat! I was down at Arts Court here in Ottawa on Wednesday, September 27th to see my own exhibit. The Digital Arts Resource Centre (or ‘DARC’, formerly the SAW Gallery) had a show featuring artwork from my ongoing comic book series WOLF’S HEAD (see the formal announcement here). I have never seen my art this big before! The photos below are a great example of the exhibit, but the nature of the LED means that they display is a bit pixelated in the photos. Trust me: it looks amazing in real life. And you still have plenty of time to drop by Arts Court to see it; the show runs through October 20th, 2023!

They also created a nifty little flyer (PDF right here) that discusses my work with WOLF’S HEAD as well as my fellow exhibitor Helen Lam. She produced a truly lovely animation that looks fantastic on the LED display. The two exhibits “cycle through” and it’s pretty cool to see our different art styles sorta rub shoulders like this.

I’m incredibly honoured that DARC is showcasing my work like this. And if you’d like to learn more about WOLF’S HEAD, please visit its main website at https://wolfs-head.vonallan.com/. And, of course, you can visit my “shop page” if you’d like to buy a physical copy or digital copies (in Kindle format).

And with that out of the way, here are more photos! Oh, and before I forget! The photo at the top of this page is by the legendary Christian Marcoux (of Perspectives Vanier fame). The rest are by the equally legendary Sam Boswell!
Screenshot of a short video of Von Allan in front of his Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
The Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
Lauren from Wolf's Head at the Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
Lauren and Patty from Wolf's Head at the Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
Lauren from Wolf's Head at the Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
The Wolf's Head at the Wolf's Head exhibit at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa, Ontario
Digital Arts Resource Centre flyer discussing the Von Allan and Helenn Lam exhibit

Ottawa’s Digital Arts Resource Centre and Comics Creator Von Allan team up for an Exhibition

Photo of the Von Allan display at DARC

Von Allan, an Ottawa-based cartoonist and comics creator, will be exhibiting artwork from his ongoing comic book and graphic novel series ‘Wolf’s Head’ at the Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) in Ottawa’s historic Arts Court building. The exhibit will run from September 22nd through to October 20th and will take advantage of DARC’s 2.13m (7ft) LED display. Rather than being a static display of artwork from ‘Wolf’s Head’, the artwork presented at the exhibition will be animated, transforming ‘Wolf’s Head’ into a unique and altogether different format that readers of the series have never experienced before.

“Presenting artwork from the ‘Wolf’s Head’ for the LED exhibit was a wonderful opportunity to experiment and play with artwork from the series,” said Allan. “It gave me a chance to not only animate some of the characters and sequences from the story, but also to recombine my art in a way that is very different than its original presentation in graphic novel form. That part was exciting, but also a challenge: could I reconstruct disparate elements from the story, present it to viewers of the LED display, and still create a narrative flow? That took some thinking and experimenting, but I’m really pleased with the result. I think it will give viewers a chance to see my comics in a unique way. The LED display is different than the ‘normal’ experience of reading comics and I think the reaction of passersby will be fascinating to see. And, of course, the sheer size of the LED display is a big part of the whole experience; no one, including me, has ever seen my art presented that big.”

Wolf’s Head’ features Lauren Greene, a young woman who quits her job as a police officer in Metro Detroit after becoming frustrated with growing police violence. At the same time as Lauren is quitting, a secretive corporation across town has managed to create a seemingly perfect AI for war and profit; however, before the corporation can use the AI, Lauren’s mother, Patty, a janitor at the corporation accidentally finds it. Patty is literally the kindest person the new lifeform has ever met and, as a result, it bonds to her, rejects its purpose and creators, and orchestrates a huge accident to cover an escape. Patty, overwhelmed, asks her daughter Lauren for help. Despite being broke and a bit lost herself, Lauren agrees to help; two humans, an AI, and a dog versus a warmongering corporation.

“One truly unique aspect of the exhibit is that it’s presented without sound,” added Allan. “And so I had to be sure that all of my artwork and storytelling could be followed without sound. In a way, adapting my art to the digital format felt like a bit like it must’ve felt for artists adapting work for the old Silent Film Era. As part of that adaptation, I also got to experiment with the use of intertitles to help connect various aspects of the narrative. In a way, I’m familiar with the idea of intertitles; comics and graphic novels often use words to do exactly this when it comes to panel and scene transitions. But, doing it for the LED exhibit meant that I had to be careful about the number of words used and the amount of time each sentence would show on the screen. The project was a really fun challenge and I’m thrilled to be able to see it on display.”

Von Allan's Wolf's Head Logomark

About Von Allan: Von Allan was born red-headed and freckled in Arnprior, Ontario, just in time for “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The single child of two loving but troubled parents, Von split his childhood between their two homes. Additional information about Von Allan can be found at https://www.vonallan.com/.

Von was featured in “I Am Still Your Child,” a documentary film (http://iamstillyourchild.com/); was the recipient of the Corel Endowment Fund for the Arts Award in 2014 and the CBC Trailblazer Award in 2019; and was a finalist for the 2020 Peter Honeywell Mid-Career Artist Award. Von also received two separate rounds of grant funding for ‘Wolf’s Head’ from the City of Ottawa (a $4,000.00 grant in 2020 along with an additional $4,000.00 grant in 2022, both in the Literary Arts — English category).

Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC) logomark

About Digital Arts Resource Centre (DARC): Digital Arts Resource Centre (formerly SAW Video) is a not-for-profit, artist-run media art centre that fosters the growth and development of artists through access to equipment, training, mentorship, and programming. Our mission is to support a diverse community of media artists empowered by technology, programming, and the exchange of ideas.

Our core principles are independence of expression, affordable access to all, and paying artists for their work. Digital Arts Resource Centre values diversity and actively promotes equity for all artists regardless of race, age, class, gender, sexual orientation, language, or ability.

The Digital Arts Resource Centre is located at 67 Nicholas Street. Additional information about DARC can be found at https://digitalartsresourcecentre.ca/.

Cover of ‘Wolf’s Head’ Book 1 in hardcover:

Cover of the hardcover of Wolf's Head Book One graphic novel by Von Allan

Halloween-Themed Craft Sale in Ottawa

I was tasked by the ever-wonderful Charlotte Taylor to design the latest poster for the upcoming Emond Park Craft Sale here in Ottawa, Ontario. Charlotte has been shepherding this event for a number of years now and it's always a great deal of fun to participate! And it's extra fun to do the poster art, too! This time the event will have a Halloween tone and I wanted to make sure that theme came across in the poster design! As an added bonus, I also included a quick photograph of the raw pencils and final inks. I don't always work this way, but when I do it does give me a chance to share this art process with you folks. Well, to some extent, at least!

The details of the event are on the poster, but it'll be on Sunday, October 1st from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Emond Park is in the heart of Vanier, a neighbourhood of Ottawa, and is very easy to find.

The Facebook page for the event just went up, so local folks (and not so local folks) can find additional details at https://www.facebook.com/events/867926031418097. It should be a lot of fun!

Poster illustration and design by Von Allan for the Halloween-themed Emond Park Craft Sale event in Ottawa, Ontario

Pencils and Inks comparison by Von Allan for the Halloween-themed Emond Park Craft Sale event in Ottawa, Ontario

Interview with Barney Smith of StoryComic fame

Barney Smith of the fantastic StoryComic site (https://www.storycomic.com/) was nice enough to have me on his show! And unlike some other radio/podcast shows, this was actually done live in front of the camera! Video! Shocking!

What is truly amazing to me is that Barney has now done 289 (!) episodes of his show. That’s 289 interviews of all kinds of writers and artists, many working in comics but certainly not everyone, and he does it with humour and grace along with a boatload of great questions, too. And since he’s based in Vermont, he’s also done a special subset of episodes that deal with creative folks that live in that state (I think about 42 episodes in that category). That is one hell of a lot of work and, as I noted to Barney, I’m not sure how he does it. A love of the medium certainly helps and he has that in spades, but still… I get tired just thinking about how I’d handle that many interviews, especially given all of the research and energy that goes into it.

And, of course, The Center for Cartoon Studies is based in White River Junction, Vermont. That’s important because the school, as they note on their website, “centers on the creation and dissemination of comics, graphic novels and other manifestations of the visual narrative” as is one of the few that do that sort of thing in North America. See? How cool is that?!

So, what do we chat about? Well, not only my background in art and comics, but also how I approach telling the stories I do. We’re talking art here (and by art I mean “art” that’s very broadly defined). In other words, there are no right and wrong answers to how one makes art. There are just tools and different approaches and a great deal of learning. Whew, boy, the learning truly never stops and that’s one of the joy (and, okay, one of the occasional pains) about art. I was delighted that Barney was interested in talking about this, mainly because I think it’s one of those things that can kinda get glossed over. In other words, how one (as a creator) thinks about and approaches the story they are trying to tell is very important. It’s very easy to confuse or otherwise lose the reader and, at least for my own work, I rarely want to do it and never want to do it by accident (for those interested, one of my most abstract stories is this older one, that really needs to be read at least twice to really “grok” what it’s about).

And, of course, we take a pretty deep dive into WOLF’S HEAD, my ongoing comics series, too. (and pssst! Don’t forget to check out the new snazzy trailer for it, too!)

Okay! With that out of the way, here is the interview itself from YouTube (and if this doesn’t play for you, you can jump directly to the interview on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P-TMAfNxMY). Alternatively, there’s also a terrific podcast version that you can listen to — or even download the .mp3. That’s on PodBean at https://storycomic.podbean.com/e/episode-289-wolf-s-head-when-an-ai-baby-teams-up-with-an-ex-cop-von-allan-exclusive-interview/

I hope you enjoy it! And many thanks to Barney for having me on to talk about a medium I love so much!

Wolf's Head Book 1 Trailer

I’ve very pleased to share this, though it took quite a bit of work to get ‘er done. So! This a short trailer I created for my ongoing comic book series WOLF’S HEAD, specifically for the first hardcover collection. It took some doing, mainly because there are some short animated sequences; since I’m definitely not an animator, I had to learn some new tools to make it work. That’s the challenge of creating anything, but perhaps especially art, but it’s also part of the fun, too. It’s also really neat to see my art presented in this way. Still me, but different.

This is really a narrative trailer, for lack of a better phrase. I wanted to avoid just “throwing” artwork at viewers and try, as elegantly and succinctly as possible, to get to the heart of the story. I think the trailer does that, but of course, you will be the ultimate judge. ‘Course, if you like it, please do share it far and wide.

For those interested, I used Blender to create the animations and then put the whole thing together using OpenShot. Both software packages are free and are very powerful. Blender, in particular, is remarkable. Folks have made full length 3D animated films using it, but I was really taken with Blender’s 2D options.

The video is embedded below, but if you can’t see it, you can view it directly on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1llp9chMzw

Wolf’s Head Issue 18 Page 1 Process

I thought it would be fun to share some of the ol’ “process” behind a recent page from WOLF’S HEAD. In this case, it’s the first page to issue 18. And hey, 18 issues in for an indy comic book series is not too shabby, folks.

This page features Lauren Greene and Super Bob Sanchez chit-chatting in a diner in Alberta. The page also builds off of issue 17 and the various struggles that Lauren is currently going through. While I don’t think there’s any “right” or “correct” way of starting a comic, I’ve long been partial to opening with a splash page to get things going. This is especially useful here because the preceding panel in the previous issue was actually very small. So if one is reading these issues in sequential order, it should be fun to leave off last ish with a tiny panel and then start this one with a biggie.

I’ll start with the final coloured and lettered page and we can work backwards to the initial layouts. Oh, one important caveat: while some pages take a bit of visual brainstorming, in this case I knew exactly where I was going (building from last issue, right?) so I didn’t need to do that. That’s often not the case and many pages take a bit of thumbnailing (usually tiny thumbnails) to work out mentally how I want to approach a page. This is often especially true for covers; considerations of logos and whatnot influence how the page might look. In other words, sketching and “mucking about with page design” is a tried and true way to go.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Page illustrated by Von Allan

Next are the final inks, including screen tones (or, if you will, Ben Day dots or what I long called “zipatones”). Generally I do not include the lettering in the final inks (well, at least for colour work) and that is reflected here. Inking is one of my favourite things to do and this page was a blast to work on!

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Final Inks illustrated by Von Allan

Next up are the final tight pencils. There is a bit of visual cheating going on here. I actually rarely rough out a page like this as one individual unit. Rather, I actually do various pencil sketches (and sometimes even inked sketches) on different sheets of paper, scanning them into my computer and finalizing the pencil layout that way. I like that approach, mainly because it allows me to isolate various parts of the illustration and work on that. In this case, the diner is a good example: isolating the perspective drawing from the figure drawing allowed me to play around with some ideas, something a bit harder to do if everything was on one sheet of Bristol board.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

The next two illustrations showcase more of what I mean. First is the tighter pencilled perspective sketch of the diner and that’s followed by the very loose sketch (this time with my trusty Tombow brush pen) as I loosely laid down some ideas. These actually follow part of the same process I described here, but in this case I did do a round of tighter pencils rather than just go into final inks because I needed to be sure of a few different things. The trade-off is time, but I felt it was worth it in this case.

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Tight Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

WOLF'S HEAD issue 18 Page 1 Loose Background Pencils illustrated by Von Allan

Not included here are the separate figure sketches. I generally do loose little gestures, often in ink, and then scan, check, print out, and tighten into final pencils. You can see the final result in that first sketch above.

Some pages are slow, some go surprisingly quick, and this one was somewhere in the middle. It was a lot of fun to do and hopefully starts off issue 18 in an engaging, intriguing, and beautiful way.

What? Free Comics by Von Allan? Yes!

UPDATE! While the Amazon deal described below has expired, I have decided to start making my comics freely available to all. Please visit https://www.vonallan.com/p/pirate-von.html for more information and download links!

For a limited time, eight of my comics formatted for Amazon’s Kindle are available for free! These are free anywhere in the world (well, at least those places that have access to Kindle). If you have been on the fence of trying my comics, this is a great way to give them a try. And, if you know people who might like my comics but have never tried them, please pass this along. Sharing is caring and all that and, of course, one can’t beat free.

The titles in question are as follows:


STORIES! 2015 TO 2019

And the first six issues of my ongoing series WOLF’S HEAD. Oh, and please do not forget this: since the first six issues are available for free, buying the entire series in digital format (17 issues!) is now about $12.00 US cheaper than normal. In addition to that, these first six issues also make up the first collected hardcover volume, so if you’d like to try the series out but felt that the hardcover was too pricey, this is a great to “dip a toe in the water.”

I’ll put the links to both Amazon.com and Amazon.ca below. For those of you visiting from other parts of the world, please note that all you need to do is replace the “dot com” or “dot ca” with your own regional domain and you’ll be taken to that Amazon site. For example, if you are in Spain and use Amazon.es, all you need to do is replace the “dot com” part of the link (for example, my author page at https://www.amazon.com/Von-Allan/e/B002BM77EM/) with “dot es” (https://www.amazon.es/Von-Allan/e/B002BM77EM/). And voila! There’s my author page for Amazon Spain!

With that out of the way, here we go!


WIZARDS FOR HIRE — CHEAP! — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QXBYY9

STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089QX5LJC

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 1 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089V1DVY7

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 2 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089V7356R

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 3 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089VJYMT2

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 4 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089X8Q7WN

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 5 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XFBPFL

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 6 — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089XSTJKC

WOLF’S HEAD Entire Series (Issues 1 through 17, with issues 1 through 6 free) — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08MTGCS49

Amazon.ca (Canada)

WIZARDS FOR HIRE — CHEAP! — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089QXBYY9

STORIES! 2015 TO 2019 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089QX5LJC

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 1 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089V1DVY7

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 2 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089V7356R

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 3 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089VJYMT2

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 4 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089X8Q7WN

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 5 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089XFBPFL

WOLF’S HEAD Issue 6 — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B089XSTJKC

WOLF’S HEAD Entire Series (Issues 1 through 17, with issues 1 through 6 free) — https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B08MTGCS49

Teaser Images

Here are some teaser images for all eight comics!
Teaser image for Wizards for Hire - Cheap! written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for Stories! 2015 to 2019 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the first digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 1 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 2 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 3 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 4 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 5 written and illustrated by Von Allan
Teaser image for the digital edition of WOLF'S HEAD issue 6 written and illustrated by Von Allan

Quick Perspective Illustrations

I’ve been working on changing how I approach perspective drawings. The main issue I felt that I was having was that I wasn’t quick enough. For the most part I liked how I was handling perspective — especially when compared to where I was years ago — but to be able to produce comic book pages at a quick enough rate that was acceptable to me was always a bit of a challenge.

Given how difficult the past year has been, I decided to take some time to really think about how I approach perspective. I knew I wanted to get quicker, but I also wanted to start incorporating more screen tones into my work, mainly to create more depth. You can see all of this in the artwork below.

So what’s really changed? Well, initially I would do a loose thumbnail, then I’d fuss with the perspective — mainly through creating various perspective grids — before working on a tighter pencilled illustration. Only once I was happy with that would I then ink it. Well the result was fine, this was a very time-consuming process. Too time-consuming, really, and that was the crux of the problem.

My new approach is very different. I quickly lay out a perspective grid and then sketch using my trusty Tombow Fudenosuke Hard Tip brush pen. In other words, I’m skipping the pencil stage entirely and just going directly to ink. You can see that in the loose sketches below, though I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a bit hard to tell that these are using the brush pen. Why? That’s because I’ve lightened the pen’s value digitally, which gives it a more “pencily” feel than it actually has in person. But! You can see the actual process in the final image of this series, a “process photo” that shows how I’m doing this more clearly.

Is it working? In other words, it is quicker? Yup! I’m very happy to say that it is. And I kinda wish I hit on this process a few years back, when I first started WOLF’S HEAD. Live and learn, I suppose. And hey, maybe some artistic growth and development helps the whole thing? I think that’s fair to say. Still, it’s been a neat change up in my approach and a great deal of fun to do, too!

You’ll notice that Lauren from WOLF’S HEAD makes a few cameo appearances. I’ve also been changing up how I approach drawing tiny little background characters and I plopped some of those in the final inked versions, too. More on that development on another day.

Anyway! I hope you enjoy these process illustrations!

Various Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Various Loose Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Loose Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan
Loose Perspective Panels by Von Allan
Inked Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Loose Perspective Panel by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Inked Perspective Panels by Von Allan

Von Allan perpsective process with pen

Von Allan Studio's Graphic Novels for the Holiday Season

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I'd take a moment and summarize my two hardcover graphic novels that were recently published. Why? Well, I think that they both are perfect gifts for the holiday season! I'm very proud of both of them. I think they both are the best representations of my art and writing that have ever seen print. Both books are beautiful and I'm extremely pleased with how they both turned out.

Both hardcover graphic novels are available pretty much everywhere in the world. One of the remarkable things that the internet has brought us all is the relatively easy way to find and buy books. I still remember, back in my bookstore days, how tricky it was to actually books. And if one goes back any further, prior to the internet, finding specific titles, especially indy books from indy authors, was extremely difficult. One would have to search local stores, reach out to fellow fans in other towns and cities, and even write to stores in other countries to track down a title. Now? It is so much easier. It really is a remarkable change. For an independent comics creator like me, it is a huge change.

With that said, here we go!


For WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1: WE ALL WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, you can find a listing of stores carrying it by visting https://www.vonallan.com/2021/12/wolfs-head-book-1-in-hardcover-worldwide.html or by visting the Von Allan Studio Shop Page. Plus there are online stores like Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, and so on. Previews of the graphic novel can be found right here and there's a tremendous review by Frank Plowright over at the Slings and Arrows Graphic Novel Guide site.
Cover of the Wolf's Head Book 1 hardcover

WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1 collects the first six issues of the ongoing WOLF'S HEAD comic book series in full colour. The graphic novel version is 176 pages long in full colour. And what's it about? Well, here's what my illustrous editor and I wrote for the synopsis:

Lauren Greene is an ex-police officer who turned her badge in after becoming frustrated with the police force's corruption. She's had enough of violence and is thinking about packing her bags and hitting the road to see how she can make a difference out in the larger world, when her mother Patty shows up at her door with a complication. It turns out that Patty's employer — a secretive military corporation — has created an artificial intelligence to fight humanity's wars. Unfortunately for the corporation, the AI fell in love with Patty's humanity and orchestrated its own escape through her. Giddy with excitement, Patty brings the AI straight to Lauren for help, not realizing the danger she's putting herself and her daughter in. But Lauren has dealt with people like this; she knows what they're capable of and she is terrified. Her fears are realized when she and her mother are confronted by corporate goons who want the AI for themselves and are willing to do anything to get it. As Lauren does her best to keep herself, her mom, and her family safe, the tensions over the AI erupt into violence… and suddenly Lauren is on her own.

The new little life form doesn't want to go back to the corporation and Lauren realizes it cannot be forced to live out its life as a war machine. There is already enough corruption, inequality, and violence in the world; the AI has to have a chance to help humanity — peacefully — while figuring out its own existence. Together with the AI, an eccentric cast of friends and family, and her dog, Lauren must figure out her next steps… while keeping herself alive.

And here's a fun little teaser I did that showcases some of the themes and art from the collection:
Wolf's Head Book 1 teaser that showcases art and writing from the hardcover graphic novel

It really is a fun graphic novel with all kinds of twists and turns. I'm very proud of it and I'm extremely pleased with how sharp the printing turned out.


Next up is my hardcover short story collection! Like WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this is available worldwide and is widely available online at sites like Amazon.com, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, and Barnes and Noble. Photos of the graphic novel collection and more links can be found right here or by visting the Von Allan Studio Shop Page.

Love, Laughter, and Loss: A Comics Collection front cover art

Unlike WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this is a short story collection featuring some of my favourites. All of these short stories are available for free on this website (you can find the links to each short story in webcomic format here). Frank Plowright also did a great review of the collection at https://theslingsandarrows.com/love-laughter-and-loss-a-comic-collection/.

Here's the short synopsis from the book:

This collection contains nine short stories by Canadian writer/artist Von Allan that, together, represent the best and worst parts of life; love, laughter, and loss. Travel around the world (and sometimes even off world!) with average people, heroes, cowardly adventurers, and even a dog. While these stories were previously published in two periodical collections ("WIZARDS FOR HIRE-CHEAP!" and "STORIES! 2015 TO 2019"), this marks the first time they've appeared in a premium hardcover format.

And here's a teaser image from the collection!

Love, Laughter, and Loss: A Comics Collection teaser that showcases art and writing from the hardcover graphic novel collection

Like WOLF'S HEAD BOOK 1, this short story collection is perfect for fans of comics and graphic novels. The short stories really range in tone and theme and I'm extremely pleased with how they look in print.

So, that's that! Two beautiful graphic novels that fans of comics will fall in love with. If you need a gift for someone (or even just yourself!), please do consider them. You won't be disappointed!

Wolf's Head by Von Allan

Link to Von Allan's Wolf's Head comic book series

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