American Red Cross

Everything You Wanted to Know About Angry Zen Master

and some shit you wish you never knew


Now with pretty cast images!

Mat :: MAT :: - First Appearnace, Ong-Broken
The Angry Zen Master himself. You wouldn't like him when he's angry which is actually most of the time. He uses his evil powers of might for good in the halo-ed dungeons of Bungie Studios.
Jami :: JAMI :: - First Appearance, Ong-Broken
Older, yet somehow stupider, brother of the Angry Zen Master. Easily distracted by shiny, blinky things.
Audrey :: AUDREY :: - First Appearance, Adventures in Age, Part I
Besides Mat, the only other person who can possibly stand to go to the movies with Jami, possibly due to the fact that she is also the only person who seems to be able to shut him the fuck up. She also has the ability to speak with animals. Well, her sister is a penguin. Duh!
Patti :: PATTI :: - First Appearance, XXX-Men?
Mat's much better and much cuter half. She is possibly the only person who can withstand the furious anger chi produced when someone asks Mat a stupid question.
Great Teacher Charlie :: GREAT TEACHER CHARLIE (GTC) :: - First Appearance, Great Teacher Charlie
Naïve and somewhat clueless, GTC provides hours of ceaseless vaudevillian entertainment.
Lauren :: LAUREN :: - First Appearance, Now What You is Not a Test
Audrey's younger sister. Also known as DJ P Gwen from the Fro Zen crew, Lauren only spins 80's Hip-Hop. To her, that decade represents Rap's purest form. Though she can't speak, her deck is all she needs to communicate.
Fahlc :: FAHLC :: - First Appearance, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Audrey raised Fahlc from a tiny dragon pup. He is a vegan and a pacifist. Since he's too big for conventional spaces, he tends to hang out in the clouds, hiding from the occasional airplane.
Mighty Eater Henry :: MIGHTY EATER HENRY :: - First Appearance, Got Another Idea?
Inarticulate eater of things. An early childhood trauma has left Henry's speech severely limited, only able to grunt out "meh" for vocal communication. Mankind has not yet created a physical form which Henry cannot consume. His voracious appetite is only surpassed by his physical strength. But he must eat in order to power his bursts of strength.


It's electric! Boogie woogie woogie!

AZM is actually my third webcomic. My first two, Titanium Moose and Titanium Moose ver. 2, were all done in a traditional manner: pencil, ink, scan, color, letter, publish. This time around, I thought I'd streamline things a bit and work all digitally. The whole process, soup to nuts (what the fuck does that mean, by the way), takes about four hours. I'd like to get faster, but I imagine that will come with time.

My main machine is a G4 tower running Tiger. I use Illustrator CS 2 for my layout and lineart and Photoshop CS 2 for coloring and lettering. If I decide I want to throw in some 3D elements, my 3D station is a dual G4 tower running Tiger. Maya and zBrush are my 3D weapons of choice. My main graphics tablet is a 6x8 Intuos 2. I work at 300dpi, print resolution (when there are enough, I want to publish the comic in print form), RGB (most printers accept RGB these days).

I can't say enough good things about Apple, Wacom, or Adobe (especially the Creative Suite 2 product line. Amazing integration between aps). They are my holy trinity.

I've taken some screen grabs to give you some visuals to follow along as I describe the process.

The comic starts in Illustrator. Since I'm inking my own stuff, my sketches tend to be very loose, very basic and very fast. Although most of my comics require very little animated poses of the characters, I like to get some quick gestures down instead of tight lines. If I'm doing a caricature of an actor or other famous type person, I'll tighten up on the face lines. And if I'm drawing objects that I don't render as background elements, I turn to Google Images for reference. I choose blue for the sketch lines just because.

I use three custom Illustrator brushes for inking. My main brush is a calligraphy brush that goes from a fine point to a thick line depending on pen pressure. The other two are rapidograph brushes in that they produce a consistent line weight no matter what the pressure. Since it's in Illustrator, I have the added benefit of fixing fuck-ups with the Bezier handles. Shhh... don't tell anyone.

And here's what the final lines look like. Ready for some Photoshop!

I copy the lineart into a Photoshop comic template that I've set up and start by flatting the characters. The character flats are on a layer right under the lineart. The white background is its own layer. Someday, I'll make up a nice flatting tutorial. For now, the basic idea is to separate objects from one another with color.

On a layer above the character flats, I lay down the shadows. I usually start with a basic grey and set the layer to multiply. Once the shadows are set, I'll decide on color. The first two frames use a light grey/brown color. Since the third panel is a dance party, I decided to use purple for the shadows. Purple is a nice choice for dynamic shading.

If I decide to do some backlighting or highlights, I'll create another layer above the shadow layer, set it to screen, and lay down some light. I use blue to cool off the shadows. Backlighting and rim lighting are fun to play with. But that will have to wait for additional articles. A light green is used to shine up the Master Chief mask.

The AZM glow is achieved through a secret Photoshop ninjitsu technique that is described here. Enjoy!

Sometimes the backgrounds are nice and simple like this one. Other times, I feel like stretching out a bit. Whatever I decide, I just paint it up in Photoshop and head on to the words.

Professional letterers use Illustrator for all their work. I use Photoshop because their handling of vector shapes works well enough for me. I have a custom style for the black line, which isn't really all that special, but it saves me time when I'm doing the bubbles. Fonts by Blambot.

Once it's lettered, it's finished. I save out to web resolution, upload, write a bit, and comics are go!


Will art for food!

If you have need of spot illustration, character design, design work, or pretty arts of other sorts I'm available for work. Please email me for rates. I usually work pricing out per project.

If you're interested in sketches or commissions or something of that nature, the best thing to do is to catch me at a convention during the summer. I'll usually announce which con I'm hitting and if I'm rocking an artist alley table. Otakon is usually a guarantee for me since it's close to me.