Sunday, December 16, 2012

Home Stretch!

Still with me?

I sincerely hope so, because Dust Bunny has finally reached the climactic end scene of his story! There are only 15 pages left to illustrate in the nearly 175 page graphic novel. After that, and a handful of edits, it'll be off to the printing phase for the book!

Since the volume of non-spoiler panel art is becoming increasingly more difficult to find and share, this will most likely be one of the last full updates (via the blog and Kickstarter) regarding the novel's process. Again, smaller updates are dropped weekly on the Dust Bunny Facebook Page. So join up if you haven't!

The end is in sight! And with that, here's a process shot of our hero in the final scene!

Monday, November 5, 2012

30 Pages To Go!

Admittedly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to update progress on Dust Bunny. Hence, the cryptic silhouette shot with zero context.

It's not for the lack of labor, art, or substance to share. But with an approximate 30 pages left on the book, and closing in rapidly on the story's climax, nearly every snippet of interesting art is either a spoiler, or just something that I don't want to reveal before the book is released. I want this to be a fresh read for everyone who was awesome enough to contribute to its success.

I've done my best to keep entire characters, and scenes under the radar, yet share what I can in order to assure all of my amazing supporters that, yes, this machine is still cranking. However, my once generous ration of content surrounding the static sleuth has slimmed out quite a bit, and I want all of you to experience this story to its fullest once it's in your hands.

That being said, I will continue to keep everyone updated over the course of the next month or so on the book's progress. Soft updates occur a bit more frequent on the Dust Bunny Facebook Page! Again, a million thanks for everyone's patience! Happy November!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Video Update from the Claybank Jamboree!

This past weekend marked a big milestone for myself as well as some of the talented people I'm surrounded with!

Saturday played many roles; one of which was taking Dust Bunny pre-orders from an open audience, allowing me to dip my toes in the waters of on-site vendor work. Wonderful prep for things to come, I hope. The book did better than I thought it would, and the overall response was extremely gratifying! It's always nice to get a face-to-face reaction from someone in regards to the graphic novel. It keeps me energized and amped up to keep going. A very hearty thank you to everyone who came out this weekend to buy prints, pre-order Dust Bunny, or just offer up encouraging words!

Secondly, my mortal enemy Joshua David Matthews has finally rallied enough resources to raise his evil empire - Giant Step Films. Before you do anything else, go check out the new Halloween documentary pitch - "Ten Thirty-One". You have the opportunity (for free) to actually be in the company's debut film! Spread the word! It's going to be great!

Now, onto the video!

Claybank Jamboree from Brett Brooks on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Caddyvac.

If you've been following the Dust Bunny Facebook Page, you've probably seen a snippet from the below excerpt which marks the beginning of an 11-page car chase sequence.

During the pre-production of this book, I knew that I wanted to give Dust Bunny's ride - The Caddyvac - its own 15 minutes of fame. After all, what's a detective story without a solid car chase? Akin to The Blues Mobile, Ecto-1, or the Delorean, I wanted the Caddyvac to become a character in its own right; to exude some form of personality without resorting to the overt gimmicks of Kitt or Herbie. One of my favorite quotes from Henry Gibson (the head nazi in The Blues Brothers) when referencing the famous car chase scene from that film was, "Those cars were dancing, man." What a fantastic visual reinforcement to the story which is, in fact, a musical.

I mean, how many short seconds do you really need to absorb that signature, yet haunting wail before registering it as Ecto-1? And how could the Delorean breathe without its flux capacitor; without its heartbeat? There's a voice to these vehicles.

Originally, in 2006, Dust Bunny drove a (barely) modified handheld vacuum cleaner that resembled a spacecraft more than a car. Granted, these never left the drawing board, but I think they served a greater purpose some 5 years later when I would decide that heavy modifications were needed to make the Vac feel like it belonged in Basement City, and that our dirty detective would actually drive it.

The other incredibly fun concept for this chase sequence is that the secondary and tertiary characters also reinforce their respective personalities a la their rides. As well, all of the makes and models of these cars are pulled from completely different decades, which adds a layer of variety and visual interest to the scene itself.

Technically speaking, the perspective and curvilinear components to these pages are proving to be the most challenging piece of the book yet. It's forced me to come off of cruise control in some ways, and grip the wheel a little firmer. But in doing so, the payoff is extremely satisfying when I do get to sit back and read the pages sequentially.

That being said, I'm even more eager to finally share this story with all of you. Whether it be a roaring muffler, or an expository monologue, my hope is that what's under the hood of this story resonates just as clearly as the detailed exterior atop the pages...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Process Trifecta!

It's been truly exciting to finally be back on Dust Bunny in full force. And with it, as always, comes the satisfaction of including you folks in my journey to a finished graphic novel! With less than a third of the book remaining, I've decided to present a full-on page creation from the ground up!

These 3 videos are a slight departure from previously posted footage. This time around, I'll be taking you a little deeper into my process through a commentary track, outlining some of my homemade approaches to getting exactly what I want out of Dust Bunny and the world he lives in!

If you'd like to keep up with Dust Bunny's soft updates, join the Facebook page! And please, spread the word!

Enjoy the videos!

Creating the Page, Part 1 - The Sketch from Brett Brooks on Vimeo.

Creating the Page, Part 2 - The Inks from Brett Brooks on Vimeo.

Creating the Page, Part 3 - Tones and Textures from Brett Brooks on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dusting Off Some Goodies...

Dust Bunny is an interesting mix of old and new.

About half of the characters (many that are being kept under the radar until the book is released) were actually created back in 2006. I found these tonight, while sifting through some old art files. I thought the evolution of the characters was fun. But even more interesting than that, there's a clear consistency in some of the design choices from 6 years ago up to present day. A few variables were abandoned (the story's concept was much different 6 years ago, and laced with slapstick humor) but by and large, you can see a considerable amount of the original idea preserved.

There will be a little more exposition to their origins in the Dust Bunny process book, which will be released along with the graphic novel. There will even be a couple of original comic pages from 2006. For now, however, I thought this was a nifty little morsel of Basement City history!

Be on the lookout next week for a 3-part process video, which will follow the creation of a page from start to finish! In the meantime, if you'd like to keep up with the soft updates, you can join the Facebook page here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Living the Dream.

And we're back! Lots to share!

After a long, methodical hiatus of client work I'm extremely pleased to say that the dirty rabbit has finally swept himself back into the forefront of my workload. And I couldn't be happier.

Over the next few months, I'll be dedicating myself to the final third of Dust Bunny's story. I've been on the edge of my seat, finalizing my freelance gigs while simultaneously gearing up to revisit the graphic novel. And with a car chase scene right around the corner, again, I couldn't be happier.

So, as a small teaser, here's a short process video highlighting Dust Bunny and Mite midway into the story!

Process Video from Brett Brooks on Vimeo.

On a related note, myself and Jason Sheedy (videographer for a number of the Dust Bunny vlogs) recently released our first single "Living the Dream". While seemingly disconnected from Dust Bunny, the song was actually born during the early pages of the graphic novel when I was - in fact - living my dream of waking to a full time job of comic book pages every day (thanks to you guys)! We wrote the song in the midst of our own cloud nine as an anthem and celebration to any and all who have ever aspired to seize that ever-elusive day and capture a small nugget of fulfillment along your journey! Hope you like!

You can download "Living the Dream"at here or through iTunes, here!

Every day of the week...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back in Black (and White)!

It's been a busy 3 months, folks.

Too busy. Thankfully, the bunny didn't see his shadow, so there will not be an extended winter for this book!

Though Dust Bunny's taken a bit of a rabbit punch to the production time line, it feels really great to say that the end may be in sight for a couple of the freelance jobs that have kept me from fully focusing on the graphic novel.

And with such a long hiatus comes a renaissance of inspiration for the project. Though my outside work has held me to the constrictions of style and deadline these past few months, I've been able to break the chains here and there in order to reassess myself as an independent designer. I believe that's paramount to any artist; not only trying to find a voice, but trying to maintain it once you've found it. I've been so consumed in honoring the barriers of commercial work, it's simultaneously exhilarating and blinding to step out into the sun again so that my mind can run free. The fear is that it runs away and never returns. That being said, I made this...

Yes, a TMNT/X-Men mash-up! (more can be viewed here). Though it isn't Dust Bunny art, some of the techniques I was able to explore through these illustrations has already proven valid in the way that I'll be handling the last 3rd of the graphic novel. And that, to me, is extremely exciting! The book has literally gone through a three act paradigm, not only in the story...but with elements of the style. If anything, this has further reinforced that autobiographical variable within Dust Bunny (to which I could have never planned for, but would never willingly bury). With all of the above, there's no way I could accurately expound upon the roller coaster I've been riding the past 3 months. So, if you take anything away from this long awaited update, take this - I'm excited to finally be back on the book!

And so, I present to you the latest work-in-progress page. No spoilers, obviously. The scene's antagonist is a favorite of mine, so I'm saving him for release!
 Thanks for being so patient with me, guys. Your continued support and understanding has really, really helped to alleviate the stress of the past 10 weeks. Looking forward to giving you more! Also, be sure to follow Dust Bunny on Facebook for more frequent updates!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dust Bunny Vlog #5 (Part 2)

Happy Thursday, all!

For Part 2 of Dust Bunny's 5th video update, Joshua David Matthews was gracious enough to cut together a very insightful series of small testimonies surrounding the novel's development. For myself, personally, it was inextricably humbling and inspiring to hear the reactions that this book has garnered, even in its unfinished stage.

My prayer is that the thoughts and reflections communicated by this extremely talented collection of artists will give you, my incredible supporters, a small taste of what to expect in Dust Bunny's story. Thank you, again, for all of your kind words and encouragement!

Also, if you'd like to keep up with the soft, weekly updates just "Like" the Dust Bunny Facebook Page.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Dust Bunny Vlog #5 (Part 1)

100 pages!

In celebration of this incredible milestone, here's another funky full-length video update! We discuss the balancing act between Dust Bunny and newly adopted freelance, take a peek at some panels from the current in-progress scene, and round it all out with a soul train trip to my favorite vintage venue.

Joshua David Matthews is currently cutting together Part 2 of this vlog. So, hopefully, we'll have that up in a week or so.

And lastly, to all my supporters, your enthusiasm for my book is deeply appreciated...but even more than that, your continued patience in allowing me to develop Dust Bunny into the best story that I can tell is a blessing beyond all others. I can't thank you enough for that!

Enjoy Part 1!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Video Blog Teaser

Hi all!

This week marks the 100 page milestone for Dust Bunny! Only 70 more pages to go before the book is ready to see some hard copies! As a preamble to the 2-part (yes, 2-part) celebration vlog that Joshua David Matthews and I shot over the past couple of days, take a sweet minute and enjoy this completely irrelevant shred of story telling, delivered by yours truly.

The complete 2-part vlog is going to span a myriad of topics surrounding Dust Bunny, as well as the process of the book both on and off the pages. I've tried to switch up the visual formula for every video update, and I think this one really stands out. I'm extremely eager to get it all cut together, which will hopefully be over the next week or so. It was a blast to shoot!

Also, if you'd like to see smaller, more frequent updates to the book's process, you can follow me on Twitter or Like the Dust Bunny Page on Facebook!

In the meantime, enjoy the teaser!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spinning a Truer Story.

There are a lot of fun surprises throughout this book. Knowing that, I've tried to be very selective in what I showcase in these updates. Initially, I had no intention of showing any work from the most recent (spider) segment of the story. But there's so much subtext involved here (for me, as an artist), that I think the insight supersedes the need for secrecy on this one. Plus, this panel doesn't give you any spoilers.

This graphic novel has transcended a lot of ground, and it has nothing to do with the artwork. Nothing. It's wandered into subversive, autobiographical territory and has still managed to maintain an independent paradigm from this artist's life. I have no idea if that's a difficult balance to achieve or not, but it's happened organically with Dust Bunny. And that's how I know the story is honest. That's also how I know that it's no longer a story. It's my story.

I'm an arachnophobic. I hate spiders. I know "hate" is a strong word, but I only choose that word because I can't think of a stronger one to fully encompass my disdain for these infinitely intriguing, yet terrifying monsters. So, to allow them to carry the weight of a scene for about 7 pages in the book leaves me at a crossroads of understanding myself. Incidentally, it wasn't until I was nearly finished with this page that I realized this particular panel is a snapshot of a recurring nightmare that I have, at least once a month. The dream is always a little different, but the nightmare always ends with one...then two...then ten...then fifty spiders descending upon me just before I wake up. I don't care what the subconscious reasoning is behind it. But somehow, it managed to regurgitate itself onto my page. I thumbnailed this 9 months ago, and that realization just clicked last night.

This book began as an entertaining, surface 'whodunit'. It still is. But since its inception, it's found a new voice - one I could have never scripted. It's become important to me, not only as an artistic achievement, but as a milestone of my life (in its currency). Dust Bunny's story would have been completely different a year ago, or a year from now. And I can't help but latch on to the idea that this book is being produced at a time when it's meant to be produced. Though I put my best efforts forward in every line that I draw, the artwork has become submissive to the story...maybe even the theme. They work together wonderfully, but since I've discovered the purpose of this story, and why I'm telling it, I've had to work harder at making the visuals acutely convey that purpose. I've been tuning these creative instruments my entire life. But this is the first mouthpiece that's fit. Maybe that's why the song is pleasing. Or maybe that's why it feels like I'm playing for the first time.

Either way, it's important to understand that I'm not an expressionist. And you will not be reading Brett Brooks' life story, vicariously told through the eyes of a rabbit and a dust mite. But my life - my trials - are definitely in there...which leads me to wonder if I'm finally starting to understand what it means to be an artist. Or even more than that, a purist.

Art is not my salvation. But it is a truth I believe in. And if honesty can be found inside a city hidden in a basement...what sort of truths will break the surface above it once the story is finished?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Steps to The Basement...

I received some very positive feedback from a few of my backers regarding my newest process vlog. If you haven't seen it, you can check it out in my last post.

So, in response to such encouraging words, I posted a preview/process page that outlines some of the actual thought behind my design choices for Dust Bunny.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thinking Inside the Box: Video Blog #4

Greetings, all!

Apologies for the recent hiatus. It's been a juggling act of pages and freelance as of late, so I'm hoping to find a new groove here soon.

Speaking of grooviness, check out my new vlog! It departs a bit from the previous videos, and showcases my process for creating a opposed to a full minute of my self-proclaimed nicknames (by which no one calls me), or a shot of me dancing in an elevator. Constructively contrary to either of those examples, we actually see Gumshoe's debut as he and Dust Bunny discuss the pressing matters of my musical taste. And though the thoughts and opinions of a shape shifting piece of bubble gum and a dirty rabbit do not necessarily reflect the views of this artist, it's really exciting to finally be bringing ol' Gums into the mix, as he plays a really cool role in the book later on.

Also, if you'd like to keep slightly closer tabs on the book's progress, I do soft updates about once a week through the Dust Bunny Facebook page as well as my own Twitter account. If you're not following one or both of those, hip-hop on the train! The updates are usually small process snippets, but they absolve me of any crimes of laziness. Or at least, the real artist that I pay to do all of this stuff.

Living the dream.