Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From Comics to Film

In the Visual Effects industry, I’ve been pretty blessed. The decision to get into it was hard. The fact was at that time I made the decision to make a change, I was getting the most work I’ve ever had in comics. In 2006, I had work offers from DC, Marvel, Udon, IDW etc. However in March, I was sitting down working on three different projects, stressed out of my mind, and my wife asks me if I would consider going back to school.

I didn’t want to at first. I’ve never been this wanted in my life, and I was going to throw that away to go back to school??? I had to think about it. I thought about my time working in comics, the amount of money I made and how hard I worked to achieve it. Then I looked at the three projects I was working on, stressed at how I’m going to finish it all. Then I went upstairs to look at my daughter sleeping – it was 4:30 in the morning. I’ve been working so hard seven days a week. I was stressed and always thinking about work. I was working overtime without getting paid for overtime. Right then it hit me that what my wife said made sense. We needed change.

I was not the only one thinking about it. I heard my old Dreamwave buddies like Alan Wang, Ramil Sunga, Arnold Tsang all went back to school and were doing well in the video game industry. They were working 9-5 jobs with weekends. What!!! That was a mirage to me. After six years of working in the comic trenches, a regular paid job looked like a dream.

My Megatron Model. Check it out here:

Most of my friends were in the video game field. I however am not much of a gamer. I loved movies, and I've always wanted to work on a huge blockbuster movie. I decided to go to Sheridan College, to take computer animation. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew this was my one and only chance to succeed. The fact is, if I took Computer Animation right when I finished college in 2000, most likely I would have failed or dropped out. In 2006, my priorities changed, and my motivation was at its peak. The years of working under a deadline helped immensely. Without that experience, I wouldn’t have been able to produce the quality of work that I did. I graduated with a demo reel and a short film that I’m very proud of.

Stills from my short film entitled "Upgrade"

Graduating from Computer Animation in April of 2007, I had two job offers. One was a technical director position at Nelvana working on Backyardigans (my daughter’s favorite show), and the other was a visual effects artist at MGM working on Stargate. The only problem with that was that the Stargate job is in Vancouver BC. I lived in Toronto, and no relocation was offered. Also, in taking the Stargate job, I would be leaving my wife and daughter for a few months. My friends in the industry told me I should take the Nelvana job – that Vancouver was way too expensive and that it wasn’t worth going.

I had to think to myself what did I really want to do? I did not want to leave my family. However I also knew I wanted to work on movies and visual effects so much more than children shows. The chances of working on a big blockbuster movie was very slim if I was coming from a children’s show background. In the end, I decided to sacrifice and go to Vancouver. I am not glad that I had to leave my wife and daughter in Toronto for months. However Stargate and my move to Vancouver opened up so many doors. This door was big enough that my whole family can walk through. I've decided to go all in, move my family here and go for it. Oh yeah, and I start working on that big blockbuster movie on Monday.

I know I'm posting this on Wednesday night, but this is meant to be my Thursday post - have a ton of things to do. On friday I'll be talking about how I first got into Wildstorm, and why that didn't last long....

James Anthony Raiz
Stand-Up Joke of the Day
“…Everyone’s falling for this magician David Blane. What is this? Are we so desperate for entertainment that we fall for a trick-less magician? Where’s the trick? Cut a lady in half. Pull a rabbit out of a hat. What’s his last trick – I’m in a box and I ain’t gonna eat. I’m in a box and I ain’t gonna eat? That’s no trick, that’s called living in the projects….” –Chris Rock

Breaking In Part 2

Paying Your Dues

Like in any business, you have to start at the bottom and work yourself to the top. Every one does it. All the greats have done it. Yesterday I talked about sacrifice, and this is a great example of that. You must be willing to start small, for little or no money, sacrificing time and effort. Now like a lot of comic book artists out there, I started out as a background penciller. Background pencillers usually get credited very small at the end of the credits, usually as background assists, pencil assists or a lot of the time, no credit at all. However, the job description is pretty basic: The penciller draws the figures, you do the rest. Michael Turner was an assistant to Marc Silvestri. Keu Cha and Talent Caldwell were assistants to Michael Turner. Jim Lee had a slew of assistants namely Richard Bennett, Brett Booth and Travis Charest. This was a common starting ground for a lot of artists. Now a lot of my fans know that I started out at a company called Dreamwave Productions, and Pat Lee. Through all the crap that happened at DW (to all who want a good "company goes down and brings everyone with it" story, you can read about it here: or here: ), I am grateful that he got my foot in the door. My experience at Dreamwave gave me the experience I needed to venture out into freelance work, and gave me valuable life lessons as well. Now I keep saying I’ll talk more about my relationship with Pat, and I will soon. Stay tuned. But how did I get the job at Dreamwave? Let me tell you.

I took technical illustration in college. I took that course because I felt my figure drawing was already strong and that this course would help me improve my ability to draw backgrounds. Actually the real reason was because I was rejected for the classical animation course but that’s a different story. Anyways, like everyone else I was putting together art samples and bringing them to comic conventions. I met a good friend of mine named Sigmund Torre at the Canadian National Comic Expo in 1999. He liked my stuff and gave me a card with Dreamwave’s number.

Now during my last semester, there was a 3 week job placement period. We had to find the job of course. Dreamwave, being the only real professional comic book studio in the Toronto area was really my only choice. So I tried calling them. They had no secretary, and everytime I called, no one picked up. I called endless times and no one picked up. So I remembered articles I read about the place and there was one particular passage I remember about Pat starting work at 12:00am. So one day, I called them at 3:30am. Someone picked up. It was Roger Lee, Pat’s brother. He let me come in that night for an interview.

That night, I sat down with Pat Lee and he went over my portfolio. My figure work he really didn’t care for (and I wouldn’t either – it sucked). What caught his attention were two particular images. What I did was, I took previous Dreamwave covers that had no background, traced the figure and drew a background around it. That’s what he liked the most. That night he offered me a work placement, and a job.

I did backgrounds for Pat Lee for about 3 years. I learned about keeping a deadline, and working under tight situations. Most of all, I learned a little humbleness as well. When my work would get published, I would run to the message boards trying to see if someone would notice my work. I don’t know what I was looking for – maybe someone saying “did you see how cool that tree was on page 17???”, and I’d say “I drew that tree! That was me!!!” That never really happened.

That’s when I learned there was no point complaining about the lack of credit I received for what I did. Yes, there were times when I drew everything on the page, and Pat got the credit for it. For example, my very first work was Darkminds/Witchblade doing backgrounds for Pat. The first 5 pages that were shown to Top Cow were all done by me, except for the hands Pat drew. Top Cow freaked out and praised Pat, but not me. That used to bother me. It bothered me a lot. But I realized like all jobs, if you pay your dues, do good work, you work hard and have a reputation to work hard, someone will notice. It will either be your boss, or if he doesn't notice, someone else will. Thank God, someone else noticed.

So pay your dues. Nowadays, it would be tough to find a background penciller job. The comic studio of old doesn’t really exist nowadays. Everyone working in comics now work from home as opposed to a studio. So how can you pay your dues? My suggestion would be to try and get published. Try to start contacting established writers. Most writers have stories in their back pocket they want to tell. They also have huge imput when it comes to who will pencil their story. If you’re good, they’ll reply back to your emails. Be willing to work for very little, or even for free – as long as it’s published. Sites like you could hook up with writers who are looking for artists. Find the ones who are getting published and work for them. You’ll learn how to work from a script, keep a deadline, and producing quality work. If you keep improving, someone will notice.

Keep active and post your work on message boards. Take for example Nicola Scott. She’s from Australia and moved to NYC with dreams of becoming a comic book penciller. She labored for years working on different independent projects. Most of those paid very little or not at all. She always posted her stuff on, and people started to notice. She was known for how much she wanted to draw Wonder Woman, and did whatever it took to succeed. That hard work paid off. She got her first regular gig drawing Birds of Prey at DC Comics – a book she is perfect for (and she started with issue #100. I did issues 98 & 99).

So keep working hard. I’ll be talking more about Dreamwave and my personal experiences there next week. Tomorrow I’ll talk about why I left comics and how I got into the Visual Effects industry.

Pics today:
1-4) Pages 1-4 of Darkminds/Witchblade #1. I drew most of it. What did Pat draw? The hands.
5) A splash from Warlands #12. I layed it out and drew the backgrounds and all the Angels and Monsters. I looked at message boards for weeks to see what people would say about it. No one cared.

James Anthony Raiz
Stand-Up Joke of the Day:
“…Hi, I’m Susan Powter and I lost 1468 lbs, and still found a way to remain totally unattractive. Why don’t you take advice from me, Susan Powter, a woman who looks like Ross Perot’s lesbian sister…” –The Late Great Richard Jeni

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Breaking In Part 1

So how do you break into comic books? Good question.
First you need to answer this question.


Why would you even want to? The comic book industry isn’t the most extravagant of jobs out in the world. You seem to work endless hours working for minimal pay (unless you are at top ten artist…). You work so much you hardly see your family and hardly have enough money to cover the bills. While you’re working endless hours at the same time you’re looking for work. Sometime it seems like you can’t find work, then it seems like there’s so much work you don’t know what to do… though you can’t turn anything down because you don’t know if the company will offer you work again…

So why do it?

Because you love it. You absolutely love it. That’s why I did it for six years. Six years without sleep, worrying about the next job, bugging editors to give me work and taking in all the excuses they’re feeding me, listening to my wife complaining that we don’t spend much time together, or why I have to work the weekends all the time. I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I loved going to the conventions and feeling like a star. I loved the thrill of beating out hundreds of artists going after the same job. I loved seeing my artwork in print. I absolutely loved it.

So I’ll give you the basics today and I’ll give you guys some breaking in stories of my own in the next few. I’ll also let you know why I left too – and why I’m keeping a toe into the pool so to speak.

So if you want to be in the industry, the first step is simple. You have to want it. You have to want it bad. You have to want it so much you are willing to sacrifice what need be to get it. The most obvious is time and sleep. Sometimes it’s money. But most importantly, it’s your inner being – you have to convince yourself you’re going to be the best and are willing to do whatever it takes to be the best.

Next is practice. I mentioned this yesterday, but it’s the most important thing. Draw everything. The cool drawing of Daredevil you did won’t mean anything if the building you’ve drawn behind him looks like a tree. Start with the basics – life drawing, perspective, etc… Take a class and read the books. The more you draw, the better you get. Period.

Next, don’t be lazy. What sets the winners and the losers in any industry is your work drive. The fact is everyone will face the same obstacles and hurdles. However when something hard comes your way, the losers will stop or take a break. Winners will work through the pain until it’s finished. Be willing to do whatever it takes to be the best. Bryan Hitch is a great example of that – and yes he was late when doing Ultimates – but I’ll cut him some slack – he deserves that privilege. He paid his dues. Working at Marvel UK, he finished a complete issue, 22 pages in 4 days. Four Days!!! He threw up and almost died of exhaustion, but he did it – and it didn’t look like crap!!! Now I’m not saying do 22 pages in 4 days, because unless you’re Bryan Hitch, it will look like crap. I’m saying try to be like Mark Bagley who sits down at his desk Monday – Saturday working from 7am-7pm straight time without getting up, finishing 1.5 – 3 pages per day. Like anyone else there’s times he doesn’t feel like drawing, however when others (myself included) would stop, he pushes himself to keep going. That’s the definition of drive and self motivation. That’s why he’ll always get work in this industry. Okay, maybe 3 pages a day is still unrealistic. A page a day keeps the editor away...

Next, be good. Compare yourself. How do you expect to land a job if your work does not stand up to what’s on the shelf? Put your artwork side by side with the top artist and ask yourself; why are they getting the work instead of you? Chances are right now, your work doesn’t stand up - but you think it does.

That’s why you need unbiased feedback. Take criticism and not from your mom. Get yourself online and try to get feedback from other artists out there. Most importantly Listen!!! Being a freelance artist, you will have so much criticism thrown at you and it will never stop. The ones who won’t listen and walk away are the ones without work – and I was like that before which I’ll explain later. The ones who take criticism in stride, learn from it and incorporate it in there work is on the fast track.

Technically to show to editors it’s best to have 5-6 pages of sequentials and one pin-up at a time. Any more than that to me is overkill. Six pages is enough to show your skill to them. You might notice that I said “…at a time”. Most likely you won’t get work right away with the first sample you show them. One month later send another 5-6 pages of sequentials of a different type of script – but better. If the editor gave you feedback, use it and show in the next set that you understood what he was talking about. And don’t be afraid to show the same sample to different companies – the stuff about them only wanting to see their own characters is secondary to the artwork skill. If DC saw two drawings – a really good drawing of wolverine and a crappy drawing of Superman, chances are they’ll pick the wolverine guy for the job.

And finally, be patient. Waiting is the hardest part. But the fact is, these things take time. It takes time to develop your style into something that is commercial and something readers would buy. Also, editors who love your work usually can’t give you work right away anyways. You need to wait. How long? For as long as it takes.

So that’s the basics. If you follow these steps, there is no reason why you can’t do well in the comic book industry, or any industry you choose. Tomorrow I’ll talk more about sacrifices you need to make and the types of things you should do to start off. I’ll also tell the story about how I got my first job at Dreamwave, and in the following days I’ll tell you the experienced I’ve learned and the mistakes I made – so that you guys won’t fall into the same holes that I did.

Pics today:
1-2) A Superman Sample
3-7) A Nightwing sample
Both didn’t get me a lick of work.

If you guys have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Happy Tuesday everyone, and I’ll talk to you soon.
James Anthony Raiz
Stand-Up Joke of the Day from Jackie Martling:
What do you call bees that gives milk? Boo-bees

Monday, January 28, 2008


Happy Monday Everyone!!!
I know, I know, only three days in and I already missed a couple of days. I'll try not to let that happen again.

I absolutely love Mecha - there's something about big honkin robots that's just so cool. I loved them ever since I was a kid - Transformers (naturally), Voltron, Voltes 5, Gundam, Go Bots(uh...), Power Rangers (wha... uh I was just, uh.. kidding!!...haha.. uh...Kimberly's hot...). One of my absolute favorite toys was Centurions! Those toys were so awesome!! And there was a Monkey!!! Too cool... I owned Hacker, Doc Terror and Jake Rockwell. When the 80's boom was going on in comic books recently, I was waiting for someone to pick up that license - never happened though. Maybe I'll do a pin-up when I get some time. Won't be for a while though...
I'd like to let you guys know about a project I'm working on. It's called "Dawn of the Dread Force". A way cool project I'm working on with some really talented guys, namely Rob Armstrong, Damnation, Kurt Hathaway and Gerardo Sandoval. It will be a new comic book series that will be dropping in the Fall. Above is a pic of the cover drawn by the Mighty Gerardo. He's ultra talented and I absolutely love his style. Check out his work here:
It's not you're mother's Mecha! Check it out and keep your eyes peeled here: for updates. I'd love to show you the work I'm doing on it right now - I'll post them when I'm allowed to :)
Pics today
1) Dawn of the Dread Force cover done by the amazing Gerardo Sandoval
2) Centurions!!!
3) Transformers: Infiltration #1 cover
4&5) Some pics of the Hulk and Abomination for Marvel Comics
gavo2o from the boards at asks:
Got any tips for an aspiring artist?
Practice, practice, practice!!! That's what it's about. Draw everything!! Don't just draw your favorite characters, draw a tree, or a bench or a house or a cat or anything you see. Draw everyday, let a sketchbook and pencil be as common as a knife and fork to you. Just like anything else, the more you do it, the better you get. If you get the chance to go to school - take the opportunity - especially life drawing classes - once you get over the initial shock of having a naked dude posing in front of you, you learn so much about anatomy and drawing in general - even if all you want to do is draw robots, this will help you.
hxcpunk23 asks:
Any advice or tips on drawing huge transforming robots?
I like putting little details in my work - especially around joint areas - great places for gak and little things like hoses & gears. But when it comes to big robots, put emphasis in the shoulders and the lower leg areas. It adds so much to your drawings.
And most of all learn the basics first before doing the detail. learn perspective - if your perspective is off, you can tell right away in a robot drawing. Detailing up a bad drawing is only putting flowers on some poop. It won't mask what it really is.
Nic asks:
Where there any Transformers you have a hard time drawing or just don't like to draw?
I love drawing all transformers. Drawing them more than once however is a different story. Armada Megatron was a pain to draw the 1000th time, because of drawing all the treads on his shoulders. But I love detail. The satisfaction of having a cool drawing always outweighs the labor to get there.
Well that's it for today. Some fun stuff tomorrow!
James Anthony Raiz
Stand Up Joke of the Day from the late great Rodney Dangerfield:
My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.

Friday, January 25, 2008

From the Man Himself...

From the Man himself:
Joseph Mallozzi said...
Watchmen is my favorite (limited) comic book series of all time.
How was Rorschach?

Hey Joe! - I read your blog everyday, and please forgive me for totally ripping off your format!! Being a true comic book fan, it's also my favorite, that's why I'm scared to death to work on it - I'll be starting first week of february on the project and I'll let you know :)

In the meantime I didn't know if you saw this already, but the pic of Rorschach was inserted into 1 frame of the 300 trailer. Looks just like the comic. We'll see how it goes.

Again for all of you who don't know who Joe is, he's one of the executive producers on Stargate - so if you're a Stargate fan, but don't know about his blog, go there now!!!

If you look above, there's a pic of the mega lithograph I did. That litho was meant to be a cover for the first Dreamwave Transformers TPB. I came to Dreamwave with the idea to put as many Transformers as possible on a cover to break for most characters on the cover. George Perez and Alex Ross hold that record for the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths TPB which boasted over 500 characters.

I succeeded in making an image with over 600 characters – but it was never made into a cover!!! Maybe a good thing – would have been hard to read as a cover anyways. Instead the image was cut up into 12 pin-ups that connect to one giant litho.

My approach to it was that I completely laid out all the important characters, and every month I would do two pieces each on top of my Armada work. It makes me respect George Perez even more, because he finished penciling his cover in three weeks!! But it's something I treasure, and I only have one copy of the litho.

Anywho, I'll have to keep this a bit brief today, my wife is off and she needs my help to clean out the basement. We're selling our house to move completely to the west coast. Hey if anyone's in the GTA area and needs a house, check it out here: don't live here anymore, so you can't come by and look for an autograph (lol)!

Pictures today:
1) A still from the 300 trailer of the main character in the Watchmen film Rorschach.

2) My Mega Lithograph

3) Inked version of my Beast Wars #2 Cover for IDW publishing. I love drawing Magmatron...

4) My little girl listening to some tunes, and my cleavage (man I need to lose weight)...

Again I'm reserving the questions about artwork and drawing for the weekend. It'll be a two parter and I'll answer your drawing questions then.

Mister Oragahn from the forums at asks:
"Are you allowed to say what you've worked on? like artworks, sceneries, ships..."and he also asks:"Do they give you a chart of starship sizes?"

I worked on Ships and some concept design. Which ones? Not telling!!!Well...not yet anyways. When it comes to sizes I believe there are charts but don't quote me on that - but each ship you see does have a definite dimention and size. We do build the ships to scale in the 3D programs we use. So for example if the ship is 1 mile long we build it 1 mile long in the computer.

rlr149 from the forums at asks:
"nice pics, now wheres the insider info on continuum?"

Now with Joe watching my blog - none!!! Ha Ha! Okay, I got an idea. Ask me anything specific you want to know about the movie and I'll get the answer for you - if I'm allowed. Deal?

Chris asks:
"...what did you think of the (Transformers) movie?"

Perfect. I honestly couldn't ask for more. Of course all of us would have loved to see designs closer to the original G1, however from the announcement of this project, I think all of us knew it would not work. Some of us have seen designs that were closer to them, however to me they just didn't feel like they would work.
Now I need to get a job on this movie - it would be a true fan's dream. I'm thinking that during my Watchmen work, on the side I'll start modelling some tf's and posting them here. What would you guys suggest I start with?

Anywho, TGIF guys and swing by the blog on the weekend if you'd like. I'll be talking more about breaking into the comic business and even the visual effects business if there's time.

James Anthony Raiz
Joke of the Day from the Late Great Rodney Dangerfield:
"I need to lose weight, I tried doing pushups in the nude. I didn't see the mousetrap."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stargate Shameless Self Promotion...

You know, it's only the second day of the blog and there's absolutely so much I want to say!!! I do want to save a lot of stuff for tomorrow - maybe I better plan this out better...
Now to you transformers fans, I know I said I would talk about Pat Lee today, but I realized it's a really heavy subject and I don't want to cut any corners and hold back any punches to what I say. So I'm going to do this right and prepare for it properly. Stay tuned right here - you'll see it soon enough!

Let me start off with a quick story about the Stargate Image above. You see the visual effects artist are tucked away in a brick building in the back lot of Bridge Studios. We only see filming when we sneak in, and usually when we do we get faces that look like "hey what are these nerds doing here??" Anywho, in September, filming was wrapping up and everyone who carried a coffee on the set was invited to attend the wrap party.

I really wanted to talk to the actors and have them remember who I am. I don't drink or dance, so the common options were out. Then one day I was talking with two of my coworking buddies Shareef Shanawany and Jessie Rieger, and it dawned on me. I'll draw everyone and have them sign the drawing!!! The problem was, I realized this a week before the party.

I almost didn't do it. I then realized that I probably wasn't going to get another chance to do this, so I took a deep breath and did what I could. I ended up waking up at 1am every morning and drawing until it was time to go to work (usually I leave the house around 5:30ish to get to work). I also pulled an all-nighter on the friday night to saturday to get it done (Thought I was done with those!!!). The piece took roughly 25 hours or so to complete.

That night I brought my thick portfolio bag with me. By this time, most people at work knew what I was doing. My Supervisor christopher at the time told me he'll take me around and introduce me - which he did. I got to meet most of the Atlantis cast and got them to sign. So I met most of them - still felt like a nerdy fanboy... and probably looked like one too... but I don't care - I met them all!!!

One of the nicest people I met was Joe Flanagan - he told me it was the greatest Stargate Art he's ever seen - I told him I was a huge fan of Stargate ever since I got the job. He said "me too...". Everyone loved the art. You might notice that Amanda Tapping's signature is actually over herself. Amanda Tapping was really sweet (and really tall...), and really cute. Unfortunately she asked if I wanted her to sign on her picture - and I was like "uhh...sure!!!". Jason Momoa couldn't sign - he was carrying his child all night (and Lisa Bonet was there too!). Surprised me actually how many of the actors brought their kids.
One actor I really wanted to meet - I won't say who he is because I don't want to spoil anything for season 4 - but I realized I didn't draw him in the picture!!! So I stayed away from him. Same with Jewel Staite, who I did draw, but very poorly in my opinion - and very small. But she did say hi to me, and was really sweet too. I left the party at 11:30, but then I heard Christopher Judge came at midnight!!! AAwww crap, I'll get him later.

David Hewlett wasn't at the party, however he heard about it, and one of the producers John Lenic introduced me to him a week later - he was really nice and signed it for me.
I'm still missing a tonne of signatures on it and it's my goal to get it complete. I'm planning on attending GateCon this year to see if I can get more.

People ask me what I'll do with the piece - I've had offers to buy it, turn it into a poster etc..., but I'm a fan and it's a piece I treasure. We'll see how it goes.

Pictures today:
1)The Stargate Poster in all it's glory

2)A spread from Amazing Fantasy #18 I did for Marvel Comics

3)A picture of some of us Stargate Visual Effects artists at a Vancouver White Caps / LA Galaxy game (or David Beckham comes to town) From left to right - me very happy, Shareef Shanawany, Jessie Rieger and Viv Jim,

4)for those unfamiliar with my transformers work - my Armada #1 cover inked by Rob Armstrong and colored by the amazing Alan Wang

5) I like chicken

Now how about some questions:

Chris asks:
"I was wondering what are your favorite current and past comics (doesn't have to be tfs)..."

I’ve always collected comics that have given me artistic inspiration. I bought anything Jim Lee, Alex Ross and Bryan Hitch. I’d always recommend to newcomers to comics Jim Lee & Jeph Leob’s Batman: Hush, Alex Ross’ Marvels & Kingdom Come, and Bryan Hitch & Warren Ellis Authority. Though you can’t go wrong with Ultimates, Civil War – you know the recent blockbusters. Recently I haven’t bought much – I have picked up Joe Mad’s Ultimates and am intrigued – though if you ask me, it desperately needs inks.

MyNameIsScott or Gathnet Jr. from the forms at asks:
"In addition to a possible return to Stargate Atlantis, do you think you might ever work on the SG-1 movies or the upcoming Stargate Universe?"

I did do a lot of work on both "The Ark of Truth" and "Continuum". When Ark of Truth comes out in March and Continuum in the Summer, I'll be happy to let you know which scenes I've worked on. As for Stargate:Universe, I'd absolutely love to work on it - but I haven't seen any of the development of it yet (our department was knee deep in movie stuff). I believe the door was left open for me to come back, and I think I didn't piss off many people on my way out, so we'll see how it goes.

hXcpunk23 asks:
"What are your 3 favorite Transformers to draw?"

Armada Megatron, RID Omega Prime and Beast Wars Neo Magmatron - though I haven't drawn all the Movie characters yet - ask me again next month :)

hxcpunk23 also asks:
"Do you have any other Transformers projects lined up (other than "Reign of Starscream")?"

Unfortunately not yet. I'd love to do interiors, and to be honest I was offered to do the interiors for the Reign of Starscream. However, there's no way I can balance the schedule to do so with a full time gig now. But the best part about doing covers is that I can put my full effort into it with a lax deadline - hey I'll do a post about the rigors of the comic industry soon enough - stay tuned :)

Omaps321 from the boards at asks
"I was just wondering do you usually ink your own stuff?"

No - most of my IDW covers have been pencils that I cleaned up in photoshop. Recently however, I've been laying out everything in blue pencil and going straight to inks - it's a tonne faster and makes the original art look so much better... I actually started doing this with the Stargate piece here.

Now I know there are a bunch more questions to answer and I will in due time. There were some questions about breaking into the biz and advice I would give for drawing and I'll tackel that tomorrow. Everyone please feel free to ask me anything you'd like, and I'll answer as many as I can everyday.
Happy Thursday everyone, and I'll talk to you tomorrow!!

James Anthony Raiz
Stand-Up Joke of the Day - from the Late, Great Mitch Hedberg
"I sit at my hotel at night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Hello Everyone!!!!

Welcome to my brand new blog! One of my 2008 New Year's Resolutions (besides the regular weight loss, being good to others, et al...) is to have a better online presence then I've had in the past. There are so many people online, more so people who I have a lot in common with.
This feels like the best opportunity to reach out to all of you, and perhaps give some insight to the limited knowledge that I have.
And Blogging's fun :P
It's my goal to post something everyday. To answer as many questions as I can and to meet as many friends as possible.

So about me - well I'm most "famous" for my stint as a comic book penciller most notably on the Transformers franchise. I love transformers and always have, and always will. This is the place for any transformers questions you have - whether it be about my infamous Dreamwave stint, what I thought of the Transformers movie, what kind of a guy Chris Ryall is like and most importantly - why haven't I drawn any IDW transformers interiors??? Ask and I'll answer :P
I've been a comic artist for six years doing work for Marvel, DC and Top Cow. I'm currently doing covers for IDW and my friend Porfiria Girgis and Jaran Studios ( ). Do you want to know how to break into the crazy business of comics? I'll tell you how I did it - if you ask :)

I am also a former Visual Effects / 3D artist on Stargate:SG 1. I'm a huge Stargate fan, and it was so exciting not only working on Stargate, but also being on the Bridge Studios lot seeing all the action happen!!! Usually most Effects artist don't get to see filming, or even meet the actors - I got the chance - though I wouldn't consider myself the best of friends with any of them - heck, I just said hi - but they know who I am - how? Ask and I'll tell you!!! Also the inspiration for this blog is from the dude in the cool suit that is Joseph Mallozzi - he's one of the busiest guys in the business and still finds a way to post on his blog every day!!! Check it out here:
Sadly I don't work under Cheyenne Mountain anymore (for now). I believe I left on good terms, and hopefully I'll be able to come back. Mark Savela and the rest of the team have been great to me - and I've made some very good friends there. But Why would I leave? Honestly I really didn't want to - especially since I have a good idea of the amazing things that are going to happen in the fifth season (and NO I'm not telling...). So why leave? Well, I received an opportunity to good to pass up. What opportunity would that be? Ask and... aw heck I'll tell ya...

I am currently contracted to work on Zack Snyder's "Watchmen" for the Moving Picture Company. I'm starting on it in February. And I'm scared. You want to know inside information on what will be one of the biggest movies to hit 2009? Ask - and I'll see if I'm allowed to answer!!!

Pictures today: The inked version of my cover to IDW's Transformers Movie Sequel Comic: "The Reign of Starscream". Check out the colored version by the amazing brit Kieran Oats here:
Also to prove I am a Stargate lackey - pictures of when my Mom, my lovely wife Ruth and my little angel Emma Louise came to visit me on the set.

So everyday I'll be posting art, and giving you my inner fears, thoughts and current waistline (you know I gained 20 pounds since I've been back in Toronto???). So please ask your questions and I'll answer as many as I can everyday. Also pay attention - at the end of every month I'll put up a quiz and the winner will receive original art from me! So take some time outta your busy day, and hear what I have to say. I'll post every day - I promise. Hold me to that. Every. Day.

James Anthony Raiz