Easter Eggs

by Danny Setna

“Easter eggs” in comic book interiors can refer to many things such as: activity amongst secondary or background characters, objects that tell a story, popular objects or people (cameos), homage to existing works, hidden messages etc. Incorporating some of these examples can make your work much more entertaining for you and your readers. Including Easter eggs allows artists to tell their own stories within the story and the storytelling will be livelier because of this.

There are many artists who draw their background characters in stiff and boring poses while their foreground characters are dynamic and full of life. This may work for contrasting your foreground elements from your background, however adding some variety to the background characters poses can go a long way to breathing life in your storytelling. On the other hand you don’t want to have every bystander on the street look like they are dancing, you want the middle ground.


Consider the following scenario:  there is a street brawl in the middle of the street, there are bystanders nearby. The bystanders who are in visible range of this action should be reacting to it, whether they are cheering or in shock they should be somewhat aware of it. Pushing this scenario to the next level could mean having a bystander photographing the action with their phone, or including a cameo of Peter Parker on a lamppost taking pictures of the scene. To push that even further the bystander could be posing in front of the street brawl while Parker takes pictures of them, this is provided you are not drawing a spidey comic. The possibilities are endless and you will likely enjoy including these extras from time to time, however it is also important to use sparingly.

For my first page on Holmes Inc I was required to draw two groups of protesters and security guards guarding the carnival entrance. For this page I drew a group of Hippies protesting and a group of cowboy themed characters reacting to the hippies, all the while the cops are stuck in between the two groups. If I drew the security guards just standing there looking tough it would have got the job done, however I made it more interesting by having the cops interacting with each other and the rioters.

The best types of Easter eggs are the ones that are relevant and heighten your story, I included various use of flags throughout this page to do so. The American flag held by the cowboys represents their rights to freedoms and that they are proud citizens. They are simply trying to attend a western themed carnival which the hippies are disrupting, so the use of the American flag is a simple prop to use for this scenario. The main reason I had them waving American flag is for it to clash with our main character: Edgar, he is a pompous detective with a lot of authority. So when he rides in on horseback and disrupts a Texan riot with a big union jack on his chest it shows a good amount of integrity and audacity. Throughout the story he is constantly questioning the capabilities of the local authorities’ and aggravating them in the process. The use of the union jack on this page goes a long way to foreshadow what is happening throughout the story and heighten Edgar’s characteristics.

Holmes Inc. Radio Interview!

The hits keep on coming!

As we near Fan Expo, we’ve been ramping up our promotional campaign, and next up is a radio interview with Indi 101 tonight at 9.

Join Holmes Inc. writers James Cooper and Dino Caruso as they discuss the project and TCW with Reverend Shawn Sexton tonight!

Holmes Inc & TCW on Electric Playground

Just a short update today to let everyone know that if they missed our appearance on Electric Playground last week, their site has the whole segment hosted to view for free on their website.

If you missed it the first time, now you can watch it in all it’s glory right here!

It’s a Wash

by Pierce Desrochers-O’Sullivan

When I first got Dino Caruso’s script for “THE OLDMAN AND THE SEA MONSTER” I decided that because it was full of monsters punching eachother on a lake that ink washes would be interesting way to portray the water. In the post that follows is my process for laying washes onto a penciled page. It is a promotional piece for the current project I am working on called “Cartoon Violence” – a story about a cartoonist sucked into the world of his creation. For this project the human figures are drawn and inked by my co-creator Nadia Lucie Pacey and the animals and design are drawn and inked by me. So without further ado…

First I Start off by taking my quill and pens to the sharp edged lines in the drawing and making sure they are a black and mechanical looking by using ruled devices and what not.

I then ink the black in my figures with a NO#1 Windsor and Newton Brush and fill in any large black areas with a marker. I hold the brush with the tip perpendicular to the page and try to pull the brush with my forearm to get smooth lines.

Next I begin to lay in my washes by painting in light grays where I intend to build up shadow. I then fill in my midtone areas with even lighter grey and begin to darken up the shadow areas that I previously laid down. At this point I begin to choose textures for the individual parts of the page: The Bear, Walrus, Background, etc…

I then get my co inker to ink her parts in a similar manner. This is followed by me doing very light grey washes over the page to add unity to our two inking jobs.

Afterwards I scan my page and adjust the ‘Levels’ (ctrl – L) in Photoshop to bring up the blacks and whites. I then dodge and burn the various sections of the page to tighten the grays up.

Next I put my scanned wash layer at the top and set the layer to ‘multiply’ so that I can lay in all my flat colors on layers below it. Once this is done I select the flat color layers which are laid under the figures and use ‘color balance’ (ctrl – B) to bring up their red and yellow values – which gives them a hint of uniformity. I then desaturate (ctrl – U) them by 10% or so.

After adding all my textures in color to the areas around the letters and the red circle I add another multiply layer on top with a flat brown and save it as a PNG! And she is done!



Holmes Inc. Smashes Onto the Scene!

Since we’re all about giving you a behind the scenes look at the making of Holmes Inc., we thought we’d share our official press release with you! We’ll be rounding up all the great coverage we receive into a new post soon.

The world’s greatest detective-adventurers return this summer in HOLMES INCORPORATED #2! 

Written and illustrated by the comic book superstars of tomorrow! 

Fasten your seatbelts and hang on to your pipe!  The descendants of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson continue the family business in modern times, serving Queen and country, battling diabolical villains and solving the big mysteries no one else dares to confront as agents of HOLMES INCORPORATED! 

Led by comic book industry Renaissance man, Ty Templeton (Stig’s Inferno, Batman Adventures, Justice League, Howard The Duck, The Simpsons, and Spider-Man), The Toronto Cartoonists Workshop and a new generation of comic book artists and writers offer up this new take on Sherlockian mythology, featuring characters and a concept created by Ty the Guy himself!

And for our second issue, we’ve gone from gigantic to ginormous with 12 brand-new stories!  That’s right, even more twists, more turns and more story than our 52-page first issue! With a cover by superstar comic artist Leonard Kirk (Supergirl, X.Men, Agents of Atlas, New Mutants, X-Factor), this 80-Page Giant extravaganza is NOT to be missed!

Make sure to visit the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop table at FAN EXPO Canada (Aug.25-28) to buy a limited edition copy of the book and meet the creators! They’ll share their experiences, answer your questions and happily sign copies Of Holmes Inc. for one and all. More updates are at the Holmes Inc. Website.  Summer of 2011 – The game, most assuredly, is afoot!

Presented by the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop.


What makes Holmes Incorporated so unique? 

Each story features a creative team made entirely of students and graduates of the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop. After studying side- by-side with industry professionals, they’re putting their new skills out there for the world to see, some seeing their work in print for the very first time! 

 This new take on Sherlockian mythology combines the mystery and deductive reasoning of Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved characters with the all-out action and international intrigue of a James Bond adventure in twelve exciting, new comic book tales. 

 For the first time EVER, Holmes Incorporated #1 and #2 will be available for FREE digital download to your desktop, tablet or phone from our four digital partner sites – DriveThruComics, GraphiclyMy Digital Comics and The Illustrated Section!!! 


Find out more!!! 

Check out https://holmesinccomic.wordpress.com for regular Holmes Inc. updates along with pin-ups, sneak peeks, behind the scenes details, and special comic book tutorials! 

Follow Holmes_Inc on Twitter at http://twitter.com/holmes_inc

The TORONTO CARTOONISTS WORKSHOP provides aspiring cartoonists with a chance to study with working professionals in the North American comic book, webcomics, animation and illustration fields. The TCW’s innovative FIT TO PRINT class doubles as a pro working environment. It simulates a freelance gig for a mainstream comics publisher, complete with division of labour, strictly enforced deadlines, and editorial feedback at every stage of production.  

Students work on pre-determined characters and concepts, further mimicking the pro world where so much work is done on established properties.  HOLMES INCORPORATED is the first in a series of publications that will feature TCW student artists and writers. More info at: http://cartoonistsworkshop.wordpress.com


Ty Templeton has worked in the comics industry for more than twenty-five years, contributing scripts and art to Batman, SupermanSpider-Man, Mad Magazine, The Simpsons, The National LampoonHarvey Pekar’s American Splendor, the Avengers, the Justice League and many others. He’s also been a comics publisher, editor, colourist, letterer, teacher, and a lifelong reader of these things. (Don’t get started on his stage or TV careers, or the disastrous chapter of his life playing Gumby on TV.)  His greatest creations are his four kids, and a musical single he once put out with Alan Moore, guest-starring members of the bands BAHAUS and APRIL WINE. 

More Ty info at: 



www.holmesinccomic.wordpress.com, www.cartoonistsworkshop.comHolmes Incorporated, the Holmes Incorporated logo, and the likeness of the characters are TM Ty Templeton. These collected anthology packages are © 2010 and © 2011 TORONTO CARTOONISTS WORKSHOP, with each story ©2010 or ©2011 the respective creators. 

All rights reserved. 





Character Design

by Grant Howarth

“We can rebuild him, make him faster, stronger, or anything you want…”

Welcome to character design. I know everyone has their own process, and unless you are creating the character entirely yourself from scratch, you are collaborating with a writer’s vision of the character. The writers description may be minimal and vague to exact and rigid but you should always have that opportunity to add your own little touch. Hopefully you might pick up something new on how I went about designing the Maury / Moriarty character in “Old Wounds” written by the talented Mr. Mike Marano.

These days it’s pretty much impossible to create something truly original. Most Importantly you want the character to be recognizable, and look different from other characters so they aren’t confused with other characters and stand out. If you need to use reference, whether you browse the web, books, or life. It’s all about the details, those little touches of appearance and personality that will breathe life into your character. Realism is key.

Mix and mash ideas and motifs a create a new spin, or use shapes and themes that will help convey a classic archetypal character. These classic archetypes are represented by certain features, ie. a broken nose gives a vibe of a crook or where big ears someone who is dumb. Even using characteristics of animals can give you a direction to go in to achieve a look, especially for a cartoony style. Take Ty Templeton’s Bootcamp classes and learn more, trust me you won’t regret it!


First off we look at the character description in the script. Mike left the Maury the lab tech character pretty open, other than the fact he had to have long hair that could be tied in a pony tail. Maury would later turn into a formidable, menacing villain for the Holmes Inc. crew.

I tackled Maury first, it was clear he had the lab coat, dress shirt and tie. He had to be in shape and thin. So the basic shape was covered, just leaving the details. Since I could only add to Maury and not alter him drastically physically, when he became Moriarty, I figured he had to have tinges of that villain look, sort of a meet halfway there thing. So I used that kind of a jerk look to begin with, a chiseled jaw, and piercing eyes. A crooked nose, with pointy and sharp lines

Plus I wanted to give him some personality, something that would show that he had a life outside of being a Holmes Inc lab tech. So I gave him some of those ear lobe stretch rings, for a bit of hipness. and then the soul patch that show’s a sense of style yet will help add to the bad guy look later on.


As we disused, we wanted to try a original look on the techno organic villain, and also to stay clear of any Iron Man, Terminator knock offs. So coming up with the look for Moriarty was a bit more of a challenge for me. I knew from the script he had to have the lab coat on to conceal the tech suit that had taken over him. I tried a few different looks, but I didn’t feel I was where I wanted it. I was stuck. So I went in other directions. I found that if I just sketched out ideas even if they went outside of the description the script called for, they might still give me ideas I could use.

The final idea for the bio tech armor actually came strangely enough from one of my fish that had died. The armor bone plating of a Pleco became the basis for the chest plating. I had to tweak and add bits of course, but its essentially the same design. Finally the circuitry veins were added over his skin, as well wires at the back of his neck.

Turn around…

Once you nail down your characters look, do a turn around and some sketches of them with different expressions. A turn around should consist of every angle of the character, so that there is no confusion what they look like from any angle. It will help yourself and others who may have to use the character in the future.

Bing, bang, boom, there you go. Thanks for reading, hopefully you’ve gleaned something new.

Holmes Inc. Get Electrified!

… Okay, well not really.  But we will be featured on Electric Playground tonight!

That’s right! Tonight, be sure to tune into Electric Playground on G4 Canada at 6:30pm or 1:30am to see a story featuring the hard-at-work Holmes Inc. creative team as we reached the final stage of our process.

Interviews with the creators and some unique insight into the world of Holmes Incorporated!

And fret not, fans, if you can’t watch it tonight, as there will be an encore performance on CityTV tomorrow night (28th) at 11:30 pm, Toronto time!

Preview Time!


It’s been a long time coming, but issue two is finished! Those who attended the launch party at Toronto Cartoonists Workshop on Friday got to nab their early copies, and the response has already been great!

We’ve got murder, mystery, intrigue, sea monsters, giant spiders, and defining moments in the lives of our team of detectives! If you’re a fan of issue one, you absolutely cannot miss out on the high-octane action adventures in the massive 80 page issue two!

To whet your appetite, we’ve included some teases for each of the issue’s stories below.



by James Cooper (script), Daniel Wong (pencils and inks).


by Dino Caruso (script), and Pierce Desrochers- O’Sullivan (pencils, inks & wash).


by Darius Fox (script), and Christopher Yao (pencils & and inks).


by Rain Infinity (script, pencils, art and digital background and tones).


by Mike Marano (script), Grant Howarth (pencils and tones), and Kellam Templeton-Smith (inks).


by Rob Pincombe (script), and Dawson Chen (pencils, inks and tones).


by Yolanda Cheung (script), Rob Pincombe (pencils), and Kellam Templeton-Smith (inks).


by Kathleen Gallagher (script), and Danny Setna (pencils).


by Vince Tourangeau (script and pencils), and Jeff Longstreet (inks).


by Sam Ruano (script), and Gibson Quarter (pencils and inks)


by Marshall Geddes (script and pencils), and Jef Longstreet (inks).


by Aaron Feldman (script), Rachael Wells (pencils), and Ty Templeton (inks).

Launch Party Madness!

Last night marked the debut of the hotly anticipated issue in the Holmes Inc saga. The creators and editorial team were on-hand to talk shop, sign books and celebrate the culmination of all their hard work.


This marked the first time many creators had seen or spoken to one another since the final editorial meeting, and what a difference a month makes!


Many of our creators are well on their way to developing new stories and some are re-teaming with their Holmes Inc partners to create some fantastic work!


Superstar illustrator Leonard Kirk was even on-hand to sign copies of the book, show off the original inked cover art and offer advice to emerging artists in the room.


All in all, one would hesitate to call the event anything short of a success. We want to thank all the creators for coming out and for all their hard work, but more importantly, we want to thank you fans for coming out and showing your support!


Now, let the countdown to Fan Expo 2011 begin!


Holmes Incorporated #2 has arrived!!!

Greetings fellow Holmesians!
It’s like Christmas here at Holmes Inc. central . The day we’ve long waited and worked for has arrived  —

Holmes Incorporated issue 2 launches today!!!!!

Thanks to artist Leonard Kirk and colourist Keiren Smith, who hit our second issue cover out of the ballpark!

Tonight the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop opens the doors on it’s new studio to one and all for the

Holmes Inc. #2 Launch Party and TCW Open House!  

If you’re out Toronto way come on down to 587 College Street (at Clinton), in the heart of Little Italy.

The party starts at 7 pm.

All out action from "Old Wounds". Story by Mike Marano. Art by Grant Howarth and Kellam-Templeton Smith.

Meet current comic book pros and mingle with the next generation of up and coming comic book superstars! And get your hands on a mint-condition, pristine, first edition copy of our magnificent, 80-page giant second issue!

Grab a drink and oogle the framed original artwork from the book. And heck, while you’re there, take a peek at the new home of our awesome printers (and talented artists in their own right),  Guerilla Printing!

Starting next week, we will delivering copies to comic books stores all over Toronto and surrounding towns. Also next week we will launch the second issue digitally, as well!

Our editor, Twinkletoes Ty Templeton, has been so excited he’s been posting preview art for the last two days.  We don’t want to steal his thunder (yet).  

So pop on over to Ty Templeton’s Artland and get your free sneak peek here , here, and here!

And whether you’re there in body or in spirit, take some time to come party with the Holmes Inc. crew tonight. They’ve earned it!

Trey and Edgar II are ready for action in this intrigue-laden pin-up by Dashing Dawnson Chen!

Artist Delightful Daniel Wong did this pin-up before Holmes Inc. #2 was even a glimmer in our editor's eye! He was a fan of the first issue and now he's our lead-off artist for issue 2!