First South sketch - This was my attempt to work in the style of Ron Cobb; I wanted to convey the feeling of things breaking down and/or ships and parts patched together through scrap+detritus. I had no clear story at this point.
Southcity mainframe - Sketches started to reveal something happening around my neighborhood lake. At the time I was reading a lot of Lovecraft, so I set my sights on making the story a "Lovecraft of Oakland".
study for another chapter heading - South city starts to take shape. Layer upon layer of stacked blocks and clear penthouses. The lightbulb keeps popping up as a recurring symbol. Originally played with layers here to mock a 3D-without-the-glasses effect.
Carter, robot of the future - Carter, a refugee from my Catholic Kate comic book series, was a logical choice for one of the primary characters. I was also working on making him into a collectible toy, which made writing for him pretty easy.
Clyde in space - Clyde, another Catholic Kate refugee, in space with his trusty lazer gun. This was originally drawn for the last issue of Catholic Kate, but it set me off into the sci-fi world of South. I've also always wanted to squish his ears into some helmet.
Rebecca, keeper of the plants - Rebecca shows up in Southland one early Spring morning and winds up squatting and taking over the garden of a house she finds near the lake. Cultivates the Spice and acts as all-around guru/muse to Carter and Clyde. Seems to know everyone. Prone to visions; lives a healthy back-to-earth all natural lifestyle. Doesn't take spice.
Jenny Zombie - Jenny is the zombie of the series; she gets her own book. Her style will be drawn in the manner of Argento's Suspiria crossed with whatever I can achieve with heavy Sharpie and green and red. Sketch originally based on classic Romero "Zombie girl" from Night of the Living Dead.
RenCo Industries Comic Con exclusive magnets - Distributed via Carter art-o-mat at Comic Con 2010. To get to really know the character of Carter, I made him into an Art-O-Mat to distribute these magnets and assorted schwag at the SD Comic Con. At this point I had decided on a few charcters: Carter, a sidekick that was some kind of drunken sponge bottom-lake dweller, and Jenny the Zombie. The little devil guy on the top left didn't go anywhere; he might show up later as a vinyl.
Vision #1 - The character of Rebecca is prone to visions. She keeps the Spice and plants and guides Clyde and Carter on their journeys through Southland.
Vision #2 - more Rebecca visions; this time of junkyard cars and passageways.
South process board - This is how I keep track of the whole story. This actually spans about four large foam core boards. Since the stories will intertwine I need to see everyone and all the environments at once. I also love using post-its and Sharpie.

South is the 4-volume epic book I've been working on for the past three years. This set will document some of my process, character designs, and chapter headings+set pieces I've worked up. All feedback is most welcome.

Chip Beal
Industrial Toy Designer Oakland, CA