Category Archives: comic

Priorities

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His second-to-last word were, “I don’t want to be a statistic.”

This is something from my sketchbook, the only comic of a million ideas that I had while drawing “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind” that I actually recorded. It never got worked up because I was busy and it was dark. But, man, we are living in some dark times. I had a whole screed that I intended to publish here about how dark those times are, for me personally and for the world at large, but suddenly I’m not feeling it. A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend asked, “People with invisible disabilities, what do you wish other people understood about living with your chronic illness?” and I wrote, “I am literally doing the best I can.”

I am literally doing the best I can.

In case anyone was wondering, I finished all the art for Close Encounters; it took me about 8 months all told, working an average of maybe 20 hours a week for most of it. Linda loved it. Although it was meant to be ambiguous and mind-bending, beta readers seemed to find it a bit too ambiguous and mind-bending, so I’m adding just a bit more text. But honestly, its intention is to be something that the reader has to work at and at this point in my life whether or not an individual gets my art has little impact on my artistic process.

What bums me out: the artwork is about 1000 times better than what usually ends up in my webcomics, and it still bears about as much resemblance to the pictures in my head as a 5-year-old’s crayon drawing does to a portrait of their family, and to get it that good required an entire month to draw a single page. Granted, I learned a lot in the process and if I had to do it again, it might take only 4 or 5 months, but that’s still too slow for the kind of comics I want to produce. You need at least a page a week. At 4 pages a week, these webcomics are as good as it gets right now. It’s a conundrum.

Hopefully, I can announce the next comic book on the horizon pretty soon.

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Comic Book Villains

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And allow me to add that, if my demands are not met in 3 days, I will release this paralyzing neurotoxin into Gotham City’s water supply. Bwoo-ha-ha-ha.

Adequate funding and educational success rates correlate pretty strongly in any type of school, but this genius, Betsy DeVos, parochial school cheerleader, believes the solution to failing schools is to cut funding. To punish them, you know, until they behave. Like strangling your child when they melt down in the grocery story until they learn their lesson. Or stop breathing. Whichever happens first. But really, she just wants to abolish the public school system and force all children to receive Christian “education.” Like if the First Amendment didn’t exist and we lived in country where separation of church and state wasn’t specifically guaranteed.

I had another insomnia night last night, totaling 0 minutes of sleep over the last 36 hours, but I couldn’t think of an Insomnia Comic. All I could think about was this woman’s terrifying smile, which, to me, says, “I know I’m a fraud but I really think I’m getting away with it.” It’s the smile of a missionary promising eternal happiness in the next life, in exchange for your embrace of physical and mental servitude in this one. The longer I’m awake, the more the incoming administration remind me of Batman villains. Their plots are so insane as to strain credulity. I don’t think I’m the first to make the Dolores Umbridge connection, either. Betsy DeVos creeps me out. I wouldn’t want her around my kids. I believe children should receive straight answers. Especially where it concerns education.

Maybe tomorrow I should do Trump as the Penguin.

Sorry I’m not terribly funny right now.

Bwoo-ha-ha-ha, indeed.

The Sound of Printing part iii

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Imagine what I could get up to if i knew how to run animation software.

And now we present the stunning finale of “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Printing,” in which I have drawn, at my client’s request, 3 retro TVs displaying video clips I found on YouTube. Also, the Loony Toons finale design.With the client standing in for Porky Pig. It’s hard to believe how narrow television was in the past. Shows were tiny. I cut 1/3 off of each image.

If you want to see these commercials and hear the different versions of the jingle, they’re all in this YouTube playlist. Now all I have to do this week is create a holiday bulletin board, finish the Brother Wolf logo redesign, storyboard my Linda Addison collaboration, and get the cover for The Hermit together. And, of course, go vote. Just those things.

My holiday bulletin board will be on the theme of unity.

The Sound of Printing part i

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Those are some big speakers. I guess print shops are noisy places. You need big speakers.

Here’s something new: working for money. The printer who made my Bonnie Jo Campbell comics, Craig Vestal of Portage Printing, hired me to draw a promotional comic for his shop. He wrote the script and drew the thumbnails. This is the first page I’ve created from his notes.

I had just read a Smithsonian article about Wes Wilson, the designer who created the psychedelic-style concert posters in the 60s, and decided to draw the title in the same style as the original Sound of Music movie promotions, which has that groovy ’60s feel even though the movie is set during WWII. Craig sent me photos of all his classic stereo equipment and of the Brown Brothers.

This is page 1 of 3. I don’t know what number comic this is, but apparently Craig has hired a number of artists to create a quantity of comics detailing the history of his shop. Clever. Comics are the best.

Halloween Insult Comics, 2016

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It’s not a lie. His mama is really covered in mold.

I lied! Whilst looking at my old comics from Halloweens past, I came across the original version of Halloween Insult Comics and realize that if I could find the original file, I could just write some new insults on the old image. And then I realized that I could use the horizontal type tool for the text, which is much more efficient than hand lettering. So this is a new comic. My hand is mostly OK now, and I have commission comic for cash money to draw this weekend.

 

Proof of Concept

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Layers! Onions have layers; reality has layers. You get it. 

This is a proof of concept drawing for my next big project about which I am stoked and can now discuss: collaborating with the always-amazing Linda Addison to create 1 or 2 comics for her upcoming book of interconnected short stories, Negative Spaces. Originally, based on the tile of the book, I have envisioned a very different style–much more black, much simpler lines–but after we talked about the project for a couple hours, the layers started to come together.

This image won’t be an actual comic panel: it just demonstrates the style in which the eventual comic will appear, more or less. Still needs some tweaks, but the idea is that each layer of reality has its own weight and solidity.

  • The background is a manipulated photograph; in the next iteration I’ll leave off the stippling and just play with the contrast and brightness to take it down to line work.
  • The human character is a pencil sketch, with the interiors filled in with grayscale to pull it forward from the background.
  • The kid’s imaginary friend is drawn in crayon, then reproduced at 50% opacity so it’s partially transparent but still heavy enough to interact with the kid.
  • The 5th dimension beings are a 3D polymer clay model set on the scanner bed to make them hyper-real.

These aren’t the actual 5th dimension beings, whose design specs have not yet solidified: it’s 3 different angles on the “chronic pain and insomnia” figurine from my personal demons collection, because it was the only monster I had lying around that seemed as if it would lie easily on the scanner. The actual 5th dimension beings will be flatter, for maximum scannability.

Of course, these comics have to be black and white, but knowing that in advance gives me the opportunity to experiment and possibly understand how playing with grayscale can add dimensionality

It’s OK If You Don’t Get Me

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Just keeping it weird here.

This is the latest T-shirt design. I know it’s completely weird and unsellable, but literally my entire M.O. is to just do the thing that my muse tells me do, regardless of how ridiculous it seems. Then, later on, I wonder what the heck I was thinking, but some percentage of the time it works out for the best. The poet Syd Lea once told me that I should keep doing whatever felt right to me regardless of what anyone else said. He said, “Be stubborn, woman.”

Not that I needed that advice. Maybe he figured I was just going to do that anyway.

The original version of this design was the last panel of the first BJC comic, about how sometimes your own mother doesn’t understand you so you can’t expect much from the rest of the world. Even in context, it’s bizarre. The benefit of this sort of extremely niche design is that if anyone else does appreciate it, you know you truly have commonalities at the core.

If you’d like to purchase this bizarre comic panel on a variety of clothing, paper products, and household items, you can obtain It’s OK If You Don’t Understand Me in my RedBubble shop.

Tomorrow I guess I’ll go back to drawing longer comics. Maybe.