Tag Archives: printing

Metropolitan Industrial Salvage

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That flattop is awesome and I don’t see how it could fail to make anyone smile.

It was pretty nice of Craig to write this script for the Upcoming American Salvage comic, not only because we gave him about 6 seconds notice that he was getting a page in the book, but also because last year he published an entire comic book about the history of Portage Printing (I drew 3 pages for him) and it’s sort of amazing that he still had any material left over. I thought he might have some kind of clever advertisement in his back pocket, already prepared, but he managed to come up with an original story that ties back into the “salvage” theme of the rest of the book.

I’ve never been to Portage Printing: when I lived in Kalamazoo I had a 500-page a semester copy code from the university, plus I got one of the secretaries to give me an unlimited code so I could secretly make copies of my 600-page novel in the middle of the night. However, I suspect it’s a top-notch place. Craig has really created an amazing business model, combining an obvious passion for professional excellence with the unforgettable marketing device of filling his workplace with old-timey artifacts. If you happen to be in southwestern Michigan and need to print a comic book or something like that, I highly recommend checking his place out.

Craig sent me some of the source images, and his loyal customers provided some others via the Portage Printing Yelp page.

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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 ii

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This is probably the most people who are actually supposed to look like real people that I’ve ever drawn into 1 comic. 

Page 2 of “The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Printing.” Took a little extra time as I wasn’t 100% sure of what the client wanted in panels 1 and 3, partly because creative people in fits of inspiration tend to have atrocious handwriting, and partly because (as only realized much later) I only read 1/2 of the notes. Also, the panels got cluttered pretty quickly, so I had to figure out which graphic elements to ditch (mostly people’s feet; originally there were a number of cowboys boots in this comic). I also had to leave off the speaker on the sound booth in panel 2 because the sound booth is already tiny and I couldn’t make it look good. Just imagine that the technician’s voice is coming through a speaker. Still, after it seemed done and uploaded, I decided to go back and add some fringe on the singer’s shirt in panel 4. It didn’t seem flashy enough for cowboy couture.

I’m especially pleased with the little pop-out heart for the gospel singer. It was a perfect compromise when it became apparent that a box would take up too much space.

I learned several things in the course of drawing this comic. The first thing was what a steel guitar is. Apparently whatever I thought a steel guitar is was wrong, but luckily, I had The Man around to set me right. The second thing was that The Man knows way too much about music. I had to look up “Little GTO,” but when I asked him if he knew the song, he could just start singing it. That song is like 50 years old; it came out 10 years before he was born. Then he gave me a short lecture about GTOs. Because he also knows way too much about cars. Of course, I did look up the Hi-Lo’s and WMU’s Gold Company. This comic will be distributed in Portage, so its intended readers will already know that WMU is Kalamazoo’s Western Michigan University, where I earned my MFA, but did not hear of the Gold Company.

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.

Real Paper Comic Books

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You may not know you want then. You may not want them at all. But I have them.

If you would like to own this one-of-kind, limited edition Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics comic book, and you are unable to travel to one of Bonnie Jo’s readings, or to the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where they are being sold, I have a small number of comics for sale, meaning you could receive this stunning collector’s item and help a starving artist at the same time.

If you know me personally and can come to my house, come over and I can sell you one at retail price. If you don’t know me or aren’t near Tucson, you can still harness the power of the internet. PayPay $5 and your shipping address to littledragonblue [at] yahoo [dot] com. But don’t do this if you are my grandmother, because I mailed you one yesterday.

These are really beautiful, high quality comics, professionally printed. If you’re a fan of Bonnie Jo Campbell, or of QWERTYvsDvorak, or of weird, uncategorizable, literary indie comics, or of supporting people who create art evert day that it doesn’t feel like their thumb is about to fall off, they come highly recommended.

QWERTYvsDvorak, the T-shirt Shop Part 1

My first T-shirt design

My first T-shirt design. Buy it here!

If I had all the time and money in the world, I would have gone back to school and studied visual art or graphic design, but that simply wasn’t an option, and I had a pretty good idea of what I need to do anyway. The Trickster’s Hat was simply the first few credit hours in my personal graduate study of art. With my husband encouraging me, I gave up my day job devoted myself to drawing. I calculated I could cover my expenses from savings for two years, and if I couldn’t make some kind of impact in two years, I would move on and figure out something else to do with my adulthood.

I love my giralicorn!

I love my giralicorn! Available for purchase here.

Instead of creating art in a vacuum, which had been my basic MO for most of my life, I decided to publish my final products, here in this blog, but also on some T-shirts. I liked the quality and artist-centric philosophy of RedBubble.com and found the site easy to navigate. I acquired a Wacom tablet and forced myself to learn how to use it. Then I began drawing like my life depended on it. I knew that my work would be imperfect, and I embraced that. Whether or not people loved it, I was going to take this chance seriously.

Squid vs Whale, the struggle

Squid vs Whale, the struggle. Show your love with a T-shirt! 

You can acquire any of these designs, and more, on a variety of products: shirts of every size, style, and color, plus sticker, device covers, pillows, tote bags, greeting cards, and poster. Visit my online shop for more details.