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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Community Avengers

I got a commission to draw the cast of Community, easily my favorite show on TV. I decided to draw them as the Avengers.



(Click on the above image for a full-sized version)

For folks who watch the show, here’s a Christmas present for you: I went ahead and sized it for wallpapers, should you be inclined to use ‘em.  I'm not tech-savvy enough to know how to make 'em download straight away, so just click on the one that fits your screen size and drag the image to your desktop (if you're on a Mac) or save it, I think (if you're on a PC).

1600 x 1200
1280 x 1244
1280 x 960
1152 x 864
1024 x 768
800 x 600
640 x 480


For folks who don’t watch Community, start! I promise you, you are missing out on one of the best group dynamics of any sitcom, ever. I could go on and on about how great the show is, but I won’t, ‘cause it would be boring.

I’m taking a few days off posting to the blog for the next few days. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Twitter

I have a twitter now: http://twitter.com/#!/schweizercomics/

I guess follow me to get the play-by-play.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pencils

For my pencils (underdrawing), I use a black Col-Erase pencil to put down extremely loose lines, giving me a sense of my composition, and sometimes (as is the case here) a grid of sorts for the ground plane.  I tighten it up just a little bit, and then I go over those pencils with Faber Castell PITT pens, using all of the sizes but mostly XS. 



I wanted to scan this one before I erase the pencil marks, which I do so that when I scan this to blow it up and print it out in light blue it'll be easier to decipher my own intent for the inks, especially since I'll be laying them down much later.  I wanted to save this one, though, because I did far more with the pencil than I usually do at this stage.

Back to work!  I want to see if I can finish this, the third page for today.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

China Sailor

Here's a guy I drew a few days ago - a costume study for a US shore patrol sailor in 1920s China.


Click the image for a full-sized version.

When I was a really little kid, out next door neighbor had old Navy tattoos that had turned blue-green with age, so I always like to throw that color down when I can.  A big reason why I don't have any tattoos myself is that now they're "better" and won't age in such a way, which to me is like buying leather that won't scuff and shine.  What's the point?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Book Cover for my Dad's New Novel

My dad's got a great mystery novel series (the St. Germaine books), but has written a new book that's less a cozy and more of a hard-boiled.  It's set in 1940s Chicago, with a cop who had been a pro footballer back in the days of leather helmets.  I enjoyed the heck out of the first draft (I haven't read the final version yet), and asked if I might take a crack at designing the cover.  He said sure.

Here was my mock up - I sent him a bunch of different color versions, and this is the one he liked best:



He ran it by his book folks, who cautioned him that it looked a little too much like a graphic novel, so I eliminated the line-work on the final version and made it more of a collage-y type of deal.

Anyway, here's the front cover:



Here's the wraparound, though it doesn't yet have publisher logo/ISBN/text yet.



Anyway, it was fun!  He's been very patient, too - I told him I'd do this back in the summer, but pressing deadlines have prevented me from doing so.  Anyway, not sure when it's coming out, but keep your eyes peeled - I think it's soon.

I might eliminate the shadow on the big guys gun arm, and just have it be all light orange, save the gun itself.  Thoughts?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Building Designs

While visiting my folks for Thanksgiving I did a few pages worth of rough building designs for a book I want to do sometime down the road.  Here they are.



Click on the image for a full-sized version.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yearbook Girls

I get told that I don't draw enough girls, so I used my high school freshman yearbook to grab some faces.




Click the image for a full-sized version.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's a picture. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Zoo Drawings

I was just reminded that I never put the zoo drawings up!

Here they are.




As usual, click the image to see a full-sized version.

I'd been itching to go the zoo lately.  Shawn announced that the department will be offering the Animal Anatomy class (which I took as a grad student) this Spring under the tutelage of Doug Dabbs.  That, paired up my reading lots of animation books lately, has had me chomping at the zoo-going bit so that I could do some animal drawings.

My daughter Penny, who just turned one, is also finally old enough to go, so when my parents and sister (and her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter) were in town last week we decided to take a trip.

Penny loved it.  She loved looking at the animals, especially the naked mole rats.  She and her cousin had a great time, the adults all had a great time, and zoos are pretty much awesome.  Also, thanks to our membership, we may get free admission elsewhere, including Greenville, which is right by where my parents live.  So, huzzah!  Hopefully these will be the first of many animal pics.

Oh, and the Komodo dragon is shedding his skin, not injured.  And that gorilla was sleek and muscular, and did not like us being so close to him.  He repeatedly secreted a sharp, acrid musk that had our nostrils burning.

Cowboy Silhouettes

I met Jimmy Palmiotti this weekend in Miami, and we were talking about historical accuracy, research etc. I knew he did Jonah Hex, but I didn't know that it was historically plausible, nor was I aware that each issue was a stand-alone story.

This got me really excited. The reason that I don't read 99.5 percent of the big two floppies are because I don't want one segment of some long soap opera. When I read, I want a story. Now, I understand why DC doesn't advertise Jonah Hex this way - it'll turn off the majority of floppy buyers who DO want the long soap opera - but I'd have picked it up a long time ago had I known. There's an artist employed at least once whose work I just can't stand (I didn't pick up one of the trades as a result of his inclusion), but there's consistently amazing work by Jordi Bernet and the occasional story by Darwyn Cooke. There are a lot of artists whose work doesn't necessarily jump out at me, but it doesn't detract from the stories, either. Anyway, if you haven't given it a look, do so. It's a revolving line of artists, so if you don't see one that you like, try another.

I picked up a couple and they put me in a cowboy mood, so I did a bunch of silhouettes on the plane.  I may use them to do some designs later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, and the Miami Book Fair

I went to Miami for the Miami Book Fair International, which is an international book fair held in Miami. It's actually an amazing event, with tons and tons of people, loads of kids, and I had a great time. I was lucky enough to be invited down as an author this year, which meant that I was on a number of panels and got to enjoy the fancy author treatment, including free cheese. 

Although there were, I don't know, a hundred other invited authors there, for some reason the cartoonists, many of whom had never met, all seemed to find each other and hang out in the same places.  We were trying to figure out why this was - the initial assumption was that "real" authors go out to eat, and we comic folk flock to the free cheese.  But as more and more cartoonists ended up being the only people in the rooms designed for everyone, it became weird and uncanny. 

I did a lot of sketching during the weekend - some of it character designs, some compositional exercises - but I also did a lot of from-life observation quickies.  Here are a few of them.





The image with the couches and chairs is one of the author hospitality suites, where I met a lot of other comic folk (and some great prose writers, too).  The the fella on the right of the couch is Charles Kochman, editor at Abrams, which puts out some great comic arts books, as well as a lot of great kids books through their Amulet imprint.  One of those is by Barry Deutsch, who I had the pleasure of hanging around with a lot this evening, and another is by Amy Ignatow, who was more or less our ringleader the whole time.  The only reason I didn't draw a picture of Amy is that anytime she was in the room we were having too much fun to remember to sketch.


Here's a girl I saw at a sandwich stop, and a presenter at one of the panels.

Again, I had a truly great time.  I did sketches for probably a hundred and fifty kids over Friday and Saturday, I did workshops and hopefully taught 'em some fun stuff.  I got to meet (usually briefly) a lot of folks whose work I admire, including Dave Barry, Linda Barry (no relation, as far as I know), Jaime Hernandez, Chip Kidd, and Dean Haspiel.  All in all, I had a great time.  I'll be posting more sketches over the next few days, though I think that's all I'll show from the observation end.

One more cheese note - There was one evening where there were three very good cheeses - a wax rind one and two soft-ripened goats - where most everyone was already full from lunch, and the room hostess, Roberta, proclaimed that she didn't want there to be any cheese left when we were gone.  So I ate all of the cheese in order to see her wishes met. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Star Wars Guys

More Star Wars guys.  No good reason.  Trying to keep up with my posting-every-weekday rule.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guy with a flag

Another warlord soldier.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quadrangle House Courtyard Scene

Liz and I took Penny to the zoo for the first time today, going with my parents, my sister, and my niece.  I did some sketches; I'll post 'em here in a few days (probably won't post anything tomorrow or Sunday).

in the meantime, here's a test panel from the next Crogan book, Crogan's Escape, based on a loose scene.  Just trying to see how the characters look in relation to each other and the environment. 



Click the image for a full-sized version.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Art Forum Sketches

Here are some sketches I did during our annual art forum at SCAD-Atlanta.



Check out the work of the folks pictured:

Stan
Domo
Skottie
Canete
Audrey
Edgardo
Julie
Matt
Falynn

'Cause we're all artists up in here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Star Wars Guys

Did some sketches of some Star Wars characters.  Not real star wars characters; characters I would make if I were doing a Star Wars thing. 


I think that the prequels killed the design sense of the Star Wars projects.  Everything is either surface (Darth Maul, the girl from clone wars, etc) or animation-oriented (those waspy guys from episode 2), and one of the things that made Star Wars so fun is that the aliens all looked like they could be guys in suits with big heads or long arms or what have you. 

Plus, the Jedi all look the same, with the robes and stuff.  No fun.  If I did star wars stuff, I'd want to push the wonderful 70s aesthetic in regards to hair, clothes, etc.  Anyway, a few quick ones.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Old guy, Kung Fu guy

Some more drawings.




Though it may have changed somewhat, the plot of Crogan's Escape originally involved a good deal of Kung Fu.  This is a sketch to try and capture some of the movement of that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sketching from Life in Kentucky

My daughter Penny had her first birthday (if you don't count the birth) on Saturday, and we drove up to Kentucky for a brief visit and party with my in-laws. While there I did sketches any time I went out.

I tried to do them as quickly as possible, trying the Walt Stanchfield method of getting a first impression and grabbing it, glancing as you go for cursory details. Most of these drawings were done in under fifteen seconds or so, not counting the dropped-in black; that probably added another fifteen to each. I also like Stanchfield's insistence that each drawing tell a story, tell you something about the person you're drawing. That's something I'm not great about - a lot of times I use my sketchbook simply to grab faces, etc that I can use for reference later. I feel pretty good about 'em this time around.


Liz's grandmother at her rest home


Ordered tacos, waiting for them to come to the counter.  I wish I'd captured how furtively the guy in the upper right leaned over his drink rather than pulling it towards him; I don't think I got it.


We stop at Cracker Barrel whenever Penny needs changing because the changing tables are always clean and there's a lot for her to look at. Here are some folks in the store part.  Apparently Cracker Barrel on a Sunday afternoon is THE place to go if I ever need to sketch old folks.


Penny eating - one of the first times I felt like I "got" her. I can never draw my own family to my liking.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another warlord soldier



We're on our way back from Kentucky, where I did quite a few quick glance sketches any time we were out.  I'll post 'em up tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Chinese Guy

Another costume study:



Click image for full-sized version.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Costume Studies

One of the things I do a lot when prepping for a book or project is costume studies. When I'm doing these I'm not especially worried about the character design, matching the style to the book... what I'm concentrating on is the individual parts of a costume. How they work, what the textures are, how the material overlaps.

I do a bunch, mixing and matching details, usually from museum sketches or Osprey military history books (great references) or library borrows. Once I have a hefty amount under my belt, I'll use them as reference for what background (and some main) characters should be wearing, and can concentrate entirely on storytelling, not having to stop and labor over research and technique.

Anyway, I figured I'd post some over the next couple of weeks. These are costume studies for soldiers in a 1920s Chinese warlord army. They'll be playing a large role in the fourth Crogan book, Crogan's Escape.

One guy, ostensibly part of the "Big Sword Brigade":


Click image for full-size version.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Countdown: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The last (and scariest?) monster of the bunch...



HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-1!

Second to last monster!  This one is kind of based on Lovecraft's "Cthulhu" character, but without wings or claws.  Again, trying to make everything as inhuman as possible.



Click on the image above for a full-sized version.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-2!

Another monster!  Two more days 'til Halloween!  My count might have been off before?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-3!

Another monster!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-4!

Another monster, based loosely on descriptions of the "Elder Things" from Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness.



Click on the image above to see a full-sized version.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-5!

More Monsters!





(Click the images for full-sized versions)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Countdown: T-6, I think

Halloween is my favorite holiday.  I love dressing in costumes, I love being spooked... but for the last four or five years, I haven't been able to enjoy Halloween.  Fall is my busiest time of year, and the first three weeks of October are my busiest three weeks of the year.  By the time I've crested that hump, I'm too far behind with correspondence and work to even think about Halloween. 

So this year, I thought about it in mid-September! 

That's right, I gave myself an early Halloween.  I read scary books.  I watched scary movies.  I drew these things.

Though I was supposed to start putting these up a few days ago for a "Halloween Countdown," I was too busy.  We just had our Arts Forum at the school, and this year our guests were Stan Sakai, Eric Canete, and Skottie Young.  A wonderful opportunity for the students, but one that kept me from posting when I meant to.  Anyway, for the next couple of days, you get TWO drawings instead of just one.  And now...

TERRIBLE ANCIENT THINGS

Psuedo-Lovecraftian Monster Drawings

(As always, click on the image to see a full-sized version)



Dagon Lovecraft

Keep checking back each morning for more TERRIBLE MONSTERS (I know the first one ain't a monster.  It's a mood-setter!).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pokemon

A bunch of my friends have done self portraits of themselves as three-stage Pokemons for Steve Wolfhard's Portrait-Dex blog.  So I did one, too!



Click for a bigger image.


I never watched Pokemon (I was a bit too old when it came out in the states to forgive the quality of the animation), but I still thought this exercise would be fun.  I did watch a few episodes of Digimon, though, which was a Pokemon ripoff that looked a lot better (like Flash Gordon to Buck Rogers, the sub-par original).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Popeye

Sorry for not posting in so long!  I've got a sort of good reason(?).  I've been doing drawings that I plan to post in late October for Halloween, and the other drawings I've been doing are for the Crogan Adventure Society newsletter.  So I've had nothing to show!  But here's my take on E.C. Segar's Popeye.


New York Comic Con in a couple of weeks!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Contest Winner(s)!

The contest (see previous post) has its winner(s)!

Now, there were a lot of different answers given, and a lot of them were not technically wrong, actually. But I was looking for something that could be clearly backed up with a stated fact, rather than clever assumptions. Unfortunately, my pick for an answer relies on the reader sharing my thought that the characters Bailey and Gerald are inseparable comrades, having been friends since forever and remaining so until they die. This, however, is never clearly stated in Crogan’s March, and so it is entirely understandable that the “two characters” part of the question threw some folks for a loop.

So, as I’ve alluded to but not actually stated, the two characters in question are Gerald and Bailey, Peter Crogan’s Legionnaire companions.



As to the first part of the question, they met Robert Crogan.



They met him in the Spanish American War. How do we know that?



Bailey mentions that he (and, in my mind, Gerald) fought under a man named “Fightin’ Joe Wheeler.” Wheeler was the general for the Cavalry division of the US volunteers during the Spanish American War, which included T.R.’s famed Rough Riders.

Now, Bailey could have mentioned Wheeler in reference to service during the Philippine-American War in 1899 and 1900, but I plan to have him and Gerald involved with the Boxer Uprising, and they can’t be both places at once (well, they could hop from one to the other, but even so…), and I was thinking of the Spanish American War when I wrote the line.

So! That being the case, the big winner is Eric Newsome! Congrats, Eric. Though Keenan Luciani also got the correct answer, but a hair later. Good job, both of you!

What made me think of the contest in the first place was doing sketches of Gerald and Bailey at different points in their lives, as they’ll likely appear in Crogan Adventures stories. Here are a few of them:







And I mentioned other guesses that weren’t technically wrong. The only reason they weren’t what I was looking for is that they were logical assumptions (albeit correct ones) rather than the “fact tying” I previously mentioned. Some of the submissions that were especially interesting:

From Trevor Verges: “From researching the battles mentioned in Roitelet's past exploits, i see he was present for a short period in west africa a few decades back. The way Peter talks about and defends Roitelet makes me think he's the one mentioned in Peters cryptic speech involving his motives. Now that i review the story I can see that Roitelet is maybe only 8-10 years older than Peter and could still appear to be as young as I assumed he was and that Peter's roughness was only the product of five years service to the legion...met Peter's father Joseph in Africa when Peter was an early teen, where Joseph moved his family to as a miner.”

Trevor, you’re right that Roitelet met Peter’s father Joseph in Africa! Roitelet, like Bailey and Gerald, is someone I plan to have pop up whenever possible.

John Klump suggests John Tolliver Crogan, giving his reasons: “Dr. Crogan states that "Peter's companions" relate his fate to family members after his death. Of Peter's still-living companions, only two of them (Bailey and Gerard) would realistically re-enlist in the Legion (Juarez almost assuredly would leave). A re-enlistment would last until 1917. Battles during World War I that would bring both the Legion and the RFC (and along with it, Peter's brother John) are few, the big one prior to 1917 being the Battle of the Somme.”

Derrick Schisler comes to the same conclusion: “My deduction would be that the two characters would meet John Tolliver Crogan, seeing as John T. and Peter were so close in time and come from the same line of the family, and because at the end of Crogan's March Father Crogan states that "the story was passed on to our family through his companions" (plural noted) (Not part of the contest but I think its safe to assume that it was Gerald and Bailey that passed on the info). Also, seeing as John T. is a pilot by profession in 1916, its also a reasonable assumption that he's a pilot taking part in World War I. Soooo.... the meeting place would have to be somewhere like... North Africa? I'm not sure if that is specific enough, but this is a really difficult challenge haha I've enjoyed trying and trying for the past two days to figure it out, but I'm at wit's end... “

And you guys are both right, too! The plural “companions” does indeed refer to Bailey and Gerald, but their five years in the Legion would be ending at the same time Peter’s would have, and I have a hunch that the might volunteer for the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Volunteer air service. Hmmm…

There were quite a few entries, but these are the ones that exhibited the most thought and effort. It seems like it’d be a shame to only award one, seeing as all five were right in one way or another, so all of the answers featured in this post will receive the prize! I’ll just make sure that Eric Newsome’s is extra fancy. Congrats, and thanks to everyone who participated!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

CONTEST!

Contest!

Okay, folks! I had an idea for a contest, so that you sharp-minded readers can prove your mettle of both noticing details AND having a good grasp of history. Here's the question:

Two of the characters in Crogan's March have met another Crogan, someone other than Peter.

1. Who did they meet?
2. Where did they meet him?
3. How do you know?
(i.e. show your work! I ain't countin' guesses, just deductions.)

You can deduce the answers from information contained in Crogan's March, if you're clever.

The first person to send me an e-mail with the correct answer (chris@curiousoldlibrary.com) wins a drawing of him or herself as a Legionnaire.  It's gotta be via e-mail, so that I can tell which ones I got first.

Website Overhaul!

Well, after a long time of wanting to, I've given my website a bit of an overhaul. It still has more or less the same setup, but the ugly colors are gone and now it has many more sections - a place to buy original art, links to interviews, teachers' resources (which are still in the works), drawings, f.a.q.s, etc. Check it out! The original art page I'm especially glad to have, as it will hopefully make it easier for folks to buy pages, and it'll be easier on ME as I won't have to go through portfolio after portfolio checking to see what I have on hand.

2 Things -

1. If you clack the "blog" link, you'll find that the banner at the top only serves to send you back to the main page. Working on this!
2. The text needs some kind of border/buffer on the side. I know it butts right up against the walls of the browser window. Working on this, too!

Anyway, check it out: The Curious Old Library (www.curiousoldlibrary.com)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A couple of Hessians

I got to the part in the book where I introduce the troop of Hessians, and realized that (with the exception of the Captain) I hadn't designed any of them!  Whoops.


(click for bigger version)

There are seven total; here are the two with the biggest speaking parts.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Studio Tour

I just cleaned the studio, and thought now's as good a time as any to take some pics. Click on them for a bigger view.



An overview of my work area.  The desks were made out of old doors that were in our garage, bolted together and held up by some metal shelving units we got at Home Depot.  On those shelves I mostly keep different kinds of paper stock.

My computer rig is in the corner.  Starting from the desk and moving right:  An Epson Stylus Photo 1270, which I use to print out blue line (only the blue nozzle works - I got it used from my dad); my wife's old college TV, hooked up to my brother-in-law's old X-box, which I use to watch DVDs (and, maybe twice a year, spend a couple of hours playing games);  iMac computer; Wacom Cintiq screen, where I do any touch ups and digital coloring; Epson GT-20000 Scanner; paper towels; HP Laserjet P1006, which I use to print my pencil templates, page proofs, etc.


Two of my bookshelves, along with my filing cabinet.  The bookshelf on the right holds my bigger reference books (my favorites being the 7-volume Peoples of All Nations set, which is kind of like National Geographic but from the 1910s, and Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze, which is exactly what it sounds like) and "art of" books.  A lot of the latter are animation books, but I've got some comic ones there, too, as well as live-action films. 

The bookshelf on the right is all graphic novels.

The filing cabinet holds work for my comics classes as well as lots of interviews with different comic artists that I've found online or in magazines and printed or made copies.

The art in the middle is a drawing of Peter Crogan done by Usagi Yojimbo cartoonist Stan Sakai, and below that is a Guy Davis page from B.P.R.D.  Above the filing cabinet is a watercolor by French Belladone artist Pierre Alary


If you were to look to the right of the filing cabinet, you'd see this - stairs that go up to the regular part of the house, and another bookshelf. 

The art on the wall, left to right, is a Muppets comic cover by Roger Langridge, featuring Sherlock Holmes; a print of that great Art Adams King Kong drawing; a watercolor of Super Spy character Pipe Man by Matt Kindt; a sketch of Phony Bone dressed as Captain Ahab by Jeff Smith; and below that some covers from George MacDonald Fraser's Flashman series, hands down my favorite historical adventure series ever.

The books in the window are library books.

On the shelf are some of my need-at-a-moment's-notice history books, mostly about Pirates, North Africa, the French Foreign Legion, the American Revolution, and 1920s China.  The bottom shelf, and a chunk of the one above it, are National Geographic magazines.


This is my mini-comics assembly area.  I have a Swingline long-arm stapler, an X-acto papercutter, and a cutting mat.  Nothing too fancy, but it works.

The left half of the top shelf is about old newspaper strip collections; the right half is comics history, criticism, and textbooks, plus some animation and film texts, too.

The middle shelf has my comics anthologies on it, an in-progress scratchbuilt model of a ship that will play a large role in the fourth Crogan Adventures book, and some of my mini-comics, organized but organized haphazardly.  The bottom shelf is all mini-comics, too.


My drawing desk is a table-top from the scratch-and-dent section of Ikea, bolted to the doors at my preferred drawing angle.  The scratches and dents are on the underside.  It's big enough that I can make a wide arc of my arm from one bottom corner to the other without going off, which is great, as I have pretty long arms.  To the left is a lightbox, previously owned by Shawn Crystal, Pat Quinn, and James Sturm, and which will be owned by someone after me.  The lamps are from Ikea, too, and were eight bucks apiece.  The mirror that runs across the back is so that I can make faces.

On the right corner of the desk I keep the tools I use all the time - a pencil sharpener, an eraser, a tiny ruler - and some white ink.  I have their spots masked off with painter's tape and labeled because otherwise I lose them.


My cups are the only way I can keep track of my art supplies.  They're all labeled with what goes in it, whether it's new, like new, or used, etc.  This way I never have to hunt for the right tool, and I can keep tools that still have ink but may be a little dull.  The rack was built by me, with each cup-hole drilled with a doorknob bit.  It took forever, and was hard.


Lastly, I have my pipes and tobacco.  Most of the pipes are on a beautiful rack my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  Now that we have a baby, Liz isn't keen on me smoking in the house anymore, which is a shame because I love having a briar between my teeth when I'm drawing pages.  Behind that, you can see my hat rack, which (now that I don't take the train every day) sees less on-and-off than it used to.

The art on the wall is, clockwise from left, by Chris Wright, Paul Maybury, Richard Thompson (it's a Cul-De-Sac strip), Scott Chantler, and Nick Bertozzi.  The pipes in the frame are pre-civil war clay pipes.