Monday, April 30, 2007

One-twelfth in!

Page 6 of "Leash."

It may not sound like a big step, but I'm excited - I am 100% finished with the first 12 pages of the 144-page graphic novel that I'm working on. It took a week. If I can keep up this schedule, I'll be done in 3 months, 4-5 if you factor in revisions and tweaks. It may take much longer than that, but once I get a stride I can usually keep it going.

In studio last Wednesday I drew a picture of Hunter, so here it is:

I'm going to be teaching two classes this summer, and assitant teaching a SCAD class. The two on my own are workshop programs that a private school in Tennessee is hosting, on teaching comics. One will be 9-13 year-olds, the other 13 and up. The SCAD class is Introduction to Sequential Art. I'm very excited about both. Alec Longstreth was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to call me with tips and project ideas that he's found to work with kids from his classes with Aaron Renier. There's no way to express how helpful the call was, and I'm sure that it'll make a BIG difference in terms of how much the kids get out of it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Back in Business

Page 5 of "Leash."

Yesterday was a really good day. I woke up and just sat around and thought, something I've not done in a while -- I always seem to be busy doing something (usually comics or school).

When I found out that the project on which I'm currently working wouldn't be serialized and would be instead presented in its entirety, I abandoned my initial plan of six 24-page chapters. But I'd hit a big snag in the scripting process; I had the plot, but some of the details weren't flushed out, and I was having trouble figuring out what came next.

Anyway, I realized that even though the story won't be serialized that doesn't mean that I shouldn't stick to the original structure anyway. I wrote the plot out with that rise-and fall pattern of a cliffhanger, and I should execute it as such.

Anyway, with this in mind, the details started flowing because I now had a point "A" and a point "C" (point "C" being page 24... actually, I have the last page of each 24-page section thoroughly planned out), and all I had to do was map out point "B" (the twelve pages I was missing). They're now scripted and thumbnailed out, and the book has taken off again! I also got five pages completely inked and ready for press over the past couple of days. My ink cartridges came in, which helped - I had a day and a half of no productivity due to no ink. But now I'm set for a while!

We were talking about the Jeff Smith-edited Pogo collections that Fantagraphics will be putting out the other day, and I naturally thought of my grandfather. He was a HUGE Pogo fan (along with Peanuts and Asterix) and it is very probable that had he not been such a lifelong admirer of the form that my dad wouldn't be, and that I wouldn't be doing what I do. My dad has a painting that my grandfather did of Pogo hanging in his office. I had him send me a photo of it. Here it is:

Lastly, I went over to Hunter's yesterday and showed him my thumbnails for the story which I'm doing for the Indie Spinner Rack anthology book, "AWESOME." He (correctly) pointed out that my ending was sad, something that I hadn't intended. We threw some ideas around, and thanks to his input the story is ready to go into the penciling stage (I'll try and get that done tomorrow). He also gave me an extra copy that he had of the Alex Toth "Zorro" collection, and showed me about eighteen gazillion obscure comics and sketchbooks (obscure to me, at any rate), really inspiring stuff.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Leash page 4

Friday, April 20, 2007

Anthology City!

Here's the third page from Leash:

I did a phone interview with Charlito and Mr. Phil from Indie Spinner Rack last night (it should be up Wednesday), and they gave me some incredibly good news - I've got two pages in the upcoming Indie Spinner Rack anthology book! It's looking to be a great book, with the likes of Roger Langridge, Renee French, Chris Duffy, and tons of other amazing cartoonists contributing. I've already started flushing out the story and some loose breakdowns. It's gonna premiere at the Small Press Expo this year.

I still haven't done my pages for the FLUKE anthology, either, so I'll be tackling that as soon as these are inked.

And speaking of anthologies, I got my contributor copies of Negative Burn #10 in the mail today. Swing by your local comic shop and take a looksee.

I've started using (and really liking) this apparently rare brush pen by Pentel:

It has refillable cartridges. I ran out of ink, so I went to Binders, the very comic-artist-friendly art supply store in the area to pick up refill cartidges. You would assume that since I bought the pen there that they would carry the refills, right?
No such luck. I ordered some online (28, actually, hopefully enough to last me a while), so ideally they'll get here soon. The pen is amazing, though - you get lines almost as fine as you would using a kalinski. Plus it's portable!

I'll be manning the SCAD table at the Atlanta Comics Expo tommorow and Sunday, so if you're there, come by for a howdy.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brush Exercises, etc.

Here's the second page from Leash:

I also put up four new "Shoot the Moon" cartoons. Here's one of them:

You can see the others in the comics gallery - they're the last four.

I've been trying to get a grip on using a brush before I really delve into the next project. I'm still a little bit heavy handed, and unless I'm paying careful attention I tend to lay down too much ink, but I am getting a little more comfortable with the tool. Here are a couple of brush drawings that I did as exercises:

Hunter, Justin and I were talking about ninja turtle comics in studio the other day. If I were to do a turtles story, I'd try and play up the ninja aspect. More hiding, stress the teamwork aspect, things along those lines. Here's a sketch I did while thinking about it:

It's extremely unlikely that I'll ever do a Turtles story, but that never stops me from brainstorming.

I'm still doing my best to fix the website. If you see any errors, let me know somehow - I'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Back from FLUKE

This weekend I had the opportunity to go to Fluke, a mini-comic convention in Athens, Georgia (about an hour and a half from where I currently live).

To prepare for this, I stayed up all Friday night making a mini comic. I’ve spent the past few months working almost exclusively on Giovanni Potatoe and Crogan’s Vengeance, and haven’t had much time to make extra shorter pieces (something I hope to remedy soon).

I had done one page (one big panel) of an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while a few weeks ago. I thought that it might serve well as a mini, so I redrew it in a horizontal format and drew another 27 single-panel pages and colored them up. It’s sort of an intro chapter to a humor/fantasy story about three little dogs who travel around. I was pleased with how it turned out, and had them printed up at the UPS store a block over from where I live. I underestimated the cost, and the books, which I had marked at two dollars, actually cost me closer to $2.50, but as they were all traded rather than sold it doesn’t make a lot of difference. I think that I’ll serialize it here and on webcomicsnation, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Ideally, that’ll give me a chance to make future installments and have them up on a regular basis. That's the title and page at the top of the post. If you didn't get the mini, make sure to check back regularly to see how it unfolds.

FLUKE had a lot of cartoonists whose work I was familiar with but who I’ve never had a chance to hang out with. Hunter, who’s in grad school with me, introduced me to Joey Weiser and David Yoder. Both are really nice guys, and while I’d read Joey’s Flight story I hadn’t seen much of his other stuff. He gave me his minis and they totally blew me away. He’s got a great hand at storytelling, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

I had dinner with Dean Trippe, who does Butterfly and is part of the Lunchbox Funnies Collective, along with some of his cartoonist friends from Nashville. Dean is an incredibly nice guy, and was actually the person who told me about Scad’s graduate program on a message board a while back. Afterwards we went to Drew Weing and Eleanor Davis’s house for a prohibition party where we got to sample Drew’s homemade beer.

It was a really great night. I’d never been to an all-cartoonist party before, where everybody talks shop and draws pictures and compares sketchbooks – it was one of the most fun times I’ve had in a while. I spent most of the evening talking to that king of the crosshatch, Chris Wright. Chris was the third cartoonist at the party working on a pirate book (in addition to me and Drew). Apparently pirates are the new autobio.

Tonight I’m going to work on the website and my business cards (for a class), and hopefully the website revamp will be underway soon.

Also, I've got a phone conference later today, so I MAY have some big news.