Saturday, January 14, 2012

And now for something....

....a little different!

For the last few days I've been working on a Big Project. I'm preparing a separate blog post about that one! I can say that it involves my first ever client and my first ever official freelance job!!! AHHH!!! But, I needed a break from that, so I switched gears and finished a piece I started a few days ago. I found this website that issues weekly art challenges

Weekly Art Challenge!

and although I missed the deadline for submission to the collective, I thought last week's challenge was great: redo a piece you created last year. And improve upon it (key word here). I did this Lollie in a woodcut many months ago.

Here's the redo

I redid it as a Zap comic book cover!

Well that was fun :-)  I encourage you to embrace your Inner Lollie, whatever that means to you. I love her so! She definitely needs to go in a Tarot deck (guess which card?).

And I anticipate having a scanner reeeeal soon.

ARF!! Sunday January 22 update: I now have an 11 x 17 Epson scanner!! (backstory on that one real soon)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It was a Dark and Rainy Night...

....and my friend Yona was having a hissy fit about the state of the weather. Especially since she'd just returned from a sunny and warm six weeks in Oaxaca. I share her sentiments. (I wish I could put together such outfits and pull them off like she does too, but hey - at least I can draw her in her fabulosity!!) We were hanging out at the library, feryerinfermation.

Luckily for all of us, it was sunny today!!

We've been enjoying quite a number of bonus days here in the Pacific Northwest, actually.

On other fronts: I've been gearing up for the almost sure-fire eventuality that I will have an interview soon for a full-time job at the campus library. Many thoughts on this rattling around in the ol' tin can!

And I yam tard....that is, my brain, it doth tire and gimble in the wabe. And so for now, adieu, dear readers....I am for snoresville soonishly!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Illustration Friday - Grounded


I loved doing this one. Started to really roll once Jane's Addiction shuffled through on the iTunage. I've been reading Calvin and Hobbes again lately (can you tell). Also Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley. It's super fun and our library has several volumes. Another good one is Ottos' Orange Day by Jay Lynch and Frank Cammuso. Also been digging the art of Dan Santat. And last but definitely not least, Jhonen Vasquez. You may know him best because Nickelodeon picked him up to do Invader Zim (Jhonen's....friendly side).

Next I want to start paying particular attention to backgrounds. Sure I'm always looking at them when I'm reading (drooling over) comics and graphic novels. But, Happy New Year you resolution you, now I'll start applying stuff and messing around more. Yes. I will. Mess around!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Comics Are Great

Wanna know why? I bet you already do. But I bet you'll be more informed, inspired and generally happy about comics if you head over to Comics Are Great and listen to the show. Jerzy Drozd, I've mentioned before, is a teaching artist who loves comics. CAG is one of his myriad projects in partnership with Ann Arbor Library District. In the audio (and visual) podcasts he teams up with other artists around the globe who impart loads of information about everything comic related: creative process, time management, the nuts and bolts of publishing - including self-publishing and webcomics - and a whole host of nifty chunky useful bits. Plus, it's entertaining.

I've been following Jerzy off and on for a couple of years now, ever since I found his collaborative flagship podcast project Art and Story. The byline is "The show that digs deep into the craft of cartooning". Definitely lives up to that claim!! Jerzy and Mark Rudolph, along with Kevin Cross, were a very merry trio and I spent a lot of time listening to them while I drew, painted, or carved blocks for printing. Art and Story rocked!! They recently discontinued the podcasts in pursuit of various other individual projects. All of their content is archived beautifully online and is an invaluable resource. There is a LOT of content.

It's not only for the hard facts of illustrating and the inner workings of All That Mysterious Stuff that I listen to these artists. I remember when I first stumbled on Art and Story. Three guys who are not only experienced, working, successful awesome artists - but who offered their insights in an interesting and entertaining way? No way! I could not believe my good fortune! I loved listening to them banter; it was like three brothers in the next room yukking it up minus the gross machismo. And these guys were never too cool to laugh. A lot. Which I also loved. And they never slammed other artists either.

Jerzy is a live wire. He kinda reminds me of my brother Christopher (my bro would've been 50 this year!! whoah!!). Whacky, mischievous, off-center, but grounded too. There is even a resemblance in their faces. So that's pretty cool! I really get a kick out of how enthusiastic Jerzy is about his craft. You should really watch a podcast for a sense of his personality.

So here are some crappy photos of a mini comic I did, a little love note to Comics Are Great and to the great work that Jerzy is doing. I don't know what's going on with my camera; it doesn't seem to take very good photos of anything in less than full-on summer sunshine anymore. I'm aiming for some scans when I go back to work next week.

Good Lord!
Those pictures are freakin' HUGE!
* Best if you're not on dial-up. I wonder how these would look on an iPhone or other mobile device? These things I have yet to learn.

*I now have a scanner! New shiny pics and not so huge but hopefully big enough.

So this comic needs some back story. I realize that the target audience is very small, unless you are familiar with Jerzy's podcast presence. It would be funnier if everyone already knew the insidey jokes, but anyway:

I was watching Ratatouille. Again. You know how much I love that show!! I always want to send my personal thanks to everyone who made that come to life. I mean it astonishes me. From the opening lines, I thought Wow! Remy and Jerzy sound so much alike! Their inflection and cadence, even their energy. Cracked me up. I started mulling over this, and continued watching podcasts and gathering snippets of information:

Like how Jerzy's choice of superpower, if he had one, would be to shoot laser beams out of his eyes. And how he does believe that anyone can draw comics (which mirrors perfectly Gusteau's adage that 'anyone can cook'!). Jerzy has a tremendous web presence. And he always closes the shows he hosts (and co-hosts) with, "Oh - kay - BYE". He usually wears a black button-down over a tshirt, and 'tributary' is his 'tangent'.

I totally loved drawing this. I think Jerzy will receive it in the spirit it's meant. Gah, I hope he doesn't feel too weirded out or self-conscious! But he's a big personality! I don't know how the hell he does so much all the time, but dude - hats off! And Comics Are Great! And PS - don't forget to take a break now and then.

EDIT! Here's a fourth panel!

Kim Holm was a guest on that episode of CAG. And he loooooves copyright *wink wink*. And he really did say that ideas are crap. So I had to make an extra panel.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Lean Into Art

I just wanna do a quick post, because in my next post I'm going to talk more about art podcasts and their creators that tie into this one.

I've just started listening to Lean Into Art hosted by Jerzy Drozd and Rob Stenzinger. They're both working and teaching artists with loads of panache (but not snooty panache) and experience about illustration and comics in particular. This collaborative effort is gaining ground and I hope it continues to soar. I also wish I was in a position to take classes from these guys! But, in typical generous fashion, they're offering a multitude of podcasts that introduce you to their pyramid scheme course structure (ha ha j/k guys) , and a boatload of other stuff that serve very well as stand-alones. If you're into comics, web design, publishing and general skullduggery, these are your go-to geeks. They're fun to listen to, as well.

The other day I listened to the LIA podcast #17 Mad About Design. In it Rob and Jerzy touched on how different their clients are in terms of personality, needs, style, expectations -  and how they would adjust their own response or interaction to suit. Jerzy said that one client was very informal and would call up saying something like,

"Dude, could you just make me a totally awesome drawing of dude on a surfboard wearing nothing but a bandana on his..."

and Jerzy would say something like, "Duuude, like no problemo!" (which is totally, like, unlike regular Jerzy speak)

Rob then shared how some of his clients would sound something like,

"Yes hello Mr. Stenzinger, would you be so kind as to consider our proposal for a project? We would be most delighted to hire you..."

And they talked about how Rob already has the 'long haired creative type guy' thing going, all he needed to do was add a sweater vest, cummerbund - and spats - a cane!

So yeah, I had to draw this......too good to pass up, right? 

(I realize it's a bit insidey, but it'll be less insidey if you go listen to and watch the podcast! do it! do it now!)

I sent it off to Jerzy, since that's the only email I could find on the web, and he wrote back with a really nice thank you.

Lemme tellya, there is a wealth of inspiration in these shows. I will never lack for subject matter! Thanks you guys!

(I hope I do not sound like one of those weird stalker fans)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Illustration Friday - Highlight

This week's word-topic for IF is Highlight.

I used a Pentel pocket brush for all the linework and some bits of inking. It's definitely a skill I need to practice! Not the most excited about this picture, but that's okay. I like the concept, which is based on a true story:

Last month I was out walking and saw a neighbor and her little dog ahead of me. She was carrying this huge limb and I just started laughing, and snapped a couple photos. I was pretty sure she was going to use it for a border in her yard or something but it's just too good, right? I mean sometimes you DO see dogs dragging around massive branches. I caught up to her after I saw her dump the branch on her lawn next to the flower bed and as she entered her house I told her how funny it was to see that, with her tiny dog.  "OH! ha ha! I didn't even think of that!"

I'd like to draw another picture of this one. When I have more gumption :)