Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Here's a huge drawing of Electronocybercuitron I did for next year's Change-Bots Two art show. Huge for me, anyway, so about fifteen inches by fifteen inches. My scanner isn't that big, so apologies for the poor photo quality.
I've also got a new story you can read online over at the excellent Nashville Review.
Finally, an illustration I did a couple years ago is finally seeing print in the story collection Machine of Death.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Week Eight's exercise came after watching the Lars Von Trier film The Five Obstructions. I gave the students each two "obstructions" which they had to follow while re-drawing their midterm comic stories. To let them have their revenge on me, I let them give me obstructions. They chose to have me re-draw Be A Man with no text, no characters and no panels. I picked seven pages and the cover to re-draw, making a little minicomic I handed back to them the following week. Here's one of the obstructed pages.
In other news, the new issue of Filter magazine features a full spread and spot illustrations by myself for an article titled "Televisionaries," about kid's TV shows like Yo Gabba Gabba, Pee Wee's Playhouse and Fraggle Rock. And if you missed it coming out at your local comics shop a couple weeks ago, Marvel's Strange Tales Vol. 2 #2 included a four page X-Men story I wrote and drew. I'm taking baby steps toward fulfilling my childhood dream of being the regular penciller on Uncanny X-Men.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Weeks Six and Seven of the comics class were largely devoted to students finishing their midterm comics (a four page story) and an all day critique of the finished work. So other than a lively discussion about art and commerce, my role was basically working with everybody one on one. In the meantime, I've kept busy, working on a one page comic for the CBLDF, a Gargamel minicomic (not to be seen anytime soon, I'm afraid), and some comics to promote Incredible Change-Bots Two as well as a new story for the third Change-Bots book. Basically I'm avoiding starting the next Book, I guess. I also gave my 'Process' talk at the Tippecanoe Public Library, where I also demonstrated my process by working on a cat comic based on the cat of one of the audience members; I finished the comic when I got home.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
For this week's class I wanted to get the students thinking about how they balance text and image, how they spread out dialogue and how they use narration. The exercise I came up with was to have the students adapt an excerpt of prose into comics form. In retrospect I maybe should've provided the prose to be used, but even with all the different texts being adapted, it was still a good way to investigate these issues. Here's the example I brought, from my cover artwork for the Penguin Graphic Classics Edition of Ethan Frome. I'd probably tackle this adaptation much differently now if I was doing it over.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The excellent Portland comic shop Floating World is hosting another benefit art show. This time around the show's theme is the video game Katamari, and the proceeds are going to the nonprofit JOIN PDX, which helps the homeless. You can see and bid on my contribution here. The image above was a little doodle I added to the back of the artwork.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Borrowing from the inestimable Ivan Brunetti, this week's first exercise in class was to draw as many comic/cartoon characters from memory as they could in fifteen minutes. Here's my relatively weak results. It's a fun exercise but harder than I expected, and the idea here was to show how characters can be recognizable even when they aren't reproduced exactly, and how in comics the visual image of a character is such an important part of who a character is, as well as how characters can accumulate baggage over time. The second exercise was to draw a comic developing a character using as many of these methods of revealing character as possible (I'd come up with most of these before class, but the students actually added a couple I hadn't specified):
1. General Appearance (costuming, facial features, etc)
2. Facial Expressions (Batman always seems to be scowling)
3. Mannerisms (body language, like Beatle Bailey's slouch)
4. Narration (usually third person, but not necessarily)
5. Dialogue (how the character speaks, like Rogues southern drawl)
6. Lettering (an alien's speech might be lettered differently)
7. Thought Bubbles
8. Actions (the character's behavior)
9. Reactions/Interaction (how the character responds to environment or other characters)
10. Reactions of other characters (how other characters respond to a character)
11. Coloring (Asterios Polyp is a good example of this)
12. Framing (how a character is framed within a panel, the adults in Peanuts being shown waist down, for example)
13. Style/line quality (how a character is drawn can make a big difference)
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
For week three's exercise in my comics class I had the students re-draw panels from comics, first trying to replicate it exactly, and then switching up materials and styles. The idea was to get the students to think about how materials are related to style, and how style can affect content. For an example I tried redrawing some John Romita Jr panels from Uncanny X-Men #192, but after trying to replicate the panel accurately a couple times I had a hard time changing styles much. Fortunately the students did a much better job at that than I did.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
In my first class, I had the students work on six panel, one page jam comics; the twist was that each one had a title already, and the students had to make the completed comic fit that title. This worked to varying degrees, as the usual inherent non-sequitur quality of jam comics kept taking over. For week two, I talked about pacing and time in comics, and drew twelve one panel comics. Students had to pick one and draw their own version of it. Next they redrew it as a two panel comic, and then as a three panel comic, and then a four panel comic, without adding or taking out any significant information. Next they would draw it as a single page, and then as two full pages, without the strict expectation of not adding anything. I tried to make each original single panel something that could be expanded out fairly easily, but still have it where the ideal number of panels could vary. The idea was for the students to think closely about how to breakdown their comics, and get a sense of how varying the number of panels and splitting up information can affect how the comic reads.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Tomorrow's my first day of school. I'll be teaching "Drawing On Comics" at The School Of The Art Institute, where I got my MFA eight years ago. The usual instructor, Christa Donner, isn't able to teach the class this semester, so when they asked me if I could take over I said why not. I have to admit I'm a bit nervous, never having taught before, but it should be fun and interesting. Fortunately I've received a lot of helpful words from fellow SAIC instructor and Top Shelf cartoonist Jeremy Tinder. Here's the cover to my syllabus, a 16 page zine I'm putting together.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Earlier this year I did an interview with former Pedro The Lion frontman David Bazan. I'm about the same age as Bazan, we both have young children, both make a living in the creative arts and we're both preacher's kids who are no longer Christian, so I thought it would be interesting to interview him. I talked to him on the phone and at a concert in Milwaukee, and turned the interview into a short comic that's printed in the new issue of Filter Magazine's Good Music Guide, available at Landmark Theaters, Diesel and Urban Outfitters. Or, you could just download the PDF here. In a way, it was really just a selfish way for me to think about how I want to write my next autobiographical book about religion and fatherhood...
Monday, July 19, 2010
I was hoping to have finished Change-Bots Two by now, but after moving and other delays I've still got about a dozen pages to go, so the book will have to wait until after San Diego Comicon to be finished.
I'll be at the Top Shelf booth #1721 most of the time, and will have a schedule posted there with when I'll be signing and where. There'll be a few new books out with my work - volume one of the new Fraggle Rock comics from Archaia, Paul Is Undead (with my interior illustrations) and Chronicle will have the new Cats Are Weird book at their booth. I'll also have some copies of Process, hand drawn sketch trading cards, and original art - including artwork from the new cat book. Head to the Scott Eder Gallery booth for a big selection of artwork at booth #4515.
Thanks to my brother Doug, who made this action figure of me for my birthday.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Here's the initial character sketches for my illustrations to the Beatles/zombie mash-up Paul Is Undead, and the sketch-pencil-finished drawing stages for the illustration to chapter one. Change-Bots Two has been on hold while I've been packing to move, but I'll be taking a short break tonight (Tuesday, June 29) to sign with Paul Is Undead author Alan Goldsher at Quimbys here in Chicago.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Here's the initial cover sketch for the new cat book. At the time, I was still planning on the book having more of a narrative, with the cat wandering around outside. Chronicle thought it'd be nice for the cover to sync with both the first book (by having the embossed line art) and postcard box (by having die-cut panels). The top of this image shows the cover, while the bottom is the full endsheets, which would be in color.
Here's some more sketching for the cover, trying to figure out how to have the endsheets tell a narrative, but also have the cover work on its own as well.
Here's pencils for the cover, working on a design where the cats only showed through in the color endsheet panels.
Eventually, Chronicle and I decided on the title Cats Are Weird. The book lost the narrative and ended up following the format of the first book. These are the pencils for the cover on the right, and for the right endsheet opposite.
And here's what the printed cover looks like. The book is half in gray like Cat Getting Out of A Bag, and half in color. It just showed up on page the Diamond Previews catalogue today, so you can now have your local comic shop pre-order it.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Last week I stopped by The Hungry Brain to be a guest on Brandon Wetherbee's podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody. I can't remember what I said exactly, but it seemed like a lot of fun at the time... and since we're talking about hunger and brains, here's me as a zombie.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
It's time for the NHL playoffs, and once again the Red Wings are hosting a Beard-A-Thon to raise money for a charity. This season I decided to draw a beard instead of just growing one.
You can support my beard here.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Before I got started on the new Change-Bots book I was working on a freelance illustration project, appropriately space themed: artwork for the all new Planet Explorers children's exhibit at the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago. I worked with graphic designer/artist/neighbor Kate O'Leary to create artwork for advertising, as well as this nifty banner hanging outside the Planetarium. The exhibit opened today.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Here's a short video by Amy Do, director of the documentaryRabbit Fever, about the process of designing the film poster. She's also holding a contest where you can win a copy of the Process minicomic - find the details here. You can buy the poster here.
While I'm at it, I should mention you can also head over to the Covered blog to see my version of the cover to X-Men #192, part of the Secret Headquarters Covered art show.
Friday, February 26, 2010
One page story for an Australian anthology: The Lifted Brow.
Interview with the online PDF magazine: Gizmag
Interview about drawing Fraggle Rock comics: Comic Geek Speak
Chicago independent radio station, for which the above image was drawn: CHIRP
Same URL, redesigned website with rotating backgrounds by a number of Top Shelf cartoonists, including myself: Top Shelf
Favorite album covers: Filter Magazine
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Hitting stores tomorrow is Popgun Volume 4, the latest in Image's series of huge, full color anthologies. I've got an eight page Heavy Metal inspired fantasy story titled "Dark Master's Reign", colored by Bill Crabtree. Here's part of a panel, pre-colored state...
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I'm starting to draw the new Incredible Change-Bots book. I'm drawing on paper formally part of a hardcover blank sketchbook, which is now a no cover book, so I needed something to carry it. This appropriately themed box happened to be the exact fit.
In addition to the book I can carry all of my extras. On top is a sheet I'm using to test pens on, which will get more use once I start coloring.
Inside (clockwise from upper left): the box, reference pages torn out of a copy of the first book that had printing errors, the sketchbook with panel grid, a pen (new pen to draw this one), the script and pen test sheet, and a Transformers toy package for inspiration.
Monday, February 1, 2010
I just wrote a post over on Graphic NYC for their Influencing Comics feature, attempting to follow in the steps of Tom Hart and Dean Haspiel with some thoughts on the influence paintings from the Northern Renaissance have had on me and my work. I also recently sat in with the Around Comics podcast, along with a bunch of fellow Chicago comic creators. Always a good time sitting in with those guys, they've had a great run putting on one of the best comics podcasts... er, around.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Here's the first page from the Process minicomic. Right now I don't plan on having this available by mail, just at conventions and signings. However, I do plan on keeping it in print, and so I'll be making them up whenever I've got enough art scrap materials to include, so eventually everyone who wants one should be able to get one. I also still need to print more copies up. The first set I made up came out poorly because I drew it in gray, so I had to print up new copies after getting that fixed (thanks to Joe Goforth for the help on that).
Monday, January 4, 2010
This weekend I'll be at Indy Euphoria in Sacramento. I'll have my first new minicomic in four or five years, called Process, basically about my working methods, and each copy will come packaged with a selection of notes, sketches, scripts and other evidence of process, so unfortunately quantities will be pretty limited, but hopefully worthwhile...