splotchy inks that make you think

Here’s a peek at the ink that’s been flowing recently. As you can tell, Joann Sfar has been big on my mind recently.

So what’s new with me? Well, I recently picked up an illustration gig here in the Upper Valley. I can’t talk too much about it yet, but I’ll let you know how it pans out. There’s a pretty quick turn around on the project, so I should be able to share that with you soon.

Besides that, I’m currently working on 3 stories for an anthology project here at CCS. The anthology that I’m working on with my fellow students revolves around a time travelling delivery service. Each of the stories will be about the delivery of a particular item that plays an important role in the course of history. No fancy time logic here, just a simple premise and solid, whole hearted storytelling.

I’m looking to have the stories done by early December, one revolves around Yves Klein, another around Shodo, and another around chinese latticework. I’ve really been enjoying researching the three. I’m excited to what the sum of our efforts together is going to allow for us to create, especially the packaging.

Finally, as usual, I want to share some music with you. Earlier this week I came across the following video that juxtaposes Stan Brakhage’s experimental silent films, Dog Star Man, with Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right To Children. There are some really nice moments of synchronicity. Makes for some really nice background noise visually and musically while drawing.

Riffin’ on Krazy Kat

Ain’t got too much to say today, just wanted to share some strips I made with you.

The following are strips that were made for the second assignment in Jason Lutes’ Cartooning Studio. The objective was to  recreate faithfully the visual and narrative style of an American strip artist and to tell 3 autobiographical stories using the strip as the vehicle. The assigned artists ranged far and wide from Walt Kelly to Scott Adams. I was lucky enough to get George Herriman’s Krazy Kat.

It was a really satisfying exercise. I had never done comic strips that weren’t just Dada-ist doodle non-sequitors, so this really proved to be a challenge. I understand structure, but traditional narrative? Man, that’s hard to do and not ham up! I read a great deal of Herriman’s Dailies, across collections, but I found that the most useful was The Kat Who Walked in Beauty. If you’re only familiar with Herriman’s broadsheets, you really ought to take a look at his dailies. It’s there that you’ll find his genius. Day in and day out. While the broadsheets are beautiful and hyperbolic, the dailies are immaculately fine tuned. It’s staggering to know that he churned out out these little finely crafted gems on a daily basis for 31 years.

If you’d like to learn more about Herriman and his dailies, Matt Seneca wrote a little bit about why these dailies are so important earlier this year.

Below you can see some of the process work that I did in understanding the patterns of gridding that Herriman would use in his strips.

On a different note, I’d like to share with you piece that I love. Check out the following print by Valerie Arruda.

Nice, right? The colors are beautiful and she handles the gradients with such subtlety. There’s a quiet ecstasy to the piece that I really enjoy.

I came across Valerie’s work at MICE in Boston in late September. Out of the many creations that people had brought to MICE, this print was the one that caught my eye the most (obviously, I’d already seen Alabaster’s “The Complete Talamaroo!”). She’s got a great fluid line quality that breaks up the page into super clean white blocks. I love it. Hop on over to her tumblr to check out more of her work.

Monoprint Comics Round 1

Here’s a little experiment for Jason Lutes’ Cartooning Studio. The goal is to evoke an intense emotional experience. Can you guess what I’m attempting to depict?

I’ve wanted to make a comic using monoprinting as a key component for a while. As you can see, I gave it a go. Given that for this assignment we didn’t have to prepare 14 pages, I thought that it’d be a do-able task. Additionally, as you’ve seen me post adamantly about abstract comics, I thought I ought to put my money where my mouth was and give them a good go.

I made some patterns, experimented with layering and then worked these images in Photoshop to crop and layout in InDesign. Nothing too fancy. Given the fact that I was using the computer I felt like I was cheating quite a bi, but hey, I’ve got deadlines. I hope that in the coming months I can make a complete page entirely through monoprinting. The hardest part is going to be keeping the gutters tidy, given how grubby my hands get while working with the oils and solvents. Perhaps I’ll cut some tiny copper plates…

In other news, here’s a cute little cartoon I made by chopping and screwing some other monoprints that I made. I might use him as an avatar for something, given his 8bit feel and his seemingly cheery disposition.

Some work that really inspires me is that of Brecht Evens. The man has some truly expressive cartooning and a breathtaking control of color in his art. To think that Antwerp gets an entire mural of his art! (here’s some recent documentation of the mural and the creation process that Art Mural oversaw).

Brave Little Ramona and Windbag Wallace

Here’s a peek at the lineart of the comic that I’m currently working on. It should be all done tomorrow, both the web version and the print version.

I took loads of inspiration from Jordan Crane in terms of line variance and character design. I used a brush here and did everything by hand with ink and opaque white. I’ve never used brushes when making comics, so I thought I better stick close to the technique of someone whose work I love, if I wanted to churn out something that I’d be happy to look at. So far, I’m pretty damn proud of this comic. I’d be confident to say it’s my best so far. It’s a fun little story based on the fable of the Sun, the Wind and the Traveller’s Cloak.

Stay tuned for a full post of this little comic.

In news related to the comics making of others, two rad dudes, who inspire me immensely, Dan McCloskey and Nate McDonough are trekking around the Mid-West on a book tour. They’re making semi-professional writing more like semi-professional wrestling. Check these fuckers out.


Both are resident members of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s DIY anti-MFA, the Cyberpunk Apocalypsewriters’ cooperative, which recieved national attention in 2009 for living without heat, and being raided by dozens of police. Since then the project has been awarded a Heinz Endowment, provided space for 25 writers and artists to live and work. Seven books have been completed at the co-op in the past three years, including Nate McDonough’s Don’t Come Back and Daniel McCloskey’s A Film About Billy (a hybrid novel/graphic novel).McCloskey and McDonough work collaboratively and independently to create comic works that range from absurd to serious–disgusting to sentimental.
The roadwarriors schedule is lookin’ like this:
Cleveland – Sunday 10/28 – Mac’s Books 6PM
1820 Coventry Road – macsbacks.com

Chicago – Monday 10/29 – The Hungry Brain 9PM
2319 West Belmont AvenueMadison – Wednesday 10/31 – Rainbow Books 6PM
426 West Gilman Street – rainbowbookstore.coopMilwaukee Zine Fest – Saturday 11/3 – Falcon Bowl – All day
801 East Clarke Street – milwaukeezinefest.orgSt Louis – Sunday 11/4 – Mushmaus – 5:30PM
2700 Cherokee St – mushmaus.org

Bloomington – Monday 11/5 – Boxcar Books – 7PM
408 East 6th Street – www.boxcarbooks.org

Columbus – Tuesday 11/6 – Shout Out Loud Prints – 6PM
539 East Town Street – Park on street, use back door
Local readers: Pat Kain, Leanne Oconnor, Ryan Albeck

Athens – Wednesday – 11/7 – TBD

Pittsburgh – 11/10 – Awesome Books DOWNTOWN – 7PM
929 Liberty Avenue – awesomebookspittsburgh.com

Colored Harper Comic

Happy Monday to all y’all. Here’re the finished colors on the Charley Harper comic.
This is the second time (Malphas was the first time) that I color something in Photoshop that isn’t just a spot illustration for a newspaper. I love color and am pretty particular when it comes to palette decisions, but I’m pretty damn inexperienced when it comes to digital coloring. Despite my lack of experience I’m pretty pleased. This is pretty much how I wanted the image to turn out, so hooray. Thanks to Jon Chad for the great tutorial on how to trap colors and how to develop a good coloring workflow.

I learned a lot doing this. For starters, when working on the original art CONNECT ALL THE FUCKING LINES. Jesus Christ,  I’m no tablet ninja, so I was laboring over connecting minute sections forever. Additionally, in the spirit of Charley Harper’s illustrations, I would have wished to not have any outlines. I drew the line art and designed the birds in such a way that I could transform them into blocks of color.

Ideally, I would have plotted out the areas that blocks of color would form and would have simply inked those/cut them out of paper/ done this entirely in Illustrator. Composing in color requires a completely different mindset and workflow.

Anyway, that’s for next time. The assignment asked for us to do line-art, so line-art it was.

For those of you If you’re interested in trying out coloring this way, I can direct you to Dustin Harbin’s spectacular tutorial. He learned from Alec Longstreth, who’s best buds with my teacher, Jon Chad.

Harpin’ on Charley

As promised, here’s a look at the Charley Harper styled comic poster that I mentioned earlier. Finally got a chance to redraw it. Nothing fancy, just a little wordless meditation. You know how much I like those.

Take a peek and stay peeled for the color version. Ideally, the piece will be outline free.
Below’s a little of what I’ve been listening to. Sure, I’ve been listening to Karen O’s version, but there’s something really nice about this girl’s cover. I like the highfrequency buzz in the background. It’s nice, especially in the quiet of my room in Vermont.

It’s like she’s playing  just for me and we’re video chatting.