Catching up with the Zeppelins

For the past week I’ve been hunkered down working on a children’s book pitch to hopefully make to some publishers. Here’s a peek at the cover that I’ve been working on. I had to choose between two stories that came to me one night. I arrived at these primarily based on the principle of catchy titles. I reckoned the stories would flow from there.

The two stories were Mr. Frog’s Backyard Rollercoaster and the Great Zeppelin Race. You can see which one I went with.

Screen shot 2013-02-22 at 2.45.34 AM

tumblr_minlapzV561rc4waeo1_1280Over the ocean, fog replaces the frost,
and then our two racers are suddenly lost!


For those interested in the process of the creation of picture books, the following Quinton Blake video will be particularly useful. The amount of process work that accumulates during the initial phases and that ends up not being used is helpful to see. It’s important to not be too precious and let the ideas make marks on the page.

I came across this video thanks to Alec Longstreth’s watercolor process posts. If anything, the useful take away there would be that to when doing multiple drafts of illustrations, if you wish to have rich and lively final black inks, light boxing using media that doesn’t reveal too much is important. Doing so allows novel image making across the process. Gestures are fresh, folds in cloth are organic and expressions are lively.

In watercolor news, I’ve been watercoloring my dailies this past week. I’ve been arriving at some streamlined processes and am really happy with the results. The process has been such a pleasure. It’s really nice to have work that can be done around other people who aren’t cartooning or aren’t in front of computers. It keeps my spirits up.

For now, though, I’ve had to work in isolation on the Ramona book, given that it’s done digitally. To keep me chugging along through the illustrations, I’ve been listening to the ever funky and brash Pinker Tones. I heard about them a while back when talking to Bill Boiche, but I could never remember the name of the group. This past weekend, I was doing my rounds across youtube, watching amateur skate videos and some kids from Miami had put Sonido Total as the completely inappropriate soundtrack to their video during a slow-mo sequence.

Now I’m on the Pinker Tones trail. May you be blessed should you join on it to travel into the funky forest.

Massive Music to ink by

WRCT Pittsburgh, my radio alma mater, is putting together their annual Massive Music Weekend broadcast. The fine folks at 88.3 FM will be curating 120 30 minute blocks of the finest musical selections that they can get their greasy paws on.

I highly recommend tuning in online and live streaming  the broadcast this weekend at some point. It’s a great way to get an immersive dip into the many worlds of pioneering musicians. It’s a weekend like no other at WRCT that culminates in a live musical(see:noise) performance by the stations many volunteers.

AND as with all fine music, you’ve got to have your fine prints. The ladies at WRCT know what’s up.


skritchy skratchy skretches

Lots of ground to cover in this post.

For starters, why pay for a yearbook when you can make one yourself? Here’s a peek at the 2012 CCS yearbook.

Clockwise from upper left: Eleri Mai Harris, Sara Sarmiento, Luke Healy, Ben Gowen.

I’m pretty proud to have been part of the design team that sought to tie the whole yearbook together with the theme of “stereotypical indie cartoonist”. To evoke the theme, we turned the whole book into a flannel shirt with pocket and facsimile moleskine. I was responsible for preparing the little fold out notebook, which served as the table of contents.

I’m surrounded by talented and passionate dudes and dudettes here at CCS, why not check out how they’ve depicted themselves? (My work is the mythical blobs.) 

On the subject of passionate people, have you had a look at Oily Comics’ exploits over the past year? If not, you’d be advised to know that Oily is where it’s at. Earlier this week I got the crop of October comics. A solid bunch of robust little black and white minis. The slew of Oily Comics that have come out this year makes me proud to be an American cartoonist.

As a friend of Oily I feel it’s my duty to draw draw draw draw. As such, I’ve got to ask you, are you satisfied with your drawing practices? Need some inspiration? Well then, might I direct you to this little post by Darryl Ayo that highlights what’s so great about Joe Lambert’s process of image creation. The short story is that he gets better and better doesn’t stop.

In the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, I’ve been ripping through sketchbooks this week. Just put a close to one today and another yesterday. Here’s a peek and what’ll be sitting quietly in a drawer waiting for a day when I get nostalgic about my scribbles. Started a new one this evenin’.

Recently I’ve been exploring repetition, dedicating pages to variations on simple characters. Hope you like some of ’em.

Besides doodlin’ all over the place, I’ve been screen printing covers for On They Bicker. I’d like to have some copies to give away and trade at the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest next Saturday. I’m nowhere near where I want to be in terms of my screen printing, nevertheless, slowly but surely I’m can see improvements in my work practices and my color separation technique.

I’m currently working on an 8 page comic that was arrived at through bibliomancy. Using a Robert Micro dictionary I arrived at the following prompts. Connaitre le monde: s’envoler: cahier. These prompts are to be the hinges of the narrative.

The story revolves around the following character, Helene, who longs to escape the grip of slow life in Nantes. Constantly devouring tomes on the world outside of France, her second home is the city’s travel bookstore. The story will be a vignette that tries to capture the essence of the multiple lives that we lead and the way that we find satisfaction in those lives.

I’ll be working on it extensively tomorrow while other CCS students try their hand at 24 hr comics. I’ll be inking in the style of Dupuy and Berberian, so I’m really excited. I hope to be able to submit this comic to the Andromeda Quarterly for its January issue.

Given that Dupuy and Berberian are across the Atlantic, I can’t say I’ve ever seen any of their original art in person, let alone  in scale with the human body. This video of Dupuy and Berberian exhibiting their artwork in Paris alongside Maja at the Galerie Petits Papiers satisfies those curiosities.

With the cartooning out of the way, here’s some music and some winter heating tips:

1. 3 ways to effectively stay warm and to keep your heating bill down this winter courtesy Paul Wheaton.

2. and  a solid little mix by my friend, SHRUBS:

VIA 2012: Pittsburgh’s Freshest Fest

VIA 2012 is coming up on the horizon! A festival that’s just as much a tech and culture laboratory, VIA’s bringing talented folks from around the world to do what they do best for a whole week. From workshops, performances, interactive art, dance free-for-alls, VIA has been the root of some of my greatest experiences in Pittsburgh.

Are you up to date with all the different gals and guys that are going to be present? Educate yerrself by checking out the music guide that VIA’s put together.

Gusto Caricature

My bud, Juan spins records in Pittsburgh. He’s a fly dude who goes by the stage name Gusto. He’s well worth your attention if you like to move your ass. I’ve posted him about in the past, but I thought I’d bring him up again.

I was listening to one of his mixes and got inspired to do a little caricature of him. I thought I’d share. Did I mention he’s a cutie?