Building Visual Language – a lexicon of mark making!

I’m having a blast working on this everyday.
lo estoy pasando estupendamente dibujando en este librito todos los dias.*photo (1)

At the moment I’m trying to build a visual language out of repeating really simple marks. Nothing fancy here, it’s just important for me to note that I’m being intentional about it and that I’m trying to create newer and larger structures of communication with very simple lines. Many people know that I tend to draw intuitively. This is me trying to build on that intuition.
De momento estoy intentando de crear series de imagenes que crean su propio idioma visual.

photo*spanish for my grandma

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Spoils of the flesh

Here’s a look at new comic I made.

Inspired by the work of Warren Craighead, I’m trying loosen into a new way of drawing. Still pretty traditional in terms of figurative drawing, but I feel I’m moving somewhere new, ya know?

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Leading a Cartooning Workshop at Assemble

This past Saturday I travelled to Pittsburgh to lead a 3-hour cartooning workshop with Andy Scott at the community space for arts and technology, Assemble.
Have a look at the goings on. It was a blast.

imageimage-3image-4One of my favorite things to do is to make comics with kids. They know what’s up.

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To get into the nitty gritty about the workshop, Andy and I facilitated three primary activities.

To cover the basics and to make sure that kids didn’t feel much pressure regarding their drawings, we has a station dedicated entirely to covering the step by step construction of cartoons. Andy and I provided materials that would allow them to draw both famous characters and entire simplified worlds a la Ed Emberley. The kids would have the opportunity to copy them by sight or by using tracing paper.

I wanted to make sure that we harped on copying as a positive learning tool and not as something to be ashamed of. I know first hand how empowering it can be to know how to draw a character that you see on tv and on billboards. In my mind, an activity like this one would allow the kids to go home having nailed down Homer Simpson or Sponge Bob, a brag worthy skill that’d be a great boost to their self-esteem.

Besides step by step cartooning, we set up a self-portrait station, where kids were encouraged to draw themselves as animals, robots, bugs, superheroes or their favorite household items. These drawings would then be used to create a poster design for the following week’s Crafternoon.

In addition to that there was a large collaborative megacomic on a massive sheet of butcher paper. For this megacomic, Andy laid down a basic structure of frames, a couple of “meanwhiles” and “BUT”s and a few city skylines. After that, we let the kids go to town, encouraging them to take the stories to the outer limits of believability.

Of course, given that the space is oriented towards drop-ins, kids were welcome to follow their cartooning muses in any way they pleased. Some kids wanted individual attention, so I spent time with many of them making one sheet minicomics. The chief approach to my process was by collaborating with the kids, trading off our comics frame by frame.

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Everyweek, the crafternoons offer a different engaging activity free of cost to kids from around Pittsburgh, but particularly to those from the Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship communities. Have a look at their varied March offerings:

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If you’re living in Pittsburgh and are interested in the possibility of volunteering your time to lead a crafternoon, please do so. The more we share our talents with kids in spaces like Assemble, the more opportunities for growth we give ourselves and the children in our communities. You can get in touch with assemble via the following email: outreach@assemblepgh.org

Next week’s Crafternoon will be a screen printing session with Steph Tsong and the friendly folks from the Artist’s Image Resource in Pittsburgh. Using the contributions of the workshops attendees, I put together a little poster for the kids to try their hand at printing.

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The goal of the poster was to create something that would work as promotional material for the crafternoons that would playfully capture the high energy environment which typifies the Crafternoons at Assemble and that could also be customizeable by the kids on their own. (Thus the empty word balloons.)

It was a blast to run a workshop like this. I hope to work with Assemble and similar organizations in the future to create spaces for kids to draw and work on comics fundamentals.

If I could do this for a living, well, that’d be a dream come true!


Noise to work through

I thought I’d share a pairing of experiences that I’ve recently enjoyed combining during late night drawing, particularly when silence doesn’t cut it.

My friend, Sal Farina, has coded some neat visual toys for Mac OS X. He’s a real lover of textures and patterns.

Of those bits of code he’s written, my favorite is acid static. Once you download and install the application, acid static runs full screen behind all of your applications and on top of your desktop. Here’s a screenshot of how it transforms your screen. It’s truly a beautiful bit of cellular automata. (The gif doesn’t do it justice, as I had to reduce it down to 5 frames…)

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I combine Acid Static with Windy and Carl‘s 1997 recording Depths and I’m off to the races. I write daily comics, work out illustration compositions and in general doodle up a storm.

Here’s a recent bit of inks and watercolors:tubular-sketch

What kind of patterns (visual or auditory) get your mind reeling?


doodlin’ through the New Year

dearest crinkled comrades, as you’ve seen I’m not posting on here much, but I feel you should know the drawing’s still happening. I’m even getting better, dontcha know?

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Just wanted to say I definitely won’t be around to give you tasty comics treats until January, so sit tight. Come January, though, you’ll want to hold on to yerr butts, buckaroos, because there’ll be a ground swell of posts that I’ve backlogged as drafts.

much love from the crinkled corner.


happy~healthy~comics

hearty greetings to all!

You know the rules, first off, some updates, second some doodles and the like and finally some music.

My recent illustration gigs turned out well. Made some work I’m proud of, got some money for my and got to experiment with watercolors. The only thing I really lost out on was sleep. The following is for an illustration that I prepared for the Quechee Public Library’ s annual appeal. They wanted an attention-catching piece that would cause the viewer to think about how important libraries are. I’ve gotten so much out of the libraries that I’ve come across, that I thought it was due time to give back.

If you’re wondering what’s keeping me up nowadays, it’s my current story. Jason Lutes asked us to use Wally Wood’s 22 Panels that always work in conjunction with a randomly assorted selection of story elements to create a 3 tier, 4 page story. My story was to include a magician, self defense, a small vessel, start in a marketplace and be in the tradition of the fantasy genre. Given that mixed bag, I’ve chosen to tell the story of a boy magician who performs to a crowd that doesn’t seem too receptive to his act.

In this comic, I’m experimenting by not using any pencils. Panel descriptions are all that I am allowing myself to work with before I go straight to inking the page. The purpose of working in this fashion is to attempt the gap between my doodling brain and my story telling brain. Given that I’m going to botch some drawings, I’m drawing the panels individually on separate sheets of paper, that is to say, tiny little rectangles.

Come Wednesday, that should be done and ready for your eyes.

and now, for some blobby bits and garish gradients.

You have no idea how much I like the little guy above. To give you an idea of how he makes me feel,  here’s Yma Sumac with Malambo No. 1 to give a sweet, juicy tune full of bombast.


glib glob glab

holy mother of god, I’m exhausted.

I’ve got a deadline that I’ve got to meet tomorrow. I’m finally at the digital stage of the process, so after a couple hours of sleep I’ll be able to wrap that up. For now, it’s a little update and then to catch that teensy bit of rest.

I’m super proud of my first forays into watercolors. The results have been really satisfying.

Here’s a peek, followed by some recent doodles.

Mia Doi Todd has helped me make my way deep into the night with my comics and my recent illustration gigs. Her lyrics have an unparalleled resonance for me. The delivery of the following lines in the song Independence Day always guts me.

There's a man I just met
He hasn't kissed me yet
He reminds me of someone else, only better
But I'm made out of wax, so easy to impress
Am I melting too fast, dripping into your lips ?
Because all my heroes have turned human this year

She’s a truly amazing song writer.