dear diary, I want to fill you in on what’s happened since the last time we talked.
I moved back to Pittsburgh to be by Jenn’s side. We’ve been making lots of little books and spending lots of time together.
As I type this I’m settled in Pittsburgh, I live and work here again. But something big happened before I moved back.
That’s right, I finished my studies at the Center for Cartoon Studies with this fine crew of cartoonists.
Aaron Shrewsbury, Simon Reinhardt, Ben Evans, Josh Lees, Eleri Harris, Allison Banister, Will Payne, Mathew New, Tom O’Brien, Ben Gowen, Steven Krall, Luke Healy and Sara Sarmiento. (Not picture, but adored : Iris Yan)
So how did I graduate? My studies culminated in what you see below.
I challenged myself to make a book every month. and wouldn’t you know it from November through the month of May I churned 6 books. Every month I explored different terrain, but for the most part I held on tight to the 4 panel grid. I wanted to use my time at CCS to learn my comics scales. I wanted to learn first hand how rich a world of comics I could create on my own with only four panels. I’m really proud of the result. (I built 12 of these little drawer boxes.)
These comics ended up being ruminations on love, fantasy, and moments both big and small. I collaged, watercolored, doodled, and digital painted my way to my deadlines. I was hoping to create a work situation where I could blend playful experimentation with a committed publication schedule. I feel I succeeded in that.
The time at CCS was balanced between my thesis, two part time jobs and lots and lots of talking to Jenn over the phone. I missed her. I was extremely focused, but it’ll come as no surprise that by March I was getting worn down. A monthly deadline is nothing to sneeze. It can drain you. When my spirits were low I had friends and family that blew rejuvenating winds in my sails. I couldn’t have done this without you.
Since I’ve been back I’ve been up to a lot of things.
We’ve been going to a couple of little comics expositions.
We even got a chance to go back to Assemble to facilitate another comics making Crafternoon!
I’m so proud of everyone’s work in this box. It has been an honor to bring this work into the world.
We brought this issue into the world in style by celebrating its release at Copacetic Comics, along with the release of the third issue of Maple Key Comics!
I started organizing the Pittsburgh comics salon with Frank Santoro.
We meet up every month to do drawing and comics sequencing exercises, catch up with each others’ comics making, share what we’re reading/watching and drink hearty amounts of coffee. The goal of these salons is to help build solidarity across Pittsburgh’s fertile comics making community. I want to make a welcoming space where experimentation and playfulness in comics making are encouraged and fostered.
So, it’s been 8 months what are we up to now round these parts?
Well, I’m transitioning into new work teaching in the city. I’m focusing on linguistic explorations of visual language, using comics as the basis for those studies, soaking up all the work of Neil Cohn, planning some book making projects for PIX, the Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo, traveling back and forth between Ohio and Pennsylvania to see my family and staying cozy by Jenn’s side.
That’s about it for now.
How about you, what are you up to?
Behold, the poster for my thesis at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Hope you dig it.
In the coming months I’ll be posting loads of new 4 panel comics. For the moment, though I’m keeping to myself a little bit.
I’m trying to create a buffer between the work and the public eye.
The internet is weird and though I’m tempted to publish my comics immediately, I’m going to be spending more time with these dailies before you get to see them. It’s for the best.
I think you’re going to like the comics that I have up my sleeve.
I christen this the beginning of an era of regular updates.
As y’all already know, I love WRCT. It’s a place of good music and good people. Two things, that, more often than not, are hard to come by.
Last weekend I took a trip down to Pittsburgh for which I prepared 62 little graph paper notebooks with silk screen covers and inner covers. They idea was to make somthing nice for the station’s current membership given that I’m away. It seems like the station has grow immensely over the past couple of months and that the programming has gotten exponentially better since the summer. Knowing that warms my heart.
After making 62 of those, I’m pretty sure I’m never going to buy a sketchbook for a good long while. I’m too precious with things I buy and, at this point in time, I can’t afford to be precious with my drawing. Right now, my aim is to just get all of the shitty drawings out of my system. It’s going to be a while, but the shittier the notebooks, the faster this whole process’ll go.
If you’re interested in seeing some the junk I’m churning out, check out my tumblr. While some of the drawings may be nice, they definitely don’t deserve spotlights here.
So, if I haven’t told you this in the past couple of days, Pittsburgh, I love you. 42 hours on the road and 46 hours in the city and every minute was precious. I really needed the trip.
I spent the weekend with my good friends Tim Sherman and Caitlin Boyle and got the special treat of being their helper monkey as they built arcade cabinets with the New York City game collective, babycastles. The weekend saw the glorious housing of two fun games, the TOASTMOTHER (Tara Helfer and Tim Sherman) and the sleeper hit, Trampoline Goat (Caitlin Boyle and Tim Sherman).
Babycastles did some workshops on cabinet building and gave a talk about their history as an organization. They’re stupendously nice people with an amazing outlook on creating. Although I’ve never programmed any games before, the fine folks at Babycastles have lit a fire to do so. DIY or die.
Here are some photos from the work on Saturday and Sunday.
Tim Sherman working on the Toastmother Cabinet.
Caitlin and the two beautiful cabinets that we transformed to house the Toastmother and Trampoline Goat.
And here you can have a look at the one and only, Trampoline Goat. Trampoline Goat was a game that Caitlin and Tim churned out in an hour while at CMU. The game was astonishingly popular. The premise is simple: Move left and right to stay on the trampoline. Collect Tomato Soup cans and avoid the bluebirds that race across the screen to bring your downfall. The record for the night was 18 points (soup cans collected in mid-air).
Babycastles have a history of making buttons out of objects (In the case of the games we made, toast and lamb plushie were used). They also like to make plushies into game consoles. Behold QWOP on the fish.
Additionally, I got to catch and help out with a visual performance by Tim that he did for the DJ duo Tiger and Woods.
To give you an idea as to how much I like Tim’s visual work, I often go to shows solely for his VJing.
I caught some performances, danced my ass off and got to see a bunch of my friends. Given that practically anyone who knew anything about anything was in East Liberty for VIA that weekend, I didn’t have to go too far to see folks. Hug after hug after hug, the weekend did me a lot of good.
Arguably unfortunate timing made it such that I had no time to work on CCS projects on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, which definitely put me at a disadvantage with respect to my fellow students, but I wouldn’t have traded this weekend for the world.
While I’ve been getting my ass handed to me right now at CCS, and that’s mainly my fault, last weekend’s trip has given me a good deal of perspective on the past month of classes and work at CCS.
You already know how much work cartooning and comics are, so I won’t belabor that fact. Suffice to say that I’ve underestimated the time things take to complete and as such have been doing A LOT of crunch time work that has been up to snuff.
After this week’s work I’m finally hitting a stride. I’m caught up on everything and besides making solid headway in my current projects, I’m revising all of my past projects so that they’re genuinely great. That’s why you haven’t seen anything round these parts of the internet from me. When they’re ready, your eyes will have plenty to gobble up. A series of George Herriman Krazy Kat imitation strips, an Ed Emberley styled story featuring Miyazaki’s Kiki and a one page poster sized comic about bird watchers in the style of Charley Harper (which is really just a subconscious meditation on my parents) are all on their way.
Stay tuned, sweet heart, as this boy’s got plenty of things up his sleeve for you.
Holy fuckin’ moley, what a month it’s been. VIA in Pittsburgh, SPX in Bethesda, MICE in Boston and CCS in White River Junction.
Nose to the grindstone, I’m finally in the swing of things at the Center for Cartoon Studies.
As such, I’m happy to announce a new update schedule for this little website that you have before you. Crinkled Comics will be moving to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday update schedule for the coming months. There are a ton of things that I’d like to share with you that I’ve come across and I’m sure there’s a lot you want to show me, because of that, I’d like to move to the weekly posting cycle. I’ve been keeping all the Crinkled goodies to myself and that just ain’t fair, now is it?
You can expect the work that I’m doing at CCS to trickle on in here in a polished state for your enjoyment, along with short articles, photo documentation of current projects, comics reviews of comics I’ve read, and the occasional plug for the work of my brilliant friends. If you want me to cover anything in particular, let me know, I’d be happy to oblige.
For now, here are some doodles that I churned out right after waking up this morning. These were drawn to The Mountain Goat’s New Asian Cinema (1998) and ESG’s Come Away With Me (1983) with a Pilot Precise .07. Have a good one, pretty people.