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Who’s got two thumbs and has finished her thesis?

4 May

That’s right: THIS GUY!


That’s a super-quick celebratory photo of me (in all my manic, sleep-deprived glory) and all 8 copies of my thesis project, just before I turned them in! As you can see, I chose to go with the purple and blue crest with “Fiat Comix” as the logo. I feel pretty good about how they turned out, but I think I’d like to try doing another round. I want to print it on bigger bags with the proper ink for printing on fabric so that I can have a better one for myself (right now, I have one of the messed-up versions!) and maybe some for sale, too!

I hope that the thesis evaluation committee thinks that everything looks good, too. I’m pretty nervous about going up in front of them next week, of course, but–fingers crossed–I think things may go okay. Aside from my nerves, I basically feel like this:

YESSSSSSSIt’s amazing what a few nights of good sleep and a few days of eating well can do! Now I’m all pumped up for Drawn Out Storytelling! Thank you very much to everyone who’s donated so far–we’re 43% funded! We’re not out of the woods yet, though. The way Kickstarter works, we don’t actually receive any money unless we meet (or–be still, my heart!–exceed) our goal; if we raise less than our proposed amount, all the money is refunded and we have to find a way to finance the show out of our own pockets. If you have the chance, would you check our Kickstarter out? You can donate as little as $1, and there are a lot of really great prizes if you donate. You can win keychains, free tickets, and lots and lots of original art, ranging from sketches to finished illustrations to custom comic books! I don’t mean to harp on about it, but I’m so excited about this show and really, really want to see it made. It’d really make my day if you could help us out by donating or spreading the word!

Speaking of things that are making my day, I’m also pretty pumped for Free Comic Book Day, which is this Saturday. I’ll be hanging out at Newbury Comics in West Lebanon, NH, sellin’ my wares and enjoying an awesome comics holiday. I’m hoping to make a new mini to give out that day, so I’ll keep you posted on how that goes. Come see me if you’re in the area–I’d love to say hi!

I’m running rampant with these crest designs!

26 Apr

I think I’m pretty much always gonna describe my polls with terrible puns. :) But hey, gimme a break–like I mentioned before, things are getting pretty hectic over here, and pun therapy is the only thing that’s working! My thesis project is officially due in less than a week, which means I have a whole lotta bookmaking to do. I’m also working on the packaging for my thesis project. I was originally planning to make a fully functional board game that had my books attached to the board, but in the end it required too much extra time and original artwork. I would’ve had to put aside my actual thesis work much earlier in order to make it, and that just wasn’t worth the time. Instead, I’m going to screenprint canvas bags with a crest for an imaginary school and put the “assigned reading”–my four thesis books–inside. I’ve come up with four potential crests and mottos for this school, and I could use your help picking one! Here are the four choices:

Crest #1

Motto translation: “Images And Words”.

Crest #2

Motto translation: “Who Will Read This?”

Crest #3

Motto translation: “Let There Be Comix”.

Crest #4

Motto translation: “Words Instruct, Illustrations Lead”.

I need your help deciding which crest to use. I’ve made two polls–one for color schemes and one for mottos–so you can mix and match. You can also suggest different mottos if you like, and please feel free to correct my Latin (or, rather, the Latin I found on the internet) if you’re affronted by its inaccuracy. :P  If you have time, would you help me out?

I forgot that warm weather actually exists!

18 Mar

Just a quick update for you guys tonight! It’s been super warm this week (50 whole degrees!), and I have to admit that I’ve been distracted by the good weather. It’s been a pretty good week overall, since I’ve either taken care of or formulated plans of attack for a lot of the stuff that’s been stressing me out. I just have a lot of work to get down to, but I’m excited about a lot of it. This mermaid story in particular is really exciting (and a little scary) to start working on again. I’ve been doing a lot of sketches of Vivian in particular lately. Here’s one of them:


Vivian and her towel.

As a stand-alone drawing, I like this a lot. I’m especially proud of her hands and the folds in her sweatshirt. As a drawing of Vivian, though, it’s not great. Her hair’s a little too poofy, her eyebrows are thicker, and her mouth is too full. In this one she ended up looking too much like Pilar, a previous character of mine from Follow the Lady. The only differences are that Pilar isn’t Asian and has wavier hair and only one ponytail. I think I just need to keep working on Vivian so that I can draw her consistently. I should probably also start drawing her in different situations–I’ve been drawing her messing around with towels so much lately that Ford Prefect’d be proud of her.

I think that’s it for me tonight. I’m gonna try to write some more of the script and finalize some of the designs for the kids in this story, and maybe I’ll post those sketches on Monday. If you want to keep up with me and my awkwardess in the meantime, you can find me on Twitter here! I just started using it last week. I’m a bit unwieldy with it, but I have to admit it’s pretty fun. If you’ve got an account, please come say hi! :)

Another blast from my (artistic) past!

10 Mar

I had originally meant to post about last week’s visiting artist talk, but something really exciting happened today! Lori D., a Portland animator/zinester/skateboarder, came to give us an impromptu talk about her work! Here she is:

Lori D

Lori is a super-talented animator who draws really cute characters doing excellent things. Her work often features mustaches, missing front teeth, cool abstractions, and a lot of mischievous body language. She’s animated stuff for Yo Gabba Gabba, you guys, and that is awesome. She showed us some of her illustration work and some of her animations, which all share the same bright colors and lighthearted attitude. Her gouache paintings are really great, and I like her style a lot.

Part of the reason I was so excited to see Lori is that she used to be my teacher! She’s the Animation Department Chairperson for CSSSA (the California State Summer School for the Arts, which is located at CalArts). I was accepted into the program in the summer of 2004, right before my senior year. She was a fantastic teacher, and that program was quite literally life-changing for me. I’d never been part of such an artistically-driven community before (nevermind living without my family in one), and it was so energizing and inspiring and all-around amazing to me. I worked so hard and learned so much over the course of those four weeks–it was where I made my first figure drawings, my first cut-paper animations, and my first real thoughts about where I’d like to go with my art. I’m going to talk a little more about that on Friday, since I have a mildly self-indulgent How I Got to Where I Am bit in mind, but for now I’d just like to reiterate that I can’t recommend this program more. If you’re a California resident (and even if you’re not, since they admit a few out-of-staters every year) in 8-12th grade, please check them out! They have programs in animation, creative writing, dance, film & video, theater, and visual art, and they’re all fabulous.

In which I reveal poll results and complain about the weather.

8 Mar

I promised myself that I wasn’t going to whine about the weather after my month-long stint of only talking about snow and posting a silly drawing, but I find myself unable to keep that promise. Today we had a bunch of freezing rain and snow, and when I ventured outside for sustenance I found that there was nearly an inch of ice on my car and that three of its four doors had iced shut! Our ice scraper made the ultimate sacrifice tonight–it lost all but three of its tines and has thus been honorably discharged from service. I am rather disheartened, both by the loss of my faithful ice scraper and by the fact that I thought that we were done with icy horribleness for a while. Blech. I love Vermont and all, but sometimes it makes it very difficult to like living here!

Things aren’t all that bad, of course. I had a great talk with my thesis advisor, Aaron Renier, today, and that left me feeling pretty good about the (increasingly little) time I have left to work on my thesis. It also helps that I finally sat down yesterday (or, rather, this very early morning) and wrote out a complete and final outline for my mermaid story. It’s tentatively called I Saw You, but that’s just a placeholder until any other name occurs to me. I changed the ending halfway through scripting it  the first time and also realized that the pacing was way too fast, so it feels great to finally know for sure where the story is going and to have made my peace with how long it’ll take me to get there. It’s still going to be a lot of work–I want to redesign some characters and settings, so I’ll have to redraw the seven pages I started at the beginning of this year, and it’s going to be over fifty pages when it’s done–but it’s such a relief to have this first step completed. I’ve been sketching the main characters from this story lately when I’m bored, trying to get a feel for how I want to draw them. Here’s an example:

simple Vivian sketch

This is Vivian, spreading out her towel at the beach. I realized too late that I forgot to shade the sand, so now it looks like the poor gal’s hell-bent on catching hypothermia. I like the simple style of this image–I think I had just discovered Natasha Allegri’s blog when I drew this–but unfortunately I don’t think it’s the right look for this story. It’s gonna be horror-flavored (albeit only lightly, on account of me being a huge wimp), and right now I feel like this is a little too cutesy.

Speaking of cutesy, here’s the final lineup for the charms!

Final Charm Designs

In a last-minute upset, there was a three-way tie for fourth between Sleepy Yeti, Happy Yeti, and iNterruption. I decided to go with iNterruption because there were already two yeti charms in this batch, but rest assured–if these sell well at MoCCA, I’ll definitely make more! I like the idea of having an all-yeti set (like the “Yeti-motion” stickers that I’d been giving out at cons last year), so that’ll probably happen sometime soon.

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your input! I was so, so excited to receive so much feedback from y’all about which ones you’d like to buy. I appreciate you guys so much. :) If you feel like giving more, you should definitely head over to Paul’s blog and sneak in a last vote before he closes his poll tonight. (You should vote for the axolotl–it’s tied for fourth right now, and holy hell do I want an adorable little salamander on my keys!)

A ‘charm’-ing post.

5 Mar

Get it? Eh?

…Oh man, I am on a roll with these puns this week. You know what else I’ve been on a roll with? Making some merchandise, AWW YEAH. Check it out:

Charm Designs

These are a bunch of potential designs for charms that I’m going to sell at MoCCA next month. I am the kind of person whose keys become inordinately heavy due to an ever-growing collection of keychains, and I love collecting little trinkets with my favorite characters on them, so I figured I may as well combine the two! All of the characters you see above are from books that I’ll have for sale at the show, too. Edie and her yeti friend are from Abominable and its sequel, Monsters; the purple flour-sack-like figures are from iNterruption; the obese cat is from my children’s book, Eat Up, Cat, which will be available for the first time at MoCCA. (If you simply can’t wait to get your hands on Abominable or iNterruption, you can purchase them in the store on my main site.)

Each of these charms will be 1 1/2 inches tall–perfect for keychains or cell phone charms!–and will be printed on black waterproof acrylic. I’m ordering them from a small-run print shop called Printsess. I’ve never used them before, but with customers like Threadless and Yuko Ota and Ananth Panagariya (the creators of Johnny Wander) in their repertoire I’m sure they do a good job.

With all that in mind, I’d really like to know what you guys think of these designs! If you have a minute to cast a vote, please help me choose the most appealing ones! I’d like to do an order of up to four designs, so please choose your top four and vote for them.


Thanks for your help! I’d like to make the order by Tuesday, so I’ll close the poll on Monday night after my update. If you’re still in a voting mood, why don’t you head on over to Paul’s blog and check out his poll? He’s also getting some charms made and has some excellent monster designs. Personally, I’m voting for the axolotl, the bat, the lounge lizard, and Quetzalcoatl. NOT THAT I AM TRYING TO SWAY YOUR VOTES OR ANYTHING

Showin’ some skin. (NSFW)

2 Mar

Today’s post is kind of a fitting follow-up to Monday’s. As you guys know, I’ve been working with ideas for this 1920’s project (tentatively named Perfectly Fitting) for some time. I’ve been struggling to figure out exactly who my main characters are, since I don’t know much about them yet except for their appearances, names (well, sort of), and occupations. I recently decided that Yulia (the current working name of the female protagonist), who used to be a prostitute at the high-end Everleigh Club, is now working in the burlesque industry. Here’s a two-page series of sketches that I did in an attempt to (a) try to draw her consistently in a bunch of different poses and (b) to figure out the kind of poses she’d need to get into during a strip scene.

A Poetic Strip, part 1

A Poetic Strip, part 2

I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out. I’m liking the balance between realistic anatomy and stylization that these pages have, and I liked thinking up the different poses. Plus, I think I’m slowly getting better at drawing high heels. I always have a ton of trouble drawing decent-looking shoes, so this is a big deal to me. (And yes, I know that she probably would have her shoes off after taking off the stockings, but I wanted to get some more practice drawing them.)

Lest the “apologies to Dorothy Parker” at the bottom of page 2 not make it clear, that’s a Dorothy Parker poem Yulia is reciting as she works. I guess she’s either a pretty slow talker or a pretty fast stripper. (Also, those are pasties–the kind without tassels–and not very large nipples on the last page.)

I’ll be back on Friday with a poll for you guys, so be sure to come back then! :)

A little bit, a little late.

26 Feb

Yikes! Sorry this update is late, guys! I have a big crit coming up on Tuesday, so I spent last night sending all my files off so that people’d have time to read them. I’ll have a lot of good stuff to post during this upcoming week as a result–I have some prep work for Perfectly Fitting that turned out well, plus I’ll have the poster I’m designing for the next Dr. Sketchy’s event.

But first, here’s this week’s visiting artist sketch!

Joe Sacco

This week, Joe Sacco gave a talk to us as well as some of the Dartmouth students about comics and journalism. As the author of PalestineFootnotes in Gaza, and several other journalistic graphic novels, it’s pretty clear that he knows what he’s talking about. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read any of his work, but I like his style and enjoyed what he had to say. Since the Dartmouth lecture was aimed at a more general audience, he had to spend more time than usual explaining the basic nature of comics and how or why they might be used for journalism. It was still a good talk–I particularly liked hearing him discuss his process and how he defines journalistic integrity (telling the “intrinsic truth” rather than the “literal truth” in some cases)–but I wish I’d been able to make it to his CCS-only talk earlier that day. I’m definitely adding Footnotes in Gaza to my reading list for next week.

A breath of fresh air.

18 Feb

It’s been over forty degrees the past two days, I have totally been sleeping (mostly) at night, I went to my very first Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School event, and I’ve gotten to draw a lot of pin-up girls in a fairly short amount of time. Life is good, you guys.

Oh, yeah, and we had a fantastic visiting artist this week, too! Here he is:

Howard Cruse

Howard Cruse, creator of Barefootz, Wendel, and Stuck Rubber Baby, came to talk to us this week. He was one of the most enjoyable guest speakers we’ve had this semester, I think. This is the first time this year that we’ve had a visiting artist who was used to working in different styles and spoke to us about when and why he employs them. (Last year we had R. Sikoryak, but I don’t recall him explicitly speaking about why he used specific styles in his Masterpiece Comics.) I find myself bouncing around from style to style pretty frequently (as you guys may have seen, given the contents of this blog), so it was really great to hear him speak so specifically about how style and content relate to each other and how you can use it to your advantage. I was also excited to find out about his other comic works. I’d only heard of Stuck Rubber Baby, which I read this summer. I thought it was a really interesting story, but I wasn’t as into the art style since the super-crosshatched underground comix look has never done a lot for me. Hearing him talk about the way he adjusted his art style to fit the content of the book helped me to appreciate it a little more (even though it’s not an aesthetic I’ll bring into my own work) and made me excited to read his other series. Guess I’ll be going (back) to the library tomorrow!

Also, I forgot to mention this in my last post, but do you remember that Pearls of Lutra picture I drew? Well, my friends Kevin and Josh have also drawn pictures celebrating the work of the late Brian Jacques. They are both awesome dudes, and you should totally check their work out! :)

I better start thinking of some names fast. (NSFW)

16 Feb

Seriously. Naming these thesis-related posts is going to be so much easier once I have real titles for the different parts of it! I guess the best I can do right now is to say, “Here are some sketches from that 1920s project.”

So…yeah. Y’know. That. This first one does include some almost-nudity (save for pasties), so you may not want to scroll down while you’re at work.

1920s sketch #1

This is the latest incarnation of the female lead in Perfectly Fitting. After reading American Rose I started thinking that maybe she started work as a stripper after the Everleigh Club was closed down. I’m still working on the plot for this, so I’m not sure if that’ll stick, but right now I like it. At the very least, her being in varying levels of nakedness gives me lots of opportunity to draw Keeley looking flustered, and of course I love doing that!

1920s sketch #2

Here’s our gal heading home from work early one morning. (I think she and I keep similar schedules.) I feel like I’m getting better and better at drawing her, especially when it comes to her haircut. I like how bouncy she looks in this as well as the expression on her face. The only thing I’m not as pleased with is the fur stole–it’s looking a little too much like a Lamb Chop puppet for my taste. Ah well. Perhaps I’ll include a scene in the comic in which it teaches us all a lesson about sharing, possibly through song.

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