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Well, this one was almost on time!

12 Feb

Augh! I’m sorry that this post is also late, you guys! This nocturnal schedule of mine has been shifting forward by an hour or two a day, so I keep finding myself with less and less time between waking up and having to hurriedly squeeze in an update before midnight. Alas: sometimes I make it, sometimes I don’t.

On time or not, though, here’s this week’s visiting artist sketch:

Tom Gammill

Tom Gammill is primarily a TV writer and producer, having worked on SNL, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Futurama, and more, but he came to speak to us because he’s always loved comics and cartoons. He has a fascination with one-panel gag strips and has drawn them all his life, even while working as a writer–he and his creative partner Max Pross were known as the guys who pitched ideas with corresponding drawings. As of right now, he’s working on his own (self-described) so-bad-it’s-good newspaper comic, The Doozies. He also makes tongue-in-cheek “Learn to Draw With Tom Gammill” videos. He was a fantastic speaker–interesting, dynamic, and incredibly funny. I really like it when writers come to speak with us, since I feel like CCS leans toward focusing on the artistic side most of the time. He didn’t sit us down and say, “Now, listen: this is how you tell a story,” but he talked a lot about the creative process for both drawing and writing and made it informative and funny. A good time was had by all…and not just because he asked us to pose like that for a photograph. :)

See y’all on Monday!

Oh, Vermont. Why are you so snowy?

7 Feb

I know, I know, it’s because we’re so far north. But the snow had been melting so nicely the past few days that I kind of convinced myself that it’d just keep melting until it was all gone! It’s snowing again now, though, so I guess I’ve gotta accept the next several weeks of winter.

Ugh, sorry about that. I know I start, like, every entry with the latest in Vermont weather news, but it’s hard not to when that is basically all that is going on here. The last few days have been pretty solitary–I’ve gotten on this strange, nocturnal schedule, which means I slept through the thundersnow (seriously, it’s a real term!) and have just been sketching and trying to brainstorm story ideas all night. (We’ve also been watching a lot of Deadwood while we draw, but that’s neither here nor there.) It’s a decent schedule, but unfortunately it doesn’t inherently lend itself to exciting blog entries. Alas, such is my burden.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. Here’s a sketch of our visiting artist from a week or two ago:

Jodie Mack

Jodie Mack is an animator and professor of animation at Dartmouth College, conveniently located just across the river in good ol’ Hanover. She was a pretty great speaker in general. I love it when people are genuinely passionate about their work, and Jodie is nothing if not that! She was super energetic, was always moving, and was the first visiting artist I’ve seen to include a sing-along portion in her presentation. Jodie does a lot of abstract animation but still tries to imbue it with a sense of narrative, which is really interesting to me. I’ve always gravitated towards representational imagery, so to be honest I haven’t thought much about what can be done with abstract imagery when it comes to storytelling. Jodie uses a lot of cut paper in her work, too, so the papercraft nerd in me was super excited about her presentation.

Last week’s visiting artist lecture was canceled due to the aforementioned delights of Vermont weather, so I unfortunately won’t have another one of these sketches until Friday. I’ve been doing some little sketches of the Deadwood characters, though, so I might post those on Wednesday. See you then!

I am running out of cold-weather-related titles for these posts.

4 Feb

This could prove to be a problem as it is only February and we have a lot of snow and wind ahead of us. In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn’t have used up my Mr. Freeze puns so early in the year. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. :P

Anyway, here’s a visiting artist sketch from about two weeks ago:

David Libens

This is David Libens, our CCS student fellow for this year. He’s originally from Belgium, but he’s moved here for the year in order to work with the CCS cartooning community. He’s one of the founding members of the publishing company L’Employé du Moi as well as a prolific comic artist. His most recent work has been mostly autobiographical and has a great sketchy, spontaneous feel to it–I especially like the strips to which he’s added watercolors. It was very interesting to hear him talk because he gave us his whole life story in relation to comics. I’ve heard a lot (especially in the last two years) about how much better the comics culture in Europe is–comics are more widely considered to be a valid art form, many universities offer programs for it, etc.–so it was fun to hear David’s experiences within the system as well as his opinions on American comics culture. It was kind of nice to hear that he took some inspiration from American movies and music when he was younger, too; I know it’s silly, but I was relieved to hear that brash attitudes and guns aren’t our only cultural export.

Okay, I think that’s it for me tonight. I’ll be back on Monday with another visiting artist sketch and maybe a painting or two!

Drumroll, please!

31 Jan

All right, you guys, this is it! These are the last visiting artist sketches of the CCS class of 2011. So, without further ado:

Beth HetlandBeth Hetland will be completing the first two books of Fugue, a three-book series about her mother’s lifelong relationship with music–particularly the piano–and its effect on her family.

Jesse MeadJesse Mead will be working on Where Gods Lie, a fantasy epic/adventure, as well as collaborating with Monty Montgomery on Lincoln and Franklin: Ghost Hunters (whose name pretty much says it all).

And that’s all of us, guys! Come May, there are gonna be some amazing comics on the market. I am super excited! I am also super petrified, because I have a lot of work to do in between now and then. I guess I should probably get back to that.

See y’all on Wednesday!

What is this unfamiliar feeling?

26 Jan

Oh, right. It’s warmth! It has totes been above 0 degrees here for the past two days, which has been positively delightful and has let us all thaw out a bit. Never in my life did I expect to think that 18 degrees was balmy weather heralding the oncoming spring, but I guess that’s Vermont for ya.

You know what else is quintessentially Vermont? Sketches of the CCS students’ visiting artist talks. Here’s the next set:

Betsey SwardlickB. Swardlick will be starting a long graphic novel about the life and times of a man named Frank and all the roles–son, musician, father, lover–he plays throughout it.

Tom CasteelTom Casteel will be continuing work on Low Down, the abovementioned story about a man’s midlife crisis, as well as completing a number of shorter collaborative comics about a guerrilla English Lit class on a subway, meditation, and adoption.

Pat BarrettPat Barrett is continuing work on Petrified Girlfriend (a story about a young New York couple who is forced to come to terms with their faltering relationship when the girlfriend becomes…well…petrified) and contributing to Farmy Acres, a three-person webcomic in which each strip takes place in a different part of the same farm.

Next week is the last set of these visiting artist sketches, you guys! After that, you’ll have met every member of the CCS class of 2011. Then it’s back to regular ol’ artists again. :)

Time to break out the Mr. Freeze puns.

24 Jan

Not very nice, I snow, but it is -12 degrees out right now. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO COPE WITH THIS WITHOUT TERRIBLE PUNS.

In other news, here’s the next batch of CCS visiting artist drawings. I think they’re pretty cool:

Jesse DuronaJesse Durona will finish a 72-page graphic novel called Capek, a sci-fi story about a robot that finds a human baby in space and makes it his mission to reunite the child with its family.

Ben JuersBen Juers is hard at work on a 24-page silent comic about bower birds engaging in all kinds of Buster-Keaton-like slapstick antics.

Kevin UehleinKevin Uehlein will be working on two projects this year: Life Skills, an autobiographical piece based on his time spent working as a life skills teacher, and Visions of the Aporkolypse, an anthology about the inevitable pig-related death of human society and tyranny.

All right, that’s it–I’m gonna go chill out, cocoon myself in a blanket, and draw morbidly obese cats until spring comes. Get my drift?


Oh, hey, internets!

21 Jan

Long time, no see! Sorry about the long hiatus. When winter break started, I thought, “Will I have enough time to make a bunch of new art and update the blog regularly while I’m traveling through Charlotte and showing Paul around Del Mar and catching up with my family before I go? OF COURSE I WILL.”

I guess you can see how well that worked out. I was (*shock, gasp, horror*) busier than I thought I’d be, so I didn’t have much of a chance to draw. When I did, it usually went something like this:

WHAT SHOULD I DRAWWWWWI would sit there for a long time, staring down a blank sheet of paper. The longer I sat, the less valid or funny any of my ideas seemed, and eventually I would think, “Well, I’ll just do it tomorrow,” and go hang out with the fam. And the next day, the whole process would start over again.

But now I’m back in the place I work best, hanging out with the people I work best with, and I’m ready to start rocking out the rest of my thesis…well, as ready as I’m ever gonna be. I also have the rest of the CCS visiting artist sketches from last semester for you guys! So, without further ado, three more members of the CCS class of 2011:

Monty MontgomeryMonty Montgomery will be working on two different comics this year: Riot City (the teen kung-fu comic he mentions in the above drawing) and Max and Bosco (a comic about two musicians working at a restaurant in a dying universe).

Andy James ChristensenAndy James Christensen will be continuing work on The Stag, his mini-thesis from last year that dealt with a man living alone in a post-apocalyptic winter world and the strange creature he, for lack of a better word, befriends.

Carl MefferdCarl Mefferd is continuing work on Waking Dreams, his story about a Pacific Northwest town whose residents lead very different lives in their dreams.

I hate to say it, but I’m not as pleased with this set as I am with the previous one. I sat in a different place for the second round of presentations and had to draw everyone straight-on instead of from the profile, and I had a lot more trouble continuing the drawing as people moved their heads and changed expressions. For some reason it’s easier for me to adjust for slight differences in angle or expression from a side view rather than a front view, so I spent way more of the ten-minute sessions redrawing the same details over and over rather than refining them. *shrugs* What do you guys think?

Okay, that’s all from me tonight. I’ll see y’all on Monday–for reals this time!

I’m a veritable whirlwind of activity!

28 Dec

…Unfortunately, none of that activity is for art-related stuff right now. I’m about to run off to Charlotte to visit Paul (and, with any luck, see Bailey as well), and anytime I travel somewhere I pretty much spend the night before running around in a tizzy. I have packing to do, errands to run, walks to take with the family, cats to keep off the keyboard and out of my suitcase, and an impressive headache, but no brand-new art tonight. What I do have for you is the last of the first set of visiting artist sketches from the senior class presentations. There’s only one today since I haven’t had a chance to scan the second round yet (I’m still figuring out my parents’ scanner), but once I’m back I’ll begin posting the next set. So, without further ado…

Em SauterEm Sauter will be completing a third volume of M. Sauter’s Guide to Douchebaggery and continuing work on her two beer-related webcomics, Pints and Panels (featuring four-panel beer review comics) and Vicki Stowe: Brewmaster (the fictional life story of Vicki Stowe, the next female brewmaster).

Sorry for the short update–I’ll have something new for you guys on Wednesday, I promise!

Water, water everywhere…

23 Dec

So, hey, San Diego seems to be flooding. Don’t get me wrong: I love rain, and this is a nice change of pace from California’s habit of catching on fire every summer, but rain to the point of the roof leaking, hotels being evacuated, and the train tracks being flooded seems a tad excessive. Luckily, the worst of it seems to be over. The sun totally came out for, like, two hours today (which is about the same amount of sunlight we get in Vermont some days), so maybe things’ll start to dry off soon.

In the meantime, though, I’ve got another Keeley sketch for you:

Keeley ties his shoes.I tell ya what, this guy is way too much fun to draw. I love his freckles and lanky limbs! (His pants are always just a little too short because he’s so tall, which means I get to practice drawing bony ankles and cool socks, too.) I’m pretty pleased with how this sketch came out, unfinished hands aside. I think the folds in his clothes came out well, and I feel like I’m getting a better sense for how he moves. I still need to work on drawing shoes, though–the proportions on these are a little off. Does that mean I’ll have to spend the next few days looking up dapper 1920s outfits? OH WOE IS ME.

I think that’s it for me tonight…the cat had me up at 6:00 am, plus my body has no idea what time zone I’m in at this point, so I’m gonna get some sleep. See you guys on Friday!

Updating on time? It must be a Christmas miracle!

21 Dec

Or, y’know, a miracle of the winter holiday of your choice. I’m not picky. My mother has since pointed out that there’s been enough time between this update and my last for a Chanukah miracle and then some, so there you have it! :)

On the serious, though, I’m sorry to have been MIA for so long. Last week was a little tougher than I thought it’d be. I had to go to my last week of classes, present the comics workshop lessons I compiled for my Professional Practices class, check in with my advisor, join in some birthday festivities for one Mr. Paul Swartz, bid my cartoonists adieu, and head home to the West Coast, so my head was in a million different places. I’m all settled in now, though–the fam’s asleep, and I’m hanging out in bed listening to the rain pouring down outside–so it’s updatin’ time!

Today I’m posting some sketches from my 1920s project. I’m calling it Perfectly Fitting for now, but I don’t know if that’ll stick. I don’t know a lot about this one yet, to be honest. All I have is a time period, an artistic style, and two characters, but I’m feeling pretty strongly about the latter two so hopefully it’ll pan out. Here’s one of those characters now:

KeeleyI’d like you guys to meet Keeley. Like I said, I don’t know everything about him yet–I know he’s Irish, in his twenties, and is pretty skittish but good-hearted. There are definitely things I’m unsure about in this drawing; I don’t think he’s ever going to actually say this line (it’s pulled from a Boris Timanovsky story on a Moth podcast I was listening to at the time and really liked), and I was practicing my background work and am not totally pleased with the result. I really love drawing Keeley, though, because he’s so gangly and is in constant motion. He’s going to be fun to work with once I figure out what his story really is.

Perfectly Fitting isn’t all about him, though. It’s also about this girl:

Our Mystery WomanI’d love to introduce you to her, but I’m afraid I don’t quite know her name yet. I know she’s Eastern European and that she used to work for the Everleigh club in Chicago, but she and I are still getting to know each other. She’s a bit more reticent than Keeley, so she’s taking a bit more work but I have faith she’ll be worth the effort.

…I know, I know. Today’s post has an awful lot of that, but I’m afraid I’m always like this when I start a project. I take a fair amount of time to get a feel for my characters, what they look and sound like, before I start writing or drawing. I can tell when a comic is really working for me when the characters almost start writing themselves–when the dialogue starts feeling more like something I’m overhearing than something I’m dictating–but before that can happen I have to be able to visualize the characters doing whatever it is they’re meant to be having. Even though the overall shape of this project may be fuzzy right now, I’m working hard on that visualizing part. I hope you guys don’t mind being a little patient with me while I work out how to make things a little clearer–I promise I’ll share the results. :)

Okay, that’s quite enough for me for tonight. See you guys on Wednesday (for real this time)!

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