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Pop goes the sonnet!

13 Nov

I post an awful lot of drawing to this blog (perhaps because, I dunno, it’s called a sketchblog?), but today I have some news about a writing project I’ve been working on! Check this out:

Pop Sonnets: First Folio Cover

I’m part of a writing group called Dilettantes’ Ball, whose other members include Paul Swartz, Mike O’Malley, Zachary Garrett, Tim Becker, Emily Curran, Christine Elliot, and Rhett duPont. This is the cover design for Pop Sonnets: First Folio, our debut zine. Pop sonnets are today’s songs in yesterday’s words, combining Shakespearean rhythm and vocabulary with the delightful inanity of top 40 hits. They’re fun to write and (we hope) fun to read!

If you’re interested in reading some of these pop sonnets, you’re in luck! We’re launching our tumblr tonight, so you should go check it out. If you’re interested in hearing some pop sonnets, you’re in even more luck! We’re hosting a reading/release party this very week! Come by the Brooklyn Launchpad at 8:30 pm on Saturday, November 17th to hear us read some sonnets, see our lovely new book in person, and taste some drinks and snacks! Admission is $3, and it’ll go towards supporting the Launchpad (which is a fantastic new event space in our very own Crown Heights) and towards printing more books. You should definitely come check it out! I’d love to see y’all.

Don’t forget to vote!

3 Nov

Hey, guess what I did this week?

…No, go ahead and guess. I’ll wait.

If you guessed “played video games”, “made comics”, or “drank too much coffee”, you are correct! However, if you guessed “voted”, you are also correct!


I would’ve taken a picture with the actual ballot, not just the stub, but I was in a big hurry to get it to the post office.

Anyway, I really hope y’all are planning to exercise your right to vote this Tuesday! Here are a few reasons why:

1) It’s the responsible thing to do.

2) No matter what party you’re voting for, there are a lot of important issues on the table this year. You’re not only picking a president, you’re choosing local and state politicians and laws, too. (Especially if you’re from California–what I got in the mail was more like a short choose-your-own-adventure story than a ballot!)

3) Lots of businesses will give you free things on Election Day if you show them your “I Voted” sticker. I don’t know if a voting stub like mine will do the trick as well, but I’m sure as hell gonna try.

And if all that isn’t enough incentive, here’s something to help remind you:

Please don't forget to vote!

If you have a ballot like the letter E up there, remember not to follow my example and fill your ovals completely. And if you have a ballot like the letter O, you may want to (at least temporarily) move out of Florida. This election is important, after all.

(By the way, I used paper texture #89 from S3PTIC-STOCK‘s lovely set of paper textures for the background.)

Purrin’ on the Ritz!

22 Oct

Last week (or the week before) I asked you guys what kind of art you’d like to see on the blog. The response was clear: I need to draw more cats. Fancy cats, even. Perhaps located in a specific borough of New York City. (You have very discerning taste, dear readers.)

So, without further ado: dancing cats, decked out in formal wear, in Brooklyn.

Insert your own "Wall Street Fat Cats" joke here.

Street sign aside, you can tell they’re in Brooklyn because they’re doing all this ironically.

This was a bit of a challenge–how exactly do cats dance, anyway? I’ve never seen the movie, so I found myself at a loss. Nevertheless, I had fun drawing the little cummerbund and furry high-fives. I’m also pleased with the color scheme. I haven’t done anything monochromatic in a while, and it turned out to be a fun and easy way to color this drawing. Things fell into place fairly neatly, which was a nice surprise; sometimes I end up having to really fuss with a drawing in order to make sure I don’t have too many overlapping segments of the same color, but the colors in this came together pretty intuitively.

I had a lot of fun working on this, so let’s keep it going! Please feel free to leave a comment telling me something you’d like to see a drawing of. :)

Fall is here…

8 Oct

…and that means (among other things) that it’s time to break out the sweaters! I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion lately, and not only in the narcissistic sense. I’ve mentioned in other blog posts that my drawings, like my wardrobe, tend to default to T-shirts and jeans if I’m not careful, so I’ve been trying to branch out on the page and in my closet. So, this is what I wore (and drew!) today:


Complementary colors~!

See, I told you guys we’d be seeing more Illustrator work! I had a lot of fun with this one. It’s simplistic, but I tend to like that when it comes to vector art. I also like how the orange-and-blue color scheme came out–it’s a color combination I always love, and it seems appropriately autumnal. I am actually knitting a scarf that color, too…and, since I’m exhausted from work today, I think I’m gonna get back to it. See you on Wednesday with some writing!


Writing Wednesday: Cartoon College and the Newport Beach Film Festival

3 Oct

Welcome to the very first Writing Wednesday on the sketchblog! From now on, I’ll be updating every (you guessed it) Wednesday with some (you guessed it again) writing about something I’m working on, news from the comics world, books I’ve read, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It’ll be comics-related for the most part, but I’ve also been embarking on some exciting writing journeys, and I can’t promise I’ll stay quiet about them.

My subject this week is…(drumroll, please)…


 Cartoon College, the fabulous documentary by Josh Melrod and Tara Wray! It’s all about the Center for Cartoon Studies, the Vermont-based comics school. Maybe y’all have heard of it? I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I graduated from there last year and it changed my life. And not just in the discovering-lolcats-for-the-first-time sense, but in the redefining-your-life’s-direction sense. What I’m trying to get at here is that I totally loved it at CCS, and I graduated a better artist and storyteller and all-around person. (If you want the down-and-dirty about my time at CCS, check out my post from CCS Awareness Week last year.)

Josh and Tara spent years interviewing not only students and faculty from CCS but also comic artists and scholars from all over the country. The result is a great introduction to the world of indie comics. Comics aficionados will recognize a lot of big names (why, hello there, Art Spiegelman and Lynda Barry!), and you may also learn a few new ones.


Speaking of new names in comics, Josh and Tara made sure to include conversations with students from several different years at CCS. As you can see from the above image, I made the cut! They also chose to specifically follow five or six students, mostly from years previous to me. I thought this was an interesting approach. While I’ve obviously got some narcissistic tendencies and would have loved for my class to be the main focus, I also learned a lot about the classes before me. I even learned some new things about alums that I’d spent a fair amount of time with!

I got a chance to see Cartoon College for the first time at the Newport Beach Film Festival at the Orange County Museum of Art. Josh, Tara, and Leslie Feibleman, the Director of Special Programs and Community Cinema, kindly invited me to attend the festival’s showing of the documentary and to give a Q&A session afterwards. It was basically the best night ever (sorry, prom night). I got to visit a great museum, watch a cool movie (that I’m totally in! Did I mention that yet?) while eating delicious food truck fare, and talk to a captive audience about the things I love most in life: comics, the Center for Cartoon Studies, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

…Okay, I’m joking about the last one. But it was still a fantastic time.


I also gave an interview with Kristy Kircher of Newport Beach TV. She and I discussed some stuff you guys probably already know about from reading this blog (such as what got me into comics and how I ended up at CCS) and some stuff you might not (like what being a comic artist actually entails these days, and why the moniker “funny books” isn’t always relevant). You can see the full interview here.

All right, I think I’ve written enough for tonight! Plus, it’s nearly midnight, so I gotta get this uploaded before I have to change the name to Writing Thursday. If there’s anything you guys want to know about Cartoon College, the Center for Cartoon Studies, or how to get your shirts to glow red-and-green on camera, just leave a comment and I’d be happy to answer it!

(Also, if you guys enjoyed the first installment of Writing Wednesday, why not head over to Paul’s blog? I have it on good authority that he’s also posting some writing tonight, and it’s definitely worth a look!)

I’m back, baby!

1 Oct

Well, hey there, internet! Long time, no see! I know, I know–you thought I forgot about you. But don’t worry: I’m here to stay this time.

So, what exactly have I been up to during the past year? The short answer is: lots of stuff! The long answer is going to take me a couple of posts to cover, but I’ll at least start right now. One thing that’s been keeping me busy has been freelance work for the wonderful Story Collider podcast. (You may remember them from my earlier post about their comic anthology.) They recently launched their online magazine, and I’ve done several illustrations for them. Here’s an example:

Brian Wecht

This illustration accompanies Brian Wecht’s story about making the difficult choice between a musical graduate program and the woman he loves…and the surprising love he discovers after making his choice. You can read it (and see my illustration in its natural habitat) here.

I’ve been experimenting with limited palettes in my color work lately. I definitely tend towards an “every-color-in-the-box” approach when left to my own devices, but I’m really drawn to (no pun intended!) images with some color constraints. This illustration is a pretty simple example–everything is orange and brown, but that’s close enough to a realistic attempt at color that I don’t necessarily think it reads as having a limited palette. I pushed myself a little harder for my most recent Story Collider image. I can’t show you guys quite yet, since it hasn’t gone up on the main site, but I’ll post it as soon as I can. :)

And, speaking of posts, I promise this won’t be my last one for another year! I’m going back to the trusty ol’ Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting schedule, but with a slight twist. To see what I mean, check back on Wednesday!

First hula hoops, now hobos and hipsters!

23 Feb

What h-word will I draw inspiration from next? Comment if you have any suggestions. :P

On the (only slightly) more serious side, last week White River Junction hosted its very own Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School session! For those of you that haven’t heard of it, Dr. Sketchy’s is this lovely Venn diagram of figure drawing, burlesque, and elaborate themed costumes. I was super excited to go for the first time, and it was pretty awesome. Here are a few sketches:

20-minute Dangeresque sketch

Dangeresque may have had the best stage name of everyone there. I guess that could also have been her real name; maybe her parents just knew that she’d be a superhero/villain, international spy, or eccentric burlesque model. I’m proud of how her hand and the perspective on her legs turned out, but I wish I’d done better with the bindle and suitcase.

10-minute Adora sketchWe had really great models at this session. They had funky costumes (as you can see) and gave us a nice mix of five-, ten-, and twenty-minute poses. Adora–pictured above–was my favorite, I think, but I think that may just have been because she had the same knee-high sneakers that I do.

…Man, that was just about the most hipster-y thing I could have qualified that statement with. Oof.

But speaking of hipsters, that hipster Little Mermaid meme that’s been going around lately made me think of this:

Hipster Nausicaa

This is something I drew a while ago when we were reading Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and were simultaneously making a lot of hipster jokes. Is it funny to anyone else but me? THE WORLD MAY NEVER KNOW.

And now for something completely different.

8 Dec

Okay, I’m changing it up a little! I know I promised you guys more visiting artist sketches, but I have some new drawings I’m really excited to share. Colleen Frakes set up an awesome opportunity for us with Northern Stage, the local theater company; a bunch of us cartoonists got to attend the final dress rehearsal for their production of The Wizard of Oz and do some life drawing during the show! It was difficult, but oh man was it a lot of fun.

Dorothy, Glinda, and Professor Marvel.

A super-simplified Dorothy and Glinda, plus the beginnings of Professor Marvel and his magnificent moustache. Everyone in the show was fantastic, but I particularly enjoyed Jane Brockman’s Glinda–she played her with an amazing Midwestern accent!

A crow and a tree.

Sarah Cubbage’s costume design for this show totally blew me away. These were some of the extras: the crows from the Scarecrow’s introductory scene wore these great suits with sequined vests, shoulder pads, and hats (I used silver Sharpie in an attempt to capture it, but I’m not sure it scanned well), and the trees from the Tin Man’s first scene were all dolled up in these Lady Gaga-esque veiled tree hats and stiff-looking dresses.

Poppies, a doorman, and a flying monkey.

More costume design sketches: a poppy, the Emerald City doorman, and a flying monkey. The colors on the monkey are a little bit too vivid–the actual costume has more mottled colors and looks more like fur.

A Jitterbug, an Emerald Citizen, and Toto.

A Jitterbug,  a random Emerald Citizen, and a super-fast sketch of Toto. I’m not sure if you can tell from this sketch, but the eyes on the Jitterbug hat have little lights inside that glowed as the wearer danced. SO COOL ♥

So yeah: basically, I am just totally enamored with this show to an extent that I totally wasn’t expecting. I can’t wait to see it on the stage! Northern Stage and Colleen totally hooked us up, and I am super grateful. If you’re in the WRJ/Lebanon/Hanover area, you should definitely come see it! You can find a list of performance dates and times here.

Did someone say, “more flappers”?

17 Nov

Because I definitely heard “more flappers.”

Suits don't lie; the people who wear them do.

I am pretty happy with the way this one came out. I used a reference picture for the pose, but I had to use my imagination for the color, the plaid pattern (which is why that’s super simple), and everything from the upper thigh down. Overall, I’m very pleased. I definitely need to do some tests on bristol to see how well this will reproduce when I paint on something that isn’t just copy paper, because I think I would really like the finished product to look like this. I’m also fond of the tagline–I’m maybe thinking about setting the story in a clothing shop, and I like the possibility of that being my super dorky tagline.

It’s gonna be kind of a short post again today; Paul and I just got back from meeting up with my dad in New York, and we had to get up early both yesterday and today in order to be on time. It was great to see him–we don’t usually see each other on this coast or at this time of year, and it was fun to visit New York again even though it was for such a short time. As an added bonus, we got to spend a few hours with Nisse Greenberg–Paul’s friend who does storytelling shows and requests drawings from us sometimes. We also got to go to Strand, where I picked up Jen Wang‘s new book, Koko Be Good. It is amazing and pretty much made me feel like this:

Koko Be Good

Everything about this book was great: the story, the writing, the beautiful palette…all I can really say is, “more, please!”

“Awesome publications” has pretty much been the theme of these past 24 hours. Gina Gagliano from First Second came into our Professional Practices class today to talk about marketing, and she brought in a pile of books for us to look at. This pile included Vera Brosgol‘s upcoming book, Anya’s Ghost. I didn’t have a chance to read it fully, as Gina was giving a really interesting talk and I wanted to listen, but I read as much as I could and concluded that I am going to run out and buy it the minute it is available. It is also beautiful in both the categories of art and drawing, plus I love a good ghost story. Basically, reading both those books in the span of a few hours made me feel like this:

Koko Be Good AND Anya's Ghost!


Anyway, that’s basically all I’ve got for today. Sorry that so many of these past posts have been me fangirling. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m bragging about the people I get to meet or how cool I apparently think I am–it’s just that Scott C. and Jen Wang and Vera Brosgol have been huge influences on me (hell, Jen and Vera and the rest of the Pants Press Sketchblog crew were what got me started drawing comics that weren’t just fanfiction), and the idea of being able to meet them or just tell them “thank you” is really exciting to me. I’ll try to make sure that I don’t go overboard in the future, but if these ravings get too obnoxious, please feel free to let me know. :)

One of these days, I will learn to get some sleep on Sunday nights.

15 Nov

SPOILER ALERT: today is not that day.

But hey, on the plus side, I’ve got some new art to post!

enjoy yourself

This is a little watercolor sketch I did during class today. The anatomy’s a little off (she’s got too much leg and too little torso), but overall I really like how this turned out. I’m especially proud of the slight blush on her cheeks, nose, and joints. Seriously, this watercolor stuff is a breath of fresh air. Everything I’m working on is feeling kind of stagnant, so it’s fun to work in a medium that feels spontaneous and is also pretty malleable. I feel like I’m on to something with this kind of character design, too–it’s somewhere halfway in between the simpler style I was using last year (and in earlier ’20s sketches) and the more realistic style I’ve been playing with this year. I also like the idea of not inking over the watercolors, but I don’t know how that’ll end up reproducing so I’ll have to do some experimentation. Does that mean I have to draw more flappers? OH NO WHATEVER SHALL I DO.

(P.S. In case you’re curious, the lyrics are from Guy Lombardo’s “Enjoy Yourself,” which is a great listen if you’re hankering for something a little vintage-y sounding.)

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