Something’s a little sketchy here.

20 Oct

Lately, it always seem to rain the most on days when I have to run a bunch of errands. I’ve had some umbrella-related technical difficulties lately, though, and I had to upgrade to a newer model–namely, one that works.

Old Umbrella, New Umbrella

I know, I know: I live a glamorous life.

While scouring the archives of Natasha Allegri’s blog, I found a link to Stumpy Pencil, which is a fantastic resource for Photoshop brushes. I’ve been fooling around with their pencil brushes, and it’s been really fun! I used it for just about everything in the above drawing.

I also tried a little life drawing. Here’s Paul during one of our late-night drawing sessions/Home Movies marathons:

PaulIt’s funny, but I find it way easier to draw on a tablet with a brush that mimics pencil texture like this. Something about the way it handles makes sketching feels much more natural, and I’m able to relax and focus on the actual drawing instead of the brush. I’m probably going to use it a lot in the future. If you have some spare time, I’d definitely recommend downloading the brush and giving it a try!

As far as the color scheme goes, I was inspired by Julie Delporte‘s work. She’s one of the CCS fellows this year, and I met her for the first time at ICAF earlier in the month. She does some fantastic color work–mostly in crayon, I think. I used a more muted palette in the above drawing, but it was a fun aesthetic to keep in mind. Maybe I’ll try something a little brighter for the next update…

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It’s not quite “Ebony and Ivory,” but it’ll do.

17 Oct

For our last Drawn Out Storytelling show, Paul and I collaborated on illustrating a story told by Aaron Wolfe and Naomi Azar. Check it out!

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 1Their car breaks down outside Falls Creek, PA, a small town near Punxatawney.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 2Aaron and Naomi outside their motel.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 3A previous stop on their road trip: Katz’s Deli, a raw foodist’s delight.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 4Their destination: the Azar household.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 5Naomi’s mom gives them a very special gift.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 6Aaron and Naomi reminisce about their Falls Creek morning routine. First stop, the local diner.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 7Next, the courthouse.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 8Finally, the mechanic.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 9Aaron and Naomi have different ideas about post-coital meals.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 10Aaron engages in a high-stakes game of chess with Naomi’s dad.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 11A really, really high-stakes game of chess.

Aaron & Naomi's story, part 12But in the end, it all works out okay.

The story centers on Naomi and Aaron’s inherent differences and their attempts at compromising. To emphasize this, Paul and I drew the pair in very different styles with very different palettes. Paul always draws Aaron in purple, without any outlines, and I always draw Naomi in orange with a black brush pen outline. The locations they visit–specifically, Katz’s Deli and Naomi’s parents’ house–also take on these characteristics. However, in places where they are able to reach a compromise, the styles and palettes blend a little bit. It was challenging to do (especially since I don’t often use a monochrome palette), but ultimately I’m very happy with the result.

If you missed hearing (and seeing) this story live, don’t worry! We’ll include it in a later episode of our podcast. In the meantime, if you’d like to hear more about this story, you can check out what Paul has to say about it on his blog. :)

24 must be my lucky number!

10 Oct

‘Cause today I (a) turned 24 and (b) got a bunch of great news! If you’ll allow me some birthday narcissism, let me tell you all about it!

First of all, the Minneapolis Indie Xpo (or MIX, as we affectionately call it) announced its programming schedule! I’m going to be part of Salon Saloon: The Comic Show, and I was totally psyched to find out that my co-panelists are Danno Klonowski, Corinne Mucha, and John Porcellino! MIX will take place on November 5-6 this year, and my panel is at 3:30 on the 5th. I’ll also be hanging out at the CCS table with Andrew James, Max Mose, and (of course) Paul Swartz. (Rumor has it that one Miss Beth Hetland might drop by, too!) Hope to see you there!

Secondly, I’ve been working my butt off lately doing a Very Special Project for a wonderful show called Story Collider. For those unfamiliar with it: shame on you! This podcast (and live show) is so good that you should be listening to it as we speak (er, write. Or read. In fact, nevermind). Story Collider features 10- to 15-minute stories about people’s experiences with science, both mad and otherwise. Erin Barker, Ben Lillie, and Brian Wecht (the show’s creators/sustainers) are awesome, and we’ve had the pleasure of working with Erin and Ben a few times in our Drawn Out Storytelling shows. They pay for Story Collider out of their own pockets, which is a sizable expense, so they’ve started a fundraiser to not only keep Story Collider going but to improve it as well. They have a lot of great incentives for donating money, aside from the standard warm fuzzy feeling of doing a nice thing. If you donate $50 or more, you’ll get an exclusive book featuring four comic adaptations of Story Collider’s greatest hits! It’s totally worth it, if I do say so myself. It has stories by David Dickerson, John Rennie, Erik Hofer, and Margot Leitman, with art by Joe Wierenga, Maki Naro, Paul Swartz, and myself, respectively. Here’s a sample of my piece:

The AIDS Cookie (adapted from Margot Leitman's story) Page 1

There are four more pages where that came from, but you can only find them in the exclusive Story Collider: Science in Comics book. Any donations you make are also tax-deductible, so why not give a little?

Speaking of comics work, I also have a piece in another anthology! I have a four-page story in Lies Grown-ups Told Me, edited by Nomi Kane, Caitlin McGurk, and Jen Vaughn. It’s called Earth Girls Are Easy, and here’s a sample page:

Earth Girls Are Easy Page 1If you’d like a copy, come see me at MIX or contact one of those fine ladies!

Long time, no see!

16 Sep

Hi, guys! I missed you! The reason I’ve been MIA lately is that I’ve been hard at work (along with Paul and Nisse) on Drawn Out Storytelling.

…What’s that, you say? There’s a link there? Why, yes there is! We launched our brand-new website just a couple days ago! It’s already got a few videos up for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be adding one episode of our video podcast at the end of every month, each of which will feature two brand-new stories (paired with, of course, custom artwork and music) plus some commentary and bonus artwork from myself, Paul, and Nisse. The site also features artwork from previous shows, producer bios, and information about our upcoming shows. LIKE THIS ONE:

Drawn Out Storytelling: Experimenting with Exploration (version 1)This poster actually comes in two different color schemes. I wanted to experiment with using non-literal color (e.g., not always coloring the sky blue and the grass green), and I couldn’t decide which version I liked better, so I printed them both! Here’s the other:

Drawn Out Storytelling: Experimenting with Exploration (version 2)Yeah, I know the grass still turned out green in this one, but I tried, okay? :P I’d be interested in hearing which poster you guys like best. If you have a strong preference, feel free to let me know in the comments.

If you like what you see, you should definitely come to the show! Paul and I will be collaborating on Naomi Azar and Aaron Wolfe’s story, plus I’ll be doing some artwork for Mimsy’s excellent experimental segments of the evening. It’s gonna be a really great show, so I hope you guys can make it! If you can’t (or, heck, even if you can!), you can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. That’s almost as good. :)

Two very different species.

25 Aug

This week has been a delightful balancing act between long stints of job hunting/city exploring and marathoning Mad Men while we draw. I’m still pushing myself to experiment with more all-digital work–plus watching all this Mad Men and seeing all these hip Brooklyn girls has gotten me all fashion-inspired–so I dusted off my copy of Illustrator and gave it a whirl. Here’s the result:

Mad Men and Brooklyn Girls

This was actually a lot of fun! I’m proud of the end result–particularly the back foot of each girl. I think this was ultimately a lot more efficient than my all-Photoshop extravaganza last week. It took a lot of time, but I think I made bigger strides in what I’m able to do with Illustrator and without outlining or sketching the figures first. I’d like to do a couple more like this, I think. Maybe some fan art is in order?

From California to the New York islands!

20 Aug

Phew! The past couple weeks have been a little crazy. There’s been a lot of packing, mailing, frantic box-buying, saying farewell, and driving to do. But it’s all been worth it, because for the past week and a half, I’ve been waking up in the city that never sleeps.

That’s right…Paul and I moved to Brooklyn!

Things are still kind of hectic, of course. (When are they not?) We’ve both got a lot of unpacking and job-hunting to do, but overall it just feels great to finally have completed the move we’ve been talking about all summer. It’s also fun to start really settling into our place–I’m notoriously bad at unpacking my stuff, and somehow I never quite get around to hanging all of the posters and prints I’ve accumulated for decoration. The fact that we won’t necessarily be moving out soon and the fact that there are two of us doing the unpacking/decorating has helped a lot, though. Here’s a little comic I drew about that:

Our new home.This is the first all-digital comic I’ve done in a loooong time! I do a fair amount of digital coloring, but I usually at least start with a physical pencil sketch or something. I’ve been reading a lot of Cucumber Quest lately, though, and that inspired me to give it a shot. It took me way longer than I expected it to, but I like the results and want to keep practicing. I want to try drawing a lot of new things, so if you guys want to see anything in particular, please let me know in the comments!

Rain, rain, come and stay…

25 Jul

Finally, a little bit of relief from the heat! White River and the surrounding areas had lovely overcast weather all day today, plus a little bit of rain in the afternoon. It feels absolutely heavenly after last week’s fire and brimstone! It was a nice treat for the first day of my second comics camp at the VAULT Gallery. I have nine great students this week, and I can’t wait to see the characters and comics they’ll create!

Anyway, considering today’s weather, I figured it’d be appropriate to post this today:

Rainy Day

Overall, I like how this one turned out–especially her outfit. Drawing fashionable (or even semi-fashionable) clothes is really difficult for me, and I rarely try to add patterns to the stuff I do draw, so this was a tough image to finish. I feel like I succeeded on both counts there, but I kind of wish I’d used a different method to color the rain. It turned out a little too uneven for my tastes; if the streaks were just a little neater or if I’d colored it digitally I think I’d be much more satisfied with it. The weather forecast’s calling for rain most of this week, though, so I should have a lot of time to practice!

It’s not the heat…it’s the humidity. AND the heat.

22 Jul

Okay, when I mentioned the heat in my last update, clearly I did not understand what I was talking about. If I had, I would have known that it could get so much worse–which, over the course of these past few days, it totally has. Walking around WRJ has turned into an endurance test. How far can you walk without stopping to sit in the shade, have a cold drink, or go stand in the river? (I actually did the latter today with Jesse Mead, Sean Knickerbocker, Jon Fine, and some other lovely folks, and it was delightful.)

In keeping with the smoldering heat theme the weather’s had the past few days, here’s something I drew earlier this summer:

Suntan

I am the sort of person who always wears shorts to the beach, so I end up with some ridiculous tan lines. I’ve never had one quite this bad, but let’s just say that I didn’t have to extrapolate too far.

I’m really happy with how this one turned out! It’s one of my favorite things I’ve drawn this summer. I’m thinking about branching out into the wide, wonderful world of sticker production soon, so what do you guys think? Would you like to see this melanistically-challenged young lady on a sticker? Please let me know what you think in the comments, especially if there are other images you’d like me to put on stickers!

I can’t beat this heat!

20 Jul

I just got back from a very brief (but very fun!) visit home, and man oh man did I forget how muggy Vermont is! My folks live near the water, so even when it’s hot the air is nice and dry when I come to visit. On the East Coast, though, it was so humid when I got off the plane that I practically had to swim to my car! But enough of that–here’s something I drew on the flight back:

Faaahhshion~I always default to drawing short, hourglass-shaped girls whenever I’m doodling, so this time I tried to branch out and draw someone a little different. (…Well, she’s taller, at least!) I’m also trying to learn to draw clothing better. A lot of my characters dress in T-shirts and jeans, probably because that’s all I wore up until a year or two ago, and I want to be able to draw clothing that fits them better. I like how this one turned out, though–maybe I’ll color it later.

Speaking of liking things (and isn’t that a smooth segue?), here’s something I overheard at lunch today:

Overheard at the Polka Dot

So far, that’s the best retaliation I’ve heard to a child not liking something. I look forward to having the opportunity to use that line myself!

Welp, I think that’s about it from me for tonight. I’m gonna get back to the important things, like doing laundry and draping my body over the box fan in the living room.

That’s a wrap, folks!

15 Jul

Phew! Today was the last day of my first week-long comics camp at the VAULT Gallery. I had a really great group of kids who were all hardworking, funny, and great artists! They made some really fantastic illustrations and comics this week–I was totally blown away! I had a lot of fun teaching them, and I hope they had fun, too.  Here’s a picture of all of us:

VAULT Gallery Camp Week 1

From left to right, that’s Sasha, Josh, Gabriel, me, Jacob, and Rileigh. They’re all holding the diplomas I designed especially for the camp. Here’s a closer look:

VAULT Gallery Camp Diploma

Overall, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out! I’m pushing myself to get better at digital coloring (especially at establishing and working with a limited palette of colors). While I didn’t try anything too crazy with this, I still feel like it was a success.

If you’re in the Vermont area and the idea of comics camp sounds interesting to you (or someone you know), why not sign up for the next camp I’m teaching? It goes July 25-29 from 9:00 am to 11:30 am, and it’s for students 14 and older. The VAULT Gallery’s website has details on how to register here. We still have lots of room, and I’d love to have you as part of the class!

Okay…I had a pretty long day today and have to get up early tomorrow morning, so I think I’m gonna call it a night. See you on Monday, faithful readers! :)

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