Tag Archives: brush pen

Light the candle; everything’s all right.

11 Dec

I did a lot of running around today and wore myself out (hey, those holiday gifts aren’t gonna wrap themselves!), so I don’t have a whole lot to talk about tonight. In lieu of my normal sparkling conversation, please enjoy this image of a kid lighting a menorah:

Careful with the shamash, please!

I draw girls way more often than I draw boys, so this was a nice change. He came out looking like a chubbier Irving Fleischman (of Paul’s The Magnificent Mockingbird), but that’s okay. Irving could stand to eat a little more, anyway. I tried to capture the intense look some kids get when they really concentrate on something, but he ended up looking a bit on the pouty side. His hand is awfully close to those flames, though, so I guess that’s fair.

I had been planning to get all fancy with the lighting effects in this one, but I kind of like the simplicity of the color scheme as it is. Maybe I’ll give it a shot and post another version in the next few days. Would you guys be interested in seeing that? As always, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section. :)

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Latke love!

9 Dec

Paul and I went to the City Congregation’s Chanukah party this afternoon, which was pretty exciting. Not only did I get to meet some fun new people, but we also got sent home with about two pounds of leftover latkes (in multiple flavors–be still, my heart!). I have some very strong feelings about latkes that can only be truly expressed through interpretive dance, but I tried to capture the essence in the drawing below:

Tell us how you really feel.

I’m having fun with this Chanukah palette! I think I’m going to stick with it for the rest of the holiday posts. I just love me some thematic colors!

It’s raining, it’s pouring…

30 Oct

Just a quick post today, due to a little storm called Hurricane Sandy. While lots of people we know are experiencing crazy weather, Paul and I are pretty lucky in that we still have electricity and water (inside our pipes, not inside our house). All the storm has really meant for us today is that we don’t have to go to work and that occasionally the internet stops working for a few minutes.

Also, this happened:

Is there a "no wind" option? No....?

In all seriousness, though, I hope y’all are holding up okay. My thoughts are with you guys.

Fanart Friday: Anya’s Ghost!

27 Oct

Halloween is next week, you guys! I am super excited about costumes, candy, cryptozoological creatures, and (less alliteratively) books/movies that are kind-of-scary-but-not-really-because-I’m-a-huge-wimp! So, what better way to celebrate than with some ghostly fanart?

Anya’s Ghost is Vera Brosgol’s first graphic novel, and it is basically one of my favorite comics ever. (You may remember it from the post 2 years ago where I Photoshopped it into my hands.) It’s the story of Anya Borzakovskaya, a disaffected high schooler who falls down a hole one day and finds the ghost of a girl named Emily Reilly. Emily wants to be Anya’s friend; Anya, though she’s not exactly knee-deep in friends, isn’t sure she wants to be Emily’s. She begins to change her mind as Emily helps her navigate her school and social life…but Emily’s idea of friendship might be more than Anya bargained for. I won’t go into specifics, so you’ll just have to read it yourself! Vera Brosgol’s art is expressive and fluid–the series of panels where Emily tries to ‘grow out’ her ghostly hair is one of my favorite scenes–and her writing is natural, relatable, and (best of all) funny. You should definitely pick up a copy of your own from your local library or bookstore!

So, without further ado, here’s Anya and Emily:

Shit, I think this cigarette is haunted!

…I have only just now noticed that Anya’s holding her cigarette backwards. That’s what I get for not having more friends who smoke! I feel like I’m failing some sort of hipster test, here.

Anyway, I’ve been really enjoying these monochromatic drawings lately. As I’ve mentioned before, I sometimes have trouble limiting my palette, so working in just one color has been a great exercise for me. Coloring this one was pretty simple, since this is pretty much the way the whole book looks (although I think the book’s tones are a little grayer), but I still really like the result. It was also fun to play around with the colors of my lineart. I don’t often do that–usually I’m black-lineart-only–but lately I’ve been trying it out here and there. There are times when black lineart just seems too blunt, especially if you’re working with lots of light tones or textures. When done right, colored lineart forms a cohesive link between the color palette of a page or panel and the lineart itself. I’ve gotten the best results in monochromatic drawings like the one above, but I’d like to try it out with more complex color palettes as well.

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. :)

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!

1001 uses for a trenchcoat!

29 Oct

Well, okay, only four. But still!

Trenchcoat CostumesI ended up going with “private eye”–at least for the Halloween party at work today. I lost my voice, though, which unfortunately made my investigations a little bit difficult. I’m hoping I’ll have better luck on Monday!

Press Start!

25 Oct

The excellent Mr. Mike O’Malley came to visit this weekend. (Have you checked out his album yet? If not, you should!) One thing led to another, and of course we ended up talking about what our stats would be if we were characters in a fighting game.

…well, what do you talk about when you’re on the subway?

Fighting Game LenaI think the watercolors work like a poison attack: they do a small amount of damage, but the effect lasts for a long time and can really add up. I don’t know that this is a very good caricature of myself, but I like how the paint blobs and the pose turned out. I’d like to say it’s the pose that I usually paint in, but I can only hold it for a few hours before my back starts to go out.

Fighting Game PaulPaul’s cougar impression is pretty fantastic to hear, but I’ll admit it’s hard to draw. I think I got his hair right, though.

Fighting Game MikeThis was my first attempt both at drawing Mike and at drawing a bouzouki. I think both of them came out pretty well, considering.

Overall, I like this set. If I have the time this week, I think I might add some color to them and see where they go. :)

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!

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