Tag Archives: pencil

Another peek into my glamorous life (last year)!

26 Mar

Ugh, I hate it when I close an entry with, “See you [very specific date of next update]!” and then completely miss that update. Sorry about that, guys! I promise I missed it for a good reason (that may or may not have included some epic fort-building). I had a super-long post about the evolution of one of my characters planned for tonight, but I spent too much time looking through old sketchbooks for images of her and then scanning them. Now it’s 5:30 in the morning and I’m pretty tired, so I’m going to continue working on that post for Monday and just give you guys a little comic to read right now:

A week of ups and downs

This is a diary comic I drew last year for our drawing class with Steve Bissette. It is also a completely true story! Not shown is how I then proceeded to lose the same copy card (as well as several other important cards, like my CCS student ID and passcard) whilst visiting friends in Santa Cruz, went to visit my old boss at Stevenson College, and found out that a stranger had found them all and–aided by the UCSC student ID amongst the lost items–turned them in to one of the school offices for me to pick up. I live a charmed life, y’all.

Given the images in my last update, you may recognize Paul Swartz as my partner in crime up there. He’s also going to be my tablemate at the Paint & Pixel Festival in Northampton, MA! The show is on April 16th, and it runs from 10 am to 5 pm. It has a fantastic exhibitor list and wonderfully low admission prices–just $4 for adults and $2 for children. CCS will also have its own table, staffed by a delightful assortment of our classmates. If you’re in the area, please come check it out! Either way, you should check out the cool site that they’ve got set up. They have bios and a small gallery of work for almost every exhibitor (including yours truly) that’s definitely worth a look!

Speaking of spaces I’m going to be invading soon, I have some more exciting news: I’m going to be teaching two week-long comics workshops this summer at the Vault Gallery in Springfield, VT! There’ll be one workshop for students 10 and up and another for students 13 or 14 and up. I am so overwhelmingly excited for this, you guys! I love comics, and I love teaching, and this is just turning out to be a beautiful Venn diagram of those two things. I’m working on the logo now, so I’ll post that (along with some more details) soon. Please spread the word, especially if you know someone who’d like to attend!

All right, I think I’m going to toddle off to bed now. I’ll see you the next time I update! (See how I learn from my past mistakes?)

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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.

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! :)

Who doesn’t love a good hula-hooping?

21 Feb

I do, that’s for sure. I remember fondly the last time I took my hula hoop out of the garage and gave it a spin…

…okay, no, I don’t. But I do remember the last time I drew a hula hoop! Check it out:

Contemporary Vintage Sleaze sketch

This is a preliminary sketch for Vintage Sleaze, a nifty blog that specializes in 1950s “forgotten, anonymous, or neglected sexy artists” of comics, pin-ups, books, and other souvenirs designed to titillate. The blog’s co-author, Jim Linderman,  found Paul’s site a week or so ago and asked him if he’d like to contribute an illustration inspired by a vintage sleaze gag. Upon finding out that Paul attends a school full of artists, he opened up submissions to the rest of us CCSers. You guys know how much I love pin-up girls and 1950s ephemera, so it’s probably no surprise that I jumped at the chance. I kicked around a lot of ideas, including one involving an Indian woman in a sheer sari that I might revisit later, but ultimately I feel like this sketch came out the best. I ended up doing a full-color watercolor of it for the final version.

Want to see how my finished illustration turned out? Check it out here on the Vintage Sleaze site! Additional entries in the series will be posted once a week and will include work by Gary Panter, Vanessa Davis, fellow CCS students Paul Swartz, Bailey Sharp, Max Mose, and Denis St. John, and hopefully many more!

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! :)

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. :)

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