Scandalous Premiere

Posted by on Feb 24, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments


When I visited my parents in New Orleans last weekend, mom was asking me about the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which famously ended in a small riot and mass exodus from the theater by the scandalized audience. This kind of reception has since become something of a modernist badge of honor – if only my work could provoke that kind of reaction! Well, all I can say is, Stravinsky ain’t got nothin’ on the premiere of “Symphony Number Six.” Here are some scandalous panels:


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Disturbing Sn6 Panel

Posted by on Feb 6, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments


Horrible stuff is happening in “Symphony Number Six.”



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Begin Operation Hot Zone Kill!

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a panel from page 16 of Symphony Number Six. I’m extremely pleased with how the page turned out, and I debated posting the entire thing here – but I think it would give away too much about the story, and I want you all to be surprised.



My friend Paul Guinan recently suggested something interesting to me: while 90s darling Rob Liefeld is now roundly mocked by basically everybody for his totally bogus drawings, Frank Miller, perhaps guilty of much of the same erroneous anatomical construction, is still praised sycophantically. (I would agree with Paul’s assessment of Miller’s draftsmanship – it’s particularly noticeable on his women characters). The difference, according to Paul, is that Liefeld made his own errors more visible by filling them up with flashy crosshatching, while Miller covers his up with atmospheric pools of black. “But one thing Miller has going for him,” Paul conceded, “is a great sense of design.”

And this sense of design, I’m learning, covers a multitude of sins. My rendering on these last few pages of SN6 is as loose as it’s been since I first started cartooning again about four years ago. But as long as I’m confident that I’ve:

  • Laid out the panels, and the elements within each panel, in a narratively sound way that conveys the action of the story and the mental or emotional states of the characters, and is also attractive.
  • Penciled the elements in the panel with some solidity and structural accuracy, and gotten the facial expressions right.

… then it really doesn’t matter how tightly I hold my brush! (One of the people I’ve kinda picked this up from is Fabio Moon.)

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Fireside Conference

Posted by on Dec 30, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a recently finished, moody panel from my upcoming comic “Symphony Number Six”:


Boy, did that take a long time. Even though I saved myself some work by plunging parts of the image into blackness, I could always have gone further. I need to take a lesson from Marcos Mateu-Mestre, author of the excellent Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers, which I have managed to read three times without learning its lessons.



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Rainy Sn6 Panel

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

I seriously picked the best month in Oregon to ink this comic.


The streaks of rain were added digitally in post-production. I almost added them directly to the page with white gel-pen, but I didn’t. I’m glad, because this looks much better.

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Concert Hall

Posted by on Nov 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Here’s my most recently completed page of “Symphony Number Six.” Took longer than I would have liked, but boy was it worth it. One of the pages I’m most proud of:


Ever since meeting the artists of Periscope Studio, I’ve been very mindful of “shortcuts” by which a large crowd can be depicted without actually having to draw a large crowd. Some of these are very evocative, and they certainly save time. Nevertheless, sometimes I think the effect of seeing a giant mass of people painstakingly drawn is worth it.

The conducting postures are inspired by Hans Schliessmann’s live sketches of Gustav Mahler. The theater is the Berlin Konzerthaus, the lavish exterior of which will be featured in the first panel of the next page.

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Happy Couple

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Drawn during a boring meeting. I’ve been thinking about J.C. Leyendecker a lot lately.


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Thad Face

Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Detail from a panel of Symphony Number Six – this is the protagonist, Thaddeus Johnson: pianist, professor of music history, and assistant conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.


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Cozy Sn6 Panel

Posted by on Oct 21, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

My most favorite comics, the ones that have “stuck with me” long after I put them down, have not necessarily been the ones with the most compelling plots or the greatest characters, even though those things are really important. They’ve been the ones that create a real sense of mood or atmosphere. I know that’s not a very original thing to say, but it’s true. I’m taking my best stab at it with my new comic, “Symphony Number Six.” I’m so happy that I started inking these pages right as the weather is turning cold and rainy here in Portland, OR!



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First Inked Sn6 Panel

Posted by on Oct 8, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

First inked panel from Symphony Number Six. I’m so excited!





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Doodling during bible study

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Never ever ever ever ever enough time to draw – it’s all I want to do these days, and it’s the only thing I’m NOT doing. “I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” – Beckett



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Character-in-motion sketch

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

This was a sketch I did last night while haning out with friensds. I’m playing around with some characters in an upcoming collaborative project. Rather than do straight, “orthographic” character designs that just emphasize proportion and costume, I wanted to draw characters in action and in setting – taking a cue from some of the amazing video-game concept art I’ve seen lately. I was drawing so rapidly and having so much fun! I wish I got to draw more these days.


You may have to tilt your monitor a little bit to see the picture clearly – I was using some really light pencils, and the scanner didn’t pick them up very well.

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MLK 24-Hour Zine

Posted by on Jul 24, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments


This past weekend, I participated in a fundraising stunt for the Portland Zine Symposium. The goal was to make a 24-page zine in 24 hours. A bunch of us holed up in the IPRC with pizza, donuts and coffee and set to work!


Because I didn’t trust myself to produce coherent text after 18 hours of wakefulness, I opted to do an annotated printing of one of my favorite sermons ever: “Can A Christian be a Communist,” by a guy you may have heard of named Martin L. King Jr.

I first came across a transcription of this tape-recorded sermon one night a few years ago. Wracked with anxiety from my never-ending quest to reconcile my commitment to Marxist politics with my love for Jesus Christ, I despondently turned to Google and found a sermon with my question’s name as its title. Though the sermon is available online, I wanted to do a decent printing of it . . . hopefully this zine will fall into the hands of some other struggling Christian leftist, and the words of King, Amos, Isaiah, and of course Jesus will help to order his or her thoughts, as they did mine.

Allow me to summarize, briefly, King’s thesis [spoilers]:


For the zine itself, I added illustrations of some of the philosophical and political figures King mentions, as well as some miscellaneous spot-art to liven up the pages.

G.W.F. Hegel
 Ludwig Feuerebach
 Archbishop William Temple
 James Meredith
 Ross Barnett

This was really fun and enlightening to make. I’ve already mailed out zines to my sponsors, but if you’d like a copy for your secret commie library, try to get a hold of me – I sell them for one dollar, plus shipping if you’re not in Portland.

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Apple Netwon

Posted by on Apr 8, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

I drew this for Stumptown Underground‘s upcoming anthology with the theme of SCIENCE:

"Apple Newton"

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March Penciling

Posted by on Mar 25, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Hey y’all. My progress on Symphony Number Six has been pretty slow, but I’m still getting some good penciling in. Here’s a sequence:


And here’s a panel I just drew yesterday, depicting Cincinnati Music Hall. I love placing my vanishing points really, really far apart!

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