Posts made in April, 2010


Posted by on Apr 22, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

My goal is to post something here every day. I’m very late today, but it’s still Wednesday on the West Coast. I’ve been working on this all week and it’s finally ready to post:

I did this two-page comic for Steve Fuson (sorry, no website), a writer (and I think artist?) here in Portland whom I met at some random comics get-together. We’re submitting it to the zine Stumptown Underground for their “Family”-themed issue coming up in May. I’m pretty confident we’ll make the cut, as Steve has been featured in I think every single issue of Stumptown Underground so far.

Steve gave me a good script to work with – very little stage direction aside from dialogue and a camera-angle recommendation for the penultimate panel. If I had one complaint, there is a little too much material on the second page compared to the first, and it’s unfortunate that the break in time after David picks Avery up from jail doesn’t occur across a page break. Oh well, I don’t see away around it and apparently neither did Steve. A two page story is fun for both the writer and artist – you have to get so much information across right away if you are gonna have any chance of telling a complete story.

My big focus for these two pages was “spotting blacks.” This is the illustration technique of choosing where to put the large black areas 1.) to direct the reader’s eye and 2.) to give form to the objects, suggest light-sources, etc. Even though it’s all over the best comics (especially the old black and white ones), it’s a frightfully artificial technique.

Think about it. Virtually nothing you see in real life during the daytime is truly jet black, and certainly not shadows, which are generally just a darker shade of whatever color they are falling across, maybe a little more bluish if the light is coming from the sky. When I look at even the best spotted blacks for too long, the scenes start to look as though they were lit by a floodlight on a planet with no atmosphere. But then my eyes pop back into place and I resume my awe of people like Periscope’s Jonathan Case, whom I have literally seen color the shaded side of the white sail of a white sailboat on the beach at noon PITCH BLACK and get away with it beautifully. Everyone should buy his forthcoming novel “Dear Creature” (formerly “Sea Freak”) if they want to see the true extent of what can be done with these two colors.

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Posted by on Apr 20, 2010 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Gasp! Now there’s a picture of a naked person on the internet! (click for full)

...strange clouds...

On Saturday mornings I’ve been going to life-drawing sessions at Hipbone Studios. Needless to say, there’s no better way to study anatomy. A lot of my sketches look great until I look at them from arm’s length and realize the proportions are totally off – I’ve got to work on keeping the “big picture” in mind even as I’m rendering the details. Betty Edward’s Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain has already been of invaluable service in helping to fix this.

The model this Saturday had the high cheekbones I associate with Native Americans, and one of the poses she struck made me think of the classic image of an Indian on a mountain outcrop watching the arrival of the first Europeans. Specifically, it makes me think of the line from Disney’s Pochahantas, “… strange clouds…” Hey, if they’re from the western hemisphere, it can’t be orientalist, right? RIGHT?

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BKLYN Recycle

Posted by on Apr 19, 2010 in Blog, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Here’s a drawing I did this weekend of the stoop of my old apartment building in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Here is an actual piece of dialogue that transpired on these steps some time in late ’06, early ’07:

Thug: Heymanyouliketoshmokeitdown?
Everett: What?
Thug: You like to shmokeitdown?
Everett: … … … WHAT?
Thug: Weed, man. Do You Smoke It?
Everett: Oh. No.
Thug: … seriously?

I’m trying to get better w/ the crow quill pen, but I think I’m going overboard. When every surface is peppered with detail, it all flattens out into an indecipherable mess. Next time, stronger blacks and whites to set off the grays.

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SNitLoE page 51

Posted by on Apr 19, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

Part of what I want to do with this blog is get people excited about my up’n’coming graphic novel Savage Nobles in the Land of Enchantment. Many of my new professional comics friends have suggested that at this stage, it’s better to work on many small projects than to pour one’s self entirely into one big one – this reminds me of friendly advice in American Pie or The 40 Year-Old Virgin, except in this case, they have a good point. But I, still a Biggs or a Carrell at heart, can not take their advice literally. SNitLoE is too close to my heart for too many personal reasons, not least of all being that it’s pretty much the only reason I started drawing again in spring of ’09. I’m also convinced it’s the only reason I even got my internship at Periscope Studios at all. Other than a few of the better Apostrophobia strips, which were four years old, SNitLoE was the only thing I had to prove to the Periscopers I wasn’t a total cartooning novice. So while I spend Monday through Friday diligently drawing other stuff, the weekends are still dedicated to documenting the perils of the titular garage band, lost and separated in the endless deserts of southern New Mexico.

I am working through SNitLoE completely in order, one page at a time, and of an anticipated ~150, I have completed 71. In my opinion, that’s an antihistamine number (by which I mean, it’s nothing to sneeze at!) and if I were gonna give up, i think I would have done it by now. What you’re looking at is page 51, one of the classic “lost in the desert” pages I was so excited about drawing . But how did Theo get out there? Why is the ground strewn with music equipment? This is not LOST; I really do have answers. But you’ll have to read to find out!

“Fun” “Facts”: The bird is the Cactus Finch, state bird of Arizona, whose call really is “cha cha cha.” The plant stem is that of the rarely-flowering agave americana. Theo’s tattoos (which can be seen more clearly in other panels) feature authentic Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Sanskrit, and Japanese! Maybe the finished comic will suck, but LET NO ONE SAY I DIDN’T DO MY RESEARCH!

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24-Hour Comic

Posted by on Apr 18, 2010 in Blog, Uncategorized | 1 comment

On Saturday, April 10th, I stayed up for 24 hours straight and drew a 24-page comic (that’s one page an hour, for those of you keeping track at home)! It was an incredibly intense and exhausting, but also immensely rewarding, “experience,” in the most hippie/psychedelic sense of the term. This was at Cosmic Monkey Comics in Portland. About 8-10 other people also participated, although I think only four of us reached the 24-page goal as laid out by Scott McCloud (whom we can credit/blame for devising this perverse past-time).

The art is definitely a little rough around the edges, but the artificial constraints on its production render me invulnerable to criticism! I can excuse bogus anatomy, warped perspective, and spelling errors with the catch-all rebuttal “I was sleep-deprived!” (Clever, huh?)

After catching up on sleep, I also made a fancy cover and back-page image for the printed mini-comic version. Comic below – you can read my irrelevant commentary at the bottom if you still want.

To quote Wayne’s World, “let’s do the super-happy ending!” This story was based on a screenplay idea hatched years ago by me and roommate Turhan Sarwar. We wanted to pitch it to Disney and envisioned Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the lead role. (I still do.) But was the world ready for a Katrina Komedy?

In 2007, I think the answer was no. But now I’m not so sure. Melancholy is a totally valid reaction to catastrophe, especially in the immediate aftermath, but it is not the only reaction. Some of the sickest, blackest and most hilarious humor comes out of unthinkable tragedy during times of political turmoil etc. It’s another way to cope!

Not that FotF is really black humor. If anything, I think it’s pretty tame satire, and that approach is potentially even more tasteless. I preemptively apologize to any Gulf Coast readers offended by it. The hurricane let my family off so easy (comparatively) that I truly have no right to complain. I tried to work in an empowering message of triumph through adversity, recovery, etc. etc. that hopefully balances out the questionable humor. I also hope it counteracts what strikes me as a despairing attitude of victimhood in mainstream Katrina-coverage.

I guess I was a little tired of the morose treatment of the storm’s legacy by well-intentioned outsider artists. As usual, the South serves as a vessel for the rest of the nation’s angst – nothing new there. I have been away from the Crescent City for most of the rebuilding process, and so I don’t exactly have my finger on the pulse, but something tells me that the city that invented jazz funerals has a more nuanced view of what it means to pull through a disaster.

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