Friday, September 28, 2012

MICE Come Tomorrow!

Finally, the third Massachusetts Independent Comics Exposition is tomorrow! It's awesome. It's free. You should come!

Robert Sikoryak is gonna be there. The new Hellbound (edited by Jerel Dye, Roho, and Kimball) will be debuting. I think Kevin Church and Ming Doyle are going to be splitting a table. Box Brown is gonna be there with all his awesome comics (including Secret Prison!)(which if you like comics, you seriously gotta get). Dirk Tiede will be there. Cathy Leamy will be selling a comic titled Diabetes Wants Your Dick.

Seriously, it's gonna be fantastic.

And I'm gonna be there with my comics. I'll have the first two chapters of my next graphic novel, All Star. I'll have the first two issues of High Flyer Comics, copies of my collaboration with Dan The Man Mazur, Cold Wind (which is totally awesome, and I don't even care what kind of socks you're wearing, Cold Wind is knocking them off), and I'll have brand spanking fresh new copies of The Sex Sex.

(Which if you've been following this blog, you will notice features a more finished version of the color experiment from my last post)

And, of course, I'll have some dancer prints.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Further Towards a More Integrated Coloring Process

A.) The Massachusetts Independent Comics Exposition is this weekend, and it's a ton of fun, and if you're in the Boston area you should stop by. It's at Lesley University in Porter Square in Cambridge. I had a blast year, and I think this year is going to be even better. And it's free! And there's an excellent sushi place right under the Exposition! But the sushi isn't free.

B.) Let's talk about color.

Last post I was talking about trying to develop a more active coloring technique, where the coloring is more of a part of the creative process as opposed to an afterthought.

This is another experiment with that in mind:

I started off with this pencil sketch that I did at Comicazi at their last drink and draw. While drawing this I was asked what I was working on, and I replied, "A drawing." Because deep down, I'm actually still a ten-year-old.
And it's definitely the ten-year-old that thought up the idea of diesel-powered guitar.

I followed the same process as with the photograph from the previous post. Creating a layer, then hiding it and creating a new layer to work on. I first did a layer of greens and yellows using the lasso tool.
 Then a layer of more accurate colors using the polygon lasso tool.
 Then some red lines.
 Some dark blue.
 Some light blue.
And then put it all together and play around with the opacities.

Final result? I don't know. Looking at all these layers separated, I find myself liking the individual parts more than when it is all put together. Also, looking at the final version I feel like it needs a layer of black linework over the top to really lock it into place. This can easily be done on the computer, but I'm pretty proficient with a nib, so it would seem silly not to do blacks with ink on paper. But if I do the blacks on paper, then I am right back where I started, and the coloring is an afterthought. But maybe it doesn't have to be. And maybe even if it is, that's okay.

My mind likes to play tennis with itself.

C.) I've been listening to this on repeat for days.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Towards a More Integrated Coloring Process

At SPX, I was talking to Brendan Leach, and after we had covered the topics of beards and the sad state of our respective baseball teams, we began to talk about coloring. Coloring (along with design) is one of my least developed skills. While I have been playing with black in on white paper since high school, color is something that I have only begun to really work with in the last five years. I think I have gotten to a point where my coloring is acceptable.

But as can be seen with this drawing of Steel, my coloring is mainly an afterthought. I am only filling in  blocks that I have made with my lines. It looks good, but this is really coloring on the coloring book level. What I would really like to do is get to a point where the coloring is a much more active part of the creative process. My skills are not there yet, but I am working on it.

And here is a little practice:

First I took a photo with photo booth.

Then I created a new layer and using the photo as a guide did some four tone coloring using the lasso tool in Photoshop.

Then I hid that four tone green layer and created a new layer. This time I just did some line work using the pencil tool in red.

Hid that red line layer. Drew a blue line layer.

Hid that blue line layer. Did a darker blue line layer with some heavier blue lines for my hair.

Then hid that darker blue line layer, created a new layer, and used the polygon lasso to create some color blocks.

Hid that color block layer, created a new layer and hit my lips up with the polygon lasso and a little pink and purple..

And then made all those layers visible and start playing with the opacities until I like the way it looks.

I like the results, but there is a definite lack of control in terms of what the final image looks like, which if this were to be applied to the coloring of a comic would be a serious problem. Also, in my mind, using a photograph is cheating because the photorgraph (which was taken by a computer) is guiding me a great deal. Ultimately, I would like to be free of any reliance on an outside image.

But that will take practice.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More SPX!

All right! Other favorites of the awesome stuff I picked up at SPX:

Maser by Jon Chad: It's not a laser, it's a maser. It uses microwaves and it'll burn your face. When I got this, Jon gave me my choice of covers: ones where the pen worked well, ones where the pen didn't work so well, and this one where the pen exploded. You gotta go with the one of kind.

Ribbon Sea by Austin Wilson and Lowell Isaac: This book has a floating ocean in it, so the ocean is actually over your head, which means when you go fishing, you're going to have to tie a line to a bird which can fly up into the ocean as bait. And THAT is an image I wish I had come up with. The writer, Austin Wilson, also is half of an awesome podcast called Hideous Energy which has kind of taken over my Ipod.

SF #2 by Ryan Cecil Smith: I was told to hunt this down while I was at SPX and it is brilliant. This is how it begins:

"SF leader Ace and newest SFSFSF member Hupa-Dupa, whose parents were killed by space pirates in a surprise attack on Earth, are on a mission to find Admiral Condor Strechshreltch inside Planet D, a distant and labyrinthian mineral resource in the space fringes inhabited by slime-tube aliens and controlled by a deep-mining-megacorporation of space-smugglers - enemies of Space Fleet and allies of the pirates."

Is that a sentence or is that a sentence?

And the first line of dialogue:

"Just follow the plan, Hupa! I'll do the talking, the shooting, the thinking, and the action. You just jump in whenever you come up with a good idea!"

It's brills.

Wings for Wheels edited by Nomi Kane: A mini-comic that looks like a seven inch single with a whole bunch of stories paying tribute to the Boss. I am there. And there's one that features a Baby Bruce Springsteen gaurdian angel. Oh, man! I think I might just need to blast my favorite Bruce Springsteen song. And then my other favorite Bruce Springsteen song.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Initial Immediate SPX Report!

In brief, it was awesome.

That's what you should know. If you like comics, SPX is awesome and if you haven't gone, you should go. It's loaded with cool comics from the biggest names all the way down to the little guys who you haven't heard of whose comics you probably won't be able to find anywhere else.

Also, you get to hang out with awesome comic book people all weekend. Because the convention is in Bethesda, but not in the cool awesome restaurant part of Bethesda, but instead in the giant hotel convention center part of Bethesda, there is really nothing to do and nowhere to go after the convention day ends, so everybody just sticks around hanging out (unlike at MoCCA which in the heart of Manhattan, which offers a bajillion extracurricular activities for when the convention ends). Which means you get to meet cool people, and clink beers with them.

And then on the morning after you might run into some awesome comic book person that maybe inspired you to draw comics, like say Chris Ware, and you'll tell him how awesome he is and that he's one of the reasons you draw comics, and he'll say thank you, and then he'll see that you are buying a gigantic coffee and a bunch of aspirin, and then he'll say, "Nice breakfast. Did you get a few too many free drink tickets last night?"

Not that that happened at all to any one, at least certainly not me.


But anyway, not that I have gone through everything I picked up at all, but here are a few of the awesome things by awesome people that I have gotten a chance to take a look at:

Everybody knows that if you want to be cool, it's not enough just to know that the Beatles, Public Enemy, Leonard Cohen, and Patti Smith are unassailably cool. You also got to know who the most recent hot right up to the minute cool bands are. And this comic book is about that. It had me at the title. This also just happens to be by one of the people I met on Saturday night after the official convention day ended. We talked about men. And women. And aging. And it was really intelligent. (

Culture Vulture 2 is a collection of drawings done while sitting on public transportation, which as anyone knows is my jam. This guy gets all these wonderful scratchy lines. I love it. (

Brendan Leach won an Ignatz this year, which means I get to say, "Man, I got that comic when he did it all self-published style three years ago." Anyway, this new book looks absolutely fantastic, and I'm totally jealous of the skills being flexed in it. You can get it from (and check out Brendan's site:

And then there is this, which is a must have for any cartoonists! Seriously, back pain, arm pain, that rotten posture... it's no good. You gotta take care of that body so that you can draw comics for as long as possible (and also it's pretty lame when you're walking around all hunched over and someone asks you what happened and you have to say, "I threw my back out drawing comics."). (

Whew! So much awesome stuff. That's all for now, but I'll be writing about some more later.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I hear America drawing (an appropriated poem for SPX)

I hear America drawing 
All those varied comics pouring from Hunt 102s, Microns, pencils, brushes, computer styluses 
All those tools all singing as they should 
All those cartoonists singing as they should
All singing silently in pictures
All crystalizing moments
All crystalizing Crystal Light

On buses
On airplanes
On trains
In automobiles
All of them coming together (wink)
In Bethesda
In Maryland


Yep, and I'm going to be there too at table A7. I'm gonna have some new books that nobody's ever seen before (gonna have some older books too). Gonna have some dancer prints. Gonna have some originals. And I'm gonna have a little comic display stand that I made all by myself.

These are the pockets:

These are all the pieces laid out:

And this is a detail of the drawing I did on it:

And this is what it'll look like all put together (but note that this picture was taken before I put the detailing on)(and I don't want to put it together again before the show because the taking apart does a little bit of wearing and tearing):