It’s been a very busy couple of weeks for me! Here are some headlines:
Earlier this year I enjoyed an unexpected three-week run as guest artist/writer on Scott Kurtz’s beloved landmark webcomic, PvP. I’ve been a fan of the strip for ages, and I had a total blast. Fast forward a few months to PvP’s fifteenth birthday, and Scott asked if I’d be interested in coming on as a regular writing contributor. So, starting with the most recent storyline, we’ve been working together to write and plan the strip and take it in some very exciting new directions. (And, luckily for me, Scott will still be drawing everything!)
This is really a fun development for all involved, and I’m having disgusting amounts of fun. You can look forward to hearing lots more about my adventures in strip co-authoring. And if you’ve never read PvP before, this is a great time to start!
I’m just back from Toronto for my second-ever trip to TCAF. A huge thanks to everybody who found me! The festival pulls in some of the most enthusiastic and cheerful attendees in the known universe, and incredible creators and good friends grouped in almost overwhelming numbers. Cheers to Chris Butcher and all his fellow organizers and volunteers for all their hard work.
I had an especially great time finally meeting longtime favorite folks like Bill Amend, Alex Woolfson, and Katie Shanahan, and tabling next to the impressive talents of Kenan Rubinstein, Nina Matsumoto, and Nicole Chartrand. I also enjoyed a day staring at dinosaur bits at the Royal Ontario Museum with Lucy Bellwood and Boulet (on the last leg of his exhaustive North American tour). Lodging and sharing several blissful meals with my traditional TCAF teammates Lucy Knisley and Erika Moen kept me from running myself too ragged.
Thank you, Toronto!
A detail from page 288 of Family Man. Madness to think we’re closing in on 300 pages! I can’t wait to start organizing all these pages in preparation for the print edition of Volume 2.
I‘m gearing up for a visit to Toronto to attend the Toronto Comics Arts Festival! I’ll be there from May 11-12, enjoying the sight of all those friendly Canadian faces.
Come find me there, Toronto residents – I can only make the trip every few years, so you may not see me in the Eastern provinces again anytime soon! (B.C. residents, on the other hand, can take heart – I’ll be at VanCAF just two weeks later.)
Lately I’ve been producing large portions of my work in Manga Studio 5. It’s a lovely, brisk program geared towards comics artists like me, and it’s helped speed the art process behind Family Man considerably. Most of the reasons why are not very apparent unless you’re an artist who combines traditional and digital media.
More visibly, it makes a difference in my preliminary drawing – the underlying, less-than-perfectly-tidy art which I’ll eventually trace with ink to create the final lines.
Previously I’d draw all my pages on a lightweight sheet of oversized printer paper with a mechanical pencil and a gum eraser, running it through a scanner, and spending time tidying up all the smudges and edits, (after which I turn the image a light blue for tracing purposes and print it out on sturdy inking paper). Which on a good day looks like this:
And now, working digitally in MangaStudio5, my preliminary art looks more like this:
Not only is it already the right color for me to print out and ink onto, but it’s 100% smudge-free, doesn’t use up that extra sheet of paper, and is totally editable. It’s also just kind of cool-looking.
With any luck, there are no visible differences in the very end product – just a quicker and more pleasurable trip to arrive there. I’m an artist who’s rarely satisfied to just rely on a single set way of achieving a result, and I love finding new tools that suit the way I’m working on any given day.
Detail from page 281 of Family Man.
Family Man has been back and updating for the last several weeks! If I go too long without coloring something sepia-green I start to get the shakes.
It is that time of year: the time where I pack my suitcase for the convention circuit! Next weekend (March 1-3, 2013) I’ll be in Seattle for the Emerald City Comicon. I’ll be exhibiting with Erika Moen at Table 2615, where you can also find Katie Lane of Work Made For Hire during the brief moments where she won’t be busy hosting a three-part series of panels about business and negotiation skills for creative freelancers.
I’ll have books, prints, and original art for sale! You can also come find me if you’re picking up a copy of this year’s Monsters and Dames charity art book, because I have a piece in the 2013 edition:
I also recently completed an illustration for Ryan North’s brilliant To Be or Not To Be book project, his massively illustrated, mind-bending silly and surreal, multiple-path narrative riff on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. You’ll have to wait until the book is released to see my contribution, but suffice to say that it offers the world something it has never seen before: an intimate view of Hamlet’s movie poster collection.
In slightly more straight-laced literary territory, here is a non-commissioned watercolor illustration I recently completed: a little portrait of the two protagonists of David Mitchell’s latest novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Set in the closed world of 18th century Japan, it follows the misadventures of a naive Dutch trader and a disfigured Japanese midwife.
Let it be known that redheaded guys are merry hell to depict in watercolor.
You’ll hear more from me in the coming weeks as I warm up my springtime projects for 2013. Until then, I hope to see a good number of you next week in Seattle!
Welcome to the new site! I thought it was time for a facelift. I’ve done so much work over the past couple of years that there was too much to show off in just one post. Please click around and explore; there’s new work in every category on the site, and every page is either new or features new content. If you run into any errors or missing links, please comment in this post, and I’ll fix it right up.
In the meantime, here’s a quick list of some recent news.
Lastly, I’ve added all sorts of new art prints to my store in recent weeks. If you’re ready to stop staring into empty space and instead stare at some high-quality cartoon drawings, I am here to help. Here’s a little selection below, or you can visit the store to see the whole spread!