Family Man

Spring Awakening

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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.

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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.)

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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:

fm-pencilsample

 

And now, working digitally in MangaStudio5, my preliminary art looks more like this:

Family Man pencil sample - Manga Studio

 

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.

 

 

 

Emerald City Comicon, Family Man, & More

 

Preview of Page 281

 

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.

Thousand Autumns

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!

Enter the new year

Detail from Page 277 of Family Man.

And we’re back! It feels very good to be drawing again after my extended holiday/book-shipping/physical-therapy break. It’s fun to come back to Family Man and get to resolve a mild situational cliff-hanger, too. This page is a bit late due to the predations of my first head-cold of 2013, but I’m so happy to be doing creative work again that I don’t mind at all.

In the next few weeks I’ll be adding new books and merchandise for sale to the public in my store, in addition to returning to regular updates here. I’m looking forward to a productive and busy 2013! I hope you are, too.

Uninvited guests

Detail from page 276 of Family Man.

I’m gearing up for the arrival of 6,000 books sometime in the next week or so (I hope!). When they do turn up, I will turn into a Shipping Machine, calling upon my hordes of winged monkeys to fulfill the 800+ orders awaiting fulfillment. I’ll be taking it day by day, but hopefully getting enough out the door that I can make time to keep updating; if not, well, at least I’ll be stepping away during the holiday blitz. I’m so excited to get these books out into the world!

In the meantime: you have checked out To Be Or Not To Be, haven’t you? C’mon seriously, it’s a choose-your-path story book version of Hamlet. Written by Ryan North. With over a hundred different endings, illustrated by jerks like ME! You are powerless to resist!

Life & Death

Detail from Page 273 of Family Man.

That’s it for this scene in Family Man – I hope you all didn’t too much mind the brief detour. Next week we’ll see some protagonists again!

Happy Thanksgiving week to my fellow Americans; I recommend this unlikely vegetarian gravy recipe, which has beaten out meat gravies (even amongst committed carnivores) every year at the table since I started making it. It is terrible for you, and thank goodness for that.

Meanwhile, in book news! Last week I received some advance copies of the final books from the Kickstarter project. The rest are slowly steaming their way across the ocean, but here are some pictures in the meantime! The books will be on sale to the general public no later than the New Year.