First on the Pyre

March 16th, 2012

Preview of Page 246

Page 246 of Family Man.

(permalink to this week’s page)

That’s it for this little scene, although next week the action continues with Ariana. Man! So many rustic outfits to coordinate. I think I made it through without mixing up anybody’s survivalist accessories.

Last week I hijacked the Boy Howdy podcast and talked a whole bunch about Family Man with Bill Mudron. If you sent in a question, odds are 90% that I answered it in there! We also talked for a bit up front about all sorts of fun nerdy pop culture stuff before I got to rambling about the origins of the research university in 18th century Central Europe. Go listen and decide for yourselves which part is more interesting.

And, as you will note from the main site’s blogpost header, there is still a comments section! Hurray! If you have trouble seeing ‘em, you’ll need to specifically whitelist the section (not just the whole site) if you wanna jump in.

The Wise Folk

March 9th, 2012

Preview of Page 245.

Page 245 now online!

(permalink to this week’s page)

Website news! Behold, readers, you have asked and so shall you receive: you can now leave comments on the Family Man site! Just hit the little comment counter in the blog post header (right under the comic) and you’ll be on your way. Next up I’ll make it a bit easier to read around in the blog archives, too.

When I originally designed the site I intentionally kept comments off of it. Too often online comments sections get overrun by jerks. But you gang are the Best Readers, smart and funny and thoughtful and patient and almost creepily supportive. When I started the comic, LiveJournal was still a vital community, and I got a 95% of your comments there. Now I interact with you all in a much more scattershot fashion through Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter…it’s just not as fun. So. Please leave comments there; I’ll be so happy to see you all in one place again.

Relatedly: I’ll be recording a podcast today. I’m taking questions – about the comic, about freelancing, anything! – you can leave them in comments here, on the site, or in my Tumblr ask box.

Very last thing: Lauren Davis over at ComicsAlliance posted the world’s nicest write-up of Family Man. CA folk get rewarded for hits on their content, so show her some appreciation by clicking through and reading her thoughts.

How a Page Is Born

February 23rd, 2012

Family Man layout sketches

This is a quick picture I took of one of the stages in the creation of a recent page of my graphic novel, Family Man (

Since my script doesn’t always break out action or dialogue into specific panels within specific pages, each page is its own little puzzle; how much of it will make sense as a visual unit? What moments need their own panel, and which ones can be combined? What’s important, and what can I just suggest and move on from? And does character X really need to say three sentences when she can say one?

Unless the page is very simple, I’ll start out by drawing a big brain-dump like this on a piece of printer paper, covering ALL of the stuff I think might go into the page.

I break out chunks of action, experiment with facial expressions, poses, and angles, and just generally reassure myself that I’ve given everything a good dose of consideration.

On of my great hang-ups is the belief that somewhere in my brain is The Perfect Layout, and if I just keep trying and redoing and rearranging, I’ll eventually stumble across it. Imposing a period of playful experimentation like this helps shake me out of that notion.

You can see the finished version of this page here:
And some of the visual information was bumped onto the page following it:

Family Man: Page 242

February 17th, 2012

Preview of Page 242

Page 242: now online!

Whoops. Don’t touch the animals. Really getting places now, aren’t we? We are STILL nowhere near done with everything that happens in this scene!

I spent last week in Hawaii with my family and had the time of my life. I kept a cartoon journal while there – I have to finish up on the last couple of days and then I’ll see about putting it online, perhaps as a PDF at a low price.

Mauna Loa, wreathed in clouds.

In the meantime, I took a set of 14 artsy photos – mostly of weird little details from the big island that made me happy. You can see ‘em here.

The first printing of Goddess Prints has gone out into the world! If you ordered, you can expect to see them in the next week or so. I’ll be doing one more run to take me through spring conventions, so place your order if you’d like to be sure to get a set!

- Dylan

Family Man: Page 241

February 10th, 2012

Preview: Page 241

Family Man: Page 241.

Aaaand introducing a very fun character to draw. Still not done with this scene! Oh so very not done with this scene.

Thank you to everybody who had suggestions for how to mess with the site. I’ll be integrating a comment system and making it easier to dig around in the blog archives (if you’re a Wordpress/Comicpress wizard and would like to be my hacker in exchange for art favors, send me a line). And a supreme thank you to everybody who donated this past week or bought a print set! It makes a big difference for me.

Lastly, I’ve got a new phone with a nice camera, so I’ve been posting stupid doodles to Tumblr and Flickr to keep myself loose and encourage spontaneous goofball-ery.

What do I need from the store

Feel free to follow along at home.

Family Man update!

November 11th, 2011

Preview of Page 228

Page 228 now online!

Some of this might be starting to look familiar. I suggest you maybe reread the Prologue, if it’s been awhile. (Don’t let that five year-old art stop you! Agh, my eyes.) Also, man, bunnies just have no kind of luck in this comic, do they? I swear there’s no personal vendetta at work.

Portlanders! Please join me and everybody else who is cool at Comics Underground, next Saturday (11/17) at the Jack London bar, where the fantastic Everett Patterson and I will be doing a reading of Outfoxed. I’ll be sharing the stage with several irritatingly talented people, including my studiomate Ron Chan and friend Mike Russell! It’ll be swell.

In the meantime, I put up a series of 12 Western-themed illustrations I did for a roleplaying game this fall on my Flickr stream – I’m fond of how they turned out. Click on the preview below to visit:

Dogs in the Vineyard

Family Man update!

October 28th, 2011

Preview of Page 226

Page 226 now online!

The Noltes might be under just a tiny bit of stress.

Happy Halloween to all those who celebrate it! (Those of you who don’t: give it a whirl, it’s the best.)  Allow me to recommend you to one of my favorite personal illustration challenges ever, Danse Macabre 2.0, in which I gave myself an excuse to draw modern people being chased by medieval demise. And to think that my mother used to worry about me.

For other Halloween cartoon delights, look no further than Emily Carroll’s typically gorgeous latest short, Margot’s Room, whose last part should be posting this Friday.

Family Man update!

October 20th, 2011

Preview of Page 225

Page 225 now online!

We’re really getting somewhere now, aren’t we? Heavens have mercy. (They won’t.)

I’m a little wonky under the hood this week, so I won’t try to dredge a big blog post up out of my fuzzy brain. Enjoy the page, and I will see you all next week for more fun with the Nolte family.

Meanwhile, here is Mama Quilla, an Inca goddess – click to read a little more about her and see her full-size.

Goddess: Mama Quilla (Incan)

Family Man update!

October 14th, 2011

Preview of Page 224

Page 224 now online!

Rector Nolte is having a very, very bad day. It will probably not get any better. I never had any particular fondness in the past for drawing aggravated old dudes of post-boxer physique, but he honestly might be my favorite thing to draw. Go figure.

As my aside for this week, I thought I’d point out a nice article that Laura Hudson recently posted on ComicsAlliance. She asked nearly a dozen comics creators and editors – including at least four people I can personally confirm are awesome  - to sound off about how superhero comics could do a better job at depicting female characters. I’m don’t follow many capes ‘n tights titles these days, but there are lots of good, thoughtful suggestions in there that apply to any storytelling genre. Well worth the read!

Lastly, I’ve been drawing goddesses from around the world as a warmup exercise. Here are the first two – click to find out who they are and which mythology they come from!

Goddess: Saga (Norse)

Goddess: Pele (Hawaiian)

Family Man, Page 223

October 7th, 2011

Family Man page 223

Page 223 now online!

Tra-la-la, I think we’ve officially gone from “foreshadowing” to just plain old “shadowing” at this point.

More good news for comic book fans: my studiomate Jonathan Case is taking the world by storm this month! His debut graphic novel Dear Creature hits the shelves on the 11th. You will like it, because it stars a B-movie sea monster who speaks in iambic pentameter and occasionally pauses in his wholesale devouring of careless 1960’s beach bunnies to express his longing for true love. Basically it is the best.

Dear Creature

You can also catch Green River Killer, where Jonathan provides the suitably unsettling and gritty art to match Jeff Jensen’s real-world tale of his father’s pursuit of Gary Ridgway. It’s lovely and fascinating to see Jonathan operate in such different modes.

    {blog in Livejournal flavor}

    News Bulletins.
    Bite Me! will go out of print for a few months soon as I reprint the book. Order your copy before I run out!


    Upcoming in 2011: Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Toronto ON, May 5-6

    RSS On Twitter
    • Oh, Twitter. Must you ever crash so.
    The Rest of the Site
    Monthly Archives