Archive for the Comics Category

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part II

Posted in Blogging, Comics, Drawings, Love, Miscellaneous, My BOOK!, Things That Anger Me on September 28, 2010 by gladlad

Hey!  Welcome back to my overview of things yet unfinished!

Moving along, last year’s 24-Hour Comics Day’s 24-hour comic: A Forest of Teeth.

Yeah, it’s sketched, but I’ve been meaning to ink it for… well, a year now, since the next 24-Hour Comics Day is NEXT WEEK!  YAAAAAAAGH!  I cannot believe it’s October again already!  I’m really excited for it, especially since I was just able to get work off to attend.  Every cartoonist/comic artist EVERYWHERE should find the nearest one and go insane.  (Seriously; you will go insane if you manage to stick out the entire 24 hours.  Heck, a lot of people start to wig out after like five or six.  It’s intense.  And ONLY FOR THE HARDCORE(/stupid)!!!)  October 2nd, people!  GO GO GO!  (I have a sweet idea for this year’s comic, while keeping to the randomness which makes it so challenging and fun.  Tee hee!)

The second entry in today’s vomitorium is the project I actually started this blog to help track, get motivated for and keep me accountable with.  Wow, that got left in the dust.  I haven’t worked on it for about as long as I’ve been hanging out with the Cartoonist Conspiracy, so almost TWO YEARS NOW!!!  I cannot believe how fast time speeds by my spinning head!  YaaaaAAAAaaaargh!

*ahem* Anyway, it’s the graphic novel I want to make.  Up at the top right of my blog there are page links to “The Schedule” and “Hurdles Hurdled”, both relating to this project.  I have a sweet story, sweet characters, and a sweet world just a-floatin’ around in my head, and it needs to get onto paper someday.  But for now, a few odds and ends from the beginnings of the birthing process:

I guess I halted work on this around the time I started learning about what it really takes to put a comic together and publish it.  I don’t want to think I started too late, but when I look at Nausicaa and Bone and think about the time it takes to put the whole shebang together, it sure feels that way.  On the other hand, when I look at all the ‘geezers’ in the biz still producing awesome stuff, I get some sense knocked into me.  Also, witnessing the hard work and passion that goes into every page of Manly Tales of CowardiceHijinks, Introspective Comics and Uptown Girl makes me want to cry in my lazy jerkness.  Bow to them, internetfriends, for their love pours forth in deed.

Art Confessional Vomitorium: part I

Posted in Comics, Drawings, Literature, Love, Miscellaneous, Things That Anger Me on September 26, 2010 by gladlad

I don’t even know how to start this post…  There are things I need to get off my chest and out into the open, but this isn’t really the place to do it.  What this blog is for, and what I want to post, is art.  What I am having a lot of trouble motivating myself to do lately is art.  I have become so selfish with my not-at-home time it’s pretty sickening.  I have so many productive things I want to be doing.  But when I get to my overnight job, where all is quiet (for the most part) and I usually have a few solid hours of absolutely free time and it’s really the best time in the world to put effort into drawing/writing/creating whatever, I just stall.  And stall and stall and stall…

Drawing is my breath; it makes me happy.  It’s fun.  But I have discovered that I have what comes down to a kind of sickness when the act of drawing is coupled to anything outside of a random, spontaneous creative burst.  If I can’t finish something within the first spasm of inspiration, it will take me (almost, but not so off as to be really false) FOREVER to finish it.  I have started and subsequently neglected SO MANY PROJECTS it’s depressing and embarrassing.  I wander around the web drooling at the beautiful, magical things my art idols create (people like Emily Carroll, Lois van Baarle, Heather/Makani, the Cannons, Josh Middleton, Joy Ang and soooo many more).  I stalk about like a ninja, trying to absorb the coolness and talent  and wanting so badly to enter that inner circle of people who have DONE STUFF.  Then I leave the noise and busy-ness of our home, the fun and joy of life with wife and kids and housemates and churchmates and coffeehousemates and enter my quiet place of (drumroll) imminent productivity.  And then I play Minecraft.  Or watch another pointless kung-fu movie.  Or read blogs.  Or eat without needing to.  Or read some book.

Even when I actually get the pen to touch tablet and make lines on the screen, I can always find an excuse to draw something OTHER than what I know I need to finish.  And every second I don’t do what I know I need to do, I am CONSCIOUSLY choosing not to do it!  I feel exactly like I felt when I first started this blog, at war with the forces of laziness and procrastination and knowing I’ve been actively fighting for the losing side.  I’ve victimized good people who really want to help me on my path to “being an artist”, and so often it’s in the name of protecting my precious “free time” after having long, stressful days at home.  Everyone who is anyone sacrifices that free time to their cause, their dream, but (understatement of the universe) it’s very hard.  It’s hard to get motivated at 2 in the morning.  It’s hard to resist the foul succubus named FUN.  It’s hard to be dealing with money, kids, drama, volunteering, organizing, blah blah blah and then take those precious hours of calm on the night shift and sacrifice them on the altar of “career”.  Anyway, that’s how it FEELS, but in reality it’s drawing!  It’s the thing I love to do!  It’s my hobby!  It’s fun!  It makes no sense, and I hate it.

I’ve started some big, cool things that I want to show people so desperately, but as finished products.  The only thing is I have no idea when that will happen.  So here it is, my shame: my gallery of things that will be really cool someday.  At the moment they are poor orphaned children, birthed into the forgetful hands of a procrastinator.  Perhaps, as I struggle with myself and claim a few victories, some of these will mature into brilliant gleams of portfolio-worthiness, and you will be able to witness their transcendence right here at the Tethered Hawk!  Until then, they cry out as did the poor hunchback, Richard III:

“I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them…”

Sorry– got a little melodramatic.  *ahem*  To the gallery!

First, and most dear to my heart at the moment, are the beginnings of a series of portraits of one of literature’s most underexposed, misunderstood heroes/villains/demi-xeno-nematodes: Leto II, the God Emperor of Dune, from Frank Herbert’s book… ‘God Emperor of Dune’.

I have been trying to learn to use Photoshop to “paint” more realistically, and after that girl’s head a few posts previous I attempted Leto.  I was re-reading the series for the first time since high-school and was stunned at how little I’d “got” back then.  I loved the first one in high school, but as the series went on it just kept going so far over my head that very little was retained in my brain at the end.  Not so today; they’ve pretty much changed my life.  Back then, I was infatuated with Lynch’s movie, and only connected with the first book.  This time, they seemed to get more fascinating and uber-creative and just plain brilliant with each successive book.  I just finished them last month, and they were so incredible it’s hard to put it into words.  I think I have to do a whole separate posting on why I was so fascinated by Leto II, and the Dune saga in general.  (I also read one of the Brian Herbert Dune prequels, ‘The Butlerian Jihad’, and… I don’t think I’ll try another.)

The funny thing is that in this great wide world of the internet, almost every depiction of Leto (there are very few out there) is really creepy and scary looking, like an evil monster.  After seeing what was out there, I had to try to render a potrait that would capture this intelligent, caring man going through the unimaginable complexities of becoming an unapproachably powerful and horrifyingly deformed demi-god in the name of a love for the human race which would be unrequited due to the very nature of the physical transformation and tyrranic rule that would ultimately save them from a horrific future.  I think I totally captured that.  *cough cough*  Just kidding.  But at least he’s not all gross-looking.

As an aside, my favorite (and for some reason, almost the only consistent) serious Dune art in internetland is done by an incredible artist named Emily Carroll.  Not only is she a fremkit full of nonstop awesome, she seems to be one of the biggest Dune nerds in the entire world, and she makes me wish there were tons of Dune nerds everywhere that I could talk with and visit each others’ houses for Fremen tea-time to have cinnamon coffee and sticks of the moist, brown paste that’s in between the layers of those cheap cinnamon rolls you get at gas stations.  But I digress…  I tried to make a Leto that would have good chemistry with her portrait of Hwi Noree.

Next, a project more relevant to my real art future: “Currently-Untitled-But-Awesome-Superhero-Comic-Pitch-Project”, in which I illustrate my friend Ted Anderson’s pitch-script for a really creative superhero miniseries.  I have strung this project along like a poor helpless kitten on a spiked dog leash of indecisiveness for almost a year and a half now.  I think my inability to commit to finishing this has to do with my own insecurities as an artist: I have been really frustrated with myself for not having a clear “style” when it comes to polished comic art, and I really want these pages to be FANTASTIC for Ted.  He deserves it.  He’s a brilliantly creative guy, and I love his origin ideas for the characters in this comic, as well as the plot itself.  It actually makes me excited about doing a straight-up superhero comic.

I have made so many excuses for why this is taking so long, and they’ve all been factual, including trying out new styles, learning to color better, being too busy, being abducted by aliens…  I have tried to figure out why I keep touching on work for this and then shying away again, and I think I’ve zeroed in on it: I have a pathological fear of drawing backgrounds.  Goofy, cartoonish backgrounds are no problem.  But I’m almost incapable of rendering realistic inorganic surroundings.  Buildings, sidewalks, cars, etc…  They cause my mind to froth and shake and collapse into paralysis like a blue-ringed octopus victim.  Whole pages of this pitch have cityscape scenes and it’s like there’s a forcefield around any page with that designation.  It makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills… and it’s embarrassing.  But I shall struggle ahead for Ted!  If all goes well, this project should the first out of the Vomitorium and into the world of completion.  Priority 1.

In my next post, the Vomitorium continues with more exciting orphans from Jesse’s convoluted cortex!  Stay tuned!

Lutefisk Sushi: D

Posted in Comics, Drawings on August 7, 2010 by gladlad

Hullo, Internetherlands.  Long time no see!  The main reason I got off my butt today to post something is the unveiling of Lutefisk Sushi “D”, which is the fourth installment of a box-set of mini-comics by Minnesotan artists.  Over 50 people contributed to it, and the gallery opening/completion party was last night at Altered Esthetics in Minneapolis.  I did an 8-page comic called “Hybrid Hyjinks”, which you can read by clicking on the pictures below!  I don’t really know where it all came from, suffice to say it was done very last-minute after reading a lot of Jane Austen and thinking about mythological creatures for some reason.

Also below is a piece of gift-art I did for my Conspiracy friend Ryan Dow who does a web comic called Introspective Comics, and is really wonderful (both the guy and the comic).  He mentioned “Space Unicorns” randomly in the introduction of his (really worth buying) collection called “The Art of Failing Buddhism“, whence I drew the subject matter.  I kinda want to do a whole comic epic about space unicorns now.

A Forest of Teeth

Posted in Comics, Drawings on October 6, 2009 by gladlad

Well, my 24-hour comic is up!  Click the image below to go straight there.  You may notice I made a grouped page for the (two, so far) 24-hours I’ve done.  The ‘Martial Role Models’ one from last year is right under the new one.  Uh… that’s about it!  Oh, I should mention to the purists that not only did I not ink it, I also wrote in about half the text after I got home.  It was all in my head, though, from the thumbnail stage, I swear!  Except for the Dryad’s “song” in the middle…  that I wrote afterward.  So, basically a total 24-hour comics day failure.  Oh, well– there’s always next year!


I survived ’24-hour Comics Day’!!!

Posted in Comics, The Crazy World on October 5, 2009 by gladlad

Here’re the folks who started Oct. 3rd at 10 am:

group sat 11am

…you can check the link for some blogs and pictures.  This was my second year doing it.  Last year I only drew 14 pages, but they were all finished and snazzy.  This year I drew the full 24 pages (!!!), but only in pencil.  Once again, my visionambision ran away with my ability to actually perform physical acts within a 24-hour space of time, and I was rendered powerless to ink.  But I have to say that I am really pleased with the final results, though I have no idea if I’ll actually finish up the art and stuff or not…  I’m thinking of simply turning the blue pencils into greyscale on Photoshop and adding a bit of color, maybe.  We’ll see.

As an experience, this year’s 24-hour was outstanding.  We had a ton of fun people, many of whom performed with outlandish skill and pluck, coming up with some totally rad comics that I can’t wait to see all put together.  We a had a bunch of people connected to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design attending this year, and they really made the rest of us look like crap.  Walking around peeking, I felt like I was taking a tour of an animation studio or something!  I met some great new comic nerd friends, and got to play some of my own music for everyone this year, which was a real treat.  Cheers to Carlos, Vern and Zach, who I had some really nice chats with.  I hope I can run into those guys more in the future!  I was kind of bummed when it was all over because I had so much fun hobnobbing and lallygagging that I totally forgot to blog at all during the night.  Bummage.

Another thing that made it really great was the fact that by putting inking out of my mind as the night went along, the task of drawing all night and day took much less out of me than last year.  Inks, especially with a brush, take so much fine motor skill and concentration that you end up locking every muscle in your body up without thinking about it, and it really strains you.  At least, it does for an inking amateur like myself.  But the pencils flowed smooth and easy all night, and my sketches came out surprisingly clean, with not a whole lot of wasted line.  And the whole time I was just really happy with the story that grew from my four randomly-selected dictionary words that I started the event with.  As a hint of what’s to come, those words were: THEORY, CONVALESCE, DRYAD, and ORTHODONTICS.  That’s right, baby.  You couldn’t ask for a better narrative setup.

And to top it all off, Dana made a truckload of the best freakin’ cranberry-oatmeal-white-chocolate-chip cookies ever, increasing everyone’s quality and productivity by over 23.4 percent.  Oh, here’re the rockstars who persevered until 10 am the following day (to be fair, Danno Klonowski should also be there, having taken off only moments before.  He stayed the whole time even though his comic was finished long hours before.  What a star!):

The group sun 10a

Sorry to say you won’t be able to see the scans of my comic right now, as there aren’t any.  Soon, though!  I’ll get ’em on here ASAP.  In the meantime, click the link below to check out other people’s stuff.

Peace and love, and stay tuned to the Tethered Hawk!

News of Ultimate Sweetness, plus Props

Posted in Blogging, Comics on September 13, 2009 by gladlad
Uh, no art to post today (soon, though), but some amazing news:  in the last two weeks I have put in about 18 hours in my new job as an intern at the art studio of Peter Gross, one of the creators behind the Vertigo comics book “Unwritten“!!!
The_Unwritten_1It’s a really fun comic to work on, and Peter’s work environment makes it a dream job.  The only difficult aspect is the 1-hour-each-way commute, making it hard to put a ton of hours in.  But it’s the first genuine, bonafide “art job” I’ve ever had!  (…not counting a year’s stint in High School as the cover artist for a video game catalogue put out by a local gaming store- perhaps something that would fun to post here for nostalgia’s sake someday.  I got paid in unlimited free video game time at their little lounge area, which is a story in and of itself…)
Anyway, I’m more excited and honored than I can even say, since I my portfolio was pretty unprofessional, with not a lot of real “comicky” content.  On that note, I am extremely grateful and indebted to Danno Klonowski, Dan Olson, Ted Anderson, and Steve Stwalley for being agents of my recent artistic opportunities, which really fleshed out my portfolio.  These dudes are awesome, and make me so excited to be a part of the Cartoonist Conspiracy.  If you aren’t a part of one, you should be.  Make your own cell today!
But my greatest debt belongs to Clarence Thrun, who, though we never hang out and I never get to do anything cool for him, has name-dropped me all over the place and is the one actually talked to Mr. Gross and found out about the opportunity.  In fact, if it wasn’t for Clarence, I would never have found out about Kevin and Zander Cannon, who connected me with the Cartoonist Conspiracy in the first place!  And I guess I might as well send out the ultimate props in all this to my very own brother Benjamin, who introduced me to Clarence, and has always been one of my biggest fans and supporters.  All these guys have played parts in making the last year one of the most exciting, entertaining, and motivating years in my whole life!  What does the future hold?  What goofy, cartoonish wonders lie over the horizon?  Stay tuned to find out as I do!!!
PS– coming up soon, I’ll write a run-down of what my duties at Peter’s studio actually include, and what it’s like to see comics made from the ground up.  It’s crazy fun!

Forty-eight Pages of AWESOME!!!

Posted in Comics, Drawings on August 10, 2009 by gladlad

Well, the Big Funny gallery opening party-o-rama has come and gone.  And it was…

-~*!!! SO AWESOME !!!*~-

I had only seen two or three of the other comics online in the weeks before the show, so 90% of the content was totally new to me.  (I had to skip Thursday’s Conspiracy jam where they were handing out copies to contributing artists early.)  It was a really special thing to be able to see people’s original artwork to begin with, then the (sometimes full-color) print version in the actual newspaper.  I was really blown away by the overall quality of the work; if you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth ordering a copy, even for the 10-dollar online price (which includes shipping), or you can buy it for 5 at the actual gallery.  I want to shout out some props (‘cuz they got hella chops) to Jamie Schumacher and the rest of the Altered Esthetics crew for putting on a heck of a show.  The gallery made awesome use of space, and made dying of muggy suffocation almost fun.  Man, big crowds can breathe!  It was fun to be in the same room with all these cool people who had contributed to the project, to see all our work together for the first time, together.  (I’m totally available for advanced English sentence construction, by the way.  Call me.)   Also, I really hope Steve Stwalley gets some attention for the great writing in the “articles” and “editorials” on the front page, which were actually one of my favorite parts of the paper; he’s a great writer.

I’m just so fortunate to have been connected with this group of people: artists, writers, jokesters, storytellers, draimwaivahs (Garth Marenghi accent) that are all really helping me a ton to get motivated and actually DO SOMETHING!

Speaking of doing something, I really want to accomplish two things this fall.  1) I want to finish the “pitch” comic project I’m doing with Ted Anderson, who is a great comic writer you should pay attention to, because as soon as we make the scene you’ll be using money with our faces printed on it in your everyday transactions.  Because we’ll be RULING THE WORLD.  Or maybe you won’t be using money at all, which is one thing I might implement if I actually could rule the world.  So now you’ll know who to thank when that happens.  And 2) I want to make at least one mini-comic to share with folks who come to FALLCON!  I’ll probably help host the Cartoonist Conspiracy table there, and probably all my good jam buds will be there.  They all do cool self-printed stuff, and gosh-darnit, I want to join the crowd!  Who knows, maybe we won’t be broke by October and I’ll actually have the means to do so.

Lastly, here’re some snapshots from the opening, for your vidial enjoyment!  (You know, the English language is starving for expression.  Only YOU can help.  Make up a word today.  Thank you.)

big funny wall 1big funny wall 2

a bunch of pages on the wallbig funny gallery opening

the crowdbig funny jesse gillespie little emothe sweaty, excited dork