Sunday, March 29, 2009

off to ArtFest

I've been so busy lately that most of my friends are beginning to think that I'm actually imaginary. Tomorrow I'll be heading north by train, then by car, then ferry, then car again up to Port Townsend, Washington to teach 2 full days of drawing workshops. It's been a crazy time getting prepared. I got inspired to create a whole zine of Imaginary Homework for my students to take home (I tried to stop myself, but it happened anyways). I screen printed the covers, like a madman, in my basement this morning. When I get home, I'll probably make more copies, so more people can read it. Now I just need to pack my bags so that I'm actually ready to leave tomorrow!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A drawing in progress

I've been busy preparing (both physically and mentally) for the ArtFest workshops I'm teaching at the beginning of April. It always feels like a big deal to me that people actually want to pay to take a class from me, so I try to put extra care into the details to make if worth it (for them AND me). Anyways, the above picture, if I can finish it in time, will be the illustration for the funny diploma that I'll be giving the students for finishing my workshop. When I get home from ArtFest, my number one project will be my next book, "The Thought Cloud Family (book 1)", though I'll also be preparing for the Stumptown Comics Fest, vending weekends at the Portland Saturday Market, coloring a 10 page comic for an upcoming anthology being published by Darkhorse, and all the other strange activities I always seem to find myself involved in. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

my dream last night

I had to take a quick break from my other work today and draw this dream at the bottom of y To Do list, because I kept thinking about it. I obviously have no idea how to draw Darth Vader, but it looked just like him in the dream.

a brief account of my current projects

It's been a really busy week of work. I love to work! I'm basically not making any money right now, so my funds are dwindling, but the stuff that I'm working on makes me happy. The money will come. Right now, I'm thankful for the job that I've invented and hired myself to do.

I started my next book this week. I stayed up late one night and wrote the first hundred pages or so, fast and messy. Now I'm going back and working out the pages more carefully. The book is called "The Thought Cloud Family" (book one) and it's going to be an ongoing series of graphic novels. This first instalment will be 200 pages or so. I've decided that making these books is my real job, and I'm hoping that the world will take me seriously and stop making me do things that aren't my real job in order to pay rent. Hear me world.

I'm also preparing for ArtFest. If you don't already know, ArtFest is an amazing festival that goes on in Port Townsend, Washington every year. It's organized by my dear friends Teesha and Tracy Moore, and has become a huge highlight in my year. I'm teaching 2 full day drawing workshops. I never thought I'd want to teach, but Teesha and Tracy encouraged me, and now I'm back for my 3rd year. The first two years I felt like I was fooling everyone. I was sure that at any moment, everyone would realize that I was only pretending to be a teacher and kick me out. It was thrilling and fun. Rethinking my class each year has been one of my hugest learning experiences. This year, I think I've managed to trim off the fat, and hone it into a pretty tight workshop. We'll see. The students are always great. It's probably the most supportive crowd of people I've ever met.

Each year I've taught at ArtFest, I've created a class zine to give to everyone. This year it kind of took on a life of it's own. It's called "The Mark Maker's Manifesto and The Thought Thinker's Theorem" (or TMMMTTTT for short). It's basically an extra credit report to accompany my book "Capacity" ( if you've read the second to the last page, you already know that "Capacity" was my final thesis for the imaginary school I'd been secretly attending). The zine also doubles as a job application, because once you graduate from school (even an imaginary one) there is still the problem of making a living (refer the first two paragraphs of this blog post).

The other thing I've done this week is write a short story. I usually don't write in prose. All my writing usually filters into my comics. But I was eating dinner last night, and suddenly a story happened inside of my head, and I found myself reaching for a pen and paper. It's called " The Guy Who Invented Elbows (A Ghost Story)" It's going to actually be part of "The Thought Cloud Family" (book one) but will remain as prose with accompanying illustrations.

And that concludes "a brief account of my current projects". Thank you for listening.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

more collaborative art

I'm just about to ride my bike downtown to help hang the Vortex! Collaborative art show the opens at Floating World tomorrow night. A couple of days ago, Sean Christensen and I got together and decided to make a couple more pieces for the show. The above picture was worked on by both of us ,then inked by me.
This one was worked on by both of us, then inked by Sean. We were joking that these two drawings depict what it would have been like if we had known each other when we were kids. I'm the one on the right in both drawings.

This is yet another one that we both worked on, then Sean colored. It always blows me away to see how Sean colors these collaborative pieces. He always uses color combinations that I'd never even think of using. It's beautiful. I'm starting a collection of collabortaive art I've taken part in over on my flickr site. There's only a few pieces there so far, but it's growing!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Vortex: Collaborative Art Show!

I have work in a collaborative art show at Floating World Comics on 20 NW 5th ave #101 here in Portland, OR. The opening reception is on March 5th from 6-10 pm. It's also a release party for a publication of collaborative comics! The show features work by: Sean Christensen, Julia Gfrorer, Amy Kuttab, Brodie Kelly, Stephan Saito, and myself. Vortex! Some friends an I have been hanging out once a week or so and making collaborative comics and art. It's been great! This picture was started by Sean Christensen, then passed to Amy Kuttab to work on, then passed to me. I ended up inking this one, and it was a lot of fun to ink other people's pencil lines. It's not something I've done too often and I feel like it taught me a lot. Usually even more people will add things to a given picture, but there were just 3 of us that day.
This is another one from the same day. A collaboration between Sean, Amy, and I. Inked by me.
This one got me really excited! Amy started this one, then passed it to me, then Sean, then our friend Julia Gfrorer added things, Then Sean brought it all together with his amazing, crazy coloring job! Collaborating has really opened me up to all kinds of new things, and it always leads to unexpected places. The collaborative comics are even crazier: One persone draws a panel, then passes it to the next person. It's pretty amazing to try to match other people's styles, and try to continue a story thread, one panel at a time. I've learned a lot about making comics this way.

Bird Hurdler

I just finished a new 6 page comic just in time for its deadline. It's going to be out mid-April in a publication called Bird Hurdler, and will include a number of great cartoonists that I'm really excited about. The publication is free and will be a collaborative publishing project between 3 Portland small presses: Sparkplug Comics, Tugboat press, and Teenage Dinosaur. I'll have more info when it comes out, but for now, the above panel is a sneak peek.