Sunday, July 20, 2014

Oops—mid-year updates

Ok, looking back to my ambitions for 2014, I was rather too ambitious for who I am today.

I've kept up with my Saved by the Bell assignment, which has been fantastic. I have a great editor, the script is fun to draw, and it's an important step for my comics, professionally speaking. Great, yes? Yes.

Each 12 page shortie takes me about a month to complete (pencil, edit, ink, edit) before and after working at MIT. The assignment is the series' even-numbered issues—more or less—one month on, one month off.

I'd thought I could keep pace on my off-months with my own pet projects (Arche-Lady compilation; Arche-Lady SPECIAL #s 13, 14; Cavalcade mini, Baby Makes Three). Nope. 

Sadly, the assignment comes to me about 5 years too late, both in terms of the peak of my production capabilities, drive, and draftsmanship. While I think my art is still solid, and I've not faltered on the deadline, I'm simply not able to keep burning the candle at both ends. 

In short, I love the assignment, and I love my down time.

In the coming weeks, I'll offer up some details about how I've spent 2014, but in the meantime, here's a quick update on all my boastful New Year's plans:
  •  Saved by the Bell —issues 2, 4, 6 e-published and TPB due soon. Issue 8 inks submitted. PASS
  • Sign up for New York Comic Con—applied but rejected. FAIL
  • Cavalcade of Boys "Quickies" mini—3 of 8 pages drawn; won't have in time for Boston Comic Con. FAIL
  • Baby Makes Three—no progress. FAIL
  • Arche-Lady compilation—completed V1, V2 not yet started. FAIL
  • ArcheLady SPECIAL #s 13, 14—no progress. FAIL
  • Make new business cards—complete. PASS
  • Make new convention banner—incomplete, not likely to have in time for Boston Comic Con. FAIL
Oh well. In the meantime, enjoy this sketch of Kelly Kapowski, which was one of 3 final character sketches that got me the SBTB job.

UPDATE: I just finished and uploaded my new banner. If it functions properly, I will have it in time for Boston Comic Con. Might just be a PASS after all!  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Saved by the Bell

Secret revealed! It's Saved by the Bell

Lion Forge Comics acquired the right to do a SBTB comic, and hired Chynna Clugston as lead artist. Right time, right place, with me at NYCC and Greg pimping me over to Lion Forge. Yay!

I'll be a regular back up story artist, with my first story slated for issue 3. Not sure if it'll be precisely monthly after that or a bit random but regular. 

Was a lot of fun sketching the characters, pushing closer to Chynna's style guide. The series is set in present day, so I spent a lot of time looking at Seventeen magazine for the latest teen girl fashions.

That's all I'll say for now. I'm excited to get the next script late this month. In the meantime, more work on the Arche-Lady compilation!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Damn you, Monica Gallagher!

Monica just posted her ambitious (doable, knowing her!) comics goals for 2014. She didn't mean it, but the gauntlet was thrown down! Here we go with my art goals for this year:

Secret Shorties

After I picked up a last-minute cancelled booth in artist alley during New York Comic Con in October, I was approached for an ongoing comics project.

The publisher wouldn't like me to  say much about it yet, but more or less, I'd be doing a 12 page shortie per month. It's a nice pace, a nice page rate, and fun subject matter. 

I just completed the inks for the first shortie yesterday. To the right is a awkward slicing from page 9 panel 3. If you can guess what the assignment is from this, you will earn the page as a prize. Good luck!

I don't know how long the series will last, or even if I will be picked up after this shortie...but, if I am, and the series isn't cancelled, my first goal is to stick with this for a year, all 2014, 12 pages per month of the secret shorties.

Baby OGN

If I can ramp up to something of my former pace through 2010, then I should be able to get in a few pages per month of my half-finished OGN about the straight people and their baby. Greg offered to edit the second half so it could be pushed into a better place. If I can get a few pages in per month from March-August, I could have it in time for NYCC.

Arche-Lady compilation

I abandoned this after scanning all 1000 pages of the series which I worked on from 1992-2002. After I got all jazzed about comics post-NYCC, I started with the annotation of the series, and got through about 400 pages. Obviously, 2 500-page books intended only as xmas 2014 gifts for my friends is a high-effort low-impact project, but I want to do it, damn it. You won't want to buy this, trust me.

Cavalcade mini

I've got one page completed, and 7 more scripted. Cover planned out and everything. Seems reasonable to have in time for NYCC and Angouleme, yes?

New York Comic Con

If I have a new OGN and a collection of secret shorties (as the publisher plans to have) then it'll be totally worth it to do NYCC in October. So on the goals list are cards (I didn't have any last year!), and a new banner thingie. 

Angouleme Festival

Ok, technically, that'll be January 2015, but all the commitment and prep will have to occur in 2014. I'll need to have a little French mini, a poster, and I hope to finish the faux magazine cover I started when I last attended the festival, as a freebie handout.

Ok, this list is absurd. Unless the secret shorties fall through and then there's room to spare for some unforeseen project. 

Yay, 2014! Yay, Monica!

Oh—since she asked, I will too: do you have anything you want to see from me in 2014? Blog entries? Pics of me in undies? etc.?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Doctor and Rose

When Doctor Who was rebooted, I caught a few episodes, but too busy drawing, I wasn't motivated to follow the series until Catherine Tate joined up as Donna. Huge Catherine Tate fan here.

Along the way, I saw all the 10th Doctor episodes, and some of the 9th Doctor. I hated Rose with the 10th Doctor, but really like her with the 9th. Their chemistry was much better, I think. 

As you know from my last post, I've been spending more time in NH with my family lately. One of the few nice benefits is I caught up on all the 9th Doctor episodes. Aside from his finale, I love that series, and Christopher Eggleston as The Doctor. 

So here's the 9th Doctor and Rose. I'm a bit inspired to draw the others with companions now. Follow the tags for the 3rd with Sarah Jane, the 10th with Donna, and the 11th with River Song, and then make your requests!

By the way, Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Give thanks.

I find I don't have many distinct Thanksgiving memories. I remember a lot of snippets, but in terms of year, location, company, situation, most are just a blur.

As a kid, I remember the year my dad was in the hospital, and my mom cooked a small feast for me and my sister. She didn't realize there were more ingredients to a pumpkin pie than just the pumpkin until halfway into baking it...they she tried to dump the sugar and stuff in. It didn't work.

I distinctly remember my sophomore year of high school, spent at my grandmother's. My aunt, uncle, and cousins made a rare appearance (after they converted to Jehovah's Witnesses, they only attended holiday gatherings when they fell out of favor with the churchings), and we must have gotten a foot of snow. My sister, cousins and I took a long walk in the picturesque countryside as the snow fell. 

My first year in Saint Louis, I attended my friend Darrell's family's event; they were very warm and welcoming, that was nice. And the year after, Erin, Kelly and I held our own orphans' Thanksgiving. And, once I was in San Diego, Rich, Dan, Mario and I held an orphans' event. I loved the orphans' many traditions crammed into one day, everyone fighting over whose tradition should trump the others.

And I loved traveling abroad during Thanksgiving, as few Americans do so. I spent one in the company of my London pal Ian (enjoy the retro sketch here, and put on your best Northern English accent to say "Happy Thanksgiving!") and one eating an "American Thanksgiving" at some random Irish pub in 2007, solo. Of course, the year prior, I was at my folks' place with Sven in tow. 

This year will stand out distinct from all the rest. I warned you in the last post that I had received some bad news while abroad. Turns out my mom's health took a nosedive due to an aggressive cancer. I had returned home with my dad as my guest for easier access to my mom as she had been admitted to Dana Farber. The fast ravages of the cancer, as well as the chemotherapy has been terribly hard on her. She was released from the hospital a few days before Thanksgiving, and her best friend arrived to help take care of her. We had a lovely but sad meal as my mom slept; the smell of food doesn't agree with her, and everything tastes like tin to her. The outlook is good for the world of cancer...but that isn't saying much? In the meantime, I will keep her in my most positive thoughts.   

I'm thankful for the wonderful care she's receiving (and received at the hospital). I'm thanking for my dad for his extra patience with her and diligence. And of course, I'm thankful to still have a great mom. Not perfect of course, but still great.

Cue the laugh tracks!

Despite the rough transition from Rome to Pompeii, I was starting to feel better after a nap in the hotel. 

I was hungry—but cautious—until I saw this awful looking pizza in a tourist trap cafe. It looked bland enough for me to handle, and it was what the doctor ordered.

The next morning, I was able to eat an ample breakfast, and Xavier and I set out to explore the ruins of Pompeii. 

I thought it would be a creepy, depressing (but fun!) excursion, but to my surprise, I could only think of ideas for a sitcom comic. Sure, the bodies were kinda sad, but walking around the city, so well preserved, I felt a bit connected to this place; a place, in many ways, like any other. It had ordinary people, living ordinary lives. They just were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Their horrific loss is our momentous gain, to look into their lives. I loved hearing little tidbits such as the graffiti on the sports complex's wall, including some solidier's sexual conquest claims. Really, are we so different today?

So, my ideas center around a family, living their ordinary, mundane Pompeiian life in 79 AD, unaware that in a few months,  it'll all end. My series/OGN would end the day before the eruption, leaving the characters with neat happy endings; so happy that it'll depress the reader knowing what tomorrow will truly bring.

After this day of tourism, I received some bad news from home. Just a preview of the bad news, as it was "too much" to share at such a distance, but my family didn't want it to be a complete shock when I arrived home. Despite another day of tourism to come in Milan, I simply wanted the holiday over. I didn't draw anything in, it seems the 2013 travel entry is complete.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sick in Roma

Minimal tourism and shenanigans in Roma, as I slept 20 hours a day for 3 days straight.