Sunday, December 5, 2021

Draw mode: ON

I complete my last course for grad school just prior to Thanksgiving, and now it's time to draw again!

At first I started work on penciling a short vignette, the second of three about my experiences working at a sandwich shop when I first moved to Saint Louis. Monica inked the last few stories I've drawn (which was a great experience, as I had to try to get my pencils as finished as possible), but she's not available to ink this latest. That's fine, as I am hired to pencil, ink, color, and letter a shortie for an Image Comics creator-owned property (and wow I needed the warm-up).

After pencils, I didn't get much inking in before I had to turn to the Image ditty. But there, pencils complete, now back to inks for my own project to prep for inks for Image!

Image one, my drafting table. Yes, I am still drawing on paper. Once I am finished my thesis, I will likely convert to iPad and Procreate. For now, my bandwidth for learning something new is limited.

Images two and three, selfies for photo reference. I used to call upon whatever friend I was sitting with, "hold your hand like this," or moving their arm in the right position for me to quick sketch. Not much hanging out in coffee houses with friends since Covid hit, but now there's no need to torment them.
 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Hunk with a book


Always nice to see, but still, leash the pooch.

Took me over two years to fill this sketch book, though I carried it everywhere. Lack of travel added to the lack of entries, but it was probably grad school that slowed the pencil from moving a bit.

Friday, November 26, 2021

CLAMANTIS (and, grad school, apparently)


I was asked to create the cover to the Spring/Summer 2021 issue of Clamantis, the Dartmouth MALS peer review journal. I didn't have much time to do so, but I was honored, and truly value the peer review process. These are the thumbnail sketches.

I've not touched on this much, but I have been attending graduate school part-time since Summer 2019. It was a bit of a scramble start, as I was trying to wrap up final art chores on Liebestrasse by the end of that summer.

I went through the summer ethics workshops and the symposium, but was terrified to enter a classroom that fall after so long! I jumped right in though, taking two of the (for me) most difficult requirements right off. 

My first three terms were in-person, then COVID hit just was Winter 2020 term was ending, and my next five courses were remote. My Summer 2021 term was a bit messed up as well, as the study abroad workshop was cancelled last minute. I just completed my last course, Fall 2021.

From here, I will fingers crossed sign up for the Summer 2022 study abroad workshop. That, and my thesis, are all that's left. I'm nearly done my "research" phase of the thesis and by January will be in the "writing" phase. 

My goal was to have three pieces published in the peer-review journal; I've now had four pieces (plus the cover) published, and will keep submitting until I am finished my thesis. That should be two more issues. 

The program in creative writing has been transformational, and just what I needed to balance the efforts I've made to improve my draftsmanship.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Zeke

I found myself on a plane again, shortly after the trip to France with Monica. This time, to Austin, Texas, where I stayed with... Monica.

Sort of!

I was traveling for my day job, and Monica needed a cat sitter. So the first few days I was there, I was with Zeke. And then Monica arrived.

I do like cats, the eyeing the sofa, torn to shreds and held together my duct tape, reminded me what a wild card they can be.

Zeke also seemed miffed I arrived and that I wasn't his person.He made a real mess of his kitty litter for sport or spite.

He finally warmed up to me, as I provided the armpit he needed.

Overall, my first cat-sitting went fairly well. And it was nice to see Monica again so soon.
 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Monsters with cocoa


 Not really sure what was going on here, just some monsters, eventually enjoying winter.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Voici Angouleme

 

After many attempts, we finally persuaded Monica to go to Angouleme! Jeff hadn't been in some time, and it was a fun trip overall. A mix of retreading familiar grounds, but with a fresh and wide-eyed perspective. 

For the first time, we stayed Sunday night. On Monday, the village was a charming ghost town. That afternoon, Marie Claude brought us to her hometown for a walkabout. That evening, Monica and I were planted at the CDG Ibis for early flights the next morning.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Halt

Here's a little treat for you. A little sketch from a paper agenda (rare now!) cut and pasted and added to. Not sure what's going on here. But to the left you see a little rendition of the "Josie" logo as Monica and I were brainstorming Josie ideas at the time. 
 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Arrival Dublin

A rocky start to our stop in Dublin, from the flight and a forgotten passport.

I spent most of my time writing a term paper for my first graduate school class, "Borders and Boundaries." And on Zoom calls with my office. Badly timed trip perhaps, but that's the way it was.

I did make it to the Library Bar though, while walking about with Monica; Greg, too, joined us. 

I did write a good paper though, and I did well in the class. I was terrified though...it had been so long since I was in a classroom!
 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Final Stucky

 Here's the last in my Stucky series, which I draw for Monica while we're at conventions. Though we were at Angouleme shortly after this, I did not continue the tradition. "To everything, turn, turn, turn..."


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Christophe's observations

 A fine welcome back to the UK.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Harrogate

This was a fun jaunt!

Greg and I had finished Liebestrasse some time back, and comiXology Originals chose Thought Bubble to release the book. 

They lined up several interviews for us, and a panel. 

Sadly, the panel was poorly advertised... "What's new from comiXology" rather than what the book is about.I think we agreed it would have been better that way. 

I love Leeds, so it was a little sad that the show moved to Harrogate (no offense, Harrogate). But it was nice that Dom trekked over to the show, as did Christophe.

I also had a great chat with a comics pal, Sean, an English guy I met at Angouleme in 2010. In the back pages of one of his books, he mentioned drawing comics in his 50s. As I was about to turn 50, I asked him further about his experiences and feelings. That was great, because it's certainly had been a challenging experience for me, to re-enter the world of exhibiting at shows into my late 40s.


Monday, November 8, 2021

Hillside

 This sketch was inspired by my hillside, though it isn't nearly that steep, in reality.

About a year ago, I came to conclusion (or, rather, accepted the conclusion) that my house and yard were too much for me to manage by myself. I was successful in its care, but was drained, and consumed.

I took my job in NH in 2018 as I needed a change, and the College's location (and, the house's, specifically) suited me, as just a few miles from my father's campsite. The house gave him ample opportunities to putter.

In COVID, I've been working remotely--as not student-facing, we're one less detail to manage. My father hasn't returned since the pandemic hit, nor is he likely to.

Looking about, one terribly snowy day, as I shoveled the pathways around my house, I took careful inventory of the house. 

"I'll spend my whole summer scraping and painting this place," I thought with frustration.

The market being good for sellers, and my loft to return to, I decided to sell the NH house, and figured things out if and when I was called back to campus. 

Nearly a year later, still waiting. 

But in the meantime, without the burdens of house care, I've been able to handle so many other things, and nearly at a relaxed pace. I miss very much the parts of the house and yard and ownership I loved, but am thankful for an advantageous exit from the aspects I found deeply stressful.


Sunday, November 7, 2021

Vroom

Here are some sketches I found in preparation to draw the Liebestrasse scene driving through the Alps. Not a probable choice for Philip to drive, but I desperately wanted to draw an Auburn 351 Speedster.

You also get a piece of my to do list.


Sunday, October 24, 2021

Snow-raking

 

When your house has a low-pitch roof, as mine did, snow can build up more easily. When you have more than say, 18" on your roof, it's time to haul out the "snow rake" and pull as much off the edges as you can. 

The primary reason is to prevent "ice dams" from forming. That's when the snow at the edge melts and refreezes... then when more snow melts, the water has nowhere to drain, but backs up, eventually draining into your house. But with the edges free, melting and draining occurs properly and faster.

I owned my little house for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 winters complete, but sold the house January 2021. I miss many things about it, but not the snow-raking.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Q-Force

 

My introduction to anime was in the late '70s, when Gatchaman was imported and repackaged as Battle of the Planets, to capitalize on the sci-fi craze reignited by Star Wars.

While Greg, Monica, and I were having a mini comics retreat early in 2019, somehow the idea resurfaced of "us" as members of G-Force (who, in the anime wore bird-themed uniforms: eagle, condor, owl, falcon, swan).

Here we are, Monica the cockatoo, Tim the toucan, and Greg the parrot.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Bed hog

When I first adopted Mr. Darby, I was determined he not be allowed on furniture. Though I stuck to that by way of the sofa, his pitiful yearning gnawed at me. After a few months, I acquiesced, inviting him to the bed for a few minutes. He had been so desperate for attention, he passed out laying on top of me. 

For a while, he honored the few minutes, but learned that he could jump onto the bed mid-night and not wake me. So, it was difficult to break him of the habit.

In my NH house, the bedrooms were perfectly proportioned for full sized beds... which turned out to be a little too small for me + dog. Plus, being so cold, he was always cuddled against me for warmth.

Ultimately, I was relegated to a small sliver of the bed.


Back to NH

Back in 2018, after 15 years at MIT, and living in Cambridge and Somerville, I accepted a position at Dartmouth College. Professionally, it was time for a change, and not far from the College, my elderly father owned a camp site. My sister, too, was not terribly far away, so the move made sense on few levels. 

Once I adapted to the quiet, I was off to a fun start fixing up my 1950s ranch. 

The new job worked out well, as well, and the woodsy commute inspired a good number of early sketches back in my home state.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

More Mexico

Jeff's quest for artisan goods took us further afield to Puebla and Cholula, courtesy of our hired driver and guide. I don't like to buy much when I travel, and have very particular tastes. Unlike Jeff who travels with an empty suitcase to fill!



Hola, CDMX

I was wrapping up 18 years at MIT in May 2018, coinciding with Jeff's annual birthday trip. I agreed to meet him in Mexico City! It was such a wonderful trip, so much to enjoy. The big mistake, I accidentally took Advil PM instead of Advil in effort to combat altitude headaches. Toward the end of the trip did I realize why I was so exhausted. At first I attributed it to unwinding from the last days of work. But clearly mixing meds + alcohol was a big contributor.



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Star Players

High on my list soon after "First Date, Last Date" was a story penned by Greg Lockard, titled "Star Players." It's a sweet story about rival soccer players who met at a summer camp.

I was thrilled when Monica Gallagher agreed to ink my pencils for the story, and Chris Beckett agreed to color it.

The down side of the whole affair was some miscommunication that led to the story not completed until 2020. But it's released as a single and as part of On the Romance Road, so now harm no foul I guess.

About this time, I also finished all my art tasks for Baby Makes Three. That too wasn't published until 2021, due to time in Matt's coloring queue. But the first half of 2018 was a productive golden moment for me. 

 

First date, last date

 

At this point in 2018, I was going gangbusters with gay romance short stories, having amassed shorties I wrote and drew ("Quickies," "I Like Mozart," "Every Journey..."), or drew from others' scripts ("Liebestra├če," "Cross Check," "The Most Incredible Magic"). I intended to combine these new stories with the best of my romance shorties from past anthologies.

One story haunted me. Originally posted to the web series Young Bottoms in Love was a tattooed tale I drew, as written by another author. The story hadn't turned out the way either of us wanted it to back in 2003. Yet, I liked the vintage art.

Fifteen years later, I turned to a frequent collaborator, MJ Isola, and asked he write a new story to the original art (an exercise he'd done before at my request). Rules were simple: keep as much of the art as possible, but feel free to cut panels, re-arrange, or add up to four pages of new material to make it work.

The end result fell right in line... I think he added three pages plus two panels, and I added a splash page (thumbnail here). The original art focuses on a couple's first date; and two new end pages are a flash-forward fifteen years, revealing it had been their last first date, as they'd remained a couple since.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

At sea

Another sketchbook obsession of mine was this sea captain. I never settled on an era for him, except he must be from 1600-1800. Pretty broad, I know. 

But his captaincy wasn't the point! 

He was trapped in 2018 and developed a penchant for 1960s like the Datson Fairlady and the Alfa Romeo Guila. Basically, a loose premise to connect my interest in sea captains and cars.

He appears throughout this sketchbook, commanding it as I never really mastered him.

You'll probably see him again.



 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

House of Loneliness

In early 2018, for weeks I was obsessed with this story idea. I sought and found this floor plan for an old house, and in InDesign, I added a backroom and a back staircase; printed it out, and glued it into my sketchbook. Stared at it for hours, days, weeks. My parents' hobby was restoring big old Victorians, and I grew up in a house not quite like this, but close enough for me to fall in love with this fictional space. The nooks and crannies in these homes create (for me) much coziness, privacy, and mystery.

I'll let you figure out the details. Maybe some day I'll write and draw this story.



Monday, September 6, 2021

Advertising

Back when I worked at MIT, walking across campus from Stata Center to Building 56* on a November day warm enough to walk sans jacket.

Very possibly an innocent move on the part of the leaning fellow, but it looked more than suggestive.

Funny how time moves. Even if they were grad students, these two are more than likely graduated and long gone by now!

*fun (?) fact: most buildings at MIT campus aren't named, they are numbered. Even if they have names, more often than not, they are better known by their numbers.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Wizards, Knights, Dragons

 

I don't recall the exact timing, but by the time we were in Cardiff, I was in short story mode for what was published as On the Romance Road. While there, I drew several pages of "Every Journey Begins with the First Step" which I had scripted a few weeks prior.

And, a few days prior, at Thought Bubble, Timothy Winchester had agreed to draft a script for the collection. I find him hilarious, so I was a little surprised when he came up with his wizard story. Since In the spirit of new challenges, I embraced it!

The first drawing was done in Cardiff, as was the dragon sketch, before Timothy sent me the script. The other two are in preparation to draw the story. Though I finished in 2017, the pages kept getting pushed to the bottom of Matt's coloring pile as (1) I kept sending him more projects and (2) the pages were really challenging to color... very dense art for me.

But you can read the finished story on comiXology!


 




 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Mystery Bros

Given we have assigned tandem spaces, and there's no AirBnB allowed in my building, the turnover in the coveted garage spaces in my loft building is low. I'd never seen these dudes before, nor since.


Cardiff, I love you

 
Greg and I went to Cardiff for out post-festival working session.  We stayed in a fun hipster neighborhood with good restaurants and pubs. Writing and drawing by day, and going out at night.

The highlight for me was hitting the Golden Cross a few times, once for karaoke night. I was used to the Courtside in Cambridge, where you were lucky to get called up once. But at the Golden Cross, they had to ply people to sing with free shots! I happily took three turns, and gave my shots to Greg. At the end of the night, they called me out for my verve (not my signing!).

Between the Viaduct and the Golden Cross, I'm not sure I've had so much concentrated fun at gay bars before!

I took many walks in Cardiff and toured the castle in the city center as well. I would love to go back!

Oh--strange experience at the barber... it hit me that all the barbers and all the patrons but one I observed had my coloring: pale, blue eyes, mild gingers. I felt like Superman in Jimmy Olsen #138!
 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last time in Leeds

It probably won't be my last time in Leeds, but it was Thought Bubble's. Actually, I'm not sure about that... but by the time I returned to the festival in 2019, it moved to Harrogate. But what a way to go! We had so much fun in Leeds on this trip!  

I seemed to make the sales woman's day at the Doc Marten store with my insecurities, or defying the stereotype of an American abroad. But after the festival, Greg, Christophe, Dom and I all had a night of hilarity at the Viaduct Show bar. 

To provide some contrast between the fun time in Leeds and the fun time we had in Cardiff, the train ride provided some perspective. Due to it being the end of term for universities, and a few cancellations, the trains were standing room only, despite the fact we had reserved seats.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

30th!

It's the 30th anniversary of my first Arche-Lady comics, so, in theory, you'll hear a lot more about her in the coming months. And, I have planned the Arche-Lady SPECIAL #16 featuring a conclusion to her war with the digital planet MITAA, as well as a casebook tale that I am pretty excited about.

Until then, you can enjoy this sketch of Arche-Lady rescuing a junior partner who has only appeared in sketchbooks to date, Kid Smash 'em Up. I'm not sure what the backstory is here, but I'm sure there was one when I drew this back in 2017! 
 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Steel Sterling redux


 Steel Sterling was a super-hero appearing in comics published by what's now known as Archie Comics. I don't know what inspired me to draw this... perhaps it was my recent foray into the Archie hero line-up in the Mighty Crusaders. Further, I don't know why I drew this redux of Steel as a black man. When I rediscovered this sketch, I assumed it's because someone else at the time did the redux... but I can't find any evidence on line. But then, I am a bad Googler.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

(un) Designed

If I believe the evidence of my sketchbook, I assume Greg and I were continuing our brainstorm. Here are drawings of the three fellows involved in a love square with the gal from a few posts ago. I think we both liked the concept, but it just never stuck.




 

Winding down the trip

The first sketch is a bit non-sequential, all the misc stuff I wanted to capture on  paper but hadn't yet. Our last afternoon was the most "urban" on the islands, touring the science center and then the small city of Puerto Ayora. One of our tour guides also owned a little coffee house OMG! Coffee. I brought a bag of Kona coffee home, yum. 

Then, back to Quito. By then, I had a lot of travel voices in my head (and a headache jumping back to elevation 9K from 0.  
 

Friday, August 20, 2021

The worst

I passed on the snorkeling, since my only experience prior hadn't gone well. I figured, I shouldn't be incapacitated on a business trip. I overheard, with horror, a private pilot trying to hit on this woman in my group. It was revolting. So entitled.

Things I saw


 I enjoyed reading Darwin's description of the Galapagos in Voyage of the Beagle, but probably like most tourists, the reality that you are a tourist and not an explorer or scientist is terribly evident and in stark contrast. That said, it was an amazing trip, and shocking to consult a map of the islands toward the end of our stay... for all we saw, we saw so little!

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Quito

I fell in love with Quito. I'm no foodie... I cook blandly, though I am an adventurous eater when I travel (cow brain, guinea pig, grasshoppers, check)... but the food in Quito was so good. Fun fact, Ecuador uses the US dollar as its currency, making it a pretty easy destination for US travelers.   

I was in Quito four days... two prior to the Galapagos, and two post. The first day back was a little rough, jumping back and forth from sea level to 9,350' above.