Thursday, December 27, 2007

BodyWorld Info

Fun facts about "BodyWorld"...
* New pages uploaded on the BodyWorld site every Tuesday starting January 1st.
* A romance about bodymind telepathy.
* Will have detailed explanations of how this telepathy works.
* In book form it will be 360 pages. 12 chapters.
* Looks like a weird Bruce Timm cartoon.
* I am having a blast drawing this comic.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Edward Hicks' Peaceable Kingdom

I did a version of Edward Hicks' "Peaceable Kingdom" series for my parents for Christmas. Hicks is probably the most well-known Quaker artist. My family are Friends and I was raised a Friend. My Dad took the photo above, in their living room. I still need to frame it for them.
More information about Hicks and the original painting can be seen here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Blank or Blank?" Drawing Game

David Shrigley did a drawing that asked "Television or Microwave?"
I did these drawings based on that idea:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Give The Universe To The Fans : Company-Sponsored Doujinshi

A company such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse or Tokyo Pop partners with a web print-on-demand service (like Lu and starts a new sub-company/website. This website is an Alternate Universe of the comic company’s core world and allows people to host their comics that feature the comic company’s characters.

Here’s a scenario:
Little Timmy in the 6th Grade does a 22-page Superman comic. He uploads it to the DC FanWorld website. The website automatically places a DC FanWorld logo in the upper-left corner of the cover. The website creates a preview of the book for everyone to see. Then he (and his friends at school and myself or whoever else) orders his 22-page comic off of the website for 4 or 5 dollars. This money is split between DC, the print-on-demand service, and the cartoonist.

Little Timmy’s comics become very popular and sells more than some of DC’s Direct-Market distributed comics. Timmy can create an alternate universe inside DC FanWorld that starts a completely new mythology of the characters, drawn by Timmy and his friends.

I don’t know how this couldn’t be profitable or worthwhile for the company and, personally, I’d love to see more of the fan-fiction in print and widely available.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Spatial Depth In Comics, Uccello

This past year I've been thinking a lot about adding things to my comics. More detail, color, etc.. One of those things is spatial depth. It's hard for depth to work in comics. It usually conflicts somehow. Obviously, McCay could do it.

I really like this painter, Paolo Uccello, who has flat "cartoony" (to my eyes) characters moving forward and back in space forever and ever. This painting, "The Hunt In The Forest":

large, too dark version

small, too light version

with the animals running back and forth deeper and deeper into the woods... It's kind of freaking awesome.

'Nuff Said.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Improved Spanish Edition

Earlier today I burned the CD to mail to Apa Apa Comics in Barcelona for the Spanish edition of "The Mother's Mouth." I took this second printing as an opportunity to go back and improve the book.

What would improve this book? Deleting a lot of pages.

I cut out twenty pages and redrew three and added the "Echo And Narcissus" comic adaptation to the end. I'm very happy with this version of the book! It's much better!

Also, it's nice to have "E&N" in there, since I think it's my best story and fits in nicely with "TMM." It was actually drawn after I'd finished the bulk of "TMM," even though it was published a year before. Huh.

It was easy to delete pages , since very little happens and it was a bunch of shorts/minicomics with the same characters pieced together. Everything fits together smoother now. I'm glad Apa Apa Comics gave me the opportunity to do this.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

6th Graders Ask Questions, Respond

Dana Cook is a sixth grade English teacher at Bonita Springs Charter School, somewhere in Florida. She had her students read my "Crater Face" story (from the "Stuck In The Middle" anthology) and she e-mailed me their questions and comments. I e-mailed back my answers and, I guess, she's going to read them to her class.

Student Questions:

-What was your inspiration for “Crater Face?” Why did you want to write about zits? Is the story based on you? Have you written anything else about your own life?

I’ve never done a straight auto-bio comic. I did “Crater Face” right after I graduated college and I had to work as a figure-drawing model part-time to pay the bills. That’s where you stand nude in front of a class for hours and they draw you in different poses. I got very self-conscious and would pick at little things all over my body. Even if it was just a little bump I would squeeze and tear at it and I’d get scabs all over. Now I draw for a living, so I’m fine.
I never had a ton of acne. No more than the average person, I think. Originally the story was going to be a bit more auto-bio because the ending had the girl tell the boy to wear make-up to cover his zits, like she does. That happened to me. But the editor didn’t like that ending so we changed it.
Most of Middle School is a blur. I played Dungeons and Dragons once or twice a week for long stretches and spent the time in between working on quests, since I was the Dungeon Master. I don’t remember any of my teacher’s names or anything else.

-Did you always want to be a writer? How old were you when you started writing? Why did you start writing? Who inspired you to write? What was your first story?

I remember wanting to be a cartoonist or an “imagineer”- the people who design the Disney theme parks. I started cartooning when I was very young and I’ve continued since without any breaks. Making comics is a never-ending well of self-gratification. You can do anything with them and they can help you with anything. The further you get into making them the more personally rewarding it becomes.
-How do you come up with your ideas/ what’s your inspiration? What types of books do you write? Where do you write? Is it hard to think of characters? What’s your favorite thing the draw? How do you keep working when things get hard?

These are great questions. I don’t know some of the answers.
I draw in my room.
It’s entertaining for me to imagine characters and spend time with them and see what they do. I like drawing people’s faces and bodies and things like trees, water, sand, smoke (those things are just bunches of marks/dots) and maps.

-How does it feel to be a published author? How many books/stories have you written? Have you written a novel? Have you ever written something that people didn’t like? What’s your favorite book? Favorite author?

I’ve done many unpopular books and short stories, but I choose to judge the success of a comic on how much I enjoyed making it. I usually don’t get paid enough to worry about what other people think.
I really like the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman. I had a drawing in a gallery opening Friday but I skipped going and went to see “The Golden Compass” movie instead, which was awful. But the books are absolutely amazing and there was a wonderful play adaptation in London that I was fortunate enough to see.

-What’s your new book about? When is it coming out? What’s its title?

It’s about a family and it comes out mid-2008. It looks like a children’s book but it’s for adults. So it has cartoony characters shopping, talking and doing boring things for hundreds of pages. Not recommended.

-What questions do you have for us?

What’s your worst fear?

-Will you come visit us to talk about writing?

No. Once you’re out of Middle School you won’t want to go back to one either.

Student Comments about “Crater Face”:
-the zits looked ugly
-please write sequel
-nice word choice
-more details would be nice
-we related to the characters
-it’s creative
-makes sense
-puss from zits too yucky
-characters seem real, everyone has problems
-seemed like it was based on a true story

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Fantagraphics Catalog

The recent Fantagraphics catalog has a color strip for BBB that won't appear in the book. It is a catalog exclusive! (or false advertising?)
I was once considering having the inside back cover be a bunch of short strips with the same characters, like in "The Mother's Mouth", but I axed that idea. So I sent the strips to Eric and asked if he'd put one in the catalog.
It's at the bottom of this page. Everyone has experienced this terrible feeling.

Here's another one I did that won't be published anywhere. It's about being a good listener:

My Dad went to a seminar on group communication and told me that studies have shown (most) people respond better to being repeated EXACTLY the same thing they've said. As opposed to putting it in your own words, like in my strip. The alternate version would read:

"I'm feeling low."

"So, you're feeling low?"

"YES!!!" (She understands me!)

Which is upsetting and not something I would want to draw.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Wood Grain

A forthcoming "BodyWorld" page:

Panels from "The Bottomless Belly Button":

Jane Samborski made a wood grain image for "The Mother's Mouth" out of colored sand, using a small brush and a spoon:

Another image done this way:

Aldren A. Watson did the best drawings of wood grain:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Beasts: Wivre

This is for the second volume of Jacob Covey's book "Beasts!".

Here's the summary I was given:
"A monstrous reptile of France, the Wivre appeared as a dragon without wings who jealously guarded its horde of jewels. Uniquely, it could only attack a being wearing clothes. So, basically, stripping naked warded the beast off."