Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Artist's Bag

Eclectic Comics Coming Soon!

I am looking into a Print on Demand service for my next self-published comic. Because it's going to have a little of everything from slapstick to biography, I'm calling it Eclectic Comics. You might find any kind of comic strip in it. What ties it together is they were all made by me, except for the pages done by guest cartoonist, Anna Wales.

The cover (above) is mostly finished, thanks to computer artist Dan. If the image looks familiar, it's my tribute to Action Comics #1 which came out seventy years ago about this time of year. Compare it to the image below. I just couldn't let this milestone of comics history go by without sullying it with the interpolation of a Mighty Andar image.

I was also inspired by the image below, the cover to Flash Comics #1. I liked how the circles down the side showed you what else you'd see in the comic. I thought it would be a good way to let potential readers see the diversity of what was within.

I'll keep you posted with how it's going. Only a few more pages to draw. I still need to scan a few and make sure the preliminary computer work is up to the printer's specifications. Hopefully soon!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Comics in the News

The Miami Herald had an article on Saturday about how a librarian is using comics to capture reluctant readers. The article can be found here.

NPR News has an article about three authors who have become recently captivated by the art form and have started writing for comics.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Professional Cartoonist says, "These Knots Really Work!"

Independent comics creators often go to a lot of trouble making copies of home-made comics. Sometimes the results are underwhelming. I've been to shows where I sold two! But, almost always, I've found that my fellow creators are up for a trade! I'm personally not getting rich of the comics I've made, but I've made a lot of friends who have as strong a passion for sequential art as I do.

Through the wonder of the U.S. postal system, I've enjoyed trading lately with cartoonist Chris Schweizer. Chris not only read T.A.I.L.S. Book One, he told me recently that by reading it he learned to tie the Manharness Knot and used it to move a log! In exchange for my published work, I received several mini-comics from Chris, a really awesome poster, and an original sketch of one of my characters done in the inimitable Schweizer style. It is really neat to see my character re-interpreted by another cartoonist.
Chris is a real up and coming talent in the graphic novel field. His first book Crogan's Vengeance will be published this fall by Oni Press, the first of a line of historical adventure graphic novels.

Here is a close-up of the poster he sent me. The poster was created to advertise a 24 Hour Comics Day event this past October.

To see more of Schweizer's art, visit his website, The Curious Old Library.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Shout out to all my Peeps

Thanks to observant reader and fellow blogger Paul Bozzo for bringing this to my attention. The Washington Post holds a contest accepting submissions for "Peep Show" dioramas. My favorite is the Peep Art complete with Andy Warhol Peep above, but each one is hilarious! Check out the entire results here.

Great Comics for Kids

At our house, the Easter Bunny doesn't leave candy, he usually leaves a book for everybody. They can be enjoyed longer, and don't give you cavities! Here is Nathan with his new book, Super Friends #1. This is a new comic book just for little kids. The characters look just like his little Mattel action figures. Nathan looks at it for the longest time, flipping through the stories, and even lets me read a few pages aloud to him.

The book below was for David. It's not a comic book exactly, but a "novel in cartoons". It is designed to look as if it was a cartoon diary of a 7th grader. I read it and got quite a few chuckles and even a guffaw or two.

Everyone's favorite is Bone! It's been described as "Pogo meets Lord of the Rings". It's full of humor and adventure. These books are coming out in paperback now and colored beautifully. In our school library, when one is returned, there's always a big fight to see who gets to sign it out next. Our kids have all of them that have come out so far up to #7. I think there will be two more and the saga is complete.
For his next project, the creator of Bone re-envisioned the story of Captain Marvel. Those stories are classics, and Smith stayed true to the mythos for the most part, and the new version brings Shazam into the present day. The style of art and writing is very appealing to children. It was a four issue mini-series but is now collected into a big, beautiful hard-cover book. I petitioned a comic book distribution company and they donated one to our school library! The kids are going to go nuts when they see that.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Draw Batman -- the Andy Wales Method

I was working with the Autism support class today. They like to use coloring books. I, of course, have to join them. Today, I worked on this page, comparing my drawing of Batman with how he is usually drawn for coloring books.

Feeding "B"

Nathan's favorite toy is Superman, although he calls him "B". We're not sure why. He takes him with him everywhere. Here he is trying to feed him some yogurt.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

T.A.I.L.S. #43: Caves & Caverns

This is the most recent T.A.I.L.S. comic strip. My assignment was to make a comic strip about caves and caverns. These short, simple stories actually take a long time to plan. For this one I thought about possible approaches and decided that the characters would discover a cave a lot like the real-life Chauvet cave -- the biggest find of Ice Age art ever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Superheroes Meet Classic Art

Some people with some amazing Photoshop skills have created a series of "mash-ups" combining classic paintings with superhero images. Tons of them can be seen here.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Tale of Mr. Wales and the Leprechaun

Every year about this time, I tell my kindergarteners and first graders this story...

Once upon a time, I was walking through the woods at night. Suddenly I heard a noise, "Tap-tap-tap...tap-tap-tap..." I quietly crept forward and saw -- a leprechaun! Slowly and silently I snuck up behind him and grabbed him by his coat tails. "Let me go! Let me go!" he shouted.

Now, everyone knows that leprechauns make shoes for the elves and fairies and other magical creatures. And for every pair of shoes they are paid one piece of gold. And if you catch a leprechaun by the coat tails and don't take your eyes off him for a second, he has to give you some of his treasure. (Now, be careful if you do catch one. They are very sneaky, and if you glance a way for even a second they can disappear. That's how their magic works.)

There was no way I was letting the leprechaun go. "Not until you give me some of your treasure!" I demanded. He knew I had him. "Okay, Mr. Mortal Man," he replied, "I'll give you some of my treasure. Ye can have gold -- silver -- or magic crayons!"

I chose the magic crayons. And every year at this time I share them with my students. We all draw leprechauns, and color them with magic crayons. Then we paint over them with water, and the crayon on the paper turns into paint.

The drawing above is one I did using magic crayons. If you'd like to try this, you can catch a leprechaun, or, to achieve a similar effect you can order crayons like these. They are similar, but not quite as magical as those obtained from a leprechaun.

Note: If you are looking for another classroom resource for an activity like this, a great book to use is Jamie O'Rourke and the Pig Potato by Tomie dePaola.

Donut Boy Color Spectacular

I colored the Donut Boy comic strip I described in an earlier post. I shrunk them on a color copier so that I could scan them, so the colors aren't exactly "true", but pretty close. Now I just need to put the pages in a frame.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Polar Bear Campout

Last weekend my sons and I went on a Polar Bear campout. What do you do on one of those? Well, you set up your tent, start a fire and spend the rest of the time keeping the fire going, cooking and eating. In the meantime, the boys earned Camping merit badges and Cooking merit badges. It's actually not too bad, if you're dressed for it and have a cold weather sleeping bag.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy 60th Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad were married 60 years ago in January! I'm just now posting about it because today someone gave me a clipping they found in the paper. As a family, we decided to celebrate this summer instead of winter, because it's not a fun time to travel.

They are a great mom and dad. They were really good to us kids. They made us behave and taught us how to work hard and be true to what we believe in. If anyone has any complaints about me, they are the ones to talk to.