Monday, September 28, 2009

Scenes from the Small Press Expo

I've always wanted to do a big comics show. I applied to the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, MD, but they filled up too fast. When my friend Marek Bennett found out, he offered to let me share his half table, which worked out great for both of us. I sold a few copies of Eclectic Comics, but the real attention-getter turned out to be my Curriculum Comics. What really made my day was a first-year teacher who looked at the issue on Classroom Discipline and said, "I can't tell you how happy I am to see this. My friends dragged me here to this comics convention and I really needed to see this!"
Marek was also the moderator for a panel on Time Constrained comics. There were several artists who make comics using this approach. Examples of this kind of comic include the 24 Hour comic, the lunch hour comic, and others including hourly and minute-by-minute. It was the only panel I attended, and it was a very good one.

In the picture above you can see me at the right holding the wads of cash...that I brought with me to use as change.
The picture above provides a behind-the scenes look of the tables. As you can see, cartoonists are not the tidiest of creatures. It was tough to navigate back there between the piles of books, supplies, peoples lunches, etc.

Besides selling at my table, it was really great to meet many really great cartoonists in person, talk to them and show them my work -- including Chris Schweizer, Joey Weiser, Jeffrey Brown, John Porcellino, Raina Telegemair, Dave Roman, James Kochalka, Miss Lasko-Gross, and a lot more that I'm sure I'm leaving out.

There were a lot of people there! Here's the official stats:
Paid admissions were 1772 which is a nice increase of 19% over last year. Add to that about 150 free admissions from flyers and coupons we handed out, 500 exhibitors and 150 in staff, volunteers, retailers and press we end up with about 2600 people through the doors.

Monday, September 21, 2009

SPX 2009

This is where I'll be this weekend. I'm sharing a table with cartoonist and comics educator Marek Bennett. Friday night there will be a reception where we can meet Gahan Wilson, the artist who made the poster above and Carol Tyler (another great cartoonist). These two artists will discuss the challenges and privileges of maintaining a creative life and career.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

ABC #23: Big Chicken

The Art by Committee challenge this month is to illustrate this random quote from a science fiction novel:
"I became immediately and irrationally angry. How dare this six foot chicken with a silly red crest on top of his narrow foolish head say that we humans were deficient in feii? I controlled...."
The comic below is what I created for this challenge.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Eclectic Comics #3 available online!

The online store where you can buy them is here. I am selling them at cost there, $2.50, because I think by the time they add the shipping, a comic book shouldn't cost more than that!

Eventually, you can buy them if you see me in person, but my copies haven't arrived yet. They will actually cost a bit more than that since I had to put a rush on the order to be ready for a show.

Presence in the Gulf

These are drawings I did during the first Gulf War. At that time, I was teaching some high school classes. A lot of the kids could draw really well, but they relied a lot on published images. It was hard to get them to not just copy something exactly. I thought, "Well, maybe we can start by using published images, but modifying and reinterpreting them." I made these as an example of using three separate images and combining them into one image.
In the one above, I was illustrating a quote from a U.S. official who said, "Our presence in the Gulf will be felt for a very long time." I was trying to show the perspective of the soldier who was just doing his job and the possibly displaced national who was just caught up in it all, without necessarily having any allegiance politically.
This one I called Faces of War. It's a monochromatic tempera study. I was trying to portray a soldier, possibly thinking of home, the boy thinking of dad, and some Iraqi people.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Drawings of my dad

These are a couple pencil drawings of my dad. They were both done in 1988, my first year out of college. One of the things that Andrew Wyeth said that influenced me was when he said he regretted never doing a portrait of his dad while he was alive. I thought, well, maybe I should do some. The one above was a study for a large painting in acrylic that I did. The painting turned out okay, but I like the drawing better. While I was working on it, I was looking at a lot of the synthetic cubism drawings of Picasso and the realistic classical style drawings he did. At one point, this drawing was very cubistic. I think if you look at things that way, it can help when you go to render shapes realistically. I think maybe because of those drawings of Picasso, I thought it looked just fine unfinished like this.

Dad has always been very driven, and sometimes gruff, but when he holds a baby he melts. He will sit and watch his grandkids play as if there were nothing more amazing in the world.

I like the second one even better. I always admired my dad more than anyone else in the world. Here he has kind of a smirk and a gleam in his eye, which is another side of his character. He has always been more hard working, determined and generous than anyone I know. In this drawing, it's a closeup on him as he was attaching the milk machine to a cow. He milked over 52 cows twice a day at that time, with no assistance at all. Twice a day, every day. He never took a day off. He did that well into his seventies. His hands were huge and rough, and he was allergic to a lot of the things he worked with. His hands would be just raw, but he'd bandage them up and keep going. He had forearms like Popeye in those days. When my brother and I were little, he could grab one in each arm and raise us over his head. I used to think, "My dad is Superman!"