Thursday, December 30, 2010

Nate's First Comic

While I was out, my four-year-old son made his first comic book. He made four pages of story and then ran around the house looking for tape to put it together. He even used speech balloons to show who was talking. He told me what was going on in the story, so I'll narrate the comic with his words.

1. Mary Jane is falling off a building. Spider-man is catching her with his webs.
2. Now Peter Parker is saying words to Mary Jane.
3. Mary Jane is falling off a building again. Spider-man says, "I saved you!" The "Green Glob-lin" is flying in the sky on his glider.

4. Now the Green Glob-lin is in jail. Peter Parker is there with Mary Jane.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Here is a photo of my latest artwork in progress. You can see that I sometimes begin by collecting images from various sources and assembling them into a collage. In this case, seven different sources. The collage on the left is the source for the drawing on the right.

At first the choices are random, but sometimes a theme emerges. In this case, I had been trying to reread Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Kandinsky. This is a book that I don't understand very much of. What I do understand of it I don't even necessarily agree with.

However, what I was thinking about while I made this artwork is that you often hear someone say, "I used to enjoy making art but I stopped because I wasn't making any money." I think this is tragic, and I think there are other reasons for making art than just for financial profit. Many times that is the first thing someone will ask an artist: "Are you able to make money doing this?" What I was thinking about while I drew this is that often the ancient people created art with spiritual motivations. I wanted to contrast examples of this with some kind of imagery that shouted "Art for Money!"

Kandinsky contrasted the spiritual artist with the materialistic one. I decided Mr. Materialistic would be drawn superimposed over ads for artists that appealed to speed in creating art for financial gain. By no means am I against commercial art! I just felt like making a statement about my own reflections on artistic motivations.

To get the right shape, my classroom window became a makeshift light box. By turning off the light in my room, the hall light made it possible for me to trace the shape I needed.

I pasted the ads down over part of the drawing paper. Now I was reading to add color to Mr. Materialism.
I wanted the ads to be seen with varying degrees of obscurity -- just barely readable in some places. This had to become a mixed media piece since colored pencil didn't do the job.

Concerning the Spiritual in Art
Mixed Media (Colored Pencil & Acrylic)

The drawing above is the finished work. Unfortunately, the photograph didn't turn out as well as I hoped.

As I said, Kandinsky's book is hard to read -- though it does have some good ideas to ponder. A better one on art and spirituality that has inspired me is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comics Art Lesson

My daughter Anna taught a lesson on comics as part of her Art in the Elementary class at Mansfield University. Part of the class involves teaching lessons to children in the community at Saturday Morning Art classes. The students really seemed to enjoy it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Contemplation (2010). Colored pencil.

I don't think I've ever done a realistic self-portrait, so I did this one in colored pencil. I called it Contemplation, because it's inspired by Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer by Rembrandt.

This drawing table surface shows the process.
Here I am with the finished product. Come to think of it, this photograph is a Triple Self-Portrait. Boy, this one is going to be hard to draw!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Power of Yes

The Power of Yes
Colored Pencil

The Pop artists showed us that we can appropriate imagery from commercial sources -- changing the context changes the meaning. Something I enjoy doing is collecting various images from multiple sources and moving them around to see how new meanings can be created. Once the collage is finished, I can use it as a reference for drawing. I finished this one this week.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is a charcoal portrait of my father, George Wales. While drawing it, I thought about all he has meant to me in my life. He is the man I admire most.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Virtual Tour of my Art Room

Here is one corner of my art room at Rowe Junior High -- the portion that was somewhat orderly when I was taking pictures. This area shows a display I have showing the comics making process.
The centerpiece of this display is a gift from graphic novelist Chris Schweizer. The creator of Crogan's series of graphic novels gave us a gift of original comic art -- a page from Crogan's Vengeance. Along with a comics page, he gave us the thumbnail sketch for this page, and another piece that shows the whole process of making a comic -- from idea to finished art.

This photo is my collection of artist action figures, including Van Gogh and Warhol. They don't make nearly enough of these, but there is a Michelangelo that is on my Christmas list this year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who's Pulling the Strings?

Did you ever wonder who's pulling the strings?

My sister-in-law, Lea Wales makes these fantastic caricature marionettes. She made one of The Mighty Andar as a gift to me. It is made of wood, papier mache, fabric, wax, human hair, etc.

Because I read a lot, my brother suggested that I would hold a Book of Villains to consult before battle. Each page in the book is a painting of one of the villains from Eclectic Comics, recreated in Lea's style.
Maybe, we're pulling our own strings...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good Night Kiss

I've got a whole list of things that Nathan has said that would make great comics. Here's one.

Friday, July 23, 2010

That Darn Beyonder

Sketchbook comic -- a reinterpretation of a Marvel story. I did this, just for practice, to try out some various points of view and tricks.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Bacon Strips

As I mentioned in my previous post, I just presented a two-day teen comics workshop. As we were working, some of the participants started talking about the comedian Jim Gaffigan's "Bacon" routine. They got everybody laughing and soon we all had ideas for comics about the irresistible power of this breakfast food. This led to a mini-comic in which everybody contributed one page. I believe that it is the first comic ever in which every single page is about bacon!

Here are some of the comics that we made during the workshop.

Cover by Shannon

by Melinda Georgeson, Chief Educator NRM

The Package by William

One Day in the Kitchen by Lia

Chewy by Marissa
Advertisement by DavidMy contribution was a Halcolm story that I've been working on, but that I refurbished a little. I also did the bonus strip below that describes a real funny moment from the workshop.

Got Ink? Comics Workshop at the Norman Rockwell Museum

I just got back from Massachusetts, where I presented a two-day comics workshop for teens at the Norman Rockwell Museum. The event was called Got Ink? I showed the participants how to create original characters, and tricks for keeping a character's look consistent throughout a story. We also completed activities important in making comics: developing ideas, drawing rough sketches or thumbnails, laying out pages, penciling and inking with pen and ink. The workshop will continue this week with Tim Callahan (fantastic comics writer) teaching other comics making skills.

As we were working, some of the participants started talking about the comedian Jim Gaffigan's "Bacon" routine. They got everybody laughing and soon we all had ideas for comics about the irresistible power of this breakfast food. This led to a mini-comic in which everybody contributed one page. I believe that it is the first comic ever in which every single page is about bacon!

Below are some pictures of the workshop. Comics created will follow in a future post!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Call to Action in the Dead of Night

This is a comic by my daughter Anna. She made it as a Father's Day gift. The story is mostly true -- although I do not sleep in my Mighty Andar suit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Boy

This comic is to commemorate my son Daniel's graduation from high school. Over the years, as I've watched him grow, I've often thought of the song My Boy by Neil Young. The words to this comic are the lyrics to that song. You can hear that song here. The drawings show just how quick a little boy grows to be a man - just about this fast!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Halcolm & The Evaluator's Quest

As Halcolm so wisely shows us, many times the answers we seek are within ourselves!