Monday, January 30, 2012

P is for Panotti

The Panotii (from the Greek words πᾶν and οὖς for "all ears") were a mythical human race, described as possessing large ears that covered their entire bodies. In A.D. 77, Pliny the Elder described this race of beings that had very large ears, so huge that they were able to use it as blanket to shield their body against the chills of the night.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recent article

It just occurred to me that I never posted a link to this article about my comics here. A very cool reporter called and interviewed me about my comics. A photographer came and photographed my basement "studio". At first I was embarrassed by the fuse box in the background, but then I thought -- actually, that's part of the message. Anyone can do this, anywhere!

They have since taken the article down from their archives, so I will post the content of the article below:
elm 120611 wales 01 jbw

Andrew Wales is like a caped crime fighter from a comic book who hopes his noble notions and altruistic actions inspire others.

The writer/artist is perfectly happy with life on the fringes of the cutthroat comic book business.

And he doesn't mind putting more emphasis on plot lines than the bottom line -- as long as his stories encourage readers to grab some pencils and paper and start drawing.

In the fifth and most recent issue of his self-published anthology, "Eclectic Comics ," the Athens Borough Borough resident has crafted autobiographical, educational, even nonsensical stories, and imbued them with an infectious free spirit.

"It is an art form that is inviting," said Wales, 46. "It seems to say, 'Hey! This is something you can do, too. Why not give it a try?'

"It is my life's purpose to try to inspire as many people to find a place in their life for creativity, whether it is comics or something else."

Wales isn't just the creator of the new comic -- he's also the star. Some stories capture the joys of raising Nathan, who is unusually meticulous about keeping his comics in mint condition for a 5-year-old.

Others uncover humor in the routine moments of his 8-year marriage to Kristan, who's been known to chide him for his inability to find the mayo in the fridge.

In one tale, he tangles with bureaucratic red tape as his alter ego, The Mighty Andar.

And Wales has even included his origin story -- a touching look at how one teacher fostered his love for art.

"Andrew is trying to use himself as an example that if you have a pencil and paper, you can give it a shot," said Jared Aiosa, owner of the Elmira shop Heroes Your Mom Threw Out.

"He's trying to show it's not an exclusive format like oil painting. You don't need oil paint, brushes, all that. You just need a pencil and some inspiration."

Wales' passion for comics and his crusade to motivate others bleeds into the rest of his life like a spilled tray of watercolors on a canvas.

He is in his second year of teaching art at Harlan Rowe Junior High School in Athens after teaching elementary school art for 22 years.

Although he introduces his eighth- and ninth-graders to many types of art, they seem to enjoy comics. In fact, he has used them and their cousins, comic strips, to open a dialogue about bullying, breaking the ice with a "Peanuts" strip depicting Lucy punching Linus. "There are published curriculums with videos and posters, but the kids often call them fake or boring and they can sometimes be kind of preachy," Wales said. "My idea was, what if we take an art-based approach to this? What if we read comics in which bullying takes place and used that as a discussion starter? What if we talked about how to resolve conflicts or stop bullying and the kids made comics illustrating what they learned?"

Wales believes so strongly that comics can be used as a teaching device -- especially when it comes to bullying -- that it's the subject of the doctoral dissertation he's writing as he pursues his studies at Northcentral University.

"Andy is inspiring to the kids and his fellow teachers," said Brian Manchester, a special education teacher at Rowe. "Several of the kids are amazed that he's created these comics. They may not do as well as Spider-Man, sales-wise, but he's an example that you can create something on your own if you have the passion."

"I think that it is good for art teachers to be an example for their students -- to some extent to be a practicing artist," Wales said.

"As art teachers, we need to be jacks of all trades and master every art form enough to teach it, but also be a master of one," he said. "Our students can see that these are the kind of things artists do, and it also keeps the fire going in the art teacher. We are still learning and developing our skills."

Monday, January 16, 2012

N is for Nibelung

A race of dwarves from Norse mythology. Their story is told in Wagner's opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. The plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold he stole from the Rhine maidens in the river Rhine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Memories of Mom

Today is my Mom's 80th birthday! Soon I'll be leaving for her surprise party. I can safely write that because she has never been on the internet and probably never will! Each of us kids were asked to write a "Memory of Mom" for a book my sister is putting together. Here is mine:

Memories of Mom

Andy 1-14-12

People sometimes ask me where I get my artistic talent. Well, nobody else was really drawing around the house but Mom was always doing things in a very creative things. She was very methodical in her processes of baking and the decorations on them were a work of art. Her handwriting is probably the fanciest I have ever seen someone use on a regular basis.

I don’t know why, but I always liked to draw and it was my favorite thing to do. Mom made sure there was always drawing paper for me to work on. She would always buy a sketchbook for me. When each one was finished, she would buy another. I took them with me where ever I went. If she was with me, she would proudly say , “Andy, why don’t you show them your sketchbook?” She would have positive comments about whatever drawing I had just finished.

I was always interested in cartoons and funny pictures. I can remember once she came home from a trip to Mansfield and she said, “Andy, you have to see the posters they have on the walls of Pudgies Pizza.” Soon I made the trip with her. I think it was a college student who used the back of pizza boxes and drew on them to make posters. Each one was a caricature of the manager of the pizza shop. In each one he was reimagined as a different character. The one I remember is him redrawn as Spock from Star Trek with pointy ears and uniform. “Those are called caricatures,” she told me. “It still looks like the person, but each part is exaggerated to make them look funny.”

I can remember we had been at church one night. We stopped at a 7-11 to get a loaf of bread to take home. Mom sent me in with a dollar while she waited in the car. I bought the bread and on the way out the door, I saw a magazine that caught my eye. It was Cracked magazine. I quickly looked through it. It was packed with cartoons and comics. The cover was filled with caricatures of the characters from my favorite show Welcome Back Kotter. I went back to the car and excitedly told her about it. “Mom! There is a magazine in there that is fully of funny pictures – caricatures! -- like the posters in Pudgies!” She didn’t even bat an eye, but she asked me how much it was and if there was enough change from the bread so that I could buy it. The magazine was 50 cents and there wasn’t quite enough change. She gave me the extra 15 cents, or whatever I needed so that I could buy it. I became a regular buyer of this magazine and also Mad. I am sure that these were a big influence on my interest in and ability with cartooning. I learned most of what I by copying the images from the artists who worked for these magazines and they had a big influence on my style.

I can remember bringing home a piece of poster board to work on a submission for a poster contest. I got the design all sketched out and Mom said, “No, you can’t do it that way.” She had me flip the poster board over and start over. She showed me how to use a ruler to measure a one inch border all around. “All of the design should stay within that border,” she told me. Next she showed me how to measure from the top down to make guidelines for the lettering lightly in pencil. After I made the letters in pencil I outlined them in pencil and she told me I should erase the guidelines. She was right, I won the contest. I still wonder how she knew how to do those things.

There were a lot of things that she knew about art and she would tell me about them. I can remember her showing me the art of Andy Warhol and talking about them. “He is just swishing paint over someone else’s photos, but aren’t the colors and shapes just right for the personality of each one?”

Mom was a stay-at-home mom. It was a full time job for her. She did a lot for me. There is a Bible verse that says, “Train up a child in the way they should go.” Some people say that should be translated “in the way they want to go”. In other words, you look at the directions they are predisposed to go and support them. I am glad my parents did not try to make me into a farmer or some other thing I was not suited for. They looked for the signs in me of what my giftings were and they made sure I had whatever I needed to pursue it. From art supplies to musical instruments or lessons or whatever I might need. These are the memories I have of Mom.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


A few years ago, I started this tradition of drawing a comic on or about my birthday. Here is this year's.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

L is for Lamassu

A Sumerian protective deity; often depicted with a bull or lion's body, eagle's wings, and human's head