Will Eisner Week 2014

Will Eisner Week 2014

Will Eisner was born March 6th, 1917, so the Will Eisner Week of Eisner- and comics-themed events is scheduled around that week each year.  Click here for a full list of events, the world over.

New York starts the week off with a New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium special event with DC Comics writer and editor Paul Levitz on Eisner’s contribution to the rise of the American graphic novel.

If you want to learn to cartoon like the great Eisner himself, you can always learn from his instructional books on comics and cartooning:


Comic Making Potpourri

I’m a sucker for advice from webcartoonists, and promoting your product isn’t something you hear much about, but John Allison of Scary go Round / Bad Machinery fame recently weighed in on the matter briefly;

The best way to get your work popular is to do good work, do a lot of it, and win people over with the force of your lovely personality. If your comics are no good, it doesn’t matter what you do. (source)

That’s sort of the main takeaway from all creative types, including, if you’ll allow this very tenuous segue,  Sarah See Andersen, an illustration student posting hilarious autobio Doodle Time comics on Tumblr on the side…

Even more tenuously related, I also enjoyed this Comics Journal interview with cartoonist Simon Hanselmann where he had some interesting things to say about the local Melbourne comics & zine scene and breaking onto the international stage, especially with this bit about Tumblr, his primary platform.

With the internet everything is linked up now. Tumblr is just a big zine faire that never shuts down. (source)

From Life Zone, by Simon Hanselmann

From Life Zone, Copyright Simon Hanselmann

Enjoying his Tumblr, which is a sorta scarily life-like depiction of quarter-life crisis suburban anomie…  With a talking owl…

Also gotta shout out to Allison’s current Bad Machinery storyline, which is hurting my head with all the time travel and butterfly-stepping involved…  Waiting to see how all the time tampering turns out for our kid detectives…  Also Lottie’s reaction to microfilm machines is basically how I felt when I first used one over the summer:

John Allison's Bad Machinery webcomic, The Case of the Forked Road

Copyright John Allison

Now There’s an Idea!

I’ve learned that if an idea’s good enough, you remember. And if it’s not good enough to remember, you didn’t need it anyway. The good ideas keep nudging you, reminding you they’re there, until they find a way out into the world. (source)

Ron Marz, in his CBR column on the comic book writer’s life, talking about…  ideas.  As someone who’s main comic output is still in the form of ideas, I thought it might be helpful  : P

Marz talks chiefly about a storytelling concept that he conceived of years ago and was finally able to put to use on an unrelated project, namely a minute of story time per page on Top Cow‘s speedster character, Velocity.  The nice thing is that after reading Marz‘s post, you can read the full issue in question, with art by the very distinctive Kenneth Rocafort, for free on CBR!  Good synergy, guys!

Velocity #1 from Top Cow

Velocity #1 from Top Cow

Much to Learn…

Comics Beat put up a Top 10 list of hard-learned lifelong cartooning advice GI Joe-and-other-things writer & artist Larry Hama posted on his Facebook then took down; I’m a sucker for comics advice from just about anyone, and it’s neat that Hama is a more mainstream cartoonist who still has experience writing & drawing his stories…

  • 1. Don’t have people just standing there.
  • 2. ANY expression is better than a blank stare.
  • 3. Avoid tangents, and any straight line that divides the panel.
  • 4. If you use an odd angle in the shot, there has to be a reason for it.
  • 5. If you don’t have at least one panel on each page with a full figure, your “camera” is too close.
  • 6. Plan out your shots in “Lawrence of Arabia” mode rather than in “General Hospital” mode.
  • 7. Don’t think of backgrounds as “things to fill up the space after the figures are drawn.”
  • 8. If you know what something is called, and you have an Internet connection, there is no reason to draw it inaccurately.
  • 9. If the colorist has to ask if a scene takes place at night, you haven’t done your job.
  • 10. If you can’t extend the drawing beyond the panel borders and still have it make visual sense, you’ve cheated on the perspective

This is great of course, but I can’t help but feel some of it is more for the active, action comics…  People standing around is like half of the autobio comics I read, and definitely the ones I’m planning on making!  Conflicted…

Comics Alliance also has a great appraisal of Hama and how his varied life experiences, including in the Vietnam War, informed his run on GI Joe, the property he’s most closely identified with.

Punk Rock Jesus #6 cover

Copyright Sean Murphy

Also, for any of my readers who happen to be aspiring cartoonists, fellow writer-artist cartoonist Sean Murphy, of Vertigo’s Punk Rock Jesus, announced a competition to win an apprenticeship with him in Portland, Maine; application details here!

55th meeting August 19 at 7pm

Tom Motley was my first professor of cartooning, so his workshop on panel sequencing at Monday’s New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium should be a good time…

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The fifty-fifth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposiumwill be held on Monday, August 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in room 1104. Free and open to the public.

Scheduled Presentation:  Panel Sequence Workshop.  Cartooning instructor, Tom Motley, will present a slideshow and discussion on cinematic sequences in comics, followed by a related cartooning worksheet. This will be a fun sequential art exercise to stimulate comics professionals and fans alike. Drawing skills are welcome but not necessary.



 Osamu Tezuka, Shintakarajima (New Treasure Island), 1947, revised 1984.

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49th meeting June 24 at 7pm

The next NYCPSS tomorrow at The New School showcases R. Sikoryak on his digital art practice. I actually proctored a class he taught at MoCCA with Kriota Willberg and they even had an exhibit on his work process, which I recall as being pretty analog, so this should be interesting to see, maybe even a primer on Wacom, Cintiq, etc…

New York Comics &Picture-story Symposium

The forty-ninth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Monday, June 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Facilitator: Connie Sun.

Scheduled Presentation: R. Sikoryak will talk about using digital tools in comics and illustration work, specifically the Cintiq pen display and Wacom tablet, as well as programs such as Photoshop and InDesign.  He will also discuss the ways he integrates traditionally drawn elements (that is, watercolors and ink drawings) into mainly digital work.

R. Sikoryak is the author of Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly). He’s drawn for The Onion, The New Yorker, GQ, MAD, SpongeBob Comics, and Nickelodeon Magazine, among many other publications, as well as the TV series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  He’s done storyboards and design work for Augenblick…

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Changing your Comics Up

All-ages webcartoonist Dave Roman (husband of comics royalty Raina Telgemeier) put up a post a while ago with some real talk advice for cartoonists in a rut:

If we’re honest, often our lack of success is because we’re just not ready for prime time. Most cartoonists prefer to dive in first and learn our craft as we go. But what if other people don’t see our dreams the same way we do? How long do we tread water, believing in a dream if nothing ever seems to change? …

So, it might be time to try a new dream that better reflects our current abilities. Put aside the old ideas (even if just temporarily) and switch gears. Break out of our box. Shake it up. Switch genres or art styles. Kill your darlings. See how it feels to face the unknown of a fresh canvas. Many of us worry that we only have one big story in us. And too often, that story is a trilogy or multi-part epic. Or we’re attached to a single character so much, we believe it to be an extension of ourselves. (source)

I thought it was an interesting post, and though I haven’t been taking on any artistic projects lately, I think that initial paralysis when deciding which project to embark upon is related…  I, and many beginners, I think, worry so much about starting off with the right project, that we ultimately wind up with no project!  So hopefully this summer I’ll finally get started on something, anything!

Also, Roman‘s kid friendly and all-around adorable comic Astronaut Academy is up in full online for your reading pleasure:

Writing à la Marz

Every page must have a purpose: moving the story ahead, doling out necessary information, making a visual impact. If it doesn’t, redo the page. (link)

Ron Marz recently revealed his writing process for comics on his Shelf Life column on Comic Book Resources and it’s an interesting, practical read.  I’m only disappointed he didn’t tell me where to get my ideas…  C’mon man!  Throw us a hint, at least!

After Finals Catch Up

Hey all, sorry for my recent inactivity, I’ve been wrapping up my first semester of library science school.  I’m out of the woods now though, so back to blogging with some catching up to do!

This week’s BBC Radio 3 streaming opera is a classic, Donizetti‘s L’Elisir d’Amore from the Royal Opera House, up here through Saturday, when it’ll be replaced by Verdi‘s Un Ballo in Maschera coming from the Met Opera in New York.  You can also preview that Ballo live (again) tonight, at 7:25 here from the Met‘s own live-streaming website.

JIllian Tamaki Awago Beach Babies art

Shifting to comics, I missed this when I posted about Jillian Tamaki the other day; forget reverse, it’s full speed ahead for Tamaki as she works on a new book with her sister Mariko Tamaki, partner-in-crime for the 2008 Skim.  Also, over on her sketchblog Jillian muses on the difference between drawing and illustration and how it bears on former students who don’t make it as freelance illustrators:

Illustration is about fitting your conceptual and aesthetic style to a problem. There is a “solving” aspect to it. I find students either revel in this aspect or absolutely hate it. It can represent a brainteasing challenge or be completely oppressive, depending on your point of view. If you want to become a professional illustrator, it helps to be the former.

Also, you’ve probably already heard about the over-the-weekend sensation that is the Hawkweye Initiative, but if not, enjoy Hawkeye as you’ve never seen him before…

The God of Art Demands a Sacrifice…

If you do not fundamentally change your life to create space to create, you will never do it. I mean, having the fantasy of wanting to be a creative can be a wonderful succor, but that’s a world away from throwing big chunks of your social life on a pyre in worship of this strange and demanding god.

Welp.  Kieron Gillen gets interviewed about his run on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men (I’ve loved what I’ve read) and throws in some tidbits about writing, breaking into the biz, and even fan-fiction among the usual questions about story elements and characters (which I enjoyed as well).

Making time for art has been tough now that I’m a student again, but it was pretty “tough” even before that; I’m pretty lousy at time management.  Maybe Gillen‘s harsh-but-true words will be the wake-up call I need… maybe… after this next paper…

Expect another post about Gillen in the near future, I’m a convert…