Woooo! Things have been busy. They still are, so I’ll just get right to it!
I was tagged in a blog tour recently by the amazing Beth Hetland and tasked with doing a post for the “My Writing Process blog tour”, answering 4 questions. Beth had been tagged by the talented Cara Bean before that. Here we go!
1) What am I working on?
Oh man… Ok…
– Victus # 3: This is the newest issue of my sci-fi, metaphysical, religious, relationship comic. It’s almost all pencilled!
– Speculative Relationships: The sci-fi romance comics anthology featuring some of my good pals that we are trying to get funded on Kickstarter (see more on this below). I am doing 2 stories for this, which I just finished yesterday! Oh and I’m co-editor with Scott Kroll.
– Upgrade Soul: I’m inking this amazing sci-fi iPad comic for Ezra Clayton Daniels. It’s a blast!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’d like to think that my work is different in that it’s not tied to the conventions of any one genre. With Victus, I’m attempting to create my own genre, which takes influence from theology, psychology, and philosophy, but also reflects aspects of sci-fi, action, and romance. I also try to bring in experimental elements which will hopefully expand the restrictions of any genre I work within. I hope that makes sense?
3) Why do I write what I do?
When I start any new project, it is usually because I need a vehicle to explore thoughts, ideas, and feelings I’m having. I usually say that I make comics so that I can understand something better. With my comic Gary, I wanted to gain more insight into how and why a serial killer exists and how that relates to my own experience and place in society. With Victus, I want to explore communication and connections to a larger universal nature. I rarely start writing something with an answer in mind. I write because I have questions.
4) How does your writing process work?
I can’t write scripts. I just can’t do it. I feel that if you’re making comics, you really shouldn’t start with just words or just pictures. So I find the process of writing a script counter-intuitive and out of place when making comics. Generally, I start a comic with random notes and drawings. These will be in sketchbooks, on my phone, on meeting agendas at work, etc. After I have a pretty large log of these ideas, I try to organize them in a google spreadsheet (words/ideas) and folders (drawings). I also start a project specific sketchbook at this point, where I will put all future content related to said project. Then I start zero-ing in on key scenes/images/dialogue and organizing them into some kind of order.
Once I have a vague big-picture of the project, I’ll start the first issue/book. I put together 8.5×11 sheets of paper folded in half and staple them, making a little blank book. Then I start thumb-nailing. As I thumb-nail, I write any words that I have figured out and plug in images from the sketchbook. Once I have maybe… 80% of the book thumb-nailed/written, I’ll start in on the “big”/”final” drawings. I guess what I’m trying to point out here is that I’ll start drawing the final comic with pretty significant gaps in the ‘story’. Since I think of my process as a meditation on an idea, I like to leave room for certain questions to be answered as I work and bring about new content. So I may not have certain lines of dialogue written until I’ve already drawn most of the first issue. I think this helps in cutting down on unnecessary dialogue or images, and figuring out what’s actually important. My writing process really doesn’t stop until I’ve filled in that final word balloon or inked that last line.
SPECULATIVE RELATIONSHIPS KICKSTARTER UPDATE
We have about two weeks left in the Kickstarter campaign for Speculative Relationships! In promotion of the project, we’ve been doing artist interviews and podcast spots. Here’s some o’that:
Scott Kroll Interview
Isabella Rotman Interview
And we’ll have interviews with me, Daniel Warren Johnson, and Mike Manomivibul up next week!
Scott and I were both featured on a couple podcasts too:
We are a little over 60% now, so we still need your help to get this thing funded. Check it OUT!
THINGS FROM MY DRAWING TABLE:
– that’s all for now!
Back again for a quick post.
Here are a few more looks at my bookshelf (or ‘shelfie’ I guess it’s called?)
Some of my proudest acquisitions on these shelves would have to be 2 of Katsuhiro Otomo’s short story collections (SOS and Memories), Visions of Arzach, Moebius’ 40 Days Dans Le Desert, In the Studio, the Hellshock collection, Stranger in a Strange Land… ugh.. honestly I love all this stuff!
What’s on YOUR shelf?
So it’s official, I’ve announced the anthology I’ve been putting together with Scott Kroll. It’s is a science fiction romance comics anthology called Speculative Relationships (get it?). We are really excited about it! Here is the cover image:
by the amazing Mike Manomivibul.
It will feature new stories by:
and of course ME.
We are planning to gain funds for printing via Kickstarter! So please keep up with the project on tumblr and twitter:
I’m sure I’ll bug ya’ll about it more as the Kickstarter approaches!
Work work work all the time
So here is what I’ve been up to…
You know I can’t get enough Prophet/Yilala. What I wouldn’t give to just get ONE PAGE in that Prophet: Strikefile book.
Work has been excessively sucky lately. So I put my feet up and watched the Thundercats intro. It helped. A little.
The Raid 2 is one of the best things ever on the planet. Do anything you can to go see it NOW. I’ve been twice so far and count on at least one viewing in the theatre.
Thanks for playing along at home! Is anyone keeping score?
Hey ladies and gents!
Some announcements and the like:
First up, I am stoked to be performing next Saturday in the world-famous Brain Frame series! I’ll be debuting a brand new Simon comic titled “Piece”, which will only exist as a performance.
Saturday, January 25th
7pm (all ages) & 10pm (cash bar)
3111 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
Tickets are available HERE and I strongly recommend purchasing in advance, as Brain Frame tends to sell out. Hope to see you all there!
CONVENTIONS 2014, part 1
It’s that time again… the time when comic artists apply for conventions far and wide. It’s nerve-racking and filled with crossed fingers and budgeting. Although I haven’t heard back from all the shows applied to, I wanted to let folks know places I’m already confirmed for:
Conaway Center at Columbia College
1104 S. Wabash, Chicago, IL
Always an awesome show, made even awesome-er by the fact that it’s FREE to attend! My Chicago peeps have no excuse to miss this show.
Ramada Hotel & Conference Center
4900 Sinclair Rd, Columbus, OH
This is my first time doing SPACE and I hope some of ya’ll can make it out to Columbus, OH to say hi! I may be presenting a couple panels as well (more on that later)
South Building at McCormick Place
I’ll be tabling with rising star Daniel Warren Johnson in artist alley. This show is always crazy big big and fun.
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St, Toronto, Canada
I’ve heard amazing things about TCAF, and this is my first time exhibiting there. The show already has a who’s-who list of artists, so this could be one of the best of the year!
… That’s all for the conventions for now. Hopefully I’ll have one or two more to announce soon. It’d be great to see you all at one or two of these shows!
Stuff I’m looking at lately..
I re-read Jan’s Atomic Heart by the always interesting Simon Roy. This is finally getting a bigger release from Image as part of a collection of Roy’s short stories. Highly recommended for fan’s of sci-fi.
Also re-read Paul Pope’s Batman Year 100, as a study in portraying action and chase scenes in comics. Good stuff.
Along with Pope’s work, I’ve been spending some time with Blade of the Immortal. Samura’s action sequences are at times non-sensical, but give a visceral impression of the action that almost transcends the actual geography of the fight.
Finally got my Riddick blu-ray. Man this is just a super-fun sci-fi movie with lots of fun ideas and characters.
More to come folks!
Hey hey, the day has finally come… Victus #2 is ready for public consumption! I’m really stoked about this second issue and I hope you are too. As with last time, I have some special bonus’s so read on…
The Story Continues:
Isaac continues gathering artifacts for Absalom, while also working with Alphonse and Dom to mark the city. A local religious group worships together at a cathedral under watchful eyes. Children are frightened by a strange creature seen near Absalom’s shop. Isaac witnesses a shocking event while spying on Absalom.
More product images HERE
I also have a 5 page preview of the story HERE
All orders placed by 12/20/13 will receive a free 8.5″ x 11″ print:
As before, the first 10 pre-orders will receive pages ripped straight from my Victus sketchbooks…
So, what are you waiting for?
And while you’re over at the store, you can also order the newest Simon mini comic:
This is the second collaboration between my brother Logan and I. The initial print-run is EXTREMELY limited, so go get yours now:
Thanks for all your patience as I worked to complete the second issue of Victus. I am very proud of the work and I think you’ll find it to be worth the wait. More news to come next week!
Hello out there!
Well SPX 2013 has come and gone. I’m very glad to have finally participated in this show, after years of hearing about it.
A commission I did for a Hellboy sketchbook (I cheated and did Amazing Screw-On Head)
Original Pancake House w/Josh Shalek (nicest guy in comics)
Everyone was extremely kind in Bathesda, MD. Thanks to everyone who came by the table to say hi and bought some comics!
So… I had the chance to do a nice interview with the folks over at IndieReader.com. We talked a bit about my process, why I make comics, stuff I’m reading, etc. Take a gander:
Thanks to Steve Urena for the fantastic interview questions!
So hey. I finally broke down and did it. I got a Twitter. And a Tumblr. If you are someone who follows those things, please follow me. Be gentle though… I’m new at this.
And some links should be showing up at the bottom of this page now… I think?
MOMENT of ZEN
Thanks ya’ll for reading!
WHOA! What a whirlwind of a couple weeks! So many awesome things to cover, so here we go:
CAKE was… awesome. I had a fantastic time talking to everyone who stopped by the table and meeting the other amazing artists that were tabling. Here’s what it looked like:
My table, in all its glory.
Table buddies! (with Beth Hetland).
It was great to finally get Victus out into people’s hands. If you picked up a copy, I’d love to hear what you thought of it! There were some new and old faces, and everyone was showcasing some great comics. There are so many and I’m sure I’ll forget some, so please forgive me. I’ll start with a snapshot of the books I picked up:
Here’s what’s up there:
Upgrade Soul: Ezra Clayton Daniels (check out the paper version of this digital comic. The story is phenomenal sci-fi)
Last Mountain: Dakota MacFadzean (table pal! gorgeous inks!)
Titus and the Cyber Sun: Lale Westvind (will melt your mind)
The Reverie #2: Malachi Ward (Malachi pretty much rocks it again)
Dear Dear & Sorry Sheets: Eroyn Franklin (‘slow core’ comics with no equal)
Tiger Beat Exclusive: Gina Wynbrandt (mega funny follow up to her first love affair with Justin Beiber)
King Crow Comics (and others): Scott Kroll (new to the scene, but super funny books)
Next World Over & Equilibristics: Ian McDuffie (these book are bonkers. I love it)
Roots: Mita Mahato (beautifully hand0crafted book)
Glamera & Werewolf anthology: Penina Gal & Betsy Swardlick (table pals!)
Dumb #1: Georgia Webber (amazing book about losing her voice)
Copulate & The Excorcist: Lyra Hill (of brain frame fame!)
Library: Marnie Galloway (Marnie told me this was a true story)
Depictions #2: R. Hendricks (of Stranger to Stranger!)
Dig: Isabella Rotman (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: keep an eye on this creator!)
Hasty Pastry: Ali Cantarella (adventures in customer service)
1-800-Kravlox: Isabel Reidy (oh my oh my. silliness abound! 🙂
Fire Messenger: Penina Gal (the other side of having super powers)
Drag Bandits: Betsy Swardlick & Colleen Frakes
Whew… Lots of great stuff, as you can see! I also was able to see some other old pals: Sean Dove, Beth Hetland (table-mate!), Kyle O’Connell, Kenan Rubenstein, Emi Gennis, and many more! What cool comics did you get at the show?
The show was a success! The gallery was filled with some amazing artists and appreciators of art! Here’s a couple snap shots:
I pretend to know what I’m talking about as Marnie Galloway’s beautiful work can be seen adjacent to mine.
If you haven’t checked out the show yet, you still have some time. Head on over to Ugly Step Sister Gallery: http://www.uglystepsisterartgallery.com/
GARY: BOOK ONE on COMIXOLOGY!
Some folks have been asking, and it finally happened: Gary is available for digital download via the Comixology app! Click the link to download:
For now, only Book One is available. But Books Two and Three should be coming in the next few months. If you go download it, please take an extra moment to give it a rating, as that helps the book’s visibility on the site. And actually it’s worth mentioning, this is currently the only place you can get Gary: Book One, as I have sold out of the paper copies. The fine folks over and IGN gave the book a “B”, which ain’t bad either: IGN Comixology Reviews
So head over and check it out!
Justin and I did another episode of the Back Issues Podcast. We discuss the incredible All Star Superman, by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely. Just in time for the new Superman Movie, Man of Steel! Listen to us ramble & then subscribe:
I assure you, I’m plugging away on Victus #2. But don’t hold your breath. I’ll have some process pics soonish. In the meantime, Victus #1 is available at these fine retailers:
Graham Cracker Comics, Chicago (downtown)
Challengers Comics & Conversation, Chicago
Star Clipper, St. Louis
Thanks for reading all! And now your moment of Zen…
Chicago Alternative Comics Expo!
Saturday & Sunday
June 15th – 16th
11am – 6pm
Center on Halsted
3656 N Halsted
It’s here! This weekend! Seriously folks, this is going to be an incredible show. I’ll be right here:
I’ll be sharing a table with the always spectacular Beth Hetland. Keep your eyes peeled for other amazing artists exhibiting at CAKE: Kenan Rubenstein, MK Czerwiec, Ezra Clayton Daniels, Sean Dove, Emi Gennis, Lyra Hill, Marnie Galloway, and tons more!!!
If you miss this show, you’re pretty much a loser.
If you come by, mention that you follow the blog and I’ll give you some goodies.
Friday, June 14th (the night before CAKE!) is the opening for Modern Storytellers at Ugly Step Sister Gallery. I’ll be there and hope you can make it too. The show is filled with some amazing artists!
750 S. Union St.
Opening: Friday, June 14th, 6pm – 11pm
Ok friends, You’re almost out of time to reap the benefits of pre-ordering Victus #1. If I get your order before Sunday, June 16th, you can still get a free print of Celeste:
Thank you to everyone who has already pre-ordered! I’m humbled by your support. It went miles to helping me get the book finished and pay for the printing. The first round of orders have been shipping out this week, and I’m hoping most of you get them by Monday, June 17th at the latest.
If you’re a local Chicago person, or flying in for the show, CAKE will be the first chance for anyone anywhere to get their hands on the books. I’m very pleased with how they turned out and I can’t wait to share them with you!
I’ll leave you with these gems:
Jack Kirby. Showing his power in the earthly realm yet again.
Darrow and Moebius lighting it up with City on Fire.
I am completely in love with this Barry Windsor-Smith cover for X-men #186
Until next time, keep your ducks in a row. Well… geese.
I’m very excited to announce that the first issue of my next comic series, Victus, is now available for pre-order! Here is a description of the first issue:
In a timeless city, a young thief named Isaac struggles to connect with a beautiful girl. The bartering inhabitants are challenged by the public speeches of a great thinker, while a mysterious man constructs a machine powered by stolen religious relics.
Victus is a deus-scientia fiction comic that explores both the purity and corruption of human relationships. It features foot-chases, strange technology, exotic animals, and thought-provoking philosophy. Each book is presented as a precious object for readers to experience intimately and engage with emotionally.
Here’s what the book looks like:
My printer, Rink, has done an outstanding job on the books and I think you’ll love the final product. There are more images of the product and 6 preview pages available on my website:
As a bonus, I’m including a free 8.5×11″ print with all orders received before June 17th.
As an extra bonus, the first 10 pre-orders will receive original pages taken directly from my Victus sketchbooks. That’s right, I’ll just rip them out, sign them, and send em along with your spiffy copy of Victus.
All pre-orders will ship by June 17th. SO… What are you waiting for?!? GO…
LAYDEEZ DO COMICS
Although I am not a lady, I very much appreciate all ladies and I happen to do comics. I’ll be speaking as part of the Laydeez Do Comics series this Thursday, May 30th, at Quimby’s Comics. Please come down to hear me rant about my life as a comics artist. I guarantee that you’ll hear something new about me (for better or worse).
I’m honored to be participating in a group show called Modern Storytellers at Ugly Stepsister Gallery. The list of artists includes talented friends like Marnie Galloway, Ashley Elander, and many others. The show opens on June 14th, so more info will be coming soon. Hope you can make it!
Thanks everyone for all your support!
So, before I tell you how collaboration has saved my butt on multiple occasions, a couple announcements:
1. I’ll be speaking at the best comic book store in the country, Quimby’s, on May 30th at 7pm! I’m speaking as part of the Laydeez Do Comics series (I know I know, I’m not a lady). I’ll share the proverbial stage with Sarah Morton. These talks are always a lot of fun, so if you are in the Chicago area, I hope you can attend. I promise to share some juicy secrets! Here is the info:
2. As this post is about collaboration, I think it fitting to announce that I’ve had the privilege to collaborate on a podcast with the amazing Justin Fah of In This Issue Podcast. It’s called Back Issues. On the show we analyze older comics that we’ve always wanted to read, or always loved, or know to be essential. First we did Green Lantern: Willworld. Our lastest episode is focused on the classic X-men storyline ‘Days of Future Past’. You should subscribe to the show In This Issue Podcast on itunes or listen directly on their website:
Now, on to the meat!
So… I always wish I could do everything myself. That’s cuz I’m dumb. One of the areas I struggle with the most is graphic design. It’s an area that folks that who self-publish often under-utilize or ignore. It’s unfortunate, because I think it keeps their (my) work out of a large number of consumers hands. We live in a world saturated by design. As Steve Jobs said, ‘design matters’. Very true. No matter how much your comic rocks, if you can’t put it in a package that communicates that the work is professional, you’ll have a hard time selling it.
Since I struggle so much in this area, I often lean on my friends for help. In particular, I know this dude named Gerald Proctor. Gerald is a college buddy that has quite a talent for graphic design and all things digital art related. I got to know him through many a long night of Halo death matches in the dorms (yes I’m a nerd). The first time we collaborated was in college on a poster for my comic Simon. I gave no specific direction, so Gerald brought his own style to the piece:
It was really exciting for me to see someone take a concept like Simon, that up to that point only I had done, and explore it in their medium. Years later, Gerald helped design the cover for my Simon 10 year collection:
I’m fairly sure this cover has helped in me selling out of the first printing of the Simon Collection. Now, to the untrained eye, this cover might not look too complicated. Which, honestly, is the beauty of it. It just works and you see it as another piece of fitting design. The same way you see a book on the stands of any bookshop and just ‘get it’ at first glance. Now, without Gerald’s help, the cover would have turned out much different. To give you an idea of how bad this cover would have been if I had created it solo, here are some of my cover designs before Gerald joined the project:
Pretty bad, right? That’s because DESIGN IS HARD. Gerald used texture and subtle color to accentuate the feeling the black and white line art had. This was much more effective than just simply coloring the cover in a traditional style. Not only that, but this design adds to the feeling that this book is a collection of work over time. You get a sense of history when seeing the cover, which is exactly what a collection of 10 years of comics should feel like.
Gerald also helped give cohesion to my Gary series:
When looking at the series as a whole, it becomes even more obvious how consistent and direct design helps in catching the eye of potential buyers. Gerald also created the interior layouts for the Gary series. Picking font families, alignment, and page placement is not as intuitive as it might seem to the layperson. It requires a keen eye for detail, and a knowledge of the language of graphic design.
Collaboration is not always easy. Gerald and I tend to disagree about almost everything when working on a project. But I’m a firm believer in “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The disagreements lead to discussion and honest critiquing of what’s working or not working within the piece. Hopefully, after the dust settles, you have a great piece of design in your hands.
Gerald continues to be a monster of a digital artist. I highly recommend you check out his gallery of work on Society 6:
I particularly like “If I walk to you”.
I plan to do another post about collaboration soon, delving into some other working relationships. I’ve had the chance to work with some amazingly talented people. Most recently, my brother Logan and I collaborated on a new Simon comic. It went so well, we are already working on another. And of course, John Wright and I are still working on our epic cage fighting comic NUMB:
I’ll leave you with a sneak peek at 6 pages of Victus #1:
I’m am extremely happy to say that Gary: Book Three is now available for purchase via tyrellcannon.com:
This is the final book in the Gary series! I have been working with a new printer called Rink, and they did a fantastic job on this book. I couldn’t be happier with the result and I hope you all enjoy Book Three as well!
I had an awesome time at Comikaze this weekend! My fellow exhibitors were kind and the show felt very welcoming. My table was HUGE, and I had a hard time filling it up with product. But I tried:
I take comics VERY seriously
Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table and said hi or purchased a book! The only celebrity spotting for me this trip was Badger from (thebestshowonTV) Breaking Bad. He did not try to sell me meth.
I also hit some of my favorite LA food spots and try some new ones:
clockwise: Al pastor burrito- La Estrella; Animal fries- In N Out; Chicharones & Burger- Father’s Office
I will continue to post my process in creating Gary in the coming months, so please keep checking in. I will also have more information about my next (2) projects soon!