• PIX: No change of location

    Courtesy of PIX:


    Just making sure to keep you posted!

    As an aside, my application for the Center for Cartoon Studies is in. Let’s see where things go from here. I’ll keep you posted.


  • New Comic: The birth of Birdman


  • Important PIX Has Moved!

    The Pittsburgh Indy Comics expo has moved locations. The Expo will now be happening in the heart of the cultural hustle and bustle of Pittsburgh that will be happening on the weekend of the 8th of October.

    So what will be happening?

    Small Press Fair: http://www.spfpittsburgh.com/

    Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo (PIX) :http://homepage.mac.com/bem/PIX/index.html

    Pittsburgh Record Convention : http://www.cratekings.com/pgh-record-convention-pittsburgh/

    VIA Music Festival: http://via-pgh.com/

    The amazing thing is that they’re all within walking distance of each other.

    If there isn’t anything on the above list that doesn’t interest you and you live in Pittsburgh, then I wish I were as high brow an intellectual as you! If only I knew what quarterly periodicals you read!

    Amazing people are doing amazing things for you, Pittsburgh. Put on your sunday best and greet this brave new world of culture.To Recap:

    PIX: The Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo WHEN:  Saturday, October 8 & Sunday, October 9, 2011 from 10:00am to 5:00pm, both days WHERE: The 5,000 square foot ground floor & loading bay of the Guardian Storage facility at 5873 Centre Ave. in East Liberty – right across the street from Whole Foods. WHAT: Independently produced, creator owned, self published, small press and handmade comics from Pittsburgh and around the world


    If you can’t contain yourself and need some stuff to gobble up to distract you from the interminable wait, check out :


  • Some playful movement


  • Balance: Online Version

    As it stands, I’m working on finding a clean way to print this  story on two sides of a sheet of paper that is at least 30 inches long. Lena’s likely going to help me tomorrow. I’ll keep you posted on any developments.

    Here’s the online version followed by a second attempt at printing. I had to rubber cement this one. Unfortunately, the color printers I found only went up to A4 and not tabloid printing…Check it out, if ya like.


  • Balance: some sexy watercolors


    Here’s a video of  a non-standard comic that I’ve been working on and off on since the end of August. It is non-standard in the sense that it’s wordless and that there are no panels, but it has a planned sequence of reading.

    This is the first attempt at printing, so it is a bit wonky. I need to align properly. Additionally, I need to find a printer that is not running out of ink…

    In terms of the process. The first step was to draw the figures, then to make sheets of watercolor washes which would be used for the silhouettes. The silhouttes were created by cutting along the edges traced drawings. From there I worked through one iteration. The computer was  only used in scanning and color correcting so as to mimic the physical artifacts. As it stands my room is lined with these couples. It’s quite nice.

    In terms of a plan for this comic, when I started. The kernel of inspiration that drives this work was a Japanese bedside book from the late 19th century. A small, portable and privat form of erotica. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted. I started off with an attempt at creating a kamasutra of sorts but there wasn’t enough cohesion in the images.

    In Balance I attempt to play with color, something that if you’ve read this blog and seen my work over the past year, I hesitate to do. It’s too hard to reproduce! Here, I approached the task with knowledge that it was going to be reproduced and made the appropriate design considerations to assure that it would be reproduced well.

    As it stands, I’m fairly satisfied with the direction that the little minicomic is going. I hope to find a good printing solution that reproduces the intended colors well enough.


  • New comic coming: A celebration of Birdman

    In the works is a new comic done at a scale unprecedented for me. There will be a total of 12 frames, 2 huge, 2 skinny horizontal strips and 8 standard rectangles.

    Devoid of any words, it is a vignette of my creative process and the birth of a new character, Birdman. This has been an exercise in exploring contour line drawing from life. I’ll have some images up for you soon. I just wanted to announce the coming images.

    On another note, the CCS sneaking changed the requirements for their application comic. Not too much changed, I’ve got all of he bases covered excluding a non English speaking character. Time to work that in there somehow…


  • Eleanor Davis: Spectacular Watercolor Storytelling

    Yesterday, while reading the last issue of MOME I came across a story, and therefore an artist that has really struck me. Here are some previews of her work. The cleanliness of her watercolors is breathtaking.

    Eleanor Davis Eleanor DavisIf you’d like to see more of her work, head on over to http://doing-fine.com/. I bet she’d greatly appreciate the traffic.


  • Mumblings about Comics

    I’d like to think that I’m as full of gripes about cartooning as Crumb, Spiegelman and Brunetti, but I’m miles away from being the self deprecating curmudgeon that seems to be the norm in the world of cartoonists.

    Interestingly, the cartoonists I’ve met are quite different. Here in the United States, cartoonists get ecstatic when they meet someone that treats doodled images and words as seriously as they do.  The unabashed excitement that spills onto booths and tables at conferences like APE and SPX can attest to this.  Me? Well I’m a little reserved, and would rather just show someone my work than hype it up. But of course, some cartoonists are like that.

    Today, with self-publishing as serious and respected means of existence as any other for cartoonists, the world of comics has changed significantly. Artists are finally telling the stories that they’ve been meaning to tell for so long. And why not? It’s taken long enough. I’m part of that world and I’ve been trying to figure out what that means. More specifically, with my own comics and my study of the work of others, I’ve been trying to pin down what it is that cartoonists do. What is their craft? What is it about them that makes their storytelling unique. I may not have much, but for the moment being this is what I’ve got.

    Cartooning is a no nonsense medium, either the story clicks with the reader or it doesn’t. I think that this has to do with the inherent transparency that exists in comics. As a storytelling medium, authorial honesty comes to the forefront. It’s easy to separate the brilliant work from the bullshit and it’s hard as hell to fake.

    If you’re a hack, there’s no way to hide it. The absurd amount of time that it takes to translate and communicate personal visions into images and words makes easy to tell when a cartoonist is truly committed to the story he’s telling.

    This is particularly true when it comes to independent comics. Why bother spending days to plan, pencil, ink, touch up, paginate and print a single work that gets read in minutes if one is not truly committed to the work? If there’s no heart in there’s no work.

    Craig Thompson’s Blankets wasn’t a hit by accident. Thompson had his own personal story to tell and he spent the necessary years to tell it right. Upon the urging of Chris Staros, he painstakingly rewrote sections as needed. It was refined and polished while still containing that rawness of human spirit.  It’s that sense of commitment to ideas that is intrinsic to comics, or at least finished comics.

    Something that intrigues me everyday is the process of reading comics. Cartoonists play a baffling game that transforms the reader’s mind into a zoetrope of associations. All at once the reader is presented with a barrage of images, but rather than seeing a Dadaist slurry of words and images, there is order. There is meaning. Miraculously, the cartoonist creates a story.

    Cartooning, and comics especially, feel like a challenge where the objective is to build a story, one image at a time with the help of a reader that the cartoonist has never met and most likely will never meet.

    Together they are responsible for the generation of some kind of meaning and through a slow iterative process, like in speech, the artist and reader develop communicative conventions. To be more specific, the two co-create an amalgam of rules and expectations that morph into what can be thought of as visual grammars.

    Cartoonists straddle a strange barrier between verbal and visual communication that is not too often talked about. Cartoonists like Chris Ware, Calpurnio and Jon McNaught highlight this often unnoticed barrier by

    [caption id=”attachment_251” align=”alignleft” width=”300” caption=”www.jonmcnaught.co.uk”]Jon McNaught[/caption]

    forcing images to be read and text to be looked at. Distilled down to the iconographic, their work highlights the constant interplay of the two and captures how we as humans distill and process our lives using visual and verbal language.

    But hey, all of that is boatload of poetic theoretical nonsense, and you don’t normally see that kind of drivel coming out of the mouths of most straight laced cartoonists. Well, you do see it coming from Frank Santoro, but he’s an exception. Most cartoonists just crank out the work they’ve got to crank out and move on. They’ve got bigger fish to fry, right?


  • PIX: Coming to a Pittsburgh Near You

    I'll be there. Will you?I’ll be there as a vendor. Be sure to check out my wares. The venue, the Guardian Storage Facility is the most breath taking location for a Comics Expo you could ask for. Bring a friend or two because it’s going to be even more grand than last year.  I’ll keep you all posted on guests and things along those lines.