Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Solocom NYC

It's been a while since I have posted anything. As much as I want to do art all day, I still have to write, edit, and sketch a lot before the illustrations make it to the light of day.

So here is some new work!

So a weekend and a half ago, I went to Solocom, the first comedy festival here in NYC featuring all these comedic performers performing solo acts for the first time ever! A lot of firsts. Along with these firsts are a number of illustrations that I am doing for Solocom. Which are a lot of fun to do and I hope that they are fun. They're here on Facebook, and also on Tumblr, which is pretty neat.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Artie and Merlo comic!

I have been meaning to blog about this for about a month, and I am happy that I am finally getting to this. I have made a complete new comic story with Artie and Merlo on my website! It is an eight page story with a story all unto itself.

This is the first complete story in comics that I have done for some time. Probably for a year and a half or two years. Why has this gap been so long? I think a couple contributing factors led to it. One is always being distracted by real life (work, family, job search, etc.). But second and more importantly, I have been going through a work crisis for the past year and a half or so.

Back in 2012, I've been consistently pursuing children's books as much as I am now, but also still doing comics. Then in June at the NJSCBWI conference, after much hard work, my agent Scott Treimel discovered me and loved my artwork enough to represent me. I thought at this point, everything was going to go up from here! Publish that children's book, start my freelance career, then work on my comics more. Great times around!

BUT (and that's a big but), there was something consistently lacking in both my comics and artwork which has been gnawing at my creativity before Scott came along. That was my writing. I didn't know how to write. I didn't know how to do dynamic characters, didn't know how to do plot, create tension, etc. I didn't have a clue.

So when I started working with my agent, this was the first thing he brought up immediately in my picture book with Larry Bear and Mary. There's no story. My writing at best was suited for comic strips (which makes sense since I've pursued that venue too and love them). But beyond writing a three panel story, I was hopelessly lost.  Hence, no published work yet.

This inability to write has caused my artwork to suffer a lot. Ultimately, I want to tell stories in picture form. So it's a big hindrance if I don't know how to tell a story. Sure, I could make it look great, but I don't know how to make it compelling and work.

So for a good year and a half, when I sat down to write a comic story, I would start like I always did and start drawing a story right away, one page at a time. I've known other comic book artists to do this, and it seems to work for them. However, after about 3 pages or 8 pages of doing artwork and beginning a story, I recognized immediately the shortcomings in my story, in my characters, and I became immediately frustrated and abandoned the comics. All I had to show for my nice looking artwork which took a couple weeks or a month was an incomplete story which will never see the light of day.

But THANK GOODNESS for the support from my picture book writing group, my agent, my family, and my girlfriend. They put up with my writing and were able to point out mistakes and keep telling me that it's not working. After a year of this consistent failing in my writing, at some point, I began in earnest to figure out how stories work (this was not an overnight decision, but a slow realization). What makes characters work. What is the structure of the story. How to get from point A to point B to point C. I think what has become most important in writing stories is how much time, dedication, and woodwork needs to go into the story before anyone sees the final product.

So back to Artie and Merlo. I think that is why I am really proud that I accomplished this short 8 page story from scratch and was able to see it through all the way. To me, the story is simple and Artie and Merlo could be better defined, but this comic story is definitely a starting point in my writing for them. I now have a sense of who Artie and Merlo are now. I can write for them, and stories are now springing up in my head. I also now have the capability to craft and write a story with a sound structure. Most importantly, I know how to edit myself now to a degree that I can cut all the parts that don't work, trim the fat, and make the story as strong as possible.

Now I am working on a second version of a story called Gator Scare! I admit too that both the first and second drafts have been much stronger conceptually in its writing, and I am really proud to see how smooth the writing process is and how much less frustrated I am. It gets me excited to come up with stories again.

SOOOOOOO, that was my long story on my short eight page comic. It doesn't seem like a lot, but like an iceberg, there was a good 90% that people will not see when reading the comic. I am proud where I have started my comics again, and I am excited where it will go.

Plus I hope that it's fun to read!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

So. . .

So I've been dormant this past month with my blog posts (But LOOK! THERE ARE NEW ILLUSTRATIONS on my main website!)

So I've kept myself busy on picture book manuscripts and comics. So here's some random stuff that I've made for fun. So the first one is a recurring theme in my head about a giant being stuck in a NYC apartment. So that feels like me. So I also love the shapes that I made with gouache. So I think it's a great contrast with the fluid line drawing. 

So I also did this awesome Khal Drogo for a friend. So he was pretty awesome. So he looks like this is his head shot for an audition for another show. So that show would be called Dothraki Dynasty and it'd be on History Channel because the History Channel is all testosterone and no history. So the khal would probably be a good fit.

So that's it. My apologies for saying "so" so many times. It was probably annoying. So what!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coloring in Photoshop

As much as I've been averse to coloring on the computer, I cannot deny some pluses with coloring on the computer.

Above are two renditions of the same drawing using photoshop. The one awesome thing about photoshop is changing the color of the ink drawing itself. For example, that RAWR! was inked in black ink. Once it goes into photoshop though, I could change it to a different color to push it back in the composition. It's a very neat thing I like with photoshop (example of that in the Patrick McDonnell example)(countless artists do this).

As I've mentioned before, I hate photoshop colors. The colors that are preset in photoshop are so cold and computer-y. But after some online research and tinkering, I made the colors that closest represent what you would see painted or on a printed page. I think these pictures are much warmer than what I've made with color on the computer before.

And details! And changing color! And editing! It's all possible on the computer.

But the downsides? I'm still much faster laying down paints on the image than on the computer. Even WITH a tablet. Second, I still love the luminosity of watercolors which is very hard to reproduce (at least with my work).

Overall though, the ability to use the computer to enhance my illustrative work is key for me to grow.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Song for Monkeys

While I was practicing my watercolor, I came up with this song on the spot. It makes no sense, but I think that's how it should be.

Monday, July 8, 2013


This is basically me mimicking Lemony Snicket's The Dark cover, illustrated by the amazing Jon Klassen. Though I haven't shown anything here for a month, I've been trying to incorporate more gouache in my work the past month. Reason being? Those bold flat colors they give! I feel like it's helping expand my vocabulary for mediums and techniques to help create better imagery.

Oh and there's a clown.

Friday, May 31, 2013

The rest of May work

There's one illustration in here which I don't like, but I really find the idea funny. See, one cat stuck in a tree is cliche. Many cats stuck in a tree is funny. Many hungry cats stuck in a tree with one bird. Well, the possibilities.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Month of May

I haven't put up any new work the entire month of May. Part of it was hating scanning. Part of it was working on writing as well. Part of it was working on artwork that didn't meet my stamp of approval. Here are the good ones I like. Hooray!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Artie and Merlo

The past two months, I've been drawing Artie and Merlo in some comics again. I haven't shown any online yet because I'm not confident enough to present any stories (one thing I need to work on!).

Additionally, I've been toying inking my comics first on bristol board, then printing the blacks onto a piece of watercolor paper. Printing onto watercolor paper does two good things. One is being able to fix any mistakes in the ink work before it goes to watercolor. Second is to make the blacks as uniform as possible, therefore easier to photoshop. The downside to scanning my inks first is that the drawing goes through two rounds of scanning, and therefore detail can be lost. My printer does a good job of not missing much detail when printing onto the watercolor paper, but the printed piece can look slightly off. Maybe it's be the entire drawing is in pure black than in the dark gray that normally happens to the ink.

Anyhows, enjoy!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Giraffes, Horses, Bears, Guys with Beards

I haven't been posting everyday like I've been trying to do. I have been busy sketching, doodling, and trying new things. Ultimately, I want to be able to draw consistently no matter when tools I use. And what makes a drawing loose compared to a tighter one is something I'm striving for. There's one page in which I drew with a bamboo pen. That forced me to be loose as the blunt instrument acts unexpectedly and I can't do any detail. Among bamboo pens, I used flexible pen nibs, stiff crow quill pens, and brushes. Last at the bottom is my favorite drawing. But that's the comic artist in me, and I love Calvin and Hobbes.