Sunday, May 30, 2010

Original Art Sundays #43: Poppies for Mother

Seeing as how it's Memorial Day, and I was unable to get up North to put flowers on Mother's grave (I'm sure my sister and brother tended to it), I thought I would honor her memory and military service by doing one of her favorite things.
For some reason, poppies have become assocaited with veterans.
So when the poppies in the garden came out today, I decided to take a batch of nature shots, the way Mother always would.
I then went into Photoshop with the best of them and tried to emulate her painting technique in some small ways and still have it look like a photo.
I'm reasonably pleased with the results.

Thanks for your service, Mother. And thanks for the joy and wisdom you bought into my life.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 42b: A Private Myth, p. 12

I glanced at some past pages right after I scanned this, and I can't believe I've strayed so far off-model lately!
I will be more careful of such things in future pages, and will go back and correct before going to dead-tree format.
That's a misnomer, by the way. Very little paper actually comes from trees. Low cellulose compared to other plant fibers.

Ah, the big reveal.
It's that poignant moment when you're stripped bare in front of someone you care about and your deepest secret, the thing about you that makes you most vulnerable, is suddenly in that person's charge.
Wendy Pini called it a "soul name" in Elfquest.
Careful- the link will howl and rattle at you!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 42a: Photoshop painting

The page, the page.
The next page of A Private Myth is on the board. It's all penciled and everything. But no scanner access till Tuesday.
So my choices for the blog:
Post a mediocre photo of the pencils (not enough range to get good lines), or wait for a proper scan.
While pondering my choices, I played with Photoshop a bit.
I started looking at some family snapshots from a get-together we had a few months ago.
Next thing I knew, I was reworking a very bad image, trying to see what I could do with it.
Here's the original image.

Believe it or not, there is some information there!
Fixing this image, using some adjustments and filters, and some hand recoloring, I came up with this.

Amazing what's really there!
I added a texture to compensate for the graininess of reintroduced color. Blurs will only take you so far!
The colors are a bit muted, but if it went to print, it would print at about 135% of this color, which would be about right.
By Friday, the next page.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eddie hits town

In 2008, I was in San Diego to present a paper at ComicCon.
While walking through the Top Shelf booth (more like a small store inside a big one, very impressive booth), this tall gent with a shock of white hair starts talking to me in the most delightful accent- British, but yet not.
After a couple minutes, it dawns on me- holy sh*t,  I'm talking to Eddie Campbell.
Needless to say, I picked up a couple books- his then-new one, Monsieur Leotard, and the new hardback reissue of From Hell.

Delightful gent. Such a fun, unexpected chat. Well, that's Comic Con for you!
Flash forward to the start of this semester. During the Liberal Arts meeting, my chair asked if there were any other suggestions for next year's guest artist/speaker. Without thinking, I said, "Oh, Eddie Campbell!" This was met with puzzled looks from everyone except Frenchy Lunning, who went nuts over the idea.
Well, after a vote and some wrangling, we got him.
Eddie Campbell is coming to the Minneapolis College of Art & Design next spring.
I count this as personal coup and hope to be able to introduce him when he gives his mandated lecture.
Rather than footage of Eddie speaking (he's quite engaging), here's an odd little film he made.

Shawn Phillips

Shawn Phillips

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, May 17, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 41a: Uptown Girl

Grades are done, and technically it's not Sunday any more, but here we go anyway.
No scanner access until later this week, so I am posting an image I did for a friend ages ago. Seeing him with his wife and daughter at Minneapolis Spring Con reminded me of this piece I did for Bob Lipski's Uptown Girl web page.
If you've not read Uptown Girl, it's fun and thought-provoking, simple and clean without being dumbed down.
Bob is hard at work on an Uptown Girl graphic novel. I am eager for the final product!

New page again later this week!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Farewell to a classic

It was announced today that, after 82 years, Little Orphan Annie (now just called Annie) will cease on June 12, 2010.
While I was never a huge fan of the strip, I did and do recognize its quality and social significance. And I'm so glad IDW is doing the reprint series.

While the musical was a slight misstep for the lauded director John Huston, it was still enjoyable, mostly for the Shirley Temple-esque Aileen Quinn in the title role and the great fun had by Tim Curry, Albert Finney and the irrepressible Bernadette Peters.
I read the strip as it came out in the 60s, but only the Sundays. My grandma picked up the Sunday Minneapolis Star or Duluth News Tribune (which had better, but different, strips) largely so I could read my funnies.
I read it again briefly in the '00s when Andy Pepoy was doing the art. Enjoyed that run immensely, the little I saw of it.
Finally, this drawing is freely lifted from Craig Yoe's great Super I.T.C.H. blog, linked to elsewhere on this page.

Good work, Annie. You added the phrase "Leaping Lizards!" and the term "Gloriosky" to the national dialogue, and showed young girls that they could triumph over just about anything and stay happy if they really wanted to.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Original Art Sundays #40b: A Private Myth, p. 11

Now that I've taught my last session of Comic Book History for the semester (sob!) and have had time to scan, I can post the next page.

I like the layout and the first and third tiers, but the facial structure on the middle tier is off-model.
Also, I have a hard time drawing anger. Guess I'm too relaxed. Maybe I should draw the next page after I grade some papers!
Actually, most of the papers I've gotten this semester are quite good.
Next week: what the photo means.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Let us be Frank....

Offering thoughts in memory of Frazetta.
While I admire his paintings (sure, they're kinda macho, but there's a place for that too, I think), I remember his comic work more fondly.
All the funny animal stuff he did early on, the apprenticeship with Al Capp, a handful of potboiler noir stories, Shining Knight,and THUNDA!
Too cool.

In his memory, here's a YouTube collage assembled a few years ago. It says more than I could.

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Thanks, Frank. We all learned so much from you.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The ayes have it: Bone stays in schools! And thoughts on craft, again.

This is old news by now, but I just realized that I never followed up on the reports of Jeff Smith's classic BONE being threatened with expulsion from a public school library.
Wisdom prevailed. Bone is in.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund intervention proved unnecessary, but I'm still glad i renewed my membership.
Follow this link to Jeff Smith's commentary on the issue.

Here's some video of Jeff inking on his follow-up book, The Power of Shazam!
In this book, Jeff uses the Captain Marvel story as a vehicle to revisit some similar themes in a very different way.

Watching Jeff ink, I wonder about my own process. I know this is manipulated for the camera, but even so, the control of someone who Has It Down is both inspiring and intimidating.
Of course, Jeff has done close to 2000 pages, and that's just the stuff that's in print- Bone, Shazam!, RASL, and assorted pinups.
I'm not sure what my page count is. Let's tally what's been in print:
Gay Comics: 2 pages
Ink Tantrums #1: 24 pages plus covers
Tranny Towers: 35 strips plus about a dozen editorial strips for trans political magazines
Speedy Ricuverri #1: 24 pages plus covers
The Street Giveth: 12 pages of art and covers
published online: The Surrealist Cowgirls #1 (14 pages) and The World in Love (24 pages).
short stories: The Road to Heroism, Lassie Come Home, Musically Midwifing Death: roughly 30 pages
in progress: another Surrealist Cowgirls story (4 pages in), TranScending (14 pages done), A Private Myth (11 pages done), Mother Was a Lovely Beast (2 pages done).
That's roughly 210 pages.
Reed Waller told me once that it takes about 400 pages for an artist to become comfortable enough to be adept at craft. I think I'm about halfway there. With all my fits and starts at this stuff, I don't think Jeff Smith will be staying up nights sweating about competition from me.
But bit by bit, I am honing my craft.
And I'm glad kids can go to school and read BONE!

Original Art Sundays # 40a: The Street Giveth, cover, p. 3

The good news: the next page of A Private Myth is completed.
The bad news: I will not post it till tomorrow or Tuesday, as my students need my attention tonight. They're taking online exams, writing papers and wrapping up discussion boards in my Comic Book History class.
To tide you over for a couple days, here are some earlier pages of The Street Giveth, The Street Taketh Away. I'm offering the cover and p. 3.

My energy was way up for these, along with my confidence. The script for the second half of the book needs minor revisions, and the art for some of the early pages needs tightening, but overall I'm quite happy with this work.
New page of A Private Myth in a couple days!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Original Art Sundays # 39: The Street Giveth, p. 7

Interrupted once again by excessive work load. New page is laid out and ready for pencils, but I'm thinking a lot about notions or repetition as narrative devices after watching the documentary on Jeff Smith's Bone last night.
At any rate, here's a page from another uncompleted work. This one, The Street Giveth and The Street Taketh Away, is a meditation on urban life and fear.
Addendum: after talking to a reader who didn't get the page out of context, I need to supply the information that this is based on the true story of 11- year old Tyesha Edwards. She was shot and killed by gang fire in a drive-by shooting outside her house. She was sitting inside the house at the time.

This work, based on a minor incident in my life seen in relation to this large incident in the life of the community, exists as 2/3 art and 1/3 script, and was printed in a small run in that format. It's on my "must finish this" pile.
Next week, as my Comics History class comes to a close and my other job finds its place in my life, more of A Private Myth.