Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your girl isn't here

Today's warm-up drawing comes from a photo posted on that I really liked:

I love that site. I can't tell whether I find more things to wear or draw on it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 recap

Okay, here goes, because I will not be able to focus on anything until I have this all down and out of my head. See last year's recap posts in the July archive.

This year, I tagged along with Emi and followed her SDCC traditions. We went for half of the con: Friday afternoon through Sunday morning. We stayed with Cat, Ron, and a few of Emi's friends in a sweet condo about 10 blocks from the convention center.

We got into town around noon on Friday, went to the condo, and regrouped for the convention. I picked up my pro badge painlessly, and was very grateful for how well that worked this year. Emi and I bee-lined for Josh Cooley's table to buy the International Cuties cards, then wandered around, taking in the convention.

I wanted to go to a Pixar panel at 4:30, but wandered up to the room at 3:15 because my feet hurt and I figured I might as well get there a little early--maybe even watch the panel before it. Um, good thing I did; that was everyone else's plan! I was in one of the last rows for the Pixar panel, even having gone to the one before it! Jeez! The panel was GREAT. It was all about the Pixar story process, storyboarding, and the meaning of the phrase 'Trust the process'. It was right up my alley. So cool.

I got a couple of tickets to the Scott Pilgrim screening on Friday night, and took Emi's friend Nina to see it. Omigod, so amazing. The Balboa theater was beautiful, it was packed with psychotic fans, Edgar Wright, Bryan Lee O'Malley, and many of the cast members came onstage to greet the crowd, and the movie itself was SO GOOD! as;dlkfj;, so good. Even Nina, who has never read Scott Pilgrim, was laughing and cheering along with everyone, and said that she really liked it. She bought all 6 books the next day! Ha! I had a beef with the last 20 minutes, but I forgive it because the rest of the movie was just amazing, and I will always have the comics to get the ending right by me. I am buying the movie soundtrack as soon as possible. And I'm totally going again for the midnight premier.

After the screening, I rushed home to clean up for the night. Emi and I put on heels and took a pedicab downtown to the Keating Hotel for Oni Press's party. We saw a lot of friends there, got to meet some new people, and just had a blasty-blast in general. There was a photo booth set up where you could take pictures holding rock band props. Also fun: I gave Nathan Fillion a triple take, but resolved not to bother him. :P

I woke up on Saturday with a heinous hangover. I think it was a combination of eating a terribly small dinner, not drinking enough water, and, of course, drinking too much alcohol. It took a couple of hours to shake, but I got to the convention by 10:00 nevertheless. I went on a shopping spree, hitting up Top Shelf, First Second, and Slave Labor Graphics. First Second had copies of Brain Camp and Koko Be Good out for media personnel, but not for purchase. TORTURE.

I felt really lucky to get a portfolio review with Erik Larsen in the afternoon. He was thorough and honest and gave me a lot of feedback and things to work on. Regular critiques are necessary for improvement; it's easy to get complacent or dismiss your errors as a part of your style. A lot of the things he pointed out were invisible to me before--I knew something was off, but couldn't identify just what it was. Now I know, and it's so nice to have a concrete list of things to work on!

I went to lunch with Nico and talked about collaborating on something for next year. Fingers crossed!

Next, I met up with Angie and Emi and met James Jean and Hellen Jo. The five of us left the convention center for a mental recharge at this bizarre lounge across the street with free ice cream and soda. Hellen talked to me about conventions like APE that I plan to attend for the first time next year. I'm a fan of her work, and it was great to see how cool she is in person. Emi and I stopped by Michael Daley's booth a little later, and he was another artist whose work I admired and whom I was happy to meet for the first time. There's something about liking the artist in person that makes their artwork even better, you know?

Saturday night was spent at the Hilton bar. I actually went home pretty early; I felt physically exhausted and I volunteered to run a key to a friend who was locked out of the condo. I got to talk to Ron Randall and his daughter Lisa, meet Jarrett Williams of Super Pro K.O. and Patric Reynolds from Serenity: Float Out, and then it was game over for me.

On Sunday, Ron took me by Dark Horse and introduced me to Chris Warner, which was awesome. For living in the same city as Dark Horse, I know relatively few people there! After that, I finally got all the way over to Artists Alley, and really enjoyed walking through the aisles there. I love seeing artists in person after following them online; it's very interesting to me.

Emi and I left town around 2:00 and I got to read some of the comics I bought over the weekend. I LOVED Foiled, and Shadoweyes topped that with MEGALOVE. Ross Campbell's art is outstanding, and I loved the dialogue-driven discussions of identity in terms of gender, sexuality, disability, and even species. Can I say 'love' one more time? LOVE.

I bought James Kochalka's Dragon Puncher and the first issue of Cleopatra in Spaaace, which were both great. Next up are Moving Pictures and Ax.

Now I'm home with a long list of goals for August, things to work on in my art, and projects to get the hell going on. I have to be a little antisocial and frugal for a while, I think. It's time to work!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

She burns like the sun

Fan art for Josh Cooley and Bill Presing's International Cuties card pack. (Apparently there is already a Viking girl...! Research fail! But I ask you: does she have burning people?? NO!)

If you're at Comic-Con, go buy yourself a pack at booth #4800! :D

A brand new bag of gold

Warm-up drawing from today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She took me by surprise

EDIT: Now with Terry Blas's coloring chops!!!!

HA HA HA HA. Remember when I drew Scott at 250 lb.?

Thanks for the fun, kids! <3

I've been waiting for you

I went to the Scott Pilgrim 6 midnight release last night at Floating World Comics. Seeing the series wrap up makes me think about the impact that it had on me.

Aside from Watchmen, which a friend made me read, Scott Pilgrim 1 was the first feature-length American comic that I read. I walked into Floating World at age 19 thinking, "There have got to be American comics that I would like...there just have to be...!" Manga was less and less satisfying ; I just felt saturated with shojo and shonen titles, like I could see exactly where stories were going from the first chapter. I still wanted to read comics, but I didn't know how to shake things up.
I wasn't connected to the Portland comic scene yet, I didn't know what was up or down in American comics, and I kept being disappointed when I tried to branch out with American titles. I was really frustrated, but I had read a good review of Floating World and decided to try once more. I was especially interested in the description of the shop as atypical, and having something for everyone.
I walked around the shop in a slow loop, and then went up to owner Jason Levian and just told him, "I want to read American comics, but I have no idea what is good." He asked me what I liked and didn't like, and after listening, he handed me Scott Pilgrim volume 1. He said I should just try reading it in the shop and see if I liked it (Jason has always been super nice about me reading in the store--something I really appreciate after being pressured out of other shops for it). I read about 10 pages before whipping out my debit card.

Scott Pilgrim is a really strong comic with great characters. It's hilarious, action-packed, and unpredictable. Besides all of that, it is also a gateway drug to American comics for manga readers. I don't think I would have acclimated to American comics without the year or two period where I explored indie titles, starting with Scott Pilgrim.
Somehow, just staying in grayscale with clean line art made the transition easier. Even down to the pacing of each page; manga reads about 4 times faster than American comics, which makes it really, really difficult for manga readers to be patient enough to read American comics, at least in my and several of my friends' experiences. Scott Pilgrim reads quickly, though, like manga; dialogue is light, captions are few and far between, splash pages abound, and that little difference made it SO much easier for me to get into. I don't think I am alone in using Scott Pilgrim as my gateway drug, either; there were only a few people that I recognized at the release last night, and it was packed. I really believe that the series brings in a lot of new readers, both from manga and from not reading comics at all. Hopefully they will all keep exploring and reading comics.

So now, of course, I love American comics, and I have a great expanse of titles to choose from. American comics have affected my art style and introduced me to American artists, writers, and publishers that I like. I don't think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that finding Floating World, getting up the nerve to ask for help, and Jason connecting me with Scott Pilgrim lead me here. It felt so appropriate to buy the final volume at Floating World last night. Full circle ftw.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tell me would it make you happy baby

Brenda Hickey's Ava
Originally uploaded by tallychyck
Dude, my friends. They are really the best. Check out these awesome pieces of Over the Surface fan art from Brenda Hickey and Terry Blas!!

Terry Blas's Ava
Originally uploaded by tallychyck

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I dragged you back a sleepyhead

Ugh, I hate that eerie silence that falls over the web know, when nothing is updating and no one is online? To me, it means that either everyone is at something really fun, or everyone is working. Whichever it is, I feel guilty thinking that I should probably be doing the same!

Defeatist thoughts sneak into my brain as Comic-Con approaches. It's such a great opportunity, and so expensive, that you really want to make the most of it. As an artist, that means having your portfolio, business cards, minis, pitches, and/or homepage primed and ready. I have anxiety about my brand and my artwork during this period of inspection and last-minute work. I feel like I am looking at everything through warped glass and I can't trust my own judgment.

Friday, July 9, 2010

You think that you should rule the world; I think books are a thrill!

Over the Surface 1 minicomics and the 1+2 bundle are back in stock! :D

This print run of chapter 1 features 4 pieces of beautiful fan art in place of the bonus art in the last print run. Previews! <3

Nicolas Hitori de

Emi Lenox

Angie Wang

Joƫlle Jones

I can't stop thinking about you

Hey guys!

Sorry if you've already read this in 3 places, but Between Gears is up for a Smack Jeeves Award! See the nominees here, and vote here. The other nominees are really fun; check them out!

I'm working pretty much exclusively on Between Gears these days, and getting ready for Comic-Con (just 2 weeks away!!!).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How can people not know what beauty this is? I've taken it for granted my whole life

One of my graduation presents was to take a 6-day road trip to San Francisco with my mom, ending in Sunriver where we would join my brothers and Dad for the 4th of July. Here's my recap, with lots of pictures and travel comics! :D

Day 1: We departed from Portland early on the morning of Sunday, June 27, drove down I-5 and then through the northern half of the Redwoods, and ended the day at Trinidad in northern California.

We stopped to look at the trees and also to take a hike to Fern Canyon, which is basically this creek with 50 foot canyon walls on both sides, and those sheer cliff faces are covered in pretty, leafy ferns!

If you ever happen to stay in Trinidad, the Trinidad Bay Bed and Breakfast is an A+ in my and my mom's books.

We got a delicious dinner at a restaurant called...Moonshine?...and took a walk on the beach to walk off its effects.

Day 2: We woke up at the crack of dawn to get to the beach in time for a -1 low tide. It was really hard to get out of that bed, oh man...but the tide pools were worth it. I've always loved poking through them, catching crabs and little fish and things.

Mom is ridiculously active and healthy, and she insisted upon a hike once or twice every day of the trip. We took a pretty one over a hill right on the Trinidad coast to see an old lighthouse. At the farthest point on the loop, we could hear the seals barking right below us. So cool!

(This could be anywhere with that fog-white background, but this is at the highest point of the hike!)

We left the B&B right after cleaning up around noon. We drove through the Avenue of Giants, which I TOTALLY recommend if you've never been. It's all very cheesy, American road trip stuff, but it's a cliche stop for a reason. Those trees are...well, huge. And the high canopy creates this soft, muffled quiet in the forest. It's really breath-taking! I loved it!

We got into San Francisco around 7, and since we weren't coming from I-5, we got to enter the city via the Golden Gate Bridge! Literally the only thing on my list of things I really wanted to do in SF was seeing the GGB, since I've been to the city twice and only seen it from a great distance once. We walked around the blocks near Union Square and drank wine and ate chocolates in our room.

(This happens all the time and I am used to it, but the poor guy felt really bad for making that mistake!)

Day 3: We shopped all morning, had lunch at a Bistro on Maiden Lane that Mom remembered eating at when she visited the city at my age. Cool! They even had the same portobello mushroom sandwich that she remembered getting :P We saw Chinatown, a church, a park, and ate dinner near the bay at Bin 3...38? Yummy, but pretty pretentious. This is the only photo that I took on day 3:

(This kind of sums up the evening. I've never had more than a couple of light drinks with my mom, and have to say it was really, really fun to get tipsy and talk until we collapsed from exhaustion.)

Day 4: We went to a couple of stores in the morning to make purchases we'd been thinking on, and then we packed up and checked out of our hotel. We drove to Height and Ashbury and Castro on our way out of the city and walked around a bit. Then it was on to Ashland, and a full evening of driving. Shasta was GORGEOUS, and the mountain pass that was so treacherous to Emi, Angie, and me in April was kind this time around.
We got into Ashland pretty late. There was a problem with the hotel room, and we ended up in a crazy-nice suite with a bathroom the size of the rooms I'm used to staying in. We had a jacuzzi tub and we each spent a good half hour in it. SO nice after that long drive.

Day 5: We had to move rooms in our Ashland hotel, and I bid a sad farewell to the jacuzzi tub. Mom and I saw Pride & Prejudice performed at the main Ashland theater (fantastic), walked around town, had Greek food for lunch and Japanese food for dinner. We also walked the Lithium Park trails until nightfall. What a wonderful park!

Day 6: We took it easy in the morning and left Ashland around 11. We drove up to Grant's Pass to get my brother, Nick, from his summer job on the Rogue River and take him with us to Sunriver for the weekend.
We took a route that allowed us to stop at Crater Lake, which my mom felt horrible for never taking her kids to before, haha. It was beautiful! This whole trip was just a series of beautiful landscapes across Oregon and northern California. Beautiful, beautiful places abound.

(Freezing. 39 degrees.)

(I asked Nick if his hat stood for Walgreens. Nope.)

In Sunriver, Neil and I got some rare time to hang out. It's hard when we're in Portland...he is very social, and I can't get him away from his friends, his phone, or the x-box for more than 5 minutes at a time. I mean, he's 15, so I don't expect great communication...but I want to know my brothers! It was great to bike around Sunriver, search for frogs, do yard work, and whatever else with him.