Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I am a dash and you are a dot

Some Stumptown silliness:

I left Molly alone for a while and instructed her to pretend to be me and draw in my sketchbook. When she asked what she should draw, I said a portrait of me. :P The Russian woman's pants were to illustrate a story Molly was telling about a woman at work whose butt does incomprehensible things shape-wise. And then of course we have my appreciation for these things.

A man complimented me on my cute style. I retorted that I was a gritty realist, sir, and set about drawing gritty-real-Batman to prove it. Later, someone said "Sailor Jesus" and I had to draw it. I used the empty space in the top right, but Molly pointed out that this made it look like Sailor Jesus was Batman's 'good angel'. We came up with Tinkerbell-Voldemort for the evil side. And then put Batman on a therapist's couch because he is clearly troubled.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stumptown Comic Fest 2011 Wrap-Up

(I'll update this post with photos when more are available online. Check back!)

Con sketch of Wonder Woman

Another Stumptown Comics Fest has come and gone. This was my third time tabling (I already turned in my registration for next year!), and there's a reason I keep coming back. It was a big year for me. I'd say the overriding theme was 'trying new things'...

DDLL: West. Photo by Erika Moen

Drink & Draw like a Lady West
Cat Farris, Elisabeth Forsythe, and I co-organized DDLLW this year. I went last year and had a wonderful time, and when Cat and I heard that no one had time to organize the west coast event this year, we nervously volunteered to try and keep it alive. I had never organized anything bigger than a birthday party before, and I was very afraid of failure. However, I really want to be a contributor to comics culture and foster an environment that's friendly to newcomers, and DDLL seemed like the perfect opportunity to try.
People were really supportive. We got info and advice from the people who organized and attended the event last year. Cory at Oni Press gave us 2 hours of his time (even in the pre-ECCC scramble!) to teach us how to plan a comic event, and Oni sponsored a good chunk of our costs. Ron Chan connected Cat and me with Elisabeth after hearing that she wanted to start a female-focused comic event, and she was a godsend! She secured the Hollywood TFAW for us as well as a food budget, and she used her event planning and cooking savvy to make everything easier and the party worlds better. If Cat and Elisabeth are in to organize the event again next year, I will certainly throw my hat in again. That's some great professional company.

Here is a comic to teach you how to make the chocolate haystack cookies I brought to DDLL and the convention!

Comic Art Battle
Although it would have been an honor to be asked, I was really relieved to not be in the Comic Art Battle Saturday night at the Jupiter after-party. I was asked last year, but drawing (mostly dicks) competitively in front of a crowd is really not my thing and I declined the offer. Joëlle Jones, Emi Lenox, Cat, and Ron were all in it this year, though, and I was excited to watch.
Well, a few people didn't make it to the battle, and they needed a replacement at the last second. All of my girl 'friends' called me out from the crowd to come up and do it!! I felt my heart hit the floor, but I went up. Joelle was kind enough to share her wine, which I threw back to try and counter my shaking knees. Maybe it was better to have it sprung upon me; I would have spent the whole day dreading it, but this way I was blissfully ignorant until 5 minutes before it started.
I got very drunk very quickly, drew some hippos and vikings and dead unicorns, and then it was over. The girls' team won 504-0 over the boys. :P So yeah, one of my worst nightmares vanquished! And it was fun!!

Autobio Comics: How Much is TMI? Panel
I was on a panel Sunday called Autobio Comics: How Much is TMI? with Emi, Erika Moen, Jeffrey Brown, and Katie Shanahan. I found out about this by checking the Stumptown schedule; several of the panelists were never contacted about doing the panel, haha. Katie didn't make it, and I suspect that it was not her fault but the con's. Erika was a great impromptu moderator. We spent the hour chatting about our influences, plans for our autobio comics, and the ethics of autobiography.
This was another case of trying new things; I hadn't been on a panel in over 6 years, and was nervous to try again. It was great! I hope to do more in the future. :)

Convention Highlights:
  • Molly not only coming to support me, but staying for almost the entire convention and helping out behind my table. She's one of my best friends and the most entertaining people I know. I loved seeing her connect with my comic friends and some comic editors (which I openly hope she decides to choose as a career. In Portland. For my comics. She's one of three people I showed my first finished script of The Second Witch of Wilheim to for feedback).
  • Geeking out about Fringe with Mindy from Tiny Heroes. On Sunday, she brought me a mixtape of songs she thought would be on the Peter from Boston mix-CD from Northwest Passage!!!!!!!! (I'm listening to it while I write this and it's aaaaawesoooooome)
  • Angela Melick gave me a copy of We are the Engineers with a sketch of me inside!! Squee! Also, just hanging out with her over the weekend. She's one of the good ones.
  • Joelle gave me back my Miyazaki sketchbook with a kick-ass drawing of the Radish Spirit from Spirited Away!!! Ha! It looks awesome but it's also hilarious and not at all what I expected xD
  • Nate Simpson gave me a signed copy of Nonplayer #1 with a sweet note! :) This comic is insanely good; pre-order a copy of the second print run now!
  • Swinging by Jen Wang and Vera Brosgol's table and picking up Koko Be Good, What Were You Raised by Wolves?, and a couple of Emily Carroll buttons
  • Meeting Corey Lewis and getting his signature on my copy of Sharknife
  • Meeting Sarah Glidden and getting to tell her how much I like her work
  • Meeting Maré Odomo and getting to tell him how hard I laughed at Letters to an Abssent Father. Also, he gave me a copy of the mini so now I can have a hard copy forever and make people read it when they visit! XD He also gave me March Fourth, which Molly and I read immediately and spent the next 10 minutes giggling about.
  • Bardot Charming swung by to say 'hi' and delivered THE CUTEST LETTER from Jessica, explaining how she lost her Tom button and needed another one.
  • The saga of Michael, AKA Tally embarrasses herself twice in the same day with the same person
What I learned this year:
  • Having a friend to help at your booth is infinitely helpful
  • I am ready to upgrade to more table space at Stumptown and ECCC next year
  • "Free postcard?" with one outstretched to passers-by is extremely effective (thanks, Erika!)
  • Ron Swanson is by FAR the best thing on my table for roping people in xD
  • Never wear anything you can't store business cards in
  • Stand up if traffic is slow! It helps.
  • Forget heels. Just forget them.
  • It's time to invest in a nice display/tablecloth/banner with my name on it
  • Take the time to pack nice con lunches before Friday night. It's the first thing I axe when time is short, but con food is expensive and gross.
  • I need to replace my lost camera! :( No con photos for me except those that friends were kind enough to e-mail to me.
  • For prints, I think I'll package them all in plastic sleeves and put them in a holder on the table next year so that people can leaf through them. This would solve the problems of people wanting to see their real size and print quality, knowing how many are left, and would save me the time it takes to package them on demand.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wandering over the hills unseen

I drew some fan art for Watership Down this week. It's my absolute favorite book. **spoilers ahead**

I watched the 1978 animated film when I was little (my mom wasn't ignorant of the content--I was just persistent in asking to be allowed to see it). In 5th grade, I was surprised to see a book by the same title on the shelf of our neighborhood library. It was so fun rediscovering the story; some scenes were familiar but I was still surprised by each twist in the journey. I bought the book and read it every summer until my paperback copy fell apart. Even when it was in 3 pieces and the pages fell off one by one when you turned them, I kept it. I can't find it now, though...I must have finally given it up when I moved out of my parents' house last fall. I need to find a good hardback copy...
In 7th grade, I was reading Watership Down on the sidelines of soccer practice during one of my frequent sprained ankle recoveries. A friend's mom came up and commented on the book. We started talking about the movie, and in my teenage eagerness to distance myself from anything emotional, I made a joke about how terrible the musical sequence in the middle was. My friend's mom mused, "That's my favorite part, actually," and explained why. I was suddenly ashamed, wishing I had the confidence to admit that it was mine, too. She passed away a few years ago. I didn't know her well, but this is something I will always remember.

So this fan art is for that scene from the movie, where Fiver's vision leads him to Hazel. It's so beautiful--the feverish imagery and the Art Garfunkel song and the symphonic suite in the middle of it. I love poor Fiver, set upon by his gift/curse, thought to be mad by just about everyone, and how he saves the lot of them time and again. I especially love the sun/moon bleeding into the field (and the music that accompanies it), and how this is a metaphor for where Fiver finds Hazel, bleeding out in a storm drain--something that hit me while rewatching the movie this week.

Fiver's ears should probably be down to tag him, but I liked the composition much better with them up.

She loved that man who died here yesterday

Sketch dump!

The man in black from LOST. I love this actor's face.

I loved Tangled and the character Rapunzel, but her design kind of terrifies me in some shots. It's like, her eyes are so big I feel claustrophobic when there's a close-up.

I really want to do a pin-up along these lines of Buffy with the BAMF axe. The truth is, Jo Chen already nailed it (below), but it's too fun to not attempt myself.


Random OCs.

I like this silhouette for spring--blouse tucked into floofy skirt.

We'll be playing and having fun

Tonight: Drink and Draw like a Lady West!

Elisabeth, Cat, and I spent last night baking, frosting, slicing, etc. in preparation. It's going to be awesome; hope you can make it! Remember to bring business cards and/or minis if you come!

Saturday and Sunday: Stumptown Comics Fest!

Come to booth B-22 to see Emi Lenox and me!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Love hides in a smokey light

"Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don't feel like doing them."

I struggled with a huge art-block last week and the week before. There were several days I went to Periscope for 8 hours and didn't go home with a single usable drawing. I tried all of my usual tricks to inspire myself: exercise, reading, trying a new medium, watching a Ghibli movie...but to no avail. As much as I love that Dr. J quote, and believe it applies most of the time, once in a while you have to forgive yourself for not being able to do it. :-/

I appear to be out of my funk now, but with a heavy load of catch-up work to do. Yesterday went well. I guess I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm pretty optimistic. The excitement of Stumptown should keep the creative quadrants of my brain fueled for a while.

Have some silly comics from the last week:

(Inked by family friend Cole, an 8 year-old aspiring comic artist!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stumptown Con Sketches

The Stumptown Comics Fest is next weekend!! :D

I recently closed commissions due to time restraints, but you can still get a con sketch from me at Stumptown next weekend. I will be doing black and white drawings on 9"x12" bristol. (The Kiki drawing above is one that I did at Emerald City last month).

To guarantee a spot (I will only take 5 requests), pre-order your con sketch now! That way, I have all week to reference and draw your con sketch, and it's ready to pick up as early as the beginning of the convention. You can also sign-up for a con sketch at the show, but once I have 5 requests, that's it. I don't know how quickly they will go, but I recommend that you come by early on Saturday if you don't pre-order.

To pre-order, e-mail me and tell me:
a) Your name
b) What character you want me to draw (can be anyone, even real people or original characters if you send me reference, but only 1 character please)
c) Any notes about what pose/outfit/setting/mood/etc. you would like
d) Whether or not you would like grayscale Copic marker shading on your drawing

The price is $40 and you can pay when you pick up your drawing. :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fighting in the darkness for the light

I drew this comic for Bradley Angle, a domestic violence shelter here in Portland, to use for their spring appeal. I love the idea they came up with for people to honor their female mentors by sending in pieces of her wisdom for the shelter inhabitants to read. Bradley Angle approached me to see if I could put their message into a comic instead of the normal text letter that they use. Very cool! This is the organization that Wonder Woman Day benefits as well; they are down with Portland's comics community <3

If you would like to receive this comic in the mail with information on how you can 'honor her', e-mail and ask to sign up for their newsletter. Check out Bradley Angle here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Then I see our friends and everybody's so excited!

The Stumptown Comics Fest just posted its convention schedule!

Friday your only option is to PARTY, so do that. :P Cat Farris, Elisabeth Forsythe, and I are hosting Drink and Draw like a Lady: West at Things From Another World (Hollywood location). I am very excited for DDLL. This is the first time I have helped organize a big event! (Check out that fly poster by Emi Lenox!)

I've never been able to attend panels while tabling before, but I'm going to try to make it to Jacq Cohen's 'Publicizing your Comic' panel on Saturday at 3.

The Stumptown after party has been at Cosmic Monkey for the last 3 years, and that's always been great, but I am excited to see what the move to the Jupiter Hotel will bring. Like the move of the convention itself to a bigger venue, change can be good.

On Sunday, I am speaking on the Autobio Comics: How Much is TMI? panel at noon. (Trivia time: the only panel I've ever spoken on was an 'Upstart Artists' panel at Kumoricon at age 17!)

If you are from out of town, I highly recommend that you go on the SCF 2011 Art Gallery Guided Tours! I think it sounds so nice to be driven around and shown the comic highlights of Portland in just 2 hours! So easy! Is there any other convention that has something like that? My Periscope comic will be up at PCPA this month with lots of art by other Periscopers, so check that out if you can. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Who am I to disagree?

Here's the mp3 file for the interview with 89.9 FM Portland, All Classical about Comic Artist Night at the Opera. Patrick posted on my Facebook page last night that it may have been cut from the program. I was not around a radio yesterday so I can neither confirm nor deny that it aired.