Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Goodbye, Blogger!

After 5 happy years on Blogger, I am closing this blog. Thank you for the good times here!

In the future, you can find me at my website, on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter

Friday, May 10, 2013

Only then you'll see the world all brand new

I haven't been posting here too much.  It's a combination of having lots of work (a good thing), and the weather being great in Portland.  You have to go outside when that happens; it could change back at any minute!

I drew at a little cafe downtown yesterday.  Ice coffee, filtered sunlight...heaven!

So what have I been up to?  Lots!

There was the Stumptown Comics Fest, which was GREAT this year.  Fest director Kaebel Hashitani knows what he's doing and his team was on it.  The guests were phenomenal.  I spent about as much time away from my table as at it--there was so much I wanted to see!

Brett Warnock gave me this copy of Jess Fink's new book.  I LOVED it.  Whatever materials she's using (pencils and a wash?) really work.  It's so pretty and warm.

I have a gallery show this month at Sequential Art Gallery, and I did a First Thursday event for the opening of that.  I was on Geek in the City with Merrick Monroe to promote it.

^(That has to be the happiest face of mine anyone has ever caught on camera. I love it.)
On May 6 I had a signing at Powell's for Husbands!!!  I got to meet Brad Bell, Jane Espenson, and Tania del Rio.  We did a panel and Q&A with my studio mates Ron Chan and Ben Dewey as well.  It was cool having so much of the creative team in one place.  The crowd was great and we filled that Pearl Room space!  
It felt full-circle for me because I found out about Periscope Studio at a Powell's author reading in the exact same place where Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker were speakers.  I was a 19-year-old, making comics but badly wanting some IRL comics friends.  Finding out about the studio changed everything for me.

I'm working away on It Girl issue #12.  Mike Norton, Chynna Clugston, and I each get 8 pages--I think it's a really nice device for bringing the whole creative team together in the finale issue.  I got my comp copies for #10 yesterday and I am SO happy with them.  The issue drops May 15; be sure to pick it up!

I've been running for exercise.  I'm finally finding the nice pockets for that in my neighborhood.

And I'm still a klutz.  At least I have an outlet.

 Lastly, I'll leave you with some new doodles.  Until next time!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bridgetown Comedy Fest

WOW, Bridgetown Comedy Festival was great!  I went to several shows with my brother Nick and a few friends, and was lucky enough to meet Ben Acker, Janet Varney, Oscar Nunez, Peter Serafinowicz, Todd Glass, Jermaine Fowler, Myq Kaplan, Sam Varela, and Brandie Posey.

The Picture This! show on Saturday night was a highlight for me; Wook Jin Clark and I were two of seven artists who drew live for comedians as they performed stand-up (curious how that works?  Check out this clip).  It's a fun format and we got to meet some great artists, including Griffith Kimmins and Samantha Gray of Titmouse Animation Studio, and Portland artist Shane Hosea. I believe the show was recorded, and I'll definitely link it when it goes live.

Here was my weekend in Instagram photos:


Art tips and resources

I got a request from my friend Jaylee last week asking if I had any tips or resources for improving one's drawing skills.  I get this question a lot, so I wanted to make one big blog post with my ideas.  I'll add to this over time as I come across valuable resources, so check back.
  1. First off, there's a lot of great stuff that gets posted to Tumblr.  Art-help is a good aggregate for tutorials on a variety of art topics.  Ktshy and Kalidraws both post and reblog lots of relevent art advice and are worth following.
  2. This photo shoot of Olympic Athlete body diversity by Howard Schatz and Beverly Ornstein is one of the best pieces of reference and inspiration I have ever seen.  I love it as a reminder that "strong" bodies come in all shapes and sizes, not just your male and female superhero molds.
  3. If you want to improve your human anatomy, Michael Hampton's Figure Drawing: Design and Invention is the best book I have EVER seen for that.  He color codes muscle groups and breaks down complex body shapes into simple ones.  It's very helpful.
  4. Though it may feel like pulling teeth, drawing from life is really the best thing you can do to improve.  It's painful because it forces you to confront things that you are not good at yet, but that's the best way to improve!  Sit in a cafe or on a park bench with a small sketchbook and draw people who walk by, the scenery, etc.  Go to figure drawing sessions in your city if possible.  If you're too embarrassed to draw in public at first, start by picking up a clothing catalog and drawing the people and settings inside.
  5. I owe a lot to the series of books How to Draw Anime and Game Characters (vol 1, 2, 3), as well as the How to Draw Manga books (there are TONS, but here's an example). 
  6. Post your work somewhere you can get feedback.  I recommend setting up a Deviant Art account and a Tumblr, and letting people know that you are open to critiques.  If you have access to arts educators or professionals, ask them to look at your portfolio every few months and listen to what they have to say.
Update: I'm removing this text from my website, but wanted to keep it available on the blog:
How can I “break into” comics?
That is a huge topic, and it depends a lot on which artistic task/s you want to do (writing, penciling, everything, etc.) and in which sector of comics you hope to work (monthly superhero titles, creator-owned graphic novels, monetarily successful webcomics, etc.). You can find a lot of good advice with some basic searching around the internet. With the accessibility of webcomics and blogs, it’s pretty easy to get your work out there.
My advice to anyone who looks at my art and wants to create similar work for a living is this:
1. Draw every day, no matter what. Professionals make it happen even when they don’t feel like it or they’re busy.
2. Set goals. If you are doing a webcomic, set an update schedule that challenges you but is accomplishable. This could be anything–five updates per week or one update per month. The important part is to MEET YOUR GOALS. If you cannot stick to your own deadlines, it’s unlikely you will be able to stick to professional deadlines.
3. While you are trying to break in, my strong advice is to NOT put your effort into long comics, but to make 16-40 page comics that tell complete stories. That way, an editor can look at a comic you’ve done, read it in 10 minutes, and see how you tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The best part about this is that while you are in a stage of your development where you are improving rapidly, you can continually shed your skin. You can leave your last story behind and start fresh with your new skills more frequently than if you are shackled to a 400-page saga.
4. Practice other forms of art, especially figure drawing. A classical art education and an understanding of light, form, and composition will help your comics immensely. Even if you are uninterested in drawing realistically, trust me: you want to know how to. Good cartooning is built on top of a good understanding of realism.
5. If your only influences are comic books, you run the risk of developing a derivative style (read: not original, not special). Bring other influences to your work and try to cultivate a way of storytelling unlike anyone else. Watch movies, read books, paint, go to concerts and plays, learn languages, play sports, practice hobbies, travel, meet lots of people, and keep your mind open to new ways of telling stories.
6. Post your work to the internet. This could start as a free DeviantArt gallery, Tumblr, blog, or anything. Eventually, though, when someone does an internet search for your name, the top result should be one easy place where they can find samples of your work, your availability for work, and your contact information.
7. Seek out informed critiques for your work. Go to conventions and approach editors and artists (they will usually advertise if they are doing portfolio reviews and have a specific time and place for them. Please don’t ambush people with your portfolio). If you are in school, explain to a teacher what you hope to do with your art and ask for his or her honest feedback on your portfolio. Thank anyone who takes the time to review your work. Do not argue with them or make excuses. Write down what they say, take it home, read it several times, really inspect your work, and look for ways that you can improve. Repeat.
8. Do what you love. If you truly love making comics, chances are good that you’ll “break in” sooner or later. Even if you don’t make a living at it, you’ll be doing what you love and that is extremely rewarding.

If you're a good girl tonight

I saw Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters last night with Molly and Wook Jin!  It was AMAZING-AWFUL.  It was this perfect mix of absurd and self-aware and just....just going for it.  Just owning the awful.  Anyway, here are some reaction comics!  SPOILERS!  (And man...there were SO many more jokes than this.  Funny stuff from Wook Jin and Molly that I didn't include.  I just could not fit them all in.)
 And then they did.
 Just, in general, such gratuitous violence in this movie.  Sometimes it was funny, usually it was gross.
The movie was actually really, really fun.  At a $3 theater with two friends who can appreciate a good bad movie, it was a perfectly wonderful time.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

You fear that you can't do it all and you're right

Do you guys know that I'm on Vine?  I've really been enjoying that app and the 6-second-film form.  James Urbaniak's are some of the best things the internet has to offer right now.

I have been working really hard the past several weeks, and I've gotten big into The Blow. (Should I rephrase that?  Oh well.) It's great finding music that keeps me pinned to my desk when I need to be.  Just a couple more days and I should be able to take it a little easier...! @_@

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's your name no one's gonna ask you

I've been doing a lot of life drawing around town lately. I love it!!  Truth is so much stranger than fiction; I would never think to invent the characters I see on the street.  It's a great reminder about variety/diversity in everything from proportions to how people walk and stand to their mannerisms to clothing and hair styles.  Here's a big ol' post of the drawings I've done in the last month:

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My life is over oh my god this spider is so cool

Starkid released their newest play, A Very Potter Senior Year, on Friday.  It is the third and final installment in their series of Harry Potter musical plays (see also: A Very Potter Musical, A Very Potter Sequel). I watched it and had to stop it several times because I was laughing so hard.  I knew I needed to draw some quick fan art for my favorite jokes.  So this happened:
Moaning Myrtle might have been my favorite part of the entire play.  In her second appearance, when she made Joe Walker break character, I lost it laughing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Emerald City ComiCon 2013 wrap-up post

I'm back from Emerald City ComiCon in Seattle!  It was another great year.  Attendance was over 60,000 and the exhibition area was twice as large as last year.
(Check out the gorgeous photos of exhibitors Anna Goellner took at ECCC.)

The highlights of the weekend, for me, were probably the chances I had to meet face-to-face with people I've only known online.  I got to speak with Claire Hummel, Victoria Ying, Brittney Lee, and Joe LeFavi!  It shouldn't come as any surprise that they were lovely, charming people.  I now own 3 beeeeautiful art books from Claire, Victoria, and Brittney.

I invested a lot in prints this year, and it was a relief that they sold really well!  Commission sales were also great, and Between Gears continues to sell.  The coloring book sales were underwhelming, to the point that I gave them away to kids who showed interest in them, but maybe they'll be better for a show like Stumptown.  I need to thank Image Comics, especially Ron Richards, for taking time away from their extremely popular table to deliver more copies of Between Gears to me!

I took it pretty easy at night this year, going to dinner and drinks with friends from school more than hunting editors, and I found that to be extremely pleasant.  Big shows like ECCC attract people from all over the country, and I got to catch up with people I don't get many opportunities to.  It's exciting hearing what everyone is up to!  And they were really encouraging, giving me confidence in myself and getting me excited to undertake several project ideas I've been kicking around. :) Cons in general get me fired up and inspired--I felt like ECCC pulled me out of a bit of a slump and gave me a clear view of what I need to do.

Speaking of upcoming projects, many people asked what I have in the pipeline, so maybe I should list that out clearly for anyone who is wondering (there are a few more than this that haven't been announced, so stay tuned!):
  • It Girl & The Atomics issues 10, 11, and 12, coming out this May, June, and July
  • A Boy & A Girl coming out this year from Oni Press
  • A short story in the Thrilling Adventure Hour graphic novel, coming out this summer
  • A gallery show at Sequential Art Studio + Gallery in Portland during the month of May
I could hardly believe it, but I actually spent time each night in my hotel room working on commissions!  I always try to, but it rarely happens.  I felt that all of my commissions turned out well this year, and working on them in the evening meant I was able to go out at night without that responsibility hovering over me.  I will definitely try to replicate that in the future.

I was reminded more than once this weekend of Amy Poehler's speech to the Harvard 2011 graduating class.  I love the message about collaboration; it is so true.  I table alone at shows, but I receive tangible help from many people to get there.  From Colin carrying a 20 lb box of Between Gears for me, to Terry directing people to my table, to Ron scooting his stuff over 4 inches to accommodate my new wire arch set-up, to George and Hunter's pep talks, to Lucy and Chris's help folding minicomics and flatting pages for me, to Vitamin C tablets from Rich, to the offers from people to get me coffee and food when I was slammed at my table, I am just the face of a 40-person operation, and I know I couldn't do it alone.  I am grateful and a little embarrassed by how much help I receive.  I want to stay aware of that and make sure that I'm offering the same thoughtfulness, patience, and help to the people around me.

When it comes to a rising tide mentality and people shaping comics for the better, I really can't miss the opportunity to mention George Rohac, Yuko Ota, Ananth Panagariya, and the rest of Benign Kingdom.  Do yourself a favor and get acquainted if you aren't already!

Hope to see you at next year's show!  ...Except I might be in France.  I guess going to next year's ECCC is one of the consolation prizes if I don't get accepted to the TAPIF program. :P