Fifteen Years Ago

Fifteen Years Ago

Today’s a big day for me. No, not the voting thing. Though, yeah, that’s important.

But fifteen years ago today, I left my job at the Markell Company, an ad agency that had been home for years, and jumped into the world of full freelance. I’d never really wanted that, but in January of 2001, a switch in my brain flipped and I realized that it was time to go.

It’s been a weird, wonderful ride. I’ve done a ton of work, travelled more than I ever thought I would, met a lot of great people, made some wonderful friends and every day I get to get up and do the thing that I know is the reason I am on this earth.

I’ve done things I never thought I would. As of today, I’ve written two animated TV shows (Ultimate Spider-Man and none-of-your-buisness yet), three short films (with Jon Monson-Foon) and I created three comic series: Love and Capes, Long Distanceand Raider (as well as a 24-Hour Comic Day book, Haunted). I did caricatures for a national commercial. I work on the My Little Pony comic (and a new issue comes out this month!). And that’s just what I’ve done so far. I’ve got another new series coming out next year and hopefully much more.

I proudly call myself a cartoonist.

It hasn’t all been smooth. There have been a few rocky times to be sure. But that’s okay, it’s a wave. Good times, bad times, you prepare for them and keep going. Nothing’s knocked me down for the count yet and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure nothing ever does.

I wouldn’t do anything else. I don’t know that I could.

To everyone who’s come along with me on this ride, thank you! Here’s to another fifteen years, and beyond!

 

My One-Act Play

So, almost a year ago, I entered a one-act play competition at the Fine Arts Association here in town. (Spoiler: I didn’t win.) It had to be a ten-page script, set in one location that you could do on a tight budget. With those things in mind, and probably some others, I went up to Panera, my preferred writing spot, and knocked out a play. Over lunch.

Is it the greatest thing in the world? I’m sure it’s not. But looking back, it’s still fun. I really want to write something Sorkin-esque, and this certainly does pay some homages there. I love sparkling dialogue. Since it won’t be produced, I think it’s about time it gets out to the world at large. So, if you want to read it, download it here.

And while it didn’t win, the script and my story of writing it as I ate a Turkey Cranberry Flatbread did lead to my association with Brian Ward and Team Slushpile for the 48-Hour Film Competitions. So I definitely won something out of it!

My SDCC Schedule

My SDCC schedule:
 
THURSDAY
3:00-4:00 MY LITTLE PONY SIGNING
IDW Booth
 
FRIDAY
MODERN ROMANCE COMICS
2:00-3:00 Room 32AB
Once a staple of the Golden Age, romance comics have faded into the background in recent years, but now they’re making a comeback and tackling a wider variety of love stories than ever before! Carrie Sessarego (Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), Janelle Asselin (Rosy Press publisher), Sarah Kuhn (Heroine Complex, Fresh Romance), Thom Zahler Cartooning (Love and Capes, Long Distance), and Cecil Castellucci (Shade the Changing Girl, The Plain Janes) discuss both classic and new romance comics, some of comics’ most enduring love stories, and the challenges and joys unique to creating romantic stories in comics!
 
SUNDAY
2:00-3:00 MY LITTLE PONY SIGNING
IDW Booth
 
EVERY OTHER DARN MOMENT OF THE SHOW
Booth 2000

Morning Warm-Up: Space Ranger

Rick Starr, Space Ranger was mentioned on the last episode of DC’S Legends of Tomorrow, so I thought he’d be a good morning warm up.

The piece was done in Manga Studio, flatted in Photoshop with shading added in Painter. These experiments not only get my brain up to operating temperature but let me mess around with new techniques that I can try on new projects. Like the new unannounced project I have, but hey, I just drew page three of it yesterday. More news when I can!

 

Arkham Sessions T-Shirt

My friends Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward do the excellent The Arkham Sessions podcast, reviewing Batman villains from a psychological point of view. They’re going to be part of the new Imzy community, a new social media platform, centered on a positive community, in beta now.Arkham Sessions t-shirt

To promote the site, and because I designed the header for their podcast site, they asked me to design a t-shirt to promote it. The design will be available as a shirt and a sticker (the sticker being able to be in full color).

More details as they become available, but follow @imzyhq on Twitter for more updates.

 

So I Got My Apple Pencil

My Apple Pencil finally arrived last week. I’ve been experimenting with it in whatever free time I have.

Overall, I like it quite a bit. It paired easily and charges quickly. It’s got a great feel to it. Mostly, I’ve been drawing in Procreate, which I like quite a bit. It does a lot of the things that Photoshop does and has a pretty quick learning curve. I do wish it had a straight-up magic wand tool to select an area.

I adore the different brushes, especially the pencil, graphite and chalk ones that create a really natural tool. They’re better than anything in Photoshop and at least on par with Painter.

The problem I’ve had so far is line fidelity. The iPad Pro is almost too good. I’d like to be able to tweak it so there’s a little more smoothness to my line, the way that I’ve done with my Cintiq and Manga Studio. I can make a pretty crisp line with a brush, but the Apple Pencil isn’t a brush and doesn’t have the same feel.

I’m following the same learning process I did with the Cintiq, Manga Studio and my Nostromo where I forced myself to do a drawing a day using that tool. That’s been helping a lot. The Captain Cold sketch below took almost two hours to do. The Wonder Woman one took less than an episode of Castle. That’s improvement.

The iPad Pro is doing what I expected it to do. Ultimately, I wanted what I call an Eighty Percent Device. Something where I could get 80% of the way to finished. With my current setup, I’d be able to at least create tight pencils for projects. I’m working on getting my inks where I want them. And I’m finally going to be able to sit on the couch and color comics pages! That will work well for me. Ultimately, I’ll still need to take it over to the desktop and tweak and finish those files off, but being able to do 80% of the work on the iPad when I need to makes my convention travel schedule a lot more manageable, so I’m definitely happy with my purchase.