Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Too Hollywood

(OOPS: I knew I forgot to post this. Oh well, this is from Dec. 15.)

The closer we get to end of the semester, the pressure increases. It wouldn’t be all bad if I didn’t have to deal with other stuff like malfunctions at work causing us to stay three hours later than planned or getting a spike in my tire.

My presentation is finished for Thursday, but the test run on the Macs will have to wait thanks to the trip to the car shop today. I also managed to thumbnail two pages of my Punk script, which I presented Monday for crit. Main response was issues with the story pacing, particularly with the dense 4 grid panel layout. All the panels came across at equal weight, even the dramatic moments. What I took away from it (along with the fact that even while improved, I can’t depend solely on my drawing to get my point across) is that I might be hanging too much on the cinematic approach to storytelling. I was hyperconscious about “finding the right beat” in each panel. So much that I don’t see how although a scene looks good in my head, or would work on a big screen, it doesn’t translate as well to page – at least not the way I draw. Again, not necessarily a knock on my penciling skillz, just not where my strength lies yet.

So I went to bed at 3 this a.m. thinking, just get through a couple more days. Then I woke up and realized Copia deadline is tomorrow.

“Oh what fun it is to ride…”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Finals crisis

 Wow, the fact that it's December is still tripping me out. Where did the semester go?

This week begins the final push to winter break and that means final projects! I'll be at the podium, so to speak, Wednesday and next Thursday, the last day of class. That's the day the seniors get to play visiting artist for the freshpersons. We all have to give a 10-minute talk on our thesis projects (first wave actually starts this week). I'm staying away from the Power Point show, going more low-tech. My talk is pretty mapped out, but I've still got pages to thumbnail and others to scan. Good thing I'm pretty much set for Wednesday's pro practice talk -- just have to decide what to wear...

As part of the thesis presentations, we had to design posters outlining our projects. These will be hung as an exhibit at the school. Not having anything drawn for my thesis to this point, made it kind of hard to come up with something to put on display for the whole wide school to see. But somehow, I did. O'boy. Modik's thesis poster

Last week, we had two days of intensive life drawing. Kriota's course focused on skeletal structure and muscles, and how they inform our drawing and character development. It was my second go-round with it, but still very helpful. Maybe I'll post some of my pieces during the break, since we did get homework. :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A leader "imerge"s

Been working some things out with Danger Zone Comics, and it looks like a name change is in order. We love the name and "DZ" has a certain ring to it.
Which is precisely the problem.
After some brainstorming and market research, I think we're pretty close to a new name. Don't want to jump the gun, but there's a hint in the headline to this post.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 2 Blues

Yes, it is way past the second week at CCS. But aside from just wanting to use that catchy title, it sums up why it's been a month between posts. I had some things to work through -- and I'll leave it at that. I'll save all my woe and misery for a future auto-bio comic. (HA)

Classes have been good and the work load has been manageable. But when I look at the overall picture for the semester I'm falling way behind. I've had to spend a lot of my designated school time on non-cartooning related things (sick kids and paperwork primarily). Then again, that's life, right?

I did manage to draw up an action plan for projects, even with dates attached to them. I want to seriously pitch my novel and children's book. Michelle (Ollie) liked my internship proposal, so I'm doing some follow up research. And I settled on which titles to attack first with Danger Zone (which might be undergoing a name change).

Now, I need to get back on the path before I stray too far off course. Especially with Thanksgiving approaching because while it might be a vacation for some, it'll get busier for me.

Also, during my long Web silence I managed to complete a 4-page dream comic for class. So, remember as you're reading, this started as a dream. (HA HA) I also tried one of the "extra-credit" challenges in the piece, which was to evoke a specific emotion without using any words. I believe I got close. Let me know what you think. Schumer: A Dream Comic

Friday, October 23, 2009

Danger Zone News Flash -- Don't be afraid, they're only cartoonists!

Meant to post this long time ago, but CCS faculty member Steve Bissette is taking a crew with him to a cool event this weekend in New Hampshire. You can get the full scoop at their web site  but here's the gist:

The folks will be at Comic Boom in Keene, N.H.,  this Saturday, Oct. 24, from 3 to 5 p.m. Steve will be signing copies of  "The Vermont Monster Guide," the book he illustrated. (Book cover designer/colorist Cayetano ‘Cat’ Garza Jr will be on hand also.) 

The monster squad of CCS alums and students will have their comics, prints and minis for show: Denis St. John ("Monsters & Girls"), "Werewolf!" creators/contributors Nick Patten, Josh Rosen, Betsey Swardlick, Penina Gal and Jon Chad; 2009 Ignatz Award winner Colleen Frakes ("Woman King"); William Volk and maybe a few mystery guests.

The scary fun continues later right around the corner with the Saturday Fright Special Spooktacular featuring Terence Fisher’s "The Brides of Dracula" at the Colonial Theater starting at 7 p.m. I bet the masses will be howling to win a copy of "The Vermont Monster Guide" Steve, Cat and author Joe Citro, and an original Bissette sketch of a Vermont vampire at the raffle.

Good luck ya'll!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Amtrak epiphany

Today, Wednesday, Sept. 15, was the first day taking the train into WRJ. It was much bouncier than I thought, but I was still able to read and not get sick like I would if I were on the bus or in car. I'm not sure about working with laptop or drawing but we'll see. Also, won't be long before the beautiful fall scenery loses its luster.

Also, this could be me reading too much into it, but I felt a sense of the divine at work as the train rambled on. I've said the school opening in Vermont was the first instance and now there's the train ride itself: the station is no more than 10 minutes from my house (the one we took so long to find) and the station in WRJ drops me off practically behind the school! Folks from/in big metro areas are probably like "what's the big deal?" But for the transportation to fall in line so well in rural, scattered Vermont is a biggie to me. Makes me wonder, is all, maybe it's just the air on the train...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week 1 well under way

And I'm not referring to the NFL season (although I did just watch the Pats once again pull out a miraculous win in the closing minutes). I had my first session of senior thesis seminar today and so classes are now in full swing. Jason Lutes already had us drawing comics...eep. I just went with it. And then we had to reveal our strengths and weaknesses. We'll see as the year goes whether I was right about mine.

As soon as next week, we're going to start having in-class crits. I need to get rolling so I can have something to show. The rest are building off stuff they started last year. I haven't even sat down with Steve and James to talk about my plans for a thesis. It will more than likely involve DZC and "Punk" in some way.

For professional practice, we're designing "identity systems," logos and other designs for use on business cards, letterheads, Web sites. After some frustrating fits and starts, I think I've settled on a nice design.

The jump-right-into work philosophy is forcing me to not dwell on where my drawing skills might be compared to the others. Now, that don't mean I haven't been peeking looks at my classmates worktables and sketch pads ...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Is my labor in vain

A fitting sentiment for the day.
Even though I have it off, I got a lot of work to do. So I dragged myself out of bed early, at least for a holiday.

As I mentioned, I'm back at CCS. Went to orientation Friday where I met the new folks and got my studio space. Yea, my own studio. Sounds all official and artist like, huh?

I expected it to feel a little weird and it did at times. Me, the old-but-new guy sitting in ring of about 26 new faces, who have obviously formed their own bonds and connections. But Jason, Michelle, James, Valerie and the others welcomed me back with open arms -- literally, with hugs. One of the other seniors even offered to let me crash at their apartment on bad weather days.

As I nervously nibbled at pizza and took notes, still questioning (in my head) this path I was taking and the money I was spending on it, James made a statement that finally put me at ease. He was talking about the adviser-student relationship which gives us rare access to working cartoonists and other professionals. That dovetailed into us having been given the time to focus on our comics/cartooning projects. For the next year, well at least two semesters, we're allowed to put most of our time and effort into our comics without feeling guilty about setting aside other aspects of our busy lives. There it is, I thought. That's why I'm here. That's why I'm spending the money. Course for me, it won't be that simple to set aside the other aspects of my busy life, the family and church. And since I do have to pay for it, there's still work.

Which brings me back to today and why I got up early to work on Labor Day. I'm working on some fund-raising ideas. As usual, I've got plots for three more novels and or graphic novels kicking around that I need to get down on paper before I forget them. And I have to prepare a financial presentation for a string of church meetings this week.

But I do want to spend some time with the family today as well. Better do it now before I have to start locking them out of the room...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Working my way back..."

I was writing an e-mail to one of my DZC partners and it prompted me to post. You all, those who are left anyway, haven't heard from me in a month. Not good.

I have been busy (that's my excuse) just not doing much on the creative side. I'm still working on my two novels, though I've hit a wall with the most complete one.
I've been sketching with more focus, essentially trying to get my doodles to look a bit more polished.
The other thing I've been trying to do is read in my spare time. It actually helps me get creative; hopefully I'm not stealing ideas, just getting hints on how to handle problems in my own books. I got through a good thriller called "Black Water Rising" by Attica Locke in about a month; still trying to finish up "Fortress of Solitude" by Jonathan Lethem, which I've been working on for like two years! In the mean I've read an Indiana Jones novel by Rob McGregor and got about half-way through "The Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford. Nostalgia got me a few months back and I started reading/re-reading some old comics from back in the day, Spectacular Spidey, Marvel Team-Up and Cage.

Otherwise, most of my time has been trying to get some house stuff done (plant grass/water lawn) and check out a playoff game when it's on (I don't have TNT or VS). I also took on a new post at work, as community outreach guy, basically sort of the local p.r. person. And I've been spending longer hours at the paper with people gone on vacations and furloughs.

In comics related news, CCS has let me know I can come back in the fall to finish up my degree. However, the loan program I had taken out with them before is no longer offered; Sallie Mae stopped it due to the recession. BUT ... school has another loan program with a local bank, so here's hoping they'll give me the money.

And I did start this post out by mentioning me and my partner are deciding which DZC comics project to start on. So, look's like I'm emerging from my winter cocoon. Hopefully you'll hear more from me more often.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Captivating Kalas

OK, so this has absolutely nothing to do with my comics, but you all should know by now that I'm a huge Steeler fan in particular, football in general. Hey, I grew up in Western Pa. what would you expect? Harry Kalas' death yesterday hit me differently than it did those generations of Philly fans who listened to him call baseball games. Kalas was the voice of NFL Films for me. He brought a sense of drama and intensity to highlights that just captivates me to this day. Here's a link to a piece from on Kalas and my comment should be there, you might have to scroll down to find it.
If not here's what I wrote:
"I'm sorry that I missed out regularly hearing Harry calling the Phils, because he was/is an integral part of the NFL experience for me. I was checking NFL Films to make sure he did do some of the pieces I remembered -- most notably Super Bowl X. And listening to the excerpts and tribute, I had to say out loud "you know, it just sounds right!" that is Kalas' narration. His voice brought a sense of epic proportion and drama to HIGHLIGHTS that I swear is largely unmatched. Maybe that's overstating it a bit, but I don't need to watch an entire Super Bowl, playoff game or mid-season matchup if I can just listen to Harry tell me how it all went down. Again, hearing him call an entire game must have been sweet."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Marvel stinks or sour grapes?

I'm about ready to "boycott" Marvel. I work in a freaking bookstore and I couldn't get a copy of Spidey/Obama. We kept getting notices from corporate "they say it should be arriving this week..." And as I guessed it never did. However, I go to Mile High Comics and see the first printing issue (shown at right) on sale for $100.
And as for my LCS? I went there and didn't see it either but that was probably because they'd reserved their 10 copies.
Is it because we live in Vermont that we don't seem to be able to get these things? Even B&N was still waiting for the issue as of Wednesday.
How does this distribution thing work? We keep saying floppies are in danger cause graphic novels will all be sold at bookstores, yet nothing is going to the bookstores. Does this start with Marvel doing woefully inadequate print runs on books they know will sell out? And how does it benefit them to have a Spidey book for sale on Ebay at $300?
Things sell out I understand. But how can a book that never made it to store shelves -- at least as far as I can tell here -- sell out? Doesn't seem right.
I know -- life ain't fair.