Linework NW recap

Image from the Linework NW website.

Image from the Linework NW website.

So this last Saturday was the maiden voyage of a new illustration and comics event in Portland, Linework NW. Organized by Zack Soto and François Vigneault, here’s the description from Linework NW’s own website:

“Linework NW is a new illustration and comics festival taking place in Portland, Oregon. Linework NW’s goal is to focus attention on the creators who continue to inject new energy and vitality into these venerable mediums that share so much in common, whether their work is to be found in comic books, original art, graphic novels, prints, or other forms. Drawing upon a wealth of talent from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, Linework NW seeks to cultivate a vibrant cultural experience for creators, readers, art lovers, and collectors alike.”

It delivered on all of this. And speaking for myself, and from what I could gather from some other folks I talked to, it was exactly what so many of us needed.

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Upcoming Events!

Hey! I’ve had my nose down getting work done for these events, I forgot to tell you guys that I am in them! There are two events that I’ll be at over the next two weeks. If you live in Portland, you should come check them out!

What: Linework NW

When: Saturday April 12th, 2-9pm. FREE

Where: Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th, Portland, Oregon 97232. Here’s a map link.

First off is Linework NW. It’s a new comic show that focuses more on the creator, art-aspect of making illustration and comics. It’ll be at Norse Hall on this Friday April 12th, from 2-9pm. AND IT’S FREE. I’ll be debuting a preview chapter of the big book I’m working. Here’s a couple of teaser pages:

the-searchers-06the-searchers-12I’ll also have original art, and my backlog of mini-comics, including a new print version of the Titular Hero, a short comic MK and I did for Tor.com, and my other new mini-comic, The Littlest Littles.

Next up:

What: Comics for Change! Reading

When: Monday, April 14th, 7-9pm

Where: Powell’s City of Books, Basil Hallward Gallery, 3rd Floor, Pearl Room

The following Monday, April 14th is a reading at Powell’s for the Know Your City Comics for Change! project. If you’re not familiar with it, Know Your City is a non-profit organization in town that connects people to the place they live. For Comics for Change!, they collected a group of local artists and writers to create biographical comics on social activists in the Portland area. I worked with the ever fantastic and amazing Douglas Wolk on a biography of Darcelle XV.

Hope to see some friendly faces there!

Wizard World Portland This Weekend!

2014-wizard-world-portland
I’m going to be tabling at Wizard World Portland this weekend!

Portland Comic Con 2014
Wizard World Convention

JANUARY 24-25-26, 2014
FRI-SAT-SUN

Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232

Show Hours:
Friday, January 24, 2014 – 3pm – 8pm
Saturday, January 25, 2014 – 10am – 7pm
Sunday, January 26, 2014 – 10am – 5pm

I’ll be at table B71 in the artists’ area. I’ll also be on the Titans of Independent Comics panel with the likes of such actual titans as Shannon Wheeler, Mike Allred, and David Chelsea. I’m a little intimidated to be on a panel with those guys, but maybe I can give some perspective of someone who is only really starting their career and trying to keep it rolling.

The other big news for the convention is that I finished another mini-comic of brand new material!

The Littlest Littles #1, 40 pages, black & white with color cover, all ages!

Here are some pictures:

LL-cover-photo

LL-inside-photo

LL-back-cover-photo

The content is actually a sample chapter from one of the books that I’m getting ready to pitch. The convention was a good excuse for me to have a deadline to finish up the drawing. I’m super excited to have a new comic to show off!

I’ll also have copies of Americus, older mini-comics, some art prints and original pages and art! Please come by, say hi and buy some stuff!

Summer 2013 Classes at OCAC

ocac

So I just finished up my Writers in the Schools residency at Roosevelt High School. I’ll recap the experience here later this week, but right now I wanted to mention that the comics teaching train is only temporarily stopped, and will be firing up again on all cylinders come July at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

The exciting thing about this year is that I’m teaching three comics classes! There’s the intro class, Creating Comics, but we’ve also added two advanced classes – Digital Tools for Comics and Advanced Topics in Comics and Independent Projects. W’ve also bundled the classes together as a three-week Comics Intensive, where by signing up for all the classes, you get a discount. All of these classes are for pre-college high school students.

I’m also teaching two classes of Digital Illustration for Young Adult [Middle School] students. One of the classes has already filled up, and the class later in the summer only has three spots left as of this post, so if you’re interested, sign up fast!

The Many Deaths of Polonius

So my residency at Roosevelt High School for Writers in the Schools is almost over. I have next week, and then I have to put the zine of the final comics together the following week. I’ll do a recap of the experience when I’m all done, but for now, I thought I’d share the cover image I made for the zine:

hamlet-zine-coverIn case you’re wondering about the title, it’s kind of an inside joke. In the project, students were asked to pick a scene, a theme, or an idea from Hamlet and then adapt it into comics. I would say that 80% of the students chose to portray the scene where Hamlet kills Polonius. I think it’s probably because until the end of the play, it’s the most dramatic action. Most of them were just adapting it straight up, but some of them changed the setting and time period and everything, so that’s where the other images come from. Anyhow, I was talking with Jason one night and telling him about it and he threw this title idea out and I thought it was pretty great and ran with it.

I know the colors aren’t mind blowing, but it would still be nice if we were able to print up the covers in color.

Columbia River Barge

So I did a one page comic for the Willamette Week this week about another solution to the much disputed Columbia River Crossing, which is basically the renovation of the bridge from Oregon to Washington.

wweek-crb-comic

I originally planned, as an experiment, to attempt to do it completely digitally since I’ve been spending my time the last week or so playing around and experimenting in Photoshop with different techniques. If you’re interested in seeing some of the results of my futzing around, you can check out my Tumblr where I’ve been posting them.

Anyhow, it didn’t last very long – I lettered the comic digitally because there was so much copy that I needed things to be a little cleaner and take up less space so I could have more room to draw. Outside of that, I only got the panel borders done before I realized I just wanted to shift over to my drafting table. I know it’s something that might take some time, and I also don’t really know if it’s something I really want to do. Really, I’m just trying to find a way for me to utilize the digital drawing as a tool, but I don’t know that I want to use it as a crutch.

Oh, and one more announcement: I will be tabling at the Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend, sharing a table with the always awesome, Breena Bard, né Weiderhoeft, at J-07! Come by and say Hi if you’re around this weekend!

The Titular Hero!

titular-hero-00

I know it’s been a little quiet around here the last month, but that’s because I’ve been busy teaching and making comics! In fact, do you ever check out Tor.com and all their awesome content? If not, now would be a great time because they have a short original comic by MK Reed and myself that we’re both pretty proud about that I just wrapped up.

I’m also wrapping up my second week at my residency at Roosevelt High School where I’m teaching comics through Literary ArtsWriters in the Schools program. I’ll probably be posting a progress update on that sometime next week.

But seriously, make sure you head on over to Tor.com and read The Titular Hero. Make sure to comment on it to let them know what you think!

Memories of ‘Miah

miahIt was almost four months ago that my brother Jeremiah passed away. My relationship with Jeremiah changed a lot over the years. When we were kids, we fought all the time and as we got older, we sort of just didn’t really talk to each other. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that we really forged a relationship and realized that despite spending all of our lives thinking we were so different, we actually had so much in common.

Looking back at some of my older work, I noticed that I drew him frequently into the comics I made before I started working on Americus. I didn’t realize the importance of this until looking back through my portfolio now after his passing. Even though we weren’t really close and didn’t really talk during those years, our silence or distance didn’t mean we didn’t love each other.

Here’s the pieces he starred in or had cameos:

choking-hazardwitty01witty02

He’s also in the story I did for the Popgun anthology, Sucky, Sucky. Here’s a sample page, and you can read the whole thing over at my portfolio page.

sucky-sucky-sample

And lastly, here’s a piece of the three of us that I did for our Mom a couple of years ago:

3-Js-team

I’m hoping at some point I’ll be able to take all the love and memories of him and turn it into something that I can put creative energy into to honor him. Until then, I thought I’d just share these comics where I was thinking about him those years we didn’t speak, even if he never knew.

Love you, ‘Miah. xoxo.

Doubling Down!

It’s two weeks* into my full-time art making adventure, and I thought it would be a good time to check in and let everyone know how it’s going.

After some mulling around at the beginning, I’ve decided that I am going to double down on storytelling and narrative opportunities and put the illustration work on the back burner. I feel like I’m twice the storyteller than I am illustrator, and it’s what I’m really good at, and in a perfect world, it’s what I would love to be doing. Not that there won’t be time down the road to focus a little more on illustration, but for right now, it’s trying to organize and crank out some ideas I’ve had floating around in my head for comics and books. The real focus the last couple of weeks of which has been trying to get the writing wrapped up for what I would like to be my next graphic novel, The Searchers.

I’ve managed to write out two more chapters, leaving only the last two and the epilogue to write. After which I’ll thumbnail it all out and do a bit of editing and rewriting in the process. to break it up a little bit, I’ve done a little drawing of some characters and environments. Here’s some images of what I’ve come up with.

Some of the proportions are off, specifically in the camping scene where the character to the right’s head is super, super big [it's supposed to be big, but not that big] and then the house in the final image is too small. That being said, the purpose of the drawings were to start to give myself a feel for the way things will look visually so I don’t have to come up with them on the fly when I start drawing.

So that’s where I’m at. I’ve had a bit of a hard time following the schedule that I had set up where I would be diversifying what I would be doing everyday, which I still think would be beneficial for me to be doing. Maybe once I get the writing done I will focus on that a little more. Stay tuned!

* this time frame of two weeks doesn’t count the week I took off for Jen’s birthday and then the last week I took off for camping for my birthday.

Americus wins the Carla Cohen Free Speech Award!

Looks like I’m going to have to update this shelf-talker with the good news!

We actually heard about this awhile ago, but it slipped my mind to post it until this week. Anyhow, here’s information on the award from the NAIBA website:

The idea for this award came from a desire to not only honor an amazing bookseller and past president of NAIBA, but to honor Carla as would be most fitting.

The NCCFSA will be awarded to a children’s book, as awareness of constitutional rights needs to begin at the beginning of true consciousness. Educating children about their rights by putting the books into their hands that will allow them to question, imagine, and dream is essential to the survival of independent bookstores and dare we say, humanity.

Independent bookstores are the places where freedom of speech and anti-censorship are integrated into everything we do. We are spaces where difference-of ideas, sexuality, spirit, politics, and philosophy-is embraced and not feared. Politics and Prose has been exactly this kind of place for the past 27 years. Independent bookstores are essential to their communities and hence to a truly democratic nation. The survival of our bookstores relies on children becoming informed and engaged in our midsts. Only through the nurturing of this future community will we ensure having a customer base on which to rely.

You can read about it straight from the source here. Yay!