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 Digita 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!
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:
In 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.
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.
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!
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 Arts‘ Writers 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!
It 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:
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.
And lastly, here’s a piece of the three of us that I did for our Mom a couple of years ago:
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.
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.
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!
This is late, but last week I was asked by the Willamette Week to collaborate with one of their writers and participate in a 48 minute comic as part of a promotion for the 48 Hour Film Festival that was in town. The premise of the festival is that filmmakers have 48 hours to create a film that includes certain elements that are randomly generated.
The 48 minute comic was pretty much the same premise, but I only had 48 minutes to complete the comic. The elements I had where 1.] Genre: Film de Femme, 2.] Character: Janine Lawless, 3.] Profession: Exterminator, 4.] Prop: Bowling Ball, and 5.] Quote: “You can’t get there from here.”
Here’s the final product:
The headed over to the WW office to work on the page and they recorded the whole process and time-lapsed it for their website. Check it out:
It’s pretty cool to see my process like this, even if it was for a page that was so rough and under such a time constraint. I might try to do it again for myself in the future.
With everything that’s been going on the last month, I’ve forgotten to mention that this July I’m teaching a week-long summer workshop for teens at OCAC. It will be a modified version of my Crafting Comics: Narrative and Technique that has been tweaked a little bit to accomodate the compressed schedule.
Class will be from July 9-13, 9:00am-4:00pm with an hour break for lunch in the middle.
Here’s the link to the OCAC website to sign up.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me, or leave a comment.
Spread the word!
Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! Head on down to you local comic book stores and pick up the freebies that they have to offer. If you’re around Portland, might I recommend picking up the publication that the always awesome Tugboat Press put out for the occassion, Runner Runner. Below is a one-page comic that I contributed:
And also amongst pretty amazing company: MK Reed, Jesse Reklaw, Aron Nels Steinke, Aaron Renier, Alec Longstreth, Galen Longstreth, and Drew Weing just to name a few.
Don’t delay! Go camp out in front of your local comic book store today!