Happy Belated Year of the Snake

It’s the Year of the Snake! And I guess it has been for like almost two weeks now. Anyhow, I hope it’s treating everyone well. I don’t think I posted it here, but I did my first promo postcard for the event and sent out the first round to magazine art directors. I need to sit down sometime this week and get another batch together to send to publishers and illustration agencies.

2013-tet

And here’s the pencils, if you’re interested in seeing that sort of thing.

tet-2013-pencils

I still have lots of postcards available if you would like one. Just leave your mailing address in the comments section, or send me an e-mail.

I also did illustrations for the horoscopes in the Asian Reporter’s special edition. If you’re interested in reading your horoscope for the Year of the Snake, you can check out the AR’s special edition online here.

snake-horoscopes-AR

Fall Classes at OCAC

OCAC just posted their Fall 2012 Community Studios and Pre-College Teen Classes. This time around, I’ve got three classes I’ll be rocking. If you register early, you can save yourself $30!

[The links in the titles will take you to the OCAC page where you can register for the class.]

Crafting Comics: Narrative and Technique
This introductory course will cover the basic fundamentals of visual storytelling for the comics medium. Students will learn how to use a variety of tools to combine concept, drawing, design, and basic storytelling. Emphasis will be placed on developing clarity, readability, and cohesiveness; all of which are critical strategies for making comics. As part of the course, students will be required to keep a sketchbook to record the creative process. Prerequisites: None, though basic drawing skills are beneficial.

[I would like to point out that it is now possible to take this class for credit! Whoo-hoo!]

Start Date: 09/19/2012
End Date: 11/28/2012
Days: Wednesday
Time: 6:30-9:30pm

Creating Comics (Pre-College)
This introductory course will cover the basic fundamentals of visual storytelling for the comics medium. Students will learn how to use a variety of tools to combine concept, drawing, design, and basic storytelling to tackle the various problem solving required when making comics. Focus will be on clarity, readability, and cohesiveness of design. Lectures will contain examples from comics that span throughout the history of the medium and all across the globe, such as manga, superhero comics, zines, graphic novels, etc. Prerequisite: None, though basic drawing experience is a plus.

Start Date: 10/08/2012
End Date: 11/26/2012
Days: Monday
Time: 6:30pm – 9:00pm

Character Design and Development (Pre-College)
Do all you characters tend to look the same? Do they stand out amongst a crowd? Whether doing comics, animation, or game design, this course will help students learn to develop and visually strengthen the characters that inhabit their stories. The course will focus on observational skills and attention to detail that help define and individualize characters and worlds. No prerequisites. Location: Community Studio

Start Date: 09/22/2012
End Date: 10/06/2012
Days: Saturday
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Hope to see you in class! Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions – jonathan@oneofthejohns.com

A few notes on storytelling from Ted Stearn

 

Since I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, I thought I would share some notes that my old comics professor & mentor, the great Ted Stearn [of Fantagraphics' Fuzz & Pluck] gave out during Advanced Storyboarding. It’s pretty straightforward stuff, but they’ve been really helpful to have in front of me and keep in mind.

A few notes on storytelling:

Give each character motivation. What do they want? How will they get it?

Many stories revolve around conflict, whether internal or external, that must somehow get resolved.

Generally, a good story balances keeping it clear enough that they understand what is happening, but not revealing it all, so the viewer wants to find out more.

When concluding your story, don’t be obvious. If I can guess what’s going to happen next, I will lose interest. Beware of cliches that can become predictable and thus, boring.

Every scene, every shot, every pose, every scene transitions, and all the dialogue should either advance the plot or reveal something about the character that is important to the theme of the story. If they don’t, they are probably expendable.

Make sure your story has an internal logic. That is, everything that happens is believable in the context it is presented. I don’t mean realistic, I mean believable. For example, a character should not react in a way that would directly contradict that I understand about his/her personality.

Starting somewhere.

January was a little slower than I wanted it to be, but most of that was due to reasons out of my control. A new month is a week in [and a new lunar year too, if you want to look at it like that], and things have been picking up.

I started the actual writing of my next book last week. I guess will technically be my first book that I will have written & drawn, since I was only the artist on Americus. Also, I don’t know what to call it when referring to it. I have a tentative title of The Searchers, because I was sick of calling it ‘my next project’, but it doesn’t really feel right. I’m not incredibly worried about having a title right now, and I’m sure that will all come as part of the process, but still – it’s kind of annoying to not know what to call it besides ‘my next project’ or ‘my next book’. Any suggestions?

Anyhow, I thought I’d write about the process of actually getting started, which was a little trickier than I actually thought it would be.

Continue reading

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Obligatory Breeders song:

Hope you’re all excited for the New Year as I am. One way I decided to celebrate is to rearrange my office for the first time in like 4 years. The layout has been carefully planned to maximize productivity. Also, I am a little obsessed with making these mash-up panoramic pictures, even though I’m not very good at it.

 Notice the awesome flat-drawer cabinet that I got for Christmas by my lovely girlfriend to help organize original art, and also how far the computer is away from my drawing table to eliminate distraction.We’ll see how it goes…

See you in 2011!

I LOVE MYSELF I LOVE MYSELF I LOVE…

Whew! I just finished out the super-long, incredibly thorough creator questionnaire for the Marketing & Promotions over at First Second.

Now I like talking about myself as much as the next self-obsessed, egotistical artist, but man… after PAGES & PAGES, it just isn’t any fun anymore.

Anyhow, I had to bust out a self-portrait to go along with it.

 I had put off the questionnaire for a long time because I wasn’t sure what to draw for my self-portrait. You want it to be an image that sums you up because it’s going to be THE ONE IMAGE that will be your face to the public. It’s like your profile picture, only you can’t keep changing it.

Anyhow, even though I had been wracking my brain over it for a month or two, this final image I came up with wasn’t really planned. I was doodling on a scrap piece of bristol board and it just sort of came out. It doesn’t really say anything about me, except it makes me look a lot tougher than I am, but I like it.

In other news – the back cover of Americus got approved, so all I need to do now is the endpapers, which hopefully I’ll be able to finish tomorrow. I’m checking with the powers that be to see if I can post anything about the cover because I thought it would be cool to write something up about the experience of the whole process behind it all.

I’m sure I’ll be able to write about it all eventually, it’s just a matter of if I can do it now, or if I have to wait until it’s all said and done.

Merry Thanksgiving!

Merry Thanksgiving! Hope you don’t have to travel!

Jason, Meghan & myself will be spending an orphan Thanksgiving with the devilishly charming, super handsome and incredibly bad-ass Dwayne Johnson.

Besides eating a lot and spending time with friends & family, do yourself a Thanksgiving favor and head over to Ted Stearn’s website and read his comic, The First Thanksgiving. If you follow that link and then scroll down a bit, it’s the fourth one down. It’s my favorite Thanksgiving story EVAR.