In my procrastination to start serious work on comics again, I try to remind myself that I've done it before, and I can do it again. I just have to find my muse. In my teenage and college years, I was partial to the comic strip as my medium of choice, and Blake was my comic. He still has a home at an old website of mine, Bob's Comics. My idol growing up was Bill Watterson. He was the champion of the comic strip, fighting for cartoonist's rights while breathing new life into the artform (to this day, Calvin and Hobbes is my hands down favorite—Krazy Kat a close second). I worked on Blake, and Blake alone for a good 5 or more years (1995-2001). Alas, I grew tired of the medium—I think it had something to do with art school broadening my interests—so I dropped comics altogether.
Here are some samples of Blake. There is quite an archive of strips at the website mentioned above. I'm sometimes amazed at how productive I was, but I guess I was a bit of a loner in those days with a lot of free time.
It didn't take much time before my interests in comics bubbled up again. I discovered Chris Ware and a brand of underground caroonists working in the longer format commonly known as the "graphic novel"—a term I generally try to avoid, but it suits its purpose here. I was awestruck by the complex storylines, the range of styles, and the range of formats. I realized that where I had become disenchanted with the comic strip (setup...punchline), the longer form offered a different realm for me to explore. One that I am only beginning to play around with. Actually, I did create a handful of longer strips in my Blake days. My challenge now is to write stories that compliment my taste for the surreal. So, stay tuned...
This is a teaser illustration I dropped into a proposal for a client to create and design keyboarding (typing) software. FableVision got it, and we're actually on the home stretch of the project right now—though they didn't go for my wackier approach to things.
It's rare that I would post about something from another blog, but for the past couple of weeks the gang over at Classic Cartoons have been posting animation stills from the Fleischer Color Classics. Notably "Tears of an Onion," which I have never seen, and "Play Safe," which I had on VHS when I was a kid. I wish I could see the onion one, but it's supposedly still under copyright protection. I love the sequence in "Play Safe" where the trains are about to crash. It actually repeats over and over again with the trains whistling at each other for a good 30 seconds as they are barreling towards each other. Please hop on over and have a look for yourself. I love the visual style of the Fleischer cartoons...they are both cute and bizarre, which I find appealing.
Lately I've been exploring my curiosity in line. I find myself torn between the brush stroke that I've grown more accustomed to from working in Flash (using a tablet), and the single width line I get from a uniball pen. The good thing is that when I break out the pen nibs, I usually get something inbetween: enough variation so that I can get a thick or thin line depending on which tip I use (and there is some variation built in). Two comic artists that I'm fond of, Ron Regé Jr. (line) and Seth (brush), appropriately represent opposing ends of the spectrum. My brain seems to adjust to the tool that I'm using, offering differing results. Below are some recent pages from my sketchbook.