Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heeby Jeeby Comix

Fun news (and a comic!) to share with you. My pals Chris Houghton, David Degrand, and I just started a new blog called HEEBY JEEBY COMIX. The three of us have been tossing around the idea for a couple months. We all like bizarre, offbeat, and nonsensical comics, so we figured why not combine our efforts and make a bunch. As we create comics, we'll be posting them. There's also a special focus on tailoring the stories and gags to be appropriate for all ages, so that kids can read them too. With the name "heeby jeeby", we thought it appropriate to launch before Halloween. Here's my first comic as a contributor.

"Rest In Peace"

(note I uploaded this one a little bigger than usual)

Visit --> Heeby Jeeby Comix

Much more to come. Tell your friends! Tell your friend's kids, too!

...and Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Party 09

This was the second year we had friends over to carve pumpkins and celebrate my birthday (I turned 30 on the 22nd...yep). I'm always amazed by the variety of faces and images folks come up with.

Hit the lights!

I went for another cyclops this year. You'll notice a balloon dog in the bunch—that's by my friend Naomi, who is a balloon-twister.

Allie did a cute little pumpkin house.

Renee and Keith joined forces to form a skeleton body.

Loren probably nabbed the grumpiest pumpkin award (left).
Jesse's pumpkin, Lester (right).

Matt had outstanding results with a stencil. The floor reflection is a nice added effect, too.

Ryan definitely had the scariest grin.

And lastly, some of the leftover tangerine-kins.

Here are the pumpkins from last year.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I wrote a quick gag comic for this week's "What the Doodle?" The word that came out of the random word generator was ESPOUSE. A tricky one for sure. I decided to play the fear angle. Not sure how successful it is, though. Here's what the rest of the FableVision crew came up with on Creative Juices.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Halloween is just around the corner...

(click to view larger)

A new 4-page comic is coming in a week. Here's a teaser panel.
Look for a fun announcement on October 30th...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Don't ask.

Searching through old email and this image showed up.

I sent it to myself from work back in March.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

College Days: A return to cartoons

Thanks to everyone for your responses to the 100 Figures Assignment post, and a special shout-out to Chris Houghton for tackling the challenge head-on (see the results). I've heard from a couple more people who've said they're giving it a shot, so best of luck.

Digging through my college portfolio, I unearthed a lot of artwork and memories—some of which I thought I'd share here. When I arrived at college in 1998, I was a kid excited about drawing cartoons and comic strips. But art school had slowly beaten into my brain that cartooning was a lesser art form (I'm sure others can relate). Throughout school I kept up with my comic strip, Blake (see related post), but it rarely crossed over into my college work.

I sensed an opportunity to burst out when I enrolled in the Illustration major junior year, but it wasn't until the end of Spring semester that a plan began to form. This was mid 2001—SpongeBob was on my radar, so I was watching a lot of cartoons again. I checked an illustration annual out of the library and found the work of Gary Baseman. Here was a professional illustrator who was appropriating a vintage cartoon aesthetic. I was working in St. Louis that summer and decided it would be fun to paint a cartoony carnival lunchbox for my then girlfriend (now wife), Loren.

(one of the first posts on Drip! featured this lunchbox)

The Baseman influence is pretty thick (I know). But something had clicked. I enjoyed drawing the exaggerated/distorted forms—especially the large eyes. I recognized that Baseman was tapping into something different than your generic everyday cartoons. And I studied it. More than anything else, I was now armed with a new justification for cartoonyness—if Baseman could get away with it as an artist/illustrator, why couldn't I?

Here's one of my first assignments from senior year, though I can't remember what it was for. Fortunately my professors got a kick out of it. And it felt good to be doing something fresh, while at the same time familiar. I was drawing cartoons again!

Above is an assignment shortly thereafter. This was for an article about internet pornography ruining marriages. The images are part pencil on paper, part digital. I drew with a soft lead, scanned it, and added flat colors in Photoshop. I was going for something that looked acrylic—a very different approach from the gouache paintings I was doing the semester before.

Below is an example of pencil artwork I first scanned...

...and then treated in Photoshop.

I looked everywhere for people who were doing vintage cartoons, discovering that underground comics were a good source for the weird and distressed look as well. I had a few issues of BLAB! handy, a shared copy of a RAW comix anthology in the studio, and I printed out everything I could find on the internet. I went direct to the source, too— consuming cartoons from the 20s and 30s when I hit gold with the Fleischer studio.

At the same time, I was drawing editorial cartoons for the college paper, Student Life, which whipped me into shape. I was assigned about 2 a week, turning around each illustration in a 24-hour period. It quickly became a testing ground. They were all accompanied by text, so the context will be somewhat lost.

There was also the alphabet book assignment, where I had to figure out how to arrange a lot of characters in a scene. I decided on a bug theme:

Ladybugs at the Laundromat

Bugs at the Bus Stop

A Tick Directing Traffic

My "Jinx the Monkey" cartoon would be the culmination of everything. The best way to investigate old-fashioned cartoons would be to make one. I've embedded it below for viewing purposes (for the first time on this blog, actually!)

(apologies for not having playback controls, it's about 3 minutes)

It's hard to believe that bugger is almost 8 years old now. Working in Flash lead to drawing in Flash...blah blah blah...I'm still drawing cartoons today...pretty much for the same reason. They free me up; I don't have to make excuses for drawing weird expressive characters. And it's what comes naturally.

That should be enough rambling to last you the long weekend. I hope this was in some way interesting. The advice I give to every artist is do what you know and love—don't just copy or follow a trend because it strikes you at the moment or seems marketable. Your work (and mind) will be better for it.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sketchbook dump

Another sampling of pages from the sketchbook I started in August.

The guy holding the staff (with a bird) is an ink study of a character I'm working into my birdhouse comic. Still roughing that out—I hope to have more to show soon.

A lot of you are probably familiar with Jake Parker...he just named this month "INKTOBER", in celebration of ink drawings. He's been posting some fabulous sketchbook art so be sure to check it out. I have to say, once (and still being) a practitioner of inking in Flash—the brush pen has truly taken hold of me. I inked my last SpongeBob comic for Nick Mag with it, and now when I step into Flash it feels a lot more clunky and slower than before. It has reminded me how much control the real world still offers us. When you put a brush to paper, you know exactly what you're getting.

I'm still a fan of Flash, but given the occasion, I encourage everyone to whip out a pen or a brush and give real ink a try this month.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Here's my contribution for this week's What The Doodle? on Creative Juices. The random word generator spit out the most obscure word yet: PELAGIC. Which, in a nutshell refers to the open sea, or the creatures who inhabit the upper layers of the ocean.

Stop on by to sea, ahem...see what the rest of the FableVision crew came up with --> here.