Thursday, November 04, 2010

Progress on Gerald Bull GN

"What the heck is going on with that Gerald Bull Graphic Novel you've been working on?" is a question that my friends are smart enough not to ask me, but one that my family brings up every now and then.

Well, I'll tell you - after some big stumbling blocks (namely structuring the story properly so that it got across all the info necessary but still flowed as a narrative without being too ex positional), I'm happy to say that it's going well!

Outline and Chapter breakdown have been finished for awhile now and I'm full on drawing. Prologue, Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 are fully drawn and finished. Just starting Chapter 2 now. I'm going at a good, even pace and I'm happy with everything thus far.

Here's a panel from Chapter 3 below that I like. When not doing comics, I've been doing landscape pieces, and this is creeping into my comics in a natural, organic kind of way.

My agent is now actively shopping the book around, and I hope I will have good news on this front soon. Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Kitten Kid!

It's hard to believe, but my little girl will be turning 6 this Saturday. One of the things she really wants for her birthday is a super-hero costume (yes, she's our girl, that's for sure). To clarify, this isn't for Halloween, it's just for wearing around the house.

Her super-hero name is Kitten Kid. I'm not sure what her powers are, they change depending on what day you ask her... She likes super-heroes and cats though so this is a good mix for her.

The Costume

My mom has been tasked to get the costume made for her under Rosie's direction (they've gone to fabric store to pick out colours and kind of fabric for example). I've been tasked with doing the design for the front of shirt.

Rosie has very set ideas and since this is her special gift, I wanted to make sure I got this right for her. So - Rosie did up some drawings of a cat for me, and told me to "make it a bit better mom". Thought it would be fun to share this process below...

Kitten Kid Drawing
Here is Rosie's cat drawing that I used as a model and for inspiration. I love the big head. Rosie is already a good client providing clear direction of what she expects!

Other requests from Rosie - add a mask and a cape! Last night we coloured it together on the computer. Her favourite colour is hot pink - hence the hot pink cat, and wanted to add a rainbow, hence the multi-colour letters. Finally she wanted it to stand out a lot, so black background. All I have to do now is print it out on a special iron-on type paper and hand it to Mom. I'll post a pic of Rosie in the completed outfit when it's done!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Granny Goodness!

Had to take a break from doing sequential stuff, and since I've been re-reading the Kirby Mister Miracle stuff lately and really digging it, I thought I would do up a sketch of Granny Goodness. I'm super happy with it.
Granny Goodness is such a great character. One thing I always thought was weird though was how Ed Asner did her voice in the Justice League cartoons. Ed Asner? For some reason it wasn't terrible, but she should have a super scary voice. Don't know who would be best suited. Maybe Angelica Houston?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LOLA Fest T-Shirt Design

LOLA fest (short for London Ontario Live Arts) is happening this September 16th - 19th, and I'm pretty jazzed about it.

It's a very cool thing to be happening in little old London. All different kinds of free activities will be taking place mainly in downtown London from Caribou playing in concert to artwork from James Kirkpatrick (of Dusty Peas). The theme for this year's fest is conflict vs. resolution and the good people at LOLA asked me to do the "official" design that the 100+ volunteers will be wearing.

Thoughts Behind Design
In coming up with a design for the theme, I wanted to stay away from obvious symbols for war (guns, bombs, etc), and was looking for something more subtle that would make people look twice when they looked at the tee. In doing a lot of studies on shells and guns for my Gerald Bull graphic novel, I found some of the mathematical equations quite beautiful to look at and when you don't know what you're looking at, the designs turn quite abstract.

So -- I zeroed in on these missile patterns to represent conflict. The fact that the particular missile design I selected also looks like an atom symbol, I think just adds to this.

For peace, since Yoko Ono is the featured artist of the festival, I felt I really I should openly make homage to her Imagine Peace campaign, hence some use of the peace symbol.

The Tee
So here we have it below. The red colour is the colour of the LOLA logo (and fits with conflict side of the theme). The pattern is the equation of a slowly rolling fin-stabilized missile.

Overlaid is the peace symbol (and it's no mistake that this is overlaid on top of conflict). The peace logo will take the same colour as the tee-shirt colour so my hope is it will come across as a bit more subtle than generic peace tees.

Anyway, that's my thinking process behind the design. I'm quite pleased with the result. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Sound Effects & Comics

At the most recent TCAF, friend and fellow cartoonist Frank Cammuso and I got to talking about sound effects in comics and how they're just not used very much in the new "modern" style seen today in a lot of comics (Marvel ones in particular).

This style, which is all cinematic and photo-realistic, just doesn't lend itself to old school sound effects. I think some artists find them too cartoony - and don't fit in with the gritty, grim and dark look they're going for. To me though, this slavish devotion to realism in comics just results in sucking the life out of the drawings. It takes me completely out of the comic and the art looks dead on the page.

Frank Santoro did a recent post on this in Comics, Comics, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement with it all the way through.

Sound Effects and Joy
For me, sound effects are a great joy in comics. A great example of this of course is the spectacularly successfull Scott Pilgrim comics by Bryan Lee O'Malley. I can just picture O'Malley acting out some of the scenes and trying to figure out the funniest and best sound effect to put into a panel.

The current comic I'm working on about Canadian scientist Gerald Bull, is a historical non-fiction story, but I've found I'm using a lot of sound effects in it, and getting a big kick out of it. Do I think they take away from the story? Not at all, just the opposite in fact...

Here's a sampling from just the first few chapters...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mister Miracle & Visual Fringe

I recently finished a piece for fellow cartoonist extraordinaire Jeff Lemire, and I'm pretty happy with how it came out.
Jeff requested a drawing of Mister Miracle, a character who has a particularly tough costume to draw. So I had to pull out our Kirby Mister Miracle collection for reference, then proceeded to read it from cover to cover. I hadn't read these stories for a while (some I hadn't read at all), and they really blew me away! There's so much raw kinetic energy in Kirby's drawings that they litterally explode off of the page.

There's also so many ideas and concepts that's he's tackling. Kirby created these comics in his early 50s, and they still come across as being fresh and inspirational to me. In truth, I've fallen down a deep well of renewed Kirby love and I owe it all to you Jeff Lemire! Thanks my friend.

In Other News - Visual Fringe
Visual Fringe, the visual arts component of the London Fringe Festival wrapped up this past Sunday. I was given 6 feet of wall space in the Arts Project to play with, and I filled it up with some of my colour landscape drawings, as well as 5 comic pages. In addition, I had my comics and t-shirts available for sale. These went like hotcakes and I had to come in 3x to re-stock! Photo below of me taken by the talented photographer Jennifer Squires, who was also part of Visual Fringe.

The show was extremely well organized and I think the whole Festival is a boon to the London arts scene with theatre productions taking place all over town and troupes from all over the world coming to perform. I was really happy to participate and look forward to Fringe 2011.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Enter the Black Canary

This was a piece done for the Doug Wright Awards. They asked a few comic artists to do a DC themed image that they will auction off as a fundraiser on eBay. Other artists included are Seth, Chester Brown and Joe Ollman so I'm in good company!

UPDATE: I hear from Brad McKay from the Wright Awards, that the artwork will be the following:
Seth: Dr. Fate
Chester Brown: Batman!
Joe Ollman: The Spectre
Other entries from All-Star Canadian team include ones by Jeff Lemire, Jillian Tamaki, Lynn Johnston, Kate Beaton and Bryan Lee O-Malley!

More surprises to come!

The art will be on display at TCAF 2010 at the Doug Wright booth.

Originally, I thought I would do Plastic Man, but this is inspired by Alex Toth's Black Canary shorts in Adventure Comics (which I was flipping through). Too many lines for Toth though - sigh. He's the master of minimalism.

Can't wait to see what others come up with!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sweet Tooth & More!

The piece below is for the upcoming Sweet Tooth launch party to celebrate the release of the Vertigo tpb collection. The Book Launch will take place at the Lillian H. Smith Library in Toronto, on Wednesday, May 5th (just a couple of days before TCAF).
The piece will be part of an exhibit of over 50 pieces of original artwork from Sweet Tooth, including interpretations of Sweet Tooth’s world and characters by other fellow cartoonists including Jeffrey Brown, Matt Kindt, Ray Fawkes, and Noel Tuazon! Can't wait to see what others came up with!

I'm happy with this piece and am honoured to be a part of this. Sweet Tooth is a great book and Jeff is such a talent (plus a really great guy too). I'll be making the trip to TO for this.

Odds and Ends
  • Seth Dominion ShowI did up a piece recently for the Trouble With Comics blog on the Seth art show at Museum London. You can read it here.
  • Wolvie Drawing
    The Joe Shuster Awards featured my pic of Wolverine and did a little piece on me here.
  • Minature Show
    Am really happy to saw that I sold both my pieces that were in the Miniature show at the Art Exchange here in London, Ontario.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mighty Thor & Hazel Boswell

Couple of new updates...

Hazel Boswell - French Canada

My Grandmother had many lovely folk-art type illustrations framed in her home which depicted scenes from Quebec City where she grew up.

I grew up seeing them in her house and had a real fondness for them. When she passed away, I inherited these pictures which now hang in our house.

I realized I knew nothing about the artist, and so many years later, I still found them enchanting. Thanks to some sleuthing and trusty Google, I found they were illustrations from a book written and illustrated by Hazel Boswell called "French Canada: Pictures and Stories", and was printed in 1938.

It was very popular in its day. I tracked a copy down on Abebooks and thought I would share the wealth with scans of all the illustrations. I posted them all up at Flickr here.

Drawn even featured it as a post - yay!

The Mighty Thor!
I'm doing a lot of writing on my Gerald Bull graphic novel right now and I find it frustrating to not being doing any artwork, so I do some sketches to keep myself interesting and my skills up. Here's the Mighty Thor!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Miniature Show at the Art Exchange

The 5th Annual juried Miniature show at the Art Exchange here in London, Ont is running all this month and I have 2 pieces in it.

Muskoka Fall, $90.00 framed & matted.
Isla Mujeres Flowers, $90.00 framed & matted.

Each piece submitted needed to be just 4 x 3 inchees (hence miniature), then the pieces are matted and framed by the Art Exchange and displayed at the gallery. When I spoke to the owner he said he hoped he would have 100 pieces in total and would have room to hang up each piece.

This year there is a really nice variety of pieces including sculptures and 3D pieces. The Art Exchange has posted photos of each piece in the show on their website here.

Reception is this Friday, February 5th at 7:30 PM. Rosie and I will be there so come by and say hello!