Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Behind the Scenes - "Nesting Instinct"

I admit I have an ulterior motive here.

Usually, I would post this kind of behind-the-scenes thing on the Glyphs & Glitches blog. But if you aren't following that blog, or the Comic Blog, I want you to know what you are missing! ;-D

If you'd like to see more like this, and learn about interesting artists that visit my school, then you still have time to back my Indiegogo project. You'll also get pdfs and fun stuff throughout the year. Take a look HERE and share the link with your friends (Thanks!)

Here's a behind-the-scenes for a recent comic page, "Nesting Instinct"...

I start with a rough sketch of the panels (boxes) and what I want to happen in each box, then I begin adding more details (in pencil)...

I used to make the lines with a ruler and also rule out all the lettering guides... but now I just freehand them. Either I am lazy or I LIKE the slightly wonky look.

My favorite part is the inking. For these journal-type comics, I use a PaperMate ballpoint pen (sometimes a BIC Crystal pen). I Trace over the pencil lines, but also add more details and refine (look at the lines on the squirrel's purse). I put in some "shading" and crosshatching with the pen now - I will add more later, after the pencil is erased.

When I erase the pencil lines, some of the ink gets rubbed off too...

... so I go back in with the pen and add the dark areas and shading. Compare the acorns in the panel above, with those in the panel below...

I work in a Moleskine journal that has very thin paper and it is creme colored. The book is lightweight and convenient to carry with me everywhere. But it's a pain for scanning. If I were working on bright white paper with dark black ink and no grays... I would scan it, threshold it, and call it a day!

But I insist on doing things the hard way - and I really like the "sketchy" look of the ballpoint pen and the many grays it creates. That means that I have to eyeball it when I'm adjusting the lights and darks. I want to get rid of any stray pencil marks, but not lose the grays from the pen. Then I have to zoom in and do a lot of careful erasing and adjusting. Lastly, I'll straighten any seriously wonky panel boxes or off kilter text.

Here's the final comic page:

If you'd like to read these comics as they are posted, please back my Indiegogo campaign!
If you are reading this after it has ended, take a look at my Patreon page.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Two Great Weeks with The Kid

Lilah and I spent two weeks at the apartment in White River Junction while she did Cartoon Camp at The Center for Cartoon Studies. The camp only went until noon, so in the afternoons we...

 ... hiked down into Quechee Gorge...

 and dangled our feet in the Ottauquechee river...

... explored local shops and made new friends - this is Petey, chatting with Lilah at OODLES...

... we went Questing, also known as Letterboxing, like a scavenger hunt following historical clues..

... We discovered the Four Aces Diner - they have great pancakes and crepes - and Magic 8Balls at every table!

 ... we spent many afternoons at The Montshire Science Museum - building pinball machines...

... and boats...

... and watched Vermont artist, Dan Snow, building an incredible sculpture by the front door...

... and I saw "School of Rock" at the Northern Stage theatre - a great way to end the week.

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's a Go on Indiegogo

The Kickstarter was a success - fully funded! Indiegogo, a similar crowd-funding site, asked if I'd be willing to try out their new InDemand program. It picks up where the Kickstarter program left off.

So I have 30 more days to raise the rest of the money that I need for school! And YOU have 30 more days to back my project (if you missed it the first time) or get another Reward. ;-)

I added the Glyphs & Glitches Comic blog to the rewards as well as the new Fright Before Christmas comic book. I'm working on the Inspiration Sketchbook - Comic Boot Camp book this summer. That one will go to the upper Reward-Backers this fall.

I also just completed We Will Never Leave You - a comic interview with my inner demons. I hope to have print copies of that available by the end of the summer too. If I can get those worked out - I can test out a cool feature of Indiegogo... Secret Rewards! I'll be able to send you a special code that unlocks a Reward only you can choose.

OK - back to work!

Oh - I hope you will continue to help me spread the word about the blog project!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Solstice Sip and Paint

We've been cleaning out my mom's house for weeks. This past weekend, my sister, Jen, and her husband came up to help clear out the barn. There were tons of paint cans that needed emptying, so Jen and Brian decided to dump them on sheets of cardboard on our old sandbox.

Then Brian brought out a few bottles of Prosecco and the "clean up" became an event!

And my sister became Jackson Pollock!

And my mom showed up as the paparazzi...

And a neighbor wandered over to see what the fuss was about...

It started to look really pretty! My sister, the photographer, was in heaven.

Even her feet looked artsy!

There was a lot of depth and texture to the paintings - some of that paint was really old and thick!

Really thick!

And they tried adding cat litter - but I think that was a mistake.

When my friend Debbee, the art teacher, showed up, she was sad to have missed the paint throwing portion of the party, but had the brilliant idea of pulling prints from the splatters.

It took a few days for most of the paint to dry. We ended up cutting up the giant, very heavy pieces of cardboard, so we could drag them to the dump. I think my lawn is destroyed.

Then this painted gnu wandered into the sandbox and it looks like he left his - very colorful - contributions to what we have been calling - "the world's largest litterbox".

It was a very original way to spend the Summer Solstice, don't you think? I will never look at "Sip and Paint" Parties the same way again!

Concord Monitor Article

On Sunday, May 15, 2016, The Concord Monitor wrote an article about the Center for Cartoon Studies and an interview with me! They featured one of my comics on the main page, and the online version of the article showed more of my art as well as photos.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Cartoon School - Come With Me!

I know it's been very quiet over here in The Belfry for the past year. There's been a lot going on though!

I have one more year at The Center for Cartoon Studies and I encourage you to join me for my Senior Year.

"Year Two".

I just launched my second Kickstarter project last night. This is similar to the first one - it funds my blog - Glyphs & Glitches - which documents my adventures at Cartoon School.

If you have always dreamed of leaving your boring office job and returning to school to get your Masters in Cartooning...

OK, so maybe that's not practical for you right now - but you can still fulfill your fantasy by backing my Kickstarter project.

You'll get access to my blog - Glyphs & Glitches - where I write about all my experiences, comic projects, classes, the Visiting Artists and the mess-ups too.

But wait, that's not all... you also get PDFs of comics I create at school!

I just launched the Kickstarter last night and I have 19 days to fund the project.
If you can't back the project yourself, please help me spread the word. The link is:

Thank you!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Break!

If you are in school, and you get Spring Break, you are supposed to head to the beach, right?

I went to the Maine coast! I spent a few days hanging out at my sister's house in Bar Harbor. She's renovating a house nearby to rent as apartments in the summer. She's ripping out floors and painting...

I avoided helping, hung out in her lovely family room...

... and local cafes...

... drawing comics for school!
I wandered around town (mostly boarded up) looking at the beautiful houses.

Then I headed down to Ogunquit, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

Leprechaun traps?
 I was in desperation mode, having missed my fall ocean-fix this year (I started school!) and just standing there, looking at the waves went a long way to heal my brain.

And sitting by the fire pit drinking Salted-Caramel Bailey's with Vanilla Absolut vodka... (mmmmm!)

 My friend Debbee was able to join me for a day and the OgunquitTangle Zentangle retreat was also going on at the hotel, so I never got the chance to get lonely.

When we checked out, Debbee wrote this great entry in the room's journal:


Then we roamed around town - the chocolate shop...

And the Art Galleries...

Abacus is one of my favorites! I REALLLLLLY want this amazing cabinet. And I want to design and build a house to go with it!

I had such a wonderful vacation.
I hadn't realized how badly I needed it - as if the extreme depression I'd been experiencing wasn't a clue, right? I'd have to say that the instinct to "run away" is not something to be ignored.


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