Happy New Year!  After a long hibernation, I am again using me ol’ website to share what I’ve been working on!

First is a new idea I created (at least for my own purposes) today: instead of tossing one’s old calendar on New Year’s Day, why not collage it, peeling back the layers through the months?  This was a serendipitous innovation I came up with while tearing out significant dates I’d scrawled, and I think the Hidden Pictures Puzzle line art from Highlights serves the idea well.  What will next year’s be like?  It all depends on what kind of cheap or free calendar I acquire in the near future… 

 

And, rather symbolically are some pages of “A Face is a Place” part 2: the conclusion.  The first part was my last exhibit at the Green Hand bookstore in the summer of 2013, just before my Major Life Changes were about to take place.  I rather confidently/arrogantly had planned to release the conclusion a month following, swapping out the first part of the story featured in the exhibit for the conclusion, and a relevant zine of the show.  I was busy with summer teaching and packing (and then moving) so this ambitious plan never bore fruit.  The pages hibernated, with occasional hard work to bring them to term, yet still unfinished.  Having a young son is rich in creative play, yet has derailed my old-now-impossible method of working whenever I feel like it.  I also got typically derailed by the telltale distraction of wanting to work on something new.  It’ll be nice to get these out of my system, though it is difficult (though somewhat fascinating) to ape the work I did 3 years ago to maintain consistency for the whole story!  (The crummy, uncorrected photos serve to deter plagiarism and speed up me sticking these up online.)

GOLLY, MY “CONTACT FORMS” WERE’NT WORKING!

In the annals of things website, I never once thought to re-test the contact forms, to see if email would actually get sent to me via the site!  It worked swell when I built the darn thing, after all!  Now it’s working again, so maybe all the hordes of people actually interested in my stuff who’d tried writing to me earlier will try and write again!  I can only hope so!

MAY 4: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! (FREAK OMIC B OOKDAY!)

Wowie zowie!  It’s that time of year again, namely the first Saturday of May, wherein the publishing giants invite shops to give away free comic books!  Continuing a tradition stemming back to the earliest (probably the third one in 2004) of Free Comic Book Days, I’m  releasing a new book!  Celebrate FCBD by picking up Coelacanthid #13 at Strange Maine, Coast City Comics and Casablanca Comics (that’s the order I delivered them today) though if you want to maximize the amount of FCBD swag, I suggest the latter two.  Here is a scrappy scan of the cover:Free Cover

 

 

And, since FCBD is on “Star Wars Day,” I opted to do a quick bit of Asmwe-themed “fan-art” for the back cover.  This is extremely unlike me, since I both dislike fan-art and have gotten rather tired of Star Wars.  Nevertheless, I had fun drawing it and in researching some Wookiee pictures, even revisited the soft spot in my heart for Star Wars, and all the cool imagery and amazing production design that went into the original 3 films, before it all went to crumbs and became too serious.

Free Cover Back

Katerpillar Kard Kid

With a new website, it’s come to pass that I need a new business card with the URL of said website printed upon its surface.  It’s been in the back of my mind for a spell, now, but (thanks to prodding from the Lady Maria!) I plunged into the project on a recent snow day (a.k.a., the last day of winter!)

Since my promotional postcard (and a lot of this site) has Asmwe already, I wanted to include an image that illustrates my technique and skill in a different way, ergo demonstrating my versatility.  I wanted it to walk the dual path of science and good rendering, as well as being sublime in nature (cute and creepy at the same time) so my Brownies images came to mind.  Pilfering my own ideas, I came up with this scribble:

Katerpillar 1

 

 

After a round of doing drawings of crying baby faces, I made some full-composition thumbnails.  I didn’t think that the upper-body draped over the branch while eating would read well on a tiny little card image, so I fiddled with it,  deciding that it could only be clear by adding a second pair of arms.  Now one held him up on the branch, and the other pair holding the scrumptious leaf:

Katerpillar 2

 

(Incidentally, the thumbnail on the right looks kind of fun, kind of like a slug with a baby’s head with a rider on its back slithering up a branch.  Who knows: this might be a future drawing!) Still too cluttered, I bobbed a pair of the arms off and simplified the placement on the branch.  Here is my scrappy pencil piece:

Katerpillar 3

It was good to keep the pencils for this kind of bold and loose, since the little thing was going to be shrunk down darn small.  As such, I inked the lightbox-traced (and tweaked) pencils with brushes a couple sizes higher than usual.  Voila:

Katerpillar Kard Kid

Illustration for Tom Whitehead!

My major project spanning bits of January and February was creating art for Tom Whitehead.  You can see it here:

www.tomwhiteheadmusic.com/

I’ve known Tom for years, having been a fellow teacher at Waynflete Summer Arts and having had the pleasure of teaching his two sons cartooning back then.  Tom contacted me outta the blue seeking my services in creating Four Key images for Four of his music projects!  This incredibly prolific musical savant and all around swell guy is also a great art director!   I’ve often dealt with clients who gave the most vague of input of what they were looking for in an illustration, only to be displeased with what I’ve come up with.  Tom, on the other hand, was a dream to work with, very articulate in describing what he was after, very forward with telling me what he felt worked and didn’t work.  He was also really fast getting back to me after I’d sent him a round of sketches, so I could draw and refine stuff all over again.  Though there was a lot of hard work, it was fun to work for and collaborate with Tom.

Thanks also to ‘webmeister’ Alden Robinson for presenting my images in such a nice way on Tom’s page!

“FATE MOCK” is at Local Sprouts!

12"x12," brush and ink on Bristol Board is a frame bought at Goodwill!

12″x12,” brush and ink on Bristol Board in a frame bought at Goodwill!

If your feet are longing to traipse the vasty outsides, stop in at Local Sprouts to check out a neat-o COMICS-themed exhibit!  Sadly I missed the opening on Friday due to working my day job, but it’ll be up through the month!  I can’t wait to check it out myself, especially since two of my students, Declan McCarthy and Miles Cook have work up in it!

I made this piece specifically for the exhibit.  I’d toyed with a few ideas for a new mini-zine for this, too, but found that I was repeating myself.  In the end I made something based on the weird 12″x12″ size constraint for the show, with Crumb’s cover for the Big Brother and the Holding Company album “Cheap Thrills” in the back of my mind.

Asmwe, of course, was a good idée fixe to work with.  The Monkey with a Human Arm makes a rare appearance, probably inspired by finding the actual thing it’s based on (a modified souvenir from the Kora Temple Shrine Circus) after cleaning up!

Yep, I didn’t bother cleaning it up for presentation here!  You can even see lots of pencil lines and guideline from the Ames Lettering Guide!  Note the blurry bottom, due to the size being a bit larger than my scanner can comfortably accommodate.

 

 

 

 

Ode to the Mass Extinction of the Late Permian

Today I got a swell thank you card from my pal and colleague, Mary Anne Lloyd, for a teardrop ornament I was invited to decorate for a fundraiser for Casco Bay High School.  Yay!  She says that works by the 25 participating artists raised $1500.

Here’s an ugly quick clean-up of the scans of my contribution:

Trilobite Tears

 

This was a real head-scratcher!  A quintessential example of the challenges an illustrator must face when working toward a specific foarmay [this word was supposed to be “format” but I decided to keep cool-looking typos on my posts!] format if ever there was one.  I was rather naughty in letting this percolate in the back of me mind for about a month, rather than doing what’s natural for this sort of thing: MAKE LOTS OF DRAWINGS!  The thing -a thin little piece of unfinished wood- was so darn small that I just couldn’t bear to look at it!  Wotta crazy shape!  And wood demands to be painted, not drawn upon!  And so it sat in its envelope in a safe spot…  I started with an ugly multi-eyed, huge nostrilled thing with primary colors.  It worked on paper but was murder trying to squeeze onto this wee thing, and my scrappy painting skills were going to be challenged already.  It didn’t have the “hook” I wanted, either.  I decided to exploit my idea of using both sides further (the monster thing would have had an underside of a wrinkly-lipped mouth with rotten teeth) and thought a turtle would work for this format.  I tried shoe-horning in an alligator snapping turtle, based on one of my all-time favorite illustrations from the Golden Field Guide of Reptiles and Amphibians.  Nope: it refused to be so diminished.  On this natural sciences kick I thought of another of my old friends from such field guide illustrations, the original “Godzilla” movie, paleontology, and general love for crawly creatures, extinct or living: the trilobite!  Note the pains I took to achieve pure anatomical accuracy (guffaw!)

Of course, a straight representation of something has very little art in it, ergo the Valentine!

I wonder how much the little bug sold for in the auction…

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