Page 9, inked

All right, folks, we're getting down to the wire—but there's my last page for our Elfworld submission, right there!

Constraints: Silhouettes in every panel? Check!—even if they're tiny in panel 6. Overheard dialogue? Check!—even if it isn't very colorful ("What's going on here?"). Something concealed? Check!—as implied in the final caption of the page.

My work as a cartoonist is done here. Now I just get to enjoy my work as a kibitzer. Isaac: bring it on home with page 10!

Happy birthday to MW!

...which is to say, happy birthday to me, nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. I just had to share an image of the delightful back cover of the brand new Osamu Tezuka manga that my beloved wife Becca just gave to me as a present:


It really makes a boy feel loved. Thanks, sweetie!

ROO



2 legs draws 4 legs

Thumbnails for p. 10 (obstructed story)

Well, the deadline for Elfworld vol. 2 is supposedly December 1, so I'm going to have to scramble to get this last page finished in time. It occurred to me this morning that I haven't ruled panels onto a page since before SPX. (Yikes.) No wonder my drawing desk is so cluttered with non-drawing detritus.

Getting the thumbnails for this page has been sort of difficult. I made a first false start last week, while my students were taking a midterm. Please click to enlarge this, so you can read my draft of the script:


...But this morning I reworked the first three tiers a little bit, so I'd be able to make Stepan's walk through the shadow-realm a little clearer in "panel" 4 (actually a space between panels), and to give Stepan more room to make his (newly scripted) pronouncement about why he won't map the shadow-realm.


I'm not sure whether I'm going to keep the nod to Emily Dickinson in there -- it seems a little silly -- but I also haven't thought of a clearer way to say what Stepan means: that the real crime in mapping the shadow-realm is in forcing it to be one thing forever.

As for the constraints: as long as "panel" 4 counts as a panel, I've got three silent panels in a row. And I mean to swipe / scan images from a few different sources in panel 5, which is the one that defines the look of Serkja, where Stepan is supposed to meet Ipthorin.

Will Iphtorin still look like he has a dinosaur's head when I finally draw him? Time will tell.

Comments and suggestions are, as you know, not just welcomed but invited. By me. I invite them.

The Promised Land



Ok this is the last old piece of work i promise, everything from here on out will be new stuff, i just found a bunch of old work and decided to post it up, so deal with it. I think this is watercolor and ink. Another piece from Sophomore year of college.

MICALAND



Heres a piece i did a year and a half ago. Had to do a visual interpretation of the MICA Bubble. Ink on Gesso Board ( I woulnt recommend trying that)

Black and White Fun






Some Old Sketches i came across

More Sketchbook Fun


Sketchbook Fun


Familiar Faces





Some old faces from old Sketches and unfinished pieces. Ill post the entire one withthe bird and the miner later on.

Pizza Express Menu Cover

School Of Rock Poster



Older work which i just got back from a show in New Jersey. A poster for the Baltimore Schol of Rock, Unfortunately the poster was never used thanks to the owner of the 8x10 who did not show up to pick up the file. Thanks alot Buddy

Drucker Media Lettering 2

Pencils for p. 9 (obstructed story)


Okay, some comments and questions about the above.

Comments:

First, I plan on adding more prone shadow forms in the long fourth panel, and the panel will get lighter (fewer shadows) and more defined (sharper lines) as it moves rightward toward the glowing map, which I hope will help to spotlight Arntham's head, as well. The backgrounds in the panels with Stepan and the speaking shadows will also have some wispy undulating shapes in black, like those suggested in panel 1 and toward the middle of panel 4.

Second, I tried to make the shadows' dialogue sound less archaic; I hope that worked.

Questions:

Any recommendations for different balloon / caption placement? In panel 1, "Do I dare?" looks a bit crowded to me; I could move it to the lower right. In panel 8 (left of bottom tier), I'll probably condense the second shadow's dialogue to "You'd do this?" so that I'll have room to show Stepan's other hand. And in panel 9 (middle of bottom tier), the page number is currently a bit off-center to the left, which is good, because it's smack where I want to place the shadow's word balloon, consarn it. I plan to move it to the exact center, for consistency with the other pages, but frankly I'm not happy about the crowding in this panel.

Finally, are the background figures too small in panel 5 (left of third tier)? Tell me what I need to hear and I can adjust if necessary.

Poetry Submission Guidelines

This is a non-comics post, inspired by the stuff that kept me away from comics this weekend.

Some of you may know that, in addition to my other jobs, I am the poetry editor for Confrontation, the literary journal published by Long Island University. I've spent the weekend reading unsolicited poetry manuscripts. I probably sent out two hundred rejection slips between Wednesday and Saturday. Lots of fun, that.

In the hope that this post will occasionally get hit by a googling, would-be-publishing writer of poetry, let me suggest a few guidelines for writing and submitting poems. None of these are hard-and-fast rules, and I can't claim that Confrontation uses them as strong criteria, much less that they are universally applied. However, sticking with these guidelines may get your poems read (instead of simply discarded) by more editors.

The packet:

1. A cover letter is not your autobiography. It's good to write a sentence or two about who you are or what you have done, particularly if that informs your poetry in some way. On the other hand, telling the editor every trivial aspect of your life story only makes you seem like you crave personal attention. We don't care if you take walks with your dog, or if you recently returned from a vacation in Belize.

2. Send only a handful of poems. If you send more than four or five poems, and the first two or three don't interest me, I'm probably not reading to the bottom of the stack. Send only as many as will reasonably fit in your return envelope.

3. Submit to each magazine infrequently. There are a few people who seem to send poems to Confrontation about once a month. Sometimes they send the same poems twice, a few weeks apart. These people get read less carefully than others. Some of them are now getting their work returned unread. My rule of thumb: no more than once a year to any given magazine. But at the very least you must wait until your first submission receives some response.

The poems:

1. Justify left. Some people get the idea (from greeting cards, I think) that poems should be center-justified on the page. It's true that a poem with short lines sometimes uses a left margin that's pretty far from the edge of the page, and it's true that indentations and other typographical devices can deceive the careless eye. But very, very few serious poets have ever centered their lines on the page.

2. Put more than one word on each line. In high school, when I was first learning about poetry, I wrote a "poem" where there was only one syllable per line. (At fifteen I thought that was clever: I could put the line breaks wherever I wanted! And each new line got new emphasis!) Now I realize that the way syntax plays with enjambment is much more graceful when a line gets a chance to build up some sentence-energy before it's broken.*

3. Exclamation points should be used sparingly. Again, it's a question of the varying music of your sentences. Rules of thumb: no more than one exclamation point per poem; no exclamation points except in dialogue; no exclamation point at the end of the poem's last line. You are not Walt Whitman, and even he didn't exclaim everything.

4. Don't graphic-design your poems. I can imagine instances where graphic devices would be necessary, but they're usually used by clumsy amateurs. Clip art on the same page as a poem is a bad idea. Fancy fonts do not make your words any more poetic. Sometimes I get manuscripts in which each poem is in a different font, implying (to my mind) that they were word-processed years apart and have been living on in xerox copies since then: not a sign of careful revision practice.

5. Write about something beyond yourself. I don't mean that you can't appear in your poems. I only mean that the poems really need to have a subject beyond the ordinary events of your day and the private emotions they inspire. Describe something in the exterior world; make claims about some subject beyond you. Use language that exceeds your first conversational impulses. Consider distinct subjects and explore them imaginatively. This is the hardest rule of thumb for me to employ quickly, but it's also the source of the largest number of rejection slips.


All of these rules of thumb are based on years (yeah, yikes: more than a decade) of reading unsolicited poetry manuscripts, and identifying the surest signs of amateurish, crummy, dull, dopey, and laughable work. Any editor has to develop an intuitive rubric for sorting the slush pile: a set of guidelines that will identify work that takes no further consideration. That's what I use these rules of thumb for. They let me identify the poems that won't require more than a couple of seconds of my time.

If you are an aspiring poet who was drawn to this blog post by Google or some other means, and you're feeling discouraged, I have one encouraging rule for you. (I mean, something that will help your poems get better over time.) Though the rule has corollaries, it's essentially simple: read poetry. Read the poetry printed in books and in major magazines that are still way beyond your reach. In particular, read work that is a little bit outside your "comfort zone": something a little harder, a little more obscure, a little antique, a little unfamiliar. Buy a new book of poems every month, and devour what you buy. Write imitations; write responses; write critiques. Living an interesting life will give you good material for poems; reading published poems will help you develop the craft that turns experience into art.



*Before someone calls me on this, I should admit that I have written a poem in which a single word occupies an entire line. The poem is in syllabic meter, and one of the lines in each stanza is seven syllables long; the one-line word in question is Chroococcidiopsis.

Work in Progress




Aghh im sorry ive been so slow. The holidays have been distracting and ive got a million projects going at once. Heres alittle robot i started, hopefully will finish in the near future. Stay tuned for final updates.

Thanks Giving!

Being aware and attentive to the good things that surround us should be a daily exercise. I am, however, appreciative of this day which reminds us to be grateful. So I begin the day with a list of those things, large and small, which I give thanks for this Thanksgiving.

Love of Family
Laughter
Long Walks
NPR
Photos
Coffee
Ritual of preparing our daily dinner
Prayer
Phone calls from children and grandchildren
Mr. Tickle
Holding Hands
Tai Chi
Mystery Novels
Library
Daily Newspaper
Bananas
Baked Winter Squash with Maple Syrup
Making Chocolate Chip Pancakes for the Grandchildren
Driving to Vermont
Flying to Florida
John's Music
Dancing in the Kitchen
Poker Bluegill's Stories
Shenentaha Park
Farmer's Market
My Favorite Chair
Prayer Shawl
Paul's blanket
Dad's Rototiller
Memories
Movies
Sharing His Story
Christmas Music
Planning a Trip
Physicians Who Listen
Pastors With Passion
Retirement
etc.
etc. etc..........

THE END OF READING

OPENING STATEMENT:

Tonight I pulled into my apartment garage only to find that my parking space was taken by some asshole in a Mercedes. I had to park 4 blocks away and walk back with bags upon bags of groceries. Although that was annoying, I was quite excited to leave a note on his windshield—my very first "Hey Asshole…" note! But guess what? By the time I got back to my apartment, the car was gone. My note, full of devastating sarcasm and withering scorn, wilted in my hand, useless.

If I'm going to suffer indignities like this, shouldn't I at least get the satisfaction of bitching about it? I guess that's what this website is for…

FURTHERMORE:

A recent study shows that across the board, in all mediums, Americans are reading for pleasure less than ever before. This isn't just literature, novels, etc, this is all forms of the written word, including magazines, even the mighty Internet. (Yes, that would include even lighthearted easy-reading trifles like BurningBuilding.com)

Less than 30% of Americans said they regularly read for pleasure, down 5% since the mid 90's.

Who didn't see this coming?

In fact, 30% seems pretty high to me. I think out of pretty much everyone I know, only 3 or 4 people would be considered regular readers. Sitting down with a book is now kind of a quaint, old-fashioned novelty notion, almost an affectation, like smoking a pipe, collecting cigars, home brewing, bonsai trees, single malt scotch, and Renaissance fayres.

This is distressing to me, obviously, since 70%-80% of what I do with my life is based around writing, and therefore, by extension, reading. Am I training in an obsolete trade? Is my dream of becoming a successful writer kind of like my dream of becoming a successful blacksmith?

And, what exactly is causing this decline in literacy? The obvious answer is not enough "Reading is FUN" posters in our libraries. How are people supposed to know if they're not told? I think if the statistics were examined you would find a very clear link between the decline of Elijah Wood "Reading is Hobbit-Forming!" posters and the decline of American reading. But although this is certainly a major contributing factor, there must be others, because I've viewed my fair share of pro-reading advertisements, and even I find myself reading far less than I used to. What is going on? Let's take a look at a few of the elements of modern society that are edging out the written word…


Television

Low cost and ease of production for reality shows featuring attractive, vapid automatons in crude parodies of life situations allows for vast explosion in quantity of TV shows, with each channel boasting dozens of similar shows, each with its own spinoffs, knockoffs, and webisodes, until total psychological saturation is achieved. All available brain space is filled with the televised thoughts of attractive, vapid automatons.

Beowulf: the IMAX 3D Experience

CGI animated film hurls arrows, spears, axes, blood, guts, and naked Angelina Jolie directly at the viewers, completely blowing our minds and making us never want to read, write, talk, or walk around ever again.

Straight to Video Knockoff Films

Having already watched every other film in Blockbuster, people turn to low-budget, nearly-homemade films released to coincide with similarly named, similarly themed theatrical films, ie, Transformers / Transmorphers, Beowulf / Beowolf, etc.

Video Blogs (See Youtube)

Weary of ingesting the inane thoughts of strangers by reading them in written text form, Americans turn to video blogs, or "Vlogs", where they can listen to the inane thoughts of strangers while watching their faces from an uncomfortably close camera angle, and randomly assigning them celebrity status by public whim.

Sports/Video Games

Competitive entertainments allow bored Americans to work their reflexes and mental dexterity without actually doing anything, feel part of something without actually being part of something. People flock to Sports/Video Games as an outlet for their personal energies and as a general mental anesthesia. Helps relieve pressure of disposable income and time.

Youtube

Endless supply of videos where lightsabers have been digitally placed in the hands of people or animals who were not previously holding lightsabers.


THERE SEEMS TO BE A TREND HERE, ISAAC.

Oh yeah? What is that?

A TREND, IN THIS SENSE, IS A MOVEMENT OF SOCIETY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, A BUILDING TOWARDS SOME NEW PARADIGM OR AESTHETIC, NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH A "FAD", WHICH IS A SOCIAL PHENOMENA USUALLY CENTERED AROUND SOME POPULAR NEW ACTIVITY OR PRODUCT, SUCH AS THE CURRENT FAD OF THE "MACARENA" DANCE STEP ROUTINE AND "RAY BAN" BRAND SUNGLASSES.

Blue Space, I know what a trend is. I meant what is the trend you're seeing here?

AS PART OF THE GENERAL MOVEMENT AWAY FROM DIFFICULTY AND TOWARDS EASE AND INSTANT GRATIFICATION, HUMANITY SEEMS TO BE TRYING TO AVOID EVEN THE DIFFICULT SENSES. THE POPULARITY OF VIDEO BLOGS SHOWS THAT PEOPLE WOULD MUCH RATHER HAVE INFORMATION POURED INTO THEIR BRAIN THROUGH THEIR EARS THAN HAVE TO FOCUS THEIR EYES ON LETTERS AND ATTEMPT TO COMPREHEND WRITING. IS THE DAY TOO FAR OFF WHEN EVEN LISTENING TO INFORMATION IS CONSIDERED TOO MUCH EFFORT? TOO DULL, TOO SLOW?

That day will probably arrive just in time for the invention of direct-to-brain connections, so that entertainment won't require us to use our senses at all, it will just be dumped directly into our minds in a big, sticky, informationy gob. An entirely new form of blog will appear, the "brain log", or….blog. Hmm.

BRLOG?

Brailg?

HMM.

Hmm.

Thumbnails for p. 9 (obstructed story)

Our penultimate page. Stepan has just been transported to the shadow world by the shadow whom he bound to his will. But he had also agreed to turn the shadow loose in exchange for the journey. And so:

1) The once-kneeling shadow (Shadow 1) is now on his feet.
Shadow 1: Release me!
Caption: Do I dare?

2) The shadow has grown larger, more shapeless.
Caption: Do I have a choice?
Stepan: I'll keep my word, shadow. You're free!

3) The shadow is now huge, threatening, but Stepan is uncowed.
Stepan: Now—where's Arnthan?
Shadow 1: You don't command me now, boy—
Voice off-panel (Shadow 2): A MISTAKE!
NB: Shadow 2's panel has a distinctively wispy border throughout.

4) From far left, Shadow 1 and Stepan gaze at the ruin of the shadow world, which grows lighter and more fixed in shape as it moves to the right of the page. At the extreme right, we see Artham's once-again disembodied head on the ground. Glowing at the center of the wreckage is the map. A few pale shadow forms lie prone. Closer to Shadow 1 and Stepan is Shadow 2, a stricken look on its face.
Shadow 1: What—What's going on here?
Shadow 2: We've made a dreadful mistake!
Stepan (in the clutch of Shadow 1, looking at the disembodied head): Arntham!

5) In a wispy-bordered caption, Shadow 2 explains what happened while a borderless panel depicts what he describes. (NB: An alternative to this panel follows the script below.)
Shadow 2: We thought the danger lay in the mapmaker, so we slew him on arrival—

6)Close-up on the map, aglow and destructive, while Shadow 2's panel tails off-panel.
Shadow 2: —But the threat is in the map itself! We brought it here, and now it's petrifying everything!

7) Shadow 1, one arm still clutching Stepan, gazes determinedly at the wrack and ruin while Shadow 2 looks distraught. Stepan is tugging to remove Shadow 1's grip.
Shadow 1: Then we must destroy it!
Shadow 2: But it's deadly to our kind! You cannot go near it!

8) Stepan holds Shadow 1's arm away from him and stands freely. The shadows listen to him speak.
Stepan: But I can. What's more, I can consume it utterly with my magic.
Shadow 2: You would do this?

9) Stepan looks at the first, threatening shadow, whose hand now rests gently on Stepan's shoulder.
Stepan: I'll save your home, and I pledge to protect it hereafter. I only ask for Arntham's head and safe conduct back to my world.
Shadow 1: I give you my word, boy.

10) Stepan, silhouetted himself by the glow of his magic, is viewed from behind as he destroys the map.
Upper caption: My magic takes the map away...
Lower caption: ...but it gives me something in return.

*******
Okay, here's the alternative for panel 5:
The text is the same. The scene sets the two shadows and Stepan in the distance looking at the reader. In the extreme right foreground: Arntham's head. Poking into the extreme left foreground: the fingers of one of Arntham's dismembered hands. Never the twain shall meet!
****
Okay, the constraints. I had to have a silhouette in every panel. With my shadowy men on their shadowy world, that's easy. I also had to use found art or found dialogue. Since I want Isaac to have a chance to use one of those awesome Basque folklore characters on page 10, I tried to find some usable found dialogue. Folks—not easy! Either the crowds I was in were too loud actually to make out intelligible speech or what was intelligible was too contemporary and specific to be of use. (Washington politics and synagogue gossip have no place in this story!) Believe it or not, the best I could do was "What's going on here?"—genuine overheard dialogue, just not very colorful. C'est la guerre.

Finally, I had to conceal something that will be revealed by Isaac on the final page. It's good and concealed, all right, as the concealing is entirely suggested by Stepan's final caption. The constraint didn't specify a concealed object, after allso Stepan is concealing some information.

Anyway, that's what I've got. Isaac: you're left with found art and a wordless sequence, and I reckon you've got to get Stepan (and Arntham's head) back home. Everybody: feedback very welcome!

Gigantism in The Family Circus

A couple of days ago on the Comics Curmudgeon site, a commenter pointed out that in that day's Family Circus--

-- "Jeffy is barely four hands high. Or does Big Daddy Keane have a scorching case of gigantism?"

Well, today's panel seems to have cemented the fact that the Keane parents are gradually growing, like Alice in the White Rabbit's house, not only beyond the proportions of their huge-headed children, but indeed beyond the scale of their strangely empty suburban domicile:

I have taken the liberty of eliminating Billy from today's cartoon, since he wasn't doing anything interesting.

Workspace Shot




Sorry its been a slow day, no finished piece today, but here a quick glimpse of things to come. stay tuned for finished product.

Robot Sketch 2



Not the most eye pleasing sight i know, but heres the start of yet another robot sketch from class today. Maybe youllsee him back again at some point.

Animal Playing Card design




Heres some ideas for animal playing cards. They are supposed to be irreversible(they only go one way), and instead of suits there are different catagories of animals. (woods, farm, snow, and water) Heres 2 samples. the 5 of farm and the 10 of woods. the joker would be mythalogical creatures such as the jersey devil and sasquatch.

Day it Rained Gumrops Pages 1+2





Heres a 2 page spread fom the book i have written and am currently working on illustrating. The page number will be in the gumrops an the next for page one will be on the left.

Awesome Cartoons of Basque Folklore Characters

My friend, former student, and sometime Satisfactory contributor Grace Meng, that epicurean Korean, has been traveling around in Spain and, recently, in Basque Country. I've been enjoying her food-blog, One Fork, One Spoon, since she was in Oaxaca (a totally different cuisine, there). Reading her food notes in my RSS reader, I've felt like I've been in touch with her, even though she hasn't had a stable address to which I can send postcards.

Well, when I checked the mailbox today, I found a real treat: a postcard from Grace covered with a complicated, detailed, and really lively set of little cartoon drawings of strange, fantastical figures. The only English printed on the card identifies them as "Folklore characters in the Basque Country." In Spanish, all we get is "Personajes del folklore vasco."

But there's lots of Basque on the card, as you can see if you click to enlarge this image.

Of course, I can't make head or tail of it. That's the astounding thing about Basque: no cognates; no kinship to any other living language. I bet even Mike, with all of his linguistic smarts, can't crack the code here.

But I'm sure we can enjoy these cartoons. In fact, since Jesse Reklaw insists that we use a found image for one of our last panels in the story we're working on, I think this postcard might turn out to be useful to us. Or, maybe, we'll just enjoy the cartoons.

My favorite in the bunch might just be this guy, who I think is named "Katximorro."

He'd be funny even if he weren't swinging a bunny by the ears.

On the other hand, I'm also really pleased with this hairy, horned heap: "Hartza"?

Boy, these are fun.

The card says that was designed by La Fábrica de Dibujos ("The Drawing Factory"), in Pamplona, for Kukuxumusu (what a great name!), and I'm linking to their website, even though I haven't explored it much yet, just because I feel a little guilty appropriating their stuff without being able to read it.

GEAK!

This Halloween, I took a rather DIY approach to my costume, although I drew the line at fabricating my own plastic lobster from scratch. But if I had wanted to take a ready-made approach to my art, there were some great options this year. Consider the following costume package, which was brought to my attention (and bought for me from Goodwill) by Burning Building contributor Steven Aguilar.

Behold:


I'll give you a moment to take it all in.



So, let's examine this.

GEAK
Instant

Not "Instant Geak" mind you, but "Geak Instant". Sounds kinda prosey, almost, like, "...and in that geak instant, he realized that he did not know how to spell basic words..."
(Actually, that's very close-minded and xenophobic-American of me, "geak" is probably the European spelling)

So what we have here are glasses, ugly teeth, and a bow tie, or "Cravat" as the package calls it. And in the middle, we have a little carboard square with a bold-font description of the costume. There it is, right there in the package: EACH KIT OF TOOTH THING OF THE BIG IN SIMPLETON

Ahem.

Ok. So, is this some kind of word-puzzle? A bonus word-scramble game included with the costume? Let's move on.

So we've seen the very perplexing front of the package. Let's turn it around to see if there's anything there that might enlighten us.

The back of the package is blank white cardboard with the following astonishing description, reproduced here, I swear to God, verbatim, with key passages in bold:

Important information of the product:

Dasini MAKEUP can use for every occasion (Disco, Vocal concert) sports events (football team, baseball team) and other feast day (All Saints Day, Dionysia, Easter Sunday) soiree, it will give you create the infinite vital force, there are colors to suit pretty well every time, have a lot of fun for you and your friends. Get creativity with this fun makeup--your designs can be as simpLe or intricate as you like! Exert your creativity, creat inDiVidual designs! Everything you need to create yourself.

I almost have no words right now.

So, basically...let me see if I've got this right. This Geak Simpleton costume has colors to suit pretty well every time. So, therefore, if I'm sitting there in church on Easter Sunday dressed as a Geak, or I'm in ancient Greece in the temple celebrating Dionysia dressed as a Geak, or maybe I'm just enjoying a vocal concert or a football team (or baseball team!) dressed as a Geak, no matter what the circumstance, my creative individual designs made with this set of glasses, teeth, and Cravat, will give me create the Infinite Vital Force.

AWESOME.

So, let's see if it works shall we? I open the package and immediately put on the bowtie/cravat. I'm feeling Geakier already. Next I put on the teeth. They feel exactly like those things they put on you at the dentist for administering Apple Cinnamon flavored Flouride Gel. They most assuredly contain high levels of lead-based paint. Next I examine the "nerdy glasses". But as you may have noticed in the picture, these glasses look nothing like their Geak example photo. They are not big horn rim glasses with tape in the middle, they're actually just black sunglasses with shaded lenses. They are in fact, Cool Shades! So, here is the finished product:


Here we have it. Not so much a geak, in my opinion. More like a classy-dressing Orc with very tiny Cool Shades, on his way to a Hollywood afterparty.
But what's that...? That feeling...rising up from the deepest depths of my being...Is it...? Yes! It's the INFINITE VITAL FORCE! The costume works! The power is mine! I will live forever, or something! Thank you, Geak Instant! Now I have everything I need to creat myself!

BE CAREFUL, ISAAC. I HAD THE INFINITE VITAL FORCE ONCE, AND AS YOU MAY RECALL I ACCIDENTALLY BECAME ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE AND DESTROYED YOUR WEBSITE.

Oh I remember, Blue Space. But I will not suffer the same fate. My mind is far more powerful than yours, I can easily contain the raging energies of the Infinite Vital Force without losing control and becoming an insane and destructive cosmic entity like you did.

....

What? You don't think I can?

WELL, ISAAC, I'M NOT SAYING YOU ARE NOT A REASONABLY SMART HUMAN FELLOW, BUT THE INFINITE VITAL FORCE IS VERY...FORCEFUL. IT OVERCAME ME, AND I'VE HAD THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH COSMIC ENERGIES. YOU'VE HAD...25 YEARS EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH...WELL, NOTHING.

Blue Space! You mock my powers! I possess the I.V.F! I will make an example of you that will cause future civilizations to tremble!

HOW?

By smiting you! With allergies! Allergies to cashews!

I DON'T EVEN LIKE CASHEWS.

And you better not ever change your mind! Because you will get such a rash!

I HAVEN'T EATEN A CASHEW SINCE I WAS 450. I HATE CASHEWS. THEY HAVE A GREASY, SICKLY-SWEET FLAVOUR.

Blue Space, you're disrespecting my new godlike status. I will not allow your impertinence to go unpunished, ok? I'm going to bring in a third party to deliver your punishment, someone who you will know means business.

WAIT. DONT.

Blue Space, present your defense to the ultimate judge of humanity, Senator Pablo McDougal.

hello from again a lot of time!! It has been a forever to the last time we talked, Isaac and Blue Spaces! Coming out for retirement of one lasting heist! REally? Yes!! it was true!

I AM NOT TALKING TO YOU.

laughlaughlaugh, Blue Space is always for a joking, just like somone who makes many joke! But funny times are short supplies now, since I was inviting here to provide a special punishing to stupid dumb blue talking guy. I will do it! Punishment was always my stock in trades! Just ask my Russian Bride! laughlaugh, laughing. Make domestic abuse, not war! it is for much better than conflicts in the middle East!!

THIS IS EXCESSIVE, ISAAC. PLEASE TAKE HIM AWAY.

i will always take Inifite Vital Force, and destroy many preconceptions about myself, as well as homes and civilians! haha, not a truism, I am never killing people because it is up against the law. If not--I make killing all the time instead of watch TV! hahaha, for much more realism than TV action show. Do you know?? it is a bad shame that things are unlegal. Everything fun is not allowed!!! it is a complaint that I have. Any way, now I am arranged to control Infinite Vital Force and strike down Blue Face, because to do Isaac's request! Get arranged, Blue Face! Arrange yourself to be punish of severity!

I'M LEAVING. I DON'T KNOW WHY I EVEN COME HERE. THE PAY IS NOT WORTH THE COMMUTE, MUCH LESS THE PARKING FEES, MUCH LESS THE ACTUAL WORK.




Hmm. He left, Pablo.

A good punishing was delivered promtply! Within 2-6 business days? Of course!! Blue Face was made to disappear, who knows what happened to his! probablhy very bad, we can hope!! maybe hit by a fast truck walking over street! We can hope he became killed!

Well, I guess this can count as a punishment. Thanks Pablo.

welcome to you're welcome, Isaac!!!!1! I am to go back to Senate now, my job is to be the Senator for the Washingtown state, it is the best of work, because i am always for getting money and buying cars of extreme expense! BMU sport car and sometimes Peace Car, the most expensive car made for Peace Symbol! S-Class! Animal skin on all seat and surface, of course, black interior. Respect my roots, like for the hippie movement I always supported. Senator is distantly better than grocery store clerk, way higher money and no one bothering me when make angry love with Russian Bride on Senate Floor. You know the phrase to be said, "When Senate Floor is a-rocking, don't come nearby!" hahahahaha, laugh.

Goodbye Pablo. Always good to see you.

Oops!

Two Evenings with Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, & Chris Ware

On Thursday and Friday, I was privileged to attend evening events here in Washington that only boosted my admiration for excellent cartoonists. Friday night, the PEN/Faulkner Organization hosted an event at the DC Jewish Community Center featuring three outstanding cartoonists in conversation with Chicago-based writer Dan Raeburn, whose self-published critical zine The Imp offered some of the finest writing available on such diverse cartoon topics as the works of Jack Chick, Chris Ware, and Mexican comics (the world awaits the book edition of Dan's work, the forthcoming The Imp of the Perverse). Chris Ware himself was one of the outstanding cartoonists in question, and he was joined by Lynda Barry and Alison Bechdel. Each cartoonist spoke over a slide-show presentation of his or her work, then they joined Raeburn on stage for a moderated discussion before taking questions from the audience. All three cartoonists spoke eloquently and hilariously, and Chris Ware movingly read from a letter of encouragement Lynda Barry had sent him at the start of his career.

Thursday night offered a related event, a welcome dinner for the cartoonists that was open to ticketed guests. The cartoonists did not have to speak formally at this event, though in fact all of them were quite approachable and open about their work. The only threat to the evening's relaxed festivities was the planned programming, a brief chat about comics and graphic novels in the classroom featuring a panel of local comics scholars: Marc Singer (Howard University professor and former executive director of the International Comic Art Forum), Mike Rhode (an editor for the International Journal of Comic Art and the forthcoming Harvey Pekar: Conversations, and proprietor of the ComicsDC blog), and yours truly (!). Yes, I got to gas off about comics for twenty minutes or so in front of the likes of Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, and Chris Ware. It's probably a good thing the stage lights meant we couldn't see anybody listening to us!

At any rate, there's a lot I want to share about both evenings, but I'll be doling it out over the next week or so. I still have page 9 of the Elfworld story to work on, and much else besides! But in the meantime, I recommend Mike Rhode's blog post about the Thursday night event, where he shares some of the cartooning secrets that Lynda Barry brought up. (And if you're really curious, you can also find another link at that link for a downloadable recording of our panel, but not, alas, the Friday night panel.)

Much more to come next week. Stay tuned!

Robot study




This one might get reworked shortly.

Mathematical Man



This was a painting started sophomore year of college, just finished it today. Finally.

Robot Battle Concept sketch



Pelim sketch for a large painting in the near future. Going to be intense

Jesse Reklaw's Constraints to Us (pp. 9-10)

Matt Madden unfortunately had to bow out from writing our last five constraints for this story, because he has a lot of other things going on for the next couple of weeks, and we're feeling uncharacteristically uptight about our deadlines. He suggested that we contact our friend and comics guru* Jesse Reklaw as a backup, and Jesse was good enough to provide us with a few fairly challenging rules for the home stretch of our story.

Here's what he's going to require us to do:

"1. Silhouettes. Incorporate a silhouette into every panel on the page. By silhouette, I mean either a solid black shape on white ground, or a solid white shape on black ground. The silhouette could be the foreground, middle ground, or background. If you want, you could use silhouettes in half the panels on the first page, and half the panels on the second page—in fact, I think that might look better. But it's your choice.

"2. Found art. The picture in one panel must be from a found source—drawn or photographed by someone else.

"3. Concealment. Something must be concealed on the first page that is revealed on the second page. Whoever goes first can't tell the other what is concealed! (So, the "revealer" might be revealing something that wasn't necessarily concealed by the "concealer.")

"4. Found dialog. An exchange of dialog overheard in real life must be incorporated into the story.

"5. Wordless. A sequence of at least three panels must use no words: no captions, dialog, thought balloons, etc. You can have signage in the background, though that's slightly cheating."

He adds this, as a postscript: "I tried to think of something involving a map, since that's what the story's about, but I couldn't. I just kept thinking of that great example in Matt's Exercises in Style where the comic is actually a map. Maybe you could reference that comic, as a bonus constraint, and as a salute to Matt, since he was your intended constrainer."

Those are some pretty good constraints: tough without being impossible. I think I can see a way to reference Matt's map-comic on p. 10, and I imagine Mike can see a way to satisfy the first constraint on p. 9. Expect to see some thumbnail sketches for the last two pages soon! Mike's up first.


*Seriously, some time I mean to make a post about how influential and inspirational Jesse was in our early decisions about making minicomics. I've got a lot to say about it. But this isn't the post for that.

A Look Back!

A click on the link below should take you to Teacher Tube and a video based on the Billy Joel song, "We Didn't Start The Fire". The images and words brought back a lot of memories for me of the turbulent times I've lived through.
http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=f061977fb2f7ba36d74d

Day of The Dead: Poster



Apologies for the quality again, too big to scan. One of these days ill set up an official shoot and shoot some high quality images of the work. When i have spare time.

Happy Halloween



Sketch Book Work For a Good Friend

The Day it Rained Gumdrops:Cover




sorry for the quality..scanner isnt big enough for this one. Revised book cover

TIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE LIVING

If you would please direct your attention to the sidebar. You'll notice something so fun, you won't know how to do anything but soil yourself. It's Email subscription. Please enter your email address into the white box. This will cause you to receive a friendly notice every time a new Burning Building entry is posted. Allowing you to keep up with the times, like never before. Thank you.

The halloween costume poll has closed. As I suspected, it appears that by far the sexiest thing a man can be is Unavailable. "Sensitive Guy" is a close second. Contrary to common thought, "Rich Guy" came in dead last with only 1 vote, trailing behind "Giant Penis". It looks like the ladies and homosexuals of our readership almost have their priorities right.

I'm at a Starbucks right now supervising a visit, and I'm looking at a "Climate Action NOW" (CAN) poster, which is saying to "reduce carbon", and then offering a series of icons explaining how to do this. Regarding your habits at home, it instructs you to "Keep it Cool" (KIC)


55 degrees? Really? I guess I'm going to need to start wearing warmer clothes while lounging around the house. Nothing says "relaxing Sunday morning" like a warm cup of coffee enjoyed through the sight-hole of a fur lined tundra coat.
The other suggestions are car-related. First is "Inflate Tires" (IT)


With inflated tires, not only will you get better gas mileage, you'll also avoid those annoying showers of sparks from the bare wheel rims grinding on the pavement. Good advice I guess but I mean…Isn't this kind of a no-brainer?

Next is "Don't Idle" (DI)


This may be confusing at first as one wonders, how can I keep from idling? Won't I have to idle any time I come to a stoplight or get stuck in traffic? I think the suggestion here is that if those situations arise, you should not stop at all. That's right, just keep right on driving at posted speed limits. With luck, you will be able to push the other cars out of the way and keep driving at maximum fuel efficiency. But if not, you will most likely just get in a horrific auto crash, destroying your smog-belching vehicle (good) or killing yourself. (best)

The final suggestion is "Plan Your Trip" (PYT)


As best I can interpret the icon, the idea is, with your destination in mind you leave your house on a bike. At some point you abandon your bike and continue on foot. Halfway there, hijack a car and drive the next 1/4 of the trip. At the three quarter mark, find a bus, load your car onto the bus's "car rack", and continue the rest of the way by bus. This is called "Planning Your Trip", (PYT) and it is just one of the many ways you can Care About Our Planet (CAOP) or whatever. (CAOPOW)