After finishing my S&S pages last night, I felt like painting on our cintiq so here it is... another version of the chapter 1 cover for Reman Mythology. I was going to use it as a mock-book cover, but it really doesn't embody the story of the first book well enough. So, it fullfills its purpose as just somethin' to paint on the cintiq. I also want to do a painting of Ellon from S&S sometime. I'm a little frustrated with Reman Myth right now, I'm finding it difficult to tap into that world after spending so much time away from it despite desperately wanting to write it again. It's hard to fully delve into it while I'm still working on a story that takes place in the modern world. Comics is such a tedious process, although enjoyable. I can't help but feel sometimes, though, that RM should be written in prose. If only I was a better writer! Ah well... I'd better just stick to my plan. In the mean time I still have another 100 pages of S&S to draw while I give all this stuff more careful thought.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Friday, December 8, 2006
Food From The Sea preview
Click above for a six-page preview of "Food From The Sea"!
So... I have a livejournal account. I have a deviantart site. Why do I have all these things when I have a site of my own?! I'm going to try to find a way to put comments on here and focus more on this website.
Found out today that The Golden Compass movie site is now up. I'm giddy with excitement, and it's so rare for me to feel that way these days! Well... except for Zelda: Twilight Princess and I guess that wasn't too long ago... =P
Finished up two more pages of chapter three for S&S2 today (check out Josh's new design...!), so I'm gonna go play some Wii tennis before hitting the sack. Life is good. =)
Monday, November 27, 2006
Food From the Sea is done
I feel like I just ran a mini-marathon with this, but I finally finished my Food From The Sea story for Flight vol. 4 with the above cover image done today.
Making this story was very important to me for many reasons, not only because the fable I conjured reflects feelings I have about the comic industry, my professional life, and the way people interact in general. But because it encouraged me to have faith in my own abilities, and to understand that I hadn't "lost it" while working on Sorcerers & Secretaries. "It" meaning my inner fire that loves writing about broader issues that have to do with things greater than simple love stories. Despite trying my best to inject S&S with personal things that I certainly enjoy and morals that I feel are important, I do miss drawing more mythological settings and trying my best to tap into themes that are larger than life. Or at least... that feel larger. I love romantic comedies, and I love the little world I created with Sorcerers. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that's itching to dive back into some real epic fantasy! But I think if you've been reading my blog that's kind of a given. Doing this short story relieved some of that tension, so I'm grateful for the experience. I can say confidently that it really is one of the best things I've ever done.
Alas, more lessons to learn as a comics monk. Graphic novels require patience, and my editor and the people at Tokyopop have been more than patient with me! Despite Food From The Sea putting a bit of a dent in my S&S production schedule, I have enough time to catch up and continue to the end on time. The lovely script is waiting, and it is lovely. The only thing that's still up in the air is the ending of book 2. I have several different endings written out, each one conclusively satisfying but each one leaving the reader with a different feeling. I'm saving my choice for when I get there. I'll let the story decide which ending is right.
I'll also post some preview pages for Food From the Sea soon...
Today, Kazu found out that his godfather Juni passed away. I'm eternally grateful to the man for being a positive influence on Kazu as a person, and inspiring him with all kinds of great cartoon and animation books at a young age, so I feel like his actions are still affecting us in a way. Thank you, Juni, for looking after Kazu.
Life otherwise is generally good. The wedding dress is indeed ordered, and it's beautiful. Kazu's finger is healing okay for those interested! And Kazu's Amulet is about the most wonderful intermediate fantasy I've seen since A Wrinkle In Time. I may be biased (heh heh~), but I really really can't wait to have that book in my hands and also to see what other people think of it. I don't think any one person has made a comic this grand before, and I think it'll blow people away!
Also... we got a Christmas tree! It's fake, of course, but we had a ton of fun decorating it and putting it up the day after Thanksgiving. The star on the top reminds us of The Golden Compass, so we get all giddy looking at it. Well, I do at least!
Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Life is a bowl of cherries
sometimes making comics feels like this:
but at this very moment, I feel more like this:
It's the first time I spent all day in the house in a while, I kind of forgot what it's like! Things have been busy with travel, guests, and "Food From The Sea". I have nine pages left to color for the beast, then it's back to easy-as-pie black and white S&S! It's taking me forever, but I feel like I'm learning a lot.
Thanks to everyone that stopped by to say hello at Stumptown, Portland was a lot more fun this time around without the pressure put on the city to be the best place to live. It was great seeing everyone, and seeing some of them AGAIN for the amazing 3 Trees/3 Flowers show at Nucleus. The turnout for the show was amazing and I had a wonderful time. Everyone staying at our place and everyone I met at the show (and afterwards) were such sweet and talented people. I still get all mushy when I think about how awesome everyone was and how lucky I am to meet them. I even got to play Mariokart with Tadahiro Uesugi (click the illustration link at the bottom. You won't regret it.)!
It's always bittersweet when new and distant friends come and go, but I'm also grateful for the short time I have to do work before I have to leave for four days to visit family. Hopefully by the time I get back, my wedding dress will be ordered!
Speaking of ordering, everyone should go order Jen Lee Quick's "Off*Beat" Vol. 2. The story just gets better and better! In the mean time, enjoy these photos. Time for some sleep so I can get up early and paint more fish!
click here for pics of Stumptown (courtesy Erika)
click here for pics of the 3 Trees/3 Flowers show (courtesy Vera)
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Still painting "Food From The Sea" and still having a blast with it.
Kazu and I will be at Stumptown Comics Fest 2006, Friday and Saturday Oct. 28-29th, table #57. Hope to see some of you there! I'll have copies of Sorcerers & Secretaries 1 with me, and maybe some prints. Maybe... We're not planning on moving to Portland like last time we visited, but it'll still be fun to see everyone and visit the rustic city that it is. Looking forward to seeing some nice foliage!
In my effort to have a "balanced" life, I'm going to turn off the computer and stop working for the day. Instead, I'll be rewatching Peter Pan. We'll see if I still like it. =P
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Working on Flight, June's 12 Days
Been working on painting Food From The Sea for the past couple days. For the longest time I had this gripping fear of painting. Granted, painting on Photoshop is really different from real paint, but I mean I just had a fear of color in general. I was so down on my own coloring skills, I even pretended to think that black and white comics are superior to color back in college! I don't want my feelings of self-doubt to get in the way of broadening the tools at my disposal for comics, like coloring. And I discovered it really doesn't take me that much longer to paint a page than it does to tone a page at the level of detail that RM is. Lesson? Put doubt to the side and just dive into whatever artistic realm you think you have no skill for! If you don't try, you'll never learn. Of course, it does help to have someone like Kazu and Chris watching me over the shoulder too... still. It was my doubt that kept me from even trying in the first place.
Also, everyone should read this interview with friend and fellow SVA cartooning grad, June Kim! Her first graphic novel ever, 12 Days, finally comes out November 7th. Even though she's a friend, I'm a huge fan of her work simply as a fellow artist admiring another professional. Her linework is impeccable, and her panel layouts, pacing, and mood are excecuted with care and purpose. You can pre-order the book on Amazon to show her your support.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Chapter 2 done
I've finally finished chapter 2 of book 2. I loved drawing it because as you can see above, the romance really lights up and keeps building until the tumultuous end (that's the plan, anyway!). At the Comics Factory I asked a girl working there for a shojo recommendation. Of all the ones she mentioned, Mars seemed to be what I was most looking for so I could study more emotive panel layouts. It was just what the doctor ordered so I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Thank you Comics Factory girl!
In general I've been trying to lead a more balanced life. My usual day consists of a variation of walking, cooking, playing Zelda: Minish Cap, watching movies, and going to the gym. Not sitting down to work until 3-5pm, I still managed to draw two pages a day on average. The hard part is keeping it consistant, but taking lots of breaks and keeping the stress level down keeps me floating. Also, it helps a lot that the script is really fun to work on. I look forward to it every day.
Today Nucleus employee Victor, Aya Kondo, and I visited the best museum so far in LA (I have yet to go to the Getty). The Norton Simon Museum feels like a mini version of The Met, with an impressive collection for such a cozy building including Rubens, Goya, a gorgeous Degas collection, and Picasso. Not to mention the Southeast Asian section, filled with beautiful sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist mythological figures.
The best part was actually discovering Hokusai's work in the museum's gift store. I snatched up one of the many books they had about his illustrations. I've already devoured the book two times now and each image still feels fresh. It really makes me want to paint more! I have a feeling the book will be feeding my inspiration for a while.
I also have been going through the Little Mermaid dvd, which is still an awesome movie. The extras are great, I especially love the gallery of the 1940s storyboards and I loved "The Little Matchstick Girl" short. But all the making-of documentaries and tidbits about Hans Christian Andersen's life were awesome. If you haven't gotten the dvd yet, you really should.
By the way, as if you didn't get enough of me from the broken frontier interview, there's another interview with me over at animeboredom.co.uk for those who are interested.
Well... tonight was a long night. It's 5am now... time to go to sleep and start fresh in the morning. Hopefully these past two days of finishing touches will allow me to get back into my effort of being more balanced! Oh wait... there's still Food From The Sea to paint before the end of the month. Ah well... it'll be fun! I really love spending time in that world. =)
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Broken Frontier interview
Just a heads up, there's a long interview with me on brokenfrontier.com about Sorcerers & Secretaries and life in general. Neil Figuracion stopped by studio Amzu one day with recorder in hand and asked me a series of great questions. The answers are written from the recording, so excuse my bad speaking habits of stopping in mid-sentence and jumping from topic to topic!
note: At the end I say the book comes out in January, that's incorrect. It's actually scheduled for a June 2007 release.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Time to indulge in a little book report...
This book is excellent. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Maybe it's because I can relate it to it on many levels, maybe because it takes place in Syracuse, but I found Laurie Halse Anderson's book "Speak" to be more inspirational than anything I've read or seen in a long time.
The story is about a girl named Melinda who puts on a self-imposed silence during her freshman year of high school in an effort to stamp out a traumatizing incident from the summer before. It isn't until she can identify what happened to her and come to terms with it that she refinds her voice and her sense of self-worth. Told in first person, the mystery of what happened unfolds as the character herself slowly gathers up the courage to face it directly along with the reader. Anderson portrays the hyper-sensitivity of teenage life and high school in America in a clear and understanding tone without any trace of cycism or condescension. The tale also unfolds over the course of one year in Syracuse, a city not too far from my hometown of Rochester, so there's wonderful descriptions of the change of seasons and it reflects Melinda's growth.
It's been a long time since I sat down to read a prose book and finished it in one sitting. Granted Speak isn't a very long book, but these days with my brain being completely crammed with comics and the internet it's saying a lot! There's a tenderness, understanding, and genuine desire to express something in Speak that I've kind of forgotten since I've been trying to slowly figure my way around a graphic novel career. There's so much talk of marketing, target audiences, surface appearances, and sales sometimes the reasons why I became an artist in the first place gets drown out by the noise of practical application. While the practical side is necessary, the most difficult challenge I find for myself these days is getting in touch with that emotional and expressive side that's so essential for good art (or at least what I consider good art).
To me, a piece of entertainment is nothing if it doesn't express a genuine and well understood statement that the author has a passion for. It doesn't matter to me if the perspective is off, or what the drawing style is, if it's super cheesy, or even what medium it's in. I just want to read/see/hear/make heartfelt, expressive stuff. Speak is a strong reminder of this, and as I finished reading the last page I found myself inspired.
You'd think it would be an easy lesson to remember. I believe stories are healing and as a storyteller I want to help people heal, but when there's bills to pay and goals to achieve it can be easy to forget. For this reason Speak now has a permanant place on my shelf of inspirational books, as it reminds me of why I do this in the first place.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I'll be appearing at a couple places pretty soon in the LA area. First one up is the West Hollywood Book Fair which is on Sept. 17th, that's this Sunday. Here's the info for the panel I'll be on along with the usual suspects from the local "OGM" scene:
TOKYOPOP’s "MAKING MANGA"
Felipe Smith (MBQ)
Wes Abbott (Dogby)
Ireve Flores (Mark of the Succubus)
Amy Kim Ganter (Sorcerers and Secretaries)
Tim Beedle (Editor)
Moderator: Lillian Diaz-Przybyl
Signings - TOKYOPOP
Check out the book fair site for maps and directions. On the 23rd, I'll be at Meltdown comics with a bunch of local webcomic authors to do a booksigning. It should be fun! Here's a list of the authors that'll be there along with info on Meltdown Comics:
The Annotated Wondermark
Amy Kim Ganter
Sorcerers & Secretaries, Book 1
Piled Higher & Deeper, Volumes 1 and 2
Pure Ducky Goodness
A Well Balanced Meal
A Terrifying Breach of Protcol
Melonpool, Vol 3: A New Hope
Melonpool, Vol 4: Castaway
Melonpool, Vol 5: This Island Earth
7522 Sunset Blvd
L.A., CA 90046
In other news, a flattering review of Book 1 for S&S is on the website popsyndicate.com. She makes special note of how the book is a cliffhanger and that I need to get my ass in gear for the second volume! Note taken. Right now I'm having fun pairing up two particular characters together, part of me wants to make a small one-shot side story of just them. They're too fun. =)
Monday, September 11, 2006
I drew this panel the other day, realizing it was exactly how I was feeling. For a brief time, I'm working on two stories at once in my head and keeping all of the character motivations, world building, and event structures clear is becoming a challenge. There's something humorous about it, however, as the idea of Josh and Nicole shooting magic out of their hands sounds pretty funny to me.
Kazu and I went to the bookstore yesterday looking at what was on the shelves and trying to see what parents bought their children in the children's section. It sparked a little debate between us based on one of Kazu's observations. So is buying a kid a comic book like buying them a candy bar, in most parents' minds? I remember working at the bookstore and recommending various graphic novels to customers, most of the time they'd just shake their heads and laugh as if I was asking them to do a monkey dance. Somehow, this reaction to comics has to be changed, but being a simple storyteller I'm not really too interested in making this change myself. I just want to tell my stories. It's at these moments I start wondering about working in other mediums like prose or film.
I guess in the end it's not anything big that keeps me in comics, it's the joy of drawing in the comics medium and nothing else. I think this is the case for most comic artists, and Kazu pointed out to me that it's a very artist-driven industry. I found the idea of it very uplifting.
After that we went to Venice Beach to walk around, meet up with some friends, and talk about world travel. I think it was the first planned day off we had in a while, and it was much needed.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Food From The Sea inks done
The inks for "Food From The Sea" are complete, and Kazu's started coloring the pages. Look at that panel above, aren't his painting skills amazing? And I'm not just saying that because we're engaged! The process of collaborating with him has been wonderful, and it's opening up a lot of possibilities for the distant future. I can't wait to share the whole story with people!
Last night Kazu and I said a fond farewell to the McCloud family as they were about to embark on their epic 50 State Tour to promote Scott's highly-anticipated new book, "Making Comics". The idea of a 50 state tour sounds crazy and wonderful at the same time, so I'll be eagerly reading their tourblog as members of the whole family update everyone on their whereabouts. And you should too!
By the way, if anyone is in Washington, DC September 29 - November 12, be sure to go see the play "Nine Parts of Desire". I might've mentioned it on my blog before, but I saw an excerpt of Heather Raffo's wonderful play during my stay in Kentucky for the Women Writer's Conference. The performance is still very strong in my memory and I can't recommend it enough. She's also featured in this month's "O Magazine", so check that out too.
There's a new schedule for S&S2 now. It's planned to be out in June, 2007. It's a bit of a wait, but it'll be worth it (I hope!). So far the book is looking really good, and this year seems to be the year of getting better at art for me. Hopefully it'll show in the second book. Also the first book is on it's second print run, so thank you to everyone that bought a copy of the book!
And to cap off this post, for anyone I didn't tell yet... I finally have my driver's license. At the age of 26. ::phew::! And I watched Die Hard for the first time the other day. What can I say? I'm often a bit behind the times. My palms were sweaty and my heart beating from all the excitement, though! What an awesome movie, I just loved Bruce Willis' acting and the masterful way the whole story unfolded. Not much else going on otherwise. Back to the drawing board I go~
Monday, August 7, 2006
End to Chapter 8
Since stopping the last version of Reman Myth, I've gotten lots of emails asking what happened next and whether or not I'd finish off the chapter. I was going to reply to the latest email with my usual explanation, but then I realized I do have the script for the whole chapter written out as well as the pencilled page 18. So for those curious, you can now read my badly-written script for the end of chapter 8. Hopefully the next time you read new Rema material, it'll be in a book. Enjoy! =)
Friday, August 4, 2006
Tonight Kazu and I made some shabu shabu. It was awesome! Also, some beautiful work from a couple women I admire. Check out the lovely comic in the New York Times from Hope Larson, and the fantastic Chinese zodiac illustration from Jen Wang (who provided these links!) in Shojo Beat magazine. Also, if you haven't listened to it, someone recorded the Flight panel. Kazu talks about graphic novels and I think I say something about how much I love Flight. Informative and interesting if you're into graphic novels or comics in general!
In other news, Jellaby has a blog! Jellaby's such a friendly l'il monster, so be sure to visit it and add him to your friends list. Also... why are owls so funny looking?
Also, to Mom (cause I know you read this!): I'm sending you some cd's and prints, Linda Rondstat has a new album with Ann Savoy, I think you'll like it. I especially love track 6, "Plus Tu Tournes". =)
I guess I'd better get back to the comics!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Comic-Con 06 was a real blast, although really exhausting! It was so great to see the Flight crew again, and meet new people. It's like hooking up with officemates you don't see all year long. Everyone is trying to figure out a good system to produce graphic novels without losing quality and without driving the artists bonkers. It felt good to know there's others out there going through similar frustrations and obstacles that come with the territory.
It was also fun to watch Kazu in his element talking on panels and making conversation about his work. He has so much integrity, every day I feel so proud to be by his side and watching him work at comic-con only reminded me of how lucky I am.
It was great talking to everyone at the booth, which turned into a hang-out joint. Johane Matte and Benedicte Guenoden were superwomen, "booth warriors", who took care of the tables and made it a ton easier on everyone there. They deserve flowers! It was also cool meeting Azad, Joey, and hanging out a little more with Jen, Steve, Rad and Mandy, Rodolphe, Phil, Dave, Raina, Eric, Derek, Michel and Nancy, Neil, Reagan and Annie, Enrico, Scott and family, Andy, Sonny, The Those Guys, and Jeff. All of them are so inspiring, I can't think of a more down-to-earth and friendly crew. Did I forget anyone?
I didn't do too much behind the booth and spent a lot of my time wandering the floor looking for inspiring art books and handing out copies of S&S to other artists. I bought a ton of stuff to add to my collection. Two in particular were big surprises since I'd never heard of either artist before, and they instantly floated to the top of my list. First was Le Magicien D'Oz. I can't fully understand the French, but the storytelling is clear and the artwork was striking. I bought all three tomes immediately and have already flipped through them multiple times. Best of all the artist has a blog! Go look at it!
Second is the last story in the Afterworks anthology. The artwork in the whole book is lovely, but the last story is by far my favorite. It's by an artist named Peter Sohn, on a subject I can completely relate to. The drawings are amazing and completely clear. Best of all they're there to service the story, so the writing and drawing have wonderful synergy. The expressions are spot-on, the story itself is understanding of both sides, and it has some panels in there that you don't see too often (if ever?) in comics these days. It's actually the best comic I've read in a long time and I'm so happy that he made it. Thank you, Peter Sohn! I've already read it five times over. I'm sure Kazu will blog about more, we can't stop gushing about it!
I also met Greg Ruth at a dinner party (that's not Greg above by the way, these photos have no real captions... I'm too lazy for that!). Greg is another artist that worked on the Goosebumps anthology, it was great chatting with him briefly to share our making-of stories. His artwork is amazing, and as soon as I saw it I became a fan. Check out his site! You won't regret it.
Also, I received a wonderful gift art at my book signing with Tokyopop from the ever-flattering Joseph (again, photo above is not said person. It's Kean and Eric...!). Thank you, Joseph! It's so awesome!! I'm sending a hi-res scan to Tokyopop. Thanks also to everyone that waited in line for me to sign their books or draw them a sketch, I was surprised at how many people read and appreciated S&S. It gives me energy for the next book!
Well, I'm off to paint and hang out with our spectacular house guests from the con, Becky, Vasilis, and Kean. Marty is visiting from Sapporo, so we'll be having In N' Out for lunch! When I'm done with the painting I'll definitely post it up. Until then, hope everyone's recovering from the convention!
Above is a gift for someone, I had this image in mind and was itching to try my new bottle of white paint. Since I'm working on my Flight 4 story, I have a lot of fish on the brain. Click the image to see a 500 pixel version. Aside from this painting I inked 1.5 pages of "Food From The Sea", and Michel stopped by with his lovely wife Nancy to say hello. Marty left, now Richard's here and we're all talking about comics. It's like the convention never stopped!
Also, Tokyopop put all six chapters of S&S1 online if anyone wants to read the whole thing for free.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Above is a panel from page 20 of Sorcerers & Secretaries book 2. I've been trying to keep a pace of two pages a day from pencils to finished inks. It's not impossible, but if I let myself slip a little it's difficult to get back on the pace. I guess it's like hitting a good trot when you're jogging, and once you stop jogging it's difficult to get yourself into the groove again. It's amazing how similar all these activities are, exercise, cooking, comics... I geuss it's all just human stuff, huh?
All in all, it feels awesome to get lots of work done and I'm surprised at how good everything is looking. I'm trying to raise my expectations for myself in book 2 and the flight comic, and it's really been helping. I'm tired of pushing things through production just to get stuff out there, I think throughout the first book my standards were pretty low because of all the changes going on in my life at the time. Things are pretty steady now, though, and I'm searching for a happy balance between production and quality.
I also started inking my Flight 4 story which Kazu still insists on coloring. However he's working so hard on Amulet (which by the way is going to be the next biggest thing!), I worry he'll burn out. We'll see how it goes, although the thought of our first real collaboration makes my heart aflutter~!
By the way, Kazu and I will be at Comic-Con July 19th-23rd at the Flight booth, #1131. Lots of the Flight artists will be there too, along with some superstars like Jeff Smith! I'm excited!
Also, it says on the comic-con site that I'm supposed to be part of a Tokyopop panel, but it's a misprint. Do show up to hear the other artists, though, it should be interesting! But I will be doing a book signing at the Tokyopop booth on Saturday from 3:30-4:15, so hope to see some of you there!
Sleep time... =)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Flight 3 is out!
Guess what? If you haven't heard...... Flight 3 is in stores now! Well, technically it's trickling into stores now, but should arrive at stores within the week. There's also a sweet preview of all the work for those curious. I'm not in this volume but it is my personal favorite so far (although I get the feeling that every volume will be my fav as they are released!), it just feels really solid and everyone did amazing work. The printing job Ballantine did is fantastic with nice thick paper, bold colors, and a smooth matte finish. The stories within are consistantly stellar and inspiring, so if you see it in a store give it a look and support this wonderful group project.
Or if you prefer online ordering, you can do so at Amazon. =)
I'm back working on S&S2 (finally). The release date will probably be pushed back, although the Jan07 date was never an official one. When an official date is set, I'll let you all know... for now though I'm gonna keep chippin' away at that block.
Monday, June 26, 2006
Josh and Nicole in costume
To continue my watercolor experiments I did the above utilizing a wonderful collection of costumes my friend Cynthea had given me for my birthday. I'd been itching to do this illustration for a while, and it was one of those pictures that could either come out awesome or come out really crappy. I'm pleased with the results, it looks better than what I'd expected before starting it. It's Josh and Nicole... again. Still have a thing or two to learn about controlling the blotches of water on the brush. I've been using a water-pen, but maybe it's time to graduate to regular watercolor brushes.
Work on Goosebumps, Deep Trouble is done now. The script to S&S2 will be given a quick read-over, and then it's on to the thumbnails. Something I learned from the Goosebumps assignment, toning more than five pages in a row can get extremely tedious. I'll try to draw, ink, and tone five pages at a time in S&S 2 and see how it'll go. As long as the script is laid out, the story should (hopefully) be consistant throughout. We'll see how it goes...
By the way everyone... I dunno how much longer they'll be available, but take advantage of the free Charlie Rose videos offered on Google video. I looooove listening to him while drawing. I remember drawing the picture above while listening to Rose interview the Dalai Lama and thinking how much he sounded like Yoda... I wonder if Lucas was thinking of him when designing that character.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
I've been meaning to draw a picture of Zed, he's such an adorable character and reading Michel Gagne's comic with all its energy and spunk is always a treat. He recently sent us the latest issue, #7, and man... Zed's badass! He can fly and shoot lightning out of his hands! I was so inspired, I drew this for Michel. Hope he likes it! And I hope he makes some Zed plushies someday because I just want to cuddle the poor little guy... =P
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Nicole looking teachery
Today was pretty productive. I managed to tone five pages of "Deep Trouble" with this watercolor that I've been itching to do as my end-of-day reward. Tomorrow I'll be trekking to downtown LA's public library to help Tokyopop out with talking to some students. Should be fun!
Kazu and I also invested in a couple DS Lites, along with a slew of games. It's nice to be able to play MarioKart DS and Fire Emblem on the same system! I was worried at first that it would distract from my creative time, but we purchased these things yesterday and so far so good... =P
I rediscovered Aurore's beautiful work today, visiting her site was very inspiring so go look at it again if you haven't in a while. I didn't know, but she has a BD out by Delcourt! You go girl!!!! Somehow, I'll get my hands on Pixie...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Josh with his new hair
This is a picture of Josh with his new hairdo in book 2. I had it wrong, it wasn't cut he just stopped spiking it up. I'm feeling a little more confident about the watercolors after studying some Clamp and Won Su Yon illustrations for inspiration. Looking forward to doing some more.
Kazu and I also went to X-Men 3 today. It was a pretty mindless movie but I enjoyed it for pure entertainment reasons, it was like watching an episode of a WB show or something. I still miss the awesome strength of Rogue and the proud feminine aura of Storm in the comics, though. Still miffed about that.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Power In Numbers
Three pieces for the Power In Numbers Show, based on my made-up assignment of mirrors:
It was fun to do some illustrations and play with watercolors for a day.
Thursday, June 8, 2006
4 tones today...
Gallery Nucleus. June 17 - June 24, 2006. Opening reception: Saturday, June 17, 2006 (7pm-11pm), will feature work from myself and a bunch of Flight artists, and many many more! All proceeds from my pieces will go to the Red Cross with large percentages of the purchases of other pieces going there as well. Each piece will be 4" x 6" and priced at $100 each. Pretty sweet, huh? I'll post my pieces here when they're ready! In the mean time, mark your calanders. =)
By the way, if you haven't seen them yet, check out the early copies of Flight 3 we got in the mail from the fine folks at Ballantine! Boy, do those puppies look amazing! I wish I could hug the book into my heart~ Well, when I read it I guess I do! I'm so glad something like Flight exists. =)
Panel from one of today's toned pages. Things are running pretty smoothly~ I'll have to finish the 4 page quota tomorrow before seeing Les Miserables in LA. It'll be the first time I ever seen the musical despite being obsessed with the book and music for so long.
Kazu ordered the filet of sole with chocolate ice cream and a coffee, and I had the yankee pot roast with carrot cake. Mmm.
Josh looks a little young there... I've been trying to come up with his haircut for book 2 (spoiler!!!) but every time I draw him with different hair he looks like a completely different person! So I just gave up and drew him as usual. Just goes to show how limited my character designs really are.
Tuesday, June 6, 2006
I've been scrambling to finish my freelance work for the past couple weeks, and the sad part is it'll be a week late (even after I had it pushed back a week already!). Someday I'll get this scheduling thing right...! Kazu and I are both struggling actually, but I decided not to skimp on quality anymore for the sake of being "on time" with my work. What's the point of publishing something if you can't be proud of it, right? But I hope someday I'll be able to do both quality and timeliness. I'm so glad I have someone to grow with on this journey of life and comics!
I had an uplifting visit also by Jen, Vera, Neil, and Kunal. Thanks for being such lovely houseguests, I had fun talking about stories and getting to know you all a little better. I hope someday we all can live in one city so we can chill more. I need more comics girls around (and guy)! =)
Also reading Derek's comics and looking at Jen Q's deviantart site have really inspired me, so I drew the little doodle before I head off for bed. In the doodle, the music I'm listening to is traditional Okinawan island music, and the tee shirt is from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and has a sea anemone on it. It's my favorite tee shirt. Sigh... I need to draw more stuff outside of my work. I guess I'm still learning how to balance the comics-for-money and comics-for-soul ratio. Until then I will probably continue to abuse my poor website... it's getting so dusty in here!
See the octopus creature on the left? That's mine. Yes, the project I've been working on is Goosebumps for Scholastic! I really loved R.L. Stine books in elementary and middle school, so I couldn't resist saying yes when they asked if I'd like to participate. This series from Graphix features three Goosebumps stories in each volume done by different artists. The story I worked on is called "Deep Trouble", it's about mermaids, sea monsters, and thugs:
Publisher's Weekly just posted a nice write up on the series, so check that out. If you'd like to pre-order the first volume of the series, "Creepy Creatures" featuring stories by Gabriel Hernandez, Scott Morse, and Greg Ruth, you can do so at amazon. The book comes out September 1st, and Terror Trips comes out March, 2007. It'll be a while til they come out but it feels good to announce it anyway. Maybe I'll even post panels here and there as I finish toning the beast...
This project's been helping me a lot with getting better at comics in general, especially in editing since it's an adaptation. I'm looking forward to seeing how the skills carry over to S&S2!
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Lifestyles of a print comic artist...
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Haven't disappeared yet
Image swiped from Shadiradio, where you can see more of his E3 pics. (thanks Shadi...!)
I just realized I hadn't blogged about anything in a while. Welp, if any of you've been reading Kazu's blog you'd know we're back in CA (as of, like, a week ago!). I'm spending the month of May working on a freelance project which I'll announce soon.
Yesterday me, Kazu, and a bunch of our friends stopped by E3 for a gander. It was like watching a commercial for three hours... kind of cool though because I was pleased to see snippets of Loco Roco, God Hand, and the new Sonic game. A lot of games turned into a blur of Lord of The Rings/Warcraft-esque/Lunar-type worlds and gameplay which got really tired after the first ten times seeing it. The EA booth was pretty awesome though with a 360 degree projection of trailers for their games, highlights included Spore and a new Burnout. Speaking of Spore, the line for sitting in on its demonstration and for trying out Nintendo's Wii was waaaaaayyy too long, and both were things we all really wanted to see. There was a lot of "secrecy" since everything was in an enclosed booth. Boo. All part of the hype machine, I guess.
All in all, E3 was fun but I don't think I need to go again. However, upon leaving I found myself with a huge urge to buy a PSP. I guess all those live rock bands and flashing images worked on me! I'll have an update with pics from our NYC/Rochester trip when I get a chance, for now it's off to see an Over The Hedge screening and then it's back to WORK! Hope everyone else is doing good, too. =)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Rochester and Nucleus online print shop
There's new prints available at Gallery Nucleus, including the cover to S&S2, Sandy Balgan from my upcoming Flight 4 story, my latest illustration of Nicole, and my RM illustration of Rennida. Many of the prints are 13 x 19, and run for about $30. They do a really nice job, printing on watercolor paper with a printer the size of my wall. Shipped in plastic with cardboard backing, your prints will arrive to you in mint condition. While you're there, be sure to browse through the galleries of their other artists as well!
Tomorrow morning I leave for Rochester for the Teen Book Festival. If you're in the area be sure to stop by! I grew up in Rochester until I was 16 and haven't been back for a visit in many a year. It was where I first started writing Reman Myth, so I think it fitting to revisit the environment it was based on. I'm really looking forward to this trip, will be back with pictures of my hometown!
By the way, I keep getting reminded that it's really difficult to find my email address on my website. If you need to contact me, you can email me at (whibbage at gmail.com). I'll make sure this is easier to find on my "about" page!
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Just a heads up! Becky Cloonan now has a blog. You know what to do! =)
Also Kazu has an interesting commentary on Becky's East Coast Rising cover.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
So I'm back from Kentucky! The Women Writer's Conference was pretty awesome, a lot of great discussion between cartoonists of different styles, writers, and poets. It was refreshing to discuss story with people who worked in different mediums. Highlights include, but not limited to, the reading and signing with Sarah Vowell, watching an excerpt from Heather Raffo's moving play 9 Parts Of Desire (it's seriously an amazing experience, if she's in your town definitely go see it), having brunch with File 49's Sara Turner and co., having dinner with Benito Cereno from penciljack, briefly touring Lexington and it's surrounding stables with Sarah and Houston Combs.
The graphic novel quorum was lots of fun. Thanks to everyone who attended and to "Pangie 06" from the forums for stopping by and to her father for giving me a sketch! I'm still amazed you guys came all the way down from Cincinnati. Hope you had fun in Kentucky while you were there! The room for the quorum was pretty full and an engaging discussion was had by all. Be sure to check out the work of the other participants: Lauren Weinstien, Pheobe Gloeckner, and Sara Turner. Check out Sara's excellent report including photos! And as you can see by the celebration photos at the end of that report, her self-published book of File 49 is done and ready to order. Congrats, Sara!!
And thanks to Rebecca Howell for pulling together such a great group of folks and making the conference so memorable!
Next weekend it's off to Rochester for the Teen Book Festival, and a brief visit to NYC to see friends and do work. Sure is a lot of travelling this month... =P
Also about the forums, I think the old threads are probably gone for good but maybe this is a chance to purge the past and start fresh anyway considering the old Rema is now defunct. I'm going to try to get my friend to help me in setting up a new forum. We'll see how that goes.
Kazu has a new Copper strip up, too. I really love this one and feel like it's one of his best so far. We also watched Silent Hill last night. I'm already a huge fan of the games, but never really followed the story too closely. I only played the game to indulge in the immersive atmosphere. It's the only reason I went to the movie as well, and unless you love ethereal storylines filled with symbolism and lacking in much explanation for events occuring (which I kind of do!), then I'd suggest skipping it for a more rewarding storyline. This is a movie for the fans of the game, and for fans of horrific mood pieces (like a good Chris Cunningham music video).
The story itself is so left for interpretation, it becomes like a game itself with many possible alternate endings which you'd have to write in your head. Personally I love that aspect of it. Also like the games the characters are blessed with the skill of bad acting. >_<>
By the way, Nucleus posted some photos of the signing at their gallery. Check 'em out!
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Women Writer's Conference
Just a reminder, this weekend is the Women's Writer's Conference in Lexington, Kentucky! The free graphic novel quorum will be on Saturday, April 22 at 3pm at Arts Place with Sara Turner, Lauren Weinstien, Pheobe Gloeckner, and myself. The WWC has a lineup of interesting events (most of them free and open to the public), check out their website for more details.
A big thank you to everyone that could make it out to the Nucleus book signing. It was lots of fun with a light crowd, a lot of cartoonists showed up that gave it a mini-convention sort of feel. I also got a great piece of fan art at the show, I'll post that along with a couple others once things settle down here a bit. April is full of travelling (after this coming weekend's Kentucky trip, there's a Rochester/NYC trip!) so updates will be pretty sparse. Until then, it's comics, comics, comics! O_O Hope to see some of you guys in Kentucky!
By the way, Comic Book Resources just posted some nice preview images of Flight Vol. 3 plus a nice interview with Kazu. Check it out!
Friday, April 14, 2006
Just a reminder...
Cut and paste from an earlier entry, this Saturday at 7pm-11pm Becky Cloonan, Felipe Smith, and myself (maybe others?) will be at Gallery Nucleus signing our books and displaying our original pieces.
Becky and I just got back from Nucleus hanging up a few of our pieces. Some original pages from Reman Mythology as well as my Flight 2 story (and all the thumbnails so far for my Flight 3 story) are displayed, along with Becky's East Coast Rising originals, Jenny One pieces, and a few large format prints. It'll be a very laid back show. Be sure to swing by, browse the pages and feel the power of comics!!!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Back from APE
Ahhh~ back to good ol' Alhambra! Alternative Press Expo in San Fransisco was once again a lovely experience. Thanks to everyone that stopped by the Flight booth. I really wish I had more copies of S&S with me at the time, but I admit that I was unprepared this year. From now on I'm making it a rule: "Plan for APE even if you think you're not going". The Expo itself was loads of fun and relaxing at the same time. It's always wonderful hanging out with the rest of the Flight crew and seeing new work around the convention floor. I feel inspired and refreshed, something that I feel I have to do every once in a while when I'm always staring at paper. There is no better place to do it at than APE!
My pal Becky is also visiting along with her uber-talented beau, Vasilis. It's so awesome to hang out with other comic artists again. As a reminder we'll all be at Nucleus for the signing next Saturday, so I hope to see some of you there! =)
For now I must crash, tomorrow it's back to the drawing board (and I can't wait!).
By the way, check out the review from Comics Worth Reading's Johanna on Sorcerers & Secretaries. I was especially tickled by this quote:
"This book is like gourmet hot chocolate: comforting and relaxing, prepared with great skill, yet with unexpected depth plus a hint of spice to keep the reader from taking it for granted."
By the way, girlslife.com is holding a contest for Sorcerers & Secretaries where you can win a signed copy of the book. Entering instructions from their contests section:
"Five lucky winners will receive an autographed copy of Sorcerers & Secretaries along with an exclusive bookmark. Click here to enter, or send a postcard with your name and address to Sorcerers & Secretaries, GL, 4517 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214 by April 30."
And to "JAKE", I dunno if you read this but thanks for the warning on my forums. -_- I'll fix it when I have the chance (whenever that is!), but for now it'd be nice to have your message taken off my boards so people can just enjoy it and not have to read your warning to me. You couldn've emailed me, too, and it would've worked just as well! =P
Sunday, April 2, 2006
Between working on projects, Kazu and I stopped by Comics Factory where I picked up this little gem, "The Dreaming". Being another Tokyopop book, I was naturally curious to check it out, not knowing what to expect. Plus, I'm always interested in seeing horror in the comics format to see how suspense can be captured in the medium. Written and illustrated by Australian Queenie Chan, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was to read this. Once again, I must nerd-out a bit and blog about this.
Very much in the same vein as the old "Fear Street" series by R.L. Stine, "The Dreaming" follows two twin sisters as they try to adjust to their new lives in a creepy old boarding school in the middle of the bush. The eeriness that Chan creates is done very thoughtfully using pacing and camera angles, and the mystery around the school's sordid past is slowly revealed at a very confident yet comfortable pace. You can tell the author was 100% into her world as she wrote and drew this, and the period clothing and architecture feels well-researched and lovingly rendered (as you can see by the above image from her website).
Reading this book gives me the same feeling I used to get reading Point books and Christopher Pike's series back in middle school. So, if you're a fan of those stories you'd definitely love "The Dreaming". Read the three-chapter preview at mangaonline and judge for yourself. =)
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Gallery Nucleus Signing
Just a heads up, on April 15th from 7pm-11pm Becky Cloonan, Felipe Smith, and myself (maybe others?) will be at Gallery Nucleus signing our books, holding a discussion panel, and displaying our original pieces. If you're in the LA area be sure to stop by and say hello!
Monday, March 27, 2006
Flight 3 in Previews
I finished the first draft of the scripts for the entire second book of S&S on Friday (I believe everyone will be blushing and smiling sweetly by the end of the book!). Saturday was spent going over some edits for an adaptation series I’m participating in, and I spent Sunday trying to get myself to do more work but failing miserably. That’s okay though since Sunday was instead spent regaining energy (aka playing We Love Katamari, re-watching Howl's Moving Castle, and making carne asada fajitas with Kazu) and rediscovering my love for an old cancelled ABC dramedy series, “Cupid”.
For those who don’t know about the show, allow me to geek out a bit. Cupid was a short-lived, 13-episode (?) series that aired on ABC in the late 90s. Its creator and executive producer, Rob Thomas, went on to create and produce Veronica Mars, which I didn’t know! I definitely have to check out VM now, as if my friends’ recommendations weren’t enough. You can also find two scripts to unaired episodes under downloads in the Cupid section on his site. I thought that was cool of him. A kind Lisa Loeb fan hosts an episode of the show as well called 'First Loves', in which Loeb guest stars. And apparantly, I can watch the pilot at the UCLA film and television archive. Is it worth it?!
Thinking of Cupid again, though, it’s no wonder I’d go and write something like Sorcerers & Secretaries. I guess I’m more of a cheesy romantic than I always thought! Speaking of romance, check out treknature.com when you have a chance...
Also, from Kazu’s blog:
“FLIGHT 3 in Previews...
According to Michel, the solicitation for Flight 3 is in this month's Previews on page 245, with a full-page ad on page 267. I'll go pick up a copy of Previews to make a proper post about the solicitation tomorrow. In the meantime, go let your local comic shop know to order it! Oh, and any images with my name on the cover are inaccurate. I asked Random House to take my name off the front since it's a group effort.”
We’ll be stopping by the comic shop tomorrow to pick up our copy and do what we gotta do. =)
Monday, March 20, 2006
Nicole the Nightdreamer
New illustration up (click the thumbnail to see a larger version), this time it's Nicole from S&S. I was flipping through a Korean fashion magazine and thought the outfit looked like something she would wear~ =)
Also, I was nominated for a Kim Yale Award along with Svetlana Chmakova, Becky Cloonan, and Hope Larson. Thank you Heidi and The Beat (and Kazu cause I think he's the one that dropped my name? >_<). Either way, it's an honor just to be nominated and I'm grateful. =)
Speaking of honor, I have some new gift art for S&S, check them out! Also, there's a call for fan art for S&S for Tokyopop's Manga Magazine. If you'd like to send some in, check out their fan art submission policy.
Some more links are up, too: Sketchblogs from friends Jen Quick, Cynthea, Christi, Alisa, Nelson, Bonnie, and the website of Jeremy Arambulo who we met at TCAF last year! Check out their stuff~ =D
Anime News Network featured Sorcerers & Secretaries in their "right turn only" column, thanks to Malroth from the forums for pointing it out! They made a nice point on my over-usage of gradients to achieve tones. It's something I definitely struggle with, maybe I should experiment with textures more often...!
And if you want some inspiration, be sure to check out Man Arenas' website full of his amazing layouts, character designs, and concept work. It'll take your breath away!