For years I’ve had people ask me to put my comics in a book, but I couldn’t figure out the best way to do it, so I put it off, thought about it, worked on it a little, then put it off again. Now, after seven years of making comics, I’m finally going to gather up the best and put them together.
My journey through webcomics is so much more than the effort to be funny or meaningful. It’s my journey through the process of figuring out how to believe in myself and my art. It isn’t always easy to do the thing deep down you know you are meant to do, and I hope to share a little of the emotional path I took while making the comic along with the best panels.
I’ll be posting updates all next month, so check back!
I’ve made the decision to only post updates on Webtoons and Tapastic from now on, so if you’re looking for new comic updates, you’ll have to go there! I do also post to social media, usually within a day, so if you follow on Twitter or Facebook you can also keep up.
I’m really enjoying Webtoons as a comic platform. The response has been very encouraging, and I’m loving getting to interact with more people. Comments here on the website have always been scarce. If you enjoy webcomics, or are already into LINEWebtoons, please subscribe to me there and give me a good rating and some likes! It really helps my exposure.
The last two years we have enjoyed store-bought costumes, as John & James have chosen superheros or transformers. I have to say, the break was good. But this year, I opted out of the October Game, which left a bit of creative free time, and we did a family Star Wars theme.
Once I had the boys talked out of being Jedis, it was fun to make some of the minor characters from the Star Wars universe.
The Tuskan Raider was a last-minute addition for Daddy, and it turned out to be my favorite – probably because I made it from scraps and trash.
Painted Super Sculpey, a stuffing box, an old hat and scraps of fabric from the boys’ costumes.
The comic has been laying low recently, but I’ve been hard at work trying to improve as an artist and wrap up some projects I’ll be sharing in upcoming months. I’m about halfway through Chris Oatley’sMagic Box course and I can’t recommend it enough if you are interested in digital art. This is my Ostrich Lute Player – and it’s a pretty nice step up from the sort of paintings I had been doing… It’s go-at-your-own-pace with access to very in-depth lessons and a forum for peer critiques. He covers fundamentals as well as Photoshop painting techniques, but if you’re just starting out in Photoshop, the best place to do that is still and always Matt Kohr’s Ctrl+Paint.
I’m currently focusing on gesture drawing (in that magic few hours between the time the kids go to bed and I finally crash…) Here’s an example of my starting point:
Gesture drawing is challenging in that it focuses on movement rather than contour, and if you have many years of bad art technique behind you, it is not easy to make the mental adjustments. I’m following Stan Prokopenko’s Figure Drawing Fundamentals. I haven’t upgraded to the premium content yet, but he’s releasing short excerpts for free that give you something to practice. I spent a couple of hours last night drawing the bean. I did purchase both his model packages, at $10 each, they are well worth the cost.
Did this sketch yesterday while the boys were splashing in the pool. I intended to draw the beautiful blooms on my pitiful (stomped on by the dogs) clematis, but got distracted by an idea I had several years ago but didn’t have the skills to accomplish.
Painted in Photoshop. Took a few hours. Still not sure I accomplished what’s in my head, but close enough.
Saturday we had a birthday party for the boys – after tempting them with an afternoon of Pinterest browsing, they agreed to let me do a robot party.
Although I don’t do tutorials, at the request of my friend Sarah (who also makes awesome cakes) I did try to take more photos of the process. So, here’s the basic structure for the robot. Flanges screwed into wood – with a couple of holes drilled in for the copper wire. The way I accomplish this sort of structure is to make a trip to the hardware store, tell the helpful associates I do NOT want them to help me, and then wander around in plumbing until I get things to fit together and work. I don’t glue any of the pvc – it usually fits tight enough to hold for this purpose.
Rice Krispies for the arms and legs. One of the legs is built around the pipe, the other doesn’t need to be supported. Cake for the feet.
This year I tried something new – store bought fondant. Most fondant you buy is gross, but this time I had several tubs of colored Satin Ice (thank you, Karen!) It tastes about like the grocery store colored icing in tubes (which isn’t a terrible flavor), comes is bright colors and is very easy to work with. My fondant never ends up perfect – but I think it works fine for the robot – he just looks a little distressed. The parts (eyes, plates, gears and screws) are gum paste, painted with Metallic Food Paint – which I used with a brush since I don’t have an airbrush.
That’s about it. For some awesome robot party ideas, check out Suzy’s blog, and if you do a version of this, and a better tutorial, let me know and I’ll link to it!
Busy weekend with the birthday party yesterday. I do have some sketches from this week, but putting them up would involve getting off the couch and going to the scanner – so I give you instead a quick photoshop painting I did of the new puppy.
Today I’m working on a robot cake for my boys combined birthday party tomorrow (3 & 5 years old!). It may not be as awesome as the one my friend Suzy put together (which I rediscovered while browsing Pinterest for ideas…), but at least I think I can pull off an awesome cake. I’m not much of a planner, but I did draw a sketch of a basic robot shape so you can see what I’m going for:
While I’m baking cakes and smashing rice krispies treats, I’ve also been listening to a great lecture by comic artist Dave Kellet – discussing the business and future of web comics.
And, to go with the Random Friday theme, I wanted to mention that after listening to the latest Webcomic Alliance podcast I am finally aware of how all the changes to Facebook affect my fan page. Basically, if you have “liked” me, you only get to see SOME of my posts, unless I pay for promoting my posts. So, if you like a comic or post, please share! I may start tweeting posts as well, which I don’t often do, but I’m exploring other options for helping people stay updated – in the meantime, I’d love to hear how you stay current with the content you want online.
I have had a great many art lessons in my life (shocking, I know!), but I still remember one of the first. When I was seven or eight my father, a fine arts major himself, sat me down and tried to teach me how to draw faces in a structurally correct way. I think I remember the whole lesson – my shock at discovering where the eyes really were placed on the head was life-changing. Realizing the level to which your brain interprets what you see incorrectly was unsettling, even then.
I have had many lessons since then, and my study of the human head in particular has gone far more in-depth, and yet, I still struggle to draw faces. I can draw fairly structurally correct people, but there is a spark – something that eludes me – that is required to not only make that sketch look like it is a real person, living on the page, but also that it is indeed the very person you are trying to draw.
So, practicepractice, these are some people I have seen around me – when the people I see sit still enough.
I’m always sketching these days, and I’m going to try to start uploading some of what I’m working on every week. Maybe Saturday, maybe Sunday, maybe both. We’ll see how this goes. For the most part, especially lately, I work on faces – shapes and expressions. Often while watching tv. Often what’s on the tv. These are not meant to be awesome, and probably won’t ever be finished or used for anything, but I wanted to share with you a glimpse of my practice and progress.
This is one I started that didn’t make it into the October Game this year, inspired by a poem from another participant in the game, author Krista Tibbs.
Here’s the poem:
And here’s my version of Keara:
I’m taking some of my time off from the comic working on gesture drawing and life drawing, so I think I might revisit this poem and do a more animated version with some dust bunnies. During the October Game there were almost no poses. Most of my characters were just standing there, looking blankly out of the page.
So, after a short recovery from the October Game, and a busy couple of weeks traveling and having company I couldn’t help pulling out the sketch book again. I loved my October Game Belly Dancer so much I did two more. These are inspired by the diverse styles of American Belly Dance, from tribal to tribal fusion, to even gothic fusion.