Cartooning Influences

One of the most asked questions cartoonists receive during interviews is a fairly obvious one.

Who are your influences?”

Any creative person you talk to has more than a few artists who they look to for guidance and inspiration. When you’re stuck in a rut artistically/creatively, it certainly helps to go back to old favorites and look at some of your favorites with fresh eyes. I always find new techniques and approaches I may have not caught in previous readings.

I have many cartooning heroes, but a few I always go back to are Daniel Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez and Chester Brown.

influences

Not only does their artwork speak to me, but each of their narrative voices are so clear, distinctive, personal and specific. I discovered David Boring and Louis Riel around the same time, around 2000-2001. I was just beginning art school and the medium of comics was opening up a whole new world for me. I’m still trying to make work worthy of the impression those books left on me.

I’ve sat down and studied their work so often, you’d think I was trying to absorb their cartooning powers through osmosis.

When working on books, there have even been times where I would have to hide their books from myself for fear of swiping something unconsciously, or ‘aping’ their style too much.

I think a lot of illustrators go through something similar with their influences.

Of course I’d be kidding myself I said the Kuberts weren’t an influence on me as well, having gone through their school and seen them create firsthand. Adam, Andy and Joe always amazed my classmates and I with their work ethic and command of the craft.

It’s pretty amazing how much you can retain and recall from studying others’ work. It all goes into a huge melting pot, through your own brain, and onto the page.

To find out more about my new graphic novel PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back

A year after finishing LOOK, I drew this short prequel story. It takes place many, many years before the events of the book and we get to see a bit more of how Artie and Owen’s relationship works.

Enjoy!

010203040506

Go to my main website to check out more of my short stories!

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.

Story of Lee volume 3

I’ve officially started writing the script for volume three of our book with NBM

The Story of Lee.

Let’s see what happens to Matt and Lee. Will they stay together or split? Will Lee stay in Britain or go back to Hong Kong?  How about Uncle Jun?

Who knows?

No one, yet.

Not even me!

Meanwhile, there are a few copies of the special Story of Lee banded set left. Not many as its sold well.

This is a good deal, with volume 1 and volume 2 of the book packaged together with a specially printed band (or ‘obi’ as they called in Japan). And its $4 cheaper to buy this banded set of the two volumes.

Get your copy here:

http://www.nbmpub.com/comicslit/storyoflee/storyofllee_home.html

SOL banded july 2017

 

Dutch elections

It’s time to vote again in The Netherlands – not for government this time, but for a Comic Artist Laureate (Stripmaker des Vaderlands). And I am one of the four nominees!

In October the result will be announced – until then, I’m campaigning like crazy, shunning no means, including bribery and blatant sexism. Vote for me because I have boobs!

zij-stript_holland-kl

All kidding aside: I do think I am a good candidate for the job – which would entail being the ambassador of Dutch comics for three years, starting up all kinds of initiatives that will put comics in the picture, and of course drawing comics about important national events.

To practise a bit, I recently drew this comic about the fallout of the Dutch elections for government – the formation of a cabinet is still going on, and here’s a bit of information about it.

formation1

formation2

Creating Characters For PRIDE.

When creating character designs for PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN, I tried to take inspiration from life. This was after all, a narrative grounded in reality, albeit a fictional one – and there is inspiration everywhere. Why do some people catch your eye more than others? It could be what clothes they wear, or a certain shape of their nose, or the way they walk. There are truly interesting and, frankly sometimes odd looking people lurking everywhere, if you’re paying attention. Thinking about these elements in terms of characters can lead to more interesting and full backstories.

Those same features that look odd or distinctive in real life translate very well to comic books. Somehow the simple comic iconograghy and spare ink lines render them less severe. I’m not sure why, exactly. I suppose one extreme example would be a Dick Tracy comic strip villian. They don’t look too threatening when drawn in a tiny comic panel with india ink, but take one of those designs, to scale, and put in on a person in real life? People would be running and screaming.

Here are quick sketches my two main characters, Andrew and Julie, in a few step by step process shots.

For more information on PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN, click here.

 

Andy sketch

Julie sketch

Pride Of The Decent Man: Casting Call

If you’re a cartoonist around my age, chances are you also grew up reading Wizard Magazine. Their ‘top ten hottest’ writers and artists lists were always fun to see for us aspiring comic creators. Another memorable regular feature was their fantasy casting of possible comic book movies, ‘Casting Call.’ Of course, no one thought at the time we’d be in a deluge of comics-based movies and TV shows twenty years later.

So…In the spirit of Wizard Magazine, and a few totally 90’s magazine layout choices, here are a few casting choices I’ve made for a PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN film! With suggestions from friends and these new things called Google and IMDB, I think we’ve got some strong choices here. Realistically, any one of the salaries from these actors would eclipse the budget of a film of this size, but hey, this is a fantasy after all. Call me, Hollywood.

Oh, and to find out more about Pride Of The Decent Man, my new graphic novel from NBM, go here!

PRIDE CASTING CALL

Henry David Thoreau At 200: Part Two

Today marks the bicentennial of the birth of Henry David Thoreau.  To celebrate his ongoing legacy as an essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian, we’ve put together ten digital postcards for you to share across social media.

Each one utilizes artwork by Maximilien Le Roy from our book, Thoreau: A Sublime Life and features a quote from Thoreau.

Here are the second five postcards (the first five can be found here):

thoreautake210

thoreautake29

thoreautake28

thoreautake27

thoreautake26