How to Paint Space


Truly, my enthusiasm for stars holds no bounds. And, now, you too can become a star enthusiast!

Follow this quick star-painting tutorial and you’ll be bestowed the illustrious rank of Junior Star Enthusiast, a noble title secretly desired by all.

And be sure to share your efforts! I’d love to see what you do with this.

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.

Where Do You Find The Time?

The short answer is: I don’t do much else!

Another short, but hopefully more helpful answer: you can’t find time, you make time.

But seriously, I don’t really do much else. I don’t watch TV and I don’t play video games (or, at least, not nearly as much as I used to.) When I’m not at the day job and while my children are asleep, I write and I draw. I work.

Maybe that makes me a workaholic, but if that’s true, it’s done wonders for my creative output.

And that’s what I mean by making time. If this is what you really want to do — what you need to do — you make time. Something else has to give. Maybe you don’t want to give up watching your favorite shows or perusing your favorite memes on reddit, and that’s fine! I’m not suggesting you give up all of your favorite past-times and devote yourself entirely and exclusively to your craft, but I am suggesting that maybe you take a look at how you spend your time on a daily basis. Maybe, as a random example, you spend some time each night checking Facebook. Let’s say two hours of Liking pictures of newborns and arguing with distant reletives. What if you were to limit yourself to an hour-and-a-half instead, and do a little drawing or writing with that free half hour you just made? Anything at all, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. In fact, go in knowing that it won’t be. And that’s okay! Plenty of my drawings fail to meet my unrealistically high expectations and never see the light of day, but it’s never a waste of time.

I know this is all easier said than done. Time management and self-discipline don’t come easy and take a while to build, but this is how you do it. You start slow. Don’t be too hard on yourself by trying to do too much too fast. Try and do at least a little each day, even when you’re not feeling especially creative. Making that initial effort, however small, makes all the difference.

And let me tell you, that knowledge that at the end of the day, you made something that didn’t exist before? That feels pretty amazing.

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.

This May, NBM Presents Our Next Great Biography, ‘Billie Holiday’

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Currently listed in Previews for a May release, we’re proud to present Billie Holiday from the acclaimed creative team of José Muñoz and Carlos Sampayo.

Born in Baltimore in 1915, and dead too early in New York in 1959, Billie Holiday became a legendary jazz singer, even mythical. With her voice even now managing to touch so many people, we follow a reporter on the trail of the artist on behalf of a New York daily. Beyond the public scandals that marred the life of the star (alcohol, drugs, violence…), he seeks to restore the truth, revisiting the memory of Billie. Through this investigation, Muñoz and Sampayo trace, through the undertones of racism, and in the wake of the blues, the slow drift of a singer who expressed the deepest emotions in jazz. By internationally renowned Argentine artists, featuring Muñoz’ strikingly raw heavy blacks, this is not just a biography but a spell-binding art book tribute.

9×12, 80pp., B&W HC, gold stamped black and red cover, $19.99
ISBN:9781681120935
$19.99, e-book: $9.99

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The following titles are being resolicited:

MARIE ANTOINETTE, PHANTOM QUEEN
Annie Goetzinger & Rodolphe

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During the 1930s, Maud, an artist, discovers she has a psychic gift. The first signs manifest themselves in the royal gardens of the Trianon where gradually she understands that a woman from the beyond is attempting to communicate with her. The revelation is beyond belief: it is the ghost of Marie Antoinette appearing to her to share a terrible secret that has tormented her for centuries. After being guillotined, the Queen is said to have been thrown into a common grave but then exhumed and buried with her husband, Louis XVI, in the Saint-Denis basilica. Yet the ghost tells Maud that her remains are still in the pit, on which a chapel stands today. The queen asks Maud to move her body to the right place so she can finally find peace and no longer haunt people.

Part fantastic ghost story, part biography, this is a delicious beautifully illustrated look into French revolutionary history by the artist of the bestselling ‘Girl in Dior.’

8 ½ x 11, 68 pages, full color hardcover, $17.99, ISBN 9781681120294
e-book $9.99

GLENN GOULD: A Life Off Tempo
Sandrine Revel

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Glenn Gould was a Canadian pianist, a child genius who became a worldwide superstar of classical music remembered for, among others, his almost revolutionary interpretations of Bach. This graphic novel biography seeks to understand the eccentric personality behind the persona. Who is the mysterious Glenn Gould? Why did he abruptly end his career as a performing musician?  Why did he become one of the very first of his peers to disappear from the public eye like J.D. Salinger?  Sandrine Revel delves into the life of Gould with hand painted illustrations and the viewpoint of an adoring fan.

2017 marks a number of important anniversaries for Gould: the 85th of his birth and 35th of his death but also the 60th of his legendary tour of Russia, a first for a Western artist, and of his debuts with the world’s leading orchestras.

8.5x 11, 136pp., full color hardcover hc, $25.99, ISBN:9781681120652
$30.99 CAN; $14.99 ebook.

 

GHETTO BROTHER- Warrior to Peacemaker
Julian Voloj, Claudia Ahlering
Introduction by Jeff Chang,
author of, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation

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An engrossing and counter view of one of the most dangerous elements of American urban history, this graphic novel tells the true story of Benjy Melendez, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighborhood, wracked by drugs, poverty, and violence, he managed to extract an incredibly positive energy from this riot ridden era: his multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence. After initiating a gang truce, the Ghetto Brothers held weekly concerts on the streets or in abandoned buildings, which fostered the emergence of hip-hop. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family’s dramatic crypto-Jewish background.

6×9, 128pp., B&W, trade pb., $12.99;
ISBN 9781561639489

 

How Inktober Saved My Life

I’m a cartoonist, primarily. I write and tell stories. Or, at least, that’s what I aspire to. However, I’ve lately been distracted from my storytelling by trying to become what I call a “popular internet artist type person.” I even made business cards!

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But let’s back up to January 2016. I had just wrapped up my webcomic of eight years in an effort to get away from gag-a-day comics and focus entirely on more longform storytelling. I wanted my next graphic novel to be a short story compilation, so that’s where I put all of my energy.

Comics can take a while to produce, and in between short story releases, I always had little to say or show to my followers on social media. I’d post a few in-progress shots every now and then, sure, but they were few and far between. Once the comic was finally done and online, there’d be a sudden burst of “I made a thing! I made a thing! Everyone look! I made a thing!” and then it’s back to radio silence as I begin work on the next comic. But not just radio silence from me, silence from everyone. The comics I had been working on for weeks and weeks were getting little to no attention.

This was exceedingly frustrating for me.

I work for weeks, sometimes months, on a project, release it into the wild, receive some gratification here and there, and then nothing. I realize that that’s not exactly a new problem — the difficulty of being noticed as a classic struggle for artists throughout the ages — but something needed to change. I wasn’t seeing the growth I was hoping to see, especially considering how much work I was putting into these comics and what I left behind in order to pursue this new direction in my life.

It was a huge bummer! I was still proud of my work — I felt that each story was better than the last — but I began to question if I had made the right decision. If this new path that I had set myself on was the right one.

And then Inktober 2016 happened. Inktober is a yearly event created by Jake Parker that encourages artists of all skill levels to simply make a pen and ink drawing every day for a month. If you’ve heard of national novel writing month, this is similar. I always missed it every year, but this time I had just bought some new pens that I was eager to try out and they just happened to come in the mail on the first day of Inktober.

So I gave it a shot! I was still working on my big comic projects, but every night I’d start with a quick Inktober drawing and post it online. All of a sudden, when before my social media posts were at times weeks or months apart, my Twitter and Facebook followers were being updated with new drawings every single day.

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In addition to the new skills and discipline I learned from drawing every day in a format I was inexperienced in, the effect on my social media networks was astounding and practically immediate. The number of people that liked and followed my work grew and grew. It turns out that posting daily content is a great way to build an audience! Who knew?

I was finally seeing growth. My work was slowly but steadily getting more attention and I was building relationships with some pretty rad people that I never would have met otherwise. It felt like everything suddenly made sense. I’m not the most social person and I had never put the work into building my social media presence, so why was I so surprised when I tweeted about my comics and got little to no response? In my attempt at focusing entirely on my comics, I had neglected my chosen medium for publishing those comics.

I didn’t stop my daily doodles after Inktober ended, and I don’t plan to any time soon. Does doing them take a chunk away from my already incredibly limited time? Yes, to some extent my comic output might have suffered a bit, but in the long run I believe it will be worth it. Building and sustaining a following that truly cares about me and my work far outweighs any time I’ve lost drawing my next graphic novel. Now when I release a new comic, I actually get more of a response from the small yet formidable audience I’ve managed to build. I cannot emphasize enough how much better of a place I am in now, both personally and artistically.

And I’m having fun drawing again! My drawing time has traditionally always been dedicated to projects and work and, as strange as it may sound, drawing purely for fun is actually a fairly new experience for me. Over the past few months I’ve produced the best work I’ve ever done and I’ve been having a blast the entire time.

And it’s all because I started a challenge to draw every day.

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Thanks again to Jake Parker’s #inktober for being awesome and turning my life around. You can check out his work here. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you all on Monday when we’ll be talking about time and the ever-present dread it holds over us all!

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.

Women in Science

It’s been Women’s Day, so here’s a nice opportunity to post some comics about women scientists I recently did for magazine Wetenschap in Beeld – the first is about Alice Ball, who caused a breakthrough in the treatment of leprosy, 100 years ago…:

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And then there’s ballsy Maria Merian, who quite independently steered her own career as an entomologist in the 17th century:

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I drew Maria Merian before, in my book Science: a Discovery in Comics – in fact, I drew two pages about women in science through the ages (I think I posted them on this blog before, but it’s still worth repeating):

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Hurray, women!

Here’s to many more Women’s Days beyond the 8th of March…

Star Enthusiast

I just thought I’d share a few of my recent pieces that I’m rather proud of. I don’t know what’s up with my sudden fascination with stars, but at least I’ve been getting a few nice pictures out of it.

I actually get really tripped up on colors, the infinite rainbow of possibilities is intimidating! So finding a palette that serves as a bit of a starting point has been really helpful. It’s also been a lot of fun to have a sort of established aesthetic, a theme for my drawings.

I just really like stars, you guys.
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.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Animated Series

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When I’m not writing or drawing my next comic or doodling stars over and over, I’m making animations for the YouTube channel Chainsawsuit Original. Of special note is the hilarious Legend of Sleepy Hollow adaptation written by Mikey Neumann and animated by me. At nine episodes and fifty minutes long, it’s practically a short film! I spent over half a year working on it and it was an absolute blast the entire time.

I’ve embedded the first episode here. Check it out and let me know what you think!

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.