So You’re Starting Your First Graphic Novel

I wanted to talk a bit about advice for new cartoonists and I thought I’d be fun to present it as a totally real and in all ways completely genuine interview that definitely happened! Exactly like my now year-old first post here on this blog. Enjoy!

Did you have your book completely written before you started drawing?
Not even close! I had the big bullet points, I knew every major plot hook, location, and character, but I did not have a full script. I’d finalize the scripts for each page as I was drawing them. Dialogue changed right up until it was put in a word balloon. And sometimes after.

I’m worried I’ll burn out halfway through and never finish my book. How do you deal with that?
I spent the last two years doing short stories just to avoid that exact problem! 15 pages is a whole lot more manageable than 150. I totally and completely recommend starting small. Start small, build your confidence and your skills, and slowly work your way up to bigger projects.

What did you do when you were lazy or had art block? What pushed you to get up and draw regardless of your motivation levels?
I think my motivation and work ethic came from updating a webcomic three times a week for nine years. Just funny gag stuff, low pressure, but it forced me to draw at least three times a week. I didn’t want to be that webcomic that missed updates. It held me accountable. And then all of a sudden one day you’re like “woah, I’ve written and drawn over a thousand comics.” As for those nights where I’m Just Not Feeling It, I try to set my expectations a little lower and accomplish something smaller. Maybe I was planning on getting a whole page done, but if all I get tonight is the sketches, that’s all right.

Do you recommend putting your pages online as you finish them?
That’s how I did it but I don’t know if it’s for everyone. I’d do one or two pages a week in order to keep the site updated and I don’t know if the book would have ever gotten done without that self-imposed schedule.

You’ve said before that LOOK took you three years to finish. Was that on and off or full time working on it?
Three years, yes. Drawing one or two pages a week. I did have to put it on hold for a few months somewhere in the middle because I was having a hard time juggling it, the day job, and my gag comic all at the same time. But there was a time where I was putting out five comics a week.

What advice do you have for someone starting their first graphic novel?
Don’t agonize over it being perfect and just start it. Your first comic isn’t going to be as great as it is in your head and that’s okay. It’s all practice and experience for the next thing which will automatically be better.

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.

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LOOK in Korea

 

LOOK got translated into Korean! It’s very exciting to see my work in a language that I can’t read.

I think it’s especially cool and interesting how they replaced my hand-lettered sound effects.

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.

#inktober2017

Not too far back I wrote about my first experience with Inktober. To sum up: it was a big deal for me! Drawing and posting one picture a day completely changed the way I work and, by extension, my life.

So when Inktober 2017 came around, I was totally and completely ready for it. For the theme, I thought it’d be cool to do what I did last year and draw every character from the video game Overwatch. So I did!

Collage

Compared to last year’s drawings, I think I improved quite a bit!

OverwatchCollage

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.

Kumoricon Results

File Nov 03, 11 27 18

If I took one thing away from Kumoricon, it’s that I should be playing Persona 5. Apparently it’s a pretty big deal?

Also: people REALLY like graphic novels about sad robots! I’ve never had an item that consistently sells as well as my little robot book. It’s a nice, new feeling!

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.

Kumoricon 2017

Kumoricon2017Promo

More cons are happening! This time you’ll be able to meet my current human form at an anime convention called Kumoricon! It’s an exciting real thing that is totally happening and not something I’m making up!

I wouldn’t do that!

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.

#RCCC 2017

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There’s something about cons that really gets me pumped to create. Maybe it’s being surrounded by all of the amazing artists of Artist Alley, or the waves of incredibly nice people buying and complimenting my art, or just being completely emotionally exhausted by the end of it. Whatever it is, the second I get home I immediately get to work on one of the crazy new projects that is my current obsession.

And this year was no different! I go to RCCC every year and this was definitely my best and favorite year of all time.

It was A++

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.

NBM Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary With Appearances and Signings

As we head toward the end of 2017, NBM Graphic Novels is continuing to celebrate its 40th Anniversary with appearances at a number of shows with special guests in attendance. At all convention appearances there will be a selection of our latest titles on hand available for purchase.
 

 
Small Press Expo (SPX)/Booth G1-2
Bethesda, Maryland /
September 16-17
Appearing Saturday Only:
Special Guest: Anais Depommier (Sartre)
Guests: T.J. Kirsch (Pride of The Decent Man), Kata Kane (
Ana & The Cosmic Race, Papercutz)
http://www.smallpressexpo.com

Panel: Filling In The Pieces: Comics Biography
White Flint Auditorium 9/16 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
When doing a comics biography, how do cartoonists approach the material they have at hand? For Box Brown, who did a biography of Andre the Giant, he struggled to find material that might reveal the wrestler’s inner life. Anais Depommier had to sift through a mountain of material for her biography of Jean-Paul Sartre, a task made all the more difficult considering how much the philosopher wrote about himself. Luke Howard had to deal with a historically and racially sensitive topic in ragtime creator Ernest Hogan. Moderator Chris Mautner will lead the discussion. Anais Depommier appears courtesy of a grant by The Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

Signing Schedule
Saturday (Booth G-1-2)

11:30- 12:30: Anais Depommier (Saturday Only)
1:00-2:30: T.J. Kirsch (Saturday Only)
2:30-4: Anais Depommier (Saturday Only)

4-5:30: T.J. Kirsch (Saturday Only)
5:00-6:00: Kata Kane
6:00-6:30: Anais Depommier (Saturday Only)
 
Sunday (Booth G-1-2)

1-2: Kata Kane
3-4: Kata Kane

 

Brooklyn Book Festival / Booth 319
Brooklyn, New York / September 16-17
Appearing Sunday Only:
Guests: Anais Depommier (Sartre) and T.J. Kirsch (Pride of The Decent Man)
http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/

Signing Schedule
Sunday (Booth 319)

10 :30-11:30: T.J. Kirsch
11:30-12 :30: Anais Depommier
1-2: T.J. Kirsch
2-3: Anais Depommier

3-4: T.J. Kirsch
4-5 Anais Depommier

 

Thought Bubble: The Leeds Comic Art Festival
Leeds, England / September 18-24
Guests: Metaphrog (The Little Mermaid, Papercutz)
http://thoughtbubblefestival.com

 

Anais Depommier Book Signing
Books & Books / September 20 at 8PM
265 Aragon Ave Coral Gables, FL
http://booksandbooks.com/event/anais-depommier/

 

T.J. Kirsch Book Signing
Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza / September 23 at 3 PM – 4:30 PM
1475 Western Ave, Albany, New York
http://www.bhny.com/event/bh-tj-kirsch-signs-pride-decent-man

 

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus
Columbus, Ohio / September 30 – October 1
Exhibiting: Dara Naraghi (Persia Blues)
http://cartooncrossroadscolumbus.com

 

Uticon
Utica, New York / October 1st
Guest: T.J. Kirsch (Pride of The Decent Man)
http://www.uticoncomicshow.com

 

Lakes International Comic Art Festival
Kendal, England / October 13-15
Guests: Metaphrog (The Little Mermaid, Papercutz)
https://www.comicartfestival.com

 

T.J. Kirsch Book Signing
Barnes and Noble / October 21
Colonie Centre, Albany, NY
https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/event/9780061886661-0

 

Kumoricon
Portland, Oregon
Guest: Jon Nielsen (Look)
October 27-29
https://www.kumoricon.org

 

T.J. Kirsch Book Signing
Halloween Comic Fest / October 28
Flipside Gaming
East Greenbush, New York
https://www.facebook.com/FlipsideGamingEastGreenbush