I think I say it every year but #rccc was an amazing con! I met so many cool people and made some awesome new friends! I have a bajillion ideas on how to make the next show even better and I can’t wait to get back to work.
I have a hard time wrapping my head around complicated machinery. Even though I somehow drew a whole book about robots, I avoided drawing them most times because I didn’t think I was good at it.
I’ve since changed my mind!
Designing these little Bandit Bots is the most fun I’ve had drawing in a long time. Instead of drawing complicated machinery, I focus on finding fun, simplified shapes and arranging them in cool ways. I did these for #MarchOfRobots and right now I’m doing #AdventureApril.
Of course I had to make it about robots.
After the horrible tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School, we were informed that art teacher, Sandra Traub, was putting together art to display. The goal is to put up hopeful, positive pieces for the students who are returning to classes.
NBM’s creators have donated several pieces.
The first is from Val Mayerik, co-creator of Howard The Duck, and NBM’s upcoming Of Dust & Blood: The Battle at Little Big Horn, with writer Jim Berry.
The second is titled Star Fixer from Jon Nielsen (author of Look)
Hopefully, the donated art can be a source of comfort and inspiration for the students and faculty of this horrible tragedy.
I’m finally learning what my favorite colors are and how to put them together in nice ways!
I’ve always felt that coloring has been my weakest area when it comes to my art. The infinite rainbow of colors is extremely intimidating for me and I lock up when choosing colors for a piece. So I spent the last year practicing, exploring different color combinations, and studying color theory. It still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me but I think I’m getting close to unlocking color’s many secrets!
And I’ll share with you one of those secrets now.
Find your favorite colors.
It took me almost ten years to discover that I very much enjoy the CMYK color palette. I’m a huge nerd for anything even remotely CMYK. I don’t know what it is, but cyan, magenta, and yellow — colors I don’t even really super love on their own — just make me happy when put together. The K stands for black but I actually don’t often use a lot of black in my drawings?
Unless you count the lineart.
Finding a color palette that I absolutely adore has taught me a lot about how colors work. I always have a set of colors that I know will work together and I know how to tweak it to suit my specific needs without breaking it. I cannot emphasize enough how much this helps a person who spends an embarrassing amount of time picking the right shade of green for a tree.
Colors can sometimes be pretty neat, is what I’m saying.
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.
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.