Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Orbital Plumber

NOTES: I made this for the Middle Coast Zine fest here in Chicago a couple weeks back. It's a micro-mini, meaning that it's 4.25" x 5.5" (Basically one sheet of paper folded twice). This is why the lettering looks so big now.

This is based on a true story, apart from the space aspect of it. One of my childhood friends is a plumber and this actually happened to him. Instead of stale sanitation crystals, it was a dried trap letting sewer smells in the house.

Also, I finished this, photocopying and all in about three days, which is some kind of record for me.

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Study in Style

(Or: What I Did Over Did Over Thanksgiving Break)

I've been thinking a lot about personal style lately.

Whenever I practice draw (i.e. Not for a finished piece), I always prefer to draw from real life (or more often, photographs) rather than copy another person's work. There are a lot of artist I respect, but I don't want to have their style, I want my own style. I assumed that if I just keep drawing what I see, eventually, my personal style will just magically form (Like Venus from ocean foam).

I'm starting to rethink this ridged method and came up with a little drawing exercise (I'm can't be the first person to think of this). I drew a page from a published comic, but I tried to emulate another artist's style.

Two of my favorite artists are Sergio Aragones and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, at least), so I decided to do Akira in the style of Sergio Aragones.

I picked a page out of Akira at random (I just googled image searched "Akira pages" and picked out one of the first ones that came up).

Here's the original:

And here is mine:

I did this while traveling to St. Louis, so I didn't have much in the way of Sergio reference material. I think it ended up looking more like something by Roberta Gregory (which isn't a bad thing) or maybe Jim Davis (which is bad).
Also, the perspective in panel #3 is way fucked up.
I'm not sure what I learned about my style. I was a fun exercise. I enjoyed it. I stretched my drawing muscles in ways I never had before. I think I'll do it again but different artists. Why not?
Last Minute Edit: I just remembered I did something like this before.
Speaking of St, Louis, I dropped off some mini-comics at Star Clipper. If you live in St. Louis and want a copy of King Crow Comics #1 (for only $1!), head down there.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hey! It's my Birthday!

 It's also Halloween, so candy and cake all around. My wife made me this card with the help of my daughter. My wife asked her what I like and drew whatever she said. I have to say that my daughter is pretty observant. Note that she said that I like my "Comics Books".

That I do!
The Show playing on the TV is Doc Martin, my current Netflix obsession.
My wife also go me this: 

Drawing Words, Writing Pictures, Part 2: Mastering Comics
I've only had time to flip through it a little, but it looks great. I'm looking forward to really digging into this one.
Also, I know I haven't posted here in a while, but I assure you, I am working on comics!
See, here's my messy, work-filled desk:
And here is a work-in-progress:

This takes place on Mars, in case you were wondering.

Speaking of Mars (and I'm a total jerk for not bringing this up earlier), but my friend, Dave has a cool webcomic called Free Mars that you should check out.

Also, he's doing a kickstarter! So go buy in! Now! Do it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I have tumblr... and I'm not afraid to use it!

I was originally going to title this post, "I have a Tumblr and I (don't) know how to use it!" Either way, replace "Tumblr" with "gun" and you have a line from cheesey action film.
So yes, I finally took the advice of several people and got myself a Tumblr. It can be found at I also have it as a permanent link on the right bar of this blog.
I'm not 100% comfortable with using it yet. I will be putting up a lot of sketches, for sure. I have a lot of little things that I draw that I don't think warrant a full post here on the blog proper. 
I would appreciate the advice of any avid Tumblr users, so please send any comments or suggestions my way ASAP.
In other news, I read almost exclusively Sci-Fi comics now. I didn't intend this to happened, it just did. It probably started with Brandon Graham's Prophet (here's a great article about why you, too should be reading it) and to a lesser extent, Saga.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I ordered this trio off of Amazon: 
Medusa Chain, Orbital #1, and The City of Shifting Waters

There all pretty good, but man, Orbital is so cool. I'm shocked that more people in the US aren't talking about this book.
I'll reserve more in depth reviews for a later date. I'm bringing this all up because I've been writing and drawing more sci-fi themed stuff lately. It's a radical departure from what I've done so far. I don't have much to show yet, but it's coming.
For now, enjoy this drawing I did of a robot sky-diving:
Just kidding. That is a drawing of my ear doctor's special ear camera/ microscope (sort of like this one). It's cool: she stuck this camera in my ear and I could see what she was seeing on a big monitor on the wall. and you know what, the inside of my ear is disgusting! Anyway, I think it looks like a sky-diving robot.

Also, I have nearly perfect hearing, so I have that going for me.

Finally, There's a new free newspaper coming to town? And the plan to publish comics? (from their website, emphasis is mine):

The Proof is an experiment. What if we had our own newspaper? Could it be free but support itself? Could it increase instead of decrease the space for comics? Could it treat its contributors like human beings? Could it survive without advertorials, junket interviews, content outsourced to robot aggregators, or whatever new awful profit-maximization scheme comes next? In short: could we make the kind of publication we would like to read and then hire ourselves?
Hmmm... I wonder if they want to publish a story about a kangaroo based in Chicago?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sci-Fi Team Up (Explained)

Sorry, no Phantom Kangaroo today. Page 4 is still on my drawing board. I did however contribute to the Challenger's Assemble blog today.

The Theme was Unlikely Team-Ups. Here is my contribution:

I feel like I should explain this one a bit. Both comics are published by Image Comics.

Planetoid is about a mercenary (Silas) who crash-lands on a planet where he must fight for survival against evil robots.

Debris is about a young woman(Maya) who lives on a post-apocalyptic earth, which happens to be ruled by.... you guessed it... evil robots.

Seems like a perfect team-up to me!

The similarities don't end there. In their first issues they both:
-Fight giant snake robots
-wield impossibly powerful firearms
-wear ponchos

These two comics are the Weeds/ Breaking Bad of the comic world.

Don't get me wrong, so far I think they're both great books. I just think some of these similarities are uncanny.

If you want to see more there is a preview of Planetoid here and preview of Debris here.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Next?

So now that I don't have CAKE hanging over me, I have to decide what my next goal is. I had apparently been thinking about this before the expo, because I recently found a note that I written to myself.

I don't actually remember writing this note, but it is written in my nigh-illegible writing style. Plus, it's all things I've been thinking about.

Maybe it's a note sent through time by my future self trying to influence my past (present) self on his (my) next steps.

Anyway, the first thing on the list is "Clean Rapidiographs[sic]" which I have done! It looked like this:

Messy business, that was.

Here's the story on these awesome pens. My old upstairs neighbor was an architect who had to buy a set of these when she was in architect's school.

Here's the thing though, architects have these things called computers now. I know I'm probably disappointing lots of people who still picture architects sitting over massive drafting tables using pens and compasses, but most of that type of work is digital now. Point is, these poor, insanely expensive pens sat in her storage space, unused. I somehow convinced her to loan them to me shortly before she moved out of the state.

Of course, part of the deal was that I had to clean them. Which I have. Thank you, Tracy.

The second thing on my list is "figure drawings". I think this is in reference to an idea I had to do 50 figure drawings in 50 days so that I could learn to actually draw people in a reasonably realistic way.

Hmmm.... I may still do this. I'm not sure anyone whould want to see me do it.

The last item is "Phantom Kangaroo" which is a comic that I've been working on. I guess I was reminding myself to finish it. Those of that have a copy of King Crow Comics #1 have already read the first three pages. For the rest of you, I will start posting pages here for you starting tomorrow! In the meantime, here is a one-panel preview:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What do I do all day?

No, I don't make comics all day. Hopefully someday...

Anyway, this article has been going around Internet quite a bit the last couple days: The Busy Trap . Note this passage:
More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.
Here is my response:

You probably don't know what a "litigation support manager" is, and honestly, I don't feel like explaining it. Let's just leave it at this:

Thursday, June 21, 2012


The road to CAKE has been traveled and I have returned from my hero-journey a changed man.

Joseph Campbell-inspired ramblings aside, CAKE is over. It was a great experience. It wasn't always what I expected it to be, but it was fantastic none-the-less.

First off, I have to thank the organizers and volunteer staff. This was my first show and organizers did a great job of making me feel welcome. As a newbie, I never felt lost or confused.

The best aspect of anything like this is of course, the people. Seriously, I know I sound trite but there were a handful of people who made this totally worth the cost of admission (meaning the cost of the table and printing). I've heard and read it more times than I care to say, but making comics is a lonely business. Especially when, like me, you hardly know any people who make comics. To be in a big room that is full of makers just like you is a sublime experience.

So without further ado... here is a LINK DUMP!! (In no particular order).

My neighbors at the show, Shane O'Shaughnessy and Julia Barr (sorry can't seem to find a link to her stuff) were very cool people. You can find Shane's book, Spuds Malone, Private Eye here. Shane and Julia's superhero erotica, GLAM BANG POW is available.... somewhere....

My other neighbor, Joel "Crave" Maxine, Jr, was another great person who I really enjoyed spending two days with.

Eric Taylor was not actually tabling at CAKE, which is really too bad. He knows a thing or two about comics and gave me a phrase that has been in my head since he uttered it on Sunday: "Can't draw? Just rock-star it." (Sorry, that's a bit of a paraphrase and also way out of context).

Roxy Drew, two tables down, had a cool book about a mutant dog called Futur Dog.

Emi Gennis gave me her comic about the Collyer Brothers that was really great.

Reid Psaltis can draw crows way better than I can.

It was also great catching up with my old friend Olivia Arrow who hung out my table a bunch on Saturday.

I'm sure I've forgotten someone. With so many great comics artists around, that's easy to do.

I didn't take many pictures, but here are a couple:

To my left:

 To my right:

My table again:

My wife brought the kids down on Sunday, which was a nice Father's Day treat

Also, I sold  bunch of books. And people seemed actually like them! (I forgot to mention I printed a book of comics? Stay tuned, more on that later.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Joy of a Supportive Wife(Road to CAKE part 4)

To encourage me while working towards CAKE, my wife made me this awesome calendar. She gave it to me on May 16, or 31 days before the expo. It's basically a countdown that includes encouraging messages like:

She made it so that I could tear the pages out everyday, but I didn't want to destroy it. Instead, I put rings in it and hung it over my drawing desk.

I figure I can reuse the calendar when I'm on some other 31-day deadline.
Also, today is actually 24 days from CAKE, so I'll have to update my Calendar when I get back to my desk.

Anyway, I'm really lucky to have such a sweet, supportive wife. This calendar is also a reminder of that!

You can see a comic I'm working on in this picture called "Everyone Hates Their Job" (Which I know is not grammatically correct, so save it!) and is a little different from anything I've done before. I'll be posting that soon.

Since this is a "Road to CAKE" article, I better post a picture of a cake. My daughter's third birthday was a week ago, so here is the Shaun the Sheep cake we made for her.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Onward to CAKE!! (Part 3)

I just finished the class I was teaching this term (I teach at a local paralegal program) and I don't have to teach another class until October. This will free up time to work on my comics for CAKE. Boy, do I need it.

I have been working, no worries. In fact, I'm almost finished with a new Bone Dog page. A friend of mine generously upgraded the RAM on my computer for me, and I just got it back. That means I can scan some art. I have a couple pages I've been holding back and I not really sure why. I decide a while ago that I should post them, but my aforementioned computer was away getting its innards fixed. Expect to see those pages soon.

Also, here is my new ghetto-ass light box:

Old record bin +  Ikea light + sheet of plexiglass = awesome light box!

CAKE is only a month and a half away. Better get to it. Here is another cake, this time for my youngest son's recent 1st birthday. Don't forget to like CAKE on Facebook, you bums!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I wish I had a light box....

I make do with what I have. In this case a window and blue tape. Anyway, the eagle-eyed reader will notice that this is a new page of Bone Dog.


In other news, I had a piece of artwork on the Challengers ASSEMBLE blog last Friday. For those not familiar with the Blog (which is associated with the best comic shop in Chicago), every Monday they post a drawing prompt and artists can submit drawings by Thursday. They post all entries on Friday.

Last week's subject was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so here's mine:

I have started drawings for Challengers ASSEMBLE probably about four times, but never finished by the Thursday Deadline. I knew I couldn't miss this one since I loved TMNT when I was younger. I just sat down one night and banged this out in about 15 minutes. I did it almost completely from memory, too.

Michelangelo was always my favorite, but I decide to do Donatello instead. Mostly because I thought a bo staff is easier to draw than nunchucks. Also, I used to own a copy of the TMNT Martial Arts Training Manual featuring Donatello, so I do have a fondness for him.

Like I said, I drew this from memory. However, I'm struck now at how similar my drawing is to the cover of that martial arts manual. Crazy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Road to CAKE (part 2) - Who doesn't like CAKE?

Apparently, most people don't "like" CAKE. I'm talking of course, about CAKE's Facebook page. At this point, it only has 271 likes and I find that kind of shocking.

For the love of alternative comics, please, "like" CAKE!

Anyway, I'm finally settling into my new apartment and I have passed a most momentous milestone. I set up a drawing desk! Here it is:

I also finished the second page on my top-secret PK story (in the picture you can see the first page on my drawing board).Next up is another page of Bone Dog, so keep an eye out for that.

Now that I have a dedicated space, I'm hoping my output will increase dramatically. It will have to if I'm going to have anything to show for myself come June.

I leave you with another cake. This time, it's a cat cake that my wife and I made our daughter for her second birthday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Road to CAKE (Part 1)

The exciting news here at King Crow Comics is that I will be exhibiting at the first ever Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE). I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I feel like I'm taking my first steps into a larger world.

I've felt I needed a deadline for as long as I've been doing this. Up until this point, I've been drawing and making comics with no real goal besides completing a story. Now, I have an actual date (which, by the way, is June 16). This is a much more concrete target.

Still, I'm sort of terrified. I have a lot to get done between now and then, and I really am new to the comic-creating lifestyle.

So I've done what I always do whenever I have a lot to get done: make lots of lists!

The first list is of projects listing their completed and thumbnail pages. It looked like this:

Ok, you probably can't read that because of my sloppy chicken-scratch.

Basically, I have 5 pages of Bone Dog complete and 2 more that I've thumbnailed. I have two other projects that I'm calling PK and NMV (Sorry, these are two projects that I want to keep under wraps for now). I have one page of PK completed and there is a second page on my drawing board at the moment. I haven't done anything for NMV besides thumbnail about 9 pages.

I also have a "Needed" column which is how many pages I need to have completed by June. I'm planning on collecting my Bone Dog and PK in a mini-comic (8 1/2 x 5 1/2), and NMV is a stand alone story that I will be doing in micro-mini size (5 1/2 x 4 1/4). I'm not sure how long the mini is going to be since I see it as an anthology of all my work. The micro is going to be two full sheets folded into quarters, so it will be 16 pages including the covers.

Whew, that's a lot to think about.

Anyway, expect more on this in the coming months and weeks. In the meantime,CAKE-lovers, here is a picture of a cake my wife made this weekend:
Note: we're not religious; we're just into self-denial.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sketchbook: Two dudes, a girl and (part of) a mummy

I figured I'd post a couple pages from my sketchbook just to get me back in the swing of posting.

As usual, these are drawn from photos that I've found in magazines. The guy sitting is from a Psychology Today I found in the break room at work, the other dude and the woman are from an article in the Chicago Reader, and the mummy is from a National Geographic article about ancient cliff-dwelling cultures in Peru.

These were all done with a Micron pen except for the mummy was was done with a brush pen. Also, the mummy is barely half finished.

Anyway, I like to keep an eye out for pictures that show the entire figure. Most of the time, magazine and newspaper photos only show the head and shoulders. When I do find a complete human figure, I add it to my file.

I drew the mummy because drawing skulls is fun and also a good lesson in anatomy.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting the Rust Out

This is what I feel like right now, a rusty robot. The holidays, moving, a medical scare followed by a unrelated medical procedure, and a new teaching gig have not been good for my art-doing.

It's pretty remarkable how much doing art everyday really makes it easier to do. Before all the holiday/moving/teaching craziness set in, I was drawing everyday. I never stopped completely even when I was distracted, but I wasn't doing it as consistently as I was.

Now that my life is settling back into a rhythm, I'm realizing what a difference it makes to do something on a consistent basis. It so hard to get going on drawing when you haven't done it for a week or even a few days.

So, Rusty Robot, that's me.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of the blog Comic Tools. The Author just wrote a couple posts on this subject, though his breaks were longer and much more dramatic than mine. An inspirational read regardless.