Poor traits? Sure!

A few months ago was simultaneously contacted by a few different folks, all of whom were inquiring about portraits. I thought, “hey, that might be a cool side line” and did a few as a trial run, the results of which you can see here. They’ve been going pretty well, and I like doing them — it’s fun, and I’ve been pretty happy with the results, so I’m going to continue to provide the service. However, the special introductory rate of $50 will go up to $75. The rate increase won’t take place until August 1, and I’ll honor all requests for portraits at the current $50 price up until then. So if anybody’s interested in the option, sooner is a better deal than later.

L’├ętranger gai

Just drew a couple of illustrations for the Seattle alternative weekly The Stranger. It’s their gay pride issue, and they asked me for drawings to accompany articles on the need a one hour disclosure rules for flirtatious straights, and on being “too gay”. I don’t know that the second one makes any sense out of context, so if you want to read the article you can check out the illos in context at the above link (the paper should be online starting Wednesday).

Fun Home

Last night I went to a reading by Alison Bechdel from her new graphic memoir Fun Home at A Different Light here in Los Angeles. There was a pretty good crowd for the venue – maybe 20 or 30 people — and it was a pretty engaging reading, despite an air-conditioning system that at times made it difficult to hear what was being said. I’d never been to a comics reading before, and was curious how it was going to work. Since much of Fun Home is written in voice-over narration, Bechdel simply cropped out most of the text from her panels, and projected them behind her in sequence while reading the accompanying narration, which turned out to be pretty effective.

She held the floor for a good long while afterwards, fielding questions and talking about her process. I asked her a couple of questions about both the size of her originals and the constraints of working in a strip vs a graphic novel format, which immediately caused her to flag me as a cartoonist. We chatted a bit after the show, and it turns out that not only was she was familar with STICKY, but had actually bought a copy, which was a pleasent surprise.

One of the interesting things about the evening was hearing her talk about her drawing process, which is really similar to mine. We both construct panels as composites — roughly sketching out and identifying the panel composition, doing visual research to identify authentic details that match the scene being drawn, photographing ourselves in a variety of positions with a digital camera and a tripod to get the body language of the characters right, then pulling all these disparate sources together into a composite final image. Maybe everyone works this way, I dunno — since I work pretty much in isolation I don’t know too much about other cartoonists’ processes. So it was eye-opening to see that someone else works in a similar way, and gets such superb results.

I haven’t finished Fun Home yet, since I just picked it up last night, but I AM two chapters in, and loving it so far. Her drawing in this is amazing — its recognizably her, but she’s taken advantage of the open space to open up and luxuriate in detail. The drawings are added by a lovely blue-green wash that is wonderfully effective — if she’d used a simple flat color the way most cartoonists do (including myself), the results wouldn’t have been nearly so good — the variation in the tone gives the drawing a lovely, added texture, and adds to the period feel of the drawings. All in all, Fun Home is a real leap forward, and I hope she continues with this kind of long format work.

Snakes on a Plane Me on a Podcast

Lene Taylor decided she wanted to interview my long-winded, cyclical self for her Podcast I Read Comics , and the result is now online. Obviously, there is no straightforward question in existance I cannot prevaricate into oblivion. Actually, I guess I wasn’t that bad — I’ve certainly got worse examples on tape from my Campus/Community radio days. Very conversational, and perhaps informative. I suggest doling it out in small portions though, so click and save it onto your desktop.

In Flux

I’m working on a six page piece for the fourth issue of the Los Angeles zine Fluxion. More precisely, I’m FINALLY working on a six page piece for the fourth issue of the Los Angeles zine Fluxion. I’ve had my idea for a while, and its been roughed out, but I’ve been blocked on it — haven’t seemed to be able to find my entry point into the story. But I think I’ve finally worked out a structure that works though, and can finally get into drawing it. Writing comics is always the most challenging part for me – it doesn’t come naturally, I have to really work and revise drafts to come up with anything I’m happy with. Which is one reason I’m so slow. But “Border Crossings” seems finally underway, so I’ll post bits of it here as it progresses.

The piece is going to be part of an autobiographical suite that will make up either the second or the third issue of my comic book SHIRTLIFTER — not sure which one yet. I suppose it will all depend on what I happen to finish first. In any case, looking at my schedule, likely that there won’t be a second issue for a while — probably not until the new year. Especially since I’m still working on getting the first one distributed, and currently in a “fuck comics” kind of mood. I’m sure it’s temporary — I’ve been there before. But since the only advantage of not being able to do this full-time is control over my schedule and only doing comics when I want to, I may as well take advantage and ride out the storm.

The last Goode Person

…not in the world, but in this series of illustrations.

This is another picture of company founder Joe Goode, this time performing from a piece called “29 Effeminite Gestures”. This is one of the butcher poses from the performance….