Tuesday, June 24, 2008

From the Vault: The Big One

From the Vault: The Big One:
Back in the late 90's A friend of mine wanted to do a comic. The premise was an alternate WWII with metahumans (Elves, Dwarves, Drow, Dark Dwarves, Goblins, etc.) as the various nations warring. I offered to help with some design work and plotting. This triptych watercolor was one of those preliminary pieces to be used as a jumping-off point. Unfortunately not much became of the idea, but along with this painting I did a few other fun WWII inspired pieces.

How to Make A Wife Unhappy:
a week or so ago, I was frustrated and in a split second impulse decided to trim my beard into "friendly muttonchops". Before I did it I had the idea in my head that it would be funny. It was, but only for about three minutes. When Julia first saw it she didn't notice and then asked me to "stop making that face" before gasping at what I had done. I have trimmed the rest down so that my beard is even, just very trim.

I majored in Printmaking in college, and while I was there I used a technique that combined traditional intaglio techniques with traditional relief printing techniques. I was only able to do it a short while (here is an example of one) After I left school, I was unable to continue with the technique because it requires a press. As a replacement I found a way to use the technique where the goal was a printed image, but a carved block of wood. The one photographed here was a gift for Julia. I plan on starting another one soon and I'll try and document the process.

Molded Glass:
This is a collaboration piece I did with glass artist Gary Bolt. He was experimenting with a technique in casting glass using a woodcut technique to create the initial image. Knowing I was a print major, he asked if I'd be willing to do a piece to test the limits of the idea. I carved the image out of a speedycut block (a soft rubber to replace linoleum or wood for a faster cut relief print).

The block was mailed off to Victoria B.C. where Gary made a sand mold and poured molten glass into it (here it is shown cooling). The final piece is buffed on the surface to remove the sand texture from the high points. Today the piece sits in my north studio window.

Wizard World Chicago:
This weekend I'll be in artist's alley signing, sketching, and chatting. I'll also have free Mouse Guard
temporary tattoos!!! See ya there!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day

This was going to be posted late last night, but due to some internet outages because of storms, I'm posting it now.
Father's Day: My Dad was out of town today, so we agreed to celebrate next weekend when he's back home.

My Dad was a terrific Dad when I was growing up. I know we don't pick our parents but, I can't think of a soul I would have prefered to have been my father and to have raised me than him. He is a teacher. Not a school teacher (though he studied to be one and taught at the junior high and high school levels), he spent most of his life in the engineering field. What I mean is that at his core his biggest asset is to be able to explain something to someone unfamiliar with the topic. He can teach about theory and he can teach in practice. When I was six years old he taught me to turn candlesticks on the wood lathe (a gift for my grandparents for Christmas that year). He taught me how to gas weld when I was thirteen (something that I still enjoy doing and find 'calming'). He taught me how to build better building designs, to question authority, not to be taken, how to camp, how to cook a steak, about politics, how to build a fire, how to drive, how to rebuild an engine...and the list goes on and on.

If it seems like this list is wide in it's scope, that's because it IS. I regard my father as a man who knows more about more things that I'll know. It's something he inherited from his father. My Grandfather (Gumpa as we grandkids called him) had a piece of information on any topic and if he didn't he listened carefully to learn a new piece. My father also received his father's name as a middle name. I received my father's name in the same way. And I fully intend to continue the tradition if God is willing.

Mouse guard owes a great deal to my Dad. He taught me to appreciate my state. To enjoy the natural world, to respect elegant design and how the most primitive of techniques and tools sometimes can't be improved upon. He stressed history and how it should be treated as stories of adventure rather than dusty texts one is forced to read. But mostly, My Dad always gave me the space to be who I was and to encourage doing the things I enjoyed doing.

Thanks Dad. Happy Fathers Day. Happy Father's Day to my Grandfather also, and to all the Dads in my life, and even those I don't know.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 won bronze in ForeWord Magazine's annual awards in the Graphic Novel category! This is the fifth straight year that an ASP book has won in the category:
**Gold Medal (2003): ARTESIA
**Silver Medal (2004): ARTESIA AFIRE
**Honorable Mention (2005): THE LONE AND LEVEL SANDS
**Bronze Award (2006): ROBOTIKA
**Bronze Award (2007): Mouse Guard Fall 1152
It is a huge honor and I thank the folks at ASP and the folks at ForeWord Magazine!!

Kenzie moonlighting in another comic!?!? Brian Anderson who draws the daily syndicated strip Dog Eat Doug sent over his strip that paid homage to Mouse Guard. Turns out Brian is a fan of Mouse Guard and couldn't help naming the mouse in this day's strip after the blue-cloaked Kenzie. You can check out Brian's site here: http://dogeatdoug.com/

Writing Folk-Songs
For part of the Winter storyline a folk-song/ballad is used. I was finding it hard to write something on my own. I wanted it to be authentic and to have the haunting charm of a song like Peggy-O has. I asked my pal Jesse Glenn, who Kenzie is based on, if he could write some music that I could use as a springboard. On a visit out to see him, he pulled out his guitar and quickly recorded the basic repeating melody with an alternate refrain*. The ballad lyrics are finished and before they are published I wanted the music to be heard as well. I plan on having the lyrics and music printed as an extra in the hardcover of Winter 1152. You can download the MP3 here
*The melody will repeat 3 times instead of the recorded 2 before hitting the refrain.

Upcoming Appearances:

Sorry about the lack of new artwork in this post. I'll try and do another post soon with some misc/non-Mouse Guard work to make up for it

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