One of my favorite comics growing up was USAGI YOJIMBO. Its creator Stan Sakai is humble, hardworking, and perhaps the kindest person I’ve met in this industry. His wife has been suffering serious health issues, so an art auction fundraiser has been organized to aid the family with medical expenses.
Here’s my tribute – crafted this snowbound weekend in Portland. The inspiration was 1) the unrequited romance of Usagi & Mariko from the earliest 1987 issues of the book, along with 2) the tradition of Ukiyo-e woodblock prints (specifically “Two ladies conversing in the snow” & “A village in the snow” by Hiroshige), and finally 3) the snow-dappled tree framed by my studio window as the neighbor kids sled down their front yard.
To learn more about the fundraiser and the other artists involved, please check out the Cartoon Art Professional Society’s Paypal.
The work will also be colored by the amazing Dave Stewart and see print in THE SAKAI PROJECT book to be published by Dark Horse and Bongo Comics (July 23rd release).
Unearthed some more childhood art that wasn’t lost in the BLANKETS burn barrel. This one’s another scroll (see slumgutso and scrambled seaweed) drawn circa 1983 in Mrs. Kamenick’s third grade classroom at Marathon Elementary – Wisconsin.
I was nine years old and all fired up about RETURN OF THE JEDI (note the belt buckle matches the jersey).
This is exactly the sort of nerd-ball enthusiasm I’m trying to channel for the upcoming SPACE DUMPLINS.
After HABIBI promotional travel, 2013 was the year of hunkering down to craft the new book – SPACE DUMPLINS. It began with an injured hand, tossing the first batch of inks, revising the script, then drawing 135 pages of final art to be colored by Dave Stewart. Just this week, CHAPTER THREE saw completion.
154 more pages to go to finish SPACE DUMPLINS – the big goal for 2014. Thanks to all of you for your continual support & sticking with the Doot Doot Blog. Here’s a reminder of previous New Years on this forum: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. A toast to a cozy & productive year for us all!
Last week, I finished pencilling chapter three of SPACE DUMPLINS. I usually pencil & ink a single page on the same day (two with BLANKETS), but this time for the sake of editing, I pencilled an entire chapter at once.
Seeing the whole chapter made it more malleable & consistent, more tangible to “stage”, and saved me from repeating compositions. But my work days felt more monotonous – tending to a single task for weeks on end – and I missed the creative “down time” that inking affords me. Pencilling is all sweat & brainwork, but inking is more intuitive – freeing my mind to listen to music, podcasts, talk on the phone…
Many of you asked why I’ve started using colored ballpoint on my pencils, but it’s purely for fun – now that I scan the pencils and print out blue lines, the pencils can be as messy and colorful as I like. As an experiment, I dabbled with inking some panels digitally on a 13HD Cintiq.
Below is an excerpt from a page I inked twice – A) The old-fashioned way with a brush and India ink. B) The newfangled digital tablet way. I was surprised that the difference is almost imperceptible. An advantage of digital is that I was able to draw word balloons and color holds on separate layers, and of course it’s all easier to correct. But for now I still prefer the tactile sensations of light bouncing off paper, crude ink, and finicky sable hairs.
The pictured character is named TINDER, after my cartoonist buddy Jeremy Tinder – whose style I aped for the character design.
Happy Halloween, Blog-friends, and thanks for your patience during a quiet October.
A few of you asked about the process stages between pencils and colors, so here’s a panel breakdown from chapter two.
1) Pencilled the characters (Elliot & Violet) and roughed in the background with non-photo blue pencil.
2) This time, I chose to draw the background separately with pencil and colored ballpoint.
(As you can see, the detail in SPACE DUMPLINS is becoming as obsessive as HABIBI).
3) Then I merged the two in Photoshop and printed out blue lines on to Bristol Board paper.
4) Inked with India ink and watercolor brush – the lettering is Micron pigment pen.
(You can still see the bluelines on the original art, but they’re easily removed once scanned.)
Friends of my brother, GROW ANTHOLOGY, make sweet skateboards out of recycled paper, and they’ve launched a KICKSTARTER campaign to produce their first run of artist-edition boards – THE CHUNKY SHARK CYCLE! It’s limited to only 250 boards… Chunky and Dandel graphic laser-etched into the top of the deck… made sustainably from recycled paper from a paper mill in my home town! They’re a flexy-fluid longboard ride or an object of art for display. Please, do check in to support the Chunky Shark Cycle Kickstarter and get stickers, t-shirts, decks, complete boards, or purchase my original art. Exciting to merge the two passions of my youth – comics and skateboarding!
Thank you, Jordi, for your reminders and thanks to all you loyal blog followers for your patience in this two month lapse between posts.
Portland has the best summers in the world, so there’s been the typical sunny day distractions of: A) river swimming (drawing buddy Scott), B) white water rafting (flip on the Deschutes), C) a little surfing (Justin loads the boards on my car – fifth one on the back seat), and D) lots of stand-up paddling (Brazilian twins Fabio & Gabriel on the Willamette).
In the work world, dealing with recurring hand problems, I’ve experimented with some alternate drawing techniques, including investing in a 13″ Wacom Cintiq. 1)Adrian Tomine’s latest OPTIC NERVE has a genius lampoon of “our generation’s” resistance to the new brand of art tools coupled with our frustration towards the declining quality of old world art supplies (bristol, brushes, ink). 2) For a couple of days my drawing desk became a clutter of video monitors (yuck).
3&4) I managed to digitally pencil a page, but then (5) printed out blue lines and reworked with an actual tangible pencil.
Here’s (6) Dave Stewart’s colors (digital) on my India inks (analog).
Purists will be relieved to know I’m sticking with the old-fashioned pencils and sable brushes for now. Digital dabbling, however, did push me to adopt a new working method of pencilling on cheap sketch paper, then scanning and printing blue lines on bristol board to ink by hand. Saves me the hassle of light box tracing and erasing pencil lines. More summer-time announcements coming soon…
My Korean publisher OPEN BOOKS translate my work with incredible attention to design & production. Check out their edition of CARNET DE VOYAGE with a 3/4 jacket.
In the upper right is a “LASER QUEST” jam with Lewis Trondheim. I’m reminded that Kim Thompson was the first to translate & publish Trondheim’s work in the US.
Also, this news is late now that Hassan Rohani has been elected president of Iran, but my dear friend Amir co-orchestrated a very cool presidential campaign for the star of his & Khalil’s book ZAHRA’S PARADISE. (author photo by Michael Macor)
Finally finished inking the first chapter of SPACE DUMPLINS (57 pages). I’m way behind on my personal deadlines (primarily due to the health of my drawing hand), but colorist Dave Stewart has been knocking out gorgeous colors at a breakneck pace. Here’s a peek.