Saturday, January 19, 2019

Student Spotlight Roundup

I put out a call for updates from students and have a lot to share.
First, here's a roundup of courses enrolling right now:

Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Wednesdays,
Cartooning Basics, Thursdays,
Inking Comics, Fridays,
and on Saturdays, classes for kids:
Grades 3-5 at Parsons
Grades 5-8 at Hootenanny Art House

Registrations will end early this week, so sign up right away!

So anyway, it's always a thrill to see my students continuing to pursue their creative ambitions in so many ways.

Eva Hill shares that she's going to have an illustration in the New Yorker's Daily Shouts column in February. Her client list already includes New York magazine and HarperCollins.

Charles Truett sent in this wonderful dream comic, Hank Van Brunt #0, excerpted above. He's hard at work on the official series, coming soon.

At the Brooklyn Book Fest in September, I picked up a copy of Tim Ballard's Chingu, the story of the adoption of his dog. Proceeds from his comic are donated to a Korean Dog Rescue.

Yiqing Zhang sent her crazy cool new comic, Buzz & Buzz, about a pesky mosquito and a darts master. Yiqing has recently completed her MFA in illustration and is hard at work on more zines. Follow her on Instagram.

Also on Instagram, we can track the progress of Joe Wessely. It's fun to see his paintings on rent envelopes and anatomical analyses of favorite comics.

Following her first comic, Re:Bound, Britina Cheng has kept up her pace producing illustrations, writing, and short comics.

Sasha Ganeles posts bunches of her funny cartoon drawings on Instagram.

Matt Young reaches out sometimes for feedback on projects. That's something I'm always happy to provide. Check out the delightful color work on his website.

An editorial illustration Leo did for Kitsch Magazine, for an article about tourists romanticizing the slums

 And Leo Levy shares that he's been drawing his pants off. Is that Leo behind the garbage bags? He's currently finishing a big comics project. Meanwhile, here's Leo's Instagram.

 And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Come join the August group of vital creatives, studying hard and working joyfully to get their ideas ever more "out there."

I hope to see you soon.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Introduction to Illustration: Creating a Portfolio

For her project, Mariana Tapia made watercolor paintings illustrating Spanish words that don't exist in English. See more at

I've been teaching this illustration course for Pratt Institute's School of Continuing and Professional Studies for a couple of years now. Follow the link and scroll down to find the course. 
The new session starts next week, Tuesday, January 22.

In this class, we explore fundamental dichotomies within the field, such as static vs dynamic composition, realistic vs designed images, and organic vs architectural forms. We look at various styles, formats, genres, and media in illustration's history. We tackle a variety of sketchbook challenges: editorial concepts, sequential continuity, observational drawing and painting, and more. We discuss print and digital technology. We have field trips to lectures and life drawing sessions. A lot gets done in just ten weeks!

The course project is to create a related series of three or more illustrations to inaugurate a portfolio. 

Shanna Cho made a series of digitally painted scrolls inspired by Korean folk tales.

And I wouldn't neglect to cover comic techniques along the way.

Mariana Tapia's timely comic page.

It's an upbeat class. Students have been making friends and having a good time, while surprising us all with their inventiveness. I'm getting positive feedback: 
"This course was well structured and hands on. It guided me to work on my first illustration project which I really enjoyed"
"I really appreciate your joyful attitude and your willingness to share your knowledge and ideas"

Come join the fun.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Student Spotlight: G. H. Yamauchi

Check out this artful and moving comic by G. H. Yamauchi that just appeared in Electric Lit.
Yamauchi began the comic in my fall 2015 Cartooning Basics course & set it aside until, encouraged by a friend, she submitted it to this publisher, who suggested revisions, and voila. Way worth the time and effort.

Of Cartooning Basics, she says, "You were always so kindly encouraging to all of us in the class, and I really appreciated your support. So, thank you! Please know you made a difference for me." 

I believe comics is the finest medium for telling personal stories and putting thoughts and feelings down on paper, as this example beautifully shows. I encourage my students to take the time they need to produce their best work. For my part, I'm often finishing comics I began decades ago and starting others that may gestate for years. It's a happy day for me when a student project from months or years before appears triumphantly in my inbox. 

What stories are lurking in your heart? 
Winter/spring classes are enrolling right now: Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Cartooning Basics, and Inking ComicsCome see me tomorrow, Jan. 10, at the Info Session.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Making MiniComics!

I'm conducting a cartooning workshop for middle schoolers on Saturday afternoons in Park Slope, Making MiniComics.

We have lots of fun jamming, brainstorming, experimenting, and self-publishing. This one really is a joy to teach.

The new session starts tomorrow (short notice, sorry) but I believe they'll prorate students who join later. That said, space is limited, so you should act fast, I reckon.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Winter/Spring Cartooning Courses at SVA

Classes for the new semester are enrolling now:
Treat yourself. Sign up soon. Classes make a good holiday gift. Help a loved one pursue their dream of making comics. Come say Hi at the info session January 10!

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Unica Factor

Well friends, are you looking for an oddball obligatory gift to easily send someone this holiday?

If you order something from my shop at Society 6, I can virtually guarantee it will be the only one of its kind in existence. They don't make these things unless somebody orders one, and who would do that? So that's an angle? Right?

So you could get somebody this phone case or this pattern of monsters printed on a shirt or backpack or, I dunno, pillow,...

There's coffee mugs & travel mugs, and stuff like that.

Hell, I could take requests if there's some image from one of my websites you'd like printed on some object they offer. Message me.

Place an order on my birthday: Sunday Nov. 25th, or the following Cyber Monday, the 26th, using their code CMSHIP, and get deep discounts: 50% to 30% off, depending on the item, and free shipping on most stuff.

And have a happy holiday!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bringing Characters to Life

My fall classes start next week at SVA. Please help spread the word. 
Cartooning Basics begins Thursday Sept. 20, Inking Comics begins Friday Sept. 21, and Figure Drawing for Cartoonists begins Wednesday Sept. 26.

Carl Kent's exercise of skeletons in the park.
In the figure class, we start with the skeleton and proceed to discuss muscle groups, shapes, forces, rhythms, staging, foreshortening, performing, composition, visual storytelling, cartoon styles, and more, including the popular exercise composing comics from a live model.

Page one from Mary Rhoads' live model comic.
Mary Rhoads' chibi interpretation of her characters.

In the inking class, we get comfortable with media as we study rendering, value organization, light and shadow design, and storytelling strategies.

Here's Kyle Rose's color version of his ink study from within the classroom.

And in Basics, we go over the whole shebang and then make minicomics.

Come join the fun!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Student Spotlight: Earl Holloway

Having taught at SVA for over a decade, I've had the joy of watching many of my former students achieve amazing successes-- talents as varied as (off the top of my head) Matt Lubchansky, Andrea Tsurumi, Alex Rothman, & Van Hong, begin a long list. Though I can't claim credit for anyone's awesomeness, I get to pat myself on the back for having been there to nudge them forward early in their careers.

Today, I want to catch you up on the recent work of Earl Holloway, about whom I've written many times already.  Since self publishing The Squid, Earl has become the exclusive label illustrator for Kings County Brewers Collective in Bushwick.

Here are some of my favorite examples:



Crazy, eh? So here's an idea: why don't you come out this Thursday, Sept 6th, to the SVA Illustration and Cartooning Information Session from 6:30-8:30pm, 209 E 23d St Room 311, learn about our fall classes, and then follow me to the KCBC anniversary party, 381 Troutman Street in Brooklyn, to collect some beer cans and see the debut of Ninja Kitties? Should be a good time.

As you may infer, part of the fun of these classes is in the fellow students you're liable to meet. 

Fall courses are enrolling now and start soon: Cartooning Basics Thursdays beginning Sept. 20, Inking Comics Fridays beginning Sept. 21, and Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Wednesdays beginning Sept. 26.

Says Earl, "Insightful feedback and criticism on your own work is invaluable. Tom's critiques and evaluation both in and outside of the classroom have pushed me to do better work and think about my process in different ways. Having a wide range of knowledge and experience in the industry makes Tom a great teacher and I wouldn't be the artist I am today without his help."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

the first six "Highlights from the Life of Raymond Roussel"

This serialized comic is about half done. Here's what I have so far:

A strange story, no?
Check for further episodes.