Monday, May 15, 2017

Cartooning from the Model

As the name indicates, my Figure Drawing for Cartoonists course at SVA alternates between three subjects. Some days we focus on the figure-- the skeleton, muscle groups, feature spacing, forces, dynamism,... Other days it's about the rules of drawing-- creating illusions of depth and form in perspective, effective staging of poses,... And some days are for cartoonists-- methods of figure construction, cartooning styles, body language, costumes, and the comic format.

My favorite session is the one where we have a costumed model perform with props while the students improvise a comic short story. We begin with a close look at the work of Alex Toth, who mastered the art of integrating inventive panel compositions with speech balloons and other graphic elements. Students are given five minutes per panel to format their life drawings into comic pages with impromptu dialog, captions, motion lines and sounds.

I usually carve out time to take part in this exercise for the reason that it's really, really fun. This latest example doesn't quite cohere, but it's still a pleasure to try matching snappy dialogue to effective camera angles.







Come say hi at the SVA info session this Thursday. Figure Drawing for Cartoonists runs on Wednesdays starting June 7. There's also Inking Comics on Tuesdays and Cartooning Basics on Thursdays.




Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cartooning Basics Comic Jams

This jam began in last semester's undergraduate Short Form Comics class and was completed in Cartooning Basics this spring.

Jam comics have long been a way for cartoonists to have fun together and ameliorate the solitude that accompanies this kind of work. Working with my Hector gang in the 1990s, I helped develop rule-governed jams to make the games more interesting. By the early 2000s, Matt Madden and I worked out a master list of 13 simple jam rules to share with our classes. These can be found on page 13 of his Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. Matt has more to say about it on his DW-WP blog.


I keep a pile of unfinished jams in my locker @ SVA. On the last day of the Cartooning Basics course, a publishing session followed by fun and games, one of the activities we often get into is circulating the jams, nudging them forward, and launching new ones. 



One reads the list of rules, takes a six-panel page, writes a chosen rule in the margin (or invents a new, self-explanatory rule and writes that), and creates the first panel.




Students find themselves interacting with other cartoonists, often across a span of years.

These kind of activities stimulate the imagination and test one's skills. As they say in the Oulipo, constraints are liberating!

Summer classes are enrolling now. Inking Comics runs Tuesdays, beginning June 6. Figure Drawing for Cartoonists runs Wednesdays, beginning June 7. Cartooning Basics runs Thursdays, beginning June 8. Come to the Information Session on Thursday May 18 to learn more: 6:30-8:30 pm, 209 East 23D St., Room 311, 3D floor.


Come play!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Praise for Cartozia Tales

Here's a recent, substantial review of Cartozia Tales from Rob Clough's blog, High-Low.

Rob praises the series for its "ambition, playfulness, formal daring and fun"  and goes on to say, "that level of sincerity, effort and creativity is a remarkable tonic to the level of cynical, money-making tropes that I see in so much YA fiction."

He names me the creative team's secret weapon, for my "relentless commitment to formal experimentation" and "proclivity for whimsy and wordplay" (though he still doesn't like my scratchy ink work).

It's been a great run, but we're winding it down now.


We're working away at our climactic final issue (honest!), but we need more subscribers to get over the finish line. Please join us and tell your friends, too. They make great gifts for literate kids, y'know.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sketches from the Anti-Trump Tax Protest, 4/15/17

After teaching a Saturday morning kids' class, I made it to Bryant Park for the crowded protests and did a bit of sketching:


Packed into the park, "overlooking" the street.

After the speeches, the marching began.


When the crowd finally cleared, I could see the stage.

I later doodled some impressions from memory.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

MoCCA Sketches

Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman urge you to submit to the second volume of their political anthology, Resist!
 I managed to do some sketches at this year's MoCCA Fest and include them in a blogpost I wrote for the School of Visual Arts' Continuing Education blog.

Speaking of, my summer CE courses begin in June and are enrolling right now: Inking Comics is on Tuesdays this summer, Figure Drawing for Cartoonists is on Wednesdays, and Cartooning Basics, Thursdays. I'll be at the info session May 18th. Come join the fun!

The panel, Teaching Comics Internationally with Ben Katchor, Jessica Abel,  Merav Soloman, and Bill Kartalopolous.
MoCCA Guest of Honor, Blutch, also spoke at the New York Comics and Picture Story Symposium.



Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's Real


A version of this drawing was included in Smoke Signal's special issue, "Resist!", debuting at the Women's March on Washington this weekend. Many thanks to editors Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman and publisher Gabe Fowler. This is the version that'll appear at brooklynrail.org.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Living Doll-- another improv comic.

Here's my comic, quick-sketched from a performing model, from last semester. This one's a bit wiggy, though I think it has its moments. It was the day after the election and I hadn't slept for 36 hours. You know how that was.







This is an exercise we do in the Figure Drawing for Cartoonists course. When I do it, I work in ink only, as we practice in the Inking Comics course. Both classes start next week! Come join in the fun.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Drawlloween Highlights

Trick 'R' Treat!

Like you, I'm hesitantly acclimating to the horrors of the new normal (without pretending there's anything normal about it).  I find myself wistfully looking back on a simpler time-- last month-- when I allowed myself the fun of indulging in some fake horror: the annual Drawlloween & Inktober challenges.

Hurrying to post an ink drawing on an assigned theme every day proved a refresher course in the many ways an image can go south from concept to finish, and in the ways things go wrong at the last minute-- train delays, unresponsive computers, and other interruptions. A few of the pictures posted past midnight into the next day. But it was great for warming up, trying techniques, and developing spontaneity. I surprised myself more than once.

The drawings? There were weird ones,...
Thursday the Thirteenth

They Came from Outer Space! (Inktober: "Box")



Mechanical Monstrosity
wild ones,...
Full Moon!

Superstition Sunday

Demonday

Horses & Headless Men
sad ones,...
Drive-In Creature Feature

Scarecrow Row

Black Caturday
girly ones,...
8 Legs, 1,000 Eggs

Ghosts-A-Go-Go

Witchcraft Wednesday ("flight")
silly ones,...
Slimy Swamps, Foggy Bogs

Call of C'Thursday (Inktober: "Creepy")
& even a self-aggrandizing one.

Phantom Phriday ("Big")

But then, god help us, one of these nightmares came true:
Nosfera-Tuesday

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What are your plans for Inktober?

A drawing I made during a demo on inking basics on the first day of my Cartooning Basics course. I always cover ink right away, so the students will appreciate what their penciling decisions are for.
#Inktober is a hashtag that's been running for a couple of years now on social media. Artists interested in mastering ink technique use the occasion to push themselves to create and post one ink drawing per day for one month. In my case it means adding a hashtag to the ink drawings I post twice a day all year, but whatever.

It's striking that despite continuing advances in digital media, ink drawing thus far remains the primary medium for cartoonists. Even those making comics on tablets need to understand brush and ink, as it's the look their cursors are designed to mimic.

This year, there appears another hashtag challenge for October, #Drawlloween2016:

I think I'll give this a shot, using ink, of course. Please follow my Tumblr and see how I'm doing.

Continuing my roundup of recent student work, I'm quite sure these gentleman will fill their Octobers with exciting panels and pages:

Geoffrey Class sent his two page final from Inking Comics. Nice, eh?




Self taught neurosurgeon, Justin Peele sends the first three pages of a new story in color,  "JoJo and Lars Get Yeezys." Follow the link to see more of his timely, hilarious ink work

 

The biggest reason to learn cartooning is that it provides a way to get your funny (or otherwise) ideas  down on paper. Peter Yuschak routinely sends spontaneous gag cartoons to his network of friends.







Joe Wessely works constantly at making comics and filling his sketchbook. He also cohosts the Comics for Grownups podcast, with Josh Malbin and Alex Rothman.




I cover inking in all 3 of my cartooning courses at SVA. They start this week, making this the last chance to enroll for fall. Embrace the challenge.

Here are views of the final critique in the Figure Drawing for Cartoonists course last summer. A lot of nice inking, am I right?