Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Always Proud of my Students

Comic by Dane LaChiusaHere's a new thread I'll be happy to update now and then. I keep learning about former students who're posting their comics online. I'd like to start sharing the links.

I'll begin with Dane LaChiusa, whose Inking Comics project illustrates this post. Check out:

On Auratic Outmoded's Weblog, Meredith Leich has some kind words about the Inking Comics class, along with her final project.

Jeff Kocan actually did some blog posts about his experience with my Cartooning Basics class:

Janet Do shows the steps she took to complete her minicomic project on her Milktoasty blog.

I put in an appearance as a cartoon rat in Mark Weisner's comics on his Deviant Art site.

For me, part of the fun of these blogs is in watching the artists develop their technique. Franzine begins with Fran's first class drawing and takes off quickly from there.

I like Chris Varley's Cheeks and Shug blog because you can see the verbal humor he did before he took my class and the slapstick he's been pursuing since.

Earl Barrett-Holloway began his blog after he completed my inking class, but we can watch him study digital coloring here, continued here.

Student Brian Einersen has made headlines with his class minicomic, Lady Saga.

Not least but last, here's this blast-from-the-past podcast. It turns out that the very first time I attempted to teach anything to anyone, one of the kids in the room was none other than Charlito, now the host of Indie Spinner Rack. Here, if you scroll past the obligatory Denver blizzard coverage, you can hear him in conversation with Stan Yan. Stan's another of my earliest students who's become a top flight cartoonist and now a busy instructor. And so the baton advances. They keep talking about me and getting interrupted. Grrrr.

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Tragic Strips

Here are a couple of single panel Tragic Strips that ran in the Rail last Spring and Summer. They're kind of the same joke.
I redrew the subway one completely from the version that saw print. I like this one better, though I still might add wash to it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Umpteen Umbilici of Ulro

Last week I finally made it up to the Morgan Library Museum to see their amazing collection of William Blake prints. It made me wanna post these old unpublished jam pages where I was goofing on a similarity I think I perceive between the prophecies of Blake and the cosmic comics of Jack Kirby.

It's from this comic jam my friends and I have been passing around for years and years. The comic is called Giant Size Man Thing, the story is called "Even an Android Can Cry," and it's about a character named Rod Packer, Public Dick.

Here are pages 16 thru 18. Click to enlarge, of course.

While I'm at it, here are a couple of my other pages. Page 8 makes fun of my favorite superhero dialog cliche. If anyone's to find funny, my timing will have to be perfect.

Page 25 is really just marking time. I like it because I was under the spell of Alex Toth when I composed the panels. I hope to do more like that sometime.

Maybe I'll publish the whole thing someday, to the relief of those who've contributed, if no one else.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Celebrity Sighting

I was riding to my comic inking class yesterday when I noticed the actor, Patrick Stewart, a couple rows over on the F train. I managed to do this sketch. He didn't seem too happy about that. He kept lowering the brim on his cap.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Tragic Strips: Made Out of "Mac"

I've fallen seriously behind on my plan of posting recent Tragic Strips.

Last summer, I did four more permutations in the Made Out of "Mac" series: 2 Mathews's Algorithms, a panorama, and a larded acrostic (the original strip runs vertically down the middle).

I published a collection of the strips so far, which includes a number of guests and jam strips. It can be purchased from the Squid Works.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Doodle Diary

Awhile back, my friend Isaac Cates took one of my doodles and colored it, which inspired me to try dabbing some color onto these.

The approach to the drawings follow a method I teach under the name "DareDoodle Number Three."

Maybe I should do a post explaining the DareDoodles someday.

What with Halloween looming, I guess I had costumes on my mind.

I imagined these as costumed figures in some sort of post- or neo-constructivist theatrical performance.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Middle-Aged Rage?

I've been meaning to pull together this post highlighting some of the reviews of The One Marvelous Thing :
(Click on the pictures for a close-up view)

The biggest was a substantial review in the L. A. Times, where Susan Salter Reynolds called Rikki's story collection a "manifesto of middle-aged rage" and said of my drawings, "They erode the text, and maybe that was the intention. We are so used to drawings enhancing prose that it wouldn't surprise me if Ducornet and illustrator T. Motley had cooked up something different." In fact, that's what we did.

She goes on to say some fairly nice things, like: "Ducornet appeals to her readers' feral natures; their covetous side (she is a master collector of glittering objects -- corsets, linens, gold and dumplings -- which are sprinkled generously throughout her prose) and their lascivious, voyeuristic tendencies. You feel naughty reading Ducornet, you hide the book. Gonna have to face it -- you're addicted to lit."

Charles E. May, professor emeritus of literature at California State University, Long Beach, wrote in the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinal, "Ducornet has still got it" and called my illustrations "sometimes whimsical, sometimes grotesque."
"If you go to and type in Rikki Ducornet's name, you can watch the names of Barthelme, Borges, Barth, Coover, Lovecraft, Calvino and Angela Carter fan out around her. We should be glad that although those who know only the 'normal' may frown in disapproval, there are still writers like Ducornet who have their number. For which we cannot resist singing a chorus of the Steely Dan song inspired by her, 'Rikki, Don't Lose that Number.' "
In The Seattle Times, Robert Allen Papinchak called my drawings "devilishly haunting" though he warned "Some may find the graphic imagery of the illustrations disturbing." He said the texts are "a wholly original series of phantasmagorical tales" and "an irresistible sequence of bizarre, quirky and zany stories."
Jacob Lee, in the Brick Weekly of Richmond Va., wrote, "The more erudite among us might recognize Ducornet for her half-mocking pastiches of post-modernist style, but what you probably didn’t know is that she’s a wonderful short story writer, creating modern fables that read like Calvino re-translated for our strange, modern years. This small collection showcases some of her best stuff, and is wonderfully illustrated throughout by the incomparable T. Motley. Good stuff."
The Midwest Book Review gave the book five out of five stars, said my work is "charming," and said the author " ranges from humor to joy to love to suicidal depression."
Publisher's Weekly mentioned my "inky, scruffy black-and-white sketches" and said of the writing, "these stories spotlight Ducornet's linguistic pyrotechnics and will delight readers who, like Ducornet, can find the beauty in the irreverent and absurd".
Leslie Patterson in the Library Journal called Rikki's writing "wildly unconventional" and "boldly inventive" but dissed my work as "more juvenile than witty," which stung at first, until I remembered the various penises and blow jobs I put in there. What's a librarian expected to think?
I came across an enthusiast review on a website called Library Thing, where a member going by kmaziarz said "The book is boldly illustrated with pen-and-ink style cartoons and sketches whose hidden details, snarled curving lines, and snide humor somewhat recall the “underground comix” style and perfectly complement the stories." and called the stories " Surreal, vivid, and often strangely lovely."
Jeff VanderMeer at wrote: "Ducornet can lay rightful claim to being one of North America's preeminent surrealists. She is sui generis in her particular combination of passion and precision, the strange muscular delicacy with which she approaches her writing. In her latest collection, that sensibility is supplemented in true eccentric fashion by the illustrations of T. Motley (who may well be a pseudonym for Ducornet, since she is also an artist)."
Hmmm. Am I a pseudonym for Rikki Ducornet? A tantalizing thought. Is it too late to make that my ambition?
One cool development has been that the book is beginning to be taught in colleges. The thought that people are being required to look at my pictures and graded on whether they did so gives me a perverse thrill. One professor, Catherine Kasper of The University of Texas at San Antonio, has provided some of the students' feedback:
"By far this is the coolest book I'll have assigned to read this semester."
"This book is fantastic, one of the most enjoyable reads of my college career. Ducornet's prose is subtle in the way it tells the story, leaving just enough for the reader to imagine and make me completely jealous."
"I love love love these stories. The use of illustrations informs the text with manic comic psychedelic energy!"
So there you have it. You know you want it. Here's one of the ways to get it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lest I forget...

The May issue of Nickelodeon Magazine, may it rest in peace, included this little cartoon of mine:

I think the June issue's on the stands now, but if you stumble across the May one, check this out on page 25. Nifty, eh?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Panel Discussions

I had a very nice time at MoCCA the weekend before last-- saw great work, made new friends, and sold some books. My tablemate, Isaac Cates, wrote a nice piece about it on his blog, as have many others.

It was frustrating, though, that as an exhibitor I didn't have time to visit every table and I didn't manage to check out any of the cool programming. I'm a guy who really enjoys these panel discussions. Next year, I think I'll just buy a ticket and check out MoCCA from the other side of the table.

Meanwhile, I'd like to post the remainder of my sketches from the New York Comic Con last April and the year before. Apart from the welcome presence of top graphic novel publishers, the comics on the main floor at NYCC are mostly too commercial, too lowbrow, or too garish for my taste (I've already posted a comic strip about that). So I spend most of my time downstairs with the programming, where the real action is. Click on the images to enlarge them. Please help me with the attributions if you see that I didn't get somebody's name or spelled it wrong.

My favorite panel was this one titled "Graphic Novels and Academic Acceptance," which might've been the governing theme of much of the programming this year. I could feel big changes brewing from the year before, as more and more educators are getting involved in the field.
Here we see Greg Urquhart, a Comics Editor at Alexander Street Press; Bill Savage, a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at Northwestern University; comic artist Jonathan Hickman; Gene Kannenberg Jr, Director of;; Kent Worcester, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Marymount Manhattan College; cartoonists Dean Haspiel & Peter Kuper, and moderator Karen Green of Columbia University.

A close second favorite was this impromptu panel that erupted when a scheduled panel on comics in the classroom was suddenly cancelled. Some teachers in the audience discovered that the mikes were still working and took to the stage to guide a lively conversation where everyone in the room swapped ideas and resources. This enthusiasm for comic books as teaching tools would've been unthinkable even a decade ago. Assuming you can struggle with my handwriting, a glance at my notes will give you taste of what today's educators are passionate about. Here we see a school administrator named Pat (?), a schoolteacher named Lou (?), and Sebastian Mondrone of

This panel titled "Comics and New Media" focused on the forthcoming, eagerly anticipated graphic novel, "A.D.--After the Deluge" and featured artist Josh Neufeld, Smith Magazine editor Jeff Newelt, literary agent Kate Lee, and Pantheon editor Lisa Weinert.

Here's a fine panel titled "Inkers on Inking" moderated by Andy Schmidt and featuring Bob Almond, Zander Cannon, Mark McKenna, and Nelson DeCastro.

And here we have "Editors on Editing," with Lindsay Kraemer of the Comic Artists Guild, host Buddy Scalera, and comics editors Scott Alley, Glenn Hurdling, Nick Lowe, Mike Martz, and Rob Levin.

"Comics for Kids" featured Franco, Jeff Parker, Jan Jones, Art Baltazar, Chris Giarusso, Chris Eliopolis, and moderator T. J. May.

From 2008, "Using Computers to Draw Comics" with Frazer Irving, Dan Goldman, Lincy Chan, and Hector Casanova,...

"Comic Writers on Writing"with Danny Fingeroth, J.M DeMatteis, Tom DeFalco, Denny O'Neill, Jimmy Palmiotti, Colleen Doran, and Justin (?),...

"Comic Artists on Drawing" with Peter Sanderson, Colleen Doran, Walt Simonson, Dean Haspiel, Jim Lee, and a pretty girl in the audience,...

and "The Art of Storytelling" with Mark Guggenheim, Klaus Jansen, and Andy Schmidt.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Doodle Diary

More quasi-vegetation doodles, though these are more abstracted than that last batch.