Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Winter/Spring Online Cartooning Courses


SVA's catalog is up and running for classes beginning late in January.

Join me for Thinking In Ink, Tuesdays, Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Wednesdays, and Cartooning Basics, Thursdays. All classes are in the evenings, 6:30-9:30 EST, and can be taken via Zoom from anywhere in the world.

These are fun and challenging. There's much to learn.

Check out this student's description of her course project in Cartooning Basics.

Thursday, September 24, 2020



I've been maintaining sanity (somewhat) by making these elections signs. 
Download them to use wherever.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Study Cartooning Online this Fall

Brian Miguel has some fun with our present lifestyle.

Stuck at home with our dreams and ambitions and so so much to vent, this seems a good time to work on funny pictures. 

My fall online cartooning courses are enrolling right now: Cartooning Basics and Figure Drawing for Cartoonists. These will be held in the evenings, 6:30 pm EST, and can be taken by adults anywhere on the planet. Registration ends soon, so sign up right away!

Our first round of online-only cartooning courses went surprisingly well over the summer. The students enjoyed the close sense of community our Zoom sessions fostered and the intensive attention given to their work. We usually end class with one of my Daredoodle challenges as we listen to music. It's fun.

Jeff Mielke makes crazy faces out of blobs (Daredoodle #1)

I'm finding that the preparation of the "asynchronous" components-- recorded lectures, topic pages, pdf resources, and more-- is helping me become a better teacher. I have to really nail down the order of the steps artists follow and the reasoning behind them.

And OMG, there's the quality of the work being done! If I tried to show every amazing project my students came up with, this post would go on and on. Here are some representative examples.

Nancy Dougherty stuns with this homage to psychedelic posters.

Sheila Robinson claimed not to have drawn much before taking the figure class. She proved a quick study and charmed us all with her lively animal sketches.

Lexie Montgomery carved a multicolor stencil of the view from her window.

Gabriela Behnen launches into a fun comic about a squirrel therapist conducting sessions in a park.

Again, fall courses are enrolling now: Cartooning Basics and Figure Drawing for Cartoonists

Sunday, August 30, 2020

From the Archive, True Fiction #1, 2000


Has it really been 20 years? This minicomic, informally titled "Loss of Face," was my first attempt at improvising ink illustrations on the blank page, sans penciling. Many of the panels are collaged from various "takes."

The story was written in a similarly impromptu way. I was having coffee with a fellow cartoonist who complained of the difficulty of coming up with stories. I replied that a story could be begun from any thought or observation. Said friend had a prominent schnozz, so the first thought off the top of my head, offered as an example, became the first line here.

The series title may seem at first like a paradox or contradiction. I've noticed a couple of video productions using the name since. They usually refer to work that somehow blurs the line between documentary and fiction. But that's true of all documentary and all fiction. By True Fiction, I mean authentic fiction. That would be fiction that has nothing true about it. Usually, I intend metafiction and other experimental approaches. I've put out a dozen or so little self-publications under the name in the decades since, FWIW.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Student Spotlight: Thinking In Ink

For his final Thinking In Ink project, Laurence Maslon caricatured me in homage to his favorite comic from childhood, Not Brand Ecch. I was doubly honored by this because that was also MY favorite comic as a child. It was the cartooning there by the great Marie Severin that inspired me to become a cartoonist.

Check out this impressive haul of student work I collected in the inaugural semester of Thinking In Ink this past spring. We had fun practicing with brush feathering, hatching with nibs, working with outlines, working without lines, and experimenting with ink wash, spot color layers, non-traditional tools, and stencils, among other things. 

We made comics, illustrations, studies from photographs, observational drawings, and more:
Laurence Maslon's brush and ink sketch of his dog, Ruby.
Anne Keating's crosshatch study of a zombie plush doll
Julie Cleveland's sensitive-line drawing of a jawbone and plaster cast.
Maslon's tone-map design for a film-noir poster, ...
...and an ink wash study for another.
Lynn Bernstein added spot color to her high contrast study of William Powell,...
...and this hatched illustration of Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan. 
Anne Keating rubricated her Tarot card design.
Julie Cleveland finished a poster with wash and a dash of color.
Laurence Maslon cut a stencil merging shadows for an image of The Shadow himself.

Anne Keating carved stencils of seashells and airbrushed them in Photoshop,... 

...and she invented a method of drawing with a wine cork.

More examples can be seen in the catalog entry for the course at SVA.
It's satisfying and fun playing around with materials, trying out techniques, exploring creative strategies, thinking in ink. Who says an inking class has to be good? "I says," sez Mot.

My online classes are starting soon: Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Thinking In Ink, and Cartooning Basics.
Broaden your skills this summer, from home.

Sunday, May 24, 2020


Anne Keating's final project for my Thinking In Ink course was this marvelously distressed vintage comic cover.
When our spring semester was abruptly cut short by the quarantine and many of us pressed forward via Zoom, our imaginations naturally turned toward the situation. I was cheered to see some amazing work appear amid the stress.

I suggested to my kid's class at Parsons that we title our group comic Quarantoons. They liked that.

Wraparound cover for the class comic at The New School's Pre-college Cartooning grades 3-5 spring course. We usually end with a printed book. This time we settled for a pdf.

Documenting experiences, sketching immediate surroundings, fantasizing, crafting poetic metaphors, cheering the heroes, there are so many ways to express so much that we need to express.  Cartooning is a big help in tough times. 

Elementary art teacher, Lynn Bernstein, began a Covid diary comic.
The view from Lynn's kitchen, I presume.

Julie Cleveland wills herself to a better place in this cinematic comic page for Think In Ink

Acting professor and caricaturist, Laurence Maslon memorialized the new way of conducting classes.

Highlights from Julius Giardina's minicomic project for Cartooning Basics.

This summer, we're trying afternoon online versions of my SVA courses, Figure Drawing for Cartoonists, Thinking In Ink, and Cartooning Basics. The upside is that these can be taken from anywhere in the world and any time, really, if you can't make the meetings. We start in June and run for 10 weeks. 

I'm happy to answer your questions: 

I'll leave you with another great page by Anne Keating. See her website for more, including the comic she produced in Cartooning Basics last fall. Anne provides a nice view there of the minicomic process.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Figure Drawing for Cartoonists Student Work

Skeletons at the park by Lindsay Ducey

We had a dynamic group in Figure Drawing for Cartoonists last semester. I managed to document a couple of the amazing pieces by a couple of the amazing people, Lindsay Ducey and G. H, Yamauchi.

G. H. Yamauchi opted to work on skeletons of children.

In this class, we practice our figure drawing by tackling an array of challenges. We begin by looking at the human skeleton, along with the work of Posada and Holbein, in order to practice joint breaks, twist, silhouetting, and other figure staging concerns. Getting skeletons to look alive sets us up for more vivid finished art.

Then we work through topics like forces, foreshortening, muscle groups, and style, working from models, photos, reference, and imagination, leading up to the fun activity where we apply figures to the comic format, composing comic pages improvised from a costumed model.

Yamauchi bravely knocked out her comic in ink.

That one's so fun, I can never resist playing too:

...aaaaand, we proceed from there to plan a comic scene and complete a page or two. The class is informative, challenging and fun. The new semester begins January 28. Sign up soon, tell your friends, and like that. Thanks!