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1. “And Then She Ate the Wolf: Volume 1″

NEW RELEASE!

New to Amazon…BUY TODAY!
covervolume1

BUY TODAY!

A touch of whimsy, dash of dark, and ample sarcasm, this edgy new series is to be enjoyed by adults, or rather, those who refuse to grow up.

There is much more going on behind my eye-catching character artwork from Instagram than mere captions have cited. I am excited to share the tales and backstory to each, and truly bring to life the people behind those big eyes life!

This art and short fiction just can’t be fully enjoyed squinted and crammed down to a micro-scale IG frame…now you can stop squinting, OPEN YOUR EYES and BUY TODAY!!

It delights me so to hear what you think, so kind readers, send the good, the bad, the twisty or ugly my way by way of review…

For those who enjoy…beware and be pleased this is only the first volume…

GET ‘AND THEN SHE SWALLOWED THE WOLF: VOLUME 1″ ON AMAZON TODAY!

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2. Picture of Grace, by Josh Armstrong | Dedicated Review

Picture of Grace, by Josh Armstrong, is certainly moving and will be well received by families who are suffering or have suffered from loss.

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3. Mistakes Are Proof That You Are Trying, by Samantha Snyder | Book Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of Mistakes Are Proof That You Are Trying, by Samantha Snyder. Giveaway begins July 1, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends July 31, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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4. #illustration #wip for #mograph #animation- Space themed!



#illustration #wip for #mograph #animation- Space themed!



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5. All-New By Its Cover #5 (Covers For May 2015)

ALL-NEW-BIC

The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).

Note: Apologies for the delay this month. I’ll try to get the next installment out super quick!

 

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Ninjak #3 by Lewis Larosa

Wow, that is an extreme perspective. The easiest way to make a composition feel dynamic is to have something in both the extreme foreground and in the background, and this has a single person existing in both. That is something.

The expectation that comic solicitations have some cover art to go with them means that artists are asked to create the art well in advance. When it comes to designers who are never quite happy with their designs, this means you can get a glimpse of their thought process when they tweak the cover before final publication.

NINJAK_combined

The layout on the left is pretty standard and boring. Using a drop shadow to separate the text from the image is a quick solution, but not very elegant and often a sign that the design just isn’t working yet. The image on the right is getting closer, but the glow around the logo is just as bad as the drop shadow, and is actually flattening out the art and ruining the illusion of depth.

The final printed version at top is clearly the best solution. Having the publisher logo and credits in the character’s hair feels a little bit weird maybe, but it works for me.

 

Mythic01-CoverA-abb04

Mythic #1 by John McCrea (A), Matteo Scalera (B), John McCrea (C)

I enjoy the concept of vertical logos and the design possibilities they open up. It’s just unfortunate that this one is nearly unreadable.

The two-color look of the cover above is really nice, but I think the composition could’ve been improved. It feels to me like the logo and image are fighting each other for focus. In particular, I’d try to move the head-in-hand out from under the logo and more into the upper corner where people might look first. Here’s a quick rough example of what I mean. It’s a little easier to make the image out now, right?

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I enjoy this composition slightly more because it has a foreground figure overlapping the logo, creating a dynamic sense of depth, and the vertical logo makes the vertical figure feel extra tall (at least to me). Again, if only it was readable.

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I’ve included this one just as an example of the worst aspects of both of the above covers. An interesting full cover image, but it’s being drowned out by the logo clumsily stamped on top of it. At the same time, the colors chosen for both the art and the logo are causing the logo to recede somewhat, which would make it harder to read if it wasn’t already unreadable. The other two variants are pretty solid, though.

 

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Arcadia #1 by Matt Taylor (above), Eric Scott Pfeiffer (below)Deep State cover

I absolutely love this logo box, and how it integrates the issue number and even the bar code into an interesting design. This logo is such a win (does anyone know who designed it?)

Unfortunately, the extra-busy cover art kind of clashes with the simple and stylish logo. Matt Taylor’s collage of lines worked really well last month with the lock theme of his Deep State cover, but here it seems like it’s more actively obscuring the art than just adding texture. And I feel like the the logo would work better with art that’s simpler and more open.

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This is my favorite of the Arcadia variants, a rare example of a comic being printed without any text on the front cover. Which I’m a huge fan of, because it reminds me of the glory days of rock album cover design. Even better, the concept of this image even looks like something that might be photographed as a rock album cover.

My one problem with this design is that the space below the bed seems like its just screaming out for a logo or text of some sort. White space is great for leading the eye around, but this is a case where the art feels a little unbalanced, like it needs a thing under the bed to balance it out. In case I sound like a crazy person to some of you, here’s a quick rough example of how I might rebalance the image without adding text. all I did was “zoom in” on the bottom half of the image. Do you see what I mean about the balance working better?

 

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Ghosted #20 by Dan Panosian

Speaking of rock album covers, this looks so metal. Even the treatment of the logo would work for an album cover. “R.I.P,” the new album from Ghosted.

The one thing that bugs me a little is the flower pedals touching the bottom of the frame. I kind of want just empty space all around the image so that you focus into the image and stay there, without being led out of the image through the bottom. Rough example — do you see what I mean?

 

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Fight Club 2 #1 by David Mack

I love the concept of this illustration, representing Tyler “waking up” while the narrator remains oblivious. I just wish the text around it had been placed better. ‘Some imaginary friends never go away” is a nice way to sum up the story, but its so hard to see here, it might as well not be there at all. And I’d rather the Fight Club 2 logo had been centered horizontally on the same background color as the illustration, rather than the so-so trade dress block that’s been designed.

 

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Divinity #4 by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

This is a great example of an illustration where having a tiny minimalist logo really works. We’re focusing in on the distant character (with dramatic lighting behind him just to accentuate him that much more), and the logo is right there. Compare to this variant, where the logo placement just doesn’t work at all.

 

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Heart In A Box #1 by Merideth McClaren

Wow, this is striking. The large field of white surrounded by darker colors draws our eye in, and the field in question is a word balloon with a character speaking…an image of a heart (plus the issue number). What does it mean? I don’t know, we should find out by reading it.

My one critique would be that the heart is so busy. The white areas had me wondering if something more was going on, like if it was being pulled apart or something? It would’ve been less confusing if all the pieces of the hard had been colored red, no white negative sections. Or maybe even simplified a little.

 

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Dead Drop #2 by Raul Allen

This is the sort of cover I was saying would’ve worked better with that Arcadia logo. Simple and graphical. The speeding police car and the money flying away tells a slice of a story without even having to show us (presumably) the car being chased. There’s a great sense of movement, and yet the police car also feels like it’s a piece of the logo. Are the people running inside the logo necessary? Not at all, but they don’t hurt it, either.

 

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Trees #9 by Jason Howard

It’s a little mean for me to put this cover right after the last one, but I wanted to show how they coincidentally had a similar layout and similar movement in the same month of comics. But instead of a dramatic chase, this one conveys the feeling of being drowned.

The main problem with it (other than being placed right below Dead Drop, which looks a little more refined as an illustration) is that the bubbles floating upward don’t look much like bubbles. I wondered briefly if the bubbles were maybe transforming. Imagine if the one up top looked like a butterfly escaping, and what that might symbolize. But it’s not, it’s a sloppy group of bubbles.

 

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Ei8ht #4 by Rafael Albuquerque

I think this is the most successful Ei8ht cover yet in terms of the balance of space around the logo and how it relates to the main image. It’s also a nice contrast to go from the previous action images on a diagonal to a quiet, sad image on a diagonal. The large amount of black also helps a lot. The added contrast puts more focus on the white areas, which smartly includes the character on the bed.

 


Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.

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6. Danger!

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7. Taiwan Trip Diary: Days 11 and 12

Dharma words and stamps from our monastery stay.

Here we are at the end of our trip. I've been dragging these posts out in the hope I'd never reach this point. But, yes, all good things must come to an end (I've never really known why) and we were sure to cram as much fun into the last two days as possible. Starting with breakfast at The One and these coffee cups. I loved them so much I had to buy a set for home:




I don't think my husband is as impressed with them as I am, but I thought they were cute. And they're definitely a fine example of "splash ink" technique.

After leaving The One, we headed back up toward Taipei and a village famed for its ceramic work. We were running a bit behind schedule so we decided to forgo a sit-down lunch in favor of exploring what the street vendors had to offer. They were especially plentiful thanks to the ongoing national holiday. My choices included a steamed spinach-green onion-and-cheese bun, a fried doughnut, and a huge cup of iced lemon tea that lasted me most of the day.



Loved this tunnel kiln! I need one at home.

Bought chopsticks for home, too. 
Finally learned how to use them, LOL!

The afternoon took us further into Taipei:


Taiwan's "White House."

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial
(unfortunately covered with
scaffolding.)

. . . and the National History Museum. I thought this little pagoda was perfect painting material:


Before studying any artwork we needed afternoon tea in the museum cafe:


The view from the cafe windows:

Someone actually gets to live in this building.

These beads date from 403-221 BC.
Still so modern. I'd buy them!

After the museum we found ourselves in a busy part of downtown where I had the opportunity to investigate some of the backstreet shops. Thanks to having bought the pig teacups I needed a larger carry-on. I found just what I wanted in a small suitcase store: bright pink canvas and made in Taiwan. A great souvenir for future travels.


Which store first??



Dinner that night was once again "family style" when we met up with some of Ming Franz's cousins, former high school classmates, and teachers in a downtown restaurant. It was a genuine reunion for them all, and wonderful for us to be part of such a special evening.

Then we were back to The Grand Hotel for our final night. By now we had traveled in a huge circle, seeing three coastlines and parts of the interior too. We also arrived back in time for  the start of "frog season." Right outside our windows: croak, croak, croak all night. As I noted in my journal: "These frogs are VERY disagreeable!"

A grand entrance, indeed.

Accompanied by the frog serenade, our packing lasted well into the early morning hours. We had become so spoiled in our big bus, a vehicle designed to sit 30-40 passengers when there were only 10 of us, that our daily habit was to load up the empty seats with our purchases from each stop and then forget about them. Now was the night of reckoning and everything had to find its place or get left behind. First to be discarded were all the beautiful shopping bags--so lovely but way too bulky. 

The next morning, packed and ready for our night-time flight, we still had a full day to spend in Taipei. First stop was a visit with Welsh paper artist, Tim Budden, now a Taiwan resident, who led us to his studio through this interesting neighborhood:

Hot spring water flows right through town.



Mr. Budden explaining the
intricacies of paper art.

Following our studio tour, we were off to Taipei 101, regarded to be the world's highest completed building. We were booked for lunch on the ground floor at an Anthony Bourdain-recommended restaurant specializing in xiao long bao, steamed soup dumplings. Yum.





Before lunch we had 30 minutes to ride up to the 89th-floor. 






Next and final stop: The Eslite Book Store. The best bookstore in the whole world. Several stories high, filled with treasures I'll never see here in the USA, I could have moved in permanently. I bought more brush pens (black, forest green, gray, and rust red), a book on painting cats in the Chinese style, and a book on French shabby chic. In Chinese. Don't judge.

And then we were off to the airport. Our superb and talented tour guide gifted us all with special little items to remember our trip. For me it was a wooden key-ring carved into the shape of horse complete with saddle, bridle, and tons of intricate detail. She told me she had chosen a horse so that I "may keep traveling, and go far." She also gave me a postcard of a Taiwanese kitten, "Because you love cats!" 

On the way to the airport . . .

After dinner on the plane I think I slept more soundly than I did at the monastery. I don't remember much about the flight home except for the movie I watched before falling asleep: The Crossing--a recent film set in Taiwan during the Chinese Civil War. It was excellent, and a real tear-jerker, but then it suddenly ended with the words 'To be continued." Apparently Part II comes out this summer, but I wanted to keep watching!

Along with two of my travel companions, I had decided earlier to stopover in San Francisco before going home to Albuquerque, and I'm glad I did, but it sure seemed strange (and lonely) to be on our own without the group or my roommate.

A room of my own.
New pink Taiwan travel bag in the back there.

My version of my cat postcard:
"This kitty is sad to leave Taiwan."

And then we flew into Albuquerque, and . . .  that's all, folks, 12 unforgettable days of Taiwan. I hope you've enjoyed reading my trip diary; I certainly enjoyed sharing it with you. May you one day travel far and wide, too!

(Next post: A review of my travel sketch supplies, what worked, what didn't. Stay tuned.)

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8. HeroesCon Interview: Kevin Wada Talks Style, Process, and the Future

by Harper W. Harris

Kevin Wada has been one of my favorite cover artists since he started on She-Hulk; it was one of those rare but wonderful circumstances where the cover artist seemed to really play a key role in the creative team, and his unique style was part of what made that book such a standout. Since then he’s gone on to provide covers for many series and continues to become more and more of a fan favorite. HeroesCon 2015 kept him busy and his commissions list full, but I got a chance to have a brief chat with him on Sunday about his interesting path to comics, his process, and what to expect in the future.

 

Kevin Wada HeroesCon Comic Artist She-Hulk

Kevin Wada at HeroesCon 2015

Harper W. Harris: We are here with Kevin Wada, one of my absolute favorite artists and the cover artist of some of my favorite books. How is your con going?

Kevin Wada: I am doing great, I feel re-energized and I’m ready to end the con on a strong note!

HH: You have a really interesting story about how you came into comics from outside of the comics industry, could you elaborate a little on that?

KW: I had done this series of X-Men as fashion illustrations and it went viral. Because it was popular I continued it, making more ambitious projects. When the new X-Men team launched and it was all women, I did an illustration of that. I think this is what happened: Brian Wood bought a print of that from my store and I tweeted to him like, “Thank you!” and I think he passed my name along to editors at Marvel. Then I got my first X-Men variant and then the editor that I worked with who was amazing really wanted to get me on an ongoing book and that’s how She-Hulk happened.

HH: Have you been a fan of comics your whole life? Were you an avid reader or did you come to it from more of the art side of things?

KW: I always say I was sort of orbiting ‘planet comic’. My cousin was really into comics, and he was like my best friend growing up, so I always had this very loose handle of superheroes and all that kind of stuff. I loved it–I loved it aesthetically, I loved the drama of it all–but I wasn’t a hardcore reader, it was very, very casual. So I have this nostalgic affinity and it kind of makes me feel very comfortable. But I’m not going to know the history of every single character.

HH: You have a really unique style. Can you talk a little bit about what your process is and what your materials are?

KW: I work in watercolor, but other than that it’s a pretty straightforward process. It’s pencils to either colored pencils or pen on top of that, and then I use the watercolor to flesh it all out. Often, but not always, there’s some digital editing going on. It’s not unlike retouching a photo–I’ll correct colors, I’ll correct like if an eye looks a little wonky I’ll fix that. One thing I usually have to correct in the computer is my sense of value, my sense of value is horrible. I’ll push my lights, I’ll push my darks, and really make the image pop.

HH: You work primarily as a cover artist with some of the most talked about covers in the industry. What is your creative process for coming up with an idea for a cover? Do you typically know a lot about what the content of the issue is going to be before you start?

KW: That really depends on who you’re working with and what their schedule is, and if they’re on top of things. I’ll often get a one sentence synopsis and a one sentence concept that they want me to push, and then you kind of just have to go. It’s kind of scary because you have this really horrible idea of what the story is or what the themes are, so luckily it’s just one issue and then you’re on to the next one!

HH: One of the things I love about your covers is that you’ve got a great ability to tell a story with a single, wordless image. Do you have an interest in pursuing that kind of storytelling in interiors, from a panel-to-panel perspective?

KW: We’ll see, it’s a totally different beast. I haven’t flexed that muscle since college. I don’t know how good I’d be at it–I’m down to learn, I know it’ll be a lot of work and that’s scary because I’m very lazy (laughs). So I don’t know, we’ll see…time will tell.

HH: Where can people find your stuff, and what are you working on now that you’re excited about?

KW: You can find me @KevinWada everywhere, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, I’m on Facebook but I don’t really use it. Coming up is a lot of Catwoman covers and a lot of DC variants, they’ve been throwing tons of work my way. I have an A-Force variant for Marvel, some character designs coming out…that’s about it!

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9. The criminal enterprise of stealing history

After illegal drugs, illicit arms and human trafficking, art theft is one of the largest criminal enterprises in the world. According to the FBI Art Crime Team (ACT), stolen art is a lucrative billion dollar industry. The team has already made 11,800 recoveries totaling $160 million in losses.

The post The criminal enterprise of stealing history appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. ... or Something Like That


Son Marc and his good buddy Travis are working together on an awesome and gigantically ambitious project. And guess what? YOU CAN HELP! Watch this video and then click this magic link - http://tinyurl.com/q529x4g

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11. SUMMER (time) = SALE (time)....

on what else? mermaids, of course! :)

ALL things MERMAID are ON SALE in my shop....ALL SUMMER LONG!!!

{sale includes any CUSTOM MERMAID commissions between now and labor day!}

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12. Taiwan Trip Diary: Days 9 and 10


I'm coming to the end of my Taiwan trip; just four days left as I continue with Days 9 and 10. In many ways, these last days were amongst my favorites, but then I say that about every day in Taiwan, so it's difficult to know if there was anything I didn't enjoy to the max!

Day 9 started in Kaohsiung with a visit to the famed Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, both overlooking a stunning lotus bed and lake.


At this point of our trip we were also poised on the cusp of a national holiday weekend, coinciding with Easter, and so there were lots of  local tourists and food trucks to keep everyone happy.


After climbing to the top of the pagodas and wending our way back "out of the mouth of the tiger" (sounds like a kung fu movie), we next went to a modern art museum. I thoroughly enjoyed the innovative installations including a life-size street scene made from dried banana peels (it was amazing!) and a variety of art videos (which also gave me a chance to sit down for a while).

We left Kaohsiung after lunch in a Hakka-style restaurant (read more on Taiwan's Hakka population here), and headed for our next major stopping point: the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Memorial Center.

Prior to our arrival at the monastery, I had no idea what to expect other than a night of austerity: gruel for dinner (if we were lucky), lights out at 7 PM, compulsory meditation, and pre-dawn rise-and-shine.

I couldn't have been more mistaken. The monastery was a beehive of commercial activity filled with hundreds of visitors, an art museum and up-scale galleries, a shopping mall, plenty of individual specialty shops tucked away into various hidden corners, several top-notch restaurants, a 7-11, and of course a Starbucks right in the main entrance! In other words, it was paradise. And that was just the small part I was able to see. Apparently there's also a university, conference centers, and all kinds interesting visitor and educational facilities.  


It was also very noisy. As well as finding preparations underway for an outdoor concert to be held sometime that weekend, a construction project prevented our tour bus from dropping us of at our dorm-room accommodations:


Despite our difficulties getting up the hill and into our rooms, we were encouraged at all times to look on the bright side:


And they were right: tune out the noise and confusion, and the grounds were magnificent, the main feature being this enormous Buddha:


The theme of spiritual living extended into our dorm lobby . . .


. . . leading to our rooms: simple, clean, and cozy, and designed for students with strong backs. The mattresses were comically rock-hard, probably the only austerity we experienced in the place, but mine also provided the best night's sleep of my life. Maybe I should get a piece of plywood to sleep on here in Albuquerque!

Sketchbook reminder: Do Good Deeds . . . 

Banners and signs placed throughout the walkways reminded visitors to"Do good deeds, speak good words, think good thoughts." A worthy sentiment and one that was very different from what I discovered when I unwrapped a throat lozenge halfway through our tour. I wasn't getting sick, I just felt like I needed some Vitamin C. The lozenges I brought from home were packaged in what the brand called "positive affirmations," and the one I picked on this occasion revealed the statement: "Inspire envy!" Whoa. What a contrast to "Do good deeds." Give me the lessons of the Buddha any day.


That evening we gathered in one of the mall restaurants for the best vegetarian dinner to date (vegetarian cuisine being the only one available, and just right for me) followed by yet more shopping. I was able to purchase more beads, this time ones inscribed with little spiritual symbols and writings (none about envy, I'm sure), and a couple of brush pens I totally fell in love with.

Morning proved to be far more peaceful than the day before, the machinery turned off and the air humming with the sound of nuns chanting while others walked in silent procession or worked in the gardens:



The only catch to the day was the complete absence of coffee in the breakfast room. I need coffee in the morning, as in, I really need coffee in the morning, and I've already mentioned how good the coffee in Taiwan is. In my desperation I remembered the Starbucks, but I also remembered it being a long way to walk and I wasn't sure when our tour bus would be leaving.

As I stood alone in the middle of an empty courtyard, contemplating what to do, a party of nuns and monks led by a tall German greeted me with a hearty, "Good Morning! Where are you going?" Immediately I thought this was one of those trick koan questions, and that I was supposed to have some brilliant reply such as, "To find enlightenment, O Master!" Instead, all I could weakly croak was, "Starbucks?"

The monk's reply: "Hahahaha! Then I wish you luck! They are closed!" Drat.

However, thanks to my quick-thinking roommate, I was able to avoid a caffeine headache when she surprised me with a can of iced coffee from a vending machine. Yay! The day was saved. I thank her with a thousand Buddhas:


Even after we left the monastery, monks and nuns seemed to be following us. Lunchtime in a village known for its wood-working artistry let me snap this photo:



And then we were on our way to: THE ONE. Oh, my goodness. Oh, my. THE ONE really is, The One. (That's what it's called, The One. The One what? Just. The One.) Now a luxury spa, resort, hotel and restaurant, it was originally the playground of a Taiwanese newspaper mogul. Built in the 1980s in a traditional and palatial style (no nails were used in its construction), it is gorgeous. I took dozens of photos, mainly for art references, but here are just a few to capture the ambiance:






Really, I could live here forever.

Highlight of the Day: Before dinner at The One (which was. what else?, a multi-course extravaganza) I had a chance to sit and dream with my sketchbook in my own private alcove. The area I found was decked out in pale lavender silk, embroidered cushions, antique Chinese furniture, and dimmed lighting. 

While I was luxuriating upon the divan and pretending to be an eighteenth-century empress, I thought I would experiment with one of my new brush pens. Wow--where have these pens been all my life? It was like painting with silk. Another unforgettable moment from Taiwan.


(Side note: the stamp in the upper corner on this sketch was from our visit to the King Car Whisky Factory where they make--and we got to taste--Kavalan whiskey, judged to be the world's finest. In an interesting coincidence, King Car was founded by the man who developed "Mr. Brown Coffee," the canned coffee that saved my life at the monastery. Thanks, Mr. Brown!)

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13. RIP Earl Norem

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Prolific cover artist and painter Earl Norem has passed away at age 91 as reported on Facebook by family members including his daughter:

As my son has so eloquently posted, it is true that my father, Earl Norem, a member of the greatest generation, has passed on. He was a true super hero to me and to all who knew him. A kind gentle, modest soul, his legacy will last a lifetime. We thank all of his fans far and wide who have meant so much to him throughout his career.


Norem’s work best known in comics circle for his work on Marvel’s magazine line of the 70s and 80s, including Dracula Lives, Tale of the Zombie, Savage Sword of Conan, Hulk,  Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, The Deadly Hands of Kung Fu,  Moon Knight, The Silver Surfer and many many more.

Norem attended HeroesCon a few years back, as shown in this photo by Denny Caswell, and definitely enjoyed meeting fans of his work. Although retired, he was said to be working on some new Mars Attacks paintings, a subject particularly suited to his style. While Norem was’t as well known as some of his fellow pulp cover artists, its hard to think of anyone who attacked the boomer obsessions—aliens, robots, monsters and scantily clad girls being menaced by the same—with such vigor.

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If it was possible to be cheerful and lurid at the same time, Norem had the patent on it. His understanding of color theory may have lacked subtlety, but served to burn images into your brain, like this classic Planet of the Apes piece. While color grading today likes the relatively discrete aqua/tan contrasting color scheme, Norem went all the way with acid green on orange, which also worked on a bunch of Hulk covers. Here’s just a few examples of his work/

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14. The Friday Countdown: The Week’s Best Panels & Pages from Comics Released on 6/17/15

Every Friday, Alex counts down the top five panels & sequences in comics released this week.  

Spoilers follow, obviously.


5) Prez #1

Did you know that, if you live in the San Francisco Bay area, this is a real thing?

tacodrone

4) Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1

Chauvinist alien prude had it coming.

fc001 fc002

 

3) Ms. Marvel #16

This is more or less how I imagine a meeting between Abed and Dani Pudi’s character from Captain America; the Winter Soldier.

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2) God Hates Astronauts #9

Frankly, I have no idea what’s happening here.  I’m fine with that.

godhatesastro

1) Wayward #8

I am…*uncomfortable.*

fc003

 

 

Did I mention I was uncomfortable?


 

What are you favorite moments this week?  Comment below or tweet @waxenwings

 

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15. Small


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16. Nice Art: Chris Ware tackles Minecraft

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Or rather, his 10-year-old daughter Clara does. In commentary on his cover for this week’s New Yorker the Building Stories master—and the graphic novelist whose name is most often connected to the word “genius— discusses the game the way any parent over a child in the 4-14 range does.

Clara has spent hours, days, weeks of the past two years building and making navigable block worlds fuelled from the spun-off fizz of her accreting consciousness: giant ice-cream-layered auditoriums linked to narrow fifty-foot-high hallways over glass-covered lava streams, stairs that descend to underground classrooms, frozen floating wingless airplanes, and my favorite, the tasteful redwood-and-glass “writer’s retreat.” (It has a small pool.) She made a meadow of beds for my wife—a high-school teacher who craves unconsciousness—and a roller coaster to take her there. Though Clara mostly “plays” Minecraft by herself, the game allows her friends to drop into these worlds, too, and I’ve even spent some strange virtual afternoons as a floating block-self, guided by my angelic block-hammer-wielding block-daughter, zipping around a dreamscape that feels, really, less like life and maybe more like death, but in a sweet sort of way. If architecture somehow mirrors the spaces we carve in our memories and make in our minds, then something pretty interesting is going on here.


Given Ware’s affinity for architecture, invented worlds, and environment as psychology, I’d guess Minecraft is more in his wheelhouse than, say Resident Evil. Anyway if you read the whole piece you also get to see a lovely drawing of Clara playing Minecraft in a style much different than Ware’s usual one.

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17. Ella Doran

Isabelle Pink Wallpaper for web © Ella Doran

Ella_Doran_Isabelle_Pink_Wallpaper_Ella_Doran

ella_doran_cushions_mugs_trays_and_table_mats_at_maison_objet_2012_ella_doran

Bikes flat wrap side a for web © ella doran

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Ella Doran is an award winning designer and entrepreneur who fuses art and design for the interior, creating photography based images and patterns. She pioneered their application onto everyday objects when digital printing technologies where first developed. She has collaborated with The Tate, vital Arts and Surface View to name a few.

To see more from this designer visit her website and blog

Posted by Jess Holden

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18. Art Journaling – A Summer Holiday Writing Idea

Are you worried about how much learning loss in writing will greet you after the summer break? Has your idea bank of ideas to gone dry?

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19. Powell’s Q&A: Chip Kidd

Describe your latest book. Judge This is a book that evolved out of discussions with the TED Books team, chiefly my editor Michelle Quint. It is a meditation on first impressions in design and life, and when design should be clear and when it should be mysterious. And then what can happen when the two [...]

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20. The latest 'bear update'

And of course everyone is waiting for the latest 'bear update' - well here it is. As you can see if you scroll down through a little, the figure began in a swirl of vague forms driven by the gesture.  But now it's coming right along... taking care not to lose the spontaneity of the rough sketch.

My secret sauce will add some rough splashy color to increase the spontaneity. 

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21. Illustration Submission :: Alice Pattullo

By Chloe

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Alice Pattullo is an illustrator based in East London. Her work is inspired by British folklore, traditions and superstition. This has created a distinctive vintage style within her work with a handmade quality. It is full of character and texture. Her work depicts a variety of subject matter from food to whimsical scenes of people and animals.

To view more of Pattullo’s charming illustrations, please visit her portfolio.

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22. Dip Pens

dip pen

About once a week I bring my fountain pens to the kitchen tape for refilling. My reason for making this rather quick, benign chore a public affair is to take advantage of the great parenting truism: If you do it, they will copy. Huck isn’t the kind of kid who would be too keen on formal handwriting practice (does that kind of kid even exist?), but if I get busy with some nifty writing utensil, he’s at my side in a flash, begging for a turn.

Fountain pens are awesome enough, but dip pens? There’s nothing better. A bottle of ink, a nib with just the right amount of skritch…there’s a happy kid. I didn’t suggest the alphabet practice; he filled up the page as he chose.

That’s my beloved metal brush pen he’s holding, the $1.49 treasure acquired during my surprise trip to the art supply store on Mother’s Day. (The plastic Speedball pen holder was another buck fifty. We live large.)

(That’s an Amazon link to show you what it looks like, but as you can see, you’re much better off buying local for this one. That’s some markup, eh?)

I tumbled to the metal brush pen (aka my new best friend) in Jonathan Twingley’s rather amazing class at Sketchbook Skool. It was swoon at first site. You get a broad line from the flat nib, or you can turn it on its side for a fine line. It’s on the messy side—likes to spatter ink if you change direction midstroke—but for me that’s part of the appeal. I use it when I’m in the mood for rough, bold lines and a bit of ink spray. Jonathan Twingley likes to fill pages and pages with large drawings and then cut out selected images and collage them together into a new piece of art—really quite magical to behold him at work.

And this post offers a quite detailed look at what a steel brush nib can do.

We also have a pair of glass dip pens that my parents gave me years ago with more typical pointed nibs. You can see Huck’s page of orange squiggles on the table. I know somewhere in my archives I’ve talked about the magical powers of colored chalk and a little slate, or a whiteboard and dry erase markers, for transforming otherwise dull writing into fun. Dip pens are the same principle times a hundred.

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23. Huckisms

The younger kids and I have started spending the hour after dinner having family art time at the kitchen table. They mostly paint while I practice sketching, or Huck grabs markers and continues his mission to saturate every page of his beloved Angry Birds coloring book. I’ve taken to jotting down the funny things they say in my sketchbook alongside my (mostly very bad) drawings of them at work. A few choice Huck remarks from last night:

“When I was one—I mean zero—I swallowed paint. It tasted really good, like marshmallows.”

***

Rilla: “I know three people named Kelly.”

Huck: “I know Kelley Jones*. He likes jelly.”

*They’ve never actually met, but he’s seen Kelley’s name when he calls Scott to talk about the project they’re working on. I’m unclear on whether he does, in fact, like jelly.

***

“I bet all the kids with this coloring book are doing this with their moms right now, too.”

(Yes, I melted.)

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24. Taiwan Trip Diary: Days 7 and 8


Okay, I'll cut right to the chase: Taiwan Trip Day 7 will forever go down in history as: 
DAY OF THE MONKEY 

Long story short: my poor roommate was attacked, MUGGED, by three of the little devils. (And they weren't all that little.) 

I have never been so stunned--or frightened-- in my whole life. Monkeys might look cute and innocent on the surface, but wow, can they get mean. I was thoroughly impressed at how my roommate stayed so cool, calm, and collected as she divested herself of the creatures, talking to them in a quietly authoritarian voice (even whilst getting a huge bite in the process!), but it was a terrifying moment. 

Personally I would have had a complete nervous breakdown. The worst part was that we were on a bridge stretching a deep ravine. One false step and . . . well, we won't go there. All I can say is, if you ever get the chance to see monkeys in the wild: run. (Needless to say I made the above sketch from an image on my camera at a later date. No way was I going to stick around for longer than it took to snap a photo or two.)

Before monkey madness, the day started out quite peacefully in this coastal village where we stopped for lunch and some sightseeing:


The restaurant we ate at was what they called "chef cook style." Instead of customers choosing meals from a menu, lunchtime clientele simply got what the chef made that day. And of course it was delicious!

But then it was back on the bus to monkey territory. If I seem a little obsessed, it's because a) I was really looking forward to seeing the monkeys, and b) then I was traumatized by their antics. I can't even look at monkeys on TV at the moment. However, for your enjoyment, here they are again:




Me, before witnessing "the attack."
Hurrying back into the bus to resume traveling (and making sure my roommate was okay (She was. No puncture wound, thanks to the thick weave of her shirt, but there was a large bruise.), we then carried on in a state of exhaustion to an organic tea plantation. 


Here we tasted (and purchased) a variety of fragrant teas, the most-prized and expensive being a type known as "honey oolong." This particular tea gets its sweetness from cicada secretions. Yes. (By now nothing could faze me.)


Next stop: a "Buddha's Head" fruit stand. Each of these interesting little fruits is an exact replica of the tight curls atop the head of the familiar representation of the Buddha. Or this is at least what we thought. There seemed to be some difficulty in translation because sometimes they were called "Buddha's Hands." But to me they look like Buddha's head. Whatever they are called, they are wonderful, kind of like apple and pear custard.


And then our hotel--a lovely family-style hot springs resort owned by a friend from Ming Franz's high school days. What a treat! The sulphuric water scent was strong, but, oh, so healthy. For me it was pure nostalgia reminding me of my teenage trips to the hot pools of Rotorua in New Zealand, always with that smell hanging in the air at every turn. Here at the resort we could get the spring water in our rooms too, so naturally I took advantage of a long soak before bed.

Resort koi pond. I fed them, too.

Day 8 continued our up-close-and-personal portion of the trip, getting to see a side of Taiwan most tourists rarely see. After leaving Ming's friend's hotel, we next went to visit her former high school where one of her classmates is now the principal. (They were a very dynamic group!)


These kids were the lucky ones. The rest of their classmates 
were busy cleaning and mopping the hallways.
Wish my school had been this pretty.

After a short tour of the school grounds, we then assembled in the library where Ming gave the school one of her books and we were all presented with official school tie pins and a morning snack.

And then we were off for lunch and adult beverages at the Tsingtao Beer Factory:

Dragons love beer too.

Where I discovered this poster:

And had to know who these bad boys were . . . 

Before I could find out though, we then had the very special opportunity to visit with some of Ming's family living in her grandfather's one-hundred-year-old house. Parts of the home are still maintained just as they were in the past, and it was a unique privilege to be invited inside. I was especially taken with the family pet:

It took me forever to realize this kitty
didn't speak English, and that  it was useless
to repeat, "Kitty, look up! Look at me, Kitty!"

Ming's family owns a nursery in the town, and they graciously next took us for a visit there. The plants were exquisite, nothing like the dry specimens we have here in Albuquerque.

All that lovely mist . . . 

Cooled and refreshed, we then took off for Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city, an architectural mixture of London, Barcelona, New York, Paris . . . It's beautiful! Here we stayed on the 39th-floor of a luxury hotel atop a posh department store with late night shopping. Dinner in the building's restaurant continued the family theme as we met with our tour guide's mother, sister and her husband, and their two adorable little children.

And then my solitary adventure began . . .

Remember the guys in the poster? I had the bright idea that I would try to find some of their music in that downstairs department store. Except I didn't know the name of the band, or anything else about them except they like Tsingtao beer.

So under the universal heading of "heavy metal" I bought what I thought would be some good old Taiwanese rock'n'roll. Carrying my daintily-wrapped package, I went in search of tea-towels, thinking that would be a nice thing to bring home. Except I couldn't get anyone to understand what I wanted. I even demonstrated what I thought "towel" looked like if you were playing charades. All that happened was the sales clerk started imitating my extremely strange movements until we were both doing this weird dance in the aisles and I had to shake my head, say, "Sorry, but thank you so much," and run away. 

I ran so far I then got lost and couldn't find the exit to the hotel. To make matters worse, the loud speakers came on: "The store is closing in 1o minutes." In English, nonetheless. For which I am eternally grateful. Otherwise I would have had to have slept somewhere between women's fashion and men's shoes. I think I got out of there with 30 seconds to spare. Whew.


Grateful to be back in our room with a view.
More exciting than New York!
Good night, Kitty!

Highlight of the Day: Say it isn't so. Discovering that the CD I had bought was this:

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25. The Friday Countdown: The Week’s Best Panels & Pages from Comics Released on 6/10/15

Every Friday, Alex counts down the top five panels & sequences in comics released this week.  

This week was fantastic, featuring some really outlandish scenes, comedic throwbacks to classic Batman, and a moment that made me laugh, gasp, and shout in awe.  I might have peed myself a little with glee.

Spoilers follow, obviously.


5) Spider-Gwen #5

Spidey senses take on hyper-aware-blind-man-senses and produce a colorful spectrum of bloody awesome

Spider-Gwen

4) Batman #41

Series artist Greg Capullo and writer Scott Snyder are two of the most outspoken critics of the half-page Twix ads running throughout DC books this month:


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They’re very proud of themselves.

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3) Chrononauts #4

drool…chrononauts

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2) All Star Section Eight #1

AH, I WONDERED WHICH WOULD BREAK FIRST!

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1) Saga #29

When I saw this on the bottom right of a page, I knew I was going to have an aneurysm…

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and I totally did.

saga29Comics, right?  


What are you favorite moments this week?  Comment below or tweet @waxenwings

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