Again I was drawing passerby from my usual picture window at the cafe yesterday.
Tagged: About Me, Art, character design, Childhood, gesture drawing, Illustration, quick sketch, sketchbook, sketchbook drawing Display Comments Add a Comment
Again I was drawing passerby from my usual picture window at the cafe yesterday.
Today’s post is presented by my guest blogger and science buff Betty Gail Gallender who will demonstrate how art and science join forces to create unique projects. Here’s Betty:
I have always loved the art of creating. But what I try to understand is the “how and why” of it. This is the “Science of Art.”
Today’s experiment starts off as an art project- but helps us see that science is behind everything we make.
My questions were how did they make their “stained glass” and why did it turn out like it did?
The “How” involves some pre-work on the part of an adult. First cut out the shapes you will use on black construction paper leaving a wide outline. Trim away the inside of the design. (I used an exacto knife.) Glue the outline onto a sheet of wax paper. Turn old crayons into shavings using a pencil sharpener, a sharp knife or pair of scissors to scrape them like a carrot.
Divide the shavings by color. Then, let the kids lightly sprinkle the shavings into the open spaces on the back of the wax paper design. (Don’t use too much–a little goes a long way!) Cover the picture with another piece of wax paper. Help them place the prepared picture between a towel or a folded piece of heavy paper.
Have an adult iron over the towel covered wax paper until the crayons melt and seal the design to the second piece of wax paper. Trim the design along its outer edges and hold it up to a window to reveal your “stained glass.” Take another copy of the cutout design and glue to the back to give the picture support and a finished look.
The “Why”—your work of art looks like stain glass is due to the heat and pressure of the iron combined with the translucent qualities of the melted crayons and wax paper. The heat melts the crayons turning a solid into a translucent liquid while the pressure spreads the liquid out. The wax paper is always translucent.
Things to discuss with your kids:
Explain to them that while unmelted crayons are solids that you cannot see through, the wax paper and melted crayons become translucent. This means that you can see through them, but not clearly because they diffuse the light that is passing through them. Point out that the glass in the window is an example of something that is transparent- you can see clearly through it.
Ask them why the crayon shavings changed and discuss how heat and pressure from the iron caused the crayon shavings to melt and spread out.
I love experiments like this because they are a perfect example of ways to engage your kids in fun projects that are both educational and entertaining. Science is not boring or hard- it’s all around us. It is something that becomes obvious when we look into the how and why of the things we make and do.
I hope you enjoyed my guest post. If you try this experiment, I’d love for you to leave a comment here or over at sciencefunwithmom.wordpress.com.
After seeing many tantalizing mentions of Tara Books over the last few years, I was delighted to receive Joydeb Chitrakar and Gita Wolf’s The Enduring Ark and get a firsthand look at one of their creations.
They say that from time to time, the world must be made all over again. Ancient stories remember from an age when a huge flood destroyed the earth. Almost everything as we know it disappeared under water, and it was only later, in the course of time, that new life emerged again from the remains of the old. You may have heard this story before, but great tales deserve to be repeated — and so let me tell it here again, in my way.
So begins Gita Wolf in her version of that old story in The Enduring Ark, but even before we read this text we’ve seen a huge eye seemingly merging into water signaling to us that this will be a retelling like no other. That is because of the unique accordian-style book making and Joydeb Chitrakar’s vivid illustrations done in the West Bengali Patua style of scroll painting. Readers can immerse themselves in Wolf and Chitrakar’s intertwined words and art by conventionally turning the pages or by opening the book to view them all at once. Water flows through the book from that first enormous eye of warning, tinkling through the gentle stream at Noah’s home, on as he collects his creatures, rising with the flood, and ending with the water merging with a rainbow of hope. The Enduring Ark is a spectacularly gorgeous book, one well worth reading again and again.
And Tara Books is a remarkable publisher, a co-operative founded by writers and designers and committed to feminist and egalitarian principles and gorgeous visual bookmaking. Based in Chennai, South India, many of their books are completely handmade and they are focused on celebrating the range of Indian art. For a fascinating look at how their books are made and more I recommend taking a look at their blog.
Draw Rainforest Animals by Doug DuBosque, a years-ago gift to Jane from her aunt, has been seeing a lot of action around here lately. Excellent tutorials and such fun material.
Boa by Beanie
Sloth by Rilla
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Quetzal, Spider Monkey, Kinkajou by Rilla
Please, Runners, if for no other reason than the sake of vanity do what you can to improve your form.
Joking aside, running with proper form will make you more efficient…running more efficient will make you faster. And hey, you won’t look like this poor sap running either…PERK!
Posts all about form and how to improve yours HERE, HERE, and HERE.
More running cartoons HERE!
1) What’s the craziest looking runner with poor form you’ve seen before? It’s okay if you were looking in the mirror.
2) How has your form improved? What form related work did you do or are you doing?
3) Finish this sentence: I may have poor form but at least I don’t look like…Add a Comment
I am very excited about my interview with paper engineer extraordinaire, Bruce Foster. Read the interview here. If you love pop-up books like I do, you will be in awe of the painstaking process it takes to make a book like America’s National Parks: A Pop-Up Book.
© Bruce Fosster
Bruce Foster with a pop-up of Grand Canyon National ParkAdd a Comment
Companion to last month’s Galloping Horse. She’s still working hard on getting those legs just so, as you see. I’m loving this chance to watch a young artist hone her skills. She’s made big strides (so to speak) already.
I believe next up is Trotting Horse. All three are from the horse page in the Usborne Book of Drawing.Add a Comment
Oh what a difference running crazy amounts of miles in training makes. Come time for that post-race break those racing shorts…errrr, ‘shoes’ may be fitting a little differently!
Sunday morning deserves some running cartoonage! That being said, we can poke fun but one needn’t get TOO would up over some post-race ‘love’ weight, giving the body a chance to recover is incredibly important and your racing will be much better off in the long-term.
On the flip side there is a difference between recovery and gluttony…haha. As with most all things in running and in life, it’s all about balance. Now, pass this runner the Pop-Tarts!
POST on fueling for races.
POST with tips on runners eating out.
POST on the importance of the 30-minute refuel window.
POST on timing your fuel to best support your running performance.
Get more Running Cartoons HERE!
1) When it comes time to break after a race or season, do you eat differently?
2) What are some of the things you do to give your body some TLC to recover after hard races or between seasons?Add a Comment
Loose Leaf is a project by Manual, located here in sunny San Francisco. Caught somewhere in between art publication and curated print series, the format of the project is part of what makes it so enticing. Each edition comes as a series of leaves, hole-punched and ready to install. This allows the user to continually rotate and swap out images.
They’ve also picked some fabulous artists and designers with which to work: Mark Giglio, Jon Boam, Chris Dent. Oh, yeah, NASA contributed an image, as well.
Featured Book: Irving Harper: Works in Paper.
What’s an idea? The mere concept of an idea is difficult, maybe even impossible to perfectly define. Even notable philosophers couldn’t seem to agree on what an idea truly means. The Free Dictionary Online indicates that according to the philosophy of Plato, the definition of an idea “is an archetype of which a corresponding being in phenomenal reality is an imperfect replica.” The web source goes on to say that according to the philosophy of Kant, “an idea is a concept of reason that is transcendent but nonempiral.” But, even Hagel said it differently. He claimed that an idea means “absolute truth; the complete and ultimate product of reason.” In the dictionary, the definition of an idea reads “something, such as a thought or conception that potentially or actually exists in the mind as a product of mental activity.”
To me, an idea is something that begins as a glimmer; a mere flicker in the mind that can suddenly grab hold, and unfold through any period of time, like the single root of the ivy plant that grounds itself deeply into the soil before it grows upwards, clinging to a wall with its tiny tentacles, reaching out and hanging on, until it forms its own shape and dimension. The ivy grows and grows, like no other ivy plant in existence, and reaches for the sun in a way that suits itself in order to flourish. Like an idea, the ivy didn’t plant itself. Someone had to place it there. The gardener of the ivy had to have foresight to buy or rent the house, invest in the fertilizer and the soil and the tools; he had to invest in the plant and spend his time digging the hole and planting it in the hopes that it would grow.
Like the gardener; creative professionals must make an investment in time, be committed to the outcome, and diligently work to understand and meet the project objectives. That’s a lot of footwork and fancy dancing already. But, what about the ideas you generate…those tiny seedlings of thought, that grew and took shape and added a dimension to the project that were unlike every other idea before it…those absolute truths…those nonempiral transcendent concepts of reason…those imperfect replicas…what about those? Those ideas, my friends, have value and they are your greatest asset. Sometimes, we forget that and give them away too freely, as if they have no value. So if you’re questioning your creative worth, maybe you should start looking first at your assets. #yourideashaveworth
|Front Cover of Mister Orange|
|Victory Boogie Woogie by Piet Mondrian|
A recent Ipad sketch.
Madefire will allow its motion comics technology to be available on DV to present comics; and DV users will user this technology to create new limited animation comics.
Todd Allen previewed the union at Publishers Weekly: Comics produced in the motion comics app will be available for download—either for free for a fee set by the creators. Madefire’s comics will be available on the DV portal, some free and some for ten cents.
As you all know, DV is a huge repository for comics art of all kinds—but you may now have knwn how huge:
While it isn’t well known outside the DeviantART community, the site does have its own cartoonists. Sotira was quick to point out the work of an artist named Yuu Mei. Her signature piece, a Flash-based comic titled “1000 Words,” has been viewed 1.35 million times, downloaded another 38,000 times, has 114,000 “favorite” votes and even has 25,000 comments, a huge humber that underscores the power of the DeviantArt community.
Later this year IDW will be publishing Half Past Danger, a new series written, drawn, and created by Stephen Mooney. After working as artist on several IDW titles including Star Trek and Angel for the last few years, Mooney decided it was time to set up a creator-owned project, which he’d have full control over. In order to do so, he had to set aside a year in which he scripted, designed, pencilled, inked, coloured and lettered the project – six months in which he wasn’t earning money from any other gigs. It was quite the risk, taking himself out of the comics scene for a year in order to focus on a comic he had no idea would ever see the light of day.
However! The good news is that IDW decided to pick up the book, starting with issue #1 this May – preorderable now! I spoke to Stephen about making the leap into creator-owned work, the inspiration for Half Past Danger, and how the experience has been.
Steve: Half Past Danger is dedicated to your father, “who took me to the movies”. What kind of films would you go see? Were there any in particular which served as inspiration for Half Past Danger?
Stephen: Oh wow, yeah. Loads! The first film I can remember my dad taking my brothers and I to see was E.T. in the Savoy cinema in Dublin in 1982, when I was five years old. Still my favourite cinema to this day. I can remember it like it was yesterday; its one of my first real memories. The whole experience made such a huge indelible dent on my psyche, in so many ways. The bustling anticipatory atmosphere of the jam-packed theatre, the crowd reactions as the movie ebbed and lowed. I was absolutely hooked. It also started my love affair with Spielberg’s eighties ouevre. Films that followed included The Return of The Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Goonies, Back To The Future, Big Trouble In Little China, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and many, many more.
The most obvious influences on Half Past Danger filmically-speaking are undoubtedly the first three Indiana Jones movies. They really colour and inform my entire storytelling style. That bang-zip-wallop rapid-fire action beats-ridden kind of a narrative, with a few gags interspersed. Half Past Danger aspires to be that style of tale. Strong influences also would be the very early Connery Bond films, and pulpy matinee-style fare like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Then of course you have the classic Harryhausen dino movies. Great stuff, all.
Steve: How did the story of Half Past Danger start to come together? When did you first have the idea for it?
Stephen: The idea has been in my mind in some shape or form for years now, in that I’ve always known that if and when I ever attempted a story of my own that it would be 100% mired in that kind of pulpy action-adventure style, simply because that’s the genre I feel most comfortable in, and know so well. I always knew also that I’d want the main character to be an Irishman, since that’s the one thing I’ve been all my life, and nobody could tell the story of that particular character better than me, to my mind. I guess somewhat inevitably I injected much of my own personality and traits into a somewhat idealised version of myself, and placed him squarely into this scenario I’d begun to dream up. Hell, the guy even looks like me. If that’s not vanity wit large, I dunno what is.
The story came together over the last couple of years, I knew the high concept from the start, Nazis versus dinosaurs, but I wanted to really take my time and write something that hadn’t specifically been seen before, since as everybody knows, a lot of these themes have been done before on many occasions. The real trick is to give readers something they haven’t experienced as of yet, and I didn’t want to press too far ahead until I was sure I’d come up with a new spin on what in some ways could be seen as an old tale.
Once I figured out the main wheres, whys and whats, the rest came fairly rapidly.
Steve: This is your first creator-owned work – how did you decide that Half Past Danger was the right project to get off the ground?
Stephen: Well, it’s the only project that I’ve ever completely fleshed out, to be honest. I had this one idea that I thought was really strong, and it was bang in the middle of my wheelhouse, or more specifically what I wanted my wheelhouse to be, so I ran with it. To be honest I didn’t question it too much. Do I have other ideas? Yeah, but they all revolve around this universe! I guess I just had a single, enormous itch I needed to scratch for the time being, and I’ll see where I go from there.
Steve: You’ve said that you took six months off to focus on this project, writing, drawing, inking, colouring, lettering…. Where did you start with the project?
Stephen: With the writing. I didn’t put pencil to paper drawing-wise until the full series was totally written and put to bed. Then pencilling, inking, coloring, lettering, in that order. Then back to the start again for issue 2 and go again; rinse and repeat.
Steve: Did you work issue-by issue on the story, or plot out an entirety and then start filling it in? How did you approach the story once you had the concept locked down, in essence.
Stephen: I worked out the entire plot first. I’d be terrified to embark on a story without knowing how it was going to end. To be honest, I’d probably never GET to the end in that scenario, I’d just circle the drain narratively until I eventually flushed the project. In order to commit myself to this massive body of work, I had to make sure everything was utterly and clearly signposted. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to visualize my goal, and I’d be second-guessing myself all the while. Because the writing was the only element that I’d never approached before, I wanted to give it all of the respect it deserved, and to take the time to get it done right. Or, at least as right as I could get it!
Steve: How long has each issue taken you to complete? Did you find yourself surprised by how difficult certain aspects of the process were?
Stephen: Man, too long! The writing took about 2 months all-in, including research. That was fine. It was when I got stuck into the art side of things that I began to get bogged down a little. One of my dreams for the book was to do absolutely everything myself; complete creator control. That proved to be somewhat of a pipe dream in a way, though. The first issue of the book took me four months to pencil, ink, colour and letter. That was just unsustainable, the book would take another two years at that rate, and I was already six months in. Hence the addition of Jordie Bellaire as series colorist from issue 2 onward.
Something had to give, and of all of the aspects visually, I was spending the most time on the colours, which was crazy. Jordie is a very close friend, and when she saw me floundering she offered to dive in and help me out. She’s an amazing colorist, and a big fan of a lot of the same source material as I am, so it was a pretty seamless transition really. It also doesn’t hurt that Jordie’s a phenomenally talented colorist, in constant demand at all the biggest companies. I’m certainly beyond delighted that she chose to climb aboard.
With Jordie alongside, I’ve been spending two months a piece on the subsequent issues, almost all of that time spent drawing and inking the 26-odd pages per issue, then a couple of days of lettering at the end.
Steve: I was really struck with a blog post you wrote about the role of writing and art in comics - http://www.halfpastdanger.com/
Stephen: It’s very hard for me to separate the two, if I’m being honest. In this instance, it’s all just the story. When I was writing it, I knew exactly how every beat and scene would look on the page (or at least how I’d like it to look), and now that I’m drawing it, I almost know off by heart the entire story and script, so it all just flows onto the page. Again, it’s all just utmost inseparable elements of the story, for me. The script is more a broad outline with fairly tight dialogue than anything. Stage directions.
Steve: I’ve read the first issue of the series, and really enjoyed the central character, Tommy Flynn. Did you find the design process easier for a character you created, and would be writing yourself? Has it been easy translating your ideas to the page, rather than interpreting an established work, as you’ve done before for IDW?
Stephen: Yeah, I think it has. I wouldn’t say easy, but I certainly haven’t had to wrestle it into submission or anything like that. Probably because the main character is a bit of a cypher, in that he acts and reacts pretty much the way I would assuming I were a lot braver and a tad more selfless. Working with the established characters, like say Angel or Spike wasn’t that difficult either though, in terms of working what was written on the page, because I had such bloody good writers whom I trusted implicitly. I’ve been very lucky that way. I’ve never had trouble portraying any given character on the page, the acting and character beats are one of the very few aspects of the drawing that come totally naturally to me.
Steve: With more control over the final product, have you noticed yourself experimenting more with pacing and panel layout?
Stephen: Oh god, yeah. WAY more. I’m very respectful of a given writer’s script when I get it on a work-for-hire job, I’m loathe to mess with what they’ve asked for in their direction. They spent time working that stuff out, so I stick pretty religiously to it when at all possible, even when I might disagree on the shots called for. Or maybe there might be a crazy talking order or something going on that just isn’t feasible without the addition of an extra panel or the use of a slightly different angle. Perhaps I should go more with my own gut, I don’t know. Usually I just want to make the writer happy. If there’s leeway there, I’ll certainly take it. This kind of touches on that article on the Half Past Danger process blog that you mentioned in one of the earlier questions.
On my own book, I’m much freer to go with my initial instincts, storytelling-wise. It’s one of the most satisfying elements of the whole venture, and one of the reasons I actually wanted to attempt it. I think one of the reasons that people seem to be responding to how ‘cinematic’ the storytelling is, is because that’s my natural modus operandi, and my default setting.
Steve: How has the experience of working on a creator-owned project been for you?
Stephen: Absolutely wonderful, so far. Dizzying highs, terrifying lows, creamy centres. It’s as hard as I’ve ever worked, and in even more of a vacuum than before. It’s incredibly scary and daunting, because at the end of the day, for better or for worse, it’s all me on the page; nobody to hide behind. But at the same time, that’s pretty much the most incredible aspect. Where else can a sole creator be responsible for almost every aspect of production? Film? Animation? It just doesn’t happen, and that’s one of the reasons I love comic books so much.
Steve: Do you see yourself doing more creator-owned work in future, or are you looking to alternate with some more work-for-hire projects?
Stephen: In a perfect world, I’d love to do further HPD series every year or two in the Hellboy model, with the odd work-for-hire gig interspersed between. But obviously, that all depends on how the first series is received. I’ll certainly stick around for as long as Chris Ryall and the amazing guys at IDW will have me, I genuinely don’t think that there’s a better home for Half Past Danger.
Steve: Jordie Bellaire will be coming on as colourist as of issue 2, as you’ve mentioned, whilst I believe Declan Shalvey will be drawing a backup strip for each issue. There seems to be quite a growing community of comics creators in Ireland recently. How important is it to have that sense of a creative community? Is it helpful to have people to bounce these ideas off?
Stephen: Oh, it’s invaluable. it really is. Having guys (and gals!) like Dec, Jordie and also Nick Roche, Will Sliney, Stephen Thompson and all the other Irish pros to bounce stuff off and get opinions from is simple indispensable. We’re a very close network. Almost collaborators in a way. I couldn’t do this without their help, I mean that. Otherwise I’d just be floating along in a nebulous void of gibberish. And I wouldn’t even know if it was good gibberish. So yeah, absolutely essential.
Steve: What advice would you give to anybody looking to create their own comics?
Stephen: Get off the pot and do it. Let go of the doubts and the maybes, and just make it happen. Everybody is afraid; everybody wonders if they’re actually good enough. I know I do. The only way to find out is to light that touch-paper, and have at it.
At the end of the day, even if Half Past Danger doesn’t hit that sweet spot critically or commercially, I’ll still have the satisfaction of knowing I tried.
I did my best. Otherwise, as dramatic as it sounds, I’d go all the way to the grave wondering what might have been.
Many thanks to Stephen for his time! If you’d like to find out more, you can read all about the process on his blog, which has been constantly updating with information and thoughts on the creation process for the last few months. You can find his pencilling, inking, colouring, bits of script, all sorts of things on there – I really recommend you have a look. You can also find him on the twitters! Half Past Danger #1 is out in May.Add a Comment
Cynthia “Cindy” Martin worked in mainstream comics at the very WORST time to be female in mainstream comics — the 80s and 90s — despite this, she racked up a solid run on Marvel’s STAR WARS that’s considered some of the definitive comics work on the title. She also drew Wonder Woman and Spider-man. In recent year’s she been illustrating a number of non fictionYA graphic novels for Capstone. She’s also been made an honorary member of the 501st Legion—the Stormtrooper cosplay organization.
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First off, Kate Leth is a fan of The Spice Girls, so immediately you should be ready to welcome her into your world with open arms. Secondly, her webcomic series Kate or Die! is a fantastical piece of work, with each strip offering something new, but all drawn in her bouncy, glamorous style. Each new strip could be anything – something that happened to Leth in real life, a dream sequence, a quick gag, or a detailed explanation of how to apply othic makeup. It’s autobiographical, fantastical, informatical, hydromatical… like greased lightning! Erm, anyway. She’s currently working on a fair few projects including Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake for Boom, as well as continuing on with Kate or Die. You can find more on her site, or follow her over on the twitters!Add a Comment
Here’s a special treat, everyone – Laura Howell, creator of Hell on Toast, The Bizarre Adventures of Gilbert & Sullivan, and the FIRST female cartoonist to draw for The Beano. Yes! The very first! Incredibly fun, handy with a pun, and excellent at delivering gags, Howell is one of the UK’s most underappreciated cartoonists. She also, her twitter feed informs me, REALLY likes biscuits. Incredibly prolific, she takes part in several mini creative events online every year, such as her strip-a-day marathon. Furiously funny, you can see more on her website, or find her on the twitters!Display Comments Add a Comment
It was an inevitability that I’d mention Fionnuala Doran as one of our 24 women cartoonists. Having had work featured at various galleries around Ireland (where she hails from), she recently joined Studio YOLO under the keen, never-swaying eye of Dean Haspiel. Her work has a brilliant use of structure and style, cramping panels together in different and interesting ways to accentuate the important points in each sequence. Expressive and off-kilter, her artwork points her out as somebody I think we should all be watching out for in future. She’s my favourite!
She also has an obsession with corgis. You can find more from her over on her site!Display Comments Add a Comment
The creator of 164 Days, Kirsty Mordaunt has a lovely sense of style in her character designs, which boosts them off the page. Based in Lincoln, the flattest place in the world, Mordaunt won the Northern Design Award for illustration in 2009, and has been pushing forward with her work ever since. After setting up 164 Days in 2011, readers have seen her linework become crisper and cleaner, and her art improving with every new page. I hope she builds up a gigantic audience over the next few months, because she’s brilliant. You can find 164 days right over here, or follow her on the twitters!Add a Comment
Because holidays are just better the runner way.
Happy Running Easter…may you make it through the intervals before you barf and may you eat your weight in chocolate eggs and avoid a refund.
More awesome cartoonage HERE!
1) Do you tend to throw up after hard workouts or races?
2) Favorite kind of candy or chocolate goodie?
Cadbury does indeed rock, but Junior Mints are quite nice. But nothing beats Pop-Tarts.
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This unsettling image is one of several prints available from Levon Jihanian, a cartoonist/animator perhaps best known for his Ignatz-nominated Danger Country. Check ‘em all out.