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1. Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK

dave gibbons Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK

Hm let’s see, we need an ambassador of comics who can work with schools, educators and more to show how comics can contribute to literacy and learning. We need someone who is smart, distinguished and universally loved…

I know! Let’s get Dave Gibbons!

And so it has been announced at this year’s Lake Festival which is being held this weekend.

Bestselling graphic novelist Dave Gibbons is to become the first Comics Laureate. The announcement was made by internationally acclaimed comics authority and graphic novelist Scott McCloud at the launch of new charity Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on 17th October.

The role of Comics Laureate is to be appointed biennially to a distinguished comics writer or artist in recognition of their outstanding achievement in the field. Their role is to champion children’s literacy through school visits, training events for school staff and education conferences. Dave Gibbons has won universal praise for his comics and graphic novel work for Marvel and DC Comics including the ground-breaking Watchmen (with Alan Moore), as well as the UK’s own 2000AD and Doctor Who. “It’s a great honour for me to be nominated as the first Comics Laureate,” he says. “I intend to do all that I can to promote the acceptance of comics in schools. It’s vitally important not only for the pupils but for the industry too.” Dave Gibbons takes up his two-year position from February 2015.

Comics Literacy Awareness (CLAw) is a new UK charity formed by a group of passionate, highly experienced professionals from the fields of education and comics. Its primary aim is to improve the literacy levels of children and to promote the variety and quality of comics and graphic novels today, particularly in the education sector.

The Board of CLAw’s trustees includes renowned graphic novelist Bryan Talbot, winner of the 2012 Costa Award for Best Biography for Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes (a collaboration with his wife Mary Talbot). He says, “In many other countries, comics and graphic novels have been used extensively in literacy drives. The sheer accessibility of the medium, the way in which complex information can be easily absorbed through its combination of words and pictures, actively encourages reading in those intimidated by endless blocks of cold print.”

The other trustees are Julie Tait, Director of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival; Ian Churchill, comic book artist for DC and Marvel, and writer/artist on his Image Comics title Marineman; Emma Hayley, Managing Director and Publisher of UK’s independent graphic novel company, SelfMadeHero; Paul Register, school librarian and founder of the Stan Lee Excelsior Award; and Dr. Mel Gibson, comics scholar and senior lecturer at Northumbria University.

Alongside the Comics Laureateship, CLAw will work closely with schools on a number of initiatives, including staff training events and classroom visits by comics professionals. They will liaise with museums and galleries on a variety of comics-related projects, and provide reading lists and general guidance to school staff and parents unfamiliar with the comics medium, demonstrating the wider educational benefits it can offer.

1 Comments on Dave Gibbons named the first Comics Laureate in the UK, last added: 10/18/2014
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2. To do tonight, San Diego: Scott McCloud and Larry Marder on Banned Books Week

boc thumb To do tonight, San Diego: Scott McCloud and Larry Marder on Banned Books Week

It’s Banned Books Week, a n annual event mostly held in libraries which spotlights attempts to remove books. This year’s theme is graphic novels, as discussed in this article from PW by Rich Shivener. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is sponsoring several events this week and has much more information and a list of banned or challenged comics here. The idea for GNs as a focus started when last year it was announced that the top ten challenged books nationwide includes Bone by Jeff Smith.

Tonight’s big event is a discussion by Scott McCloud and Larry Marder, co-sponsored by the CBLDF, Comic-Con International and the San Diego Central Library. Needless to say, if you’re in the area, it’s worth a listen.

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3. Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is coming in 2015


The NY Times has the first official look (aside from iPad sightings over the years) of Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, his first sustained fiction in quite some time. First Second, the publisher, also sent along some into including the pub date, February 3, 2015.

The story concerns an sculptor in his 20s named David Smith who makes a deal with the devil, or Death in this case, to be able to sculpt anything with his hands. Unfortunately, Death gives David only 200 days to do something with this power, and there in lies a tale of romance and discovery.

“I’ve wanted to tell the story of The Sculptor since before writing Understanding Comics, and the book’s creation has turned into an incredible learning experience for me and, I hope, an exciting READING experience for comics-lovers. It took me five years to write and draw, and I promise I used every single minute to make it the best book I can,” said McCloud. in a statement.

I know Scott has been working very very hard on this books for years—and it’s also why he’s been in virtual internet silence for at least the last year. I wasn’t kidding about the iPad sightings either. And I know he worked very closely with First Second’s Mark Siegel, who wrote of the project “To work with Scott McCloud on any project of his choosing was a long held hope of mine. But to join him as he sheds the theorist and embraces ambitious, adult fiction—that’s a dream come true. Scott is one of the hardest working authors I know, and he has tasked himself with a very tall order on The Sculptor. The result soars beyond my shamelessly high expectations.”

Guess that’s the first book of 2015 to look forward to, eh.

7 Comments on Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is coming in 2015, last added: 4/24/2014
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4. The cover to Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is unveiled


Every year seems to bring an eagerly awaited, long brewing graphic novel by an industry master — and in 2015 that book looks to be Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, which has been in the works for years and years. It’s currently slated to be released in February, and USA Today has the first look at the cover as well as some chat from McCloud on the subject matter:

Arriving in February, The Sculptor (First Second Books) stars a once-promising artist named David, who’s already washed up at 25. He makes a deal with Death to be remembered, and David’s given 200 days of being able to sculpt anything with his bare hands.

However, he then tumbles headlong into a romance forcing him to question what he wants from his life as well as his art.

“It’s big, loud and operatic at times, but also grounded in a lot of small, funny, human moments,” McCloud says. “Most of all, I just want it to be an engrossing read — a page-turner from beginning to end.”

3 Comments on The cover to Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor is unveiled, last added: 6/26/2014
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5. First Second announces Winter ’15 slate with McCloud, Hosler, Watson, Sturm and more

COMICS! remember that? First Second has announced its Winter ’15 slate, which includes not only the LONG AWAITED new book by Scott McCloud, but new books by Jay Hosler, James Sturm, Andi Watson and the English language debut of Bastian Vives’ very popular (on the continent) Last Man series. And the next volume in George O’Conner’s Olympians series.

Hosler, in articular, is a scientist/cartoonist whose Clan Apis of years ago was one of the first modern “practical” comics, and his work crosses over between education and entertainment without slighting either. Andi Watson is also a very prolific and charming cartoonist whose work we haven’t seen from a major publisher in a while.

Here’s some capsule loglines and covers:


The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud – we can’t wait to share this wonderful graphic novel full of magical realism with you!  We recommend you check out what the New York Times had to say about it.  Or USA Today.


The Last of the Sandwalkers, by Jay Hosler – this world full of beetles is about to discover that other new, dangerous, and exciting life forms exist.


Princess_decomposiaPrincess Decomposia and Count Spatula, by Andi Watson – when Princess Decomposia begins to run the underworld, she’s going to need some help . . . and who better than a vampire chef?


Sleepless Knight, by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost – the first Adventures in Cartooning picture book comic is adorable, and full of knights and marshmallows and adventure!


Ares: Bringer of War, by George O’Connor – it’s the Trojan War, from the perspective of the pantheon of Greek gods instead of the mortals.


The Stranger, by Bastien Vivès, Michaël Sanlaville, and Balak – the first volume of the Last Man series, these books are filled with magical-medieval combat possibly in another dimension.


Reminder: Other :01 Upcoming 2014 Titles

(there’s still some of this year left to publish books in, it turns out)


The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew; How the World Was, by Emmanuel Guibert; The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn and Aron Steinke; Julia’s House for Lost Creatures, by Ben Hatke; The Wrenchies, by Farel Dalrymple; Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and ComicsThe Rise of Aurora West, by Paul Pope, JT Petty, and David Rubin; Olympians Boxed Set, by George O’Connor; In Real Life, by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang.


2 Comments on First Second announces Winter ’15 slate with McCloud, Hosler, Watson, Sturm and more, last added: 7/9/2014
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6. SDCC ’14: Scott McCloud’s Big Flashy Solo Panel

Photo by Henry Barajas.

Scott McCloud charming the crowd while he figured out some technical difficulties.

Thursday was a good day if you’re a fan of the Scott McCloud. McCloud and his adoring family rushed from his insightful panel with Gene Luen Yang. The rooms couldn’t have been farther apart, and the technical difficulties didn’t help. Luckily, his daughters Winter, Sky and wife Ivy accompanied him in the thick of things.

The comics theorist revealed the cover art Jaime Hernandez drew for his upcoming book “The American Comics” that will release on Tuesday, Oct. 7. McCloud asked that the audience refrain from taking pictures of pages from his upcoming book The Sculptor. He teased some intriguing pages that we won’t see again until (forever from now) Feb. 3 2015. The book is a 500 page love story about a sculptor named David Smith (no relation to actual American Abstract Expressionist sculptor and painter) that made it big at a young age, but the fame and fortune didn’t last long. He makes a deal with death so he can create anything he could phantom, but he will only have 200 days to live. With nothing to lose, Smith accepts the deal. But Smith didn’t anticipate meeting the love of his life.

McCloud wanted to dispel the rumor that has been floating around how long he’s actually been working on this book. McCloud said he came up with this idea in high school. “I couldn’t get the idea out of my head because it became a real story,” McCloud said. He heard that someone says he has been working on this book for 30 years or something ridiculous, but this book has been in the process for only five.

McCloud and his family read excerpts from the book. It was reenactments were dramatic enough to get some gasps and complete silence from the end of the reading. It was cruel for them to flaunt this powerful scene, and left the room begging for more. The characters are inspired by actual people in McCloud’s life. McCloud discussed the character’s desire and how important it is to the story. “I’m trying to find desires and a path that hasn’t been seen before,” McCloud said. “It takes it the edge of reason and beyond.”


The panel was starting to come to a conclusion, but McCloud took a few questions because of the late start. Someone asked “The Smartest Man in Comics” what the future has in store for the medium. He said he predicts that there will be an increase of female comic book creators. McCloud said the cross-legged manga generation that spent a lot of time at Borders have since went on to art school.

“Is it possible that 10 years from now the industry will be female majority? I think so,” McCloud said.

McCloud is hosting the fourth annual two-day comic book workshop on theory and practice on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at the The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, 16926 Saticoy St. Van Nuys, CA. Click here to sign up.

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7. A 24 Hour Comics Day album

Illustrators and comic book creators hunkered down two weekends ago to produce original comic book content.  They did this in cities all over the world.  It was Twenty Four Hour Comics Day – an annual happening launched some years ago by cartoonist and teacher  Scott McCloud, the author of Understanding Comics. (You can read the rules at that link.) This year the event was sponsored by Bawls, one of those caffeinated energy drinks.

In Austin they conclaved at a store,  Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy, where lots of tables had been set up for the artists.  There were all kinds of things going on in the store that rainy night — people were putting models together, browsing the shelves, visiting their friends.

I wasn’t a participant. Only  curious. Plus a pal,  cartoonist and writer Erik Kuntz, part of our enchanted SCBWI tribe, was doing  the marathon again this year. Erik is the author-artist of  Hex Libris, a witty,  kid-friendly webcomic with wonderful characters.

Erik's laptop with a panel from his new comic --work in progress.

Erik's laptop with a panel from his new comic --work in progress.

I don’t do comics much anymore but they were important to me growing up.  I read them and drew them.

My own formidable classical education came from reading Classics Illustrated comic books — as many as I could get my hands on.  (They were a whole lot better than CliffsNotes.)

(L. to R) Bonn Adame, Erik Kuntz, Justin Rogers and Jeremy Guyton create at their table during 24 Hour Comics Day in Austin, Texas.

(L. to R.) Bonn Adame, Erik Kuntz, Justin Rogers and Jeremy Guyton create at their table during 24 Hour Comics Day in Austin, Texas recently.

Another SCBWI and Inklings Group pal,  illustrator Martin Thomas is a professional colorist of comics.

Mary Sullivan,  supremely talented illustrator for Highlights and many other magazines and books and part of our Austin clan — has illustrated a beautiful and funny children’s comic book.  She draws in comic panels for her own amusement.

Austin SCBWI  illustration chair Christy Stallop does great black and white  comic strip panel style illustrations

A panel of sketches for "Action Packed Gorillas", a new web comic being developed by Erik Kuntz.  The dialogue balloons always come first. (Note: The character featured here is a chimp, not a gorilla.)

A panel of sketches for "Action Packed Gorillas", a new web comic being developed by Erik Kuntz. The dialogue balloons always come first. (Note: The character featured here is a chimp, not a gorilla.)

My stepson Glenn remains  a connoisseur- collector of graphic novels.  School librarians are increasingly making room for graphic novels on their shelves.  Scholastic Books wants to whip up  its own graphic novel brand.

For years the “comic book look” has  been finding its way into wildly popular  “chapter books ” for upper elementary and middle grades. w.  Dav Pilkey is one example.  The Zack Proton series by Austin author Brian Anderson (of our SCBWI Mafia family) with illustrator Doug Holgate is another.

Kads and Matt. Matt has the webcomic http://ayellowworld.com

Kads and Matt. Matt has the webcomic http://ayellowworld.com

The Toon Books are comics for toddlers and children just begining to learn to read.

Disney bought Marvel.

By the way, Matt’s blog has a good recap of his experience of the 24 Hour Comics Day here.

Artist-writer Meghan Regis and her technical consultant Jeremy Zunker (an engineering student.) Meghan is the creator of "Yours Truly" a comic published in "The Paisano", the weekly newspaper of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The reason why she needs a technical consultant is that her main character is a young woman on the moon.

Artist-writer Meghan Regis and technical consultant Jeremy Zunker (an engineering student.) Meghan is the creator of the comic series "Yours Truly" published in "The Paisano", the weekly newspaper of the University of Texas at San Antonio. The main main character in the strip is a young woman who lives on the moon. So seriously, that's why Meghan needs a technical consultant around her when she's working. "Because there are a lot of technical terms that are used in the dialogue," Zunker explained.So

And Yes. Women really do participate in 24 Hour Comics Day.  In addition to Meghan (above) there was Kad (who will let me know when she has her website up) and Melanie Moore working on her strip “Sacred Junk” with Amy Middleton (not shown.)

Meghan Regis with her panels.

Meghan Regis with her panels.

The teamwork of Jason Poland and Austin Havican ( below) can be seen here and here.

Colored comic panels (watercolor washes) on the comic strip "The Ortolan" created by a collaborative team,  Jason Poland, and Austin Havican, whose hands you see here. They described their work as deceptively simple child-like and simply but "definitely not child-friendly." See more of their work at www.robbieandbobby.com. S

Colored comic panels (watercolor washes) on the comic strip "The Ortolan" created by a collaborative team, Jason Poland, and Austin Havican, whose hands you see here. They described their work as deceptively simple child-like and simply but "definitely not child-friendly." See more of their work at www.robbieandbobby.com. S

Erik Kuntz laughs at one of his digital cartoons as he draws on a Wacom tablet, while Justin Rogers works with traditional comic artist materials -- paper, pencil, eraser, pen, triangle, T-square, etc.

Erik Kuntz laughs at one of his digital cartoons as he draws on a Wacom tablet while Justin Rogers works with traditional comic artist materials -- paper, pencil, eraser, pen, triangle, T-square, etc. (In the background with beard is comics writer Tony Franklin. )

As you see, there were fun moments and lots of hard work– or should I say heart work? I guess they go together  — being done by a lot of people  in that comic book store.

Erik is suggesting that we get together next year for something a little less intense than a They Shoot Horses Don’t They? draw-a-thon.

He’s calling it the “geriatric version of 24 Hour Comics Day.” I can’t say that I’m in favor of the name.  It sounds, you know, a little ageist — and hits a little close.  But the idea intrigues. Instead of laboring over pages of comic panels, we could be blitzing through picture book thumbnails and storyboards, or maybe even a dummy.

A children’s book illustrators lockdown. Check back with us in September next year to read our rules.


I don’t want to go without mentioning that I saw the movie Seraphine recently, about an early 20th century painter most of us have never heard of –  Seraphine Louis or Seraphine de Senlis.

Seraphine offers an unblinking look at the dilemma of art vs. reality that confronts all artists and would-be-artists sooner or later in their lives.

It’s being promoted as a fictionalized portrait of Seraphine and also of  the kindly German art collector who discovered her. But I felt its  spirit to be honest. My friend and I were both moved. I recommend that you see it, then give me your thoughts on it.  Leave a comment  and I’ll share another of mine.

* * * * *

Austin SCBWI  illustration chair

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8. "Do you know that WHAT you put in your panels is potentially far more interesting than how well you..."

“Do you know that WHAT you put in your panels is potentially far more interesting than how well you DRAW it?”

- Scott McCloud

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9. Will Eisner Celebrated in Google Doodle

Google celebrated Will Eisner‘s March 6th birthday with a Google Doodle.

The image is embedded above, a logo combining Eisner’s famous hero, The Spirit, and the crowded New York City neighborhoods Eisner explored in later graphic novels. Comic artist Scott McCloud wrote on Google’s blog about how Eisner’s The Spirit newspaper comic influenced many artists, from Jack Kirby to Jules Feiffer.

eBookNewser has more: “Google celebrated the late Will Eisner’s birthday this weekend with a Google Doodle, dedicated to the legendary comic author. Artist Mike Dutton drew the above homage to Eisner, in which the ‘oo’s in Google have been replaced by the eyes of one of Eisner’s most famous characters named ‘The Spirit,’ aka Denny Colt, a crime fighting detective.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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10. Future Comics: Hobo Lobo

Webcomics are moving forward with more experimentation on the infinite canvas of the browser, and taking new and unforeseen shapes. Here’s one by Stevan Živadinović called “Hobo Lobo” that’s a sidescroller/multi-plane retelling of the Pied Piper tale. Apparently this doesn’t work on Explorer (what does?) but it worked on my decrepit and senile computer, so…happy scrolling!

Link via Scott McCloud; there’s a further discussion of the state of experimental comics in the comment here.

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11. Ben Towle writes on his site: I’m currently teaching an...

Ben Towle writes on his site:

I’m currently teaching an Introduction to Sequential Art class for The Savannah College of Art and Design and the primary text for the class is Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics. There’s no denying the importance of this text and I gain new insights on comics every time I read it.  I think, though, that it’s important to question and think critically about works likeUnderstanding Comics and not simply accept them as gospel because they’re presented to you as being The Text. To encourage such thinking among my students, whenever I teach a class that has McCloud’s book on the reading list, I always have my students also read Art Baxter and James Sturm’s 1998 response to the book: a short seven-page comic called A Response to Chapter Nine : Build a Beach Head, which ran in The Comics Journal #211 (April, 1999).

With James Sturm’s and Art Baxter’s permission, he has posted the full comic online, along with new thoughts by both creators.

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12. Yes, I know. Kickstarter projects are popping up like pimples on...

Yes, I know. Kickstarter projects are popping up like pimples on a nervous teenager these days, and I know many of us are starting to feel the pinch of constantly being asked to donate to this project or that, particularly while the economy is tanking. Regardless, this one sounds pretty exciting and is very relevant to those of us who draw for a living: 

We’re Dave Kellett & Fred Schroeder, creators of the comics documentary STRIPPED. This film is our love-letter to the art form: Bringing together 60 of the world’s best cartoonists into one extraordinary, feature-length documentary. The film sits down with creators to talk about how cartooning works, why it’s so loved, and how as artists they’re navigating this dicey period between print and digital options…when neither path works perfectly. We want this film to capture the extraordinary people behind the comics you love, to show how they work…and ask the question: “Where does the art form go from here?” 

(via STRIPPED: The Comics Documentary by Small Fish Studios — Kickstarter)

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13. Misunderstanding Comics on Kickstarter

TV writer Tim Heiderich and writer/illustrator Mike Rosen hope to raise $2,800 on Kickstarter for Misunderstanding Comics, a project responding to Scott McCloud‘s 1993 graphic novel, Understanding Comics. We’ve embedded a video about the project above–what do you think?

Here’s more about the project: “Join us as we turn a jaundiced eye toward all that is wrong with the ‘invisible art.’ Every innovative idea that still shuffles along past its much- deserved death, every awful web comic that still manages to rack up a million page views with recycled Star Wars jokes, the once great artists and writers who have become caricatures of their former selves, and the new talent ready to discover bold new ways to sell out. You won’t understand comics until you misunderstand them.”

Welcome to our Kickstarter Publishing Project of the Week, a feature exploring how authors and publishers are using the fundraising site to raise money for book projects. If you want to start your own project, check out How To Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Publishing Project.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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14. Scott McCloud reveals future book plans

Tweet In this week’s PW Comics World, I interviewed Jeremy Short—creator of the study on comics comprehension referenced here—about that study and a general overview of current research on how comics affect learning and cognizance. My takeaway: we’ll be seeing more of this. Along the way I chatted with Scott McCloud, who feels that the [...]

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15. CYBILS: Five days left...

...to nominate your favorite Middle Grade/Young Adult Nonfiction book published in 2007. I know some of you are busy polishing the silverware and preparing the nut cups for Thanksgiving next week, but please consider taking a break to give the nod to your favorite book. Some titles still awaiting nomination: The Voyage of the Beetle: A Journey around the World with Charles Darwin and the

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16. Comics on the monitor: Erik Kuntz and the kid-friendly “Hex Libris”


Who is the creature lurking in the library in Erik’s comic strip? I think I know, and I’ve entered Erik’s contest, but I can’t share my guess with anyone. But I will say this much — it’s a character from a book we know. After all, the strip is Hex Libris, in which Kirby, the main character is charged with taking care of a ginormous enchanted library. 

Ever read a novel that just comes to life before your eyes? Well you can expect Hex Libris to take that theme and … ramp it up a little for you. 

The serial web comic by designer-writer Erik Kuntz of Austin, Texas began as a New Year’s resolution. So did his illustrator’s blog A Dog a Day  that features Erik’s unstop able canine imagery — with a doggy bite of daily commentary.  But that’s a subject for the next post. 

Erik was thinking of the classic Nancy Drew stories of the 1950’s, mulling how they contrasted and compared with the Nancy Drew graphic novels that are being designed for today’s teens.

“I wondered, ‘What if there was a place where characters could wander out of their books?’ ” Erik says. ”‘And what would happen if the real Nancy Drew ran into the punky Manga style Nancy Drew?’”

Our hero Kirby meets them both as a result of his new archival responsibilities. And so it is inevitable that the trio and who knows who else (stay tuned…)  join forces to solve a mystery, or two.

The story unfolds in  semi-weekly panels that move us easily, cleanly and sweetly through time and space. We care about Kirby and Amy (a girl who likes him) and girl detective Connie Carter ( the “original” Nancy Drew) and even the little old lady (or is she a witch?) who leases Kirby the uptown apartment that somehow, magically contains a Library of Congress-like basilica within its tiny walls.


It’s an idea Erik hatched at last year’s Summer Arts Workshop at California State University. He studied comics and animation in the summer program. One of the teachers, Trina Robbins (a comic book writer and illustrator since the 1960s) encouraged him.

“As much as I love comic books, it’s the comic pages in the Sunday paper that I most enjoy and try to emulate here — their sequential nature and the art style and sense of humor — especially from the 40s to the 50s, where they could work bigger and  there was more possibility,” he says.

Kuntz blends his pop knowledge with early 20th century literacy, opening his ”chapters” with such verbiage as “In which our hero acquires new lodgings and meets a mysterious young woman ….” 

“It tells you what will happen without giving it away,” he explains. ”With a serial web strip, just like in the Sunday funny papers, you kind of need to have a stop every day. You want each page of the comic to be a beat  Each one has to be a sort of mini cliff hanger. And each chapter must have its own arc. That’s the other thing I work with to get right.”

Erik begins by writing a synopsis of what’s going to happen in the chapter, without the dialogue.
Then he begins to sketch and figure out the panels and individual frames,” he says. 

“I scanned [pencil on paper] sketches for the early strips, but now I’m working directly on the computer, starting with rough sketches in Corel Painter using my Wacom Cintiq tablet monitor,” he says. “I stay with Painter through the inking process, then I bring the whole thing into Illustrator to do the lettering. Once in a while, when I’m out and about with my sketchbook, I capture a pose I want to use and scan that in and mix it in with my computer sketches.

“To be more precise,  I use Painter’s Mechanical Pencil brush set to a light blue color. When I ink I use a variety of Painter’s Ink Pen brushes, mostly the Smooth Round Pen one. For the next one, I’m going to experiment with the tools that more closely imitate traditional comics inking brushes: it’ll be looser and I am not certain whether I’ll like it.

“I’ll know in a day or two when I get to the inking. “



Here’s Erik’s ‘pencil rough’ for the March 13 panel of ‘Hex Libris” — except he’s done it digitally. 

“They look a lot like my traditional sketches look, since I use a col-erase blue to do my roughs on paper,” he says.

“I’m most of the way done with this roughing, I have some poses to adjust, some faces to finish and I’ve got to fix the perspective on the backgrounds, which are currently just scribbled in.  Oh, and I need a background in the final panel. Painter has a perspective grid,  which is useful for simple 2-point perspective, so I’ll be using that to get the kitchen sorted properly.



Erik has been a student of


 I’ve done so much study over the last few years as to what makes a comic a comic as opposed to an illustrated story,” Erik says. ”It’s a constant struggle between what needs to be put in the picture and what needs to be said ‘out loud’ in words.”

For inspiration, Kuntz looks to the late “father of Manga” Osamu Tezuka (”Kimba the White Lion was my favorite show as a kid,” Kuntz says. “It was cartoony without being overly simple.”

He also draws from the late E.C. Seegar, the creator of Popeye and Thimble Theatre. “I like the older style of newspaper comics, where the adventure strips had a more realistic look.”



There are a huge number of ppl doing them now.
Early days, doing tremendously.
Most of them are very poor. You won’t get it if you weren’t out drinking the night before.
There are quite a few brilliant child-friendly comics.
Some people thew business model is web advertising, especially if you’re drawn to a certain one,.
If you don’t lnpw anything about video games you’;lbe mystified by the strip,

Advertising art.
Others are off advertising on their site, or sales of merchandize, T-shirts and print versions of ytheir work, and their artisitic expression and online portfolio.
I wouldn’t think that ppl doing the webcomics,
Aren’tmakiny money,

There is a stunning amount of good work out there, on the web, and a much
Web an ideal way for me to do a serial.

Web is an inexpensive way to put the work out there and much easier way to get it in front of somebody.

With the web and the social network everyone’s sharing things, pointg it tout toe each other, it’s a new milleu, an old art form anbut a different way of delivering it.


 could do it free,
I think every artist that does children’s stuff, cartoony stuff.

Kids are more ., kids are reading comics on the web.
My web brouwser, opens all the comics I want to each in tabs. I don’t read them in the newspaper.
Traditional newspaper strips,
Calving and Hobbes being run again and again on the web. They syndicate.
Kidsa nolw reading Calvin and Hobbes on the web.,

Hald of them are newspaper strips and half are web only strips.

The interesting thing about comics is it could be a way to get ppl to your site,
Comic and the dog thing, anything they want to like and put elsewhere they can put ,
Imbedded my website address into the picture,
Then they canb
Its hard for everyone to say, content is not as sacred than it used to be.
url on the left, name and copyright infor


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17. Nonfiction Monday

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels Scott McCloud

I had to read this for my young adult literature class last summer. While McCloud does have a book, Understanding Comics, my professor felt that Making Comics was a better introduction to the art form and how to read them.

Making Comics is a comic book about how comics are made. It talks about the history of comics, the role they play in different areas of the world (they're taken much more seriously in Europe in Japan) and the different styles of comics. Of course, it talks about how to lay out a story, choosing your frames, perfecting your drawing skills, and different tools used and the effects they achieve. Throughout, McCloud animates himself, walking us through these steps and issues with himself as a friendly, funny, and slightly self-deprecating narrator/tour guide.

If you're interested in making comics (or even if you aren't, I totally wanted to be a comics writer after reading this even though I can't draw at all) or are interested in how to read them, why artists make the choices they do, or the history of them, or just want an interesting non-fiction read in comic book form, this one's for you.

Round up is over at Jean Little Library!

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18. That’s Me! Custom images


We are quite proud of the fact that we offer personalized images inside of our custom kids books.  It is extremely important to us that the children receiving our books see THEMSELVES inside, not just their name.




But how did our artists create characters that could be customized to become every child in America (and some very far away countries, too)?  A fantastic book called “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud illuminates how, as a default, a reader envisions a character as him or herself.  I’ll try to explain with my own horrible drawings.


Imagine a stick figure.  We recognize it as an icon signifying a human.  Any human. It could be you!


You. <— You.

You identify with the stickman.  Feel his pain.  But when we give him a monocle, top hat, and cane, it is no longer you (unless you are Mr. Peanut).


Mr. Fancy Pants <— Some jerk.


So it is through each new detail that you begin to differentiate a character on a page as “not you”.


“Okay,” you say, “so you were too lazy to create all the different face shapes, noses, and brows to more accurately match each character to an individual child, so you went generic.”


Not quite.  Have you ever seen this piece of art?


Not a pipe


If not, I’ll relate how nearly everyone learns about it.  The French script underneath the pipe says, “This is not a pipe.” 


“Silly French Artist,” you say with a bit of disdain for all people who were berets, “of course it is.  Look at it, it looks just like a pipe.”  


“But can you smoke it?” asks some snooty art person who’s already in on the joke, to which you sheepishly hang your head, roll your eyes and admit, “Fine.  It’s not a pipe.  It’s a PAINTING of a pipe.”  And then you wait anxiously for the moment you can look smart by explaining it to someone else.


Back to our “laziness”. We realize that anything we put on a page can only be a visual REPRESENTATION of any particular child.  Photorealistic detail only underlines this fact, which is why it’s a lot easier to believe that this…


 Little Jeff<— Jeff


is ME, and this…


Creepy Jeff<— Some jerk.


is just plain creepy.


I suggest everyone who has ANY interest at all in comics (funny papers count) to go out and buy or check out from the library “Making Comics” by Scott McCloud.  It’ll change the way you see not just comics, but art itself!   Check out his amazing lecture on Ted.com.

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