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Results 1 - 25 of 355
1. Paula: Surf's Up!


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2. Paula: Mermaid Fun


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3. A survey: Do YOU dog-ear pages in books?

After posting the found object doodle below on FB, a flurry of comments (turns out I'm not the only one who has a strong emotional reaction to dog-eared pages in books :-)) prompted me to post this anonymous 1-question survey:

How do you feel about dog-earing pages? After you answer my anonymous 1-question poll, you'll see what others have said.

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Curious about my other publishing industry surveys? Feel free to browse current and past Inkygirl Surveys online.

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4. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Emma Rios

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This week’s Island #2 comics anthology features cover and interior art by the great Emma Rios! I first noticed Rios’ art on Marvel titles like Cloak & Dagger: Spider Island, Osborne, and the Firestar 1-shot. Now, Rios is taking her artwork to the next level on her new Image series Pretty Deadly, with Osborne collaborator Kelly Sue DeConnick on writing duties. It’s a supernatural tale that follows Death’s daughter, as she rides through lush and horrifying lands, seeking retribution.

Emma Rios is a Spanish comics artist and illustrator who has made a name for herself here in the States as well as Europe and beyond! She broke into the American comics scene in 2008 with the Boom Studios series Hexed, then worked with writer Mark Waid on the Dr. Strange series “Strange” for Marvel. I see that one of her earlier works is a comic called APB, but apparently that’s not available here in the U.S.

You can see the latest art and follow Rios on her twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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5. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Marguerite Sauvage

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French born illustrator Marguerite Sauvage has been invading the comics world of late and she is wowing fans this week with her stunning interior art for the all-new DC Comics Bombshells series! Sauvage is a self-taught artist who actually decided to pursue a career in illustration after earning her degree in Law and Communication. Just some of her clients include such big names as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Louis Vuitton, L’Oréal, PlayStation, and Apple!

In addition to the interior art on Bombshells and Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #3, Sauvage has been very busy as a comic book cover specialist for such titles as Hinterkind, Wolf Moon, Secret Wars, Howard the Duck, Jem and the Holograms, Thor, and Wayward.

With so much great comics work completed in such a small amount of time(1-2 years..?), I’m excited to see what Marguerite Sauvage has in store for us the next couple of years!

If you’d like to see more of Sauvage’s work and get the latest updates, you can follow her on twitter here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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6. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Nick Pitarra

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Nick Pitarra helps to kickoff the new comic John Flood this week with another one of his stellar variant covers. His intricate line work channels the work of comics legends Geoff Darrow and Seth Fisher, but at the same time Pitarra brings his own brand of mirth and mayhem to the stage!

Proving that artists should take art contests seriously, Pitarra was famously discovered from his submission to the 2007 Comic Book Idol competition. Apparently, superstar writer/artist Jonathan Hickman was so impressed by Pitarra’s work that he later offered him the job as artist on The Manhattan Projects, which would go on to be a multi-Eisner nominated fan favorite hit!

The Manhattan Projects, a satirical, mind-bending re-imagining of what happened after Albert Einstein and his team built the Atom Bomb, is still going strong today. The series just kicked off Volume 2 and Nick Pitarra’s work continues to get better and better. He’s also become one of the top cover illustrators for a slew of special variant covers for a wide range of titles including Red Skull, Weirdworld, And Then Emily Was Gone, Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

You can get the latest Nick Pitarra news & art on his twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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7. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Phil Noto

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Quietly, one of the best current super-hero series being published is Nathan Edmondson & Phil Noto’s run on Black Widow. I first noticed Noto’s work on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Force, a few years back. His work brings a nice combination of fine art & design aesthetics to mainstream comic books. One of Noto’s earliest and most frequent collaborators was writing team extraordinaire Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti; starting off with a number of issues on their classic Jonah Hex run in the mid-2000’s, then projects like Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom and Trigger Girl 6 for Image’s Creator-Owned series.

Phil Noto and writer Gerry Duggan received an Eisner award nomination in 2011 for their original comic series The Infinite Horizon, which tells a post-apocalyptic war story inspired by Homer’s Odyssey.

Phil Noto has worked for Disney Animation, as well as a concept artist for video games, including the mega-hit BioShock. Noto continues to be one of the most sought after cover artists in comics. He recently created a series of classic magazine inspired covers for Marvel.

You can follow the latest Noto news and see the newest art on his tumblr site here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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8. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Eva Cabrera

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Eva Cabrera is one of the exciting new talents to come out of Mexico in recent years, along with her Boudika Comics cohort Claudia Aguirre. I stumbled upon their table of comics a few years ago at San Diego Comic-Con. Boudika Comics has a few collaborative books available now, including The House of Dreams, Daymares, and the brand new Mavi.

Eva recently dipped her toe in the big publisher pool with two variant covers for BOOM! Studios’ Adventure Time comic and Bravest Warriors. She has also worked on various other projects like Esa Visita children’s book and No Entren Al 1408 Stephen King tribute anthology.

You can follow Eva Cabrera and see the latest art on her twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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9. SDCC ’15 Interview: Mariko Tamaki talks about “This One Summer”

Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki

By Nick Eskey

Mariko Tamaki is a Canadian born artist of mixed Japanese and Jewish descent. In school she studied literature and writing, later on publishing the book “Cover Me,” as well as graphic novels “Skim” and “Emiko Superstar.”  Her recent work is another graphic novel entitled “This One Summer.” Jillian Tamaki, Mariko’s cousin, did the illustrations for both this novel and for “Skim.”

“This One Summer” gives a glimpse into the life of two young girls as they spend one summer at a cottage by the beach. We get to see them learn and experience new things, as well as see the contrast between lives of adults and kids. During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, I got to sit down and talk about this book with writer Mariko Tamaki. Unfortunately, Jillian could not attend.

The First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

The First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2015

How long have you been doing comics?

The first comic I did was with Jillian. It was a mini-comic called “Skim.” I believe it was the early summer of 2008 I did the first mini-comic for a literary magazine in Canada called “Kiss Machine.” So… this woman, Emily Pulari, commissioned these mini-comics from women who never really had a lot of experience with comics. So we did a mini-comic through that. It’s kind of like a “test case.” Kind of like a low pressure to try something out. So we did the mini-comic of “Skim,” and that got purchased by “Groundwood Books.” And that was our first graphic novel together. That was my first work in comics.

ThisOneSummer2Did you ever think you’d get into comics?

I had no aspirations to work in comics. But I always really liked working on collaborations. I’ve actually done a lot of theatre, and I’ve done a lot of performance art, which for me was like a more accessible version of theatre. So I’ve done a lot of actors work, and a lot of work in sort of feminist collectives and stuff. I was really into the idea of working with another artist than I was in comics per say. But I would say now that I’ve done comics, I think that they’re just an incredible medium for telling stories. The way that stories get told in my experience in comics is that it opens opportunities to tell [them] in so many different angles.

What were some of your ideas for writing this story?

I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada. And every summer, you went to the cottage. So it was this like solid, integral part of my childhood… When it comes to comics, especially with this one, I thought of the atmosphere. I felt the background would be a good setting for a story. And I’m also kind of obsessed with transitional moments. So for me, the idea of being these young girls, and having this chunk of their lives, and analyzing that part, and all the sort of changes that would happen, even if [those changes] were all going to be during this one summer of their lives… it was something I wanted to show.

Would you say this mirrors any of your life?

Well I use to go to the cottage, but I didn’t have any of those challenges. I used some things as a beginning point, and created something fictional from that. Obviously I was a young girl at the cottage, and I had the fat young friend there too, but the characters are not really that connected to my life. The experiences that they have are not my experiences, aside from the fact that I also did go to Saint Joseph in Huron, which is the park that they go to in the book. Actually, Jillian and I as part of our research (that’s what we call it, “research”), went to Saint Joseph in Huron, went to the cottage, and spent a week in Nova Scotia which is I think one of the best places to write a book.

I think the dialogue is very down to Earth, and very easy to relate to. Is there anything that was hard for you to talk about?

During the initial draft, it was sort of a struggle to write the character of the mother because it’s hard to write somebody who’s not talking about what’s bothering them. And I think that’s so much of what Jillian brought to that character in terms of the details. Even the t-shirts that the mom wears have all these details that kind of build up that character. And we sort of went back and re-edited [her] a lot, because who wants to read about this upset mom who’s just having a bad day? I think that’s like the archetype of the “pissed-off-mom” from like ancient times on. And we wanted to see the layers of that experience. That was a really challenging thing to write, and it ended up being one of the more intriguing stuff. For whatever reason, the writing for Wendy and Rose was for me kind of easy. Their banter was just fun and easy, and it’s hard to write for someone that’s just not pleasant… it’s hard to lovingly write that.

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The kids seemed to be able to live in the moment, where the older characters were concerned with other things. How was it to show that dynamic of the two?

My archetype for stuff like that has always been the “Roseanne” show. It’s about the kids, and it’s about the adults. And the problems of the kids are not entirely linked to the adults, but their completely meshed. It’s like you have these people in this microcosm and their like push-pull on each other, where they’re struggling with the same struggles. So for me, I think it’s that kind of step forward from “Skim” to this book. That challenge of really creating a story that’s not just about the kids in this little bubble; to see these layered connections between the kids in the town, these kids in their respective homes, and all other different relationships. To me some of the most interesting scenes are the ones were something of the adults reverberate to the kids; their parents get into a fight, and that trickles down from the parents and then to the kid. And I think that sort of chain reaction is a super interesting one… It’s great to see someone on an adventure, fighting for their family or what have you, but at the same time most of our reality as teenagers is connected to our parents.

It really is interesting seeing these kids’ “bubbles” being formed and shaped by their parents.

It’s like a book about trying to be an adult, just as much for the adults as it is for the kids. These parents are trying to be adults, they’re trying to do the right thing. These teenagers are trying to be adults. And it’s all these varying groups of people that have this notion of what it means to be a grownup, and that depressing challenge of it being out of your reach.

Have you found yourself open to other avenues because of your exposure to graphic novels?

I ended up doing this short film called “Happy Sixteenth Birthday Kevin,” which is a movie about a sixteen year old Goth boy, but the cast is like me and my 30 year old friends. So I did that, because comics showed me how much I love dialogue, and I try to incorporate that as much as I can in the work that I’m doing.

“This One Summer” is available now. You can buy it online, or at your local book store.

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10. Motion Graphic Novel – The Land of the Magic Flute

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The Land of the Magic Flute is a Motion Graphic Novel, a re-imagined version of Mozart’s classic Magic Flute. We decided to take opera and narrate it in a fresh and entirely new medium. We implemented the opera in a contemporary way, into the shape of a comic and a language that speaks to youth. Mysterious and full of secrets, atmospheric drawings and animations, along with seven complete arias and a music concept which plays with excerpts from Mozart’s composition, The Land of the Magic Flute Motion Graphic Novel creates an unforgettable visual and hearing experience.”

Experience The Land of the Magic Flute here >>

Watch the trailer video here >>

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11. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Brandon Graham

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It was a rare “event week” for me at the comics shop with the much anticipated release of the new comics anthology Island! Brandon Graham, the creator, editor, and cover artist for Island is our subject this week. Graham’s work is inspired by classic European and Japanese(manga)comics. He started off drawing comics for Antarctic Press & Radio Comix, some being pornographic(see Milk! #7, etc.).

Graham would go on to work with the infamous Meathaus collective and to creating his own independent titles: Multiple Warheads and King City. I was fortunate to meet the super-friendly Mr. Graham back in 2012 during his Multiple Warheads: Alphabet Tour and he was kind enough to contribute to my convention sketchbook!

Brandon Graham is part of a new age of Image Comics, which has overtaken the “Big 2″(Marvel/DC) in the original content department. Recently, Graham, along with artist Simon Roy, “re-imagined” Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld’s Prophet to much critical acclaim.

Island #1 is an over-sized comic magazine published by Image Comics and features work by Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, Emma Rios, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Ludroe. You can check out a preview here. The series will be released on a monthly basis.

You can see the latest news & art updates for Brandon Graham here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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12. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Ben Caldwell

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Ben Caldwell dazzles us this week with his eye-popping cover art for Catwoman’s Teen Titans GO! variant. In addition to comics, Caldwell has worked as a toy designer, on various animation/video-game projects, and childrens book illustration. He also writes and draws a popular series of “how to” books called Action! Cartooning. It’s nice to see more and more artists like Caldwell bringing their “animation-style” to comics. It makes perfect sense since there’s so much crossover nowadays between comics & the TV/movie industry.

Ben Caldwell is also known for The Dare Detectives! series of graphic novels, The Wizard of Oz All-Action Classics adaptation, and Star Wars Clone War Adventures comics.

Caldwell graduated from the Parsons School of Design for Illustration and currently lives in New York with his family.

You can see the latest sketches and project updates by following Mr. Caldwell on his twitter page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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13. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Tom Neely

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This week we celebrate the Popeye-obsessed, Metal-warped mind of Tom Neely! His new series The Humans, with his pal Keenan Marshall Keller, has become a sleeper hit for Image Comics and is the perfect vehicle for Neely’s action-packed, skull-rattling artwork!

I first picked up some of Neely’s comics(The Blot, Your Disease Spread Quick, a Melvins comic book) at San Diego Comic Con about 10 years ago and I have to say that his comics career has been one of the most interesting to follow. Tom Neely has shown great range & versatility as an artist, from creating the cult-classic underground series Henry & Glenn Forever with The Igloo Tornado artist collective to his time campaigning for, then drawing for IDW’s new Popeye series(a life long dream of his) and then his recent 228-page graphic novel The Wolf, a beautifully raw, bloody acid trip of a story!

With The Humans comic book Neely has(hopefully)found his long-term happy(biker-ape-loitation)home to stretch his ink brush arm in!

Neely earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the University of Tulsa & Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute. He was born in Paris, Texas and now lives in Los Angeles, CA.

His 2007 graphic novel The Blot won him the Ignatz Award that year and was named one of the “Best Graphic Novels of the decade 2000-2010″ by The Comics Journal. He’s done many illustrations and album covers for the music industry including Green Day’s Demolicious, last year.

You can check out more of Tom Neely’s website here, and for fresh updates on The Humans go “like” the official FB page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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14. Meet the IF Team: Andy Yates

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Hi Illustration Friday community!

So many people play a role in keeping this site updated with inspiration to fuel your creativity, and we’d like to take a moment to highlight one of them today: Andy Yates.

You may be familiar with Andy’s incredibly popular Comics Illustrator of the Week Series (here’s the latest installment). We are so grateful that he helps us round out our content with comic art while giving much deserved attention to the artists involved.

Andy is a freelance illustrator, and animator. In 2013, he received his BS in Media Arts & Animation from the Art Institute of California – Orange County, and has worked creating 2d assets for the casual games industry, as well as working on various independent animation/illustration projects.

He spends his free-time consuming a plethora of good, and bad(but, oh so good..) TV, comics, movies, Cheez-its, Skittles, beer, and the occasional couch pretzel, after removing any hair of course. He writes about comics, and interviews the artists behind them on his website comicstavern.com. You can learn more about Andy, and see his art on his tumblr: plumdill.tumblr.com.

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15. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Walter Simonson

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Legendary comics artist Walter Simonson gets honors this week, because of his excellent “Joker-shark” variant cover to the latest issue of Aquaman. Simonson helped define one of Marvel’s most popular characters with his run on The Mighty Thor starting with issue #337(1983). From very early on in his career Simonson was a frequent collaborator with fellow comics legend, writer/editor Archie Goodwin on DC comics such as Detective Comics and Manhunter. Simonson’s dynamic style pushes out in bold perspective and influenced many comics illustrators to come after him.

Walter Simonson has worked on many comics with his wife, writer Louise Simonson, including a memorable run on X-Factor, and later on the World of Warcraft comic for Wildstorm.

Simonson received the Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, which was presented to him by his wife Louise.

You can catch the latest news/artwork from Mr. Simonson by following him on twitter here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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16. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Joe Matt

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Small Press comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly just released their 25th Anniversary book and since it features the first new material by cartoonist Joe Matt in years, I figured now would be a good time to celebrate his work! Peepshow, Joe Matt’s long running biographical comic, started back in 1987(the last collection was printed in 2007). It would go on to become one of the seminal works of the 90’s alternative comics scene, along with Clowe’s Eightball, Seth’s Palookaville, and Ware’s ACME Novelty Library.

The 15 new pages featured in D & Q’s 25th Anniversary book are intended for Matt’s next book and are a work in progress.

Joe Matt has been nominated for multiple Eisner Awards and both an Ignatz and Doug Wright Award.

You can find him on Instagram (@joepeepshowmatt) now where he sometimes posts new art or you could find him surfing the web at a random Los Angeles, CA library.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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17. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Stephanie Hans

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French illustrator Stephanie Hans has been painting some of the most striking covers of late for Marvel’s version of Neil Gaiman’s character Angela and other titles. Hans first started making a splash at Marvel with some of her Journey Into Mystery covers, that featured famed Thor/Avengers nemesis Loki. You can see the range that Hans has an artist with her interior line-work on the new Marvel Secret Wars crossover, 1602 Witch Hunter Angela. Hans’ strong painting skills and obvious appreciation of classic art is a welcome addition to today’s mainstream comics scene!

You can follow Stephanie Hans on her tumblr site here. There’s a nice painting process post on there, if you scroll down.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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18. Review: Nothing And Everything Left To The Imagination In James Robinson And Greg Hinkle’s “AIRBOY”

James Robbins” himself, being assigned the Airboy comic for a reboot

“James Robinson” himself, being assigned the Airboy comic for a reboot

by Nick Eskey

For starters, this work is not for kids, and there might be a plot spoiler. With that out of the way, let’s review!

Airboy was originally made during the boom of super hero comics in the World War II era, where America dreamed of spandex clad heroes fighting not only super villains, but of the likes of Hitler and the entire Nazi army. One of the things that set him apart was that Airboy flew a plane with wings that flapped much like a bird’s. Even stranger, a Franciscan monk made both the plane and the superhero costume.

Aside from sharing the same name, that’s where the buck stops in this book. What we are instead given is a fast and illicit trip through one’s insecurities, and case of writer’s block.

Through the first few pages, it’s not the WWII flying ace that we see, but rather we are treated to a modern day man sitting on a toilet. Namely, we see writer “James Robinson” himself, being assigned the Airboy comic for a reboot. The story follows him, and later on artist Greg Hinkle, through a night of alcohol and drug fueled mayhem. Amid a wicked hangover, everything crescendos with a very “unlikely” visitor.

I must admit, it was weird seeing things from other end of the drawing board. Within the first couple of panels, confusion set in, and I read on wondering when this “Airboy” was going to make the scene. A number of pages later, all expectations of him and his flapping plane disappeared. I felt like some cardinal rule was getting broken. But as someone said some time long ago, rules are made to be broken.

The visuals reminded me a lot of “The Fifth Beatle” spliced with a Lewis Carroll drug trip. The use of solid colors as opposed to shading makes the art style unique

The story follows him, and later on artist Greg Hinkle, through a night of alcohol and drug fueled mayhem

The story follows him, and later on artist Greg Hinkle, through a night of alcohol and drug fueled mayhemand pleasing to the eye. The drawing style is both clean and whimsical, making this story a fun and easy read.

Disregarding the art and the surprise twist at the end, the writing alone will keep any down to earth reader keep on reading. The frank, clear dialogue helps us relate to the characters it many ways, from their concerns and feelings, to the insane situations they are involved in.

All-in-all, I loved this story so far. It took me a few heartbeats to get passed my great confusion over the story title, but after that it was a good time. The humor and situations are very adult, so don’t be too shocked when you see male genitalia. Yup, you heard me.

This is a must read that should be picked up at your local retailer.

Airboy by Image Comics is available for sale as of today, June 3rd.

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19. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: George Bletsis

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George Bletsis provided this week’s stunning Adventure Time cover, so he gets Comics Illustrator of the Week honors! Bletsis brings his carefully constructed drawings to life with rich, bold colors and seems to have a real knack for field of depth & space in his work. Working and living in Southern England as a freelance illustrator for print media and as an artist for the film/video game industry, Bletsis has collected quite an impressive list of clients thus far including Jamie Oliver, BBC, Penguin, and The Royal Academy of Dance, to name a few.

You can find more art by George Bletsis, including some pages of his own comic strip, on his blog here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates

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20. Samples: “The Guided Path” Illustration

Below is a sample (in my cartoon-style) of a spot for the “Heartmatters” column I create illustrations for bi-monthly. All of these stories are uplifting and faith-building. I am blessed to be able to read this and then created illustrations to enhance the story.

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21. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Stacey Lee

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I’m having trouble finding background information on Stacey Lee, so I’m mainly going to be sharing links to her social media presence. She’s new to me, but I think her work on the new Marvel series Silk is exceptional, so I thought I’d share some of her work here. Lee is from Boston, currently lives in New York, and specializes in graphic design and illustration. I hope her run on Silk is a long and memorable one; she’s doing great things with that character!

Stacey Lee’s website.

Her art blog and twitter.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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22. Interview: Penelope Bagieu Kills With Her Graphic Novel “Exquisite Corpse”

Exquisite CorpseBy Nick Eskey

Penelope Bagieu is a French illustrator who over the last ten years has become more involved in making comics and graphic novels. Some of her works include Josephine, Not Bad, White Page, and Stars of the Stars. She also has a comic blog, My Life Is Quite Fascinating, where she portrays everyday life in a humorous light.

In honor of her debut English-language graphic novel Exquisite Corpse (published by First Second), we discussed with the artist her career and newest work.

How did you find yourself doing graphic novels?

By accident, mostly. I always wanted to make cartoons (actually, as a child, I said wanted to grow up to become Tex Avery. Great ambition). I studied animation in art college and everything. But then, one thing led to another, and I started to do commissioned illustration for magazines (mostly because I had a rent to pay), and one of these magazines offered me to do their weekly last-page comic strip, and I thought “hey, why not, it’s not that far from what I want to do, which is drawing and telling stories), and it had a little success, and it was turned into a book, and another, et ExquisiteCorpse voilà.

How are the stresses of making a living off of art?

On that aspect, I think it’s the same everywhere: very few people make a real living off of it. I’m lucky enough to be one of them, but most of the cartoonists I know also work for advertising agencies, or take commissioned anonymous jobs to make both ends meet. Comics is such a long-term business. It’s hard to be bankable when you need years to finish a book. French politic on books and arts in general is very compliant and we pay less taxes than most of the self-employed people in other domains. We also have our cherished law on the price of books, which prevent stores from giving away books on sale like it’s a TV screen. But it’s a very fragile economy.

How did you get the title “Exquisite Corpse?”

As often, my editor came up with the idea. I don’t want to reveal too much of the story, but I thought this surrealist technique of writing, in which a story alternates from the hands of one author to another, and also had some sort of macabre to it, well, it made sense.
Obviously the story takes place in France, and the main character is a woman. What kind of parallels have you pulled from your life for the book?
Well, that’s it, pretty much! Except all the inspiration on her crappy dead-end jobs and moron ex-boyfriend, that I kept in a corner of my head from my previous own career in crappy dead-end jobs and moron ex-boyfriends. I knew it would be useful one day!

What inspired you to write this story?

On one hand, it was a part of the world I come from, that is the people who never read and only know a famous name if it’s on TV, and on the other, this other world I got to know later, that is the tiny literary Parisian scene, a planet that spins by itself, without a care for anything other than prizes, critics and book reviews. I don’t judge either of these two worlds, and I don’t think any of them is better than the other. I just wondered what would happen if they happened to collide.

Not giving too much away, the main male character is an author who thrives on attention, and wilts without it. As also an author, do you feel any similarities with the situation?

Oh, the character of the author is so me. Which is why I have so much empathy for him. On the selfish aspect of creation, where nothing and no one exists but my story while I’m writing it. The world around me may fall apart, the plants die and the cat starve. It’s exactly like I’m starting a new love relationship and I’m totally devoted to it, and bore my friends to death while speaking about nothing else. I think it’s hard to be the boyfriend or the children of an author.

One of bigger themes I’ve noticed is people using each other to live, whether it’s physically or mentally, or emotionally. Do you see this cycle in your life, or life in Penelope.Bagieugeneral?

I think you tend to step up as you grow older, and don’t get fooled by people who make you believe you need them while they’re totally using you in a one-way system. But it’s not necessarily the case when you’re younger, or confused, or don’t really know where you’re going, like the character of Zoe. Because you have the feeling that these people you meet, who look so self-confident and strong, well they know. So you’re willing to follow them anywhere, and support, and help, and be used, because you think they have a plan. But in the end, they have no idea what they’re doing either and they need you just as much.

There are a few scenes in the book where breasts are exposed. With the U.S. having different censorship compared to some European countries, how do you feel that your book may either be censored, marketed to an older audience, or how it might affect who will carry it?

I found out about that while reading my first reviews! I read several times “uh-oh, not to be put in the hands of a younger audience,” and I honestly really scratched my head, mentally browsing my entire book and thinking “Wait, what? Where? Did I put any sex scene? Or a violent murder? Or a massacre? Oh, right! The image with NIPPLES!” So breasts are considered obscene here. Oh, well, we French have our weird little habits too, I guess.

The editor character seems to play an important part in Rocher’s career. Do editors really carry such an important role? How has your editor(s) affected your life and/or work?

There are two schools on this: either you consider you need to be absolutely alone to write, and you expect nothing from your editor but the publishing part, that is printing well and promoting even better. If so, you take his observations as interfering, because you know exactly where you’re going. I’m from the other school, where I need my editor to comfort me every ten pages, to be the cheerleader on the side of the road, to be able to tell me “this chapter is crap,” or “switch these two panels and it will be a lot more efficient.” Usually, I talk for hours with my editor while my story is just a tiny seed, something that is starting to itch my brain only. And we talk it over until it becomes clearer. And then, all along the writing process, I know that he knows my story just as well as I do. I always have this image of the crazy scientist in The Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr Finkelstein, who splits his own brain in two and give one half to his creation, so that they will understand each other perfectly. Well, I like that my editor has the exact same amount of information as I have on my own story. He can tell me at any time “Hey, you should read that book, it would help you on the subject,” because he knows what it’s truly about. Of course, it’s not easy finding people you trust enough, that you will blindly listen to them when they suggest you should dramatically change your story, or your images. But if you have these people around you, it is so comfortable, to know that you’re not alone, and that someone will warn you if you’re actually heading right into a wall. It’s a very lonely and insecure job, otherwise.

EsquisiteCorpseIf we were to use the character of the author Rocher as a sliding scale, where in your life do you see yourself now compared to his journey?

Haha, that’s a funny one! I suppose I’m at the point where I never really had bad-bad critics, and I still have the pressure of having had a very successful first book. I’m not famous enough to have really mean reviews, because if critics don’t like my books, they just don’t write a word about it, that’s how they show it. You must be very famous to have people finding a column in a magazine (and time, energy) to write all the horrible things they think about you. I didn’t marry my publisher, and I still have millions of ideas for my future books. But I quit reading things about my books a long time ago: I usually rather take credit for things that people tell me to my face.

What do you hope readers will take away after reading “Exquisite Corpse?”

I hope they miss their subway stop while reading because they’re too captivated by the twist, the tension and the suspense. Do you think they could do that for me?

Be sure to pick up Exquisite Corpse by First Second at your local retail store.

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23. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Steve Rude

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Comics artist Steve “The Dude” Rude(note: he was The Dude before Jeff Bridges’ infamous character was..) graduated from the Milwaukee School of Art and Design, before co-creating one of the 80’s most iconic independent sci-fi/fantasy comics Nexus. Rude drew most of the 100 or so issues of the Mike Baron written series, which spanned from 1981 to 2009. Rude has proven himself to be one of the modern masters of comics illustration and I hope to see his work in a future “indy” comic, although for what he can make drawing popular comic book characters, he doesn’t really need to do that.

Steve Rude has also worked for many of the major comics publishers including a Batman/Superman World’s Finest mini series in 1990 for DC and Spider-Man: Lifeline mini series for Marvel, just to name a couple.

Rude won the Russ Manning Outstanding Newcomer Award in 1984 and is a rare recipient of all 3 of the following awards: an Eisner, a Kirby, and a Harvey for Best Artist.

You can get the latest updates and see more of Steve Rude’s artwork on his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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24. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Enrique Alcatena

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I was turned onto artist Enrique Alcatena’s work by my friend Jon Vinson(DUB Comics). Alcatena is well known in his native country of Argentina and has garnered international respect for his dark surrealist art. There are many comics by Alcatena still unpublished and untranslated here in the States. Hopefully some independent(or major) publisher picks up the slack soon and gives us some English language editions of his work.

In the meantime, you can still track down some of his earlier work in back issue bins, such as Predator vs. Judge Dredd and various Batman comics, including The Batman of Arkham Elseworlds Special with writer Alan Grant.

You can read more about the art of Enrique Alcatena in a recent article The Comics Exotic by the aforementioned Jon Vinson.

You can find Enrique Alcatena’s Art & Comics Facebook page here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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25. Comics Illustrator of the Week :: Paul Pope

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Paul Pope is one of the indy comics/small press stars to emerge from the 1990’s. Premiering in 1994, his self-published comic THB is the futuristic story of a girl living on Mars with her super-powered, inflatable bodyguard. It’s hard to categorize Paul Pope’s work. I see that THB often gets lumped in with other genre indy comics of that era, like Jeff Smith’s Bone and James A. Owen’s Starchild. I see his work fitting better in the alternative/small press sphere, at least stylistically speaking. Maybe that’s just a testament to the uniqueness of Pope’s work; his fluid line work and stark sense of design.

Paul Pope has been living and working in New York City for most of his career. He’s created comics for many of the major comics publishers, including the multi-Eisner winner Batman 100 for DC Comics.

Recently, Paul Pope created the graphic novel Battling Boy for First Second, with the follow-up titled The Rise of Aurora West.

You can keep up with all things Paul Pope on his website here.

For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

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