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 There are many comics by Alcatena still unpublished and untranslated here in the States.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
Attention shoppers! It is now 9:00 and our store is closing.
9:00! Great Scott! The store is gonna close!
Santa can’t wait all night.
Come on up on Santa’s lap.
Get moving, kid. Quit dragging your feet.
And what’s your name, little boy?
Hey, kid, hurry up, the store’s closing!
Listen, little boy, we got a lot of people waiting here, so get going!
What do you want for Christmas, little boy?
My mind had gone blank.
Frantically I tried to remember what it was I wanted.
I was blowing it, blowing it.
How about a nice football?
Football. What’s a football?
Without conscious will, my voice squeaked out:
Okay, get him out of here.
A football! Oh, no. What was I doing?
Wake up, stupid, wake up!
I want an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot… range model air rifle.
You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that…
I was not only perpetually four years old, but also a girl.
She just always gives you the nicest things, Ralphie.
Oh, isn’t that sweet?
Ralph, go upstairs and try it on you–
I don’t want to!
Go upstairs right now and try on that present!
Immediately my feet began to sweat as those two fluffy little bunnies… with the blue button eyes stared sappily up at me.
Come down here so I can see you better.
I just hoped Flick would never spot them…
as the word of this humiliation could easily make life… at Warren G. Harding School a veritable hell.
Isn’t that cute?
That is the most precious thing I’ve ever seen in my life.
Shut up, Randy.
He looks like a deranged Easter bunny.
Oh, it was beautiful. I could hardly wait to try it out.
Can I try it out, Ma? Can I?
Okay, Black Bart, now you get yours.
Oh, my God! I shot my eye out!
You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.
You’ll shoot your eye out, you’ll shoot your eye out!
Ralphie, you be careful out there. Don’t shoot your eye out!
She hadn’t seen! She didn’t know!
My eye’s all right. The BB must’ve hit my glasses.
My glasses! Oh, no!
We are going out to eat.
No! Not, “ra ra ra ra ra.” “La la la la la.”
Sing like this:
Try again. Stop!
Sing something else.
Kitchen. Bring food. For customers.
Oh, I’m sorry.
It’s a beautiful duck.
It really is.
But you see…
It’s smiling at me.
That Christmas would live in our memories…
as the Christmas when we were introduced to Chinese turkey.
Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue-steel beauty.
The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received… or would ever receive.
Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing…
and getting off spectacular hip shots.
This is my entry for the Tomie de paola Award contest. This year we were to develop a character through a series of panels to show character development. Mine is more of a storyline, I guess. It was fun creating it though.
Good luck to the ten finalists who are moving on to the next round. Especially our Houston illustrator, Cheryl Pilgrim. Loved her entry… so clever!
This week I got a special international courier delivery - from Tundra Books (Random House). I was lucky enough to work with some amazing people there a while back, now my first chapter book is coming out this fall!
|Nora curled up with the advance copy|
The story of Audrey (Cow)
is a bit Babe
meets Animal Farm
meets Mission Impossible
, all from the point of view of the characters. I got to do the cover and a bunch of black and white interior drawings. I'll have to show you some up close when I get more time, I'm kind of happy with them.
I'm working on a couple of things these days, but warming up in my sketchbook has become a good habit. I have a 30 min painting a day booklet, and a different one where I've been experimenting with wash and line for "Inktober"
Here are a couple of my favorites. If you want to see more daily sketches, you can follow me on Instagram
Have a nice weekend friends, I'm off to clean up my studio and frost a cake, my parents are coming to town!
since it's still October, I'm going to stick to the black and white theme and show you a few more of my "inktober" drawings. I'm enjoying the ink wash and line practice, straight without any pencils first. Find more of these over on Instagram
, if you like.
|pigeons and doves|
I'm also doing a lot of sketching for assignments in progress. I think the November challenge will have to be about drawing people, possibly an emphasis on grownups...
In other news; I'm preparing to put a few things in the local holiday sale, working on family Halloween projects, and continuing my personal quest for computer skills (yay Skillshare
Well I double-DOG-dare ya!
NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.
I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!
Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!
Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!
*What* did you say?
That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!
It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me.
Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference was for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor – heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness.
Life Buoy, on the other hand…
The weeks of drinking gallons of Ovaltine, in order to get…
the Ovaltine inner seal to send off for my Little Orphan Annie…
secret decoder pen, was about to pay off.
Remember, kids, only members of…
Annie’s secret circle can decode Annie’s secret message.
Remember, Annie is depending on you.
Set your pins to B-2.
Here is the message.
12. 11. 2…
I am in my first secret meeting.
…25. 14. 11. 18.
Pierre was in great voice tonight.
I could tell that tonight’s message was really important.
That’s a message from Annie herself. Remember, don’t tell anyone.
Ninety seconds later I’m in the only room in the house…
where a boy of nine can sit in privacy and decode.
Ah! “B.” I went to the next.
“E.” The first word is “be”!
“S.” It was coming easier now. “U.”
“Be sure to.” Be sure to what?
What was Little Orphan Annie trying to say? Be sure to what?
I was getting closer now.
The tension was terrible. What was it?
The fate of the planet may hang in the balance.
Almost there! My fingers flew.
My mind was a steel trap.
Every pore vibrated.
It was almost clear.
A crummy commercial?
The light was getting purple and soft outside.
Almost time for my father to come home from work.
What’s the matter? What you crying for?
Daddy’s going to kill Ralphie.
No, he’s not.
Yes, he is, too.
No, he’s not.
I promise you Daddy is not going to kill Ralphie.
Why don’t you come on out of there?
Would you like some milk?
Here you go.
I’ll see you later? Okay. Bye.
I heard the car roar up the driveway, and a wave of terror broke over me.
He’ll know what I said, the awful things that I said.
|guess which one belongs with me ...|
If you know me, you are aware of the fact that I'm not much of a dancer. I think I missed that window, and now it's definitely too late...
But I've been doing my research, and I have a few dance illustrations in the works, just for fun.
I hope you are having some fun too, spring is coming!
By Mark Alan Stamaty
Published 1973 by Dial Press, reprinted 2003 by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
At first glance, the answer to this book’s title is pretty clear. Because, everybody.But do you know this book? When I mention it to someone, I either hear about their favorite jelly donut (the one with strawberry), or they lose their sprinkles over the magnificence of this screwy tale.
The simplicity of the setup:
Sam lived with his family in a nice house.
He had a big yard and lots of friends.
But he wanted donuts, not just a few but hundreds and thousands and millions — more donuts than his mother and father could ever buy him.
Finally one day he hopped on his tricycle and rode away to a big city to look for donuts.
The scattered spectacle of the scene, a commotion in black and white. On those initial pages alone:
A bird in swim trunks
A roof-mowing man
A chimney blowing ribbons
A man in the window reading a newspaper with the headline, Person Opens Picture Book Tries to Read the Fineprint
And a cinematic, get-ready-for-your-close-up page turn. (Be sure to look closely in the blades of grass.)There’s almost a calm in the chaos. It’s regular and rhythmic and pandemonium and patterned all at once. Perfect for a story that’s a little bit bonkers and a whole lot of comfort.
So. Then what?The relative calm of Sam’s neighborhood yields to an even madder and mayhem-ier sight.
Then Mr. Bikferd and his wagon of donuts shows up.
And a Sad Old Woman. And Pretzel Annie.
Sam continues to collect donuts. Stocks and piles of donuts.A wagon breaks. A repairman helps. A love story. Abandonment.
(A fried orange vendor. A bathing zebra. Rollerskates. A Sad Old Woman.)
Who needs donuts when you’ve got love?When Sam rides home, the words that began his story are on the sidewalk. I get the shivers about that.
The starts of stories are carved in concrete.
P.S. – These pictures remind me a little of what I’m seeing for Steve Light’s new book, Have You Seen My Dragon? Check out this review where Betsy Bird notices the same, and this post at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, because it’s always a treat. I also think of the hours I’d spend as a kid studying each square centimeter of The Ultimate Alphabet. Like Waldo, but weirder.
Tagged: black and white
, mark allen stamaty
, who needs donuts?
I like anniversaries, especially when they concern my illustrations! So here's another fond memory - this year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Elsie Locke's A Canoe in the Mist.
|Cover of the 1st edition|
|The Waka Wairua. Title Page vignette |
This was my third commissioned book contract, after Jeremy Strong's Fatbag
(A & C Black) and Roger Collinson's Get Lavinia Goodbody!
(Andersen Press), both first released in 1983. Like them, it was a commission for black and white text drawings to a novel. Unlike those titles however, both of which were fun, humorous books requiring comic drawings, this new commission was a dramatised narrative of real events during the catastrophic 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera
in New Zealand.
|McCrae's Rotomahana Hotel in Te Wairoa. |
Canoe in the Mist
|Lillian meets Mattie|
follows the story of two girls during the eruption. Lillian Perham lives in the village of Te Wairoa
with her widowed mother, where western tourists flock to view the famous pink and white terraces
, natural stairs of silica pools on Lake Rotomahana. Set in a volcanic wonderland often described as the 8th wonder of the world, Lillian only has chance to see the terraces herself when she befriends Mattie, the daughter of visiting English tourists. But the day they set off for Rotomahana the waters of the lake are mysteriously lifted by a tidal wave, the tohunga sage of the local maori village propheses disaster, and a mysterious ghostly apparition of a canoe, waka wairua, is seen on the lake.
That night the volcano violently erupts, followed soon after by fissures underneath the lake that destroy the terraces and
|The Terraces (unused version). This 1/2 page drawing was re-drawn as a full page illustration for the final book (artwork now lost)|
turn Lake Rotomahana into an explosion of steam and mud, burying the Maori villages of Moura and Te Ariki, killing 153 people. Caught in a deluge of debris and mud, the girls, parents and villagers struggle to escape a world that has been torn apart.
|The first eruption|
The commission came at the very end of 1983 from Jonathan Cape publishers, at that time based in Bedford Square, long before they were absorbed by Random House, I think it was simply a case of showing my work in their office at the right time. It was a fortuitous commission, coming soon after I'd moved to London, I threw myself into sketches straight away.
|Character studies for Lillian, Mattie and Sophia (unused)|
|Visit to Hinemihi, the Maori meeting hall|
This was of course, long before the internet, so finding accurate reference material was going to be a struggle. Despite the book being a historical topic my editor was unable to provide visual references, I knew very little about New Zealand in the 1880's, and despite my suggestion Jonathan Cape wasn't about to fly me out there to do some ground research! However my local library in Crouch End
was a tremendous help, especially on information on Maori culture. The publisher also passed on my queries to the author in New Zealand, who after a short while very kindly sent me a package of photos and cuttings outlining the region today and before the earthquake.
|Tuhoto, the village sage|
What I didn't realise until much later on however, was just how deeply embedded in the background of the book the author was. Elsie Locke (1912-2001)
, writer, feminist, historian and peace campaigner, is today recognised as one of the most important figures of New Zealand culture of the last century. Although she passed away in 2001, the Elsie Locke Memorial Trust
continues to promote her life, work and writings, and sponsors an annual competition for young writers in New Zealand.
I was a young struggling illustrator in London, for me New Zealand seemed a very remote and exotic place at the time, and yet the correspondence I exchanged with Elsie not only brought the region to life visually, it helped greatly to spark my imagination.
|Before the eruption guests discuss the unusual signs|
The drawings were largely crafted at my humble abode in London - this was just before I joined a studio so I was working on the kitchen table in a shared house. One morning in a curious parallel to the book's plot I almost lost everything. I walked into the kitchen and found it awash with water - one of my house mates had run a bath upstairs then completely forgot about it - the bath overflowed, water poured through the ceiling into the kitchen beneath, the table was drenched, my drawings were soaked. This in itself wasn't quite as much of a disaster as it sounds - indian ink is waterproof after all, but my flatmate had compounded the problem by pinning each wet drawing to the washing line with rusty old clothes pegs, which made horrible indelible brown marks and ripped the sodden paper.
|The hotel ablaze|
So, many of the drawings were re-drawn from scratch, some of them several times, with time running out I finished the book in the much safer and more comfortable environment of my parent's house in Norwich. But eventually all was done, the artwork was delivered.
|Rescuing a surviving horse from the mud|
This book was a major watershed for me (excuse the pun!). With the painful experience of my own little disaster in the kitchen flood I was desperate to find somewhere else to work, so straight after completing the artwork for A Canoe in the Mist
I joined with my old friend, designer Andy Royston and co-founded Facade Art Studios in Crouch End, right next to the library that had been so helpful in my research.
|Sophia addresses the survivors. This was the finished version intended for the book, but a mix-up led the designer to use an inferior preparatory version instead! |
Looking back at the drawings now they're clearly an early work with some rough edges, also there were a couple of slips by the designer too - one drawing was reproduced back-to-front, in the case of another an inferior first version was printed instead of the intended drawing. Were I to illustrate the book again now I'd handle some drawings differently, and I certainly would not have given the art director more than one version of each drawing! But these were learning times, I was just beginning to find my feet as an illustrator, and to this day I'm proud of my involvement with the book, and the writer. A Canoe in the Mist
was re-issued by Collins
in their Modern Classics series in 2005, though, due to constraints of the series, sadly without any illustrations.
|The families struggle through a deluge of mud|
Interestingly, though the Pink and White Terraces were thought to be utterly destroyed and the area left largely uninhabitable, in 2011 parts of the Pink Terraces were re-discovered
still in existence, hidden under thick layers of mud.
|The final illustration - escape through a devastated landscape|
And there lies a strange parallel - I assumed my old drawings for the book had also been lost long ago, but recently was amazed to discover them in my dad's loft, including some sketches and alternative versions that never made it into the final book. So for those who don't know A Canoe in the Mist
, or may only have read the unillustrated Collins Classic edition, here they are!