Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 New York Comic Con: February 6th - 8th

A reminder to you all, January 2nd is the last day to register and have your tickets mailed to you. After that you will have to pick them up at the Jacob Javitz convention center. Have you bought your tickets yet?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seam Carving/Liquid Resize

Mentioned WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY back in the second post on this blog, the program Seam Carving (a tool for photo manipulation) has been picked up by onOne Software for development and renamed Liquid Resize. onOne has produced a couple of handy Photoshop plugins, like Genuine Fractals for up-rezzing low resolution images. They do quality work, so I have high expectations for when it's released.

Salon Quickie Tip #3: Matt Groening on Character Design

Matt Groening: The secret of designing cartoon characters — and I’m giving away this secret now to all of you out there — is: you make a character that you can tell who it is in silhouette. I learned this from watching Mickey Mouse as a kid. You can tell Mickey Mouse from a mile away…those two big ears. Same thing with Popeye, same thing with Batman. And so, if you look at the Simpsons, they’re all identifiable in silhouette. Bart with the picket fence hair, Marge with the beehive, and Homer with the two little hairs, and all the rest. So…I think about hair quite a lot.
Good advice, I think the principle of silhouettes in character design can be expanded a bit more though. But that's for the next article...

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Via Lifehacker, via gHacks:

"Inkscape is a free, open-source and cross-platform vector editor. Whilst it will no doubt lack behind Illustrator in certain aspects, in my opinion it suffices the requirements of any non-professional graphic designer."

I haven't tried it yet, but it looks pretty snazzy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Best Graphic Novels List

Lines and colors has compiled a list of lists of the best graphics novels (or comic related publications) of 2008.

It's not just indie stuff, there's a good mix of mainstream and some manga on the lists. There are even some art book suggestions.

Maybe you would like to share your Best of 2008?

One of the books I recommend that is on the list is Tekkonkinkreet by Matsumoto Taiyo. I read the Japanese version years ago. I don't know if the translated version is as good, but it's a weird and brilliant piece worth checking out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Parka Blogs: Art Book Lists

I love art books but one can't go buying them willy nilly or else you end up with a bookshelf overflowing with them. I usually like to spend a day at the bookstore carefully flipping through them before I make the decision to add it to my permanent collection. Unfortunately, time is scarce and it's been weeks? No, months since I've been in a bookstore. Booo.

Enter Parka Blogs. Parka, real name Teoh Yi Chie, reviews art books. Not only does he review the content of the book and the quality of the printing he accompanies the review with clear, well shot photos and sometimes even a quick video flip through which really shows how much bang you'll be getting for your buck. Above is a video flip through of the Will Eisner's Expressive Anatomy for Comics.

If you like his reviews and are thinking of buying one of the books he covered, try to buy it through his site (it links to where he gets a commision.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dark Phoenix Rising

Look she's all mad and flamey. Man, I'm tired. Trying to figure out how to paint fire realistically was a b***h.

So I need help deciding which is better. 'Motion Blur' or 'No Motion Blur' version?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Interesting Pencil

Found through Lifehacker:

The Uni-ball Kuru Toga rotates the pencil lead as you draw, maintaining an even point.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Win a James Jean Art Book from Juxtapoz

If you sign up for an email newsletter for Juxtapoz magazine you are eligible to win the new James Jean Fables art book!

Anyone who's a fan or just like to win free stuff should sign up!

He is also having a solo exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York opening on January 10th.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Salon Quickie Tip #2: Cleaning Up Line Work in Photoshop

I'm a little proud of this little technique as I came up with it myself.

When cleaning up scanned black and white line work in Photoshop sometimes you miss small spots and gradients that you wouldn't see on the screen but show up when printed. Here's what you can do so you don't miss any spots.

First, you need to separate the black lines from the white background. Do this by going into Channels. It doesn't matter if it's CMYK, RGB or Grayscale (I prefer Grayscale) Just hold Ctrl and click the very first channel. You have now selected everything that is white so the next step is Select-Inverse (Shift-Ctrl-I). Now you've selected everything that is black.

Now create a new layer and fill the selection with black. You now have a layer with only black lines. At this point if you were in Grayscale please convert to CMYK or RGB color.

This is where the neat trick comes in. Add Layer Properties-Stroke. (The little fx symbol on the Layers palette)

Any little flecks or scratches you missed now have a red blob around them which makes them much easier to spot. Just erase them and now you have much cleaner art.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Upcoming Sequential Salon Meeting: January 31st

The next Sequential Salon meeting will be held January 31st, Saturday at 12:00 noon. Same place as usual.

You know the drill, bring in any cool work n' stuff you want to share. I have been told that some of you were a little wary of uploading you're work to show others. If you'd rather email your scripts privately to one another that's fine. I still suggest you send each other your scripts as early as possible though. Personally, I like to read y'all's stuff in a quiet room with enough time to give a thorough critique.

I'm sure you all already know from my email but we may have a special guest from Indie Spinner Rack coming to interview us. Woo hoo recognition!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So, you wanna make comics, eh? Part 3: WHY

Note: Wow, it's been over a year since I started this batch of essays. Time flies when you're going insane.

Out of this three part series of essays, this one is probably the most important.

Q: Why?

Because it deals with your motivations as an artist, as a writer, cartoonist, storyteller. Make no mistake, that is the ultimate goal of what we do. We tell stories.

Q: Why?

Because telling stories is what bonds people together. Every family, tribe, community, nation and religion has its story, and often stories within them. We tell stories to entertain, to comfort, to inspire, to warn, to anger, to arouse, to teach. Comics, the roots of which stretch back millennia, is still relatively unexplored as a medium for storytelling.

Q: Why?

Because a lot of people in America still think of comics as campy Batman ZAP BANG POW, juvenile, violent, hyper-sexual, stupid, homosexuality-inducing garbage.

Q: Why?

Because stupid stereotypes that play on the fears of the ignorant take a very long time to dispel. It doesn't help when a particular program is re-run for thirty years.

Q: Why?

Because humanity seems to define their reality through misery; we tend to remember the bad times easier than the good times.

Q: Why?

I'm afraid I don't know.

Q: Why?

Because I'm not a neuroscientist.

Q: Why?

Because I was too busy daydreaming about being a cartoonist when I should have been paying attention in biology class.

Q: Why?

Because telling stories is way more interesting to me than being a scientist.

Q: Why?

Because with comics, you can find ways to communicate ideas and connect with your audience like no other media.

Q: Why?

Because it's like Show & Tell in one easily distributed package.

Q: Why?

You're kidding, right?

Q: Why?

This has got to be some kind of joke.

Q: Why?

All right, who let this doofus in here?

Q: Why?

You're beginning to piss me off.

Q: Why?

Because you won't stop asking that question!

Q: Why?

I don't know; why do you keep asking "why"?

Q: Why?

Because we're not having a real conversation!

Q: Why?

A conversation isn't just questions and answers! It's a discussion and relation of ideas and/or events.

Q: Why?

Because that's the way humans relate to each other and feel less lonely in the world.

Q: Why?

Because that's just how we are!

Q: Why?

We can't be something we're not.

Q: Why?

Because some things are and some things are not!

Q: Why?

Things that are not can't be.

Q: Why?

Because then nothing wouldn't be! You can't have fucking nothing isn't/everything is!

Q: Why?

Because if nothing wasn't, there'd be fucking all kinds of shit we don't like: giant ants with top hats dancing around! There's no room for all that shit!

Q: Why?

Oh fuck you, eat your french fries you little shit goddamn it!

Where was I?

Why do you want to tell the story?

Why use the medium of comics?

Why are you using that style?

Why are you using that media/tool?

Why are you using that line/sentence/panel (how does it serve the story)?

Why does that line/sentence/panel work/not work?

This is the most introspective aspect of creation. I'm sure you'll come up with a few questions on your own as you progress. You don't necessarily have to answer those questions, but it helps to think about them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Salon Quickie Tip #1: Photoshop New Window

I'm planning to make Quickie Tips a regular series. Whether it's Photoshop, Illustrator, or traditional art techniques feel free to contribute any neat or helpful tricks you've learned over the years.

Here's something I use frequently in Photoshop, New Window.
Tired of zooming in and out while you're painting in Photoshop? Just open another duplicate window resized to show the entire image.

Go to: Window-Arrange-New Window for yourfilename.psd

Tuck this new second window in the corner. You now have two simultaneous views of your work. While you paint in the main window the second window will show the changes too!