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Category Archives: comics
Pinkie Pie climbing a giant cake, because giant cake! How else would you see what’s at the top? I did this in Manga Studio 5…nothing fancy, just using the standard pens and brushes built into the software.
Really liking the new My Little Pony designs. They’re simpler and more expressive than the ones I remember from the 1980’s.
Way back in 2011, AZ created Hadpanagus, a bizarre mythical creature who steals people’s butts and uses them for food and clothing. He loves butts so much, he links them together to make a tail of trophy butts, which he proudly wears alongside his actual tail. AZ’s original description was so funny, it led other artists to draw their own versions of the creature. Now our trip round the bend culminates in Hadpanagus’s inclusion in this year’s bundle of assorted Cartozia Halloween mini-comics. The Hadpanagus book features my illustrations with verses written by Isaac Cates and Mike Wenthe. If you want Halloween minis to pass out to trick-or-treaters, you can order them online at the Cartozia storefront.
And as long as you’re clicking links, open a tab for our current Kickstarter campaign to reprint issue 1 with bonus content! A pledge of only $8 gets you a copy of the new, improved issue 1. Higher tier rewards include 10 issue bundles, original art, and more!
Here are some of my favorite details from recent pages of Lolly Poppet, my hand-painted webcomic. If you haven’t been reading, get caught up at lolly-poppet.com. As of today, there are 77 pages up, plus some blog posts on character design and other projects!
The Kroyl is a funny sea serpent that’s soooo long it gets tangled up and occasionally needs to be saved from itself. I like to imagine that it gets really excited and swims around spastically, like a puppy-dragon, until it is too knotted to move anymore. It was originally created by Isaac Cates during the early world-building phase of Cartozia Tales, and has since been drawn by a number of amazing artists, as it has appeared in several issues. I won’t be including it in any of my stories, but couldn’t resist blogging my own version.
If you like what you see, you can subscribe to Cartozia here, and take advantage of our summer sale.
Someone who bought a copy of Bantam at a previous convention visited my table again at MSP Comicon this spring, and asked what I used to ink it. The short answer I gave at the convention was, “Mostly Microns, with some brushwork in a few places.” For anyone seriously interested in the making of comics, here’s a longer answer:
For me, a big part of inking is knowing the right tool for the job. I’m one of those people who switches tools depending on the task at hand. Usually when I’m working on paper, I like to use a Rapidograph for lettering, because it gives me a smooth, very dark black line. BUT, I started Bantam while traveling, so I needed tools that were easily portable. I actually drew the first couple pages on a plane, and carried them around folded inside an issue of National Geographic. So I broke from my usual routine and used a Micron (I think it was size 05) for the lettering. And since lettering should be consistent, that meant I had to use my Micron to letter the whole book. (Later, when I started on Bantam Returns, I went back to lettering with the Rapidograph since it was a new story.)
The first page here was done almost entirely with Microns. If you look closely you can see a couple different line weights. I think I had a 05 and a 02 in my purse when I was traveling with this page. There might have also been an ultrathin 005. The only part that isn’t Micron is the sky. I outlined the stars, moon and weather vane with ink and then used a black crayon to color the rest of the night sky.
Here’s a bit of page 2. Again, you can probably tell that I used a couple different Microns to get the different line weights. Anywhere you see crosshatching or stippling in this book, that was done with a Micron. I would have used a very fine-pointed tip for the bricks, to add texture while still allowing them to recede into the background. I think I may have used a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen to fill in the black areas on Bantam’s head and gloves. At the time, I wasn’t yet accustomed to inking with a brush, but I was making an effort to practice with it.
Here’s the page where Bantam and Little Pecker arrive at the creepy old factory. This page clearly has a mixture of brush and Micron work. Every single window is either missing or broken, and I used a fine-pointed Micron to draw all those tiny cracks. On the big, beat-up steel drum behind Bantam and Little Pecker, there are some brush marks to indicate dents, and those were done with the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. The large black areas were filled in with a brush, but I think I outlined some of the details (like the barbed wire and ladder) with a Micron before using the brush.
It’s been several years since I drew Bantam, and since then I’ve gravitated more toward brushes, and stopped using Microns altogether. But I still switch tools depending on what I think the page needs. My Lolly comic, for example, is lettered with a Rapidograph and inked mostly with a sable brush, although I also use a Carbon pen for certain things. There’s more than one right way to ink, and plenty of good tools to choose from. Most of the artists I know settle on a few favorite tools, but it’s always good to experiment and add new things to your toolkit–that’s how you figure out what works best for you.
Gremaxa is a feathered, reptilian practitioner of essence magic, introduced in issue 5 of Cartozia Tales by Isaac Cates and Mike Wenthe. She goes on to appear again in issue 6, written by Jen Vaughn and drawn by Caitlin Lehman, and again in Tom Motley’s issue 7 story. Since I will be continuing the story in issue 8, I spent some time sketching her yesterday, and used fabric collage to color the drawing. Visit the Cartozia store to subscribe, and be sure to sign up for a premium subscription with fun bonuses, so you can get a neat little treatise on Cartozian magic and learn more about the essence magic used by Gremaxa.
This is one of the fun things you can do with layer masks in either Photoshop or Manga Studio/Clip Studio (I used Manga Studio 5 to create this image). Using layer masks allows me to choose where each fabric swatch should appear without actually erasing any of it. So if I need to, I can reposition the fabric under the mask to get all the colors and textures where I want them.
My story for issue 7 of Cartozia Tales is set in Matia, the Mother Wood on the western continent. If you’ve seen my paintings and my Lolly Poppet comic, you can probably tell that I like drawing trees. Though the panels in my Cartozia stories are usually quite small (like many of my Cartozia colleagues, I’ve been laying out the pages with 4 tiers so I can fit in as much story as possible), I wanted the tree in this panel to seem huge and expansive.
It’s design is based partly on the live oaks found in the southeastern U.S. Those trees grow huge, meandering branches that can arch down to the ground, descend into the soil, and re-emerge, as if they were trunks of separate trees. This panel is too small to capture that hugeness, but I tried to simulate it by extending the branches in the foreground to the bottom corners of the panel, as if they are extending toward the viewer.
The black and white version above is how the panel will appear in print (soon)! Just for fun, I made a color version to share online. (Because I’m excited that the mew issue will be in print soon. Soon!) Order yourself a subscription at Cartozia.com and our editor will mail you ALL THE ISSUES! That means you can get actual FUN mail that isn’t ads or bills! It’s a win!
As we finish work on issue 7 of Cartozia Tales and lay the groundwork for issue 8, I’ve been looking back on the stories I’ve done for the series far. Many of the characters we create appear in more than one issue, being passed from artist to artist. Some only make brief appearances. In issue 6 I introduced a character who is NOT likely to appear again. She was only in one short flashback that took place 30 years before the main storylines, but she was such fun to write and draw that I wanted to revisit her.
The Sand Witch was Jessyn’s nasty, cruel alchemy teacher for a time, long before she had Gandria and Tierce or travelled to Upside-Town. The Sand Witch only appears in a couple panels, but her presence is felt for a whole page! She lived in the desert landscape near Urbs, on the western continent. We don’t know much about her except that she needs herbs for her work, and she likes rocks for her corns. But I wanted to do a color image of her, and thought the character and texture of her brief scene would lend themselves well to a fabric collage:
Here’s what she looks like in black and white on the pages of Cartozia, along with a young Jessyn:
If you want to see how she figures into the story, remember you can subscribe online at http://cartozia.com/store/.
I drew this to critique the way art is devalued. Young artists are often scoffed at and told that they’ll starve, they’ll always be poor. When even artists repeat the refrain that art degrees are useless, there is a problem with either deeply-ingrained defeatism, or a lack of practical guidance (usually both). There are lots of interesting things you can do with arts degrees in the public and private sectors, and in multiple industries. It is not always easy, but it is rewarding. Art is everywhere, and people pay money for it. If only more parents and educators told young artists HOW to succeed in the arts, instead of discouraging them.
If you want a print of this, there are a few different options:
Order a signed print through my fancy internet store on this very website.
Cards with this design are available through my RedBubble store.
Framed, unsigned prints are available through Society6.
In this follow-up to the original Bantam comic, Bantam and Little Pecker are invited to join the Interdisciplinary League of Good Eggs and rub elbows with the greatest heroes of Cockham City: Arnold the Super Cardinal (created by Danno Klonowski), Wonder Pea Hen, Super Tough Chick, and Water Fowl! However, Bantam doesn’t get quite the reception he expected, and isn’t pleased with his first “mission…”
I won’t give too much away here, but my next Cartozia ( <- click the link to subscribe!) story will feature Phibbits. Phibbits are a race of froglike people I created for Cartozia. These two juveniles are called Kibble and Pip.
Here are a few teaser images from the comic. It is set in the woods, and I had fun drawing all the trees. I tried to make them look like they were done with pen and ink, but they’re completely digital. I used Manga Studio to draw the comic.