Sunday, August 31, 2014

Student Links: Drawing + Cartoon & Comic Art

Image: Katian Stark

Here's a veritable smörgåsbord of samples from a few select folks that took classes this past Summer Session (both Drawing + Cartoon & Comic Art). Since the paradigm has shifted from the traditional gallery-based model for the marketing of art into the hands of the creators, it's crucial to cultivate an on-line presence. To those ends I assign students to upload imagery to any one of the number of hosting sites (Tumblr, Imgur, Pinterest, Picasa, deviantART, Facebook, SmugMug etc.) or their own websites. Usually at least one of our critiques over the course of the semester is "virtual" - galleries are loaded onto the studio computer and projected on the screen for review - and assignments and works-in-progress are always proofed over the internet. So a computer is as much an important teaching tool in any drawing class, like a ruler or a pencil, as it is one to digitally create work with as well.
Take a moment to peruse the galleries linked to in the respective captions and enjoy the imagery from some of these talented artists.

Image: Chelsea Roehl
Image: Brittney Tabone
Image: Brittney Tabone
Images: Anita Ashbaugh
Images: Anita Ashbaugh
Image: Tara Maricle
Image: Tara Maricle

Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Dull Tree"

By far and away my personal favorite of the whole year: one of the comparatively rare so-bad-it's-good caliber. Actually around half the folks I showed it too in the "proofing" stage didn't get it, at least until I'd hint to "repeat the last three words." That's when the event borders on stand-up comedy, as it's a rare thrill to get to see someone in the act of getting a joke, to watch the "ah-ha" moment spread across their features. It's a sublime, voyeuristic pleasure that 99% of the time a cartoonist never gets to experience when it runs in print. So much that I've adopted the panel as one of the primary set of samples that double as oversized business cards I tote around to hand out to people.

Another note of interest was this panel being yet another in a succession of successful washes on the original pen & ink drawing, enough so that the digital line version (seen above) simply went unshaded and unused. This is becoming more often than not a pattern that's played out in the usual evolution of a piece, so much that it might portent a change in the basic process.

Happiness Is: Sunday comics + Kahlua malt

Speaking of those last three words it's interesting to note that it would have over-tipped the gag's hand to bolden up the letter "a." And as evidenced by the accompanying scrawl about the doodle from the sketchbook it took a bit of finagling to get it funny enough to work just right.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Comic Arts: Jackie Roche

I'm a regular reader of Mother Jones magazine - even so far back as print days whenever a copy would show up in the Interior - and it always makes my day to stumble across the publication of comic work by someone I'd met in person. Jackie Roche was in graduate studies in the Sequential Art department at SCAD when I was in residence for one final quarter of studies (re)wrapping up my own MFA degree. Her style triggered a "hey that looks familiar" while surfing, and great to see such an endeavor reach the public: both a serious cause and and perfect imagery meshing together in the ideal medium. Roche's comics journalism and living history is blended as well as her linework and wash (which I find myself having more and more of a penchant for as of late).

Check out Roche's "On This Very Spot" Tumblr here and also her website "J. Roche Workshop" here for some more beautiful samples of her wonderful work. This would be the second time her work has appeared in Mother Jones (via Symbolia and Showtime's "Years of Living Dangerously") and in conjunction with writer Audrey Quinn's writing, and since my family history is situated near the shores of Lake Erie this particular topic has long been a personal issue, and is currently getting a lot of media exposure what with a recent, dismal turn of events. I grew up swimming in the algae sludge and pea-green soup that routinely chokes the Finger Lakes region (esp. Chautauqua) and especially what with the specific toxic heritage of Onondaga Lake  - otherwise known as America's Most Polluted Lake (putting the "fun" in a Superfund site). Seeing the inexorable encroachment of sprawl and all it's attendant chemical fertilizer runoff from richly manicured lawns, golf courses and borderline factory farms left an indelible impression on me - and the problems are only getting worse.

Artistic efforts like by this will hopefully help make it better.

Image excerpted from "Syria's Climate Conflict"

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"New Neckware"

Judicious use of Photoshop editing rendered this panel fit for newspaper consumption, but the initial sentiment in the original doodle still remains. Moose are generally not known for their sense of decorum when it comes to matters of tact.

Then again, neither are a lot of artists, the cartoonist species in particular. Laughing aloud at such things usually ranks higher on the scale of polite company than coming up with such ideas to begin with.

Then again, from an objective perspective one might find it positively ghoulish to stuff dead things and hang them on walls. Who's really the sick bastard?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Teaser: 2014 Cartoon & Comic Arts Sampler

Put up some samples of student works in the current roster of aspiring + accomplished talent in the UAF Summer Sessions studio course for Cartoon & Comic Arts. Included in this Pinterest board are some character designs, single-panel gags + editorials, strips and the collaborative assignment (pencil versions + finished colored pages). They join the ranks of featured work by my Visual Art Academy students from earlier in the season - steadily collecting some archives of outstanding examples there on Pinterest (also see previous posts here, here and here about the collaborative process)

Some really successful pages... I'll have some follow-up posts of more detailed process pieces and excerpted highlights coming soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday Sessions: Beginning Drawing

The Fine Art Department at UAF is offering another one of the intense art boot-camps this fall semester: Beginning Drawing course from 12noon-5pm on Saturdays. Registration is now open!

Overview: 2014 Cartoon & Comic Arts

Gag Me With a Spoon(erism)

Here's a grab-bag medley of images from the veritable buffet of in-class exercises in this year's Cartoon & Comic Arts course (the eighth season offered through UAF Summer Sessions).
(more after the jump)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Doctor Poo: The Turdis"

A side-note again on the reach of the internet: since my post about the first podcast linked to an image showing the Doctor Poo doodle in my sketchbook, that meant folks got an inadvertent preview of the upcoming panel - so I went ahead and posted it to Facebook, along with a link to the relevant issue of Digital Beards. Then it wound up getting shared all over the place, in fact, within twelve hours it was potentially seen by half as many eyeballs as the total high-end circulation of the newspaper (weekday edition = 16k). I usually limit posting of panels over there on Facebook to just the ballpoint-pen versions of panels, and it can be a somewhat useful barometer in helping gauge the relative interest and/or effectiveness of a particular image or concept (...still would have drawn it anyways). So to my complete surprise this comparatively obscure one was surprisingly well received... whooda thunk it?

So the doodle was itself digitally tweaked by combining the butt-sniffing K-9/husky duo within the tardis panel, which gave me an inkling on how the overall compositional elements. As you'll see I wound up going with a symmetrical layout instead so as to balance everything out.
One can really see the successive, shifted panel borders (both in width & height) as I kept expanding the composition to accommodate resized elements. As I'm fond of repeating to drawing students, the first lines put down on a piece of paper are usually not the right ones, and certainly won't be the last. Part of the process in visually feeling out the way across a composition.

There were actually a fair number of little digital tweaks: lengthen the height of the both the outhouse + the Doctor, shifting both to the right (duplicating the middle patch of grass, pasting it & flipping it), also cropping in the right-hand edge of the panel so as to balance it out with the distance between the Tartus and the left edge of the panel border, raising the top edge of the panel border up a wee bit for some visual breathing room, dropped the butt-line on the dog, enlarged the "whoops!" speech balloon, and embiggened the Doctor's feet a bit.

Also patched up all the missing lines, cleaned up the overall scan, redistributed some of the stippling that got covered up by all the moving around, lengthened the Doctor's arm + added the signature hat, added another panel to K-9, and opted to do the "Police Box" in a font as opposed to the illegible hand-lettering, and lastly split the original caption box that containing both "Doctor Poo" + The Turdis into two lines of verbage.

The last was ostensibly to better facilitate a sequential interpretation of the panel, but it had a practical use when, as compared to the final print version of the panel (posted first up above), the caption text below the panel was totally deleted. This means it's less easier to "get" for a non-Whovian, but it simultaneously cleaned it up enough to run in the family-friendly newspaper, though at the loss of a couple good/bad secondary puns.
Which reminds me: Bonus repost of an old experimental advanced-doodle:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Vignettes: 2014 Summer Session Drawing

Here's a few teaser images from the new Pinterest board where I've been posting student samples of the pen & ink critique pieces (a three-page vignette using image + text: historical backlinks on the assignment and process here, here and here).

One of the things I really dig is gauging how some students in the comics class could benefit from a basic beginning drawing course - and many a time the opposite is observed, when there are a few folks in drawing who would quite possibly enjoy making the transition into sequential art. This particular phase in drawing happens to dovetail quite nicely with the world of comic arts and serves as an experimental introduction to the juxtaposition of image + text.
Probably one of the most potent meta-lessons to drawn from this particular point in the course and meriting special attention during the critique was how the students pieces were simultaneously being shown in three completely different arenas: the original works were displayed up on the departmental hallway showcases; the reproductions were printed in the publication which everyone had in their physical hands for review; and they also existed on-line in a virtual portfolio. There is simply no better demonstration of the power and reach of images to be disseminated in multiple formats.