Showing posts with label LowTide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LowTide. Show all posts

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Maine Mythology"

What may very well be one of the final panels (barring any random tides of nostalgia) to be posted from the Down East chapter - my backlog is tapped out. It's an appropriate theme though, as I've been really missing the place... especially what with MeCAF 2012 ramping up - wish I was going again, but I fully intend to get back, hopefully next year!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Another little detail that I had missed after living so many years up in Alaska, one that recalls childhood memories of many a hike with my father: coming across old stone walls in the Catskill and Allegheny woods. There are some interesting examples scattered about Acadia as well, aside from the faux-folksyness of the Rockefeller estates.

I tried first to fart around with random textures using the computer, then at the last minute (an hour before the minicomic went to press in fact) used the reference shots of rocks for another piece ("Glacier Erratic") to fill in the blanks, as it were. In the end I think it doesn't mesh with the drawing and winds up looking like a cheap hack-job at digitally cutting & pasting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"Clamming Up"

It's just been one of those weeks: seems like I'm outta time, and all sorts of details and loose ends are coming back to bite me in the butt. Fortunately, I have the key... to escape... reality... that being a blank sheet of paper. Picking up the pen & ink will stave off much of the worrisome waves. There is a theory though, silver lining and all, that there should be a pearl somewhere in all this. But if the world is your oyster, nobody ever mentions what happens when it's just a clam. Maybe it's a simple matter of perspective, as even for Poseidon, the Nectar of the Gods would probably just be clam juice.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Maine Edits

Call this the jettisoning of ballast: purging the backlog of tasteless Maine material. Maybe "bilge-water" is a better description for the tasteless stuff that makes some of the pages in the sketchbook stick together. Meaning I'll actually staple particular pages shut before passing around my sketchbook when doing a classroom show & tell, as there have been times when I've noticed a few students in a huddle pointing at and giggling over an inappropriate doodle sandwiched in amongst the usual nonsense. Usually I'm not terribly concerned at public displays of weirdness or filtering questionable content (as regular readers of this blog know well), but there is a time and place for when judicious editing is perhaps a more mature decision. That said, this is not one of those. 

"Primal Power"

I briefly alluded to the influence my hiatus in coastal community will have on the regular Nuggets feature, in that a brand-new element has been added to the cartoon mulch-pile. This expanded repertoire opens up gag settings into a different environment than that of Interior Alaska.

This particular panel reminded me of the many submission packets I had sent to several South East Alaska newspapers years ago while making an annual push for self-syndication. One of the pitfalls I encountered was making fun of topics that, within the context or locale of the target audience, weren't all that funny. Specifically, drowning is a subject that is, if not affecting them personally, than still to many folks in that area it's a taboo subject.

Even my brief experience with Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene and the subsequent stint as a Ranger on crowd-control duty keeping folks off the rocks, sensitized me to the reality of tragedy that is very real for coastal residents. So I was fortunate to have the opportunity to address the more serious side of this topic with one of my internship illustrations: never turn your back on the ocean!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Exposed: "Bare Summits"

Speaking of mountains and ol' timers, I hadn't been aware that one of the earlier names for Denali up in Alaska was "Dinsmores Peak" (or alternately "Densmores"). According to a post on "All Things Maine" blog, Maine native Frank Dinsmore was a prospector who had some mining claims in the Klondike, and became a fan of the relabeled Mount McKinley after seeing it from Lake Minchumina in 1889.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Along with being both the whitest and oldest state in America, Maine produces 90% of our toothpicks (update: it was). Not that there is any causal connection.
Here's an aside about composition: posted below is the raw scan of this particular panel, which is interesting to compare and contrast with the finished version above. Nothing major, mostly subtle shifts so as to give a bit more visual "breathing room" around the elements. That's a frequent criticism of amateur cartoons: they sometimes look a bit cramped, and when everything is too crowded it can turn into a series of optical speedbumps that add up to the viewer glazing over, as opposed to smooth reading of the image. This is similar to the concerns in taking care while lettering - keeping everything legible includes the pictorial ingredients. That said, if you can't handle a single panel cartoon, that might be a symptom of something a little more serious than a weak composition. Still, when I'm finished inking and it doesn't look quite right, that's usually a sign some digital tweaking might improve the layout of the piece.

Another factor that comes into play as far as composition is concerned is the deliberate layering, or overlapping of particular elements to suggest or enhance foreshortening, which in turn better establishes depth in the panel. In this case, even the comparative scale of the toothpicks recede in size as they diminish towards the horizon line, along with the figures and accompanying dialogue balloons.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Based on a reoccurring scenario that follows any visit to a local Irish pub, and the inevitable bowl of steamed "Dublin mussels." What's even worse, or better (depending on one's perspective at the time) is that nobody else at the table seems to want to partake of the appetizer but me. Darn it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Oh Buoy..."

Actually the sentiment works pretty much any day of the week - so it's been recaptioned now to just say "oh buoy." Or, as Pogo (Walt Kelly) once said: "We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities." Better still - "How perfectly goddamned delightful it all is, to be sure." courtesy of Robert Crumb.
The funniest damn thing I heard all last summer was from one of the local lobstermen while working out on Islesford. He recounted an awesome practical joke played by a dude who would pull up another guy's trap, take out one of the lobsters, dress it up in a Barbie outfit, put it back in the trap along with the others, and sink it for the "victim" to find the next time they hauled out their catch.
I got the idea for this panel (which for most folks will work on any day of the week, not just Mondays) while watching the boat captain on the mail-boat ferry, who'd been doing his job for over forty years, navigate his way through the veritable minefield of buoys that dot the waterway leading into the harbors to eventually reach the dock of Little Cranberry Island, like playing diesel-powered pinball while atop a bucking, 800-horsepower bronco seahorse.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Here's one of the two demo panels I did during the Cartoonist in Residence gig that was a hit with some of the kids - can't go wrong with dinosaurs. I stood corrected on the critical details for drawing a "dragger," which half the kids had intimate, first-hand experience with, and a few could even draw better boats than I ever could. The classes got to see the idea go from a sketchbook doodle to a penciled piece, then to the finished, inked panel. The evening before my last session I finished it up at home, and then brought in prints for everyone to have as a sort of memento.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Bad Clams" - The Book

A collection featuring over fifty new panels (half in full-color), plus sketchbook doodles and illustrations, from the creator of Alaska’s longest-running cartoon “Nuggets.” “LowTide” documents the artist’s perspective on his adventures and experiences around Acadia and Down East after migrating to Maine. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

dun dun... dun dun... dun dun dun dun dun dun (etc.)

TEASER! This panel was actually drawn up specifically for the inside cover of an incubating book project. In theory one should kick off a collection with the very best image, or specifically the funniest cartoon of the lot, so as to set the proverbial hook, but oh well... At least it forewarns the reader not to expect much in the way of intelligent, nuanced artwork.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Big Secret

First piece posted for 2012: this one done just for me: a sort of a fist-pump at the universe, and my personal philosophy as of late. Listening to almost twelve straight hours of Brian Eno might also have something to do with it...

Also partly inspired by some paintings I looked at last week by a local dude who (re)creates abstracted Acadian landscapes from memory: his ambient impressions of the environment evoke more of an immediacy and meaningful connection than 99% of photographs could ever hope to (or for that matter, realistic images from photo-reference). 

So this panel has an amalgamation of perspectives from many of the hikes I've taken around the island, plus the sentiment is timely given the wrapping up of one full year away from home, and the launch of another.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ziggy Harbordust + the Lobsters from Mars

Definitely in the running for 2011's worst gag of the year (second only to this one). Convoluted confession: this particular panel's a great example of why, for me, letting gags incubate in a sketchbook beforehand is, in lieu of an actual editor, probably a better process than doodling directly out in ink. Below is the initial idea, punning on the Jim Bowie character, which turned out to be mixed-up with Davey Crockett anyways. Don't ask - chalk it up to yet another personal Alamo. So after completely messing up the trail of mental breadcrumbs, a quick cut & paste coupled with judicious editing finally got me to where I wanted to be: inspired by the iconic cover from David Bowie's 1973 album. Still probably too much of an obscure glam-rock reference (or, as a member of my ad hoc review board diplomatically put it: "Nobody over under thirty will get it").

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Very Merry Everything from Maine!

One use for recycled wreaths: this year's official holiday card, which I might even get out in the mail before 2011 is over. And a bonus snapshot of evidence that I've sunk a piling/dropped anchor in Bar Harbor - the panel got posted in the window of my favorite camping spot for creative juices...

Monday, October 31, 2011

"The Horror of Dracula"

BOO! Part of a continuing series that definitely caters to a completely different demographic and demarcates the comics between Alaska and Maine.
... bwaaha haaa...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Got There"

*Update: this one will now appear in Down East Magazine! Another submission for back up North (well, only to Maine, so halfway). Besides the local vernacular, it's based on a true story of my first ever solo tromp around that neck of the woods. And that's all I'm gonna say at this point, so as to not tarnish the image of the rugged, seasoned Alaskan outdoorsman. >koff<

Take it as a metaphor, if you will, a commentary on current events that have been taking their toll as of late. On a related side-note, I really missed being back home, wherever the hell that is, at least for the annual 24 Hour Comics gig, which this was the first year in many that I didn't either spearhead or participate in. But rumor has it the event went of well enough back in Fairbanks (thanks to Lucas Elliott for stepping up to the plate). There is no small irony in being that I'm currently immersed in a freakin' sequential art department of all places, but everybody in this cartoon version of boot camp was and is simply too damn busy drawing comics. As the countdown continues to the quarter's end, there will be by default innumerable instances of involuntary 24-hour comics being drawn.