Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Small Craft"

Bonus obscure, geeky reference to one of my favorite flicks.
The new vernacular is peppered with terminology like "nautical miles" and being peripherally aware of things like tide charts.

This panel ought to play out equally well in South-East Alaska, which is funny seeing as how years ago I was rejected from papers in that neck of the woods for being too Interior-centric (not so much of a fishing culture in Fairbanks, unless it involves dipnets). At this rate, after my tenure here in Maine I'll have built up quite the archive of seafaring material.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Draw Misty For Me

Been poking at this panel with a stick for a while now: off and on again (here's the original doodle + backstory for the concept) trying to get that "misty" look without it turning into Interior Alaska during fire season. Or for that matter, ice fog.
As for inclement conditions, the weather reporters here in Maine simply sum it up best by saying "Depending on where you are."


“I guess I just prefer to see the dark side of things. The glass is always half empty. And cracked. And I just cut my lip on it. And chipped a tooth.” - Janeane Garofalo

Why do some cartoonists automatically look at the worst possible outcome for any given scenario? This one goes out to all my friends in the Goldstream Valley, who just dodged a major bullet with the outbreak of a 800 acre wildfire (awesome/scary pics here) that came mighty close to their neck of the woods, right by where my old cabin is. 
The cartoon was originally drawn up last year in relation to yet again, one more stifling fire season in Alaska, which resulted in another summer lost in the haze of smoke. Almost enough to make one miss the ice fog. Almost.

"Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, 
which is awfully important in this day and age. 
Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It's more than just a matter of laughing. 
If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack." – Dr. Seuss 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beaver Crest

Originally inspired by an evening meal at a Bangor pub, the original idea was doodled first on the handy placemat, then worked up in-between more serious things. Riffing off a mock-latin motto, this version states "Don't let the bastards gnaw you down." Not quite a tattoo, but it'd make for a spiffy headstone instead.

Friday, May 27, 2011

(Random Vanity Post)

(Pic courtesy Stephanie Land)

Getting some most excellent exposure courtesy of friends & fans who are checking out the Printfection stores for both "Nuggets" and "LowTide" merchandise: send pics and I'll probably post 'em - thanx!

Pic by Britt Arnesen

And here's a bonus shot left over from last Xmas, just 'cause. Don't recall ever seeing anyone in my entire life get this happy over anything I drew (these kids probably won't grow up to be editors). Folks who helped out with the recent move were treated to random acts of bequeathing as I frantically unloaded stuff like a passenger with a cabin on the Titanic... art overboard. Spiffy to see some of it went to good ends!

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. – Mary Ellen Chase

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MeCAF 2011 Recap

Under the rotting pier posts lie the ruins of last year's Festival

Follow-up post to this weekend's fabulous event down in Portland where we manned half a table at my first-ever comics convention and had a great time meeting folks. Preliminary estimates from Festival organizer and Casablanca Comics owners Rick Lowell and Laura O'Meara showed at least a 20% increase over last year’s attendance, which was already at approximately a thousand people. There were enough presenters to fill both the main/upper level and the lower area of the Ocean Gateway facility and still leave enough room to navigate amongst the crowds. It made for a high-density corralling effect as the hordes were funneled first through “downstairs” (where my table was situated) before taking an outside ramp up to the main lobby.

"These aren't the comics we're looking for"- pic by Diane Hunt
(more below the fold)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Mussel Relaxant"

Still compiling all the notes and pictures from the recent MeCAF gig in Portland: in the meantime here's a new panel to eh, tide you over...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

MeCAF 2011

Art by Zack Giallongo

This weekend I'll be road-tripping to Portland for the 2011 Maine Comic Arts Festival for my first-ever comics convention. This year features special guest "Owly" creator Andy Runton, and there's quite a list of local luminaries in attendance including with Mike Lynch, Jeff Pert, the Center for Cartoon Studies and many other folks manning tables at the event. If you're in this neck of the woods stop on by, or stay tooned for follow-up postings later this week. I'll have both the latest books of Freeze-Frame & Nuggets compilations plus original art for sale, a "Secret Harbor" minicomic sampler of the recent LowTide feature, and lots of free giveaway panels to hand out.
Big thanks to gig sponsors Casablanca Comics and Shipyard Brewing Company (beer + cartoons = fun). And, as ever, my wonderful copilot!

"Secret Harbor" minicomic

Since scoring the gig at the upcoming MeCAF, I've culled some samples from the batch of recent work to put into a little minicomic booklet, so as to have something else besides a bunch of books from Alaska that nobody will understand. After settling on the all-important title (which, if I ever open up a bookstore here, will definitely be the establishment's name) there was about a week of juggling different layouts and proofing printer's dummies before essentially giving up and calling it good enough. When the initial thumbnails start to resemble a football play-by-play it's time to move it onto the computer.

(more after the jump)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Watched Pot"

Another of the new tshirts available now through the "LowTide" store at Printfection.

"Bad Clams"

Another one of the new designs available now through the "LowTide" store at Printfection. 

One thing I really dig about this neck of the woods is fried clams. Not literally dig, mind you, though the preponderance of breakup boots here in Maine is about as high as Interior Alaska (more for first line of defense against ticks). But another pleasant surprise was discovering the joy of steamed mussels. Great pub fare, especially with a local beer and some fresh bread to sop up the juice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Article: Bar Harbor Times (Updated)

(click for larger image)

*Updated with link to story here.
A super-nice article ran in today's edition of the Bar Harbor Times featuring some of my recent LowTide work, along with a great profile from reporter Laurie Schreiber - so extra thanks go out to her for listening to me crack dumb jokes for an hour. This weekly paper has a readership of 6k, and so it'll make for some nice exposure and hopefully result in a gig or two. At least maybe someone will buy this cartoonist a beer cup of coffee when they recognize me from the accompanying photograph. Or not, since I'll probably start to smell funny after a couple weeks of wearing the same outfit that I'm pictured wearing.
And then there's just looking funny...
"Smith is endowed with an expressive face - big eyes that roll and squint, lips that purse and twist, eyebrows that arch and furrow. In conversations, his hands are pretty much always in motion. His almost manic, teenage-boy laugh belies the silver head of hair - "'Arctic blond,' as they call it," he said - of his 40-plus years."
Aside from coming across as a poster-boy candidate for medication, I honesty did forget my age in the heat of the moment. But seriously, a good shout-out to the local public library was included - always a crucial resource in any community. Not to mention since I don't have a formal studio set up yet, being interviewed in such a setting, ensconced by shelves of literature while sitting at an oak table in a leather-upholstered chair, just magnifies the impression of scholarly legitimacy. Which I obviously need all the help I can get...

A very special welcome to any new readers who are stopping by Ink & Snow for the first time: there's a weird (well... slightly weirder than usual) split-personality in effect here as the blog settles in to a different environment. Which ought to make for some amusing, if not slightly schizophrenic material being posted - bookmark/follow along as I attempt to keep one foot up on the tundra and another in a tidepool.

"Frost Heaves"

A ubiquitous feature of the Alaskan Interior: this design makes for a good spill-catcher while bouncing along the road. Another classic design available on tshirts & mugs at the Printfection store.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Turtleneck, Sweater"

Okay, this panel's officially in the running for the year's worst best (see 2010 and 2009 losers winners).

"Coffee Bruin"

Added to the roster of merchandise available via the Printfection store: besides a snuggy tshirt it also makes for a dandy mug too...
"When late morning rolls around and you're feeling a bit out of sorts, don't worry; you're probably just a little eleven o'clockish." - Pooh

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Humble Beaver"

Another classic panel that by popular demand now adorns both tshirts & mugs on the Printfection store.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"The Homesick Alaskan"

Probably one of the top three signature panels I ever got known for, and one of the first cartoons to appear in print (1986 and again in 1988) after moving to the Interior. If it's one thing about Alaska, it seems that almost everybody was originally from somewhere else: many of the residents are either transient or transplants having roots from far away: so folks are always coming or going, so lots of people can relate.  And local or not, once you leave you'll always want to go back - something I can certainly understand.
Can't believe I was able to actually dig out the original from storage, and that it was still in fairly decent shape - enough to get a high-quality scan off of, and use as the flagship kickoff design at the Printfection store.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The God of Thunder & Melted Butter

I've whined written here before about the trauma of having nostalgic idols bastardized by Hollywood (and to be fair, Marvel Comics). But nothing beats the white supremacists currently boycotting the Thor movie because a black actor was cast to play the part of a Nordic God. Some seriously sad, sick people - hopefully for the inevitable Thor sequel they'll cast Common in the role instead.
“I woke up with the sunshine, a sunshine I had never seen,” Common rapped gently over a twinkling piano accompaniment. “There was light at the end of it, reminding me to forever dream. I was dreaming I walked into the White House with love on my sleeve and love for each and every one of you, reminding you to believe.” - Washington Post

Eye Dull

"I only work here for the ambiance" - sketching at the Golden Eagle Saloon

Comfortably camping out at a cafe is a habitual environmental trigger to get the juices flowing: sometimes it's helpful to have a buffer zone of low-level conversation as a part of the creative process. I've read lots of interviews with other cartoonists who revealed that they employ some white noise in the background while working, usually a radio or news. Not having any dedicated studio space at the moment, there's sometimes a TV going on in the background here while I work, but usually through the prudent and diplomatic usage of headphones it's dampened enough to not distract. Even so, the latest leakage to really piss me off was accidentally overhearing snatches of a horrible program "American Idol."

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Bold Coast

Uploaded another set of snapshots from last weekend's hike to the Picasa web-album: the Cutler Coast Reserve, otherwise known as "The Bold Coast." About a two-hour drive northward up Coastal Route 1 through some small villages to reach the Preserve. Being far enough off the beaten path there wasn't a single other soul out there, apart from seeing footprints for the entire day it was deserted. Perfect weather and cool breeze, plus we saw our first official pile of Maine moose nuggets, causing these Alaskans to get all homesick.
Visible in each of these two posted pics - the farthest visible points sticking out into the water - are the respective ending and starting points of our little trek. The trail overlooked the Bay of Fundy (if I ever open up a studio in this neck of the woods I'm gonna call it the "Bay of Fun") and just barely visible along the opposite shore was the coast of Nova Scotia. After meandering for 1.4 miles along the shoreline cliffs we took the Black Point Brook cutoff and rejoining the Inland Trail for a total 5.8 mile loop. We''ll return hopefully this fall to take advantage of the several campsites and take the longer loop.

"Deadly Farce"

Another new editorial panel appearing in the latest issue of the Ester Republic.
Note the District Seal (as opposed to the Official State Seal) which is, after all, approximately the territorial time period and mentality many residents and legislators want to return "the frontier" to.

(More returned fire rant below the fold)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


New editorial appearing in the latest issue of the Ester Republic. The Governor of Alaska continues to flaunt his true colors, that of an ex oil industry lobbyist, while trying to pay back his owners and wash off any lingering stains. At least he doesn't wear his Corrupt Bastard hat out in public, though I wouldn't rule out monogrammed undies. 
(More below the fold) 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Homesick (Imitation) Alaskan

It occurred to me while shopping the other day, after checking out the seafood section and chatting with the deli employee about the relative merits of Maine lobster versus Alaska King Crab, that there is a culinary middle-ground. One that's a lot cheaper, but rich in irony.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Barad-dûr Harbor"

Another "Middle New England" panel: Lord of the Lighthouse. I'll post the color wash version sooner than later, since I have to get a big batch of originals ready for display at next weekend's MeCAF gig.
Spent entirely too much time on this panel, mostly the hour+ sucked into computer coloring. First went way too far overboard with special effects and cool Photoshoppy filters, and another trying to incorporate actual atmospheric textures directly from screen-grabs of the film, before trashing everything and starting over with something simpler. That happens a lot in art (at least mine): overcompensation is overkill - especially if it's just a damn joke. 
Uploaded a sample page from the sketchbook with the ballpoint pen doodle, plus a hint of the Neptune gags that are fermenting...

Friday, May 6, 2011

"The Lord of the National Parks"

Or alternately, Middle New England? Going off of a recent series (stay tuned for "Barad-dûr Harbor") of Tolkienesque-themed panels (which reminds me, I just learned another good one: "Thoreauvian") and also hinging a bit off the Ranger fiasco up in Alaska. Hence the panel crossing over into editorial territory and doing double-duty as both a Nuggets and a LowTide gag. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spring Peepers

After a twenty-five year residence in Interior Alaska, I really missed the little things about life in the Lower 48. One of those little details are the frogs, in particular the peepers. As of late, walking about the woods in the evening has been a choral treat in the loudest cacophony of neekerbreekers I've ever heard.
Relatedly, Gov. LePage has his salivating sights set on rolling back environmental regulations that protect the habitat for these indicator species: legislation is pending that will pave over more of Maine's vernal ponds.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Junior Rangers!

"...death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth"

Follow-up post on this weekend's gig with Chippy, plus here's linkage to the new NPS PDFs of the 2011 "Beaver Log" + "Ranger-led Program" schedule that sport the little fellah.
Maybe a hundred folks stopped by the Sieur de Monts Springs Nature Center: what a great event hosted by the NPS and Wild Gardens of Acadia volunteers - a big thank-you to all the folks who helped put on a really fun opportunity. Even Smokey put in appearance, and this Alaskan was caught without any bear-spray. Actually I had to seriously lay off the (in)appropriate Monty Python and Lt. Frank Drebin quotes.

The weather was great as we scored a lull inbetween the recent rains, and as usual I think I had a wee bit too much fun. As the kids made their way around the dozen or so stations scattered about the grounds and participating in various events, they would earn stamps from the respective tables which all went towards earning an official JR Ranger badge. I was initially under the impression that they had to get stamps from every station (as it turned out only four were required) and so for the first part was making everybody draw a beaver. We had paper, pencils and pens + little drawing boards, and they could make up their own beaver; use the handsome provided model; copy one of mine; or I would assist by doing one on the spot at their elbow. In the meantime, instead of using the official provided stamp, I opted to instead draw one on everybody's checklist, and managed to squirrel away a few spiffy samples from some aspiring artists in return.

Pelted with khaki?

(more samples after the jump)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mulling History: "Nuggets" and "LowTide"

This would be one of those panels that's rather ingrown: a contemplative pause that ain't really "funny," but it isn't meant to be, even though it is. Sorta. Which is an awful lot like Life.

Aurora Magazine: "Academic Freedom"

As a follow-up to a previous post on the "Academic Freedom" illustration gig for Aurora Magazine, here's the final designs and a scan of the cover. There's some subtle differences between this version and the work-in-progress ones appearing below. Mostly re-tweeking to better accommodate the real estate of the actual print dimensions (ex: expanding the blackboard size horizontally + extending the logs out a couple inches to the right). It felt rather empty and weird leaving so much open breathing room, but after seeing a proof of the cover with the mastheads and logos pasted up, I got excited to see the final product. When all is said and done and all the additional verbage is added, it all came together. It was a great opportunity to interact with some professional folks, who especially took a real flying leap o' faith with a markedly different style in their publication.