April 28, 2011

DRAGONS! Covers

Each year for the last three years, my buddy Greg over at Tugboat Press has ganged together with a few other Portland-based publishers to make an anthology for Free Comic Book DayThis year, he asked me to help him put together a free comics and activity book for kids, called DRAGONS!

The first person I told Greg we had to get for the book, was one of my favorite illustrators working these days, Dan Moynihan.  He came up with this brilliant dragon image for the back cover:



I love the playfulness and spontaneity of Dan's drawing style.  I could stare at his illustrations all day long, and they inspire me to keep trying to loosen up my drawings.  Before you read another word of this post, I insist you go take a look at his wonderful work.

Well, after Dan turned in that image, the pressure was on!  I had to come up with something fun, that could hold its own, on the other side of such a great back cover.  Lately, I have been completely obsessed with Carl Barks (or really, for my whole life) and so his cover designs were at the forefront of my thoughts while I started sketching out ideas.  I liked how many of his covers had a simple gag on a uniformly colored background.  That was the kind of comics cover that I grew up looking at.


With that style in mind, I sketched up some ideas and sent them along to Greg.  


Greg thought these were okay, but none of them were getting across the whole idea of the book, which was that it was jam-packed with puzzles and mazes and gag cartoons and comics and all kinds of other fun stuff.  He said he wanted something a bit more like my Microcosm Publishing catalog cover with lots of different characters doing all kinds of things.  Once he gave me that feedback, the finished cover idea just jumped out of my pencil.  It incorporates a lot of characters from my upcoming (in 2012!) webcomic Isle of Elsi.  We both immediately liked this version a lot better.  Here's the final!


DRAGONS! features a 15-page comics story by yours truly, plus gag cartoons, mazes, connect-the-dots, puzzles, craft activities, poems, dragon-libs and all kinds of other fun stuff.  You can get a full run-down of all the contributors on my other blog.  DRAGONS! will be available in select comic book stores on Free Comic Book Day, which is May 7th this year, and I will be sending copies out to all the Phase 7 subscribers this summer.

April 22, 2011

Nickelodeon Gag #11

Aw man, I thought I was going to have enough time this week to do an extra-cool blog post, but alas, I'm still playing catch-up from my recent trips to New York and Portland, Orgeon.  Next week, I promise!

Instead, this week I have another beaver gag for you all!  This was the last 2007 gag of mine that was accepted and run in Nickelodeon Magazine.



It was pretty fun trying to get across the multiple paddle hits (similar to Neville Longbottom's legs in this illustration I did of him).  You can see me struggling with the no-frame idea here.  I tried ending the composition at the edge of the table, but somehow without the legs it didn't feel like ping pong.  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it seemed right to give the beaver a jersey with Oregon State University colors.  Go beavers!

Okay, next week we'll take a break from the gags and take a look at some other illustration stuff I have done recently!  Have a great weekend everyone.

April 13, 2011

Nickelodeon Gag #10


Alas, it'll have to be another short post this week.  Luckily, this gag pretty much explains itself!  It was the tenth gag of mine which was run in Nickelodeon Magazine, back in 2007.  You get the idea.

Okay, well, I'm heading out the door again, this time for the Stumptown Comics Festival in Portland, Oregon.  Please swing by and say hello if you live in that neck of the woods!

April 6, 2011

Nickelodeon Gag #9


Here is my ninth gag which was accepted by Nickelodeon Magazine in 2007.  You can see me still struggling with the new "no box" concept here, but even just having the UniCORN (and its lunch) break that bottom line creates more depth, don't you think?

I'm afraid it'll have to be a short post this week, I'm off to New York City tomorrow for the MoCCA Arts Festival.  I'll be at table H-10 all weekend long.  Swing by and say hello if you are in the area!