Monday, July 31, 2006

· Other Projects

One of my new year's resolutions for 2006 was to make time to work on creative projects other than my comics... I often feel the need to spend every possible creative moment of my time on Friends. So with that goal in mine, I have a couple of new projects to try out:

I love stationery and letter-writing materials of all sorts, so I am going to try and make a new stationery design every month for the rest of the year... it's really nice to be working on something that isn't trying to have some depth of feeling or meaning to it; it's just cute! I am going to be posting my new designs on Etsy where the hand-made stationery lovers of the world can purchase it (I will also have my comics up, for good measure). My first design, "Snail Mail", is up now:

I really love watercolors, but I've never really been able to tackle it in the past, the slipperiness of the medium just threw me for a loop... but bolstered by what I felt has been an increasing versatility in my ink wash illustration I've decided to give it another go. Since I first moved to San Francisco I've wanted to do a series of illustrations "36 Views of Sutro Tower," (inspired, of course, by the incomparable Hokusai) as I've often been struck by how often that ubiquitous landmark will pop into view behind various everyday scenes here... A restful (yet unnatural!) background presence underscoring and countering what is going on in the foreground view. I have decided to combine these projects, so hopefully I will be able to improve my technique quite a bit between View One and View Thirty-Six... Here is my first try, as well as another, separate sketch (the Tower wasn't visable that day!). I will post these as I go, which will hopefully keep me on task...

As a side note, lately I've been reading the collected Concrete by Paul Chadwick... very good and inspiring, I remember really liking his work when I would see it back in the day (as a teenager I loved a lot of the stuff that Dark Horse was putting out), but my appreciation for him has really grown now that I am trying to craft my own comics and stories. Mr. Chadwick is very good at interweaving the "big themes" he wants to touch on into the minutiae of Concrete's (rather unusual!) daily life. You get the sense that he definitely knows where this is all going (Chadwick, that is, rather than poor, befuddled Concrete!) and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the story unfurl over time.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

· My cup runneth over... on to the carpet.

Oh kay... I think the trick is to just keep adding things to you plate until you don't even notice that there's even a chance that one or maybe all of your projects might fail at any second! So, here's my current round up:

Volume one of Elfworld is coming closer to being published. We are definitely planning on the book coming out for Small Press Expo, where I will be in attendance behind a tiny half-table, hopefully stacked high with copies of the book. As it turned out, we are going to have a couple of free pages in the book ('cause of how the signatures work... you need it to be in a multiple of sixteen (not twelve)) so I have decided to create a short story for the book! I hadn't planned on doing anything this time around, but I figured, why not, I'm going into debt to print up 3000+ of these things, I might as well have something in it! It's going to be 6 pages, I think, and it's tentatively called "The Wounded Elf" (a very literal title, as you can see from the drawing above).

The SF Zine Fest is actually happening, Sept. 9th + 10th! Bay Area zinesters, cartoonists, etc. (more on the "etc." in mere seconds), please sign up for tables now now now! CELLspace raised their rental rates by 25% from last year, so we really need people to commit early in order to be able to pay them for the space... It really is a fun show, and I think that we can do an even better job this time than last year, even with the VERY late notice (Aside: I've been officially maintaining a very positive spin on the whole thing, but here on my supremely un-influential blog I can allow myself a moment to rant: Calvin (who organized SFZF last year) really fucked the whole thing over this year... I know he's been really busy (he's moving to Asia, blah blah blah), but I don't think he even tried to pass off the torch to anyone at any point this year; I had written him several times offering to help (because, honestly, we had felt SFZF '05 to have been pretty shoddily put together, esp. if you compared it to the Portland Zine Symposium which is the epitome of an organized, well run event with a huge amount of community support behind it), and now we have to try and put together the whole thing in two months! End of rant.)! About the "etc"... I've been noticing that at all the recent comic/zine shows I've been to in awhile (with perhaps the exception of MoCCA) there is an ever expanding amount of non printed matter making the rounds, with crafty things like hand-made monster toys and pretty stationery becoming the new "must buy" items... 'tho this rubs some zinesters the wrong way, I've decided I'm all for it, these more diverse offerings are helping to bring a whole group of people to zines and comics who might not be interested otherwise... So we are going to go out of our way to welcome crafters and D.I.Y.-types of all stripes to the SFZF this year.

I am almost done with all of the Moominvalley books, which have been just about the best thing that I've read in years... so sad when you are almost done with a series, but I see that Tove Jannson has some other, non-Moomin books she has written, and Drawn & Quarterly is publishing a collection of her newspaper strip this fall, I hear. Anyways, the books' oft-struck tone of nostalgic melancholy and joy is perfect. So much is going on here... My favorites are Moominvalley in November, Moominpappa at Sea, and Moominvally Midwinter. Please read these, everyone!

Finally, I haven't mentioned my overwhelmingly wonderful girlfriend Hannah yet... I guess this blog is supposed to be about my comics "carreer", but whatever... I'm fully and contentedly in love, it's crazy. She is just amazing and everything I can imagine wanting to find in another person. That's all!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

· What's Your News?

Oh golly, I'm just not really all that wonderful at updating this, now am I? Well, here's what's been a' brewin' lately:

Misun Oh (contributor to Best Zine Ever, wife of John Porcelino of King Cat fame) contacted Jonas and I about working on this year's SF Zine Fest, since the prior head honcho had lots of other stuff going on and was bowing out this year; so we are currently on the planning dep't (given the lateness of the whole thing, perhaps "scrambling" dep't might be a better term) for the 2006 event. Right now it looks like we will be doing it in September/October! Fun times... we need lots and lots of exhibitors to sign up, we will have info up on the updated website any day now, so please check it out, sign up, and come to the show!

Elfworld is coming along... Volume One should be out for SPX in October (it better be, I signed up for a table already!). I've been getting all sorts of inquiries about contributing to Vol. 2, and I have a few confirmed contributors already working on stuff!

I have been working pretty dilligently on "Territorial Pissings", my comic about tagging, but lately I've been feeling creatively blocked (having a hard time splicing in all the various themes and what not into the narative)... My goal was to just work on that story and publish it all in one volume in Friends #4 next year, but I think that I'm going to work on a few other stories I have ideas for and serialize them all over the course of several issues. I think that this wil be good for me, as I've sort of been biting off a bit more than I can chew with some of the stories! I'm definitely going to be working on a story about an albino elephant and perhaps a story about the Garden of Eden (in addition to "Territorial Pissings"). This should make for a more regular publishing schedule.

Dan Moynihan's skateboarding anthology Sidewalk Bump #2 will evidently be coming out soon... I can't wait, I really liked the first issue, and of course this one has a pair of stories by me in it!

And... that's it I guess! Seems like a lot from my point of view, but when you write it all down it seems fairly under control!