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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Inspirations



Looking at more inspirations now. I got myself a lightbox for my illustrations to preserve my sketches and not destroy my watercolor paper with pencils and erasing (hence the second giant bus sketch). Also, tracing on top of the sketches have definitely helped loosen my drawings and inking a great deal which is great! I do not feel so confined to the pencils.

In addition, I've been looking at more inspirations. Including looking at Jules Feiffer, I've looked to great artist William Steig for his great work. I've also looked at the great Matisse and Picasso. Those guys knew how to draw. It's interesting how the modern artists' drawings and ideas melted into the urbane cartoons of the New Yorker in the 30's & 40's to influence William Steig and Al Hirschfeld.

I've included a Picasso lithograph that I had in a book. I don't know why, but I love the simple line work, the fluidity. It's great stuff. I hope to continue in this direction.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Giant in a Bus

I wished that I did not add the background. It looks stupid. Dumb green. That ink drawing was so smart.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jack White sketch


The latest sketch is something different for me. In my somewhat recent obsession of pushing my drawing into new territory, I came up with this. After looking at Jules Feiffer, Joe Ciardello, and even being inspired by Picasso etchings, I've made a fluid pen and ink drawing. Which is kinda neat I think.

Again, drawing on the computer. Which I still hate. It fits here however. Simple, flat shapes. I think there's a good contrast between the thin drawing and the bold shapes. I could be wrong.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Inspirations

Richard Thompson
Edward Sorel
Jules Feiffer
Steve Brodner
Ralph Steadman

These five artists are bouncing around in my head right now as I try to open my drawing up. Trying to make it more loose. Free. Dancing with life.

The real kicker is I do not know what to say half the time about anything, or if I did know what to say, it'd be as a comic. I realize that I'm very introspective. Concentrating on internal feelings, abstract thoughts, and not noticing anything around me. Like a Platonist. Because of this, I usually wonder what the heck I should draw and how to make it personal and feel that connection to the work. I'm trying to bridge the gap between my comic work and illustration work.

These guys all seem to do it very well. It's on the fringe of what I'd consider conventional comics. They're very unique. Jules Feiffer in particular is definitely interesting. His line is so loose and free being inspired by William Steig. It seems that he's always had more interesting stuff to say in words than in his drawings. His drawings however breathe a joy and a life that cannot be said. Which is great and wonderful.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where's the comics page?

First, I would like to post what started this conversation hat started the rebuttal that prompted my thoughts and disgusts.

http://www.slate.com/id/2271947/

The first link is to an article between Slate and Garry Trudeau, the cartoonist of "Doonesbury."

http://www.pvponline.com/2010/10/25/garry-trudeau-is-probably-right/

The second link is a response by Scott Kurtz, creator of PVP, to the article.

All in all, Slate asks Mr. Trudeau how the health of the comic strip medium is. To paraphrase, he basically says that comic strips are dead. Go do graphic novels or work for Pixar. No disputing that. Then Mr. Kurtz and his legion of minions are raising their voices in protest over the comment that Mr. Trudeau stating that webcomics are not a viable alternative. Thus, it forces the stubborn Mr. Kurtz into dissecting what Mr. Trudeau "truly meant" and then uses the syndicates as a scapegoat.

My thoughts? It is very true that the comic strip medium is in a very dire situation. Is there a future to it? Are the syndicates the problem? While Garry Trudeau thinks that there's no future for the medium, Scott Kurtz thinks it's just a syndicated cartoonist problem.

But the problem is much deeper that what Scott suggests. He misses the picture. Webcomics are not the savior that many hoped they would be for the comic strip. Webcomics in my opinion fail as well. The biggest webcomics today are alternative culture oriented. This includes PvP, Penny Arcade, Least I Could Do, Cyanide and Happiness, etc. While there are only a handful of syndicated cartoonists that can make enough money, there are even less webcartoonists that make a living at what they do.

So why is the comic strip in general dying (or presumably dead, it could be zombie-like)? I think looking into the history of the comic strip can reveal a lot.

When the modern comic began, it began in the newspaper between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. Their rivalry to sell more papers caused them to incoporate laughing boxes or comics. From there, comics spread like wildfire. They were popular culture. Some of the greatest comics of all time started in the newspaper. Little Nemo, Walt & Skeezix, Krazy Kat, Prince Valiant are a few to name.

However, let me emphasize that comics started out in newspapers. In general, newspapers are more than just comics. There's the headlines, opinion section, classifieds, sports, and so on. The funnies page is just a slice of the newspaper. While it is most possibly true that the comics were for the illiterate to make them buy a paper, the consumer back then didn't buy a newspaper merely for the comics (although I am sure a number did). The newspaper 100 years ago up until 15 years ago was a family source of entertainment. When one buys a newspaper, there is a bit of everything that anyone could need. News, sports, politics, business, and comics.

I make this point to say that the comic strip medium was always a part of a fabric of print entertainment, the newspaper. Kill the newspaper, kill the comic strip. By itself, the comic book medium I believe is thriving in the form of graphic novels, BD's, and other formats. More as literature, as art. As on its own terms.

Can the comic strip stand by itself? Growing up, I read the comic section almost everyday until I got up and left for college. On the comics page was about 16 comics for me to read. When I got to college, I no longer had a newspaper to read. Instead of paying for a newspaper service, I accessed the internet which was free. I got my news from one website and entertainment from another. Then I visited 3-4 different websites to read different comics, some that were in my paper at home, others new. I will say though that instead of reading the same 16 everyday, I was only reading 4-5 consistently a day. Even to this day, I still have no newspaper and have to scrounge all my links for the comics I do like.

The experience of reading the comic strip has CHANGED! What a newspaper offers is a whole onslaught of comics right then and there. On one or two pages. Zip through 20 different features. That experience has died ever since reading comics on the internet. I think that comic strips as a collective make a beautiful fabric. A page full of comics is heaven for me. To single out and hunt down every single comic online is draining and not right.

Now that the newspaper is dying, the accessibility of comics I'd say has gotten harder. Where to get from the news to sports to comics, it'd just take a flip of sections in the paper. Online, everything is separate websites. One for news, one for classifieds, one for one comic, one for another comics. I abhor this thought of no more newspaper, but like every other sane person, I refuse to pay for something that I can get online for free. All the websites that I visit are free. I don't pay one cent to any website, regardless of advertising.

But saying that the internet is free doesn't necessarily mean that the model for online comics is correct. Though still in its infancy, webcomics have tried many models to make money. Online advertising is a dead end, endless self promotion at comicons is hit or miss, and selling merchandise is a huge gamble. At this point, what are the webcartoonists selling? A comic or a media empire? Ask that to Scott Kurtz. Syndicates have been practicing that for many many years, but webcartoonists are guilty as well. In fact, it is necessary for the webcartoonist to have to endlessly promote with pins, T-shirts, collections, mugs, dolls. Everyone needs to make a living though right?

In short, the way people consumed and read comic strips are tied-in with the old print medium of newspaper. Part of a fabric of entertainment and news. Much like a TV channel like ABC. In this new age of digital consumption and how we consume news and entertainment has become so fragmented, comic strips are dying.

What must change first for the comic strip is the accessibility of them. Websites like Keenspot, Comics.com, and Gocomics.com are the best hope of comics being brought together to read instantaneously. What must happen though is to reimagine the comics page for the internet. A comics page tied in with other websites. With the emergance of the Ipad, the possibility of the digital newspaper is just around the corner. Here, user-customized comics then can be brought together under one page again, next to the Horoscope in the entertainment section of the local newspaper website.

So maybe Garry Trudeau will be wrong about comic strips. I only hope.

PS. I did not make any mention of the quality of a comic strip having to be superb in order to get readers. I think that if the comic strips are accessible, then naturally the great comics will stand out and the weaker ones be weeded out. More thoughts on that later.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Sketches!


The first one is of the city and a crowd. I don't like drawing crowds. It's hard to design crowds and have it not get too distracting.

The second one is a sketch of a new idea I like and would like to work on. What's different is using pen and ink. After attending the Orginal Art Show reception at the Society of Illustrators, I was much inspired by Jules Feiffer's loose penmanship. Not just his work too, but Patrick McDonnell's, Edward Sorel's, Ralph Steadman's, I thought to give it a go round. I'm always looking to loosen up my drawings, lighten the stroke. So it came out very well!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Made to Fly


Made to fly? Learn to fly? I don't know what to call it yet.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flash Gordon sketch



Well, I shouldn't call it a sketch, but I did it impromptu in a span of 3 hours. Not too bad. I will admit that I am not happy with a couple renderings in the image such as the burst of light from the city, and I find Flash's torso a bit too long.

Beyond that, I am pretty happy with this drawing. I think I nailed the drawing of the Dale Arden (looks like slave Leia), the blacks, and so on. I did this after an urgent need to draw something really cool. By cool, I mean something adventurous, something daring, and something heroic.

Therefore, I read a lot of Flash Gordon. The adventure, the detailed drawings! Then I moved back to Prince Valiant. The adventure, the drawings! At the same time, I've had Indiana Jones stuck in my head. What does this all mean?

I find myself delving deeper into adventure stories recently from Prince Valiant to Flash Gordon and so on. Why? I think that a lot of my work as of late has been introspective and focused on my feelings, trying to be as honest as possible to myself. Although I wish to address my feelings as much as possible, I want to do adventure as well. Why?

These adventure stories are an escape, a fantasy, but most important: FUN! I understand more and more what Bill Watterson was drawing from when Calvin became Spaceman Spiff, Stupendous Man, or many other incarnations. All of these adventures were fun! These old tales of adventure too were never bogged down too by character development or some crazy plot line. It was action, plot-driven fantasy. I want to be these characters.

So I felt the need to draw something adventurous and exciting. And well drawn too. What is very interesting I find is the relationship between American illustration and adventure stories. As far back as Howard Pyle and Treasure Island, there is a tradition of dynamic scenes illustrating these great stories. It then continued into the 20th century. Eventually, Alex Raymond and Hal Foster pick up the reins from the American illustrators and adapt it for comics with Tarzan, Flash Gordon, and later on EC comics.

I believe that the true successors to the American illustrators of old are comic artists. It's a shame though how the stories that I love are somehow lost in translation.

I rambled again. Sketch!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learn to Fly


This is a new sketch or fully done watercolor that I have made for a new picture book idea. I don't know what necessarily prompted my idea, but a yearning to fly has sparked my imagination a bit. As a kid, I always dreamed of seeing a flying car and am still waiting for a flying car to be the standard (yes there are a couple flying car prototypes out there, but nothing actually practical). So this sketch is only the beginning.

In addition, from my trip from the SCBWI Conference in LA this year, one piece of advice that I took away was exploring mood, subtlety in my work. I admit that inner feelings have driven me to use a more subdued tone which is exciting me for some reason. So I paired down my color pallette from 8-10 colors down to 3. The results have been exciting seeing how these new limits have opened up an environment for me and being real selective about which tone, value, and hue. Hope it looks good.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Latest Political Cartoon


It's been a while since I have posted my political cartoons for the world! Or for just the tiny following! More of my political cartoons can be found at Smithtown Matters.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Week's Progress



So far, I have been watercoloring like mad! I have finished 4 pieces for my portfolio review for next week (looking to have about 9-10). It is very exciting. Here's a couple of 'em.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New comic 6/14/10

New comic!

http://ericsailer.com/doodles/

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Reubens!

I should be posting new work soon. It's a lot of inking work that I've been gearing towards as of late. And now for the weekend news. The Reuben Awards!

http://www.reuben.org/news/

There's a nifty little link right there. Anyhow, the winner is the one guy of the three contestants who actually looked at my work and gave me feedback on my comic strips! Yessiree, congrats to Dan Piraro of "Bizarro." He's probably one newspaper panelists that best embodies the Far Side legacy and/or spirit. He won for being brilliantly funny 365 days of the year.

An interesting thing to point out is both his and Jim Borgman's reaction (the other cartoonist to respond to my work) to the current state of the comic strip. The newspaper industry is dying a slow painful death. The syndicate's and most cartoonists' bread and butter. They both said that it's suicide to get into the syndicate/newspaper business. This is not news to me knowing how many submissions that the syndicates get every year and how many they accept (ex. King Features get 5000 submissions and accept 1-2 new titles a year). Even if breaking in let's say, half the titles fail within 1-2 years. Others that survive may make 20K-40K for the first few years. Against such surmounting odds, why do I do this?

Many questions bubble in my head as to why I like comic strips most and what is their appeal to me? I'd say that ever since the comic book was born in the 30's, it continually evolved to become the graphic novel and ever-growing and expanding market for it. Comic books as well are always selling with stellar art appealing to young and adult audiences. Manga, the Japanese response to comic books and graphic novels, may not seem as popular as before, but it's influence has taken hold in American comics and are still voracious. Soooooo......what about the comic strip?

To me, the comic strip is a zen moment. It's a ritual. Those three/four little boxes tell a whole story. Setup, suspense, punch-line. Repeat the next day. As an adult now, I reminisce about reading comics in the newspaper. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this. What I miss most as a kid was reading the comics all together in one place. Reading them online anymore, I miss the connection to them as I did when they were on a sheet of newsprint.

I also love the comic book collections. Reading a Garfield book or a Peanuts or a Calvin and Hobbes collection was pure comic bliss. It was an intensely personal read.

Probably the saddest thing is that I am outgrowing comic strips. One huge reason for this is the biggest downfall of the newspaper comic/syndicate business. The comics never change! When I was a kid, I read Hagar the Horrible and found it funny. As a teenager, I read Hagar the Horrible and found it amusing and familiar. As an adult, I read Hagar the Horrible and find it out of place and horrible. I don't mean to single out Hagar, but Chris Browne is one of many cartoonists that's been doing the same character for over 30-40 years!

In the syndicate's eyes, the comic strip feature should last 50+ years. I question, why IS this?! It's too easy to say that once you have a feature and a formula that clicks and works with readers, you stick with it and build your marketing empire. Jim Davis did this and many others as well. Now look at Garfield. I love Garfield as a kid, but after the first 15 years or so (and I am being generous), Garfield is no longer funny. Yet he's still in the most newspapers worldwide. This shouldn't be!

Imagine that the comics were TV shows. Can you imagine Seinfeld being around 25-30+ years on TV? I Love Lucy being on air for 50 years? The Simpsons going for another 10 years? Sure, it's a cash for maybe two-three more years, but eventually, it peters out. This is what comic strips do. They stick around for 30+ years regardless of freshness and/or vitality. Hence they clogged up the newspaper pages and many new aspiring cartoonists and readers the pleasure or new material. What is wrong with this picture?!

Now the internet is here, and readers have responded with reading new comics without limit to buying a newspaper and so on. I propose that in order for the syndicate business and the comic strip form to survive, there always has to be new blood and fresh ideas coming forth. It may be too late as the syndicate has yet to figure out how to make profits online. However, as long as people like me believe in the comic strip, the form will survive.

The likes of The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, and a good number of years in Peanuts all had very successful careers (and short ones besides the latter). They will always be fresh in my mind. They will always have a special place in my bookshelf for when I want to enjoy that personal connection again.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Looney Tunes News!

The New York Times article

I just read this while commuting home from work, and here are my thoughts.

1. Looney Tunes are unpopular now?!
2. A first grader doesn't know who Bugs Bunny is?!
3. A brand new Looney Tunes show on the Cartoon Network this fall, and new 3-d Looney Tunes shorts this summer in theatres? Sufferin' succotash!

I guess that I will start with the first point. Looney Tunes are unpopular now?! When did this come about? The article points out dipping revenue from the franchise starting about 8 years ago. 2002. As I remember, this was when there was that huge anime show craze called Pokemon. Then, for the more intense cartoon fan, Dragonball Z. So what did Looney Tunes have to do? Go anime style and get all robot intense! This show is called Loonatics. Gag me. In addition, there was the Duck Dodgers show for a bit there, the baby looney tunes.....by the way, Muppet Babies sucked so why would anyone like Baby Looney Tunes.

My point is that Warner Brothers has seriously screwed up the Looney Tunes franchise. So it makes sense that they're unpopular. And that brings me to my second point. Why SHOULD a first grader be watching this crap? I may watch too many kid shows or cartoons, but I believe that I have a good radar on good/bad kid shows. I didn't watch this crap that WB has been putting out. Nor should a kid.

When I was younger, my parents had many VHS tapes that had a number of Looney Tune made-for-TV movies that integrated many of the old Looney Tunes cartoons. Then sometime in elementary school, Looney Tunes aired on Nickelodeon after school (I think the revitalization of classic animation from Steven Spielberg like Tiny Toons and Animaniacs helped bring the Looney Tunes back). Needless to say, I fell in love with the cartoons that were popular 50 years ago. The slapstick humor, the perfectly fitting classical music, one man doing almost all the voices, the formula of the gags, the falls, the violence (and no, I did not want to go falling off cliffs and think I'd be fine). Everything was perfect.

My favorite was Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner. The most bare-boned, pure chase sequenced, formulaic duo of them all. Those cartoons are almost like comic strips where the same thing happens every time and the punch line's always the same. The question was how were the animators going to take you there! I loved it!

After seeing many reruns over and over, it stopped airing probably at the turn of the millennium. The old cartoons do not appear on TV to this day (unless Boomerang has them, let's say basic cable). So kids today are missing out on what I watched over and over as kid growing up. Instead, they are growing up with anime, more 3-d animation, 50's-60's style animation.

So the third point. They're coming back. The show this fall will have Daffy and Bugs be roommates in a modern day cul-de-sac. Then the rest of the cast are neighbors.....this does not sound good. As much as I want the Looney Tunes to come back, I don't think that the new show will capture the same spirit. When Looney Tunes finally hit its stride come the mid 40's to the late 50's, there were mainly 3 directors that produced all the classics: Frix Freleng, Robert McKimson, and Chuck Jones. Surely, there was Tex Avery and Bob Clampett that got down the outrageous slapstick and are true pioneers to the WB animation department, but it was the great three that took the slapstick and refined it into almost "witty" slapstick. Remember there being a wacky Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny? Just pure slapstick until Chuck Jones took them and gave them those classic gazes and become the dynamic duo they are now. In fact, I would dare say that the Looney Tunes are nothing without Chuck Jones' sensibilities. He virtually perfected the chase sequence and made a number of the characters who they are.

So what can a WB animation department do to perfect something that's already been perfected? It will take a lot of creative talent to redefine who the Looney Tunes are. It can be done I think. Many things like Superman, Batman, and other superhero have undergone many transformations and are always appealing to new generations. I just hope that the Looney Tunes will become a part of that tradition rather than the alternative route....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inking Vicente Alcazar



Inking Vicente Alcazar was a dramatic departure from Frank Cho. In terms of detail, rendering of the brush to subject matter. Vicente Alcazar's work is very dramatic, with some great clothed figure renderings that remind me of old illustration masters Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, etc. Very gruesome too. The latest Jonah Hex (which Alcazar is a regular artist for) is just plain awesome. I'd recommend it if you like gory things and emo kids.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Design Work?


I am currently putting my design portfolio together to help me find a new job. One that pays better! Hopefully.....one that will be super fun! Hopefully...... and so on.

I don't know when this particular idea came to fruition, but over the past couple weeks, I've been reading about human population growth and how civilization constantly tries to work around critical mass, the level at which a population begins exceeding its environment's resources. Needless to say, the tripling of the human population in the past 100 years now brings to mind what will be the next invention or revolution to continue to support the human population. I don't like particularly thinking about what may happen in 40 years when the human population reaches 9 billion and all of earth's resources being exhausted. It's a strange feeling.

Anyhow, I came up with this idea out of my head, and put it to paper. I wanted to use a really bold, slab serif typeface and chose Rockwell extra bold. Then I tracked the letters as close as possible to make a crowded feeling which serves the theme well. Then making the o's were fun.

I realize that I do enjoy making design, but I like the handmade stuff so much more. Using the computer as a tool, it does help me give many new viable options. However, drawing is the best part of the work. Drawing about 500-1000 tiny faces I say and then block painting them was the best. It looks the coolest! I think I rambled on too much.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Political Cartoon


I like the ink splots. It's fun.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Inking Frank Cho



I love Frank Cho's work. Though I do love his slapstick, Looney Toon-esque writing and comedy, I feel that he was always into the craft of comics more. I can't complain. It's very very precise and tight.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I just Ralphed

The next book on my reading list is "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." But I couldn't wait to stare at Ralph Steadman's maniacal ink work! I like the immediacy of black and white work, and Ralph Steadman's drawing's smack you right in the face. Such alive work. A good couple ideas to keep in mind.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photoshop Art


I tried digitally coloring my art work again. I still don't like coloring on the computer. There is something that I've been coming to terms with myself, and that's being drawn to hand made things. I like the feel of a book, the smell of oils, the honesty of expressionism, the acoustic sound of a guitar, and the personal process of learning these crafts. Putting a computer in between me and my coloring makes the process completely abstract for me. I lose that personal touch to it.

I remember reading about illustrator and SVA educator Marshal Arisman's first experience of painting on the computer. He is an illustrator who's work is very dark, expressive, and reminds me of Francis Bacon a lot. When he went from painting in oils to painting on the computer for the first time, he said the process almost brought tears to his eyes. Missing the physicality of the oils. I suppose this is how I feel about my work. I do not know why I work and think like this. Many other cartoonists and illustrators love the computer's capabilities of putting an image together which I do admire. It just ain't for me.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Cunning Fox


These things take a while. It would be great to get two done a week. However, penciling takes 2-3 hours, inking, takes 1-2 hours, then watercolor takes 3-4 hours. Hmmmm, 8-10 hours to do one thing. It'd be a time commitment, but I may be able to do two.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Barack O'Bush


It kinda makes me sad that I missed out on the George W. Bush days in cartooning. That president was such a character in himself that every illustrator and cartoonist had a field day with him. He even had his own show on comedy central. Remember "That's My Bush!"? What other president could claim that?! And then Will Ferrell's take on him which was one of my favorites from SNL. I wish that I had those chances to lampoon Bush. Who knows. Maybe Sarah Palin with become president and the fun will start all over again.

My cartoons appear on www.smithtownmatters.com.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Political Cartoon


New political cartoon for the week! All political cartoons are for smithtownmatters.com.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bev


A story idea with an old time friend.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Runaway Fridge


Ever since I wrote this tale about a cunning fox, I had this image in my head for the end. The food that the fox grabs from the other animals gets wrestled away and suddenly, runs away from all the animals. Then it goes plop into a stream or lake. I find it funny. Anyhow, this came out real nice I believe.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Cunning Fox's first spread

I am working on a new story called "The Cunning Fox." It's a fable, or a fairy tale about foxes, cake, and gullible animals. This is the first spread that I did. I decided that I do not like those greens. They're harsh and splotchy. I think it's sap green....I should just stick to mixing my own greens.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Red Hut

A lovely sketch I did when drawing Buttons and Jay. Then they come across a lethargic groundhog. The rest is history.

Window



This is the first post of the blog! It is also the header of my blog! Therefore, it should be the first blog. A sketch idea for escaping from school.