Friday, December 13, 2019

A Year at the Drawing Desk

A work-in-progress of page 50 (or page 52… I've lost track)
Hello everyone! It's been close to a year since I last posted or shared my illustration work of any kind. Even in this post is only a work-in-progress right now. So why is this? What is going on? Why have I not been sharing my illustration work for this past year? Have I stopped creating new artwork, picture books, or mailers?

The answer is a definite NOOOOOOO! I have been constantly creating artwork this past year. Specifically, I have been creating the artwork for what I hope one day to be a published graphic novel, Artie and Merlo. As mentioned in my last post (from last year!), I finished writing and sketching this story for what will amount to be about 160 pages intended for a young middle-grade or all-age audience. Since that post, I started doing the artwork including inking and coloring each page. While I have been creating the artwork, I've also been sharing Artie and Merlo with specific editors and agents in the hopes of finding a publisher. While I have not found a champion yet to help with sharing my story, I fully believe in this story and these characters, and it is something that I truly want to share with everyone! I just love it that much.

Having said that, the task of creating a graphic novel is no joke. Aside from the writing and sketching, the final artwork is very labor intensive. Traditionally, in the comics world, the tasks of penciling, inking, lettering, and coloring are handled by separate artists because each task takes a long time. For me, I love doing all these tasks myself, but that means that it takes a while to make the artwork. On average, I'm capable of producing only two pages a week (inlcuding the penciling, inking, coloring, etc.). Ideally, if 2 pages were produced consistently, it'd take about 80 weeks to finish the work (or a year and a half let's say). However, I must also live life and in-between work, reworking artwork based on critiques, learning from mistakes, and living life to the fullest, I do not see myself finishing my graphic novel until the end of next year.

With this in mind, I thought it best to focus solely on my artwork this past year and block out social media and working on other story ideas that I have shelved. While I admire people who are very prolific in sharing their artwork on social media in real time, I feel that sticking to a strict schedule of any sort is an added pressure that I don't think would be beneficial to the work. I want my work to be as beautiful and wonderful as possible before it's ready to share with the world.

In short, as I continue chipping away at the marble for what I hope to be the first of many Artie and Merlo stories, I will remain on hiatus from social media and sharing artwork. When I am finished however, I will be very excited to share with everyone the story of Artie and Merlo and have that come out in any way possible!  I hope that it'll be a fun story filled with heart, cheer, and overcoming personal failures through friendship that everyone can enjoy.

Until then, season's greetings! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2018

End of the Year Wrap Up

Whelp! It's been a productive and eventful year, but there are many new exciting opportunities on the horizon in 2019. I look forward to a couple school visits that will be happening in the near future reading King Ben and Sir Rhino. Additionally, I'm still hard at word on Artie and Merlo. As of now, I've finished all the writing and sketches (158 pages worth, *phew!*)! Besides a couple edits and changes, I'll start plowing into final art work shortly! I hope to in the near future share some of my favorite pages before they're inked and colored.

In the meantime, Happy New Year and stay coooooool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

King Ben and Sir Rhino is on sale!

Today is the day! My very first picture book, King Ben and Sir Rhino, is officially out on bookshelves and on sale! I feel dumbstruck and amazed and a whole bunch of emotions and feelings. To finally see it out in the world and be able to share with readers is amazing. Below are a few sample pages:

I want to be able to share the whole thing! You can find it  though at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Indiebound.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Year and Comics!

Hello everyone! It's been one year to this day since the last post. I didn't plan on this, just mere coincidence. Anyhow… 2018 is shaping up to be a great year. My very first book, King Ben and Sir Rhino will be coming out in August! I'm in the final stages now with Amazon Two Lions in going over the proofs. Additionally, I'm working on interior illustrations for a YA novel which may wrap up in a couple months. So it's exciting times!

Lastly, I set out a goal to entirely pencil my very own graphic novel! Since my earlier years, I've always wanted to draw comics, and only now I think that the time has come to realize that goal.

About 12-13 months ago, I came up with the current iteration of Artie and Merlo, a couple characters that I've been drawing for a long while now. I remember those specific moments when I was rattling my brain for the concept of the characters and their story. It was like a large jigsaw puzzle came into focus in mere seconds. When the idea came, so came the story and I started writing. Needless to say, with much help, the story went through continuous iterations until it came to where I'm extremely proud of it.

Now comes the fun part of drawing it! So for the goal that I started back in mid December, I hope to completely pencil the graphic novel by the end of May/beginning of June. Having paged everything out, I think it's going to be around 155 pages. Which is CRAZY! I've never tackled so large a project for myself, but I'm super excited for the goal.

In addition to this goal, I plan on using my nascent Instagram account to show my progress of Artie and Merlo by posting each finished page as I continue. I kinda failed the first 31 pages I've done so far and didn't get around to posting any of them until today! However, now that I'm all caught up, I hope to share this work in progress as it comes to fruition!

Lastly, some sample Artie and Merlo pages!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Distant Future. The year 2000.

Happy New Years everyone. What better way to kick it off than with robots (and Flight of the Concords).

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Opaque watercolors, caseins, and safaris

Wanting more strong, bold color in my watercolor work (colors that don't require layering and layering to build that color), I'm exploring using opaque paints more now. A couple years ago, I think I mentioned that I avoided the opaque watercolors colors with the large particle size (to get the sort of transparent colors I wanted). Well, it looks now that I'm swinging back the other way towards opaque paints again! Colors like Cerulean Blue and French Ultramarine make GREAT opaque colors. So either with little water or the addition of a filler pigment like titanium white, there's now a new way to get opaque, matte colors that wasn't achievable before.

But even building that matte colors can lead to fun results. The koala hut image also employs not just watercolors, but some casein paint as well, a new fun medium. Then lastly, some safari sunsets. Some great colors to consider moving forward with my work.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bedtime story

As I drew this, I wondered why do robots have tongues?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Inking (Inktober)

A lot of people are participating in Inktober, that magical month of vampires, monsters, ghosts, and inking. I've haven't done it myself, and probably should at some point. But I thought that I'd share my inking at least for one day.

The drawing above is done with the Winsor Newton Series 7 brush size 1. Fancy, I know, but this brush is probably the most exciting aspect of making art for me. I absolutely love drawing with a brush. The amount of energy and variation that can be captured with the one tool surpasses all others. What is particularly great about the series 7 brushes is that amazing point that they make. That point enables me to get from the thick lines to razor thin lines. Even with the brush, I can get thinner lines than a crow quill pen. This brush makes my day.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Normally the posts are in the same section as the artwork, but since the last post was a complete story in itself, here is an afterword. This story was a personal project, for no one in particular other than me drawing it. The idea grew from personal experience as well. Missing out or not being included as part of the group has been a common occurrence since childhood.

From this kernel grew what came to be an unexpected party for Artie thrown by Merlo the wizard. Since conception, the self-imposed limitation of making it 8 pages proved challenging, since the first draft of the story ballooned to 8 pages of writing in itself. However, it helped cut as much fat as possible to the story giving it a very brisk pace. The story was not intended to be riff of the beginning of The Hobbit, but when it took shape, I was curious to see how a bunch of dwarves would interact with a shy kid and a carefree wizard.

In the end, I found that even dwarves can be as exclusive as a bunch of kids. At least kids won't throw down their axes wherever they find convenient (at least I hope not!).

Artie, The Master Party Pooper

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tribute to Richard Thompson

 Yesterday, Richard Thompson of Cul de Sac fame passed away at the age of 58. 

Richard Thompson's work was very influential to me. First there was the artwork. His drawing skills are ridiculous. How can so loose a line be so exact and right? It's amazing how much the line quality can say about the artist. What sticks out most about his drawing is the blend between excitable nervous energy and also pure joy. There's always a happiness permeating his drawings that you don't need words to say. That joy infiltrates its way into his editorial illustrations and his comics and his characters.

His watercolors then… I'm not even going there how good THEY are. 

Lastly, his storytelling and characters. Richard Thompson is one of the last standard bearer of the traditional newspaper comic strip, and while the newspaper industry and the comics that are in it are on life support, it may be a long time until we see his likes again. But even as the newspaper industry is gasping for air while the internet came of age, along came Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac.

His writing alone would have made an amazing comic strip. Even if you took away his irreplaceable art, you'd still believe Alice and Petey are real. They were real kids. Richard Thompson somehow knew how kids talked (Not what they said, HOW they said it). The joyful banter back and forth, the seemingly non sequitars between Alice's preschool friends, the incessant worrying of a milquetoast brother. It's crazy how talented this guy was.

The mark that he made on my work (and on countless others!) is incalculable. It's upsetting that he was taken away so fast from Parkinson's, and my thoughts and prayers will be with his family and friends as they grapple the loss. I want to close this by emphasizing to everyone what joy he brought to the world through his art. Thank you, Richard!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Silent Films/ Flying Robot

The past couple years I've had an idea percolating in my head for a picture book that somehow takes inspiration from the silent films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. In a way, old silent films employ the same storytelling aspects as do some picture books.

One example is the use of the film card. Is the separation of words and visual storytelling that much different from the separation of words and image in picture books?

Modern Times. Such a great movie. The first fifteen minutes is magic.

Have You Seen My Hat? A modern take on the classic picture book layout. Used to hilarious effect.
Another way (which a lot of modern TV and film constantly abuse to death) is the placement of the camera (or shot). In older films (because the industry is just figuring out how to edit and didn't use multiple cameras yet), camera shots were set in one place. Kinda like a stage play. It was the film director's prerogative to capture as much as possible in one shot. Just like a picture book.

So I'm thinking all these thoughts the past couple years and only now I may have discovered a little scamp of a robot to start playing around in these ideas. Mashing of ideas. More to come.

Friday, June 10, 2016

NJ SCBWI conference work.

I updated my website just now and thought I'd share a couple pieces prepared for the NJSCBWI conference this past weekend. Enjoy!