Archive for April, 2009

I originally started this posting off with quotes about writing and rewriting. Then I rewrote it. Enough said.

As I have been working on the revised draft of Earthling! I have also been doing some quick thumbnails of pages to see how I might alter the script once I get into drawing. The two sides go hand-in-hand. But I want to start with a script I like. A script that works from the perspective of a script and have the art add to it instead of jumping into making pictures that can’t rescue a bad story/script.

It goes back and forth and along the way I am starting to tackle some second and third string characters and settings I haven’t designed yet. The struggle to get a script that feels complete is compounded by the need to create a visual universe that feels complete and carries with it a believable graphic history. But that’s the fun part. Getting all of it to feel complete and real and working together.

My bulletin boards are filling up. Not to mention the stacks of note cards and scribbles from sketch books that I create during the day when I’m not in the studio.


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I’m far from being a mechanical genius. But I thought I could tackle a kids car seat easily enough. What hubris. 

I spent about 2 hours ( seemed like 6) crawling around my back seat adjusting the seat now that my daughter seems to be growing 5 inches a week. How I ever got the seat installed after her birth I don’t know. I faintly remmeber struggling with it. But with a new born and the sleep deprived state I was in, who knows. Maybe I duct-taped it into place the first time.

The seats are required for children under some height and weight that my wife remembers. My daughter loves the seat and fills it will goldfish and yogurt-raisins. I think she’s more firmly attached to the seat because of the yogurt-raisins. 

I have some Earthling updates to post in the next day or so. I just need to rest up after the wrestling match with the car seat.

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Life in Oregon

It’s that time of year again. I’m not talking about the occasional view of the yellow, burning orb in the sky. Nor the lack of wet stuff falling. It’s power washing season in the suburbs. This is a habit I haven’t witnessed before. Come April and May the soothing sounds of air-pressure driven power washers fill the neighborhood.
One neighbor will soon have no fence left if he continues to aggressively power-wash it.
Sidewalks, driveways, fences, houses, children (for all I know) seem to get power washed in Oregon.
I understand they are battling the moss that grows on any exposed surface up here in the land of rain and no shine ( including some people’s heads, but that’s another story more suited to a posting about fungus) but I have to think they are taking it a bit too far when they power-wash away the last remaining bits of concrete – from the concrete.
I did a cartoon about this back when I had more time in my day. As in time to just draw cartoons for the heck of it. It still rings true.


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I am often asked the question: “What’s the difference between a comic book and a graphic novel.”

Loaded question. A histoy of debate and academic pronouncments that fill books…literally. And I’m not even going to step into it. I don’t think there’s enough room on the internet. I will say the easiest way to describe the difference is that historically comic books came out on a monthly basis with a continuing story. A soap opera more or less. Most graphic novels are a single story. And that’s as deep into this debate I want to get.


Of all the books out there on the subject I think Paul Gravett’s aptly titled: Graphic Novels – Everything You Need To Know – is one of the best.
It includes some of the debates and definitions but he basically presents work from dozens of titles in the GN world. Through visual osmosis you begin to perceive some of the methods (content, structure, style,abstraction) that help define many graphic novels . It also introduces you to wonderful work you may not have seen before.

As for Earthling! it’s coming along nicely. I have a deadline for the complete first draft coming up. Along with that I am trying out some page layouts and doing additional character designs. I haven’t jumped into all the location designs yet. But I think I will do them as I would for an animated project where you design the entire space and compose the drawings to take best advantage of any given ‘stage’.
I’ll post some more pictures when I have time.

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I saw this on Mark Evanier’s blog. Demonstrates the power of music to create mood and alter the meaning of images. Watch the opening of the TV show Different Strokes with a whole new POV.

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From Cartoonbrew, a very cool animation that use a multidimensional approach. Yeah, that’s it.

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I’ve been invited to speak at the Salem Willamette Writers chapter on May 14th. I’ll be talking about writing for children across media. What does that mean? Good question! I created the title of the talk, now I better develop the content.

Actually I have  strong opinions about the quality and variety of content available for children. And I take the subject pretty seriously. Anything that can help introduce kids to reading and thinking before the video game companies get their claws into them is a worthwhile cause. I’m starting to think TV is better than video games. There’s a topic to get emails about.

Of course I always read about how video games help with eye-hand-coordination. I think it was Mark Evanier that once wrote about this subject – that he was unaware of children being so bad with eye-hand coordination they needed all the ‘help’ that video games were offering. The immersive nature of video games is addictive. It’s got width but little depth. That’s true of 99% of all action films made as well. So it’s not like it’s a new issue in mass entertainment. Of course having access to video games every minute of every day, no matter where you are, adds a new dimension. My Dad reminds me when he was young people were out in force fighting against the evil of Pinball machines. They were, apparently, laying waste to the youth of his generation. The more things change…

That was a tangent. But a pretty interesting topic in itself. At the meeting on May 14th I plan on discussing how I developed my graphic novel and how it ended up at  Chronicle Books. What went into the initial materials for the editor and what didn’t. I’ll  discuss the picture book I just illustrated for Tricycle Press and a new picture book I am developing. I’ll also get into how production of TV animation for kids works. How concepts are developed and what the process looks like for writers in that part of the industry. I also look forward to answering questions from the audience. I’ll bring along a collection of show-and-tells.

You can read about the event here and if you find yourself looking for something to do on May 14th, and aren’t too far from Salem, Oregon – stop by.

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