Inktober

October has been unofficially deemed Inktober, a challenge, to all who’d like to participate, to make one ink drawing a day for the entire month. It’s been going for years, and I finally couraged up.

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Results have been varying depending on the day, mood, and motivation level.

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Some interesting findings. Having no goal for this project has been a great goal. I had trouble from the get-go deciding what and how to draw until I just gave up. Each day has been an invitation to try something new.

Thick brush-lined drawings have become my favorite adopted style so far. I tend towards more controlled thin lines so thicker ones have been a nice departure.  They’re much more expressive but surprisingly requires an equal amount of effort. Each line has got to count.

This got me thinking. Franz Kline, an abstract expressionist, is one of my favorite purveyors of the expressive black line. He’s best known for his gestural black and white paintings which look deceivingly simple. Their compositions are often planned and practiced before being executed, but his paintings are still able to maintain a great sense of spontaneity and energy.

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Pretty cool. There’s still some Inktober left for even thicker lines.

Summer, be gone!

Summer was… what it was. A bad eye problem, a flooded apartment, late nights at the office, general mental stress. I’ve been out of commission. Things are better now, fingers crossed!

The summer sketching was limited to just one book:

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If you can’t tell, most of the ideas are about eyes and working. Subconscious choices, but creepy.

I was stalking this site a few days ago and came across my to-do list for 2014 that I wrote at the beginning of the year. Here’s an update:

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A few more months to make magic happen!

 

Adventure Time August

Summer productivity has been at an all-time low for 2014, but there’s this and a few other gems:

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For the month of August, I’ve been drawing an Adventure Time a day. Fan art has been the single greatest love letter I could write to the things I obsess over. I can still draw Ninja Turtles, Sailor Moon, and embarrassing other things from memory. Soon, Finn and Jake will live in the brain banks.

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In a broader sense, committing to a drawing, or any activity, in a fixed amount of time isn’t a new concept. There’s this great talk I’ve watched at least 3 times from Kate Bingaman Burt, an artist, designer, illustrator, everything-doer, who calls this structure “automated projects.”

One of my favorite projects from Kate was when she set up a rule that she’d draw all her credit card statements until her debt was paid off. Because of this, she also found her love for drawing, which is a pretty great side effect.

Onward to Autumn 2014!

Summer bumming

Summer’s been pretty slow with silkscreen but finally got back into the lab this week and it felt like old hat. Ah, a big relief!

Meet möbius strip book:

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It’s based off of a möbius strip, which according to Wikipedia, is a non-orientable two-dimensional surface with only one side when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space. That just means that it’s a strip of paper that’s connected with only one plane and no edge or end point. Does that make it easier to understand?

Hm. More on my process soon but just wanted to tell you I’m alive!

Break time, something like that

The print shop is closed until June so no new silkscreens yet. Sorry I’ve been missing!

In the mean time, I’ve been working on a book for the Stacks show at Light Grey Art Lab. Stacks is a show where each participant chooses a year between 1984 and 2014, and then makes a zine about it. It can be a personal narrative or based on a show or an album. Anything really, as long as it started during that year.

My year? 1992. Did you know X-Men: The Animated Series debuted that year? Because of that little cartoon, I walked into my first comic book store so I owe a lot to it. It’s weird what to think about what your takeaways from childhood are.

My tribute couldn’t just be nostalgic fan art. It had to have some fresh take on it or else, BLAH, boring. This sketch in my day planner started it all. Yep, the X-Men are hitting the gym.

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After that, I really wanted to draw spaces and scenes from the X-Men series isometrically. It was fun rewatching the X-Men and looking at their living and working spaces with that lens on. I noticed so many details about where everyone lived, like how Beast installed these pipes on his lab’s ceiling so he could swing around and how Jubilee has a poster of Elvis up in her room. Nice details, X-Men cartoonists.

I won’t give away the final pages until the Stacks show in August, but here’s a peek.

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I’m working on the cover now and it’s been a struggle. I was banging my head against a wall for weeks with another idea but I just gave up a few days ago. These are looking better so I’m feeling a little better. More Stacks revelations soon!

Time spent

A lot of this year’s work has been leading up to April with setting up shop at MoCCA Fest in New York the first week and LineworkNW in Portland the next. The fests were great and tiring for me, but overall great. If you got a chance to see the books I’ve made, thanks! The books also send their thanks.

Fests act as nice deadlines to get work done. I honestly put a lot of pressure on myself regardless, but if you find yourself slacking, get a table at your local comics/illustration/etc fest and let the fear of an empty table and wasted money drive you to make. While it’s nice to think we’re always driven, sometimes we need that kind of motivation(me included).

When I got back from Portland last week, I was back in the print shop the next day. I’ve been planning this book since the year’s begun, but due to technical difficulties, time, fest prep, and general other work, it’s been a headache. I finally got it all sorted and was really excited to started!

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Only 5 more pages like this before I can start assembling. The window panes were cut before I started printing.

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A preview of the format where cut-out window panes are like a Rear Window into other people’s lives. It’s inspired by living in New York, a sardine can with no personal space. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

More updates as soon as I make them!

 

Leading up to MoCCA Fest 2014

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MoCCA Fest is like my comics fest lighthouse. It’s the only fest I’ve tabled at and this will be my third year there.

My friend was the one who suggested the idea in 2012. I think she knew I was making a lot of books that were piling up in my apartment and MoCCA Fest would be a good test to see if anyone else liked them. My books are mostly screen printed and limited in edition. At first, I started screen printing to mass produce covers for my comics, but I fell in love with the craft and bookmaking. Nowadays, I make narrative driven books that are influenced by comics– it’s really a mashup.

I love bookmaking most because I can play with form. It gives people a chance to figure out an object that is unusual and hopefully interesting to use and understand. I’ve worked in tech for years and in many ways, my books are a rejection of that. There’s no norm. You can’t swipe to get to the next page. The home button may not take you back home. I want to take your perception of a book, uproot it, and show you something new. Well, that’s the hope.

But let’s be real, I make a lot of ghost books. They won’t change the world but I hope they bring you some joy. I’ll have lots of new things to show everyone this year so drop by the Blood Bakery table at MoCCA Fest, April 5-6, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

More details soon and previews of everything I’m bringing soon!

One moment at a time

On November 29, 2013, these sketches triggered the volvelle, or wheel chart, which is a paper construction with rotating parts. I actually didn’t know the its proper name for a long time so I called it(and still call it in my mind) the “circle book.”

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With the shape, I knew I wanted to make something about the cycle of time and decided on showing someone working at a diner. Then I could show a full day though meals and working.

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Prototyping begins. The mockup told me a few things.

1. This size is way too small (about 4″ in diameter).
2. Dividing the circle into 4 slices isn’t interesting enough.
3. Cutting the top circle in half does not leave enough mystery and it looks sloppy.
4. I must include a diner sign with food on it.

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The final mock and separations.

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I based the colors off the color wheel because I thought they transitioned nicely and fit well into the day and night scenes. If you look closely, you’ll see I printed gradients on opposite slices.

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Construction was probably the hardest since all the circles were hand cut with an exacto knife. They’re a little imperfect but I’m pretty satisfied with the final look. More circle books for the future, I hope!

Specs:

  • 9″ in diameter
  • 8 color print (4 gradients)
  • Bottom layer: Fabriano Tiepolo
  • Top layer: Plike in black
  • Edition of 15

Here and there…

My sketchbook has been filling up this year with book ideas. With every new book comes a pressure to one up my last one so it’s taking some careful planning to make sure all the details are right. Here are some sketches and mocks for a few of them:

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Lately though, I’ve been thinking in little prints. Fun small things that could fit between two bookends on a shelf. I’ve been on such a roll drawing them that I think my mind is subconsciously telling me that it doesn’t want to work on intricate books. For now, I’ll listen!

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If I have it my way, I’ll have 20 new postcard prints ready next time you see me. Go big or go home, right?

I’ll update soon on progress! Wish me luck.