Mid-year review. Is blogging dead? I’m okay.

Sorry I haven’t been around. It’s not your fault. You’ve been nothing but good to me.

Before I start, I have a question for you. Is long form blogging dead? There are so many pervasive, hip, services these days that, if you think about it, oppressively force us to be succinct. Can we stand reading anything other than a pithy comment anymore? I don’t even know if I can but I miss writing about how I make things and how I can help others make things.

So let’s stop worrying about everyone else. Let’s just go.

The past few months have really flown by. Some pretty fun things have happened:

Ku_FrankFrankysteinMarkIIAndTheSharks
Light Grey Art Lab

This will be the 3rd year I’ll be making work for these cool cats and their gallery. They usually have an open call for art and all their themes are diverse, interesting, and challenging. If you’re ever thinking about a good home to submit your artwork to for consideration, I can’t think of a better group of people. Above is my piece for their BOSS RUSH show, a celebration of video game baddies.

There’s also a new show coming up, Patches & Stitches, where I designed a new shiny patch. More on that soon.

 

CannibalLane-10x10-small
Comic and Cartoon Art Annual
Cannibal Lane
, a silkscreen accordion book about a street market selling human delectables, made it into the Comic and Cartoon Art Annual(Special Format Category)! The show lasts from June 16 – July 3rd, with the opening reception on June 19 from 6-10pm($15 entry free).

 

A photo posted by Kim Ku (@spicytuna) on


New books are coming along!
Check it! A lot of process pics on my Instragram. I try to post at least once a week so you’ll find faster updates there. But I’m going to keep this going for more specific process work. Either option works.

Okay? Okay. Let’s keep going.

Inktober

October has been unofficially deemed Inktober, a challenge, for 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.

inktober01

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

inktober02

inktober03

inktober04

inktober05

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.

26SUBVOGEL-articleLarge

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

Adventure Time August

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

ataug01

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.

at-reduced

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!

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.

xmen02

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.

xmen03

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!

window-01

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

window-02

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!

 

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:

feb-2014-02

feb-2014-03

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!

feb-2014-05

feb-2014-04

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.

A Good Day.

I’ve come to understand that when you freelance, it can be excruciatingly slow one day and lightning fast the next. It’s frustrating but I also like it. When I don’t have work piling up, I have time for other interesting projects.

After a slow start to the year, I drew this on the train:

goodday-01

I felt a lot of kinship to the sketch even though it was just some random doing his thing; maybe it’s work, maybe it’s a personal project, maybe it’s tumblr, but he’s into it. Isn’t that kind of the computer nirvana we all want?

So I kept going with it. At home, I used a light box and redrew the image and inked it.

goodday-02

Still not done, I  vectorized the image in Illustrator. Vectorizing a scanned image requires finesse to get all the lines the way you want but sometimes the details just don’t read as well as a drawn image. So as you’ll see, I changed the circle graph on the notebook to a to-do list, redrew the pen, and parts of the hand.

goodday-03

At this point, I thought this could work for Cotton Bureau. Cotton Bureau is a quality, curated, crowd-sourced t-shirt making company. How they work is that you submit a design and if they like it, they’ll put it up for pre-sale on their site. Sell 25 before 2 weeks are over and it’ll get printed.

goodday-04

So I sent my drawing off with fingers crossed and luckily it was accepted– but my fingers are still crossed. If you like the shirt, resonate with computer bonding time, enjoy wearing t-shirts, or would just like to send a small beacon of support, consider pre-ordering a shirt. We have 10 days left to get 25 pre-orders! If this isn’t your thing, don’t worry, more ghosts forthcoming!

Pre-order the Good Day shirt here.

Chutes and ladders

Some sketches from the last month. We’ll see if anything comes out of them…

october13-05

october13-04

october13-03

Lastly, lists always happen, but then again so do ghosts, so all is well in the universe.

october13-02

Other news

Till next time!

Tapestry, part two!

It’s been cloudy for the past few days, which makes for sad picture taking conditions of some new work, so here’s a Tapestry update. I’ve talked about this before but Tapestry is a phone/web app where you tell stories by tapping/clicking through them. The caveat: you can’t go backwards so be careful how your fingers are tapping.

That being said, take your time and enjoy the stories. :)