Archive for September, 2005



Today’s sketch is another warm-up/sales piece that I’ll be turning into an inked and grey toned sketch to sell at a show to try to save myself the ‘commission blues’ I usually experience at cons. I just happened to sketch it a bit tighter than I have some of the others I’ve been doing, so I thought it would be good to post it here.

Fabio Moon has been doing a wonderful series of shorts on the blog he shares with his (also) artist Gabriel Ba.. They’re done in stick-figure form…. but Fabio’s sense of storytelling is so strong and his drawing abilities so fantastic that they have more life and meaning than 75% of the comics being published today. He’s been pouring his thoughts about the struggles of creating comics into these wonderful short stories. Storytelling is such a complicated and at times frustrating process…. the artist or artist/writer is responsible for so much that goes into the creation of a comic page….. and ultimately a story. To bring everything — characters, settings, lighting, mood and so much more– together into one coherent tale can be daunting…. intimidating. But those us who love to do this for a living (and would be doing it even if we DIDN’T get paid for it) relish the struggle. As the old saying goes– it’s not the destination, but the JOURNEY that’s the thing. And Fabio and his brother Gabriel are two people who’s journey is a wonder to watch. Fabio’s latest work is on the OGN SMOKE AND GUNS with Kirsten Galdock, published by AIT/PLANET LAR. Do yourself a favor and ask for it at your local comic shop.

This is entry 149.




It’s amazing how fast time seems to slip past me these days. Everyone my age I speak to says the same thing… the older you get, the faster time whizzes by. So I realized late last night that it was coming up on almost a WEEK since my last blog post. Sorry about that. Last time, in my post about the BALTIMORE COMICON, I was writing about doing sketches before the show so that I wouldn’t have to sketch during the con, and thus save some wear and tear on my poor deteriorating back. The sketch above is one of several I’ve done since I returned from Baltimore. It’s a bit rougher than the ones I usually post, but that’s because I’m planning on tracing it onto art board, inking it and adding grey tones to make it a more complete piece of art. My plan is to try to get at least one or two done each week before my next big show. Considering I’m not going to any more of the larger shows until next year, I should be able to have quite a few ready by the time my next trip.

Here’s the cover image for issue 3 of FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN. I thought that since the solicitations for Marvel’s December publications were recently released, it would be OK to post a copy of it here for you to see…… at least, those of you who might not have ALREADY seen it.

This is post 148.


Back from Baltimore


I’d imagine that Marc Nathan is a pretty happy man. BALTIMORE COMICON was a busy show, by anyone’s standards. I took the time to walk around and check things out several times during the course of the two-day event, and the aisles were always full of people. PERSONALLY, I had an almost never ending stream of people coming to the booth I shared with Todd Dezago and Craig Rousseau. The BIGGEST and most consistent (as in never-ending) line that I saw was for Frank Cho. That man has become quite the comics superstar. Of course, I didn’t get around to see ALL the pros, so maybe someone had more folks in their line all the time, but I never saw it. The ODDEST thing I saw was the PENNY ARCADE guys who were right next to Frank, and had a booth that was huge in area. It must have been made up of about 6 tables….. and yet, they had almost no backdrop images of their web strip…. nothing to decorate or draw attention to their booth, which was pretty barren of fans most of the time, from what I could tell. They should really invest in some booth display stuff.

I arrived in Baltimore’s Penn Station at about 11:30 on Friday, and was picked up by the amazingly helpful Brad Tree. He was a real trooper taking care of guest needs all weekend– thanks, Brad…! When Brad dropped me off at the hotel, I took a little nap, and decided to try to work up some sketches to offer for sale BEFORE the show, so that I wouldn’t have to do commissions while at the booth. It’s become clear to me that trying to draw while signing books I’ve worked on has become almost impossible. ESPECIALLY as I continue to produce work, and people bring more of what I’ve done to have signed at shows. Some folks will have almost every comic I’ve ever worked on– and after something like 12 years drawing comics, that really adds up…! And so I got 5 pieces done, and also had some other sketches — and that allowed me to resist any sketching requests/commissions– for a while, anyway. I’ve long since stopped doing free head sketches for people at shows. I used to, years ago, spend all my time at shows doing free head sketches for people, and only making whatever money I might make during those shows by selling art pages from my published work. I thought it was a way of thanking people for buying my comics. But what started happening was that people who didn’t even KNOW MY WORK would be waiting in line, because it’s in the nature of people to get free stuff. People LOVE free stuff. That bothered me greatly. And in an effort to accommodate EVERYONE, I would whip out very quick, and often pretty BAD sketches. Many of these would end up on eBay for auction… which just made ME look bad. And so I stopped doing free head sketches. But in Baltimore, A.C.T.O.R., a non-profit organization set up to help retired and/or out of work comic book artists who need money for living expenses or emergencies, had asked all the guests to display their donation collection containers…. and to ask folks for donations when sketching or signing. And so, for the last few hours of each day of the show, I decided I’d do head sketches for people and ask them to donate to A.C.T.O.R.– which most did. There was one point when a group of teenage guys came up to get sketches and I asked them to donate– and I could hear the plink of just a couple of coins in the bucket. That was more than a little annoying. I felt like saying “C’MON, GUYS…. YOU CAN’T EVEN AFFORD ONE MEASLY DOLLAR….?”– but I kept my mouth shut. Then there were the couple of guys who, on the last day– after the announcement that the show was CLOSED– still stood there and wanted sketches… and these guys didn’t donate to the fund either. It’s people like this that cause me to act in a surly manner at these cons– which is not my real nature. But there’s something that people who expect free sketches have to understand: folks who draw comics for a living are doing it because they love it, yes– but it’s also their/our way of MAKING that living. To ask for– or expect– something for free from an artist is to absolutely devalue that artists work. Getting a comic signed is fine. I would never even THINK to charge for signing something. But the reasons above are a large part of why I have stopped doing free sketches at shows. I did it this time because it was for charity– but it reminded me like a slap in the face why I stopped doing it years back. I’ve come to the opinion that I don’t owe people sketches for buying my work. The COMIC ITSELF is what they paid for, and I don’t owe anyone anything else beyond that. It might sound hard– but it’s the truth.

But don’t get me wrong– over all, I had a great time. I got to see friends…. many of whom I ONLY see at these shows; got to eat some great food; and got to meet some wonderful fans– the vast majority of whom were kind and delightful folks. One of them– Devon Sanders– I would like to thank for sending me a scan of the WONDER WOMAN sketch that begins today’s blog. This is one of the sketches I did Friday when I got to Baltimore, and again, thanks to Devon for sending it to me.

OK– that’s it today.

This is entry 147.




I’m leaving today for the first ‘leg’ of my trip to Maryland for this weekend’s BALTIMORE COMICON. I’m going to drive to Richmond and spend the night with my brother, Matt, and his lovely wife Suzanne (and I can’t forget the life of the party– they’re gorgeous cat Toonces….!). Then, first thing tomorrow, I jump on a train for a nice, leisurely ride up to Baltimore. It’s the same way I traveled to the show last year, and I really enjoyed the trip. I spent the extra money (not that much more, really) for a Business Class ticket– and the difference in leg room and comfort is well worth the price. It’s about a 3 and a half hour trip– and that’ll give me time to read, nap, or work on SPIDER-MAN layouts if I choose to do so. I really enjoyed the show last year (the first time I had been able to make it)– Marc Nathan is a great host, and he puts on a wonderful show with a friendly, family atmosphere that reminds me very much of Shelton Drum’s HEROES CON. BALTIMORE COMICON’S guest list is very impressive, and it’s going to be great to see some favorites of mine– as well as seeing some great friends (and creative cohorts) that I usually only get to see at shows like these.

I’ll give you a report on how things went when I get back. Have a great weekend– and maybe I’ll see some of you at the show– I’ll see the rest of you back here on Tuesday.

This is entry 146.


The WONDER of the internet


I had seen this thread recently on SKETCHBOOKSESSIONS.COM about a fantastic looking Italian comic series called WONDERCITY. I was instantly in love with the drawing and coloring of this comic. And that highlights one of my favorite things about the internet– that it allows me to see amazing work like that of WONDERCITY from countries so far away; work I’d probably never get the chance to see without the World Wide Web that brings people from all over the globe together under one virtual roof. And as it turns out, a friend in an email group I’m a part of was working on a pin up for the WONDERCITY guys. He was talking about how they’d sent him copies of the comics they’d had published…. and I started salivating. So I asked him for an email address I could contact them to try to get some of that action myself. I emailed Emauele, the colorist, and asked about the possibility of doing a pin up in exchange for some of their work. It turns out they all knew my work– and so the deal was set.

I’ve included a smaller version of the black and white pin up art along with the STUNNING colors that Emanuele (or ‘Manu’ as he’s known) did so you could see how brilliantly he brought the relatively flat and open line art to life with his color magic. When you click on the link to the WONDERCITY pages above, you’ll see why the colors that Manu does excited me so very much, and why I had to see them on some of my own drawing. THAT is the wonder of the internet that makes drawing comics so much damned fun. Meeting such friendly and immensely talented folks like Manu online reminds me of what it was like to meet others who loved to draw comics when I was much younger…. during that time when anything and everything seemed possible and attainable with comics. I got to relive a little of that feeling of wonder– thanks to WONDERCITY.

This is entry 145.