Some of you may know that I'm president of the Cartoonists of Orange County (a regional division of the National Cartoonists Society) and we just had our annual holiday lunch. Something we started last year and I hope will become a tradition is our original art card exchange. The art for the card I created is posted here...
At times I have thought I'd like to change the name of our group to the Secret Order of the Inky Palm, but I think there is zero chance of that happening. :)
2015 was a busy year (and maybe evidence of that was the lack of posts) but it was great to see Charlton Arrow #'s 3 and 4 come out. Drawing comics has to be the most challenging of artistic pursuits (I don't think that is well understood generally) but so rewarding to complete. It's writing, design and illustration all tied up together. It's making a movie where you are the director, actors, set designer, costume designer, cinematographer and crew at the same time. Fun but tricky to do well. I got to work with talented people (Paul Kupperberg, Roger McKenzie, Mort Todd, Dave Noe, etc.)
Related to the Charlton comics, the writer of the 2nd story (Paul Kupperberg, writer for Superman, Archie, etc.) put together a series of blog posts on Charlton Neo (their site) about how the project came together. I wrote part of one of the posts in that series and they show my art in process from concept sketches and character design to the finished page. The links to that are below. And to anyone interested in learning about writing for comics, I recommend reading the whole series of Kupperberg's posts.
The movie "Savageland" continued to show at film festivals around the world and took many awards. This is the zombie film I did production art for including courtroom sketches, political cartoons and a two page comic all to support the story and world created by the directors. They have a distributor backing it now and I hope to see it on cable soon (and of course I will announce that when it's close.)
Also in 2015, I was part of a radio show on KUCI (the college station) with two other artists talking about career issues. The link to a recording of that broadcast is below. I come on the show at about 22:40 if you want to skip ahead.
Enough about me. Since we're close to the holidays I thought I would recommend a couple discoveries from the year that would make great gifts for the artists / creatives in your life. The first is the YA graphic novel, "This One Summer" by cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. It was the first graphic novel ever to be a Newberry Honor winner and you may recognize Jillian's artwork from the New York Times Book Review where she is a regular illustrator. It is excellent. It is subtle in ways I hadn't thought comics were capable of and it is the first time I've ever seen foreshadowing used in comics. Metaphor. Symbolism. Sure. But this is the first time I've seen foreshadowing. I am not a YA reader at all so for me to evangelize this should tell you something. Transcendant is a good word for this GN.
"The art of Richard Thompson" is the second item I wanted to mention. Thompson is an illustrator and cartoonist best known for his Reuben Award winning 'Cul de Sac' comic strip (a favorite of Bill Watterson.) But this is a book for hardcore illustrators. Thompson did his best work as a cartoonist for the Washington Post and illustrator for the New Yorker. Brilliant! And how hardcore? The interview of Thompson by Peter DeSeve should have been enough but then there's the two page essay on pen nibs by Thompson. Yeah. Really nerdy, thick glasses wearing, inky palm illustrator stuff. Superb.
Lastly, something is going on with publishing. "No duh, Mitchell!" Hear me out. Because publishers can now economically publish smaller run but high end books at a profit, interesting things are showing up. The publisher IDW started publishing large size reprints of classic comics by master illustrators. Better still, the books are made from scans of the original art and published at the size of the original art. Graphitti and other publishers have followed. I'm not sure how long this trend will last but IDW's artist editions and Graphitti's gallery editions are fantastic, beautiful and will blow the mind of that artist in your life. My favorite of many offered? I'd be torn to choose between the Miller / Mazzuchelli 'Daredevil' and Art of Jack Davis. Masterpieces both.
Have a great holiday season and may you enjoy peace, love and a little mistletoe.