Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I got married my first year of teaching. My wife and I had our first kid at the end of my third year teaching. Being a new father and a new teacher (at a south side school) I kind of intrinsically knew how important it is for a father ro read to their children. When Little P was first born, I remember reading him an old reprint of Two-Fisted Tales in the hospital. It was the only book/comic book floating around the back seat of my Saturn at the time.
We had a guest speaker come to our school named Jim Trelease. His who deal was how important is to read to children. This dude had a ton of data and reports about how low-income and less educated parents speak less and expose their own children to their limited vocabulary. More successful students with larger, more robust vocabularies came from families with larger vocabularies. He told some other anecdotes that still stick with me. One was about a little girl at a school who was reading at an extremely high reading level. When the teacher had a conference with the parents, he/she asked them how is was that their daughter was such a good reader. They replied on a sheet of paper that they were both deaf and that their daughter had been reading closed captioning off of the TV since she was a little baby.
Another story/static was that some European country (Switzerland/Poland? I don’t really remember which) was the country with the highest reading level amongst its population. The reason why was that they could afford to make their own TV shows. Want they could afford, was to redub shows from other countries (I think he used Gilligan’s Island as an example) and add subtitles. So basically, the whole country had to read if they wanted to watch their stories.
This is why I will always play a movie with subtitles for my boys (IF the movie has that option.) Hey, It can’t hurt.
So why am I writing about this tonight. Because I’m on vacation and vacation is the one time when I don’t read to the boys. Either we stay up late coming back from theme parks or what have you. Betsy tries to stop me sometimes pointing out that the boys aren’t even paying attention. But what I want is for the boys to hear me and at least SEE me read. My parents always had books on bookshelves as a kid but I never really saw them read.
So, if you ever see random numbers on this blog, it’s just me keeping track of how many days I HAVEN’T read to the boys.
Oh yeah, and Google Jim Trelease if you want.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
These are the pages with the panel that I posted back in November. If you make your way into a comic book store in the future, look for it.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Last May, I was chosen/voluntarily forced by my boss to go visit another Magnet Elementary School in South Carolina. I was the only dude with five other women. I was reluctant to go to say the least. I don't like spending time away from my family ESPECIALLY is school is the culprit. I really don't have a problem leaving if it is comic book/ movie related. BUT TEACHING!? COME ON!
Anyhoo, after the missus advised me to appease my boss, I went. I sat in the back of the van and got myself in vacation mode. It's the tried and tested "mode" I've used to survive vacation since I was a teenager: Back seat, head phones, books, pens, paper.
And that's exactly when we launched into: "Let's-make-this-an -enthusiastic-productive-brain-storming-working-car-trip!"
The team I was with decide to start planning for next school year. One theme that was bandied about was the recycled "Around the World in 180 Days." I'll agree to damn near anything so I can get back to zoning-out. Yeah. Sure. Whatever.
But it didn't end there.
Ooo-ooo-ooo! How about "Seeing the World Through Alien Eyes?"
Great. Super. Another winner.
But then this idea just snow-balled. The next thing that I know, I'm drawing this alien named Zork. I was just trying to look busy. I drew a couple different faces not giving it much thought. They liked the Little-foot/Shrek design. Now, their passing my notebook around the van, looking at this picture, taking iphone photos of it and trying to get price quotes for a costume. Seriously?
When we returned to Tally, I was asked to draw a turn around for some company that specializes in making mascot costumes. I drew the body on a different piece of paper, scanned it in and very crudely married the two in Photoshop. And what you see is what you get. I assumed that if I gave Zork E.T. proportions, that if no one could get in the suit, that this would be the end of ol' Zork.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Here's a cover I drew of the Flash a few years ago. I'm still pretty happy with the way it turned. The thought behind was that now matter how fast you are, your never quite fast enough.
The Flash disarming bombs isn't the most original idea, but I liked the notion that he made it to the last one a split second too late.
I still think it's s strong portfolio piece.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So I was one of those teenagers that didn’t really have to start working. As far as my parents were concerned, school was my job, But I learned more about people (customers, bosses, co-workers alike) than I ever did being confined to a classroom. Maybe because of the simple fact that you can apply and choose where you want to work, and that school is just forced upon you. I dunno.
My first job was as an usher at Oak Lake 6. These six movie posters were the six movies we had playing there when I started working fifteen years ago.
Okay, maybe not fifteen years EXACTLY, but it was Thanksgiving weekend 1995.
It was the opening weekend for a little movie called “Toy Story.” I’ve had a deep-rooted connection with that movie and I’ve been fascinated with Pixar movies ever since. (Kids today can’t even fathom that yes, there was a time when feature-length animated movies were only hand drawn. Now, it’s the opposite.)
As an usher, I must have heard the ending to that movie a thousand times. I don’t think I ever got tired of it. I remember not even needing a watch to know what the time was. As an usher, there’s a kind of Pavlovian conditioning at work there: from the lobby, whenever you heard the “BANG/THUD” of the U-haul truck ramp slam on the street, you knew it was time to find the rolling garbage can and find your broom and dustpans. When you opened the door and heard Andy yell, “Oh boy! A Puppy!” you knew it was time to Velcro the stop sign to the theater door and prop them open. Toy Story was a game changer.
Don’t even get me started on SE7EN. That warped my impressionable mind in a different way.
The Oak Lake would close its doors a meager year and a half later. I made a lot of fond memories that I’ll always cherish forever in that small window of time.
The old Oak Lake 6 is currently the WCTV news station. Completely remodeled.
I can always revisit it in the Ashley Judd movie “Ruby in Paradise.” While not the EXACT same theater, the movie has a scene shot in an identical clone theater in Panama City.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thanksgiving Break begins. I might actually like this break more than the Christmas holidays because all I have to do is eat.
Judging by these character concepts, I was starting to feel great with all of these designs passing muster.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The problem with cyborgs is…
I don’t really have a problem with cyborgs. I think cyborgs are awesome.
What’s not to love about any characters that are part human and part robot?
The dilemma I face as an artist drawing a cyborg for someone else is always the question: How much or what part? Fractions. Great.
The human head is just a ball that can be divided into a finite number of ways: front, back, left side, right side, eyes, nose, ears, mouth, whatever.
What I did, was devise this chart to illustrate to different writers/creative types the various ways mechanics/organics have been combined in pop culture (at least all the combinations I could think of.)
I really made this to help avoid treading water (for hours!) in the wrong ocean.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Brutal run with the baby. This was the second jog that I've done for Couch to 5k. I can't believe how lousy my stamina is. This run looks pretty easy on paper, so I'm surprised/disappointed by how difficult it was. I appreciate running but only if I'm in a race or being chased.
And here's more character designs. The problem with designing a cyborg is that they can come in a variety of "cyborgness." If I say draw a cyborg to ten different artists, they'll probably draw ten different cyborgs. After three different tries, I decide to make a cheat sheet. I'll post that tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A little over a year ago, my buddy J. Torres asked me to help him pitch a new volume of his Oni Press series from yesteryear- Side Kicks. It’s about a school for super powered teenagers. He really came up with cool characters coupling powers with personalities you’d never suspect. It was a neat little anime/manga style comic and you should totally Google it.
Having read several issues of the first series, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a natural fit stylistically. I was more than flattered just to have been asked.
Before you pitch a series, sometimes it’s important to have as many ducks in row as possible. I’ve heard stories that sometimes a pitch could be as simple as a sentence FROM an editor or a sentence TO an editor. On the other end of the spectrum, sometimes you need the entire creative team in place and in others, you’ll need the entire book “in the can” and ready for print. No two pitches are ever the same, just as no two “breaking stories” are ever the same.
Don’t look to me for advice, I haven’t done either successfully.
For this series proposal, there were two approval processes I had to go through. First, I had to go through the writer (volleying emails back and forth) and then the characters had to make it through the editor/publisher of the proposed comics.
Anyway, J. Torres had a four issue outline (character descriptions and character arcs) all mapped out. All he needed from me were character designs. We went back and forth on a few designs, but ultimately the series was scrapped. Oh well. Enjoy these concept sketches for the next couple of days.
First up was one of the more difficult faculty members to nail down.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today, my lovely bride turns 31! Where have the years gone? When I tell people we grew up together they assume we were childhood loves (a little playful misdirection on my part) but we literally "grew up" together. She was eighteen years old when we met and we've been through a lot over those years.
Even though she was born in 1979, she didn't start livin' 'til she met me (natch!)
Now she's the old ball and chain (MY ball and chain!) and there isn't another ball and chain out there I'd rather be shackled to.
Love you dear!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
So the missus has found a new "diet"/fitness regimen called the "Couch to 5k." It's supposed to ease you into running and should have you running a 5k by the end of the nine weeks. It's pathetic that we've said we'd do this for the last week and a half. We just CANNOT seem to find the time. She doesn't want to do it alone, while I can't concieve doing it at the same time. The plan was to start tonight (Veteran's Day.) Needless to say, once the kids go down, it's dark outside and we "veg." Much deserved "vegging" by the way.
The annual Jingle Bell Run (3k) is only three/four weeks away. Will we be in it?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I've had a hard time keeping up with everything that's been going on. I hear people using the "plate spinning" analogy before, but I seem to let a few fall on the ground from time to time. Like this blog for instance. I've done a "decent" job trying to keep it up for the month of October. And now, November rolls along and I let the "blog plate" fall to the ground. Now, I'm back to keep it up.
Here's what I've been up to. I've been working on a two-page epilogue for the Dynamo 5 Christmas Special (in stores Dec. 22) We took a quick little family vacation to Universal Studios over the weekend (in the hopes of beating the Veteran's Day crowd) and D-Money took his first few steps. Oh yeah, and school. All in all, a pretty interesting few days.