Sunday, January 31, 2010

All Eyes On The Jumble

Here's an eyeful of my latest batch of Cartoon Jumbles, a sneaky preview of the dozen or so favorites I will be posting over the next couple of weeks, starting tomorrow. Tune in each day for a look at the great selection of cartoon combinations requested by art fans all about the country!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

New Math Investigator

This is one of my regular illustrations for the Seattle Weekly, appearing now, in their print edition only.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hot Stuff and Luke Cage: Three Stages of Creation

Here is a look at the pencil to paint evolution of an early predecessor to my current Cartoon Jumbles series, featuring Harvey's Hot Stuff, the Little Devil, and Marvel's Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Greetings From Albuquerque

This is the art to a recent cover of Albuquerque's weekly, Alibi, commissioned by one of my favorite art directors, Tom Nayder. For a gallery of past Alibi covers I've drawn, click here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BOO!, With Four Os

This is the cover to a story I wrote back in 1982, BOOOO! And He Muffed It!, one of a series of short novellas/long short stories I attributed to an assortment of made-up authors. The covers, all done in black and white, were a study in comic-inspired graphics and hand-done lettering. I've recently colored this one, adding new dimension to it. The odd little story begins as such: Desperate Washington and Mister Tom Duran were the best of friends, but having the two of them together in one car, in a race across Ohio, was sheer insanity – both knew it would never work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

KISS: Destroyer in Sequins

This is a recent illustration for the Seattle Weekly, a reimagining of KISS as a preening boy band revue.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Large Banking Concern

Here's a sample comic panel I recently created for a large banking concern, as part of my audition for the job of illustrating a graphic novel commemorating their 75th anniversary. Can you hear the cash registers ringing in the distance?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Taxi Poet

This was part of a dozen cartoons I created back in 1989, intended as a daily panel strip proposal entitled Big Head. One of a few such attempts I built around overly-obtuse humor, riding the Far Side popularity wave, it was never pitched. I've now added color, some twenty-one years later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

William Shattered

The above grid of images was taken in early 2000, during the flurry of photo-opportunities that followed the purchase of my first digital camera. All shot from my couch, they approximate the broadcast of the 1963 Twilight Zone episode, Nightmare at 2000 Feet, starring William Shatner.

Friday, January 22, 2010

False Identity Man Fumes

This illustration can be found in this week's print edition of the Seattle Weekly, along with two others.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Televolution (it's hard to pronounce)

This is my latest illustration for Steven W. Humphrey's always funny I Love Television column, which runs weekly in Portland's Mercury. For a big gallery of many dozens of the some almost- six hundred(!!) of these I've drawn, click here. There's something kind of special about this week's illustration, it being the very first time in over fourteen years I've all but dispensed with black line art for this feature, letting color and shape chiefly dictate form.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Milk of Inhuman Kindness

This is a photo collage I created back in 2002. The central image I built and photographed, then scanned and supplemented with the collected framework of images, taken from a great variety of old books and magazines in my possession.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An Englishman's Batman

I drew this parody of a Gene Colan Batman cover when I was seventeen, the "lime" in Batlime referring to my nickname at the time, one derived from the WWII term for sailors from the British Isles, which commented on the huge amount of limes they ate to avoid the ravages of scurvy. Adopting the moniker with pride, I proceeded to create dozens of comic stories featuring lime-based characters, a green marker always at hand.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Calvin & Blondie, A Near-inscrutable Union

Here's a recent pencil study for a possible future Cartoon Jumble, a conscious push in a far more abstract direction for these iconic convergences, depopulating the expected particulars of Chic Young's comely Blondie and Bill Watterson's manic Calvin, letting boyhood fervor clash with feminine decorum, upsetting any semblance of a maternal compromise.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Girl With Apples

This watercolor was a recent gift, a painting meant to evoke the look of coloring/activity books of the 60s and 70s.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

One Ghost Cartoonist Revealed

For about a year and a half, during the mid 1990s, I ghosted a weekly cartoon strip that ran in Seattle's the Stranger. Entitled Gordy, it was created by a well-known cartoonist, who turned it over to another well-known cartoonist, then to me, both of us agreeing to write and draw it in an anonymous fashion (as had the originator). I think the idea was to have it appear as the machined product of some obscure cartoon syndicate, the sort of oblique feature you might have expected to find on the classifieds page of your hometown daily, back in the heyday of newspaper productivity. I quickly ran with it, unhindered, soon creating a wide cast of additional characters and situations, culminating my run with a long, serialized adventure. This is one of my self-standing strips, to which I've now added color.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Donkey In Stripes

This is a favorite part of my illustrations for this week's Seattle Weekly. Want to see the rest? You'll have to pick up a copy of the physical paper. Take that, internet!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roland In Australia

This is a page from an illustrated book I created some twenty-six years ago, all the way back in 1984, writing and drawing it as I went along, filling a 60-page sketchbook from beginning to end. Entitled Roland In Australia (finding happiness in the outback, back and again), it tells the strange tale of a young man who, literally overnight, transforms into a small, blue-skinned creature. His abrupt change derailing his wedding to the daughter of a wealthy Australian family, he sets out across the vast wilderness to reunite with his long-lost father, encountering much adversity, and curiosity, along the way. Finding only his father's grave, he sets out to track the band of poacher bandits who killed him, all the while pondering his bizarre metamorphosis.
For a look at the first ten pages, click here. I'll be posting all of the story in the weeks to come.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Uncle Sam I Am

This was meant to be the cover to the fifth issue of my quarterly comic, Whotnot!, published by Fantagraphics in the early 90s. The series being cancelled with the fourth issue, the image remained in storage for many years, until I revisited it not long ago, adding computer color. The original art is currently available for purchase at Comic Art Collective.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting Intimate With a Jumble

This is a close-up of a small part of one of a recent batch of Cartoon Jumble commissions I am currently working on. I wanted to reveal something of what it is I am doing when I apply gouache and ink to the roughly-textured rag of the unorthodox paper I use. For me, it's all about the kinetic jostling that goes on when medium hits canvas, one that echoes the manner in which the printing press forced itself, with a calculated, commercial indecency, upon the pulp of the comic books and strips of yesteryear.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Kelp Maiden

Here's a little watercolor illustration I recently made for a friend to help celebrate her birthday. Making art as a gift is always a special kind of pleasure.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bubble Gum Victims

Here are two portraits from a photo/story installation I hung in the summer of 2001, a presentation of the photographs and published documentation of an imaginary explosion at a bubble gum factory that took the lives of eleven workers. Pictured here are Andrea Pushman and Preston "Bull" Tomas. The busts were sculpted, painted and photographed with minimal light and focal distance for an intimate, temporal appearance.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Stupid Little Duck

This was the first installment of my weekly comic strip, You Stupid Little Duck, which ran for a brief 26 weeks in the Seattle Weekly during the late 90's, before a reader's poll cut quick its short life. I've always considered it the crystallization of what I thought a comic should be; the gleeful embrace of life's unpleasant truths, told in a manner of pure formality, sort of an underground comix interpretation of Nancy or Otto Soglow's The Little King. Created as a black and white strip, I've added color here, happy to find the stark openness of its design so welcoming to such colorization.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Fourteen Years of Bad

This is a recent watercolor illustration that accompanies a short story I first wrote in 1996. Entitled The Man Who Starved Nature, it was originally intended as the first issue of a digest-sized series of illustrated novellas. Having created a complete prototype, I presented it to the cartoonist Jim Woodring, nervous, but eager to have his response. A week later I found myself a passenger in his car. Upon asking him what he thought, he quickly praised the original drawings. I then pressed him to comment on the writing. What I heard, over the sound of passing traffic, was “It's bad”. I was too afraid to ask him to repeat himself, letting it go at that, wondering just what he had meant by “bad” – bad as in just plain bad writing, or bad as in dark or wicked. Dreading the former, surrendering to my own neurotic tendencies, I shelved the project and have sat on it all of fourteen years, only now giving it a new airing, deciding it merits a fresh treatment, its “badness” now its rising merit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Spring In Her Step

This is the cover to a picture book proposal I am currently shopping to publishers. The story concerns a girl named Kelly and the spring-built shoes she desperately craves, her far-flung imagination propelling her to perhaps unwise heights of fancy. "And thus, Kelly put her newly-acquired $2.95 into an envelope and mailed it, along with the coupon from her comic book, to a place called W. Flourney, Chicago, where apparently the Kangaroo Shoes were made." Picture books are my first love in graphic fiction, their pairing of image and text being a particularly special and unique magic, one I've learned is very difficult to conjure successfully.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's All Boo's Fault

The above is a sampling of spot illustrations I've recently done for Seattle Weekly's Best of Daily Weekly blog post rundown, which appears in their print edition. A source of many humorous and odd stories, the feature is a blast to illustrate and I must thank the Weekly's new art director, Boo Davis, for helping to make it so much fun. Thanks, Boo – the world might not have experienced a "cat shit trading card" without you at the helm!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Call Her America

The above pencil sketch was recently produced during a rare evening of drawing with no intent other than to exercise my ability. It might sound strange, but, unlike most artists, I do not keep sketchbooks and am in no way a compulsive doodler. I almost never draw if it is not for a job or some larger project. This sketch, along with three others, making a little series I call “Hideous Lovelies”, are all now available for purchase at Shop, J.W.E.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Gentleman is Approaching

The above page is a recent experiment in attributing cartoon visuals to a prose novel I am currently in the thick of writing. I was surprised to find how easily my narrative welcomed such a treatment, one it wasn't especially designed for.