A Weekend of Comics

I haven’t talked much in this blog about comics, but it’s true… our house is full of them. My husband has been collecting since he was 12, while I discovered them later in life. I’m not a big fan of the traditional superhero genre tho, I usually prefer fantasy stories instead, and have become a voracious reader of various online comics. So while he was eager to crawl through the bins at Baltimore Comic-Con a few weeks ago, I’d been saving up my mad money for this past weekend, and my annual pilgrimage to Bethesda, MD for the Small Press Expo.

Attendance badges 2010

SPX is one of the longer-running conventions for independent creators and small-scale publishers of comics of all kinds, and increasingly the webcomics folks have been joining in to sell their own “dead tree” editions. This year I also made a detour to a brand-new conference taking place just up the street, Intervention, which was focused more exclusively on the webcomics crowd. Both had authors in attendance I wanted to meet and books I knew I’d want to purchase — Intervention had a few folks who rarely come to this area — so I bit the bullet and paid the separate entry fees… and then spent WAY too much on books! Both also had their share of vendors selling artwork, small crafts, and other fun stuff. The set of tetris magnets I bought is already racking up points on my refrigerator. 🙂

Comics loot 2010

Yup, I’m glad I brought the backpack! (I was also hauling around my own sketchbook and camera… not that I ever took either of them out, I guess they were just there as extra ballast) If anyone I ran into this weekend is reading this… HI!!!! It was great meeting and talking with all you wonderful artists/writers! I envy all of you with the drive and dedication to your artform, especially knowing how hard it can be to make a living at it. Kudos!

Would I attend both again next year? Well… honestly the higher entry price for Intervention made it a little hard to justify for me. I don’t generally hang around for the programming at these things. I think I’ve attended 3 panels/presentations in all the years I’ve been going to SPX. I do a round or two through all the tables and then call it a day. And this year in particular I had to leave around 4pm to meet friends for “The Day the Earth Stood Still” which was showing that weekend only at the AFI Theater. Yes, it was an all day geek-fest. I guess I’ll have to see what happens next year. For now I just have to figure out where on my groaning bookshelves these are all going to fit!

If there’s any interest, I can go through my stack of books in more detail… 🙂

And now for something completely different…

First off, a big hello to anyone who’s wandered over here from Dawn’s Dictionary Drama!

Although it doesn’t always reflect in this blog, I adore comics, cartoons, and graphic novels of all kinds. I do have some older sequential art work I should post here, but at this point in my artistic life I’m far more focused on my drawing than on writing. I have nothing but  respect for all of those out there who have the dedication and the vision to see it through, especially all of those independent creators out there bulling their way through with little or no compensation.

Dawn’s Dictionary Drama Preview

 While I spent last year experimenting with Illustration Friday, my friend John has taken that concept a step further with his strip. When he asked for some guest art, I was happy to fill in! He gave me three words in sequence, and I made a short storyline using his characters and those exact words in the dialog. Head on over there to see my story, starting with the first installment!

As if it wasn’t enough challenge drawing someone elses’ characters — and John’s style is very different from my own! — I also decided to draw this as much as possible with my brush pen. The practice is paying off, judging by how quickly I was able to ink my next piece….

Illustration Friday: Rambunctious

 The Mighty Hunter (page 4)

Another one from the archives for this week’s Illustration Friday topic, a page from a short story I wrote and illustrated a while back called “The Mighty Hunter” It’s told from a housecat’s point of view and was inspired by my own cat’s antics, particularly his intensity and focus when he’s in “hunt” mode, and his obliviousness to how goofy it may seem to us. Click the image to enlarge!

I’m actually not sure if this is actually the final version of this piece, but the source files are offline at the moment. That overdue archiving project keeps coming back to haunt me!

Holiday shopping alert!

Right now my CafePress store is featuring a wide variety of items with my drawing “The Holiday Courier” just for the holidays. Today is the last day to get express shipping for free in time for holiday delivery! http://www.cafepress.com/Critterwings

I have several pieces on display and available for purchase in my RedBubble Gallery too. Although it’s too late for Christmas delivery from there, keep it mind either for yourself or your next gift-giving occasion: http://www.redbubble.com/people/stephsmith I’ve purchased a few items from this site already and they are all gorgeous! If you’re a member, look me up!

I’ll be adding more pieces to both galleries over the holidays. If there’s anything you’ve seen here that you’d particularly like, let me know!

Illustration Friday: Worry

Excerpt from Feline Dreams - Detail

So, I feel a little bit cheesy about being absent for a month and then uploading another archive piece for this week’s Illustration Friday topic… and yet, that’s what I’m doing! This is just one panel from a short, 7-page story I wrote and illustrated a few years ago titled Feline Dreams. The drawing was particularly rushed in this panel but it definitely embodies “worry” to me — when I was drawing it I was really worried about finishing in time!

Here’s the full page this scene is from, click ’em to see ’em larger:

Excerpt from Feline Dreams

This is one of the series where I really hope my source files are hidden in my CD archives, because they didn’t make the move between my old computer and my current one… As part of my much-needed website redesign I’m planning on making space for this and a couple other more narrative projects I’d done about that time.

As for my long absence, let’s just say that two out-of-state conferences PLUS my big vacation for the summer PLUS coming down with a severe case of the traveler’s plague during the little time I was home this past month pretty much made posting impossible for me. Starting this week I’m getting back into my routine – new artwork next week if it kills me!