Saturday, February 10, 2024

Closing the notebook

To be continued?

So, I want to stay in touch with all my peeps, but I am getting weary of the whole social media scene and blogs are apparently just too 2008. In light of this, I am suspending operations on Instagram and on this blog - no new posts will be forthcoming.

But fear not- if you really want to continue to hear from me, just click the link below and subscribe to the Walaka Tribune!

Once a week (or so) you'll get a fun little email newsletter from me with cartoons, book reviews, news, photos, and random thoughts. And you can just hit the reply button to say hi back and let me know what's up with you - it's a win-win!

Here's that link:


I hope to hear from you soon!

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Zines, Mister Rico!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted anything here - my daily sketch stuff usually goes on the Instagram but I had been cross-posting anything more than those and seem to have gotten out of that habit. I need to update my portfolio as well - there's lots of stuff that hasn't seen the light of day anywhere.

In the meantime, since I am focusing on mini-zines for SAWgust this year (as opposed to creating one longer comic like last year), I thought I would post my oeuvre, as it were, here.

First is one a did a long time ago, at a workshop with Ellen Forney: 

Next, is a better one a did as a follow-up. Misspelling of the character's name is a mistake:

Here's one I did in a few minutes during an online draw jam some weeks ago:

This one was spin-off of this sketch suggested by a drawing pal. I wanted to experiment with the fold-out format.
I re-inked some old drawings and out them in a little zine as well:

And finally, not really a zine (although it may become one) but a formal exercise in a different folding format:


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Super Styles

So, while waiting for editorial feedback on my non-fiction anthology strip for SAW, I decided to work on a concept/notion/idea that I have been kicking around and playing with in various ways for some time, and that is a variant version of the Justice League of America - specifically, the "Satellite Era" team from the seventies (my JLA). I have been messing with character designs and names and whatnot, not necessarily for any specific outcome, but just to feed my inner comics-nerd. So, in a confluence of my decades-long fan status and my burgeoning cartooning practice, here's the dealio.

I started with this image, from JLA  #200 - this is the team I think of whenever someone says Justice League.

I did a bit of swiping as I replaced the superheroes with my own characters, and simplified the background (since I am not nearly as detail-obsessed as George Perez):

 To jazz it up, I tried coloring with pencils:

And again with markers ill-suited to the task:

Then, just for fun, I tried that bold, super-simple style I have been playing with:


  • using Perez as a style guide is maybe not the best idea for someone with a style like mine, but who knows how it will develop
  • I actually like that first inked version in a lot of ways
  • color is complicated - I can see why so many folks who work in color are going digital
  • I can see a use for the really over-simplified style, even

And finally, for anyone who really wants to geek out, here's the correspondence of original characters and my analogs:

Superman    Hella Man
Batman    Black Buzzard
Wonder Woman     Sister Splendid
Aquaman    Aquaphibian
Flash    Fleetfoot
Green Lantern    Runestone
Martian Manhunter    Mercurian Messenger
Green Arrow    Silver Sling
Atom    Nanonaut
Hawkman    Pteroman
Black Canary    Blue Flamingo
Elongated Man    Putty-Man
Red Tornado    White Squall
Zatanna    Pythagora

Saturday, April 8, 2023

Workshop work

I just (literally) attended a SAW workshop on Narrative Voice in Comics, facilitated by Tom Hart and hosted by the Black Mountain Institute at UNLV. It was totally excellent, as Bill and Ted would say. 

Tom walked us through examples of narrative styles in contemporary comics, and we completed two-minute writing/drawing exercises after each variation, using any character we chose. Here are my wiki-wiki texts and comics based on the prompts. (I used Betsy Murgatroyd, my philosophical barfly, not that these quick sketches do her any justice.)

First, objective third-person narrative text:

Next, subjective third-person narrative, from the POV of another character:

First person narrative:


First person narrative through dialog directed at another (in this case, a letter)

First person narrative, words and pictures juxtaposed in mood:

First person narrative depicted only visually:

Second person narrative, reader is the character:

Second person narrative, reader is interacting with the character from their POV:

Seriously, this was a great creative exercise as well as a formalist observation. Tom is a wonderful instructor and I can't imagine how great taking an entire course with him would be. But I hope to find out!


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Betsy Murgatroyd Zine


All that fiddling around in the prior posts turned into something... check it out here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Moar Style

So, I have sort of become enamored with my blowsy barfly and have been using her as a model while I try out different pens/line weights/styles and so forth. In that vein, I really appreciated the feedback from my SAW colleagues Syne and Tim at our co-working session yesterday morning.

Since I am putting Betsy Murgatroyd (I have decided that's her name) through her paces as an artist's model, I have also had her spout quotes from Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Albert Camus. I love the juxtaposition of image and thought that results. Never judge a book by it cover, or a barfly by her drink.

In any case, here are three studies of Betsy, completed last night at the SAW Starlight Studio.




Friday, March 10, 2023

Style - a shaggy dog story

Fair warning: This is a meandering rumination, so settle in...

Since real life is a little busy now, I haven't given myself a project-of-the-month -- after Sawgust, the September Strip, Nountober, November Space Tales, Adaptuary, and Flaky Feb -- and I have just been doodling/sketching/practicing/whatever during my open studio time. 

The other night, I drew this barfly (on a piece of scratch paper):

I like the way it came out -- she's not dainty and definitely has some attitude -- so I decided to ink it:

I like this one, too, and thought perhaps she might might become an ongoing character in somethings, and I started to think about how to draw her consistently.

At the next draw jam last night, I took a detour -- the CBC series Pretty hard Cases was on my mind. so I used a reference photo to draw a sketch of the main characters:

I decided to ink this one, too:

Frankly,I found this one a little meh -- and lacking in energy, for sure. So I reinked in with a thick marker-type pen:

I really think that this one jumps off the page, and that it captures the essence of the characters better than the other version, even though it is much simpler and more stylized.

In today's open studio, I went back to working on the barfly again:

Again, I tried inking:

Not bad, I like some of this. But thinking back to the draw jam, I did a marker versionof this one too:

Again, I really liked the energy... so coming full circle,I went back to the original barfly sketch and did a marker version of that:

There's something about the bold, simple lines that seems to bring the the sketches alive,and I am not sure what to do with that. For almost a year, I have been developing my cartooning praxis thinking I am heading toward a style something like Dick Calkins:

But what if I am not?

And how do I switch gears and cultivate that simpler style - which, it seems, either soars and sinks, with little in-between?

And still, how do I develop that consistency.

I am not sure I know the full answer, but I know that part of remains working at the drawing board every day.

See you there.