Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guest Critters!

Well, this is fun.

Big-time real-life Webcomics heavyweights, Scott Kurtz, Kris Struab, and Brad Guigar, are our guest critiquers for Comics 4's final class. These guys each run successful webcomics, collectively wrote a book on how to make webcomics, and host a podcast on the subject. But does that mean they know what they're talking about?

Yes, I'm pretty sure it does.

Check out their work, below:

Scott Kurtz's PVP
Kris Straub's Starslip
Brad Guigar's Evil Inc.
Webcomics Weekly podcast
How To Make Webcomics (the book)

A note to recent graduates

First of all, congratulations! You've slogged your way through and hopefully learned a thing or two in the process. However, I would like to remind you that although this is an important step, it is by no means the end. You still have a great deal of difficult work ahead of you. Often times the outlook can be daunting, even scary. This is normal. Many of you will find yourselves in a strange state of post-graduation limbo, not sure what is the "right" step to take next. This is also normal. Insecurity is normal, it comes with the whole "artist" package. The important thing, the defining factor, is work. Continuing to work in spite of everything else will get you through to your goals. Action is the best antidote to fear.
Here's a good little article on that topic.

So you've made it through school but your work still isn't quite where you want it to be? Ira Glass has a message for you.

Also, keep in touch with your friends from school. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. Don't be afraid to solicit criticism. Listen to people when they give you criticism, but use your own judgement in deciding how to utilize it. Contact the people you admire and ask questions. Momentum begets momentum, so try to keep that ball rolling.

This all probably sounds a bit corny, but from my experience I think it's true. Anyhow, good luck to you all and keep on keepin' on!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kayla's CLAW

Remember the scholarship funds being offered by the Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians?

Well, guess who's going to be photographed with an absurdly large check?

Congratulations to our own Kayla Cline!

Kayla's blog
Kayla's comic

Monday, April 11, 2011

Comics Plotting Tools

Here's a nice overview of how a writer breaks down a comic: Comix Tribe's Comic Plotting Tools.

This isn't too dissimilar from what I do, except, as writer/artist, I think it's important to be drawing from the earliest stages. So, f'rinstance, I use index cards, too, but they're for thumbnails more than sentences. Comics are a visual medium, and if you're a visual person, you develop them visually, right?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Travis Louie

Travis Louie paints Victorians and their special friends for the exhibition, "The Creature Show."

Pretty nice acrylic technique, eh what?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Economics of Webcomics

Here's some interesting information breaking down the expenses and profits of one webcomic, Dororthy Gambrell's Cat and Girl, over a 12-month period.

Cat and Girl's Charts of Money

via Dylan Horrocks

Friday, April 1, 2011

Post-Illustration Brode Gallery Pickup

For those who forgot, there is still a pile of Illustrations to be picked up in the Illustration room on top of the flat files from the Brode Gallery exhibit. Don't forget to grab your stuff!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Other Mononoke

Here's some lovely production art, presented as a picture book, from an early project by Hayao Miyazaki. Look at the deftness and character of his loose line and the simple splashes of watercolor. Nice stuff.

The Ghibli Blog

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jack Myers

Jack Myers
MCA alumni, 1993 Illustration
lecture on Tuesday, March 29, 7 pm in Callicott

Jack completed his degree at the Memphis College of Art, where an exchange with the San Francisco Art Institute convinced Jack to ultimately move west. In 1996, he became Senior Designer at the Bay Area firm DesignSite, where he mainly focused on print design and illustration...landing a spot in Print Magazine's Design Annual. With the advent of digital video, his work soon evolved to animation and motion graphics. In 2000 he moved to New York where he completed Food, an award-winning animated film shown on PBS and at festivals worldwide. In 2001, Jack and his partner Matthew Robbins launched Artfool, a multidisciplinary design studio that went on to become one of New York's finest event design companies, later chosen as one of Modern Bride's 25 Trendsetters of the Year and frequently featured on Martha Stewart. Jack has had the privilege to work with some of the best animation studios and directors in New York, and his work has been seen most everywhere there is a television, with spots for MTV, VH1, ABC, NBC, HBO, Showtime, the Style Network and the Discovery Channel, as well as having work featured in The New York Times, Print Magazine, Wired and Newsweek.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Art podcasts

Here are a few illustration/comics/animation related podcasts I like to listen to. Chock full o' advice, tips, inspiration and entertainment, this kind of stuff can be good for keeping you company as you toil away on your next masterpiece.
(can also be downloaded and subscribed to via iTunes)

Escape from Illustration Island

Big Illustration Party Time

Chris Oatley's Artcast

Man Vs. Art

Visual Artist Podcast Network

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gesture drawing tool

So, you want to work on your figure drawing skills but are tired of drawing people sitting in cafes, and don't have an understanding roommate/significant other who will take up odd poses half-naked while you draw. Try out this Gesture Drawing Tool. You can select the timing of the poses (30 seconds- 10 minutes), the gender of the models, and whether they are clothed or nude. Of course nothing can replace drawing from life, but this could be very useful for brief daily practice or warming up before getting to work.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hey! Kids! Comics!

from Elliot Boyette's BOONDOG
Comics 4 is a class about serialized storytelling and digital distribution (in other words, webcomics).

It takes years for a webcomic to mature, and these strips have only had a few weeks to get their feet under them. But we're on a semester-cycle, here, and it's past mid-terms; time to throw them to the wolves of public scrutiny!

Please check them out and give plenty of feedback! These poor cartoonists have only had me nattering at them so far, and I'm sure they'd appreciate hearing some other voices.

Rory-Ann Austin
Done With Kissing

Alex Barton
Duncan’s Moving Parts

Elliot Boyette

Kayla Cline
Slag Valley

Lauren Rae Holterman
Serpent Feathers

Matt Ryan
The Ballad of Hank Fox

Devin Taylor
Rosa Vs. Retirement

Monday, March 14, 2011

Comics Scholarship Funds!

The deadline is TOMORROW, but, hey, you're on Spring Break. No excuses!

The Cartoonists League of Absurd Washingtonians has as part of its objectives the awarding of a scholarship to a student interested in learning the mystical art of sequential illustration. This scholarship will be at least a lowly $100, but might reach loftier sums of $200 or maybe even higher. Funds for the scholarship are gathered in the year prior, and all funds gathered are bestowed on the talented applicant the CLAW chooses. Update: The funds raised for the 2011 Scholarship have reached over $900. And it is potentially available to the student who best fills out this application. You must also be currently enrolled in an institution or have confirmation of enrollment.

CLAW Scholarship

It's not going to pay your tuition, but it'd buy a mighty nice light table, or something.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Relevant to Illustrated Story Students

Manly Guys Doing Manly Things artist, Coelasquid, put up this great article about general drawing advice...but particularly relevant is the comparison of her redrawing one of her strips with just the two characters talking side by side (see above) in comparison to the dynamic scenes that she actually depicts in her webcomic.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Business of Art Lecture

This Thursday, March 10 from 6-7 PM, artist Amy Whitaker will be hosting a free lecture series on the Business of Art. Amy is the author of Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of Art, and since 2004, she has taught economic and financial theory to artists in a course she designed called Business School for Artists. Come join Amy, UrbanArt and Crosstown Arts this Thursday, March 10 from 6-7 PM for a FREE lecture that you won't want to miss.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Beggarstaff Brothers

Here's a nice link on the wonderful work of the Beggarstaff Brothers on David Apatoff's Illustration Art blog.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Drawing Comment—TONIGHT!

Memphis College of Art hosts Drawing Comment: Illustration & Social Commentary
Feb. 19 through March 27, 2010 in the Main Gallery, Rust Hall in Overton Park.

Steve Brodner, Anita Kunz and Luba Lukova, the three illustrators included in the exhibition, will participate in a panel discussion moderated by MCA's Joel Priddy Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in Callicott Auditorium.

Opening reception for the exhibition is Friday, Feb. 25 from 5-7 pm.

Steve Brodner
Anita Kunz
Luba Lukova

Please come! Ask questions!

Monday, February 21, 2011


This is for serious inknerds only, but Holy Moly, it's an inknerd's bonanza!

Gerhard worked for years drawing backgrounds for Dave Sim's Cerebus. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that they are the most amazing backgrounds in Comics History. Absolutely jaw-dropping stuff.

Now, he opens up with a in-depth interview over on the Comics Journal. Lots of specific discussion of drafting and inking techniques, plus an eye-witnesses account of Cerebus' plunge from brilliance to infamy.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

The Daily News

Here's a brief write up from the Memphis Daily News:

MCA Students Win Broadside Competition

The work of two seniors from the Memphis College of Art has been selected as the winning entry in the National Portfolio Day Association juried competition.

The entry, an informational broadside, will be produced in Memphis and distributed in late summer to over 60,000 high schools and junior colleges throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The entry was created by MCA students Marie Provence, a senior illustration major from Lawrenceville, Ga., and

Samantha Taggart, a senior graphic design major from Moss Point, Miss.

MCA submitted two entries, placing first and second.

In addition to the winning selection by Provence and Taggart, second place went to students

Gina Davis, a senior graphic design major from Memphis, and Justin Wheeler, BFA 2010 in illustration, from Shreveport, La.

Associate Professor David Charles Chioffi directed the project in conjunction with Associate Professor Joel Priddy.

This will mark the fourth time MCA has produced the national broadside in six years of competition. Additionally, MCA is the only college to host three National Portfolio Days annually.

– Aisling Maki

Friday, February 18, 2011

Memphis Flyer article

In the wake of the Publisher's Weekly piece, the Memphis Flyer now has a nice, full-page article on our Comics program. We're two articles-worth of famous!

The website skips the attribution, so let me mention here that the image illustrating the piece is from Kayla Cline's Slag Valley, which is being created for the Comics 4 class.

The Memphis Flyer

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

Adventure Time!

Adventure Time fans should check out all this neat stuff Executive Producer Fred Seibert posted on his has a lot of concept art and super neat set ups for the initial viewing of the show. Lots of neat display ideas...and well, it's Adventure Time!

Cartooning Facial Expressions

Okay, you have to get past the fact that it's a comic about anthropomorphic cats acting all dramatic and flirty. Tracy J. Butler has some solid comics chops, and this is a great set of notes on cartooning facial expressions. In particular, it is a brilliant and necessary skewering of the lazy shortcuts we so easily fall into.

This is of particular relevance to the Comics 2 kids, but good for all of us.

Lackadaisy Expressions

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picture Book Report

Well, I'm coming to the party late, what with the project having just wrapped up, but this is a fun blog to check out. Fifteen illustrators chose books they love, and made lovely pictures about them. Folks like Daniel Krall, Lucy Knisely, Meg Hunt, and Sam Bosma.

The above image is from Brave New World, illustrated by the superb Emily Carroll.

Picture Book Report

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mike Mignola on BLDGBLOG

Mike Mignola talks reference and research. Worth your time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Publisher's Weekly

MCA's Comics (née Sequential Narrative) concentration was mentioned in a Publisher's Weekly article about the state of comics programs on the college level.

The gist:
While there are only a few of these programs at present, their rapid growth matches the growth and development of the comics category and industry overall as the medium comes to be to be recognized as a legitimate creative discipline.

For further perusal:
Comics on Campus: New Programs Grow, Attract Diverse Students

Irene Gallo

Caroline Huss pointed out this link to an interview with Irene Gallo. I've posted about Ms. Gallo before, and, and as an art director deeply interested in fostering great illustration, she is worth paying attention to. Evidence to support this claim may be found at the following links:

Irene Gallo's blog
Illustration Master Class

Illustration Show in The Sleeze and Slime

You've already seen it, I'm sure, but there's a nice show of work from the Illustration concentration hanging up in what is officially called "The Brode Gallery." I think it's a particularly strong showing, this year, although I may be feeling that way because, for the first time, so much of it is work I haven't already critiqued. It's a sign of how much the program has grown, and I'm delighted that it seems to be getting better as it gets bigger!

Good job, Illustrators! And good job, Illustration instructors!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Illustration Exhibit Deadline THIS WEEKEND

Entries for the Brode Gallery Illustration/Design exhibit are due this weekend, so please get some entries into the box outside of DA3. We need stuff! Things you've done outside of class are A-OK as well!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SI Lectures

Well, this is exciting. For about a year now, The Society of Illustrators has been cruelly teasing me with emails announcing amazing lectures they were hosting in New York. Each one sounded so good, that I was halfway to the airport when I remembered I had class in the morning. Lectures from luminaries like Milton Glazer, Jules Feiffer, Anita Kunz, and Sam Weber.

Thank goodness we live in the future, and distance is no barrier. All the lectures are now available to view via your handy information appliance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

3x3 International Student Show

3x3 Magazine, which, you know, is pretty great, has a student show coming up.

Information here.

Please note that the web page lists all the dates as "2010," but otherwise all the information is current.

You can check out 3x3 Magazine at the MCA Library.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Inspirational Note

Emmy-award-winning and frequently shirtless cartoonist Dean Haspiel has posted the following call-to-arms:

Dear, Content Maker--

Being published by someone else does not legitimize your hard work. And, the financial advance hardly pays the rent. Think about that the next time you sign a contract for your original ideas. I trust a firm handshake over most of the jargon they write into those binding contracts, anyway.

Sadly, the death rattle of print is shivering its way towards the way we currently package and distribute our wares, and marketing is a publishing luxury of the past. The good news? There is a new dawn on the horizon where the author will become the provider, publisher and publicist. Don't let it daunt you. Continue to network, make strong allies, be aware, show up, and be gracious. The digital age was created by us, for us. If you can procrastinate one hour a day, you can certainly keep track of what's what. Train your eye and keep tabs and make something new.

Bottom line: keep making original content and stop giving it away to publishers. If you're going to give it away, then benefit from it. Meanwhile, hold on a little bit longer for the paradigm shift to settle in. Exclusive content, destination points, and perceived value is the name of the game. Meanwhile, watch how many publishers close shop in 2011 and know that we're on the cusp of a publishing revolution. Be armed with your stories and get ready. People love to read.


Dean Haspiel
Something to think about.