Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Closing Out A Banner Year

I know.  It's not even December.  But this weekend wraps up a year of pushing myself creatively, participating in some stellar festivals and celebrating the last two of the 5 or 6 comics publications that I've participated in that were printed in 2016.

Future Forward:  Extruder 2 Party and Kissing Coyote Goodbye

The cover of Extruder 2, by Ben Horak.
I am  excited to have been invited to participate in Seattle's own Extruder.  Extruder 1 was put out as a sort of "Best Of" anthology from former Seattle free comics paper, Intruder,  and presented as the cream of the crop of Seattle alternative comics.  Intruder sun-setted after 4 years, but a few affiliated artists put together an Extruder 2.  There's a different stable of artists with some cross over, and I think it's REALLY a good, fun sampling of Seattle cartooning! 

You can get a copy at the Extruder 2 Release Party this Friday, November 11th at Push/Pull Art & Comix.  Push/Pull is located at I created a one-pager for the anthology and will be at the party, which runs from 7 - 9.  A lot of Seattle's finest fringe creators will be there, and the copies of Extruder 2 that I had for Short Run literally flew of my table.  You'll have a good time if you come, and you'll leave with a great comic.

Love fresh takes on Fairy Tales and myth?  I'll be returning to Push/Pull just two days later, on Sunday, November 13th to celebrate the publication of Coyote and Butterfly Woman at Anne Bean's Modern Tales Party. This will be a more intimate affair, celebrating the comics written by Anne Bean, funded by Artist Trust, and illustrated by artists such as Ben Horak, Ted Closson and Laura Graves.

Cover art for Coyote and Butterfly Woman.
My own contribution to Anne's Modern Tales is the art for Coyote and Butterfly Woman.  I've already posted about it A LOT.  I did not know how all-consuming of a project it would be.  Not only did I become obsessive in my research for the story, I pushed really hard to create a cleaner, highly-graphic look to the story.  I've never focused so much on the spaces in-between the lines as I did with Coyote.

It's been great to work with Anne and I feel like I learned a lot in the process of drawing her vision.  We also sold a ton of these at Short Run.  So, it's a "Hello" to the world for Coyote and Butterfly Woman!  But I am somewhat sad to say goodbye to the story. 

If you are interested in the book, but can't make the party, you can purchase it on my ETSY at https://www.etsy.com/shop/NoelFranklinArt

Recap:  Rocking Short Run 2016


It's been a busy few months!  I'm grateful to everyone who came out to the Rock Is Not Dead party at Fantagraphics on October 22nd.  The anthology has been a long time in the making, and it was great to see my 5-page collaboration with Mark Campos in print.

Special thanks to Amy Denio for the music, Cait Willis for the inspiration and to Larry Reid, Lilly Beaty and Fantagraphics for hosting the party.

Anne Bean and yours truly at our table at Short Run.
Of course, the big event this month was Short Run Comix and Art Festival 2016.   I don't even know where to begin, except to say that it was hands-down the best tabling event that I've attended to date - including past Short Runs.  The exhibitor list was diverse and wildly talented, there was a steady stream of attendees throughout the day and everyone seemed to have brought their wallets. 

Truthfully, sales were so brisk that I barely was able to leave the table.  But every time I did, something wonderful happened.  Jonathan Horn handed me contributor packs for my drawing of Mirabai for his Supramystic Saga - Luminaries trading card sets.  The Ghosts of Seattle Past revealed the t-shirt they printed using a panel from one of my comics as part of their fundraising efforts.  Cullen Beckhorn delivered some art I left at BELCAF on accident. 

Fine cartoonist Annie Murphy, eating a donut, and
rocking my "Seattle, you have left me for a
wealthier woman" t-shirt design.
The sign to her right reads:
"God knows when you don't tip."
Looking at everyone's photos of the event, I sometimes ask myself if I was even there.  I'm seeing photos of friends and special guest artists that I would have loved to run into, but didn't even see.  I'm grateful to the friends like Margaret Ashford Trotter, Annie Murphy, Henry Chamberlain, Jennifer Daydreamer and other great cartoonists who came to the table to say hello, because I couldn't get away for more than a second.

Kudos to Kelly Froh, Eroyn Franklin, the board, advisory board and volunteers who make up the festival implementation team.  They make it look seamless, but I know how much work goes on behind the scenes.  What a great year!

Shout Out To The Press Peeps


There were a couple of great articles and blog posts that supported the flurry of activity this Fall.  Thanks to Paul Constant for publishing an interview in Seattle Review of Books (Talking with cartoonist Noel Franklin about her new award, Short Run, and her next book) and working with Kelton Sears to cover the Rock Is Not Dead show in Seattle Weekly (This Weekend, Seattle Cartoon Overload).  Gratitude to Henry Chamberlain for the ink in his Short Run recap for Comics Grinder (Short Run 2016: The Big in the Small) and to the Fantagraphics FLOG (What’s in Store: Rock is Not Dead). Much love to Sarah Galvin and City Arts for the listing.

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

An Award, A Party & The Best Damn Comics Festival I've Ever Seen

Girl On The Road Garners Artist Trust GAP Funding

I am excited to report that my application to the Artist Trust Grants for Artist program has been met with success!  I am honored to be one of the 61 artists to receive funding in the 2016 grant cycle, including fellow cartoonist Sarah Rosenblatt plus cut paper artist and animator, Lauren Lida. 

I wrote about the process of creating this application back in May, including how I felt my work had been rushed but also sensed that the universe had sent me a positive sign after I finished my submission.  I'm so happy that I was not wrong.  Big thanks to Artist Trust for supporting me.  The funding they provide will be just enough to push the sample chapter of my graphic memoir into being.

October 22nd - Rock Is Not Dead!

It's here at last!  The Seattle project release party for Rock Is Not Dead will be happening this weekend on Saturday, October 22nd from 6 PM to 8 PM at the Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery. 

If you can make it, please come by.  Mark Campos created an excellent animation out of the comic we created for the printed anthology.  Come view comics in action plus a musical performance by Seattle Jazz Hall-of-Famer and punk rocker (yes, she does it all!) Amy Denio, who recorded a track for the project CD.

More on the anthology itself can be found on the 11th Dimension Press Website here. More on the event is on the Facebook event page.  And if you just want to purchase a copy, it's available at my Etsy store here.

An AWESOME New Festival:
Cartoon Crossroads Columbus

Sergio Aragones and Stan Sakai at the
Cartoon Crossroads Columbus opening reception.
 Cartoon Crossroads Columbus celebrated it's second year this year as one of the world's coolest comics festivals.  They are not a big-ticket super hero comic-con.  Instead they are celebrating comics as art, and putting the innovators of comics as art in the center of their programming.  They are not a standard tabling event.  The festival has a tabling component, yes, but its schedule is built around fairly intimate panels, workshops and lectures by the industries' leading creative professionals.

This may sound dry to you, but it's a blast, and a big part of that is because you get to meet and talk to people you would never normally get to hang out with at the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus receptions and parties.  
Me and Keith Knight talking
about the garbage public schools
he deals with in North Carolina.

Last year I spent almost half an hour talking with Jaime Hernandez, who was my main reason for attending, but then also got to talk with Art Spiegelman in the hallway of the Wexner Center for the Arts and Bill Griffith during his book signing. 

This year I informally talked about micron pens with Sergio Aragones and Stan Sakai at the opening reception, discuss racism and home schooling with Keith Knight and traded art and stories regarding our shared affinity for trilliums with Seth.  I picked up tips on script development from Raina Telgemeier and friended Carol Tyler and laughed until I cried at the antics of Lalo Alcaraz during a panel about political cartoons.

This is just brushing the surface of awesome experiences I've had at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus.  Mark Campos, who traveled with me this year, posted a small photo album here and wrote a blow-by-blow of our experience this year on his personal blog here.    But check out their website for yourself, and plan on attending next October!

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Arrivals

It's October already!  If you are a cartoonist living in or around Seattle, this means it's only a few more weeks until the Short Run Comix & Arts Festival, which happens this year on November 5th.  It catalyzes a lot of cartoonists and zinesters to create new work.  My goal was to have the sample chapter of my graphic novel, Girl On The Road, done by this year's event (WAY more about this next week!  I have astounding good news.) but I also have some long-term projects that happily just happen to be wrapping up right now.

Rock Is Not Dead - Available Now!

Me giving my super model, Cait Willis,
her contributor's copy of Rock Is Not Dead.
A large box of books and CDs arrived at my house last week, containing the finished Rock Is Not Dead project.  It is exciting to hold these in my hands.  When I heard about the anthology almost two years ago, I excitedly built a comic around the Throwing Muses song "Not Too Soon" with fellow cartoonist Mark Campos, and got Seattle's punk-jazz Seattle Music Hall-of-Famer Amy Denio to cover the song for the soundtrack.

Now that it's here, I'm happy to report we are doing a Seattle Rock Is Not Dead release party on Saturday, October 22nd at Fantagraphics.  All of the artists involved will be on hand to hang out and sign books, as well as the fabulous artist who was the model for my main character, Cait Willis.

The event has already received a sweet write-up in Seattle's "City Arts" Magazine.

You can find more details about the anthology and the event on the Facebook event page here.  https://www.facebook.com/events/387618274695843/

You can also order your copy of the book and CD at my Etsy shop, www.etsy.com/shop/NoelFranklinArt

I do a lot of drawing in my
leopard print pajamas.

Can't Say

I've been writing occasionally about working with anthologies.  I love anthologies.  They are like a comprehensive community in book form.  I've been lucky to be included in some really great ones, over my first three years of making comics, and now have a stack of stories created for anthologies and publications that I can compile into a new minicomic.

So, that's what I did.  Here it is.  It's entitled "Can't Say," based on an illustration I created for the Norway-based Outre Press.  It's a zine-style minicomic that includes 6 stories and 2 illustrations that I created for publications from Seattle's alternative weekly newspapers to international anthologies and online journals.

Can't Say is also available at my Etsy shop, and will be at my table at Short Run.

Coyote and Butterfly Woman

Sample page from
Coyote and Butterfly Woman.

I have been working for a year to realize Anne Bean's brilliant story, Coyote and Butterfly Woman,

I spent just over 9 months on creating Coyote and Butterly Woman, though it is only a 12-page story, and drew from over 300 source image files.

And it is finally at the printers!  The narrative is a modern feminist take on a tradition Nez Perce story.  I've never worked harder on a comic.   The writing itself is hard-hitting and dark, with some nuanced humor, and I wanted to do my very best to honor both the origins of the story and Anne's take on it through how I illustrated each panel.

These are arriving on my doorstep this Wednesday, and you can order these at my Etsy shop, as well.  For a mere $5, you can have the best comic I've created to date.

Next Week - Girl On The Road Gets Real

Check back in with me next week.  I have great news on my progress towards making the Girl On The Road graphic novel a reality. 

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

ROCK IS NOT DEAD - A Tale of Two Collabs

Cover graphic for ROCK IS NOT DEAD.


I'll be hosting a book and CD release party for ROCK IS NOT DEAD at Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery on October 22nd!  The party will include performances by Amy Denio, Mark Campos and myself. Special Guests TBA.

ROCK IS NOT DEAD is an international anthology of comics and short stories inspired by rock songs. It includes a CD of indie musicians covering each song that the stories are based on.

The Seattle ROCK IS NOT DEAD team comic was conceived by Mark Campos (Moxie My Sweet, Places That Are Gone) and illustrated by Noel Franklin (me). It is based on the Throwing Muses song "Not Too Soon," which is covered by the Seattle musical virtuoso, Amy Denio (Kultur Shock, Tiptons Sax Quartet).

The story takes place entirely in and around the SIFF Egyptian Theatre and features Seattle artist Cait

Cait Willis models for a panel in
Not Too Soon for
as the model for the central character.

I'll be writing more on the backstory closer to the event!  Until then, you can check out the Facebook event page for ROCK IS NOT DEAD here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/387618274695843/

ALSO: for more information on the ROCK IS NOT DEAD project, or to order online, visit the 11th Dimension Press website at http://bookstore.11thdimensionpress.com/product/rockisnotdead-package-1/

Coming Soon: Coyote and Butterfly Woman

I've been writing about my collaboration with comics script creator and lover of fairy tales, Anne Bean.  She recieved a grant from Artist Trust to commission a handful of cartoonists to illustrate her updated treatments of folk and fairy tales from around the world.  I'm working with her on Coyote and Butterfly Woman, a modernized version of a Nez Peirce folk tale.

I love working with writer Anne Bean, but
she does introduce me to some
sketchy characters!  Meet Magpie
from Coyote and Butterfly Woman.
When Mark Campos and I created the story for ROCK IS NOT DEAD, we worked almost organically, to the point where he provided the impetus for the story but we ultimately co-created the script and I ran with the visuals.  Anne had a script, complete with panel breakdowns, already in hand, and getting my mind inside the story was half the battle for me.

I'm in the final stretch of completing the artwork, however, and I'm loving it.  The final comic is due to premier at the Short Run Comic and Art Festival in Seattle on November 5th.  (I may try to sneak a few copies to the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival in October, though.)  More on what's coming up for Short Run in the coming weeks!

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

From Recession to Concession

The Original Artwork for my Seattle Weekly Comic.
You can see the completed story here.
I'm a big fan of the human eye.  I love how well-adapted our vision is in picking up subtleties and a lot of my decision-making in comics plays to this.  It's why I don't use panel borders on my pages, and why I very rarely outline anything in a scene.

Also, just this year I fell in love with white space.  I don't think I've ever used it as efficiently as I can.  As a woman who works exclusively in black and white, I've been neglecting half of my palette.

Today, I have a comic out in Seattle Weekly.  It's my second comic with them.  While it's my intention to do comics journalism about Seattle's music scene - like this one about The Crocodile - this week's comic is an autobiographical story about my decision to go back to school for web development.

The decision was driven by how expensive Seattle has become to live in, and is fueled by my disillusionment with the nonprofit sector.  There are several programs that the State of Washington offers that pay for job retraining, and I'm working with WorkSource to get my tuition paid.

I think the editor was excited about it because so many artists are having to make tough choices, now, in Seattle and a lot of them are choosing to leave.  I'm hoping it will resonate with people.

Finished panel, with text covering
up the signage.
What I am excited about with this comic is that it's the first time I didn't outline narrative boxes or word balloons.  I'm seeing how much I can pare away, visually, and still move the story.  I want people to feel totally and naturally immersed in the art.  It was a fun experiment, and Seattle Weekly didn't bat an eye at the missing outlines, so I'm assuming it worked ok.

I am pseudo-obsessed with making good-looking original art, and I draw entire panels even though I know I will be covering up a lot of the visual details with words, so I'm posting the orginal art here.  You can see the completed story at the Seattle Weekly's website, or pick up a physical copy from the stands before next Wednesday.

I do want to add that I totally riffed the art of John Criscitello and his Woo Girls in one panel.  Credit where credit is due! 

I'll be doing another comic for Seattle Weekly on the Macefield Festival in September.

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A Coyote Tale

Me and Casey Silver from 80% Studios.

Event News

I had a blast at the BLICK Artist Alley event on July 16th.  The event was organized by Ladykiller with fabulous comics artist Rhodora Jacob and organizer extraordinaire Danielle Davis on point.  

I sold enough minicomics to buy a replacement laserjet printer and got to goof off with my table mates Casey Silver of 80% Studios and cartoonist/illustrator Robert Tritthardt.

Also, I was accepted to be one of the curated comics exhibitors for the 2016 Short Run Comix and Arts Festival!  The festival happens at Seattle Center on November, 5th of this year.  I am REALLY happy that my application was accepted, as I am planning to debut some new work there, including my collaboration with Anne Bean, Coyote and Butterfly Woman.

Coyote and Butterfly Woman

I've only just met comics writer, cultural critic and raconteur, Anne Bean, in the past year.  In 2015, she was awarded an Artist Trust GAP grant, in support of the creation of four comics based on fairy tales from around the world, and a coyote tale that originated in Nez Pierce tribal mythology.

Magpie with a human eye.  That guy sees everything.
The coyote tale, Coyote and Butterfly Woman, centers around Coyote needing to subdue the powers of Butterfly Woman, who is standing in the way of his travels.  Anne revised the story to reflect modern power relations between genders.

We discussed the possibility of me taking the story on as it's illustrator.  

I have had experience updating the Bohemian folk tale, Jezinkas, and have ties to Indian country through both relations and through my work with Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.  Anne's story is heavy on content, and I was attracted to the magical realism element of the project, so I here I am, illustrating a coyote tale.

Coyote hitches a ride in Eastern Washington.

I'll be honest - this has not been an easy comic to climb into.  I usually draw my own stories, so I automatically feel strongly about the ones I'm compelled to surface in my art.  Anne's writing is visceral, and I had to spend some time with it and process a handful of issues before I got to the mechanics of the drawings.  

There is a character sporting a confederate flag hat.  There are on-page depictions of violence.  The google image searches alone were daunting.

First, I had the idea to experiment in making ugly drawings to reflect the ugliness of some of the story elements.  No, no and no.  I drew pages of work that will never see the light of day.   I think, ultimately, it's a good thing.  I had to work through that as part of the process.

Butterfly Woman in the works.
Luckily, we have until mid-October to get the story done.  I'm a third of the way through, have worked through the major issues and drafted the main characters.  Now I'm working on the fun part - the inking.

In November, you will be able to pick up a copy of the story, along with other work by Anne Bean and me, during Coyote and Butterfly Woman's debut at Short Run 2016.

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Come Up And See Me

The beautiful artwork of Stefari & Rhodora Jacob.
Come by BLICK and say hello.

July 16th @ BLICK

If you happen to be in the Seattle area this weekend, you should come see the amazing and diverse crowd of cartoonists who are participating in the Artist Alley, hosted at BLICK Art Materials this weekend.

BLICK is the hold-out arts supply store on Capitol Hill, and it's located in close proximity to Seattle Central Community College, on Pine and Broadway. 

I will only be tabling on Saturday, July 16th, so if you want to see me, come then.  But there will be artists there on Saturday and Sunday for you to visit.

I swore up and down earlier this year that I would table no events until I have new comics to sell.  Well.  I WILL have new comics in October, but I don't mind being at BLICK with Gone Girl Comics 1 & 2 plus Jezinkas.  It should be a new audience for me and I was part of the I Heart Comics Art awards. 

BLICK will be offering 50% Custom Framing discounts as well as other in store promotions. See you there! Special thanks to BLICK and Ladykiller for hosting.

Hot Off The Press: A Cool Summer Book Fair

A wide view of the event.  I'm hanging out in hot pink.

Me with cartoonist and poster artist extraordinaire, Pat Moriarity.
Behind us, wielding grilling tongs, is Seth Goodkind,
another fine Seattle cartoonist and co-founder of
Push/Pull Gallery.

The BLICK event will happen exactly one week after Hot Off The Press:  A Cool Summer Book Fair hosted by Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery.

I already knew there was a shindig going down at Fantagraphics last Saturday.  The Intruder, a free comics newspaper that I blogged about earlier here, decided to sunset their publication after four dedicated years and were throwing a sort of goodbye party there.  What I did not realize was that there was a mini tabling event featuring local independent cartoonists.

It was a sunny, sunny Seattle day and the artists were set up on the sidewalk.  I thought I was getting there early but the tables were full and I ended up setting up like a sunglasses salesman at a street fair (which I actually had fun with.  NO COMPLAINTS) between veteran cartoonist and illustrator Pat Moriarity and Eisner-Award winning cartoonist David Lasky

For Seriously.  Pat Moriarity and I both have stories in the Serbian anthology Skulptura? - though Pat did the cover!  I was thrilled to have such great neighbors.  Throw in the fact that we were also sharing space with the fabulous Fogland Studios and I couldn't have been in better company.

There were hot dogs, beverages, a ton of people, a lot of camaraderie, and I made enough in sales to buy a badly-needed new laser jet printer.  It's the kind of comics artist hang out you really want to be at - most of it most likely thanks to Fantagraphics heavy-hitters Larry Reid and Janice Headley.

The photos are by Mark Campos.  He's gotten good at the documentary thing.  You can find more event photos on the event Facebook page here.

Next week, I'll get back to the actual art.

Girl On The Road posts about comics, publication and community on Tuesdays.