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.