Ah Seen

Yesterday a posted a new 36 page comic (in pdf form) called "Ah Seen." It's mostly abstract, though not completely, and is an experiment in appropriation and not drawing. You can download it for free here.

A Few More Tips for Drawing Ages

Here are five drawings of the same character, using a few different factors to create a feeling of aging.

 It's a generic, uninteresting design, but that's good for our purposes...it's easier to see how each little change makes a difference, I think. 

 So here are the factors I used to change the appearance of each drawing:

 1. The size and angularity of the neck and shoulders: Babies start out with thick necks, but then by the time we're 5 or 6 our necks seem to look pretty skinny (at least I've found it seems to look that way in drawings). Our shoulders, obviously, start out small and get broader and broader as we get older (this is more apparent in men than in women, of course). Also I made a conscious effort to make his shoulders start out rounded and get more angular as he ages. If I'd kept going, drawing this guy into old age, I would have made the shoulders start to shrink (and get more rounded again) as he aged.

 2. The relation of the mouth to the chin: I simply made the mouth get further away from the chin as he ages, to give a feeling of a jaw that develops as he gets older. Also I made the jawline stronger and more angular with each successive age.

3. The amount of upturn in the nose: I made it turned up more in the younger drawings, and made it less so over time.

 4. The size of the forehead: We have a bigger forehead when we're young, and it diminishes proportionally over time.

 5. The chubbiness of the cheeks: most of us have less fat in our cheeks as we age.

 These aren't the best drawings, admittedly, but hopefully all this makes sense and people will find it helpful. I don't have much experience at drawing people at different ages and it's something I'm trying to get better at doing.

When I was a younger artist, I always assumed that great artists with lots of experience sat down and told young artists just starting out how to do things like draw people of different ages. It's funny, that's not at all how things work and I can't say I've ever been told any of this stuff, it's all just observations I've made (and of course I've appreciated the other stuff people have written down in other drawing books...see below). If you're lucky enough to have been given some other pearls of wisdom (or observed other things you'd like to share), by all means leave us a comment and let us all know!

More Black Swan W.I.P.

I have decided that drawing digitally seems like an easy fix to get things into the computer. The problem is that it looks like shit. There is something about the natural feel of drawing that you lose when you try to do it digitally. I have tried over and over and am not ever happy with the results. Other people seem to be able to pull it off, but I can't somehow. So I have decided to just work in pen and pencil/paper and scan everything. So I posted the Black Swan piece, and I def. hated it.  I went back and tried to redo it in pen and pencil now.

I then went in and added some colors to the piece (I had only intended to do a basic color of a pen and ink drawing. However during the process a happy accident happened and I realized that if I moved the color layer above* the line layers and then added values I would somewhat get the same effects of a painting (not as refined of course)
 The final step..was that I added a textured background to give the picture some atmosphere.
I have to say that even though the painting is not necessarily masterful...I def. like the way that this came out. This was a total accident, but I am excited about the day that I can get this result on command. Oh and Happy Easter!


"How to Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon

I know, I'm late to the party, and it's already viral and stuff, but for those who haven't seen it yet, here's Austin Kleon's post about being an artist. A great read, and perfect inspiration for me and where I'm at right now, artistically. Check it out if you're so inclined.

"Invention, strictly speaking, is little more than a new combination of those images which have been previously gathered and deposited in the memory." - Joshua Reynolds

Metroid Painted Final

Done with this guy..

First Quatrain

Here is the final tier of my newest comic.  I put the whole page up to give you the full context.  I think it works much better than the "gag strip" versions I post. 

Erase strip

Here's a piece I did last year that I don't think I ever posted here:

Blaise's post reminded me of it in some weird way.

scrap comic

(torn up drawings recombined and photographed)


Graduation is fast approaching, a day that will bring this cartoonist much joy and this blog many commencement-related posts. 

Follow this link if you'd like to order a print for your own Class of 2011 warrior-poet.


This is another more abstract (and never before seen) of my Eyeballs dailies:

You can follow Eyeballs here:

The Black Swan Ver 2

I didn't like the first version that I did of this, and so instead I redid the drawing, added different colors added texture and added a feathered background, which I like a lot better.


Just a quick post on a basic concept that I sometimes see people forget (and I have been known to forget too).

Whenever you're drawing an environment or a layout, it can be easy to forget to give the viewer a sense of scale. If your drawing or painting doesn't contain any people, animals, or other objects that have a consistent size, it can be very confusing as to how big or small the spaces and elements are in your artwork.

This is the Great Hall in the Palace of Westminster in London. In this photo, it's very hard to tell just how big the space is.

 For several reasons, this isn't the best example...after all, when we see a photo like this we usually assume it was taken at typical human height (somewhere between 5 or 6 feet) so it's not all that ambiguous. But hopefully you get my overall point. It's hard to tell from the photo above just how big or small this space is.

 The problem can be compounded by the fact that many times when artists paint imaginary scenes to explore how an imaginary place might look, they put the camera up high so we can see more of the landscape. This can add further confusion because we don't have the vantage point of being about 5 - 6 feet off the ground (which is how we normally view the world every day, of course). Once we're up high looking down on a landscape it can start to feel like we're looking down at a toy landscape or a model train layout or something. Scale gets even more muddled.

 So here are two historic paintings of the Great Hall at the Palace of Westminster. Compare them to the photo above (which lacks people or any other scale clue). Notice how the addition of people instantly gives the space context. You immediately know how large the space is because we all know exactly how tall people are so they make a great yardstick for our eyes.

 Didn't the space look smaller in the photo at top?

So really this is just a reminder to always include some type of object to give the viewer a sense of scale. It's a simple thing...but very easy to forget. And the more fantastic and otherworldly the landscape, the more important it is.

 Many things come in a standard shape and size that can help to give a painting scale; people (obviously), animals, cars, houses, airplanes, boats (anything from sailboats to cruise ships), trees, etc.

Sometime I'll take some paintings and Photoshop out the elements that give it scale to illustrate this further...but right now hopefully you find this reminder helpful!

Tier 3

Buy Tickets for Action Philosophers ON STAGE now!

That's right, kids, ten of your favorite ACTION PHILOSOPHERS -- Plato, Nietzsche, Marx, Ayn Rand and more -- will be brought to insanely hilarious life at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this June as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival! The adaptation is by award-winning playwright (& Mrs. Fred Van Lente) Crystal Skillman with manic direction by her HACK! collaborator director John Hurley, with many of the same fine, funny performers.

The just-announced dates and times of the four performances are:

Sun 6/12, 6pm

Tue 6/21, 8:45pm

Thu 6/23, 7pm

Fri 7/1, 7pm

UPDATED, April 20: Tickets are just $15 and ON SALE NOW! Order from the Comic Book Theatre Festival main page and check out the festival's other great shows.

First Round of Guests

*Secret Acres
*Adhouse Books
*Box Brown
*Ian Harker
*Pat Aulisio
*Rafer Roberts
*Sally Bloodbath
*Matt Wiegle/Partyka
*Peter Lazarski
*Mike Turzanski
*Steve Seck
*Sara Lindo
*Doug Slack
*Kat Fajardo
*Liz Ballie
*Josh Bayer
*L. Nichols
*Coin Op
*Lance Hansen

The Black Swan WIP

I saw this movie recently..and thought that it was great. I especially like the design of the movie posters, how they made Natalie Portman look like an actual swan...so I thought that I would do a work up of that. (Update...I looked this over again and realized that it looks like shite...) so I am doing another version....

Tier 2

I hesitated to post this comic bit by bit.  At first I was going to post yesterday's little section and then post the full final version. 

Then i thought they looked kind of like abstract comics gag-a-day strips.

Anybody wanna remix these with Peanuts dialog?

The Beginning of Something New

I am trying my hand at comics sonnets again.  My original comics sonnets were fourteen pages long with ten panels per page.  This was fun to play with, but made the comics seem more epic than the original sonnet that they mimicked.

For this round of comics sonnets, I am sticking with fourteen rows of panels instead of pages, which will make the poem shorter.  I also think it will be easier to see the visual rhyming sequence this way.

Here's the first tier of panels:

More to come. . .


Page one and two above. See page three and four at Drawingsilence.com. Smudge got linked on The Comics Reporter blog which was real cool, thanks Tom!

Track and Field

It's been seven years since I last competed in the 400 meter dash, but even today the thought of the event sends pangs of anxiety through me. Still, I miss that unique combination of euphoria and physical pain that can only be achieved by 50.7 seconds of all-out sprinting.

MOCCA Fest Post Game

MOCCA Fest has come and gone...what a great great great show. I had such a good time..SUCH a good time and met a lot of folks and even sold some books..who knew that would happen? The best part is that I got a bunch of comics to read. and....I haven't really been reading books for a while..but the fact that I met the actual creators makes the books that I got that much more compelling to read.

Day 1:
I arrived and got my badge and my seat assignment.,and found that I was seated right by the entrance. I sat next to a bunch of gals from Ireland who were selling a bunch of indie comics, kids books, cards and other things. At the end of our row were two guys from Accent UK comics (you can click on the link to check out their selection of comics and their site), and right off the bat I realized that people actually came across the Atlantic to make the show. So I guess i'm pretty lucky to have access to the festival right here in NYC.

Before I sat at my table I took a lap and saw what the other tables were that were being to being set up
I saw so many cool tables and pieces of art from indie folks and publishers that just blew my stuff out the water. Right away I was thinking about ways to make my stuff better for the next show.
By mid afternoon a couple of friends came though which I really appreciated. I had a really great first day..and I even sold a book or two...I was tired by the end of day one, but was so excited to be a part of the show and was psyched that I was in for more on day 2.
Day 2:
Day 2 started off even better than day one. I got there early to make sure that I got a bagel and a poptart to eat before the show started. So I was sitting at my table and along comes Bill Plympton who is an animator/cartoonist and pretty well known in the biz. He just released a DVD and was there at the show to promote his latest work. He actually came up to my table and said really nice things about my banner and my art work, Wow. that was super cool. He even autographed my sketch book and signed it too, Again.....wow!

I spent the rest of the day selling some more books, giving advice to some folks that were curious about getting into the show and putting their own stuff out and.....I even did a sketch. Which I don't think I did such a good job on. However I was flattered that I was asked. I closed the day out with two envelopes of free books, hoardes of biz cards and a ton of new connections..which was what I was hoping for. After spending so much time in isolation working on this book, not knowing what to expect, I came home patting myself on the back with the ability to say that I was in an indie comics show. I can't wait for the next one (I already have an idea)...and to read all the free comics I got..

Comics for Sale!

I've put together a mini comic of various short comics I've done over the years. A few have been up on Graphic Poems and a few have been posted here. I have a couple new ones in there too.

You can buy them over at my store for $3.00 plus shipping.

Henrik Rehr's "Reykjavik" reviewed by Matt Madden

Matt Madden and Jessica Abel's rundown of the "Notable Comics" list from "The Best American Comics 2010" continues, and yet another abstract comic--by yet another AC anthology and blog contributor--is discussed. (See here for Matt's review of one of my pieces, see here for Jessica's review of Derik Badman's piece from the anthology, and see here for Jessica's discussion of two pieces by Warren Craghead, including "Un Calligramme" from the anthology; they have also reviewed so far pieces by anthology contributors Jason Overby, John Hankiewicz, and Damien Jay, though not--or not fully--in their abstract mode). Click the pic:

Manny the Bot Comics Are In!

I got my comics today from the printer and they look super awesome!
I reaized that there was a mistake on one of the pages, and the size of the pages are not standard comic sizes. However considering the fact that I dropped them off on Monday, they turned them around super fast and did such a great job! I am psyched...now for Mocca fest!
I also put together my banner stand (below are the pics).

See you Saturday if you are in the area!

Details below:
 MoCCA Fest 2011!
A Fundraiser for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art-MoCCA
Saturday April 9th and Sunday April 10th 11am-6pm
At the Lexington Avenue Armory
68 Lexington Ave (Between 25th &26th Streets)
New York City

This and That


Comic Book Comics issues 1 and 2, long out-of-print from Evil Twin, are now available from IndyPlanet. These are special Print-On-Demand editions that we have been selling at conventions now available for purchase over the intertubes. They're exactly the same material as the originals minus the 8 pages of non-comics back matter. And as always all Evil Twin back issues are available digitally from our buddies at Comixology for reading on your PC or mobile device of choice - either way is a great way to catch up on the series before the final issue is released in June!

Stuperpowers is now a tumblr blog. Late night inspiration struck, transforming the 1997 role-playing game Fred and Ryan co-created with Steve Ellis, Jamal Igle, Lauren Rabinowitz and Stew Noack into yet another much-needed internet time-suck. There's a Stuperpowers twitter account too. New posts appear twice daily. Enjoy!

New items in the store: Comic Book Comics #5 and Tommy Atomic #0.

The response to Fred's "Talking with Comics Pirates" has been HUGE! There is still time to post your anonymous response, so do it!

Why I Draw

Special thanks to sculptor Tom Otterness (a fellow Wichita, KS native), Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and anyone who's managed to snap a photo of the elusive Bigfoot. 

Is this why you draw? You can pick up a print in my new and improved poster shop.