I’ll be at Haverford Kids’ Comic Fest, May 18th

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Sure, it was designed to encourage kids who have an interest in comics, but the Haverford Kid’s Comics Fest is for fans of any age interested in comics, storytelling, and comic creators. That’s where I’ll be this upcoming Saturday. And so will a bunch of comic-making friends who want to share their skills and enthusiasm for the art form. A nice way to spend an afternoon.

Coincidentally, that’s the same day as the NCS Reubens Banquet in California where Untold Tales of Bigfoot has once again been nominated. And yeah, sure, I could be in California that night, uncomfortable in my tuxedo, crossing my fingers until my hands go numb. But as much fun as that would be, I’m gonna have a blast in Haverford, PA with Pat McCuen, Crispin Wood, Dawn Griffin, and a bunch of other folks sharing their time with kids who want to make comics too. Besides, Bigfoot doesn’t own a tux.

For more information on the fest, what goes on, and who’ll be there, just click the link. Hope to see you there! -v

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I’ll be at Free Comic Book Day, May 4th, Phantom of the Attic In Oakland!

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The fine folks at Phantom of the Attic in Oakland have invited me back to participate in their Free Comic Book Day festivities on Saturday, May 4th — which, for those in the know, also happens to be Star Wars Day (May The Fourth Be With You)!

What Goes On Here?

Jeff and the rest of the crew always put on a great FCBD, and the shop is top notch. Here’s a link to Phantom’s Facebook page for the event. I’ll be there between 10am(ish?) and 3-ish? / 4-ish? And I’ll be joined at the table by some local comics luminaries —

  • Dave Wachter, an amazing artist whose current work on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a feast for the eyes.
  • Thomas Scioli, an award-winning comic artist who’s worked for Marvel and Image and is currently turning out great stuff with The Gobots.

What Am I Doing There?

I’ll be there doing some affordable sketches, selling some reasonably-priced books, and debuting a couple cheapity-cheap mini-comics. Oh, and my friend Michelle @runredrun will be piloting Puppet Bigfoot this time out. Should be a great time! Hope to see you!

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Untold Tales of Bigfoot Nominated for Another NCS Reuben…again!

Untold Tales of Bigfoot: Ghosts and Monsters Reuben Nomination

This blog isn’t just my process blog. It’s also my news blog. And today I realized that I still hadn’t posted that Untold Tales of Bigfoot has earned another Reuben nomination from the National Cartoonists Society in the category of Online Comics: Long-form. This is the comic’s fourth nomination (it won in 2012). The 73rd Annual Reuben Awards are in Huntington Beach, CA this year at NCSFest on May 18th. Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees.

My sincere apologies to anyone who’s heard this news fifteen times now in my other social media feeds. I don’t mean to beat you over the head with it, just trying to cover all my bases. Thanks for your patience. -v

 

 

Busway. A Pittsburgh City Paper Cover.

I had a lot of fun with this one. The City Paper’s editor, Lisa, wanted an illustration for a cover story on Pittsburgh’s Busways. And she wanted it to evoke that kidlit feel of something like a Richard Scarry book (with anthropomorphized animals going about their daily business).

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I also thought about those hidden picture puzzles in Highlights while I was setting up the composition. Just a lot of little things, all going on at once. I used Clip Studio Paint for this illustration. Here’s my process.

Pencils

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This was all sketched loosely in Clip Studio using the Blue Real Pencil. I just wanted to get something down quick to get approval from Lisa. Once she and the writer hammered out a few details, I was given the go-ahead.

Inks

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Inked in Clip Studio, with various inking tools. The most important tool at this stage were the Curve Rulers. I used those to ink all of those long, sweeping, curved lines (on the guardrail, sidewalks, roads, etc) and to help keep the lines of the buses and windows smooth.

Colors

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I used a couple layers in Clip Studio to keep the flat colors and the highlights/shadows separate. I do this mostly so if I change my mind about one or the other, I can make tiny changes without having to redo the whole thing.

Details

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The tortoise here is being trailed by a hare (running up the stairs) that just can’t catch him. As usual, the tortoise wins this race.

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March just wrapped up, so I had lions and lambs on my mind. I also threw in a bear with a Steelers jersey. Gotta rep the local sports teams.

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In this section, the Pirates and Penguins get a nod. So does Pittsburgh legend Mister Rogers. His X The Owl character is going about his day wearing a classic Mister Rogers sweater.

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The City Paper was kind enough to throw me this gig, so I made sure to put a CP Newspaper box in the picture. It was also a convenient place to put that banana the monkey’s so interested in. Oh, and that chicken? Originally, he was ‘crossing the road’ but that’s one of those edits they made at the paper. No crosswalks on busways. So now chicken’s riding the bus. I guess there’s more than one way to cross a road.

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Ducks feeding ducks, a teddy bear at a picnic, just another pleasant day in the park. And is that a familiar friend in the bottom right?

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Yup. I snuck in alternate universe versions of my Bigfoot and Scout characters (and even their squirrel pal, Squeaky). It’s a friendly city. I’m sure Bigfoot would feel right at home here.

And if you’d like to read the City Paper piece about Pittsburgh Busways (by Ryan Deto), here’s a handy link to the online article. -v

I’ll be at NYCC This Weekend

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If you’re headed to New York Comic Con this week, you’ll spot me sitting in with the National Cartoonists Society (Booth #304) on a couple days:

• Saturday, October 6th  1 – 4

• Sunday, October 7th  10 – 1:30

I’ll have the new Untold Tales of Bigfoot: Fall Special with me, as well as my other books. And if I can manage to get him onto a crowded train without starting a riot, then lug him to Javits Convention Center, I may also have my furry buddy, Puppet Bigfoot (he’s a long shot, though. It’s like lugging around an unconscious badger around the city).

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Anyway, stop by and say hi. I’ll be sharing the table with some really talented cartoonists. -v

Untold Tales of Bigfoot: Fall Special / Printer Review

The Untold Tales of Bigfoot Fall Special books are in — and they look great! I’ll have them with me at New York Comic Con this October when I sit in with the National Cartoonists Society. I also have some copies in my online shop (just $6 plus s/h/tx)!

Untold Tales of Bigfoot: Fall Special

What’s Inside

  • 35 pages of fall-inspired art and story from the Untold Tales of Bigfoot webcomic,  including Devil In The Details and the Reuben-Nominated Heading For A Fall!
  • Two pages of story not published online (I added a couple pages to give Scout a little more room to babble and complain.)
  • Devil In The Details (published online in black and white) is now printed in full color!

Review: Comix Well Spring/Greko Printing

You may or may not recall, I had a negative experience with Ka-Blam Digital Printing that sent me looking for a different printer for this project. A friend recommended Comix Well Spring, so I thought I’d give ’em a try. How’d they do? Let’s see…

Colors Look Good

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Comix Well Spring did a great job of matching my CMYK colors. The brights are bright, the darks are dark, and the subtle gradients all came out the way I wanted them to.

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Mind you, I opted for the hard copy proof to be mailed to me (a nominal fee of $10) so I could adjust my files before going to final print. And I’m glad I did. There’s always a possibility that what you see on your screen won’t match what the printer puts out. So using a hard copy proof to help make your adjustments is a good idea.

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I opted for the heavier paper (80# gloss text) and the pages feel substantial, with no bleed-through (unless you hold the pages up to a light). The cover was standard (80# gloss cover) and it feels durable and looks great.

Quality Packing and Shipping

With Ka-Blam, it was damaged books and poor customer service response that led me to look for a new printer. How did Comix Well Spring stack up?

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Comix Well Spring packed my order in a sturdy box, lined with a thick layer of packing paper. The comic books were then shrink-wrapped and packed (in bundles of 25) into padded, sealed UPS envelopes. Did that protect the corners? Darn tootin’!

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I unpacked every shrink-wrapped bundle of my comics and every one of them looks like this. Pristine corners, no dings, no folds, no spine damage. I couldn’t be happier with the packaging.

Customer Service Is Excellent

Ka-Blam Digital Printing dropped the ball with their customer service. In contrast, Comix Well Spring was more than happy to answer a ton of questions for me before I even ordered. I wanted to make sure my colors and templates were set up properly, double check their shipping methods and return policy — they answered all my questions before/during/and after our transaction promptly and politely.

Final Review

I give Comix Well Spring a solid A and happily recommend them to anybody who wants to get their comics printed. Their prices are competitive (especially in larger quantities) and their product is impressive. They also have a handy price quote calculator on their site so you can see how much your project might cost before you order. -v

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Pencils, Inks, Colors, Done.

Just a real quickie. Been a little busy to post here, but my promo image for this week’s Untold Tales of Bigfoot page happens to be a snapshot of my basic comic-making process. So I figured this process blog would be a good place to post it. Full page here (where I posted a few more inks).

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