Monday, December 27, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 55

Another Ectopiary Page is now UP.

I've reasonably recovered from my surgery. Thanks to all for their patience during my brief absence.

I feel like a bit off a celebrity this week. There is a relatively coherent interview with me at REGLAR WIGLAR, a fine review of my own inclusion of Pood #2 at TRAVALANCHE. The biggest event, however, is the selection of Ectopiary as The Best Webcomic of 2010 by MTV"S SPLASHPAGE!

On top of all this, I an pleased to announce the digital release of Ectopiary for Japanese readers, courtesy of TOGENOJIZO! I daresay this edition looks more attractive than the English version. I've posted some sample pages below. Enjoy!


Monday, December 13, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 54

LATEST ECTOPIARY PAGE IS UP!

This page, despite its flaws, came out better than expected. I am much pleased with this thing I have made.

The next update will have to be postponed one week. I am currently recovering from some minor surgery, and am unable to do the necessary things to get the page ready. I could also use the break. My thanks to you all for your patience!

Monday, December 6, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 53

MORE ECTOPIARY WAITING TO BE READ.

I like the first panel of page 53 very much. The other two panels not so much. The next page is much better, I promise.

The Squirrel Machine is still perplexing people, more than a year after its release. Here are more reviews:

The Name Of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
Comics disturb readers, celebrate Halloween season | The Daily Texan - (scroll down for the Squirrel Machine review.)

Earlier this week, I learned that when asleep and dreaming, looking up words in the dictionary is a hopeless (but interesting) endeavor. I found the word "forsonym." According to this dream-dictionary, it means "a pictorial diagram of the metaphysical digestive tract of female oxen, often used to punish disobedient schoolchildren."

Another book, which one would presume only to find in the nocturnal libraries of the other side of consciousness is currently manifesting itself in a downright corporeal edition, waiting to fill that gaping void in your bookshelf. I am writing of none other than Mahendra Singh's majestic adaptation of Lewis Carroll's oft-overlooked epic "THE HUNTING OF THE SNARK." If you do not rush to acquire this beautiful book immediately, you are a fool. Rather than add my own ham-fisted verbiage to M. Singh's splendid eloquence, I shall simply let the following link guide your way: http://justtheplaceforasnark.blogspot.com

As an incentive, below is posted an example of the master's work. Consider this my effort towards what I hope will be a Worldwide Emerging Mahendra Singh Awareness Movement! Indulge, seekers!



(Note: These comic pages have been posted without permission, and may be removed pending any such requests from the author.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

ECTOPIARY - FIRST ANNIVERSARY!

What you need - ECTOPIARY page 52 is now UP.



For the first-time reader, now is an excellent opportunity to jump into this peculiar and inexplicable graphic tome. A full year's worth of plodding picture-making hammered into a strained narrative is just waiting for you to peruse and castigate!

Of course, page 52 doesn't contain too much in the way of fast-paced plot progression. This is one inherent weakness of releasing a long graphic novel in single-page weekly installments. When read in context, I hope that silent pages like this help to provide the proper rythm of the action as it grinds along. At the risk of repeating myself, I don't intend to modify my storytelling approach to satisfy the strictures of serialiazation. Also, with my current time constraints, one page a week is the fastest I can produce. I have no plans to simplify my style to speed up the process. The detailed backgrounds and fussy pointillism are essential to my dubious mental state. Let's not shift my internal paradigms too rapidly, please?

Speaking of which, here is a picture I drew that was inevitably appropriated for the June 9th 2009 edition of the Philly Comix Jam collection. They're still active and their doings are observable here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 51

MORE ECTOPIARY

As evidenced by the latest page, I have a tendency to get involved in drawing background detail. I hope it induces a pleasing effect on the casual reader. This is one of those pages where nothing "happens", but gently buffers events in the story so they don't collide and increase the confusion. Patience, intrepid observers!

From the feedback I've gotten, the general attitude is that Ectopiary doesn't update frequently enough. The day that I can quit my day-job and devote all my time to the comic cannot come soon enough for me. Perhaps if someone would donate $15,000 I could take a year off and accelerate my output?

Until then, here is another poster I drew for a silent movie/live music event:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 50

LATEST PAGE IS UP NOW.

Having reached 50 pages feels a little like a milestone (or a millstone). It means in a couple of weeks, this site will be one year old! Considering the weekly update schedule, and the estimated length of the book, ECTOPIARY will be finished sometime in 2020. (Truthfully, I hope to increase the updates to twice a week before long, thereby shortening that span.)
It's been an interesting week for the site. After meeting the talented and lovely Spike (responsible for Templar, AZ) at the New England Webcomics Weekend shindig, she graciously plugged my comic on her own site. It was extremely gratifying to see the increase in the readership. My thanks to her and everybody who takes the time to read my efforts.
Also, some of you may have noticed that I gave the website a much-needed sprucing up. I replace the hideous logo, added a couple more links and gave it new buttons. The "About" page is still a bit dry, and when I finally get the inspiration, I'll spice up the text a bit.
As always, I'm grateful to all who write in their thoughts. I am also extremely grateful to people who kindly donate $$ to help my cause. If you wish to join their illustrious ranks, you can do so HERE.
Below, I've posted a drawing for a music poster from 2007. My best to you all!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 49

The Latest Page Of My Uncategorizable Book Is HERE

What Milton says in the last panel of page 49 is a statement of fact. You cannot prove to me otherwise.

I attended the New England Webcomics Weekend. The first day was a bit dispiriting, as I was overwhelmed by the overabundance of trendy genre-spewing CRAP. There were, however, a handful of people who manage to produce comics that contain (in my opinion) original, imaginative and skillful work. I will list the top three:

Dylan Meconis' FAMILY MAN is an exemplary effort that combines historical accuracy, deliberate pacing, subtle symbolism, masterful rendering, thoughtful dialogue and exquisite attention to detail. It rewards upon repeated readings.

Evan Dahm's RICE BOY website is filled with eminently enjoyable and readable fantasy-based comics. It has a quirky style that provides a breezy reading experience that makes one overlook the precision and detail that goes into this comic. His current work, Vattu, is his most promising effort to date.

Spike's TEMPLAR, AZ is another superb example of world-building. It has a rich cast of enjoyable characters, fun dialogue and a solid, crisp drawing style. On top of this, Spike is a wonderfully informative and thoroughly lovely individual.

Of course, the creators listed above already have established themselves with successful webcomics; and deservedly so. They do not need my endorsement. One could argue that each of them could easily be labeled under specific genres, but I believe that is incidental. Of the thousands of webcomics I have looked at, I have found less than a dozen that (in my mind) display a sliver of originality and craft. Sure, I enjoy junk-culture as much as anybody; but where do I find sustenance?

(Humbly, I offer my own efforts as nourishment for similar seekers.)

As always, I thank each of my readers. I am grateful for any and all response, and encourage you to write some in the Comments Section below.

For this week's post, I've squeezed out another sampling of Out-takes from The Squirrel Machine. Thay have a tendency to scatter the floor about my drawing table like hair scraps under a barber's chair.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 48

NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE HERE!

Page 48 : I used to have this dream as a child.

This coming weekend, I'm going to attend the New England Webcomics Weekend in Easthampton, MA. I hope to learn a few things about improving this site and increasing its pitiful traffic. Also, I'll get to meet some talented local cartoonists. Mayhap I'll see you there.

This week. for this blog, I've posted yet another cover for The Zeitgeist Gallery Monthly Calendar.


As always, I savor all comments, suggestions, praise and epithets. Feel free to write some below!

Monday, October 25, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 47

A NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE IS UP AND READY FOR READING

This page turned out better than expected, so I am happy. More similar pages are coming the next few weeks, filled with stuff that actually moves the plot forward!
The month of October has not been an easy one for me, with very little time for comics. I am glad it's nearly over. Things are changing at my day-job, so I am hoping this coming month I will be able to devote the necessary time to draw with the level of intensity that I require for quality and sanity.
Sometime before the end of the year, I hope to make some considerable improvements to the website. I am always open to suggestions and will be grateful to anyone who feels inclined to offer some in the Comments Section below.
In the meantime, here is another piece of wreckage from the halcyon days of the Zeitgeist Gallery:

Monday, October 18, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 46

LATEST PAGE OF ECTOPIARY IS READABLE HERE.

I try each week to think of some comment regarding each page of The Ectopiary graphic novel in progress. I will state that the last panel turned out cuter than intended. I think the page turned out alright. If I had more time, I may have tweaked some details to give it a greater sense of realism (inasmuch as I am able to render it.) I will mention that while drawing this page, I was listening to the fine music of Lau Nau, whose dreamy sound-makings I cannot recommend highly enough.
Whilst digging through my archives, I've unearthed this cover I drew for the monthly calendar of the Zeitgeist Gallery back in its heyday:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 45

LATEST PAGE OF ECTOPIARY IS HERE.

I rather like this page. I hope my readers feel the same. Bicycles are harder to draw than you would think.
Once again, I don't have any drawings ready to post for this little blog. Here, instead is a fine review of The Squirrel Machine from Fuel Your Illustration.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 44

Page 44 of Ectopiary is HERE.

Dale's statement in the first panel of this page echoes the sentiments of some readers of this comic. There she stands, complaining amidst lushly drawn foliage and painstakingly rendered background detail, and all I can think is "Ingrates, all!"
Still lacking for drawings to post on this blog, here is yet another song; a somewhat embarrassing cover (with screwed-up lyrics) of The Stones' 2000 Light Years. I have an affinity for cheap psychedelia.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED.


SQUIRREL MACHINE ORIGINAL ARTFriends, now is your opportunity to purchase your very own piece of The Squirrel Machine! Adorn your headquarters and personalized womb-rooms with a sampling of authentic puerile surrealist squeamery! Outstrange your friends with this dubious deviant dalliance of deftly drawn dibble dabbery! (Ignore feeble alliterations.) Placate your inner samaritan and consider your payment a donation to aid the frontline of the nouveau-obtuse! Use it to enhance your jealously-guarded hoard of unmentionable etchings or use it to wipe your hindquarters! Endless are the possibilities! DO NOT RESIST.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ectopiary, Page 43

CURRENT ECTOPIARY PAGE IS HERE.

Another fine page is up. I'm curious if people are enjoying this comic or not. If you have a moment, feel free to type in your complaints below.
I don't have any artwork ready to post for the blog this week, so instead I've decided to post yet another song. It's a little two-chord ditty with excessive over-dubbing: Little Brown Things

Sunday, September 19, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 42

NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE HERE

Despite its may flaws, I actually like page 42 of Ectopiary. I hope future pages will prove equally satisfying.
A head cold and household drama have rendered me too tired to type very much this week. My apologies.
Here is a really crappy poster I drew for The Bad Seed movie:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 41

NEWEST PAGE HERE

It's been a strange week here in Hawley, Massachusetts. Disregarding details of personal strife, I managed to finish my entry in the upcoming POOD #2. Other important clandestine projects are also in the works.
Exciting news for those who wish to read ECTOPIARY in danish! A new website, Serieland launched this past week and is rapidly posting translated pages of Ectopiary at a stunning rate! I recommend you check them out here: http://serieland.dk/category/comic/ectopiary/
Also, an astonishing new book made its debut at SPX this past weekend. THE SANTUARY by NATE NEAL. I am ill-equipped to cobble together the necessary words to induce you to rush out and buy this book.It really is a glorious thing and a stunning accomplishment. I urge you to read it now! http://natenealsanctuary.blogspot.com/

Sunday, September 5, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 40

LATEST ECTOPIARY PAGE HERE

It's been a full week of continuous drawing for the Ectopiary Website and cranking out a giant comic for the upcoming issue of POOD. I'm hoping the public will respond to these things graciously. Past experience has demonstrated that this rarely happens. Consequently, I tend to spend a lot of time hiding in my lair scribbling away in solitude. Here is a reasonably accurate depiction of my hovel rendered by my very talented friend, Kristina Dorn:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 39

ANOTHER PAGE OF COMICS IS HERE

I can only offer my apologies for another page of boring dialogue. The characters keep on yakking and not a single punch is thrown. I promise more violence in future pages.
In the meantime, here is an unexpected treat. A good friend brought this to my attention; A tattoo inspired by The Squirrel Machine graphic novel. I'm actually pretty impressed by it and this individual's other work which can be seen here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 38

NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE IS HERE

Intensifying drama on the current page. Maybe there'll be fisticuffs in the next installment!
I haven't much to say this week. Forgive my brevity. I'm drawing lots of things...
Here is the original color cover for Chrome Fetus #5. The first printing sold out rapidly at a zine fair. Unfortunately, my inside connection at Inko's got fired, so I couldn't scam any more free color xeroxes. Hence, all subsequent printings got a new B&W cover.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 37

CURRENT PAGE OF ECTOPIARY SHOULD BE READABLE HERE

Lots of dialogue in the next few pages. I wish it were less clunky. Hopefully, in the future I'll be able to write smoother, more natural conversations. My only defense is that New Englanders do talk in the same rigid, stilted fashion that my characters do. Maybe even more so.
In scrounging my archives, I've found this fun drawing "jam" between myself and Mazen Kerbaj, talented performer and cartoonist from Beirut.

Translation: What is Hans thinking about? "Professional secret."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 36

READ THE NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE HERE

The only remark I can think to make about the current page is that I'm very pleased with the feet in the first panel. Anyone who glances at my sketchbooks or the many pieces of paper about my headquarters will find an overabundance of sketches and doodles of feet in every possible angle. I've studied anatomy books, read numerous art books and done online research, but I can't seem successfully render good feet. The concept of how to draw them recognizably and effectively eludes me. It is only by accident when a decent pair manifests in my drawings. I'm happy to say this is one of them.
In celebration, I'm posting a teaser panel from an upcoming Cochlea & Eustachia strip for the next issue of POOD:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 35

THE NEWEST ECTOPIARY IS HERE.

Although I'm not into experimentation with form or distracting layouts, I try my best to make every page as interesting and dynamic as possible. I try keep the narrative clear, simple and straightforward; and it is evident that my compositional skills aren't always the best. I think this page is an example of one that "does its job." It acts as sort of a link between two (hopefully) interesting events.
It's pages like these that I'd like to improve on, as making these sort of transitional plot lags is a challenge unto themselves. Pages in which something "significant" happens are easy to plot out compositionally (although not necessarily easy to draw). Producing seamless progressions in the plot propulsion is high priority for me. Simultaneously, the look of the page must be as visually pleasing as the rest of the book. I have to confess, the current page kind of falls short of my own standards.
At this point, I do have admit that, yes, I do complain too much about the quality of my own work. I am aware that it is generally considered bad policy to publicly denigrate one's own artistic output. But I do hope that it is understood by my faithful, patient readers that ECTOPIARY is (to me) a worthwhile project that I very much believe in. It is a large book with an expansive scope that I plan on devoting many years to. I do not plan on churning out "crap", and I don't think this book falls into that category.
Forgive the rambling. I am an odd person with not much of a life, and little to fixate on.
This week, I am posting a sequel to my tribute to Hugo Baratta, a man who transferred his visions onto paper much more succinctly than I:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

ECTOPIARY. Page 34

A NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE IS NOW READY FOR READING HERE

The story of the book moves on, as does life for most of us.
Since moving to these rural climes, news often takes awhile to reach me. I learned only yesterday that a most unusual individual who I was proud to call a friend passed away on June 11. Hugo Baratta, as I remember him, was a slender, soft-spoken gentleman who would ride his bike into Leavitt & Pierce in Harvard Square (where I worked 2001 - 2006) and peddle his peculiar watercolor paintings; sometimes in exchange for a pack of smokes. His conversation was sometimes stilted and non-sequitorial, but always friendly, good-spirited and enjoyable. Those who've seen the video of me on YouTube will remember that I had quite amassed quite a collection (about 1/3 of which is visible in that particular document.) His paintings are pure, unpretentious, sometimes containing confounding symbolism. Some of the best examples are hidden away in storage at the moment, but I hope to locate them soon. I shall remember him dearly as kind-hearted soul with a beautiful smile, gentle manner and spirit. His obituary can be read here.





Sunday, July 18, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 33

LATEST ECTOPIARY PAGE READY TO READ HERE

Page 33 is an excellent metaphor for my ability to charm the ladies. You'd think I'd have learned by now.

Speaking of slow learning curves, here's pictorial essay titled WHY IT TAKES ME A WEEK TO DRAW A SINGLE COMIC PAGE:
A single panel can become a prolonged ordeal. An example is the one that follows. An ostensibly simple image: Dale and her uncle walking in single file down a hallway with some expository dialogue. This is the first penciled attempt. The figures are awkward, poorly balanced and out of proportion. They also seem to be floating above the floor that they're supposed to be walking on; that is, if I drew one.
Attempt number two: Dale's uncle looks okay. However, Dale looks more like a misshapen midget instead of a little girl. Also, I don't like the background.
I decide to draw each element separately. Here's a drawing of Dale that, although not stunning, is acceptable.
Then I proceed to pencil a new backdrop:
Here it is, in ink:
Next, I begin lavishing it with details that are inevitably going to be obstructed by characters and word balloons.
Having fun with scissors, glue, white-out and neurotic texturing. Here is the result. (Dialogue removed for this post.)

Monday, July 12, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 32

NEW ECTOPIARY PAGE CAN BE READ HERE!

Fluctuous internet connectivity delayed this week's post by a day. I'm hoping all enjoying Ectopiary's development. Please, if you will, click on the advertisements, if only to help support my own site.
Unfortunately, I have no penis drawings to post this week. Perhaps a forgotten Cochlea & Eustachia drawing from my archives will suffice as a remedial substitute?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ECTOPIARY, Page 31

LATEST ECTOPIARY PAGE VIEWABLE HERE.

I have now disrupted the harmonious layout of my website with Project Wonderful advertising. Nonetheless, I urge people to click on them and lend support to those who would support me!
This post was delayed a few hours due to my inability to locate a convenient public establishment with a WiFi connection. It seems they all closed today due to some kind of holiday. I'm not sure which one, but I'm sure it has nothing to do with me.
To continue the theme of last week's blog, I am now posting Further Adventures With My Penis. (Originally printed in TRUE PORN #1)