This weekend there will be a lot of neat goings-on for Minnesota comic book and cartoon fans.
For starters, the North Central Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society will be holding it’s annual get-together here in Minneapolis. As part of the event, NCS president and local illustrator Tom Richmond has put together a special event for the public on Friday, October 14. Things kick off at 6:30pm when cartoonist Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) will give a public lecture about his work. Then at 7:30pm there will be a panel discussion with Q&A featuring several professional cartoonists from around the Midwest. Both events will take place at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Auditorium 150.
Then on Saturday October 15, comic book creators and fans from all over the Midwest and beyond will be gathering at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for FallCon, Minnesota’s annual fall comic book convention. As usual I’ll have a table so stop by and say hi. The National Cartoonists Society will also have a table so you’ll have a rare opportunity to meet several professional cartoonists from around the region.
Finally, while you’re at FallCon MAD Magazine’s Tom Richmond will be selling copies of his brand new book The MAD Art of Caricature, hot off the presses. My copy hasn’t arrived in the mail yet but from everything I’ve seen it looks like it will be one very thorough, very helpful book. Tom’s been leaking snippets here and there on his blog, and you can tell from the above video that it’s no lightweight volume. There’s a zillion “how to draw” books out there, thankfully it looks like this one will rise well above the norm. Tom has a reputation for not cutting corners and this looks like a top-notch effort. If you can’t make it to FallCon you can order copies of the book here.
As a freelance toy designer this looks fascinating to me. It’s a trailer for Toy Masters, an upcoming documentary about a long-running dispute over who should get the credit for creating He-Man and the whole Masters Of The Universe juggernaut. It’s clearly a low-budget effort but judging from the trailer there will be a good mixture of conflict, nostalgia, and insights about the toy biz. More than enough to hold my interest.
This rough sketch actually represents two new things for me: First, I’ve joined Ustream and have my own channel which I’m calling “SketchyCam Live!”. I started this drawing during tonight’s inaugural broadcast. I’m still experimenting with Ustream so it’s nothing fancy. Just me turning on the camera whenever the mood strikes, which hopefully will be at least once a week. There are still a lot of kinks to work out (audio problems for one) and I don’t have a formal schedule. But if you follow my studio on Facebook or Twitter you’ll see me announce whenever I’m flipping the camera on. Feel free to tune in and join the chat while I sketch.
Second, I thought I’d use this sketch to try a new coloring technique. Instead of going straight to color I painted the whole thing in grayscale and then laid some light color washes over the top. It’s an old painting technique that goes back hundreds of years but one that I haven’t dabbled in since college. One advantage of this method is that its much easier to figure out your value range (lights and darks) without color getting in the way. The danger is that either the colors will get muddy if you lay them in too lightly, or if you lay them in to opaquely they’ll completely obliterate the value scheme underneath. I’m sure there’s a way to avoid both problems in Photoshop which I just haven’t figured out yet. Either way its just refreshing to do something painterly for a change.
It’s been a while since I last visited the enormous pop culture carnival known as Comic-Con. I can’t wait!. But before I fly out to San Diego I’ll be spending a few vacation days with my family at a cabin in northern Minnesota. I’m combining both into one long trip which means I’ll be out of the studio from July 16-25.
I won’t have a table or booth at Comic-Con. Instead I’ll be roaming the massive show floor, thumbing through all the inspirational sketchbooks, connecting with friends and colleagues, taking in a few panels, and just swimming around in all that creative energy.
This year Comic-Con will also have a little competition. Across the street from the convention center another event will be going on called Tr!ckster. As I understand it, the idea behind Tr!ckster is to create a souped-up “artist’s alley” geared more towards professional (and aspiring) artists and storytellers as opposed to the general public. There will be a retail space, a gallery, a couple of sketching parties, animation screenings, workshops, signings, and a series of symposiums on comics and storytelling. Admission is free but you must purchase tickets to the symposiums. It’s too early to say for sure but at first glance it looks like the organizers have put together a real quality event. I’m bought tickets to a few of the symposiums and am really looking forward to them.
If you are a professional animation or comic book artists and will have a booth or table at the ‘Con, be sure to leave your info, table number and/or a link to your info in the comments so I can stop by and say hi (and also to promote your stuff to my other blog readers). See you in San Diego!
This weekend (May 21-22) the MCBA is hosting its annual SpringCon comic book convention at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I’ll have a table where I’ll be kicking back with my sketchbook and chatting it up with some of the other local artists. Stop on by and say hi. More info at the MCBA website.
I’ve got a pretty large collection of art books in my studio library. Too many in fact. They’re nice to have and inspiring to look at but the reality is there’s a large chunk of them that I never, ever pull off the shelf and thumb through. So I’ve decided its time to start selling a few.
I’m starting with some of the more expensive ones but plan to add more modestly priced books the near future. You can view a live update of everything I have available on my Amazon.com storefront: http://www.amazon.com/shops/cedricstudio
I’ve tried to undercut other Amazon sellers whenever possible. If I’ve got a like-new copy I’m not going to sell it for cheaper than someone selling a raggedy book full of highlighting and coffee stains. But within reason I’m willing to be the lowest price. For the moment at least buying from me will get you the best deal (though you can check for sure by clicking on the item and looking at the various “Used and New” offers). Current titles include:
To Infinity and Beyond! The Story of Pixar Animation Studios
Paper Dreams: The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards
Rockwell On Rockwell: How I Make A Picture by Norman Rockwell
Don Bluth’s Art Of Storyboard
MAD’s Greatest Artists: The Completely Mad Don Martin (2 Volume Set)
Puss N Boots (illustrated by Andreas Deja, signed limited edition)
Peter Pan Sketchbook (Walt Disney Sketchbook Series, limited edition)
Little Mermaid Sketchbook (Walt Disney Sketchbook Series, limited edition)
Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation
The Art of Monster’s Inc.
Rough Beasts 1 (sketchbook of Bill Halliar)
The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age
Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
Modern Masters Vol. 1: Alan Davis
Modern Masters Vol. 6: Arthur Adams
Leonard Maltin’s Animation Favorites from the National Film Board of Canada (DVD)
Out of the Picture: Art from the Outside Looking In by Chris Wedge
Amistad: A Celebration of the Film
I won’t be updating the above list on this blog but if you just visit my storefront you can see the most up-to-date list of what I have for sale. Most books are in very good condition but if not I’ve noted any tears, underlining, etc. in the product descriptions. If you decide to buy one, I hope you enjoy reading it. I can tell you from personal experience that just leaving it on the shelf to soak in through osmosis doesn’t work very well.
Not just one but three deadlines today (!) necessitating that I wake up at 3am to meet them all. To get the juices flowing I banged out this warm-up sketch of Jeff Bridges ala Rooster Cogburn in True Grit. Easily one of the best movies I’ve seen in recent memory. If you haven’t seen it yet Google your local discount theater. Chances are good you can still catch a screening at a cheap price. I finally saw Grit last weekend for only $3. As a bonus the theater was packed which made the experience even more enjoyable. People tend to laugh and scream and ooh and aah a bit more when it’s a full house.
Here’s the clip from which I made the above sketch. Try to ignore the YouTube ads that pop up (don’t you just hate those?):
Last night I was laying in bed working through another bout of insomnia. Guess I was still pretty excited about Sketchbook Month. Anyway, I started thinking about caffeine and coffee beans…and then I thought, “If I was a coffee bean I’d probably never get *any* sleep.” Hence today’s Sketchbook Month entry (well, it was funny at 1:00 AM)…
Wow, I am totally overwhelmed by the response this little idea of mine is getting. I decided to declare March to be Sketchbook Month. I’ve committed to sketching something in my sketchbook every weekday in March and posting it on my blog. A lot of my artist friends liked the idea and have decided to join in. The first day of Sketchbook Month isn’t even over yet and already about a dozen talented artists have sent me their first sketches, with many more expressing a desire to contribute.
In order to keep things manageable I’ve decided to give Sketchbook Month it’s very own blog:
Anyone can take part as long as you commit to creating at least one new sketch every weekday during the month of March (yup, you can have weekends off or use that time to make up for missed sketches during the week). You can jump in at any time but everything shuts down after March 31 so the sooner you get on board the better.
To join simply post your first sketch online (i.e. your blog, flickr page, etc.) and then email the link to email@example.com. Every day or two I’ll update the Sketchbook Month blog with everyone’s new artwork along with a link back to your page. Unfortunately I won’t have time to check in on everyone to see if you’ve posted anything new so each time you post new artwork you’ll have to email me again. Otherwise your work won’t make it onto the blog.
More rules and info are posted on the Sketchbook Month blog. It’s still “under construction” with tweaks being made but the basic info and first few sketches have already gone live. There’s even an RSS feed if you’d like to follow the blog that way.