Upcoming Events for Twin Cities Cartoonists

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.

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Who Really Created He-Man?

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.

I’m On USTREAM

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.

See You At Comic-Con (And Tr!ckster)

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!

Book Sale

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.

Happy shopping!

Sketchbook Month: Day 25

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?):