Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sneak peak At OUWANGALAYMAH! part 2

2010, Well. What will this year bring. Better yet, What will I bring to this new year.
For sure I will finnish Ouwangalaymah! all four issues and at the end, a compilation of the work for my first completed Graphic Novel for all ages. Here is a sneak peak at Issue #2 which I hope to finnish ASAP.

If 2010 is to be the year for me to break away from the day job at LOWE'S and enable myself to work full time in my creative endeavors, then I need to get busy. Its almost midnight! The new year is upon us! WHAT ARE WE WAITNG FOR! GET DRAWING!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Good night! Did he die or somthin?

Well it has been a while since my last post. Much has happened. And though the worst of it is over, I still have to collect my thoughts. Ever since going totally digital, I've been reveling in the positives of this new medium. New to me that is, and I really haven't given much thought to the downsides. Having come perilously close to losing a years worth of work, the down side has loomed over me as big as an elephants backside. Have I made the right choice in mediums?
It is frightening to realize that all the work and time one has put into a project could so easily and preeminently vaporize. No. Not even that, because a vapor has substance. Total oblivion. Gone. Wooosh!
Think of all that exists on the web. Gone with the simple pulling of a plug.
At any rate we press on. Having chosen a course we must stick to it if we are to ever get anywhere. So, I would like to announce that the first issue of OUWANGALAYMAH! is done!
Submitted to for printing, I await the first hard copy. revisions I'm sure will come, but at least I am one step closer to pulling something more permanent out of the either.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

EFII Response; Working outside your chosen medium

My name is Samuel Kirkman. I’m 47 years old, husband of one beautiful woman and father of two incredible boys. In collage, I studied fine art and was perusing a degree in Studio Art. Life happened and I dropped out, having become disillusioned with the fine art world. Since then I've worked in small market television stations as an audio operator, as a self employed Janitor, and for the last 13 years as a Nursery Sales Specialist for a home improvement center (LOWES). While paying the mortgage and doing the responsible thing, I've desperately tried to keep alive the creative being inside me. As a janitor I'd vacuum Patterns into the carpet, I saw intriguing shapes in the wet splotches on the floors as I mopped, and now I find myself surrounded by all sorts of materials that inspire my creativity.

Most recently I've been hammering away at an idea involving travertine tile, and my new found love for sequential art. Ever tried drawing with a Grinder? When it comes together I'll post the results, but for now, here are a few, "Out side" my usual medium examples.I hope you enjoy them!

This piece is Stained Glass entitled, "TRUST". It is a visual commentary on the abuse of children at the hands of the clergy.


Yes I've even worked in Seaweed. Dried of course.

And my most recent affliction, Digital media in the production of my Graphic Novels for all ages, "OUWANGALAYMAH! The Tail of The Name Of The Tree" and "GREW" both of which are presented on my web site while in production. I hope to have Ouwanaga #1 finished and printed for Wondercon in San Francisco this next april.

There are wonderful things happening on line. Not the least of which is the site

Thomas James, a working illustrator him self is really rocking the creative podcast world with his in-depth and very well produced podcast interviews with seasoned professionals.

His latest interview with graphic artist Stephan Bucher Is a great listen and spurred this post.

the community growing around Thomas's podcasts & Site is exciting and I encourage everyone to become a part of the EFII community.

Thank you Thomas for all the hard work you are doing to build such a stimulating, diverse, and talented group of people. Yea Escapees!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Kernel Panic!!!! I just learned, almost the hard way, what a Kernel Panic is. It's what you don't want to happen before you've backed up all your work! And folks, DO IT! DO IT NOW before you do anything else. The Mac has been acting up lately. Painter closing up on me right in the middle of a brush stroke, Trouble pulling up the internet, Things like that. Bought an external Hard drive Monday & backed evrything up that night. THANK GOODNESS! because tuesday morning it was KERNAL PANIC! Any way, Long story short, BACK UP YOUR INFO!
Thanks to Fellow Twitterer Ryan Anthony Davis @radillustrator on twitter he shared this link to an online back up service you might want to look into. Any way, anyhow just do it!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First illustration Friday post! Frzen

FROZEN with Fear, the elephant shivered & Shrieked!
Just wanted to do a loose, open sketch.
Nevr posted to IF yet so thought I would.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thumb nails so far

Before I go any further with Ouwangalaymah, I'm putting everything that I've done so far, down in thumb nail form. I don't know why I have such a hard time doing thumbs, but after all the help I've received through the podcasts I listen to, (Big Illustration Party Time, Chris Oatley's Artcast, Ninja Mountain, Art & Story, Escape from Illustration Island, and the process Diary. all of which you can subscribe to for free through Itunes) I realize the importance of it.
Seeing it this way helps me see just how much work I've done so far. I can get a feel for the visual flow and rhythm as well. I hope this is good for a working stiff with a full time grunt job a Home Improvement Center. The more I get done, the more encouraged I become. I got started on this version of the story right after Comic Con. So what you see represents about two and a half months part time work.
It's meant getting up at 5:30 AM on my days off (That's sleeping in! I'm up by 4:30 usually to go to work at 6:00) and plugging away at it. I can get quite a bit of work done before the family gets up. And then getting as much done as I can when I get home from work. That is as long as I'm not totally wasted from the day job. I am so grateful to my family for being so understanding and supportive during this initial transition stage in what I do. One day, I hope to be with them all day as I continue to develop my intellectual properties at home, free from the shackles of the day job. I guess that's a testament to finding what one really loves to do and sticking with it no matter what. I am sharing all this in the hopes that it will encourage someone else like myself to stick with it! With what ever you do. With what ever it is that gets you out of bed in the morning. Keep plugging away at it and in doing so, trust that you will succeed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Working in layers and the life of Trees

I wonder if anyone other than our fellow artists realize the time spent on bringing what we do to life. In an effort to save some of the time I need to devote to other things I've begun braving the pencilless sketch. Well not completely. My first Initial work up is with the pencil tool in painter with a medium grey tone that I then go over with the scratch board tool in black. Bypassing the pencil to paper, then scanning it in saves a lot of time.

My inking can take a few hours to a few days worth of noodling on it. I probably Spent a total of 12 hours inking this tree for OUWANGALAYMAH! My goal is to develop a few deeply detailed views of the tree to use in bits & pieces throughout the different scenes in which it is involved.
I then lift the layer to a watercolor layer and play with shadows using the oil pastel tool with a med grey. this is just to get an idea of what I want to do with form. Just a quick rough in really.

Then a quick test of color. Since the first scene in which the tree really makes an appearance is
at twilight, I've given my self quite a challenge, so again this is just to get an idea of what it will look like, not a finished piece by no means, but just a color test. I'm finding that the more I save each stage of development, I can make adjustments much more easily. But because of this, I sense an external hard drive in my very near future. Any way, More reasons to love digital media. It saves so much time over the struggles I have with physical media.
More Later! Thanks again for having a look!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

found a new source of inspiration!


Just to show the benefit of Twittering, from a tweet by the great Bobby Chiu I found chris Oatley's site. what a great source of information and experience! I like to listen to something as I'm scribbling along, and so when I come across these podcasts by artists in the biz I like to glean what I can from what they've shared. So just passing along a like to Chris's site and hoping you find his podcasts as helpful as I am!

Be sure to check out all he's got available there on his site. great links as well to others with the same sharing outlook.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What the world needs.

Some times it's a kick in the pants. Sometimes it's an act of kindness, so seldom seen.
And Sometimes, an act of kindness is what it takes to get a needed kick in your pants.
Thanks to my fellow Blogerian Cynthia Narsisi.

For almost a year now, Cynthia has been a tireless Cheerleader, urging me on to accomplish my dreams of telling stories to everyone who'll listen. She blew me away today with an out of the blue blog post about yours truly! I can't believe! Wow! and then I figure she must have been at a loss for something to post about. :o)
But truthfully, I am so stunned and Honored! And so from this kind deed, I was Spurred to spruce up the ole Web site, and share Ouwangalaymah! The Graphic Novel (So far) with the world. Just when you start thinking, nobody is listening a ray of sunshine enters the window.
And along with this most unexpected boost to the morale I have to thank Aja Wells who is also assisting me with her perspective on the stories. How does anybody do this in the dark?
I can't imagine trying to forge ahead without the support of my friends in our Lil critique group. Thank all of you for being who you are!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Continuing the New look of Ouwangalaymah!

I hope to be able to work faster as I refine my process, but I'm encouraged by what I'm getting so far. I've had a very rough week on the day job. I believe FIRMLY on sticking it out, don't quit it until you can safely break free, especially if you have a family. But some times the stress can be so great that your health my be in danger. Be wise, get a check up, and if it gets too bad get a new day job. Or go part time if you can. At any rate, work smart! I'll be posting an interview with David Petersen soon so be sure to check back later this week!

Monday, August 10, 2009

WOW a Scribbler! thanks penny!

Penny Webber just gave me a scribbler! thanks Penny.
I'm not sure what this means, but It's nice to be thought of. Thanks again Penny! your awesome!

Here's the rules for the award- Each Superior Scribbler must, in turn, pass the Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy buds.Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, andlink to this post, which explains The Award.Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the
Mr. Linky Listat the Scholastic-Scribe's blog. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives this prestigious honor!Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Silly things and why we do them.

How do we become storytellers and why?
It all begins with being a little listener. When we were
young, we would hang on every word that followed,
"Once upon a time..." We loved the story so much
that we would make it our own, and tell it to any who
would listen, and many who wouldn't. You keep doing
that long enough, and Poof!
you become a story teller. The secret is...
Never grow up! Never let go of the felling of wonder. Let
yourself be carried away to a Himalayan mountain top where
the Yeti cries. Fly with a caped crusader as he vanquishes the
forces of evil. Take a dare and walk the ridge of a roof top.
From a galaxy far, far away... To seek out new life
and new civilizations... where ever the story goes, you go.
Then write it all down and share it with the world.
Can you imagine a world with out stories?
A world where the wonder has gone?
Shudder to think of it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hopping back and forth.

After the Con I'm so fired up that I just cant stand it! There isn't enough time during the day, nor patience in my psyche to bare the things that keep me from my craft. Yet, duty calls.
I've penciled eight pages, finished two and inked one and a half this past week. How fast you work depends on many things I guess, but no matter how much I accomplish it just doesn't seem like it's ever enough. My impatience is showing again, but with the help of my critique group I'm learning to organize what I accomplish much more effectively. I will completely finnish inking OUWANGALAYMAH! before I start painting it. This is almost sure to alleviate the problems plaguing GREW. If anyone has any other suggestions or experience in accomplishing the most with the least amount of time please share.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The results are in!

I've renamed the event. It is now and forever to be know as exhausti-con.
157,000 people shoulder to shoulder for four & a half days.
SO much to share so I'll try to boil it down.
David Peterson... Winner! He is very serious and I felt that his input on my work was sincere and honest. He didn't want to just give kudos, but knew I wanted something to chew on. I'm so glad I showed it to him before approaching publishers. In the not so back of my mind I knew my putting the cart before the horse was showing and he saw it. He thought my line was very strong, and that juxtaposing it against the tooled photos that I've done was jarring. He is so right. I was trying to cut corners, hating to draw buildings as I do. He saw the stretched photo elements in the dinner scene "It distracts from your work," so he suggested light boxing it to get my line into all the elements to unify the work. He mentioned the nuts & bolts of my presentation. Make sure the gutters & margin are uniform, make sure the text is a uniform size throughout from page to page. He mentioned that the digital mottling in my text boxes was a little over done. tone it down. Something he said made me feel that there may be some prejudice against digital paint."Nice digital painting." was like saying, "Nice toupee." I wonder how wide spread that feeling is among the pros. although all his coloring is done digitally, he said, "I try to make it look like physical media," and so I see that as the golden standard. Make it look true.
in spite of all the work that needs to be done he said he thought that I was "further along than most," which really made my day.

Mark McDonell was of coarse his wonderful encouraging self. He loved the sketch book Jill made for him.
He went through my portfolio & gave me some really good pointers. label each page, what it's from, which page its from. He is such a great guy. And Lill crit group don't worry, he said he's got some more really detailed critiques ready & will be sharing them soon.
Got great feed back from Andy Schmidt a senior editor with IDW publishing. He was part of a great panel discussion on how to write Graphic Novels. I picked up his book at their booth and Highly recommend it. The first impression he had was that it was something new to the table which he said was very important. He said that it was a nice presentation overall and thought it vert imaginative.

Spoke with Phil Foglio of Girl Genius. He did say nice art. I handed him a GNN card and asked him for an interview in the future & tried to explain the group. He asked me "What's in it for you?" and his skepticism kind of put me off. I said, "Input and encouragement for my own work." and kind of left it at that. We'll see. Some people must have had bad experiences.

Saw Jeff Smith demonstrate how he works and found out why I see so many blue penciled sketches. after inking, when it's scanned in or photographed, the blue drops out. no need to erase the sketch. Perty Cool!

Placed some cards I made up on the free swag table & they were all gone by the next day!

Left a stack of GNN invite cards with Doug Neff Of Toucan Publishing. He gives a really good program about motivation for creative types. Maybe some picked them up & we'll hear from them. I hope so.

Last, probably the most encouraging thing after a panel on thursday. A twelve year old boy got up before a group of distinguished veterans and asked a very mature question. "Sometimes when I'm working on a book I kind of loose interest. I'll go on to something else and try to come back to it later, but I can't seem to finnish anything, How do I break through that barrier"
I was so impressed that some one so young was so serious about his craft. and too, how universal our creative struggles can be. I got the same problem. :o) After the panel I approached his mother and asked if it was alright for me to invite him to join our group. When I handed him the card and one of my Grew character cards, his face lit up so bright. That made my convention. If for no other reason than to know I've encouraged a bright young mind, the whole trip was worth it! I do hope he emails me for am invite.

I've decided to put GREW up for a little while so I can develop OWANGALAYMAH! into a graphic Novel for Kids. It's a need to fill and the story is finished and sound. So With San Diego in the rearview mirror and Wondercon Before me in February, my goals are set. Nose to the Drawing board!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Comic-con 2009 Here I Come!

Well we've come to the moment of truth. Will Comic-con Be all I hope it will be?
If there is one thing I've learned over these past few months of podcasts & blog surfing is that it is all up to me. I'n not going to expect anything to be handed to me, I'm not going to panic & freeze, Not going to loose my confidence. I don't know exactly what will happen but rest assured I will make something happen! More after the con!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Suffering the day job. The importance of keeping a journal

The Summer of my junior year in high school, I was blessed with the privilege of taking a school sponsored trip through Europe. Today, my mother sent in the post this journal that I kept. I had no recollection of doing so! Silly sketches that I had done on site, Buckingham Palace, Notre Dame, The Hay Market in Florence... I cant wait to read it! I am surprised at how much I wrote! Just reading the first few passages brought so many details to life again after having slept for over thirty years! It brought to mind the importance of our keeping journals & sketchbooks, not only as chronicles of our lives, but source materials and measures of how far we've come as artists.

I've also taken to heart the advice from all that I have interviewed, follow on twitter & Facebook & bloger, and that is to always Have a sketchbook handy. And through this I've come to terms with the Day job. Everyone out there who, because of the structure of this world, find them selves tied to the Life wasting grind stone. Paying mortgages and bills but not feeling uplifted or inspired, Listen... Every moment of your life is a moment spent. You wont ever get it back, so spend it well. I'll spend two or three hours watering trees & plants & pots, stocking shelves and taking inventories. I'll be interrupted continuously in the process by customers needs and wants. I'll spend four hours on a forklift loading stone or soil or mulch. If I forget what these moments mean, What they cost, I run the risk of wasting those moments. So creatively speaking, I use this time to take a journey through the worlds I'm trying to invent. I give birth to scenes and plot elements, I flesh out the characters, give them form, substance, and a face. I have eureka moments where I have to stop and make a sketch or jot down a few notes. When I think I just can't take it anymore, I remember that I am the master of my attitude. If I think negatively Thats exactly what my day will be. Negative. And it is sometimes, but really its my fault for not thinking clearly, positively. So I will not give up, I will not give in.
And one day the world will come to know just how worlds are formed. In those moments of time we could otherwise waste as failure fodder.
Keep it real, Keep it alive, and KEEP A SKETCH BOOK!
and in the mean time... Keep the day job.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Now that's what I call ART!

I'm such a proud Papa! It is so important to involve our little ones in the arts as early as posable, and see in them the potential for greatness. We spend our lives as adult artists fighting to develop our technique, our style, our vision. But what we need most is to remember the fun, the wonder, the joy of it all. Picasso found it. I think thats why he lived so long.

James is four years old. NO. I'm not saying this is genius! I'm not running out to contact a gallery & promote my son as the next visual arts prodigy. I just love watching him create things.
Fresno Fine Arts had a family day at the museum on Saturday. We eased our way through the quiet and unfortunately empty galleries. We Oood and Ahh-d at the beauty hung there, and tried to see what the artist saw. and then it was time for a little hands on. James is as left handed as his daddy. I marveled at the way he meticulously chose his color and brush and slowly & deliberately executed this piece. Most kids his age make a muddy mess. A lot pay no attention to staying in the lines of a coloring book, yet my little guy shows a propensity for the arts that I remember having myself early on. I couldn't be prouder.

My Minnie Me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stephan Silver

My video podcast with Stephan Silver is posted on my site and ready for viewing. I have decided that any future interviews that I do will be in support of a new group that wish to form for Graphic Novelists. I will be browsing the web on the lookout for individuals that I think will benefit from from such a group, and from whom I think I can trust to help myself grow as an artist. If you are reading this and you are seriously interested in developing a Graphic Novel, drop me an email with a link to examples of your work so I can review it for consideration.
Meanwhile, please enjoy this sneak peek at July's Podcast interview with Stephan Silver,
Force of Nature.

What comes playing around. We learn.

I have been really concentrating on sketching more, always carrying around a pen or pencil and anything to draw on. I sat down a few days ago and gave birth to several Sketches.
I was trying to ink with the classic india and pen. I just couldn't get the control I was after.
So I sat down at the Wacom, and with the scratch pen brush went after my first sketch of the wife. Loved the way this turned out, and may play around with doing a few line pieces. My reading BONE may have something to do with that. Jeff Smith is a genius.

Now that she is finished I feel a renewed confidence that I can truly figure this thing out.
It is amazing How comfortable I feel in the midst of such chaos. The way I am working is so completely unorthodox. I truly try to write the story down, but until I see the new scene visualized, my mind won't budge. It's like watching a movie in slow motion. I have to see it in order to bring it into being.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I need Character!

I've been working on GREW pretty intensively since March. Two & a half months into it and I realize that I have to bring more character interaction, dialog ,and Drama into it. Shan Tan spent four years of his life on The Arrival and It shows. Realizing that I'm only two months into this makes me feel better. I want to rush myself, make it happen NOW! Trouble is what ever gets rushed usually looks it.
So why do quick one minute or faster character sketches? Well... the reason is to catch a moment of time. a whiff of inspiration and go with it. I'll spend MUCH time refining them in Painter later, right now they've got to breathe, "let us out!" they shout!

We'll see what comes.