Saturday, October 8, 2011

The K-Jewel Show was a BLAST!

I can't thank Karl Kallmann enough for the invitation which came, about a year ago, to be in this past weeks art hop gallery show at the K-Jewel studios in down town Fresno. This was my first show ever, and I am flabbergasted at the response to my work! What have I been waiting on? As a creative person who longs to actually be an artist for a living, there is a rational fear, an apprehension, that your work my not hit the mark with a viewing audience. That your hopes will be dashed, that you dreams will be squelched. We perhaps place too much of our worth as an individual in the validation of our work. That fear of failure perhaps is what has stymied me all these years. But for what ever reason, I am finally out of the creative closet!    
When Karl emailed me and asked if I'd seen the Fresno Bee yet I was absolutely blown away! My piece made it on to the front page of the life section with a header piece on the front page!  Totally unexpected! Thursday night, a couple who attended the opening told me that they came because of the article, specifically to see that piece. Boy did that make my evening! I've also been contacted by others interested in acquiring a print based on the news paper article.

  And MAN was the show busy! I regretfully, had never attended an Art hop in Down town Fresno and had no idea what to expect. It was so stimulating to see so many people take an interest in my work. and meeting the other artists was just incredible! 10 years ago when we first moved out here to the west coast, I found the work of Leonard Filgate   in one of the many galleries along the central coast.
       His warm and whimsical Characters from the Children's book series Rip Squeak, written by his charming wife susan, simply captivated me. We purchased a copy online for our son, never dreaming that one day we would be able to have them both sign it. And the thought of my work being hung in a gallery with his... I think 9 is the number of the cloud I'm on! I also had the pleasure of meeting Doug Hansen    a Wonderful illustrator and an instructor at Fresno State University.
We had the BEST conversation! Never let it be underestimated that when two creative minds start talking, the world can indeed be changed! We is sure feel like it can, and He has invited me to come speak to his class in November! I think I can help most by presenting my story as a "Why it is important to have direction early in your life" kind of way. If just one of his students can avoid the pitfalls of retail I will have won the world! I've got so much that I want to share with them.
And I also had the wonderful pleasure of chatting with Kathryn Pendroza  
a remarkable illustrator. She is a friendly, warm and open person. We talked about the SCBWI and critique groups, universal  travails of life as a creative and again, just so wonderful to be around like minded and friendly people.
I hope that this isn't my first and LAST gallery show. I so want to do this again, but even still, just having discovered a facet of my community that I never knew to be a vibrant as it is is such a win for me and my family. Thank you Karl Kallmann and the K-Jewel staff for being the gem you are in the cultural crown of our community.   

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

the APE experiance

This past weekend, I had one of the best art times in my life. Not because we sold out of books, because we didn't, and not because we all ended up with publishing contracts because we didn't. But we did revel in each others company. As artists, we struggle with balancing our passions as we speak with others. In the end, our friends and families, although supportive, lack the depth of interest in what we love to talk about, and after the fiftieth time we share our work with them they get a little bored with us. Getting with fellow artists and WoW! We just can't stop talking! We see things through similar filters and feel things in similar ways. That's the number one take away from this weekend for me.
We really didn't do half bad when it came to sales, yet in the long run, we're simply hoping for a self sustaining venture at present. Self publishing events are showing up all over the place, and as they do, our chances of this becoming something more improve dramatically.

Thank you again;

Charlotte Cheng  Denver Wagner       and Michelle Kondrich  for being so AWESOME to hang with!

We will have to do it again!


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DARK MISCHIEF Kickstarter campaign

Well, it is official. The Kickstarter campaign is open for pledges!  
My story, Two White Horses was accepted for inclusion in this anthology of dark tales. I'm hoping mostly playful or low impact, haven't seen much of the other stories yet, but the artists involved in this project are simply AWESOME! I'm so excited to have my work along side theirs! Dani Jones, Kim Holm, Sarah Turner, Mark Rudolph, AP (Tony) Fortado, Mich Byrd, Dave Flora, Dirk Manning, Cayetano Garza Jr.,  Pam Harrison, Wane Spencer, Kenny Durkin, Thomas Florimante Jr., Jenni and Barry Gregory,
Even though this is a step beyond where I usually tread, I have high hopes that it will bring me one step closer to being a full time story teller. Getting in on this Kickstarter campaign is one way that you could help. Jenni has put together some awesome incentives. Take a look and see if any might appeal to you. Just contributing a dollar will put your name in the book as a contributor, and if the word is spread by everyone and we meet our funding goals, all of the contributing artists will receive payment for our efforts! I MIGHT REALLY GET PAID! YEA!!! Just being part of this project is cool enough, but man, a bit a moola would be nice too. One thing that is great about contributing to projects like this is that all creators retain 100% of their rights and can do what ever they wish with their stories.  Two White Horses will be available as a 20 page standard comic soon as well, and as a Digital down load from the new Indiplanet Digital site.
Thank you in advance for any support that you can share and I hope that you will enjoy the stories in Dark Mischief               

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Preparation for a busy month

Well, Here comes October!
Every year for the last, oh, I don't know, SEVERAL years, I've been saying I'm gonna leave the Day job buy October. We I can't say with any certainty that that will be so, but I am about to take a couple of major steps in a direction that may make all my Artin around more legitimate. Hopefully profitable.
fist, I hit my goal and then some in finishing my 20 pager for Jenni Gregory's Dark Mischief   Two White Horses, (my contribution to this anthology) marks a mile stone for me personally. Stepped way out of my comfort zone and I think I think of all my books this one will attract a much wider audience.
Second, APE the Alternative Press Exposition is this next weekend.  I will be tabling with Denver Wagner, Michelle Kondrich an Charlotte Cheng   I'm hoping for a BIG weekend of connections and fun interacting with folks who come to the show.
and Thirdly, on October 6th I have my first Gallery Show ever. Here in downtown Fresno, at the K-Jewel Gallery I'm very excited. I thought that I would be nervous, but I'm really not! I feel like it's just time. Time I started to let people see what I've been trying to do in ernest since 2005. Here are the pieces I'm putting in;    
Trust is like my Masterpiece. the Show is for illustrators, but I hope to demonstrate that the visual artist should not be limited by an imposition of labels. We do think deeply about our contributions. they are quite personal and hopefully thought provoking. I slip it in to the category of editorial illustration, but it is to me a work of fine art.
And other pieces will include;
The Mayor's Wife
the final page of For the Public Good.
I had a large print made through Zazzle 24x36
plus My KnickKnack the Kat story all framed in sequence.
It's really hard to decided which pieces to include. I might try to work in a couple of the Priest from GREW, but at any rate, being my first show I can't wait to see how my work is received. I do hope that this last big push to get my work out there is met with a positive response. Either way I plan to learn as much as I can from the experience and grow from there.  



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

There's a new podcast in town!

Just a short note. The Illopond Creative Collective has put together a new podcast for all you creative types to stick in your ear while you work.

On our first episode we have interviews with two of our ponders, Denver Wagner 
and Paul Cageggi of the Process Diary   and his web comic Pandiea 
and a very special guest, Eisner award winning author/artist
I'm really proud of how it turned out and I hope that you will help spread the word about the show.
If you get a chance to listen, please leave us a comment! I'd love to hear what you think.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

What I've been working on

September comes, and I'm sure will go with head spinning swiftness. Not only do I have my first Gallery show coming up the first week of October, the 6th to be exact, But October 1st is my deadline for my newest graphic short story. it is called Two White Horses. This is derived from what I believe to be an old Appalachian folk tale. Years ago when in I was in collage at UT Austin, I caught a PBS special, Storytellers. On that show was the most captivating storyteller I had ever heard. Her name was Jackie Torrance.   this is 26+ years ago! The story she told has been with me ever since. I've wanted to put this story into comic form for some time but was waiting for my abilities to grow to do it justice. The opportunity came for me to put this to pen only a few weeks ago.  I hope that it will be included in an anthology that Barry and Jenni Gregory of Ka-Blam!    are putting together called Dark Mischief. The other artists on this book are SO incredible! Among them Dani Jones, Mark Rudolph, Kim Holm, Mitch Byrd AP Futado, Dave Flora, I mean really exceptional talent. I am so flattered to be included, and hopefully this story will be. Not only that, but APE is on the 1st & 2nd og Oct. AHHH! anyway, like I say September is going to fly by and when it has I hope to be in a better place in my professional Art carrier. Here are the first 10 pages of Two White Horses to Whet your appetite for what i hope will be one of my best works yet.

To get the rest of the story, be sure to watch for the availability of Dark Mischief, soon from  
I hope it makes it in and even if it doesn't, I'm a thinking I will make it available other wise. Thanks for having a look! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Importance Of Empathy In The Life & Work Of An Artist.

As a boy, the episode of Star Trek; "The Empath" (pictured above,) made a deep impression on my way of thinking. It has always been one of my favorite episodes because of what it helped me to realize. Empathy is the capacity, the quality, the ability that makes us most human. With out it we are selfish beasts, capable of the most egregious and inhuman acts. The thing about empathy is that it is sadly, such a fleeting quality. I think because it costs us so much. To take the pain of another into our own heart hurts us, and since we naturally avoid pain it takes a self sacrificing, conscious effort to do so.
Artists, like everyone, need to cultivate this quality. We need to feel what our characters feel. We need to anticipate what our audiences will perceive, and we need to deepen our appreciation for those willing to take the journey with us. If we care about our audience we will make every effort to bring to them something of an emotional value.  We must be willing to give of ourselves. Just a thought I wanted  share.                         

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What is a "MASTERPIECE", What is ART?

 The art that I am drawn too shows a high regard for the fundamentals. Above all draftsmanship, composition and use of color. it is evident, even in an abstract expressionist piece whether these fundamentals are in place or not. If an artists can use these "tools", and in the end result, accomplish something that also resinates emotionally with the audience, then something masterful has been achieved.
   Pablo Picaso,  at as early as 5 years of age, received specialized training in the arts at various academies in Barcelona. The painting at left, First Communion, was painted by Picaso in 1896 when he was twenty and His Girl Before a Mirror in 1932 when he was arguably nearing the peak of his artistic expression. It is unavoidable that what he achieved was built upon the firm foundation of his elementary training.   
When though, does an artists work become masterful? There is this intangible shift at some point where the audience takes over. When the underlying emotional and intellectual weight is perceived and the viewer "GETS IT," then I think a work has become masterful.      
 There are times though, when the perception of the public builds up the greatness of a work,  not necessarily out of the merits of the work itself.  The gag of Picaso doodling on a napkin in a cafe and the owner making a million from it illustrates my point. I doubt that the artist himself would feel that such a doodle would constitute a master piece, but the perception of the public makes it so.
There are some though, who are out right delusional or knowingly charlatans, that in my opinion, profane the arts.
                                                            Tracy Emin      
   Art education is indispensable. Strict and early application  of the basic disciplines inescapable.
"It's Art because I say it's Art." is a vacuous statement that disregards all of the passion, pain, and sincerity of all who have truly devoted there lives to their work.  Any one can hold a brush, make a mark, and call it art. I can hold a scalpel and say I'm a brain surgeon, but you would be ill advised to trust my hand with your life.  

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our First review is in!

Doctor Quincy Erasmus Quartermain of the Steampunk Chronicle has kindly offered us his honest opinion of our first 8 A Steampunk Anthology. Such feed back is essential if we are to continue to improve our efforts. We truly wish to produce the highest quality independent work we can in whatever genera we are working in. I had suspected that a few of our stories would raise a steamers brow. All of us are neophytes to the genera and this is something that was made evident by his review, but even though his thoughts were not glowing on all entries, I feel his over all opinion was quite favorable.
And those of us with the are extremely grateful for his supportive remarks in regards to our efforts.       
you can read the review in its entirety here;

Thank you Doctor! you are a gentleman and a scholar.      

Thursday, April 14, 2011

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!!! May 7th 2011

So what are you doing for Free Comic Book day?
There is so much buzz today about comics gaining the acceptance of Educators and Librarians as an effective introduction to reading. In school class rooms and libraries across the country,  comic books and graphic novels are gaining a foot hold in teachers curriculums. In panel discussions of the topic, over the last three years, it has become evident that Comics aimed at a younger audience are still rather few and far between. Noted examples of course are  Bone by Jeff Smith ,  Cursed Pirate Girl by Jeramy Bastion, the epic Mouseguard by David Petersen and many others, but with eager young minds, and boundless imaginations populating school rooms, there is a great need for more. Have you got a title that fits the bill? Free Comic Book Day is an excellent opportunity for you get you work into the hands of kids and teachers alike. It is also a marvelous way for creators to show their support for their local comic retailers. They are championing some treacherous waters these days as a Paradigm shift occurs in the market. It is a way to show your support for the medium as a whole by getting involved locally.

   The year, I will be offering free copies of my 8 page full color comic For The Public Good, as well as black & white copies of my kids Comic Ouwangalaymah! The "Tail" of the Names of the Tree #2  at Heros of Fresno 110 E. Shaw here in Fresno. I wont be able to join the festivities until 3:00 pm after the day job, but if you are in the area, please come by. And where ever you are, find a participating Comic Book Retailer and check it out!

Free Comic Book Day! May 7th 2011    YEA!!!!         

Friday, April 8, 2011

WonderCon 2011 Report

Well gang, Wondercon 2011 was truly an incredible step forward for me as an artist.I want to thank everyone who stopped by the table to say hey, and to everyone who bought a book, I LOVE YOU! :-)
I really hope you enjoy our Steampunk anthology and hope you will pick up Strampunk #2 once we've completed it.
What I'd like to share with everyone I think will be useful to anyone preparing for, and getting the most out of a convention like WondeCon.

1st, The mundane things to learn about tabling at a comic book convention.
1. Take a cushion! OUIe veY! the seats must have been stolen from a kindergarten, the little plastic butt bucket kind. So I stood a lot. :o)
2. It really takes two! I'm so glad to have had my son with me. He sat with me for a good portion of the day on friday & went in early to help me set up. came to my rescue for a potty break every now & then, but we really need to have two at the table, especially when it's busy.
3. Bring a table covering. Fortunately I thought of that. they provided a table cover and table drape in the small press area, but you need something to cover up the goods when the day is done so as not to load & store everything everyday.
4. Bring plenty of STUFF to sell & talk about! I was amazed at the shier lack of stuff at some of the booths. They spent $300 bucks to display a few ashcans, post cards and few cheepy magnets to sell WHA? Dude! I mean not even a finished book to sell. Be-leave me, We had PLENTY!
2nd. Presenting yourself. I am a very gregarious guy. (my family would say hyper. :o) but this is important so here is a few observations I made of where some folks went wrong.
Don't just sit there sketching all day, and DONT BARK!
People will first walk by and glance at the table. if you look at them, smile & just say hi, that puts most of them at ease and they continue looking.
if you get too forward, "HI there! come see my stuff! don't you like stuff? well this is really good stuff! Come on! Have a look at my stuff!" you will run them off.
I would often be posting to twitter, just glance up and say hi or just smile & they would keep looking. Some folks are just too shy. they do not want to be pressured to converse with you, so just try to let them know they are welcome to come up and look. You can tell when they want you to make the first move and say something by making those quick & fleeting glances at you. so I would just say "Are you enjoying the con?" and we would then have a nice conversation. if they had a portfolio in hand, "are you an artist yourself?" If a family with kids walked by, "Hey there, kind of hard to find family friendly stuff isn't it?" Then Sunday I learned a VALUABLE secret. "I'll get to that later. :o)
so don't hide from & don't bark at the people!!!
And of course all the, "Take a shower nightly, use deodorant and floss kind of thing too. :o)

3. Take the time to get to know those tabling near you. Trina Robins was my next door neighbor across the way Dani Dixon with I mean you never know how a connection will help in the long run and you just might need them to watch the table for a quick potty break. :o)

Now to the last important thing I learned. "LETS MAKE A DEAL!" Sunday Archaia started selling books at buy two, get THREE FREE! FIVE BOOKS for the price of TWO!!! WoW! This got me thinking. My B&W economy comics weren't selling so taking their lead I got smart. As a family would walk by almost all would stop & try to pronounce the name. I DISCOVERED MY GIMMICK! My hook! my, "I remember that guy!" kind of thing! If the kidos would make an effort to pronounce the name I would sign & give them a free copy! ZING!!! this brought one of the key elements in the story out in the presentation and into the memory of the audience! You should have seen the smiles in those kids faces, and in their parents faces. Here in the middle of all this questionable & not so family friendly fare was someone taking an interest in their kids and having a bit of fun with them. There are now 50, maybe 60 families out there reading my work & getting there kidos involved in reading!!!
Got some amazing feedback. Here was a BIG one, Joe Ferrara Owner of out of Santa Cruz stopped at the table. he has owned and run this shop since 1976, won the Eisner "Spirit of Comics" Retailer Award. He KNOWS his stuff. (I know he knows because his wife kindly told me after he left to listen to him He gave me the name of a distributor who can get our books into Diamond. He said local comic book shops are looking for this very thing. Suggested I go see Dave who owns our local shop. "I know He will want to see this." And he did! Thanks Dave Allread of HEROES 110 E. Shaw Ave. Fresno Ca. For the first time anywhere my kids comics and our Anthologies are available for purchase by the general public at a Brick & mortar store!

A Special word of Thanks to the folks at Ka-Blam! Digital printing Guys, there is no way I can thank you enough. The anthology came the day we left for San Francisco. I was so elated! I Can only say that I truly wish you guys continued success and my you GROW and expand and find you some good people to add to the crew. You guys need to get some sleep every once & awhile you know?
And to the folks at We were loaded up, had picked up my sons friends and what do you know? The banner for the anthology arrived just in time!!! Every thing fell into place just like it was meant to be. you gotta go for all your promotional printing needs! WoW Sounds like a commercial. :o)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The week before

WonderCon here I come!

WonderCon is a little over one week away and I think I'm ready. One thing I wanted to share is the importance of doing a test set up to make sure the presentation will work.

Now my kitchen table isn't quite 8 ft wide, so I will have a bit more room to spread things out a bit, but I think the basic plan will work. Doing this test set up also lead to me ordering a banner for the Steampunk anthology. Another 3x4 to hang beside my one for Ouwangalaymah! I hesitated, because I don't even have my copies yet( AHHHH!) but my faith is in Ka-Blam!
and in UPS. they are Scheduled to ship out thursday from Florida. You just watch, the UPS guy will drive up just as I'm driving off! But at least I'll have this Banner for future cons too.
Now that the programming has been announced, I'm feeling a bit sad. There are some super programs that I would LOVE to attend this year. At 4:30 on Friday the topic "Indy Comics Marketing 101" is the subject. Perhaps I will be able to bribe my son to watch the table for me for that one. Plus all the other Screening and events going on this year Check it out!
All in all, I couldn't be more excited. Nervous and anxious, but optimistic! I will try to share as much from the show as I can via my Droid phone & such. I'll take along my HD camcorder as well. (Perhaps another bribe will encourage my son to record the stuff I gotta miss.)
Stay tuned, Check back. I hope that my sharing the experience be of use to those who are considering this insane course of action!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Con Preparation 101

The Farmer In The Dell
and other

Special Prints for WonderCon 2011

There is so much to consider when preparing for tabling at a convention. Listen to me talk, like I've done this before, but there is, and I thought I'd share with you things that I have found to be helpful.

#1. Podcasts. Especially Art & Story #124 The Big Convention Field Guide
in this episode, Jerzy Drozed & Mark Rudolph spell it out. all you need to know as well as a link to a very helpful spread sheet that details the costs you might expect.

#2 No point in having a table if you have now wares to sell.
There is no better POD service for comics in the world. and as long as you get all your files right, your books will arrive perfect and on time if you send them early
enough. I would recommend a minimum of two months lead time on a new book. they
now have a 10 day turn around for reprints so that is good news, but on new titles, the
bigger the window the better.

#3 for SWAG. Post Cards Business cards, Flyers & such
you have to invest generously in free stuff! Every one loves Free stuff. Convention Swag is a tradition and one of the best ways to get your message across to attendees with a hope for future business. Also Banners! you gotta have Banners and is the BEST source for all this, and FAST!!! It is usually just a 4-5 day turn around for me. 500 post cards 3.5x5.5 run around $12.00 bucks! with full color front & Black & white Back. a 4'x5' Banner in the neighborhood of $34. Full color glossy reinforced vinyl!

#4 MORE STUFF! Buttons, Magnets, Coffee mugs, Etc.
For this I gotta sing Zazzles praises! Keep watch on their 4 hour specials. I've takes advantage of a 50% off mug sale, and a 50%off Magnet sale. Excellent quality. and making a 50% profit aint bad either. You just need to be diligent and watch for the specials.
For buttons I'm trying Busy Beaver Buttons. Reasonable prices and I've heard good quality.
It always helps to have tie ins to your books and why not take advantage of these?

#5 All the other stuff.
You will need:
❶ A cash box... with cash for change.
❷ Receipt book. I'm taking a couple with carbonized pages. Important for record keeping!
❸ Display materials. I purchased clear lucite 8x11 displayers from Office Max for $7.99 each.
this will allow you to display your wares vertically, perhaps setting on a pile of the sale copies.
❹ A folding dolly. I got a great one called a Magna cart for $21.98 at Sam's Club.
❺ A way to display your Banners. I'm experimenting with a rather inexpensive PVC pipe
system. (Working at a hardware store these things come to you.) It is lite, CHEEP! and
very portable. Hope it works.
❻ All the other stuff your bound to forget.

#6 self run prints, limited, exclusive editions, signed by you the artist.
This is something that I hope works out. Provided that you get good results from your printer.I have a wide format hp office jet K8600. I can print up to 13"x19" border-less prints. A pack of 20, 13x19 high gloss photo paper from office max ran $34@ and many prints this size go for
around $20-$40 at these cons, so if you pick a few of your BEST work to print out & personalize for potential patrons, and smaller 8x10's for $5.00 you might just have a little more revenue to make up for your expenses. Think of doing a special design that you will limit and sell only at said event. WonderCon special. Just might get some attention.

At any rate, these are just a few of the things that I have taken into consideration in my preparing for this event. If you are planning on attending WonderCon 2011 I do hope you will stop by Small Press area #14 and say hello!

See you at the show!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Steampunk Anthology Trailer

I just wanted to share the trailer for our Steampunk anthology. you can view it

Saturday, March 5, 2011

30 copies available at WonderCon

Folks, we are down to the wire, the files are in, the order has been placed, and now the waiting begins. With expedited service at Ka-Blam! we should have 30 copies available of our 8 A Steampunk Anthology. I'll be on pins & needles until that package arrives!
Now that our second collaborative project is wrapping up, Life on the Illopond is starting to really sing! new members, a new look, a more easily navigated and intuitive user experience.
Here is a sort of mission statement designed by our own Lee Wiley that sums up what te pond is all about.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Travails of a Sky Captain

It has been quite a while since my last post. The duties of a sky captain prohibit much of the activities outside ones responsibilities, but none the less, an up date on our progress as a group is in order.
We have past the first deadline of February 1st, missed the second of the 16th, and now we are careening headlong into our third extension for the end of the month. We began this excursion some five months ago,
Sept 26th at 9:13 am the call went out for artists to join in the development of or second Illopond creative collective project, "8 A Steampunk Anthology".
The project was embraced immediately with enthusiasm and an amazing battalion of artists joined forces to tackle this mountain. As the "Captain" of the project it has been my duty to steer the ship, to keep it on course, and to rally the troops into fighting. Alas, as captain, I also bare full responsibility for the troops in my lead. The going has been quite difficult. Two of our brave young lads feel by the wayside. Many have had the economics and unforeseen troubles of this life beat them down. However. WE ARE NOT OUT! WE HAVE NOT GIVEN IN!! WE WILL PREVAIL!!!
I am looking at the turnaround time at Ka-Blam! and I suddenly have the shock and horror a true Captain of war must feel when it looks as if the battle is lost. Like Luke in the trenches of the Death Star we hear the voice of our mentor saying, "Stay on target!"
Sure it is going to cost. I knew that at the very inception of this project. But we must carry on. I have responsibilities to my troops.
And I urge them to carry on! I can't emphasize enough the opportunity that my representing our efforts at WonderCon will present to our Cadre, our group. To my men who have valiantly faced the enemy, fought the fine fight, and have the laurel of victory in their hands I salute you with all due appreciation, respect and admiration. To those who have fallen, your captain is here for you. you will not be left behind. all I ask is that you complete you assignment with all due dispatch and haste. I am PRUOD of my troops, and will remain so till the end.