Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Bauble Tree on Sale

I can still ship out books or the new card packs in time for Christmas - but I also wanted to remind you that I have ebook/PDF versions- Instant Downloads - of a few of the books too. You can send the books to your friends anywhere in the world!

And in honor of the Season, I'm offering the Inspiration Sketchbook #3 - The Bauble Tree at $3.00 off it's usual price! And yes - you can still use the coupon code found at the end of The Fright blog post!

The Bauble Tree isn't necessarily a "Christmas" ebook - it shows the thought process behind the design decisions and also offers insights and tips for composition and using colored pencils.

Here is the book description:

Inspiration Sketchbook #3: The Bauble Tree is a little ebook, about 35 pages, filled with great ideas for tangling or doodling. Unlike the first two Inspiration Sketchbooks, this one focuses on just one tangle, but gives lots of ideas and tips for composing, shading, and use of color. It shows the thought process behind two pieces of art and gives inspiration that you can apply to your own artwork.

This tangle, Bauble, has been applied to a "Christmas Tree" image in the ebook, but the instructions and ideas can be applied to any image and any time of year.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

New Packs of Tangle Cards!!

I'm so excited to announce that I actually got my act together long enough to create something new!

Joining it's older sibling - the AlphaTangled Tangle Cards - please welcome the freshly printed - Tangles of Kells Tangle Cards! Yeah!!

This new card pack includes 40 tangles from my book - The Tangles of Kells - with new artwork on the front of each card, and step outs for drawing each pattern on the back.

They are trading card sized (like baseball cards) and come in a handy, clear storage box.

Yes, Virginia - they will fit nicely into your Zentangle stocking.

 Yes, they can be purchased as a set - the cards and the matching book (click here).

And, Yes, you can use the Secret Coupon Code I mentioned at the end of the previous blog post!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Fright Before Christmas

I thought I'd share the behind-the-scenes for another of my comic/picture books that is a perfect gift for the season!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...  I started working on a warped version of The Night Before Christmas...

The text of the original story says, "And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap, had just settle our brains for a long winter nap..." AAAAAHHH! Who would settle their brains... except maybe Frankenstein's Monster, right?

So I reinterpreted the text with the story taking place in the Monsters' world - and Our Santa accidentally stumbling into Their Santa - because the Monster world must have it's own Santa. And the books always show Santa riding off into a full moon - so Their Santa MUST be a werewolf!!

Seriously, the whole story makes MUCH more sense when you re-read it and keep this in mind. Monster Santa.

These next two pieces were from my first version of the story as a picture book. They're colored pencils on black paper.

When I redid it last year, I was still thinking of it as a picture book - I redrew it with full page images and was thinking of using color. Limited to red, green, and purple.

 But then I started thinking of it more as a comic. A mini-graphic novel. Probably because I was in Comic School at the time... The story broke up into more action. Some dialog. Multiple panels...

I kept redrawing and my classmates would suggest things (or question my sanity and sense of humor...)

Once I finally started drawing the actual artwork, I decided to stick with all black and white and to use ballpoint pen as I was doing with my journal comics.

 These are the thumbnails for four pages from the original (picture book) version - the brains being "settled" and the eight tiny reindeer scenes...

 and the following images show the same scenes as they were redrawn and rendered for the comic...

 The blue pencil sketch for Brains...

 and the ballpoint pen (inked) final page...

And this is the tiny reindeer scene (inked)...

Which I redrew to make it clearer that there were TWO sleds, hence TWO Santas! Agh - why was that such a hard concept for people? And the Big Sled was obviously the monster sled - it's a HEARSE! And those large, clawed footprints...?

I had intended to hand-letter the whole comic...

That intention did not last long. I found font that would look like Frank had written the whole story himself. And I only lettered the special titles and the dialog balloons.

I had a lot of fun drawing the Monster Santa (who treats Our Santa like a toy - stuffing him into a stocking). And his sleigh is just SO COOL!

For the cover, I looked at really old versions of the original book - most were called "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." I also played with the idea of die-cutting castle-shaped slip-covers!!!! Ooooooo!

When I came to my senses, I decided to try and mimic the old-time, "classic" feel of one of the original covers - in the background of the next picture...

I imitated the lettering and had to make up (guess) what some of the letters would look like. I turned most of the holly, into bats. And St. Nicholas was exposed to the full moon.

You can see the progression for the drawing from the inspiration and the image just starting to be inked to the image above, with all the lettering finished, to the image below - completed.

I scanned the art as well as some old paper and a book cloth spine, layered them together in Photoshop, and colorized it with an antique, watercolor-y feel.

For the inside title page, I re-purposed the cover art and added Frank's hand and pen writing the story...

Which continues onto the first page of the book, where Frank finishes writing the events that occurred. 

Which no one would believe. Really. Who would ever believe a tiny human Santa would get lost on Christmas Eve...?

And that's my book!

Someday, I'd like to get it published (for "real"), slightly larger and with a hard, antique-looking cover, book cloth spine, and embossed cover images. Ah, lovely.

For now - you can get your copy of The Fright Before Christmas at my Etsy shop:   Put a note in with your order that you read my blog post and I'll include some really cute little stickers with scenes from the book!

And because I love you - and you read all the way to the end of this post! - here is a 15% off coupon you can use in my shop. Just enter the code: XMAS2017 where prompted in the Etsy shopping cart. Or you can click this link and it should do all the work for you:

The coupon is good for all purchases from my Etsy shop over $10 and will expire on Dec. 31, 2017.

You can use it to buy Fright, We Will Never Leave You, or any of the other awesome comics, Zentangle books, or card packs (fit in stockings!!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Get your freshly printed Demons!

I have a new printing of We Will Never Leave You comic/coloring books. It's very exciting to think that I actually sold (and gave away) all the copies I printed this spring!

I thought I would show you the "behind-the-scenes" for creating this comic, but, if you are short on time, here is the most important part... you can now get your own print copies and/or download a PDF version, from my Etsy store. I've also added a pack of 5 comics for a reduced price - for those of you who would like to give the comics as gifts. And if you want the fabulous, deluxe, Thesis-edition - there are a couple still remaining (from the Kickstarter).

Here's the description for We Will Never Leave You:

This is no ordinary, relaxing, meditative comic book/coloring book. Oh, no - this one is actually quite stressful, but will leave you feeling reassured... in the end. 

We Will Never Leave You is a comic interview with my Inner Demons. With special guest appearances by OCD, Anxiety, Creativity and others - 
We Will Never Leave You is a fun romp through the lovable mess in my head. 
And perhaps, your head too?

This print version features 12 B&W interior pages printed on lovely paper perfect for markers and colored pencils. You can color on both sides of the paper with no embarrassing show through.

About 7" x 8.5" in size.

The Evolution of My Inner Demons

Well.. I think the Demons have always been there, but this is how these particular representations of My Demons happened.

It began with a big anthology project during my first year at The Center for Cartoon Studies. The theme for the anthology was "Speak of the Devil" and I created a comic called "The Little Devil" (which I really SHOULD turn into a mini-comic...)

The character sketches were based on some drawings my daughter and I created - a little boy with a devil t-shirt - he gets struck by lightning and becomes the devil creature...

The character stuck with me and I found myself drawing it in my class notes...

During a summer program with Alec Longstreth... on the first day of class (Monday) we were given the assignment: Create an 8 page comic, inked, and printed, due Friday morning.

I spent the first day getting to know my characters and what they wanted, what they were afraid of...

Then I started sketching out the plot line and some dialog... the blue pencil grouped the images, etc. that I thought belonged together on each page.

On Tuesday, I rearranged those bits and pieces into panels and thumbnails. The thumbnails are tiny representations of each page's layout. I quickly realized I needed extra pages to tell the story. My 8 page requirement grew to 12! (With this kind of project, you have to work with pages in multiples of 4. A sheet of paper folded in half equals four pages.)

Here's a close-up of pages 10 and 11:

On Wednesday, I blew up the thumbnail sketches and started refining, adding details and text. This is the same page shown above (page 10) but in full-size pencil sketch form...

This is a full progression for Page 1, from blue penciled sketch layout, to pencil sketch, to final inked page.

On Thursday I finished inking all 12 pages, then scanned, cleaned up, and laid out the pages in InDesign.

Friday morning, I printed and assembled the comics! I used the original class doodle-drawing as the cover, but I redrew it quickly in marker to match the style of the comic.

Normally... I would have used gray marker to add shading and depth to the pages, but there was NO WAY I would have had the time to do that for this four-day comic! So... it is a "coloring book" and you can add your own colors. I started playing around with colors and was surprised to learn that my Demons are purple-y!? I'd still like to do a version all in grays...

Meanwhile, back in the Thesis... the Demons had started creeping into my daily comics - not all my Demons look like little devil creatures! The Heart (Self-care), butterfly-bug (Creativity), Lilah Beans (yeh, well, they're Lilah Beans!), Dragon (my inner Bitch... more like "Puff" than "Godzilla." I need to work on that...)

It was getting pretty noisy in my head! Everyone had their own opinions...

But the Demons could also be very helpful and I was starting to take comfort from the fact that, well, they would never leave me.

I decided to feature them in the second issue of BEGIN AGAIN, "The Issues Issue" (ha ha!). I think it took longer to design the cover than it took to create the mini-comic! But it felt really good to "flesh" them out in watercolor and gouache.

I hand lettered the title - tangled "BEGIN" and used a folded cola pen to draw "AGAIN" with all the great splatters.

I added the rest of the text in Photoshop. I think it really looks like a magazine! (There are still a couple of these left on my Etsy site.)

Group Portrait with my Editorial Staff!


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