Dec 27, 2010

Beorn 2

The good news is that these aren't terrible. I think I'm coming closer to the right body shape; the more realized drawing on the second page is pretty good. I draw a lot of big burly guys, and varying their body shapes is becoming more and more important. I can't have Beorn just being a big dwarf, and I have to differentiate his body shape from the trolls as well.

I'd like to show him with that type of strength that comes from manual labor rather than weight-lifting, with a solid core and sinewy, corded muscles in the limbs. The first drawing on the left is too ape-like, too stupid. I like the one on the right. Let's see where it goes.

Beorn's long, low house is surrounded by hives filled with bees bigger than your thumb, which of course beings to mind one of the ultimate horrors of this world, the Japanese Hornet. Learn more about these living nightmares here. I don't know if the final piece will include them in any, but now's as good a time as ever to get good at drawing hornets.

Dec 23, 2010

Beorn 1

These are awful, but it's good to be back.

Beorn is a really simple design that is going to be really difficult to figure out. Big black hair and beard, wool tunic to the knees, bare arms and legs.

The next two pieces (this included) are two of my absolute favorite scenes in the book.

Dec 14, 2010

Turtle Soup

This is the first half of Turtle Soup, my comic for the upcoming second volume of The Anthology Project. The book will be out in the spring, so if you want to finish the story (which take a SHOCKING TWIST on page 7), you'll have to pick it up. I'll remind you when the release date is closer.

Here are some layouts and things:

Kali did my title text and spent a solid chunk of time helping me nail down the color, which is always difficult and frustrating for me and less so for her.

I was working for awhile on a story called Good Work, which didn't pan out and simply ate up a lot of my time for this comic. As a result, this thing is a little more rushed than I would've liked -- I was redrawing bad panels into the eleventh hour, when the whole thing could've used another pass at the layout stage. I will say that the second half is much better, both in drawing and storytelling, so pick up the book next year. I think it'll be at all the main conventions, so that'll be super easy for you. There is some amazing work in that book, so far as I've seen.

Nov 29, 2010


from Turtle Soup, page 3

Only TWO days left to pledge to support The Anthology Project, volume 2! We're well past our goal, but you can still use the site to preorder the book, which will be out in the spring.


Spectrum 17 is out, and I am in it, as well as a lot of other great people. So, if you're interested in great stuff, you may as well pick up a copy. And how about that sweet Manchess cover? Huh? Talk about great.


These three pieces will be in Society of Illustrators 53 this year. The first in the Uncomissioned show and the second and third in the Editorial. This is my first time in the book, which is cool. I will be at the Editorial show for sure and the Uncomissioned show for maybe.

Nov 10, 2010

Turtle Soup page 8

Turtle Soup is my contribution to the second volume of The Anthology Project. It is a short comic about buying too much soup. It also has a bunch of monster and knights and stuff.

If I inked my comics, this is what I'd call the final pencils. My final lines will be IN pencil, of course, so that term is a little misleading here. Anyway, here is the final rough drawing before the final lines, and below that are two stages of the layout. Original thumbnail is at the very bottom and a more developed digital sketch is right above that. Some things still need to get moved around now that I look at them (drawing in panel 4 is gonna get shifted to the left a bit), and I'm adding the speech bubbles in separately in case they need to be resized or anything like that.

I have four more pages to draw and then it's on to the finals! Everything will be done by the end of the month, and I'll post some more previews when I get a chance. The book will be out in the Spring.

If you're interested in preordering, our Kickstarter page is still taking pledges until December 1. We're way past our goal, but you can still get the book and some prizes and stuff if you're interested.

Nov 8, 2010

The Trojan Prince

This piece accompanies a short story in this week's New Yorker by Tessa Hadley called The Trojan Prince. It's a bit of a Great Gatsby-ish fiction featuring a teenage love triangle and romantic misunderstandings and that sort of thing. It's strange for me to spend so much time drawing nice things happening to regular people.


AD Jordan Awan

Oct 25, 2010

Sub Rosa again

This piece was "completed" about a year ago for the Secret Service show held by Rotopol Press in Kassel, Germany. After posting it, it was quickly pointed out that there were no footprints in the snow, an element which I had in the sketch version and just plum forgot about. Cut to nearly one year later and I had both the small sliver of free time and the volition necessary to put the prints back in. There are a couple of other minor tweaks as well. Since updates around here are scarce while I have my nose so firmly pressed to the grindstone, I figured I would post this.

Old version is here.

Oct 12, 2010

The Hobbit, part six

Surprise! I've been a day late before, may as well be a day early this time.

Ah, finally done.

This post was supposed to go up last month, but I need a little bit of extra time and figured I would save it until now. Instead of finishing it way ahead of schedule like I might have, I put way more work and time in than I wanted to. Ah, so it goes.

I wrote up a nice little post about this scene over at Picturebook Report, so head on over there if you're interested in that sort of thing.

I'm proud of this piece, though I'm not sure that I had fun doing it. Birds are agonizingly hard to draw and it seemed like the drawing and then the coloring just went on and on and on, way past the point of interest. Anyway! Because I put way too much detail in, here are a bunch of detail shots.

I'm not sure yet if I will do a process post for this, since you folks already know how I do things. Maybe I'll do something smaller and show just the myriad of drawings that I did before things ended up as they are.

As always, comments are more than appreciated.

Also, count it! I am officially halfway done with this project.

Oct 11, 2010

Turtle Soup 4

I'm starting to re-thumbnail my story in an effort to pair it down a pag or two, and I figured it was about time to nail down my background characters. I needed about twenty, a mix of humans and monsters, basically just a scrum of tough guys. I wanted to have them all down before I did my second round of thumbnails so I could keep them all consistent shot to shot.

Page four has the basic layout of the armory and the seating chart (far right). In placing them at tables, some small narratives cropped up even among these nonsense characters who have no lines and no real action in the story. It was a funny little organic thing. Three and nine found love after their warring armies destroyed each other. Seven is making peace with her long-vanquished foes, eleven and twelve. Just stuff like that.

Page three has the mostly final designs for the smith and the boy, who are the two main characters.

Again, The Anthology Project Kickstarter page is here, if you are so inclined. A pledge of $30 gets the book when it comes out and if you want to give more than that, there several tiers of prizes beyond that.

Oct 7, 2010


The Anthology Project has started a Kickstarter fund! The Anthology Project is just what it sounds like - an anthology of comics by people like me, Kali Ciesemier, Joy Ang, Emily Carroll, Edward Kwong, Aurelie Neyret and others. We are looking to raise $7000 to finance and publish volume 2.

If you don't know how Kickstarter works, it's simple: you pledge a sum of money (as low as $1), and then if we meet the goal by our deadline, that money you pledged goes to our cause! If we don't hit the goal by the deadline, no sweat, you don't get charged a thing.

Sound good? Our deadline is December 1st, and here's where you can pledge: Kickstart!

The comic I have been working on for awhile will be done by then, and I'm gonna be really mad if we don't reach the deadline.


Hobbit 6 is done and will be posted next Wednesday. Things are gonna be a little quiet around here until this comic is done, but I'll try and put stuff up when I can.

Ok, pledge!

Oct 1, 2010

Turtle Soup 3

Getting into the two main characters, the blacksmith and the squire, from Turtle Soup. I don't really like to leave design choices up to the last minute on a project, but I sort of have to on this since the deadline is creeping up on me. As soon as I got my head around a design even loosely, I had to move on to the next thing. I probably won't have finalized designs for either of these characters until I'm drawing in panels. It's a little scary, but it also insures I don't overthink things.

Sep 28, 2010

Turtle Soup 2

Some more background character work for Turtle Soup.

Since none of the background characters have any importance to the plot (not really, at least) and they exist purely for flavor, doing these sketches is basically just pouring my brain onto the paper. I'm not really thinking about much or looking at much reference (sometimes for uniforms and clothing), but it's more or less stream of conscious.

I am beginning to think that I am the true weirdo here.

Sep 27, 2010

Turtle Soup 1

I am working on a short comic for the second volume of The Anthology Project, along with a lot of really talented people. My story is called Turtle Soup and is about eating too much soup (sort of).

Here are some drawings of some guys that may or may not be in the story. I don't want to give away too much.

The story has two main characters and a lot of people in the periphery. The four-armed bigface you see on pages three, four, and five is one of the main characters, though those are all pretty wrong. I was working on a different story for awhile and that ate up a lot of my time and I drew a few designs (corpses and princes) for that story which were a shame to scrap. I'm trying to incorporate a few of my favorites into the background of this one. This thing will be done by the middle of November, so hold onto your butts because I'm going to try to keep you all updated on it as it goes. It's going to be a lot of fun to draw since I populated it entirely with weirdos and monsters and maniacs.

Here are some panel layouts. There are a few more pages to get tagged onto the end, and then I'm hoping to cull the story down to maybe 10-12 pages total. I have a couple more passes of thumbnails before I get into the real drawings.

I don't draw a lot of comics, but they're pretty fun.

Sep 21, 2010


A small drawing I did for the dudes over at Drawforce. They do a monthly drawing topic and compile it all into a group blog. The topic for September was samurai. I've been thinking about salamanders recently. What is their deal.

I almost never do one-off character drawings anymore, but that is literally all I did for most of my adolescence. It feels weird to draw a character without an environment or context, but it's also an interesting challenge to try and pack as much narrative as possible into a design. Some different things become prioritized.

I took a character development class with Brian Ralph my junior year of college which really did a lot of good for my work and my sense of humor.

Sep 20, 2010


Wow, amazing response, thanks everyone! I really appreciate all the nice comments and all the RTs on twitter as well. The winners, via random number generator are as follows:

1. Chris Colella!
2. Hannah Lee Stockdale!
3. Guy!
4. Mark Grambau!
5. David Huyck!
6. Katie Rose!
7. Pedro Paulo!

If your name is on that list, send me an email with your address and I'll get your print out as soon as possible! If you have a preference for what you get, let me know, but no guarantees, sorry. If you don't send me your info by Friday I'll choose another winner instead, so be quick about it. I'm going to try to send all of this stuff out next week.

A clarification: I WILL be making these prints, among others, available for sale sometime in the future, so if you didn't win one, you can still buy one from me. Just not until I can afford a large-format printer. I will even make it a contest. You can send me money and I will do use a random number generator (min: 1 max: 1) and then you will also be a winner.

Thanks again for the great turnout, and I hope some of you stick around for the next 200 posts.

Sep 13, 2010


Hey everybody,

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's followed my work here and on Picturebook Report. I just passed two hundred posts here, and to commemorate that I'm giving a few prints away:
This is the first time I've offered prints online and the first time these Hobbit prints have been available at all. This is also, I believe, the last time I will offer any prints until I buy a large-format printer (probably some time next year). All of the Hobbit prints are around 11x17", and the Transferring Risk prints are just tiny little guys.

All you've got to do to enter to win one of these is comment on this post. Anything you want. Liking this post on Google Reader nets you another chance to win, so there's an incentive to follow the blog! Tell your friends! I'll pick a few winners randomly in a week or so.

In other news, I am waist deep in Hobbit 6, and I hope to get it done sometime this week. I have been waylaid by unforeseen (and boring) work.

SPX was a great time, and everybody I met there was super great. So, if I met you there, you are super great. I hope to have a table next year.

Here is a bunch of the stuff Kali and I came home with:

edit: Since a lot of people asked, the Spider-Man print is by Joseph Lambert, who had a lot of amazing work at the show (Joe, we only met briefly! You talked mostly to my girlfriend Kali). The Captain America and Crossroads (blue) prints are from Michael Cho. We were only going to get one but couldn't decide and he was gracious enough to offer us a deal! I also bought a Cat Rackham print from Steve Wolfhard (top), who is hilarious. I picked up minicomics from a ton of awesome people, but the books Kali and I bought were Prison Pit #2 by Johnny Ryan, Indoor Voice by Jillian Tamaki, and The Venice Chronicles by Enrico Casarosa. They are, all of them, terrific.

Thanks for all the comments! The response is truly overwhelming. Contest is open until next week, so keep them coming!

Sep 6, 2010


A small birthday gift for my little cousin, who likes dinosaurs. I also like dinosaurs.

This is Baryonyx. He eats fish and has giant thumbclaws. He's sort of like a doofy crocodile.

The end.