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I spent the day today drawing birds at VINS ( The Vermont Institute of Natural Science )! VINS rehabilitates and educates the public about birds. I was invited out today as a part of their Radical Raptor Rendezvous.
The Snowy Owl was perfectly still for about 40 minutes with his eyes almost shut. At some point I looked up and he was staring at me like he was shocked to find me there. It hopped away and hid behind a post, good thing I had finished the drawing.
The Red-Tailed Hawks were patient models and seemed pretty curious about what I was doing.
I hadn’t planned on drawing the bald eagles, I wanted to draw the ravens. Unfortunately the ravens were hiding up on a perch so I went back to the the bald eagles, mostly because they look so profoundly grumpy. Also, they were hanging out close to the ground eating chunks of chicken and mice. They moved around a lot so I tried to get some quicker sketches.
I was asked to participate in this blog roll thingy that’s going around by my good friend Denis St.John. Denis is an excellent cartoonist who draws scary stuff and scantily clad women. He’s also a fearless writer who writes about things that make him, and consequently everyone else, feel really quite uncomfortable. Check out his work here!
For those who don’t know me, I’m a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. I live in Vermont with my wife, Lisa and our daughter, Sadie. I graduated from the Center for Cartoon Studies in 2008 and despite having made lots of comics (and mega tons of illustration work since then), I’ve yet to finish any longer stories. That’s what I’m trying to do now.
1) What am I working on?
Edna Bright is a story about an elderly woman who isolates herself while mourning the loss of her husband. This leads, inevitably, to her meditating on her own mortality and place in the world. Edna is loosely based on my grandmother, who was a huge part of my life.
DoubleThink! I’ll be submitting comics to the subscription comic DoubleThink for the next 4 months…and maybe even the next year. The first story I’ll be doing for DT is called So, So Sad.
You can get a four month subscription to DoubleThink for only $12.00!!!!! Click here! Do it now!!! Here’s the cover for issue 25 featuring one of the characters from So, So Sad. Color by Matt Aucoin.
If things go as planned I’ll be writing a drawing a longer sci-fi story for DoubleThink in 2015 called Quantum Echo. This story is the first of a larger series of pacifist science fiction stories I’d like to write and draw over the next few years.
The greater story arc follows humanity after the destruction of Earth. All 300,000 survivors are crammed onto a massive space ship, the Gryphon. Gryphon is also an advanced artificial intelligence and a main character. Humanity is searching for a new planet to call home. As an overall philosophy these people are dedicated to non violence and all their technology has developed to that end. They have all kinds of cool shields and other defensive devices.
The smaller story, the plot of Quantum Echo, follows a young girl named Georgia and her mother, who is an anthropologist and head of a planetary exploration survey. Georgia’s father died recently and her mother, responsible for finding a home for what remains of humanity, has no time for a grieving child.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I guess the sci-fi stories I’m working on will be different from the bulk of science fiction because the characters are dedicated to doing better than the people who came before them. This concept is really compelling to me. Unlike so many stories, where the characters claim to be dedicated to non violence only to resort to violence in the end, these characters have seen their planet destroyed by the senselessness of violence. They’d rather die than kill.
There’s some great pacifist sci-fi out there, some of it is really outstanding. Two of my favorites are Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed and Joan Slonczewski’s A Door Into Ocean which I’m reading for the first time right now.
3) Why do I write what I do?
For whatever mysterious and terribly misguided reasons I feel compelled to make comics. Beyond that, I’m very interested in forgotten people, “funny animal” cartoons (for those who don’t know this is a genre of cartoons that includes Looney Tunes, Mickey Mouse and the like), pacifism and science fiction. I assume as I grow and my interests change I’ll work on different stuff but for now I feel like I have a lot of inspiration.
Also, It struck me recently that a lot of my work is about people living with intense grief. I guess this makes sense since I’ve spent a lot of time grieving. Whether I intend it or not, all my work comes down to me just trying to deal with myself.
4) How does your writing process work?
I usually get interested in a topic and the rest of the work grows from there. Beyond that the actual process changes a lot.
Lately I’ve been writing a list of ideas I want to use. After that I work out the story in my head from start to finish then I write down the plot points. From there I write a detailed script. At this stage I take a lot of time to visualize what each page and panel is going to look like. After that I make thumbnails to make sure it all works the way I thought it would then I move on to the final drawings.
Thanks for indulging my ego and reading about my work. If you’re a writer and interested in doing your own post like this one let me know and I’ll link to you here.
Doublethink is a monthly mini-comic featuring work by four cartoonists. If you subscribe, Doublethink will come right to your house…through the actual mail!
I’ll be doing 12 months of comics for Doublethink starting in August! I’ll be serializing two stories, a short one called So, So Sad and a longer sci-fi story called Quantum Echo. I’ll post more info on how to subscribe and the actual release date soon.
We’ll also be doing a Free Comic Book Day promotion, more info on that soon too!