Cartoon and Illustration

So, here’s where things are at right now…


This is the follow up to my visit to Borderlands Comics and Games in Greenville, SC, and also to my work on The Other Dead #5–so if the image looks redundant, my apologies, but I’ve been busy.

So, going back a week or two–I was scrabbling around looking for work between a bit of a disappointing showing at Yama-Con and knowing I’d be going to Borderlands for a shop signing.  I kind of mentioned to Joshua Ortega that I was looking for work in an e-mail and he told me that The Other Dead team was a bit behind on issue #5, and then he asked if I’d be willing to ink some.

As it ended up, I did five pages of TOD #5 last week.  A bit out of my line, what with all the over the top violence inherent in a zombie story–but I have to say that it felt pretty right inking over Qing Ping Mui’s pencils.  I mentioned previously that it seems like Qing’s work is about half Van Gogh and half Carmine Infantino–but I also realized there was more than a little resemblance to Chuck Wojtkiewicz’s work as well.  Seeing as Chuck and I did a number of things together back in the 80s and 90s, that too felt familiar.

But, I have to confess that working alone in my studio there’s not a lot of feedback, and I tend to get kind of paranoid on any project that I’m working on.  In this particular case the “voice of doubt” took the form of me worrying that they were going to pull the pages back at any moment and pass them along to another inker (there were at least two others working on the same issue).  Even though every time I’d turn in a page Joshua and Qing would make a point to let me know that they were pleased with it (dropping an e-mail each time) I was still living with that fear.

Well, Sunday came and I was putting in some extra hours after church and lunch out with some friends–and I got an e-mail asking if I’d care to take on a couple more pages.  But with the deadline being Monday, I told them I couldn’t.  Normally I would have, but I had to get to work decorating the house, some church business to take care of, and preparations to make for Borderlands.

So I turned them down–figuring even if they were happy with my inking on TOD #5 that would probably be the end of it.

Then I turned in the last page on Monday afternoon and got a response back from Qing asking if I’d care to help out on issue #6.

Sure!  How exciting!

This really helped me get ready for my visit to Borderlands.  Having a project pending is always a big boost when planning a public appearance.

So yesterday I got up early (not as early as I planned–because I mis-set the alarm clock, but managed to make a quick prep anyway) and drove the 80 some miles to Greenville, SC.  Met with Robert Young, who owns and operates Borderlands Comics and Games there in the “upstate”.

Robert and I have crossed paths many times over the years.  He used to work for Shelton Drum at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, and so has been involved in fandom and comics retailing at least since the 90s.  One of the first things Robert did was give me a sheet of Walter Gibson’s personal stationery, and commission a sketch of The Shadow–thereby winning my heart immediately.

Seems that Robert picked up a batch of the Walter Gibson stationery at the estate sale of The Shadow’s creator.  So he has a few sheets of this stuff to hand around, but it’s still pretty cool to have a piece of paper that says “Shadowgram” to put in my archives.  And drawing The Shadow is always fun.  There are just so many ways to approach the character–I tried to embrace my “inner Frank Robbins” and ended up doing a mostly brush interpretation.  Even though Robert only asked for a black and white sketch, I ultimately ended up doing a full color piece (well, accented neutral–the Shadow being mostly black, gray and red).

Actually I got only interesting commissions all day!  Normally there’s at least one “clunker” in the bunch–one that you really have to work to find interest in doing.  But not yesterday.  Shadow was followed by Black Canary.  That was followed by Cocky the Gamecock mascot (a nice change from doing strict superhero work)

Okay, great, ended up losing about half of this post due to some glitch.  I’m too pressed to re-type it–but let me just say that I had a great time at Borderlands and am looking forward to another visit soon (as well as attending SC Comicon 2014 that they’re organizing).

A shout out to Tom Littlejohn who came by and asked for a Batgirl sketch–which he’ll get in 2014 at one of our cartoonist meetings.


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