Usagi for the Sakai family

Here's a painting of Usagi Yojimbo for an auction to benefit Sharon and Stan Sakai. In 2009 the SCAD sequential art department took Stan Sakai to Tokyo for a little over a week. He worked with students, led daily workshops, traveled the city with us, and even got us into Ghibli studios. You can see my posts about the trip here: a Tokyo post with Stan.
On that trip,Stan led a watercolor workshop in which he produced a beautiful 11x17 painting of Usagi, which he gave to me before the paint was even dry. It was exactly four years ago (to the day). The painting now hangs in my home:

On that trip I became friends with both Sharon and Stan. Since every trip to San Diego Comic-Con included a chat, a hug, and a photo. I met up with Stan for lunch in France during the Angouleme BD festival a couple years ago. I made an appearance on his blog here. Stan carried his SCAD back everywhere and often wears his SCAD shirt. We consider him a close friend of the department. He and his lovely wife are undoubtedly one of the nicest couples I’ve ever met.
CAPS has set up a series of art auctions for benefit. It is important that Stan and Sharon know how much they mean to all of us. Please consider helping the two of them however you can: http://garageartstudio.blogspot.com/2013/11/help-stan-sakai.html

I’ve been fortunate to share several meals with Stan. Easily more than a dozen--spanning several years and several continents. He is sort of a foodie and has taken a photo of every one of those meals. It is also not lost on me that food and dining are significant elements in Usagi stories--often as narrative bookends or turning points in the adventures. I decided to paint Usagi enjoying a bowl of noodles. Here are a few sketches:


Pre-MIX 2013!

Last year our graduate students competed in a 24-hour comics challenge as part of CCAD's MIX 2013 conference in Ohio.

This year I am honored to do a workshop in Columbus, OH for MIX 2013.

Mix 2013 CCAD's Celebration of Comics
Sept. 27–28
David Allan Duncan
Mini-Comics: Pre-production and Reproduction
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Crane Center room 217
(must be pre-registered)


New Card, yo!

I got some new business cards printed up. The older ones were too old and I didn't like them. I have SCAD business cards too, but they aren't fun at all. I admit to stealing the line-art from my profile, but I at least changed the shape of the glasses to match my new ones.

I used Moo instead of Overnight Prints. The colors look better on these, and I can write on the paper (which is recycled). I like the idea of adding a word-balloon with a note above my name. I do miss the ability to add a spot-gloss, though.


HeroesCon 2013, Charlotte, NC

If I only go to one convention a year, it would have to be Heroes.

As usual, I was able to do a workshop. I missed doing it last year. Little Oliver was brand new in the world, so we just drove up to the con for a one-day visit (no work duties). It is always a blast doing a workshop at a convention:

I was also invited to be a part of panel of comic scholars on teaching comics in the classroom. The Panel was called Teaching Comics--The Canon--Second Volley. It was a great panel with a few people I knew already, and several new friends. Craig Fisher (from Appalachian State, who I was on a panel with at ICAF a few years ago), Mike Kobre (from Queens U.), Sterg Botzakis (University of TN), and Andrew Kunka (University of South-Carolina-Sumter) all joined me on the panel. The whole thing was moderated by Steve Saffel (Titan Books editor). Andy Menzel was all over this one, too. He’s the glue that holds all of HeroesCon together. Kristie was with Ollie (who was taking a nap) so I didn’t get any pictures of the Panel.

I think Ollie had fun this year. He dressed up as Superman (costume from his Nannie).

 Here he is with the always adorable McHargue triplets (ABC):

And here he is with a Jawa:


Hawaiian Blues

Dove McHargue did a nine-page story for Matt Dembick's comics anthology WILD OCEAN.

He asked me to do the lettering and title. This one was really fun. Completely different than the NEMO book. The story involves a pool, a whale, some peril, and a bit of fantasy.

Dove used a sort of bubble transition for the fantasy sequence, so I decided to do circle balloons as a sort of motif. The whole anthology is square, so circles seemed fair game.

It’s not something that I see very often. One of my favorite letterers John Workman did it for Paul Pope’s 100%:


BARTKIRA Volume 5, Pages 276-280

I was delighted to be a part of a very odd project put together by James Harvey. It is called Bartkira. It overlays the world of The Simpsons over the entire epic manga series AKIRA (over 2000 pages) by Katsuhiro Otomo. Pages from all 6 volumes were divvied out, and key characters were replaced with Simpsons characters.
Strangely, my assigned pages had a bit of nudity and some potty-language. So that meant I had to draw a naked Simpson. For me, certainly a first; hopefully a last.
Color wasn't a requirement, but I felt that color is a major element in the Simpsons. I really only colored the characters, leaving the background as monochromatic.
Here's my set compared to the original pages. You'll probably need to click to get a better look:

 Harvey is still compiling all of the pages. Not a job that envy. Thanks James!


NEMO Lettering

The actual lettering on the NEMO pages for Dove was much more fun. I did a previous test that was all by hand and I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to fit all of the dialog and text into the art using my own hand-lettering (even after blowing up the work). So I decided to just hand-draw the balloons and use a digital typeface for the actual text. I’m adamant about drawing the balloons by hand (I’m actually using a cintiq).

Since Mark is writing I thought that it might be appropriate to mimic the scalloped ballooning of Xenozoic Tales:

Mark’s whole aesthetic is usually based in 1930-50s adventure comics/illustration, so that’s the lineage I’m referencing here (Al Williams' I, Rocket):

Art-wise Dove is taking a really interesting approach. He’s doing a sort of 20s/30s film look with the tones (post lineart airbrush).

Drawing balloons is my single favorite part of making comics, so this was pretty fun.

Dove and I had talked about using faint textures in the balloons that mimic the airbrushing he’s doing for the artwork. It seemed necessary to tie the balloons and art together. I much prefer this to making the balloons slightly transparent (a trend that is distracting I think). Dove scanned a few pages of airbrush tests and I used those to make the textures.

I don’t know that I love it, though... The textures printed way too dark when Dove printed a few samplers.



Dove McHargue asked me to help with the lettering on a project that he and Mark Schultz are working on. It's a sort of prequel to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (the 1870 Jules Verne book). Dove started an earlier version of the project a few years ago. Now he and Mark and working out the narrative, Mark does a full script, Dove does the art, and I’m doing the lettering and typography.
The first order of business was to do a logo. First sketch:
I had intentions of finishing out the rest of the letters with cracks like on the bottom of the "O".
He said he was going for a greek/victorian vibe. So (perhaps in a too-obvious move) I used some greek letter forms as the basis for a set of letters. I gave dove a few options and narrowed it down. Dove had final choice:
In order to get the victorian vibe, I tried a bit of fabric pattern behind certain areas of of the letter forms. It didn’t make the final cut, though.
Here’s the final look in use by Dove:

I think the transparent elements are nice. Can I tell you how much I hate using Illustrator. Ugh. I just need to spend a few years using it, I guess.


International French-Language Comics Conference

In November I got to travel to Ohio to participate in the International French-Language Comics Conference.  

I always enjoy doing these sort of academic conferences.  It was great to see a few of the people I met at ICAF (CCS) last year. It was also great to meet lots of new scholars, authors, and auteurs.

The campus at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio is so much different than SCAD. Sometimes I forget how unique SCAD is and what it's really like to be  on a traditional college campus.

Mark McKinney did a great job putting the event together. Many of us noted how well synced the panels were--rather than just being grouped randomly.

I think I see David Beronä at every conference I attend. It's always a treat to catch up. He took the pics of me while I gave my presentation.

Here's Michelle Bumatay giving her presentation.

Carmina Sanchez-del-Valle's presentation was one of my favorites for sure. All of these scholars had such wonderful talks. I wish I had taken photos of them all.

Every academic conference should have piano accompaniment from Randy Scott, MSU Comics Librarian. 

It was a wonderful conference and I was proud to be a part of it.