21 December 2009

11-0: the perfect season!

SVA's public figure drawing just went on winter break and rumor has it it won't be returning which makes this extra poignant: after attending for over 8+ years, this was the first semester I made every session. I am officially now more disciplined then I ever was in college!

When I'm on my deathbed and my life flashes before my eyes, this crowning achievement will certainly be the main feature. Special thanks to fellow figure drawers Alex Meyer, Debra Ziss, Matt Fleck, Leland Purvis, and Tyler Chin-Tanner for helping keep my eye on the prize.

14 December 2009

Spreading some cheer for the holi-daze.

"Do you draw anything else besides comics and naked people?" "Yeah, really crappy email responses."

07 December 2009

Wednesday figure drawing: still hangin' in there...

... despite VIETNAMERICA consuming virtually my every waking moment.

01 December 2009

Sooooo close yet sooooo far...

I'm getting re-focused and back to work after a lengthy holiday family reunion: "Tran-Giving", as it's known among my kin. 18 family members spanning three generations under one roof trying not to drive each other insane = fun.

While away my editor reacted to the latest draft and sounds like they're pretty happy with what they've got so far. I'm entering the 11th hour of what now has become a 20-month/300-page marathon so pep talks like hers are my crack cocaine. I'd show you the other 3/4's of the book washes but I should be actually working on it instead of setting up more screenshots.

05 November 2009

Reminder: If you're looking for something to do this weekend...

... check out KingCon!

I made this mini comic collecting my worst/best email gags to sell at cons--available this weekend with a bunch of other stuff by cartoonists and comic peeps way more talented than myself.

26 October 2009

"No sleep till..."

In a couple weekends is the premier of Brooklyn's own comic-con: KingCon! I'll be exhibiting with veteran titans of tabling Joanna Mulder and Jamie Tanner so if you've dreamed of a con season that just won't end, swing by and check out the November 7-8th show.

17 October 2009

VIETNAMERICA: Now in glorious technicolor!

My book's entered the homestretch:

Color palettes will probably change a billion more times between now and the deadline--so goes the curse/joy/ease/impermanence of doing it digitally. Hoping I won't obsessively overwork it into total crap.

11 October 2009

Guess what's back in session?

Wednesday nights are awesome again:

03 October 2009

Everybody loves a wedding!

Congratulations Tricia and Josh--you guys rock! Please don't tell my publisher I took a break from VIETNAMERICA to illustrate your ketubah.

28 September 2009

Farewell SPX. I barely knew ye...

This weekend was phenomenal: an avalanche of awesome new comics, tremendous attendance and foot traffic, silky smooth show organization, and--most importantly--a deluge of great cartoonists and good peeps.

During the weekend, I won a Nerdlinger trophy, a tongue-in-cheek ceremony to honor cartoonists that aren't regulars on those other fancy-pants comic award ballots. Ironically, the Nerdlinger's co-creator/host Liz Baillie also mc'd Saturday's Ignatz Awards, one of said "other fancy-pants comic award" thingies.

SPX was truly spectacular, yet the highlight for me wasn't even part of the show--it was the roadtrip. If you ever have the opportunity to spend 9+ hours in a car with Mr. Phil, Charlito, Fred Chao, and Neil Swaab, pack vicodine because the laughter will pummel every part of your body into excruciating pain.

22 September 2009


I'm still coming to grips with missing SDCC this summer, so super psyched to be exhibiting at this weekend's SPX! Neil Swaab and I will be rockin' out at table C15 so swing by:

And for anyone interested in a sneak peak and knows the secret password, I'll have a preview of the other 298 pages that go with these two:

17 September 2009

"Cartoonist Liberation Fund"

I love comics. I REALLY love Jamie Tanner's comics. Join me in support of him bringing his next graphic novel to fruition. A simple donation gets you goodies and a front row seat to all the thrills 'n' chills of making a comic minus the agonizing self-doubt, financial loss, and bouts of depression!

12 September 2009

If you think these are as awesome as I do...

... then grab your credit card and run--don't walk!--to my friend Joanna's Etsy shop.

04 September 2009

Back from summer vacation!

And by "summer vacation", I mean busting ass on VIETNAMERICA night and day for the past month and a half, my callous right hand mangled into an inking claw. Being so focused (i.e. a tad stressed out) was the reason for my posting absence, but relative balance has been restored to my life so now back to the bloggin'.

Left pile: Inks finished. Right pile: Unfortunate hold-outs that my editor will have to pry from my cold, dead hands.

21 July 2009

Go towards the light.

After inking VIETNAMERICA for four months straight, I finally see the light at the end of the 300-page tunnel. I'm running on fumes, but sheer momentum will help me finish these inks... that, and growing terror as the book's deadline hurtles at me faster and faster.

15 July 2009

Remember when comics were FUN?

Y'know, when you could enjoy a single issue cover-to-cover without the constraints of a convoluted epic crossover event spanning multiple titles... or a depressing 300-page generational memoir about a family's war survival (*cough* *cough*)? Fred Chao sure does remember, and lucky for us Adhouse has collected his series JOHNNY HIRO so everyone who missed this kick-ass comic romp the first time now has a second chance. That calls for a celebration:

08 July 2009

My colon needs a vacation.

That's what happens when you spend six days in Chicago over a July 4th weekend that included Peruvian wedding cuisine and my wife's extended Italian family's cooking.

My sketchbook output was cut short by all the blood rushing to my stomach, but I'm slowly regaining sensation in my appendages so it's back to inking VIETNAMERICA!

01 July 2009

NYC Zinefest's maiden voyage

It ROCKED! The staff put together a fantastic show in an intimate, unique venue with eclectic exhibitors. A great balance of zines, minis, artist books, and all the rest of the cool stuff that make local shows like this awesome and me proud to call NYC home. Picture yoinked from the Zinefest's Flickr stream:

25 June 2009

Doin' some comics outreach

I'll be exhibiting with old table mate Jamie Tanner this weekend at the NYC Zine Fest as we support a great event and spread the goodness of comics to non-traditional readers. The best part? Attendance is FREE to the public!

17 June 2009

"Groundhog Day"

Every day is spent doing stuff like this and I couldn't be happier:

Got the place to myself for the next week so hoping to make up for lost time (MoCCA + out of town guests = a little behind on inks). That, and not wearing pants for seven days. Boo-YAH!

10 June 2009

MoCCA aftermath

All the joys and horrors of last weekend's MoCCA have been extensively dissected, examined, and blogged by far more articulate and knowledgeable people then me. Despite its serious growing pains, I did hesitantly register for next year and am hopeful the major flaws of MoCCA's new venue are resolved before then.

So now it's back to work. Making comics can be pretty solitary so spending the weekend reconnecting with kindred spirits and having so many cartoonists ask about VIETNAMERICA's progress was really refreshing. It's a great feeling when other people who's work I respect and admire know what I'm working on and are anxious to read it. In fact, the demand for VIETNAMERICA has become so huge that I've decided to publish it with an ultra-rare collectible variant cover:

Courtesy of Neil Swaab having too much free time on his hands during MoCCA.

04 June 2009

Anyone need a hotel for SDCC?

I won't be exhibiting at next month's San Diego Comic-Con--my first time not attending in over 6 years. Financial constraints prevent me from making the cross-country trek to the holy land, but I'll be back with a vengeance in 2010. Email me if you're in need of a hotel within walking distance of the event.

On a happier note: MoCCA this weekend!!! If your eyeballs don't explode before reaching the distant far corners of the hall, swing by table 624!

31 May 2009

Squeezing in as many naked people as possible.

A couple last pages from SVA's figure drawing before it went on summer hiatus.

24 May 2009

I heart MoCCA

In two weekends my favorite show of the year hits: MoCCA! This June marks its relocation to a new, bigger space and is a must-attend for every cartoonist and enjoyer-of-comics within commute of NYC. In addition to my usual wares, I'll have a new mini collecting the "best" of my morning illos. Sorry for not making something more substantial, but all my energy is going into keeping VIETNAMERICA on schedule. Once again, I'll be sharing a table with this magnificent bastard.

15 May 2009

Inking is like a runaway train and I'm strapped to the tracks.

Left pile: pages to be inked. Right pile: pages inked. Almost halfway there!

12 May 2009

Commercial Break

Congrats to cartoonist pal Neil Swaab on finishing his THIRD Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles comic strip collection! With this volume, he's returning to self-publishing and doing it all on his own so check it out. It'll be available through Amazon and stores July 1st, but order a copy direct from Neil now and help free up some space in his studio. As you can see, the claustrophobia is driving him iiinnnsssaaannneee!!!

07 May 2009

The best $8 I spend on a weekly basis.

More sketchbook pages from SVA's figure drawing.

29 April 2009

How I spent my April 2009.

I've kept the pedal to the metal/ax to the grind/brush to the bristol this past month:

It's awesome that the work I'm doing now finally feels closer to the book's completion than its beginning.

20 April 2009

So I remember how I did this when I'm old and feeble minded:

1. Thumbnails: story outline that only I can make any sense of, half existing as scribbles in boxes and half as scenes and actions in my mind. These sketches are on 11" x 8.5" paper.

2. Roughs: more detailed drawings with dialog so my editor can read/review from beginning to end. Drawn at print size, these double page spreads measure 14" x 9.25".

3. After editor's approval, blue pencils at original art size. (For VIETNAMERICA, that's about 13" x 17" pages) These are drawn by lightboxing the enlarged roughs but are even less legible as visuals get a little messy.

The next step is inking, the final buff and polish before scanning and coloring--coming soon to a blog near you! To minimize rewriting and redrawing, I complete each step for the entire book before moving on to the next.