turtlesoup: a confused robot holds a scarf and asks "?" (confused robot - winter wasteland)
a black-haired woman with a braid stands transfixed on a cathedral dome, looking down at the city far below Well, hello there. I live!

I didn't mean to leave this blog languishing for such a long time. The past four months have been a time of creative recuperation and quiet planning, of stepping away from the pressures of trying to always garner attention and put work on display. Also, I moved, found a temp job, became unemployed, and dealt with various other personal ups and downs. Trying to settle into life outside of grad school is tricky, and so too is trying to navigate a creative life and build your own definition of success (and pertaining goals). I realize I'm rambling without making much sense! But yeah. I've had to make some decisions about how and where to direct my creative energy.

The next post I make will be about exciting plans for the year and previews and the like! But here is a round-up of a few things I've made while I've been quiet. (As always, for up-to-the-minute doodlings and such, feel free to check out my tumblr. I've also started another one for reblogging awesome comics and other fun things ... and the occasional rant about social justice & representation. Well, okay, more than occasional. But comics!)

Story concepts & character designs )

A little creative nostalgia ... )

A cup of Turtle Soup )


Anyway, enough rambling about last year. I'll post again soon (no seriously) about what's coming up!

I won't share the illustration I did for holiday cards this year, because while I failed miserably at mailing them out, well ... I have a plan ...
turtlesoup: a confused robot holds a scarf and asks "?" (confused robot - winter wasteland)
Yesterday, my small group of classmates handed in forty copies of a screenprinted, die-cut, assembled and bound comics anthology entitled Future Inc: six stories about a deceptively cheerful and optimistic future society, informed by the science fiction of the 1950s (and the 30s, a little bit). Now that I've had some sleep, I'm excited to share my story with you! It's the longest piece I've done this semester (or in years, if it comes down to it), and while it's fairly melodramatic and silly, I had a great deal of fun putting it together!

In the book, each of our stories was preceded by a 50s-inspired advertisement related in some way to the story. This one was designed and penciled by me, and inked & greytoned by the incredibly talented Sophie Goldstein:
companion-bot advertisement


This comic contains an android, lesbians, and ridiculous outfits. )

Here are a few photos of the finished book )

Also, here's my diary comic for this week:
diary comic says zzzzz


I think that says it all at this point, really. :) We have another week or so of class, but apart from crit (which I look forward to, a little anxiously), this semester's pretty much done. I'm definitely ready to rest, and draw ... whatever I feel like, for a bit.
turtlesoup: A dark-haired girl stands with her hands raised, surrounded by a starry glow (magic is shiny - collaborative)
Good morning! It's snowing here in Vermont (already. again.) ... and finally, I have a longer comic to share! A fantasy comic at that, which I've been wanting to do for ages.

The following was my answer to our "bibliomancy" assignment: we had to put our fingers down at random in three places in a reference book (loosely defined), and use what we found (words, phrases, even images) at predetermined points in a four(ish) page comic to move the story along. I'll list mine for you after the comic!

I don't have a proper cover for this at present (I'll make one later, for the print version), but this is called "The Swamp Bride."

swamp bride page one


Comic continues under the cut! )

If any generous commentors have a minute and wouldn't mind leaving me their take on what's happening in the above pages, I'd be deeply appreciative! ♥

Apart from the above, I'm mostly wrapped up in finishing a twelve-page story and helping to design and edit the anthology it'll be a part of, but here are a couple of odds and ends.

A defensive little diary comic )

And finally, I actually drew some of my ongoing characters for a change:
spying from a railing


Luce and Mickey, patiently waiting their turn (it'll come, I swear). Drawn for a postcard exchange with my amazing friend Dea (you can see us walking & talking in the background).

That'll do for the moment, I hope ... back, quite literally, to the drawing board with me. If you're in the U.S., have a lovely Thanksgiving; if not, just have a great week!
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
with apologies to Winsor McCay


Diary comic for this week! I'm going to try and keep these pretty simple for awhile, as we've just been assigned our big end-of-semester project, which is a doozy. Anyway, bizarre dream I had a few nights ago! The title (suggested by my friend Joyana) and final panel reference Winsor McCay's brilliant, classic, often-disturbing early 20th century comic strip, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend. The people teaching the class are my friend Dave (one of our seniors), and Mrs. Patmore, the cook from Downton Abbey (a British period drama I've watched a lot of recently).

I have a couple more homework assignments to share, in the interests of keeping these posts smaller (and more frequent)!

We've been doing a number of design-oriented projects lately, including a concert flyer. )

Inspired by one of Tezuka's techniques, we were also challenged to express a moment of intense emotion visually, using abstracts, patterns, and emanata (those little symbols cartoonists use as visual shorthand for various things, like surprise lines emanating out from a person's head, or bubbles for a drunk, speed lines, and so forth). I tend to be a pretty direct, representational artist, so this was a challenge, but I had fun with it. Please note: some of this imagery is rather visceral. )

On a somewhat different note, it's Halloween week! My favorite holiday, and a big damn deal around these parts, as you might imagine. I have a rather simple but eminently cartoony costume planned, which I look forward to sharing later! The town of White River Junction hosts a huge seasonal shindig this Saturday, with a festival (including such things as a haunted house, bellydancing and a monster petting zoo), followed by a parade and a dance at the American Legion hall.

CCS is providing decorations for said dance!

classmates painting monsters


We had an awesome evening drawing various monsters and ghoulies, using the projector to blow them up and trace them on huge pieces of paper, and painting over those outlines. Here are a couple examples of first designs and finished paintings. )

I should probably try to catch up on some sleep while I have a chance. Coming up soon: a 1970s romance comic cover with some, ah, punch, composite creatures, and more ... I love this school.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (anathema - abstract thought)
They don't call the first year "CCS bootcamp" for no reason! What follows is quite a sizeable art dump, for which I apologize. The last few weeks have really gotten away from me - I haven't even managed to cook for myself, for the most part! But the faculty seem to have taken pity this week, and hopefully it'll be a bit easier to get a handle on things ... ride the wave instead of getting crashed around by it.

I climbed a mountain and fell off a small rock.

Last week, my class took a trip up Mt. Ascutney (the mountain we'd previously been sketching from a poet's back yard), so this diary comic is a sequel to the previous one. It's a little less ... deep, but I like the way it kind of inverts the first one: from the sublime to the ridiculous. (I remain amused that I sat that close to a precipice--though there were a few big ledges just below me, I couldn't have fallen far--and then managed to fall off a small rock.)

You might recall that, some weeks back, I mentioned the facebook project my class was working on together. Each student had to screenprint a portrait of some kind, and draw a bio for the facing page. Behold, my first attempt at screenprinting. )

During the very end of September, CCS played host to the International Comic Arts Forum, an international academic conference, which was a pretty fascinating experience. (There's a write-up over at the Schulz Library Blog.) I discovered that I'm definitely still, in some sense, an academic; still inclined to analyze as well as enjoy (and create) stories, and ... somewhat frustrated when a presentation doesn't draw a conclusion from its material. There were some really fascinating talks; the panel on Race and Class was perhaps my favorite, although CCS senior Kate Moody's talk on the so-called "death of print" was particularly scintillating as well.

We also held a sort of miniature, all-CCS convention during the conference, where my classmates and visiting alums set up tables to sell our work to each other and attendees. I tabled with four of my classmates. )I was thrilled to finally have the chance to check out what the second-years have been doing (we have precious little chance to bug them about it these days!), and it makes me wish I could fit minicomic reviews into my schedule, because seriously, my school is full of amazing people and you should read their stuff. Maybe I'll do some in celebration of winter break; I can't promise.

Also, this happened:

do I not look like me?

Conventions do always involve rather interesting conversations and feedback! It got me thinking a bit about the nature of autobiographical comics ... how if you do them for long enough (even when you're taking distinctly non-serious, episodic approach, as I generally do), the "you" on paper becomes a character just slightly distinct from the person you are in real life. (It also made me think that I need to start taking more care not to draw myself in t-shirts all the time. I'm given to wearing a lot of collared shirts and neckties, and that fedora is becoming sort of a signature accessory.)

Exhausting as ICAF was (as a CCS staff member, I worked for much of those three days, when I wasn't tabling), I was grateful for the homework assignment we had that weekend. My artwork is ... a little intricate? While I've certainly grown faster even in the short time I've been here, my process is time-consuming and meticulous, and often results in very very late nights (which I enjoy, but pay for later). That week, however, we were assigned a short comic on a "journey" theme, using Ed Emberley's Make A World.

In which I play with stick figures. )

More recently, I managed to more or less drive myself into the ground with our latest project, all due to my still absurdly slow process, a bad stretch of art block (school does not allow for this!), and a little bit of life outside of school (I do kind of want to have one). That project deserves its own post, once I've reworked the cover, but I do have a little bit of non-schoolwork to share as well ...

This past weekend, a very dear friend of mine got married back home in Western Massachusetts, and I was lucky enough to attend. I wanted to make a personal gift for the couple, which isn't something I've ever really done before. Fortunately, we had recently learned a little bookbinding, and they happen to have a highly comickable inside joke! My friend is a devoted fan of The Wrath of Khan; her wife, on the other hand, is not quite a Star Trek fan. My friend's wife has famously given many hilariously incorrect recitations of the plot of this movie, which she's sat through numerous times. I drew four comics based on these retellings and bound them into a book; this one is probably my favorite. )

It was a beautiful outdoor wedding in the height of New England fall, and everything turned out about as close to perfect as I can really imagine. There was, however, a tense moment; the day before was very rainy, and the area of the lawn where the ceremony was supposed to be held was briefly flooded. (The spot they used instead was gorgeous!) My friend posted some very picturesque images of her feet immersed in water, and I was hit with this nagging inspiration to draw a fantastical bride standing in a pool of water.

It's nice to have a little artistic energy back! (Last week was kind of terrible.) This wound up becoming much more creepy than ethereal in execution, which I blame on the season:

she does.

It looks like the cover for something, doesn't it? Hmmm. (Clearly this image has absolutely nothing to do with any real-life events or people, although I do find myself working marriage into various project ideas right now; it was an inspiring celebration.) I don't have a story right now, but you never know.

I'd better stop bombarding you now, but I'll be back soon with a thoroughly un-fantastical adaptation of one of Aesop's fables, because apparently I'm contrary like that. COMICS.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
For once, my desire to blog is drastically outstripping my time to do it in. I have any number of things I'd like to put up here (some musings on conventions and conferences, including thoughts on academics vs. non-academic creative folk and also the panel on collaboration I attended at MICE ... and plenty of homework), but gah, I'm buried. So I'll start off by condensing four Turtle Soup strips (two for school, two extracurricular) into one post. I don't know if I should be saying "sorry" or "you're welcome."

a breath of fresh air


I'm pretty thrilled with how this came out, I won't lie. Some background rambling! )

Anyway, enough explanatory blather! Have a few more comics.

This one has an owl. )

One consequence of wearing neckties. )

And some simple reassurance. )

And now, I need to go research Aesop's fables, and browse some early 20th Century newspaper strips. And maybe get some sleep?
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (goodness knows - life on a small scale)
Hello, my long-neglected blog! It's been something like forever since I wrote, and so many things have happened in that time. Most importantly: I've moved to Vermont and started classes at The Center For Cartoon Studies. Here's a picture of most of my classmates:

CCS Class of 2013 in front of the Colodny


There was a dinosaur approaching.

I am having a fabulous time, although things are already so busy that I can hardly breathe, or mess around on the internet. Homework! Conventions and conferences! Socializing with an entire community of other cartoonists! It's enough to keep your head spinning.

Speaking of conventions and conferences, I'm planning to attend MICE in Cambridge, Mass on September 24! I'll be hanging out at the CCS table at some point during the day (schedule update when I have it), so feel free to come by and say hello! Both Fruitless and the Turtle Soup minicomic will be available. (I'm sorry for the lack of etsy as of yet; the post office is a little hard to get to here, and I want to make sure I'm all set up to get things sent out before I start trying to do it!)

But hey, this blog is mostly for art, huh? Well, fortunately, I have plenty of that. Doodles and classwork, check it out.

my friend the interruption

Further doodles, ahoy! )

Turtle Soup Special Edition: Once and Future )

Silly character design exercise! )

Wow, all right, sorry for dumping so much material on you all at once! I should post more often so that I can space it out better.

There's an awful lot more I could say about the content of my classes, but I'll save that for next time. I should get some sleep; I did stay up ridiculously late working on that diary comic.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
Guess who's not dead?

soapstone isn't SOAP

So I am this close to having the Turtle Soup minicomic done; I'd meant to have it out a couple of months ago, and in fact, the layout and extras (covers, bio page, etc) are all pretty much good to go. The only trouble is that I wound up having exactly the right number of strips to fill it out ... and then I decided there was one that just would not do. What can I say? The Turtle strips are kind of a big progression in any case; plenty of them are a bit shaky in one way or another (after all, they cover a full two years of development), so I was prepared to deal with that, but ... I was stuck. I had to do one last strip, and it took me a little while to get down to it.

Fortunately, I have some really entertaining friends. I love knowing other creative people; discussing our various processes and concepts is one of the most inspiring and entertaining pastimes I can imagine. It probably won't be the last you see of these two, even though I don't plan to draw Turtle strips with any regularity from here on out; I could probably base an entire series on them, really.

Now that the strip's done ... I have a tiny bit of tweaking to do, and I need to reconsider my printing service options, but I'm hoping to have the mini out by mid-May at the latest. Coming soon to an Etsy near you?

Also, hopefully I'll be making more regular use of this space again. Life does occasionally interrupt art, but as I'm going to have a chance to make art my life, more or less, for a little while (at CCS), I'll really have no excuse not to share my new material.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (turtle soup - personal stuff)
Inbound 5 cover Turtle dancin'


So hey, if you happen to be kicking around the Boston area this weekend, feel free to stop by the Atomic Bean Cafe in Cambridge (halfway down Mass Ave between Harvard & Central Squares), grab a hot drink, and check out some original artwork! We're having a release party from 7-9 pm for Inbound 5: The Food Issue, with books for sale and artists milling around. Should be a fun time! I'll have two of my own original pages on display; come marvel at how destroyed my eyes & back will be in a few years. (Apparently I draw very, very small.) I'd love to see you there!

I'm super excited to head home to Western Mass after that, for Webcomics Weekend. Also, the Turtle mini is coming together nicely; at this point, I hope to have it printed & ready to go in December (just to be safe). I figured out most of the layout last night!

Before I wrap this up - lately I've spent quite a bit of time wading through arguments on the internet. It's kind of funny that I so rarely make comics about social issues, given how important they are to me, but maybe I just wear myself out before I can get near my pencils. The dust-up over Kate Beaton's comments on sexism and female creators is old news by internet standards, but this comic by Gabby Shulz/Ken Dahl on the topic is well worth checking out. (His site is down as of this posting, but I hope it'll be back up soon!) Also, more recently, there's the case of deviantART and the binary gender selection requirement. There appear to be some efforts to fix the issue now, but I've been less and less enamored of the place lately anyway (and this isn't the only example of support problems I've come across, either), so I'm not sure if I'll be keeping my account there much longer.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
smoke exaggerated for dramatic effect
just calling to let you know we're not on fire!

Since the strip's so huge, extra blather goes under the cut! )

By the way, if you're reading this and you're local to the Boston area, the Boston Comics Roundtable is planning a release party/gallery opening for Inbound 5: The Food issue on November 5 (7-9 pm) at the Atomic Bean cafe in Cambridge! I should have a couple pages from my submission up. Would be thrilled if you dropped by. :)

Inbound 5 got quite a thoughtful review at this dude's blog. He was kind enough to take a little time on each and every submission, making it my first review ever! Pretty nifty.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
did you ever see llamas wearing pajamas?

If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, here.

Yesterday, a little while before finishing this strip, I made my weekly trip to the local farmer's market, which always has live music. (This is nearly always awesome. One time, there was a fantastic klezmer band which, among other things, covered Bad Romance.) This week, there was a children's singer, and just as I was making my first purchase, he started playing--you guessed it!--Down By The Bay. It's a crowd-pleaser.

[Edit:] Fixed the link to the song. Sorry about that!
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
So first of all, remember that anthology submission I posted about in July? Today I found out that I got in, which is pretty awesome. It's called Inbound 5, the fifth volume of a biannual publication put out by the Boston Comics Roundtable. I'm told it'll probably be out by the end of the month. :)

Anyway, here's a new Turtle strip (getting really close to filling out that mini, now!):

run for your lives!

A little more blather than usual. )
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
putting my face in ALL the cats

I finally managed to put my best friend in a comic strip that won't be completely incomprehensible to everyone else! Thank goodness ... it would have been very strange if she didn't appear in the mini.

For the record: I don't actually plan on adopting a cat for at least a few more years, so hopefully I'll have a game plan by then. (Or, um, maybe I'll try Kath's method after all.)
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
Back to Turtle! This can be considered the sequel to a previous strip, as both events took place on the same strange day (and were connected, if distinct episodes of sorts).

my brother mistakenly charges a bear

I don't think I quite captured the sheer NONCHALANCE of the bear, who was really entirely unperturbed by the six-foot-three adolescent human's abortive attempt to attack it with an umbrella. (This was fortunate for all involved.) Also, I think the shading got a bit too busy, although I had difficulty figuring out where to simplify it. The panel layout was really fun to play with, though!

More coming up, of course - people sticking their faces in cats! geek websites being tiresome! kitchen disasters! - although I also have another comic to be working on (part of my grad school application, eep). I need to go do some cursory research about nuclear winter.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
singing and dancing secretary

Have I mentioned that I have a low-level administrative position at a prestigious university? Heh. I like my job fine--I have the best of bosses--but I can't say I feel suited to the atmosphere. Little things like singing in the elevator help me keep my perspective. ;)

Er, I should note that the ringing cleavage thing has never happened at work.

Something other than a four-panel configuration next time, I think. Have to break it up a little.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
More (belated) March wackiness:

March's lamb has gone missing

Of course, to cover the full gamut of New England Spring this year, I'd also have had to portray torrential downpour/record-breaking flooding, followed by faux-summer and very confused plants ... but what the hell, I was out of more interesting scripts and I just wanted to draw hair blowing around.

Note to self, for next time: if I'm too busy to script more comics, I am probably also too busy to hatch like that (in a timely fashion, anyway).

Also, last week I made my dad a birthday card based on one of my family's very random favorite films, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother. (This is the third time I've made him something based on that movie - see this father's day card from four or five years ago. We really love that movie.) A couple of iffy photos under the cut (I didn't have time to scan): Never mind. I'll explain it to you later. )
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
Finally. March has been a wacky month.

no longer a living stereotype?

Whoops, that's two comics ending in dramatic head-clutching. I'll have to space this one out from the Spock strip in the mini, clearly. ;)

I tried to tone down the busy hatchwork/details in this one, leave in some more white spaces, etc . . . not sure what I think yet, but I'll keep messing with it until I find the right balance.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
Finally, a new strip - my "little" brother's comic debut!

but can he yodel?

This happened some years back (when I was still in college, and he in high school - he's graduating college this year, it's terrifying). Our weird day did not end there, but the second part is going to have to wait until I find better reference images.

I am concerned about the second & third panels on this. :/ Portraying motion is difficult! Input would not go amiss, if you(?) have any.
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (Default)
where many women have gone before

And that's all she drew - for now, anyway. Hopefully I'll have the next new strip done sometime this week/end! (I need to pick up the pace - honeybee infestations and admissions season at work have really slowed me down this month.)

Oh, I also recently did this random art meme I picked up from deviantART: do the time warp )

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