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 green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (magic is shiny - collaborative)
my SPX haul!


So hey, here's a quick SPX roundup post! Quite late, but I lingered in Bethesda an extra day and then nearly immediately headed up to Maine for my best friend's wedding (and extended activities), so ... what can you do. :) But oh man, I had a fantastic time at the show. Check out my haul, above! Mostly trades, plus a few extremely worthwhile purchases, hooray.

Hereby hangs a ramble. )

Hee, sorry, I feel like I don't have the time to be concise right now, if that makes any sense at all. (Honestly, that's how it is.) I have books and such to prep, because this coming weekend I'm back behind the table for another Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo; my first convention and always a favorite! If you're in the Boston area you should really come check it out. I'll have copies of Queerotica (hurry, that first printing's going fast!), as well as Asylum, Tiny Dynamo: DEMOS, my Heartburn anthology (which may go permanently out of print when I sell my stock), and Fruitless. And I'll be tabling completely on my own for the very first time!

News about upcoming projects, as well as online sales for both Queerotica and my solo work, coming soon! In the meantime, as this is also wedding season, apparently ... here's an invitation I designed for my other closest friend, who's getting married soon as well! I don't do this sort of illustration work often, and I'm rather proud of it. )
turtlesoup: turtle (a bespecacled, short-haired cartoonist) clutches her head in dismay (oh my head - wtf)
a girl with her hair half-short and half-long looks sidelong, with a quirky smile and a pigeon on her head

The other day I got an email from an awesome CCS alum friend of mine that opened with "HI KLEEBS! DON'T DIE OF THESIS!" (And if you know her you can probably guess who would call me that. ♥) It's a pretty serious condition to be in, I can't lie. I'm surviving ... I've basically become a comics hermit (or maybe an anchorite, for that extra devotional feel), but if that makes me a bit strange, well. I'm writing about fairly strange circumstances?

So hey, have a couple sample pages! )

Hourly comics and a few doodles )

More previews and doodles soonish, no doubt! And maybe even the beginnings of a convention schedule!
turtlesoup: a confused girl wakes up in a bed in a dark room, hooked to some kind of machine (where? - transition - confusion)
New Year, new sheepish blog apology! Learning to juggle a regular web presence with the rest of my life and tasks is definitely an unmet goal. Not a resolution, per say … I prefer to make January an occasion for a reaffirmation, of sorts, of more personal aspirations. As you can see. (Also, here. The holiday card that I totally failed to send out to half of my recipient list, again. Fie. Maybe I’ll send a few out at random through the year to surprise people!)
a woman hovers above the snowy ground, intoning qualities she intends to embody a moose-centaur in oranges and greens, wearing eight candles on her antlers


With the start of my final semester, and my thesis deadline looming a terrifying three months and change ahead, I’ve been delving deeply into Ash’s world, which has been sprawling out in all directions. Soon you will have some actual pages to take a gander at, but meanwhile have some sketchy things! )

For the timebeing … that’s all; she’s writing. But here, have a few odd bits of illustration and such to tide you over! The season of giving is just behind us, after all.

Recent drawing round-up! )

Lastly, in mid-December I finally launched my own homepage, AllieKleber.com. It’s intended primarily to serve as a point of first contact for my online presence, and a portfolio to show any prospective employers or interested parties … up to date work, process posts and other information will always be posted here! (For more-or-less realtime glimpses at art as I make it, you can always follow my tumblr, although as always, be warned: some material there is pornographic.)

Back to the drawing board! (I wish. Back to scripting. Drawing board soon!) Mwah!
turtlesoup: a murkey silhouetted figure rising out of the swamp (beware the swamp bride)
Ah, so much for a promised "return" to regular posting. Apologies, friends. The last several weeks have been a mishmash of smaller assignments and various distractions from my larger comic projects; I'm looking forward to soon being able to settle into a more regular schedule with those and provide regular sneak peeks and updates.

Here's some catching up in the meantime, though.

One of my last real homework assignments for grad school was to create a four-page comic based on a dream. I selected a relatively simple one (as opposed to one of the hectic and deeply surreal mashups my brain regularly serves) in order to spend time experimenting with media and atmosphere. We were required to start from a splash page/cover containing a central image from the dream, and the first word that came to mind in relation to it.

splash page: a stream of bluebirds rise up from a monochromatic post-apocalyptic landscape. titled 'release.'


Here there be zombies, but no gore. )

Also, it's been more than a month, but I'd like to share a little of my Halloween art as well! There IS some gore under here. )

That's all for now; apologies for being light on the words & news. There should be more very soon, I think! In the meantime, I do post to my tumblr fairly regularly, but be warned: I post suggestive, and even downright pornographic, material there regularly.

a curvy girl in an enormous ballgown asks what you're trying to protect yourself from
turtlesoup: turtle (a bespecacled, short-haired cartoonist) clutches her head in dismay (oh my head - wtf)
Oh hey! Sorry, I know I disappeared off the face of the earth for awhile there ... I was really pretty burnt out after last semester. Needed some time to recuperate with the family and such. Now I'm back at CCS, where they believe in starting off your second semester with a bang, by dumping we poor first-years right into the infamous SILVER AGE PROJECT!

Why am I speaking in histrionics and all-caps? I guess I must still be a little bit in this mode:
um yeah haven't cleaned my working area in awhile

Cover designs by various of my classmates, including Cole Closser, Sasha Steinberg/Sophie Goldstein, and Joyana McDiarmid/Romey Bensen/Vinnie Ferris/Adam Whittier.

Essentially: my class was divided into three small groups, each with a faculty "editor" (overlord might be more like it) and assigned a genre to work in. We then had two weeks to create a full-color 32-page (plus covers) comic book that remained true to the styles and conventions of mid-60s American comics. My group, headed up by the rather incredible Jason Lutes, created a superhero team which is a fairly obvious homage to the Fantastic Four, and attempted to emulate the classic stylings of Jack Kirby. (Not the least bit ambitious, us.)

I've never done anything like that before: the anthology project was a thoroughly solo endeavor by comparison. We worked around the clock, spread out over classroom tables passing pages back and forth so that different people could accomplish their various individual tasks (Penciling characters, or backgrounds, or technology! Inking along similar lines! Organizing the computer files! Designing ads! Coloring alotted excerpts!) It was in many ways a strange experience--I've never inked another person's pencils before, or worked within the traditional four-color palette), and exhausting, but it's kind of amazing to have the finished book in my hands. Several of the faculty have commented that it's designed to make us feel as though we can accomplish everything. It also makes me relieved to live in the era I do, I must confess; I would not want to live by that working model.

A one-page excerpt, an ad, and a preliminary character design. )

Now that we're through that particular gauntlet, the rest of the semester is looking very bright, with many more opportunities to really play with my own ideas, outside the confines of strict assignments. (At least, in part.) I can't wait to get started. In the meantime, have a little more art! )

I leave you with some silly doodles I drew yesterday at a local cafe ... I've discovered that the best way to get me to sketch spontaneously is to hand me a bunch of colored pencils and some scrap paper. Note to self for future conventions. (The octopus is my quick re-creation of the splash page of Agents of A.T.O.M., as it happens ...)

one sizable cephalopod


Excelsior!
turtlesoup: a green-haired girl in a collared shirt & vest holds her fingers up to her head like devil horns (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 (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)
So, first things first: I received my first ever solo review from Chad Parenteau over at we got comic issues last week! He discusses both of my minis, and I must say, I'm extremely flattered and grateful. :)

medieval saint portrait


At CCS this week, we're working on the first of our major group projects: a hand-bound facebook full of screenprinted portraits and "bios" for each student in the first-year class. The above will actually be printed in red and blue on yellow paper (and probably not nearly so well aligned), but I've overlaid the color separation files to give an idea. Going back to my older (and perhaps favorite) influences a bit. I'll take a picture of the finished project.

I wasn't too pleased with my contribution to our other main assignment of this past week; a series of original gag strips. It's not really my strength, but I'll share one: the classic desert island scenario )

Now I'm off to the Boston area for MICE, where I'll be hanging around at the CCS table at the start of the morning, and again mid-afternoon! More content (and hopefully more comics) soon!

I'll leave this quick little post with a view of how seriously we take our studies here at CCS:
larking about
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 (other art - the big picture - miscellany)
robot & snowman wish you a happy winter

Happy Solstice, my lovelies! Whichever holiday you celebrate around this time of year - or even if you don't at all - I hope you have warmth and light and good company. (Even if you're in the hemisphere where the first two aren't so lacking, right now.) ♥

It's been a momentous year for me, and the next will hopefully be even better; I have all sorts of projects planned for the first half of the year, and then it's off to the Center for Cartoon Studies in the fall. I'm looking forward to sharing everything here.

Fruitless coverIn the meantime, I'm happy to announce that my first minicomic, "Fruitless," is now available at two fine Boston-area comic shops: Hub Comics in Union Square, Somerville, and The Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square, Cambridge. Both shops have been very good to me over the years; the Hub is a second home to me these days, and MYP was a wonderful source for me as a tiny kid, just discovering comics for the first time. I encourage you to support them, if you're around here!

However, for those of you who are not, I do plan to make "Fruitless" available online, probably in the next week or so. It should be joined in all these locations (and perhaps more) by the "Turtle Soup" minicomic, probably by the end of January at the latest.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of my faltering efforts over the last few years. ♥ From in-depth critique to little comments of acknowledgment and enthusiasm ... I appreciate it all so much.

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