Random sketches and more insanity on DIY comics

Pulled some stuff outta my sketchbook…

The dad from OVERWHELMED. I put more than 3 minutes into the pencils for this to add a little more detail into it, though to be able to do strips I try to work as efficiently as possible with my character designs. Character design consistency is something I’ve always struggled with, hence the almost over-simplified designs in OVERWHELMED (Ramona’s big square head, the dog’s general shapelessness, the dad’s nose).

Some more GRENDEL…I’ve been a little obsessed with this title and its cultural comics legacy recently for some reason, probably as a great example of the 80’s/90’s independent comics “scene.”

my laptop’s desktop image/layout recently

I know that a lot of people will point to stuff like Image Comics and SPAWN, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, or even Dave Sim’s CEREBUS THE AARDVARK, but for some reason this sticks out even more for me. Maybe it’s the unique takes on legacy, on the influence of violence, and on being a relatively early example of a non-“corporate” anti-hero character mold that became so popular at the time and continues to be so in fiction, especially comics.

For a lot of comic creators (cartoonists, writers, artists), 2012 is being touted as the year of the independent creator-owned work, and with the state of the industry (God, I hate that sort of terminology), I can see why that sort of thinking can be viewed as a pleasant alternative to ownership lawsuits, artificially-created buzz over stories focused on “events,” and a readership feeling more and more marginalized and disenfranchised by the multiple variants of the same three or four titles/genres every Wednesday.

A slew of big-name and high-profile creator-owned non-“Big 2″ comic books and other comic projects coming out this year seems to boost the belief of 2012 as the Year of the Creator (including Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillip’s FATALE or Jeff Lemire’s THE UNDERWATER WELDER), not to mention the continued existence and still-successful runs of ongoing creator-owned works (stuff like CHEW, B.P.R.D., BEASTS OF BURDEN, SWEET TOOTH, THE MASSIVE, the relaunch of T.M.N.T., and ATOMIC ROBO immediately come to mine). Even I’m in on the rush. At last count, I’ve got;

  • One weekly webcomic that I draw and write coming out regularly
  • An upcoming webcomic project that I write launching soon
  • The first issue of an entirely self-produced comic book (of an anthology series) in the works
  • The notes, research, and beginnings of scripts for at least 3 other comics I’ll write but as of now are on the backburner (and need artists anyway)

Hopefully one of the “coming soon” projects will see the light of day in 2012. I’m pretty sure they will. At the very least, 2012 has been a year dedicated to making my own comics, something I started thinking about on a lark in 2008 and now, 3 years later, while I still feel like a rank amateur, I’m way deeper in that I ever thought I’d be.

I’m sort of hoping that this turns out to be true, that more risks get taken, that more non-traditional work gets spotlighted, that more risks will get taken by readers, and that maybe, just maybe, this stupid “people in their 20’s admitting to somehow ironically liking ‘My Little Pony’ trend” will roll over and die.

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