Here’s the stuff I’ll have for sale:
Brokenface – A new 12-page mini about that guy with no face who shows up in my strips sometimes. He has no face, and wants one.
Irene is edited by Andy Warner, dw, and myself. It’s a rainbow of color, a dream of beauty, a wild bust of lafter ‘an regular hot stuff.
Last Mountain #0 – Collection of three of my short stories. The next issue will debut at CAKE in June.
I think that’s it. See you there?
Someone on Craigslist is asking for an artist to draw his/her graphic novel, which will then be pitched to publishers and maybe produced, and maybe make money. Maybe.
My email to this person:
You accidentally posted in the ‘Jobs’ section on Craigslist. You are asking for spec work. Spec work is not a job. For more information please see the links below:
“Draw My Graphic Novel” - http://srbissette.com/?p=13107
“On Speculation” - http://www.alec-longstreth.com/blog/659/
All the best,
This person responded:
It’s not spec work, it’s a partnership. The work is being produced. I’m not asking for anything other than your portfolio or samples.
You’re also not paying anything unless your project makes money. Therefore it is speculative. It’s theoretical money, not real money. It does not pay, so it is not a job. You can call it a partnership, but you’re still asking artists to potentially spend hundreds of hours drawing your story without the guarantee of any payment.
I’m not sure how much you know about the cartooning process, but a single page can take anywhere from 3-10 hours from pencils to finished inks. Even if your graphic novel is a modest 80 pages, that would be between 240 and 800 hours of labour. That’s 6-20 weeks of full time work. About 2-5 months of unpaid work. Even at a low hourly rate of $20/hour, that would be between $4,800 and $16,000. And any artist capable of producing the kind of quality work you probably have in mind would expect a higher hourly rate than that. Between $30 and $60 per hour.
I’m sure you believe in your story, and maybe it will even hit it big (though with the way publishing and especially self-publishing works you’ll be lucky to pay for printing, distribution and promotion). But if you really believe in this project, you’ll front the money for it. There are grants and loans out there.
You wouldn’t expect a carpenter to renovate your restaurant for free. Don’t expect an artist to shoulder the risk of your dreams.
Best of luck,
Awaiting further correspondence. I should probably be working instead of doing this, but it feels so cathartic.
Recently, my work was included in issue 58 of Stripburger, a Slovenian comics anthology. I’ve been hoping to get into Stripburger for some time, so I was thrilled that the editors wanted to run “The Best Donald“, a story I originally did for the Lies Grown-Ups Told Me anthology.
They also asked me to write a little essay for the issue. Ostensibly, this was to explain the word game featured in my comic, but the editors encouraged me to write about my larger relationship with cartooning. They even translated the piece into Slovenian!
You can read the English version of the essay below. And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Stripburger online or at fine comic shops near you– there is tons of great stuff in this magazine!
Amazingly, I had some spare time this week, so I thought I’d put together a little Christmas card. I often draw my wife and I as little kids for cards because relatives think it’s adorable, but this is the first time we’ve visited the Peanuts universe.
Whatever you call your things this time of year, I hope you have a happy one.
If you’re in Montreal this weekend, you should come down to Expozine and buy a ton of amazing small press work! Here are the details:
NOVEMBER 17 & 18
12pm – 6pm, 5035 St-Dominique
(Église Saint-Enfant Jésus, between St-Joseph & Laurier, near Laurier Métro)
I’ll be there with some cartoonist pals, selling comics and probably eating a samosa or ten.
Also, come to Librairie Drawn & Quarterly tonight for the Expozine Launch event: a panel discussion and screening of scenes from Cartoon College, a documentary about The Center for Cartoon Studies:
EXPOZINE LAUNCH EVENT: CARTOON COLLEGE!
Friday November 16 at the Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore
211 Bernard W., 7 – 10p.m., free admission.
Join us for a screening of select scenes from the brand new documentary, Cartoon College! Each fall The Center for Cartoon Studies in nearby Vermont invites 20 aspiring cartoonists and graphic novelists for a no-holds-barred education in comics.
Several will be on hand to discuss their experiences: Jon Chad Dakota McFadzean Sophie Goldstein Julie Delporte Jai Granofsky
Finally, here are the comics I’ll have at my table for you to buy…
dw and I used to talk extensively about work, ritual, and cartooning during grad school. He’s also a fellow daily drawer, with an overwhelming and dizzying aesthetic. Be sure to drop by the Hic and Hoc table (U34) and say hi to him.
Go! Go to the festival!
This weekend, I drew my thousandth Daily comic.
Well, that’s not totally true. I’ve mentioned before that I tried doing a daily strip back in 2007, but I only kept it up for a couple of months.
And when I was in high school, I would do a haiku with a drawing before bed every night (usually they were about dreams I had, or how no one understands).
Regardless, as the number of Dailies crawled closer to the one thousand mark, I’ve been reflecting on the exercise– not only how it has affected my comics, but how it’s impacted my approach to work. This seems like as appropriate a time as any to write down some of those thoughts.
I’ve always romanticized the idea of doing something every day. Somewhere in my parents’ house I know there’s a box filled with diaries containing fewer than three entries in each one. (Note to my parents, if you’re reading this: stay out of any boxes you find containing diaries).
The thing is: I’ve always been lousy at keeping up these self-imposed exercises. I can do something if someone tells me to, but when I try to enforce my own deadlines and goals it used to be much more of a struggle. When I go back and read those strips from 2007, the primary theme seems to be one of frustration. There’s a lot of false-starts and self-chastising for forgetting to do strips, or for simply not being good enough. Like many young artists, my ambitions were much higher than my skill level.
When I started drawing daily strips again in 2010, it was more of an act of desperation. I was working a full-time office job to save money for school, and that left very little time to make comics. I was terrified that my development would come to a halt. With my only goal being to put pen to paper once a day, rather than to get published by D&Q immediately, the exercise seemed a little more manageable.
Almost three years later, The Dailies have become increasingly rewarding. It used to feel like an obligation, but it’s become something I get excited about almost every day. Almost.
Anyway, I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the act of keeping a daily strip, so here we go:
- Quantity is important. Maybe more important than quality because quality will naturally develop with quantity. I started doing The Dailies straight to ink without pencilling, but I gradually raised my expectations as I became more comfortable with the routine.
- Doing a lot of short things will make your ideas seem less precious, so it becomes easier to try new things and take risks. Oh, an idea didn’t work out the way you wanted? Who cares? You can do a new thing tomorrow.
- You will inevitably repeat yourself, and that’s good. It helps you figure out what you’re interested in. Sometimes what you’re interested in will surprise you. Sometimes it will just let you get a mediocre idea out of your system.
- It will help keep you sane. If you’re having one of those shitty, unproductive days where you feel like you didn’t get anything done, at least you drew four panels of a duck doing something. At least you held a pen and made a few lines.
- You are more likely to accidentally discover bigger ideas. With a high volume of small ideas, you can take your favourite ones and expand them into bigger things.
- You will learn about yourself and your audience. If you post your daily exercises online, you will frequently find that the comics you like the least are the ones that everyone seems to love, and vice versa. Art that has been seen by an audience is different than art that hides in the safety of your sketchbook.
- You’ll make things you would never normally make. Every once in a while, when you’re tired and just want to go to bed, you’ll make something you wouldn’t make. It could be an idea full of possibility, or it could just be an oddity that doesn’t make sense.
- Making sense is overrated. Talking Heads were right. Stop making sense. You don’t have to make sense every day. That would be boring. Don’t hide behind ambiguity, but learn to embrace wonderful nonsense.
- When things are stagnating, you can always put a restriction on yourself. Doing too much of the same thing over and over? Try a different style. Try a different colour palette. Try continuing an idea all week.
- Sometimes, almost always, you don’t know what you’re trying to say. It’s better to make quick work impulsively and figure out what it means later, than to stagnate in an idea because you’re not sure what it means.
- There is always another idea. Always. Big or small. Funny or sad. Tomorrow you will make something that didn’t exist today.
Ostensibly, I started this exercise for myself, hoping to become a better cartoonist. But I wouldn’t post them every week if I didn’t want people to see them. I can’t fully describe how much it means to me that people take the time to read my strips. Whether you read them every week, or have just read a strip or two here and there, I truly appreciate it.
See you next week.
It’s been a busy summer, friends. Since leaving Vermont in May, I haven’t been in one place for more than a few weeks at a time. But now I’m back in Montreal, and ready for comics-related action. And the first order of business, now that I’m no longer a transient vagabond, is to pack my bags and hit the road for the Small Press Expo!
$10.00, 64 pages, screen printed cover
This new anthology is edited by Andy Warner, dw, and myself. It features work by the three of us, as well as Jon Fine, Rachel Dukes, and Nate Wootters. There’s laughter, tears, and other strange curiosities. Here’s a sample from my new story, Skeletons:
I’ve also put together new editions of some of my past minicomics:
Last Mountain – Issue 0
$5.00, 36 pages, colour cover on gold paper.
Features three short stories I did over the last year. You’ll see everything from disconcertingly invisible enemies, to high school anxiety, to cowboys.
$5.00, 40 pages, colour cover
The story is about a small town, a fracturing family, and a flock of birds whose unusual behaviour permeates and intersects with the lives of the townspeople.
$3.00, 24 pages, colour cover
This comic has been making the rounds since it came out. It made The Comics Journal’s list of The Top 30 Minicomics of 2011, and was nominated for the Gene Day Award for Self-Publishers at this year’s Joe Shuster Awards (which will be happening this very weekend in Montreal while I’m at SPX!).
It’s a story about memory, death, childhood, and cartoon rabbits.
And that’s just one quarter of one table! Now imagine a gigantic room filled with tables, and amazing comics made by wonderful people. It’s going to be a great weekend, friends. Can’t wait to see you there…
It’s been a busy, transient few months since graduating from CCS, so let me bring you up to speed.
First, I moved my junk from Vermont to my wife’s apartment in Montreal (she went back to school in the fall, so we’ve been living apart). Then I moved our collective junk into a storage locker because we’ve moving into a new apartment in September. Then I took some of my junk (shirts, underwear, pens) and moved them to Toronto, where my wife is doing an internship for the summer. A few weeks later, I took said junk and went back to Regina. The next day, that junk was bound for the forests of Revelstoke, BC. After a few weeks, that junk was back in Saskatchewan for a bit. And now it’s back in Toronto again.
Tumultuous, right? Extra thanks to my brother, Jonah who helped a lot with the move from Vermont back to Canada.
Anyway, I’ve been a little inconsistent updating my site. But, here’s a new sketchbook spread anyway.
My output was pretty good when I was in Toronto in June. Then I went on a camping/biking/climbing trip with my parents and youngest brother for a good chunk of July and all bets were off. My family has been doing these trips ever since my dad took up rock climbing. I’ve never been much of a climber, and a nine-year hiatus didn’t change things, but I did get to ride my bike a lot, which was wonderful.
Here are some things I saw:
I’ve been trying to make up with my old friend, hatching. Hatching is a pretty good friend, but sometimes it demands too much of my time. Sometimes hatching has to be banished to my sketchbooks so that I can actually get some comics done, but what are friends for, right? Oh, and also more multidimensional oddness.