Patron Saint: VanCAF Promo Card

VanCAFCardWeb

Had a lot of fun illustrating this exclusive postcard for the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival last week. It’s funny how certain pieces really showcase the concept that “Everything’s a Remix”. There are a couple influences here that I’d feel remiss not pointing out: the concept for this piece is totally a spin on a shoot my photographer friend Peter Chee did a couple years ago. His original subject, my pal Tess Myers, is a metalworker, so the halo featured all her tools. I loved that photo and have always wanted to do something similar for illustration or comics.

The second influence is definitely Erika Moen’s saintly portraits, though they have the benefit of real gold leaf (shiny!). I love Erika’s comics, but I’ve also been really inspired by her mixed media collage illustrations. I have all this fancy paper at home that I never really play around with anymore (I used to be more of a book arts gal), so this was an excuse to try something a little more illustrative.

Anyway, keep an eye out for these at VanCAF 2014! I’ll be exhibiting there in May.

Sherlock and Nina

Back in October I had the pleasure of working with writer Steve Nicolaides on a children’s book called Sherlock and Nina. Here are a few preview shots of the finished product:

Cover

The story follows 6-year-old Nina and her inquisitive basset hound Sherlock as they solve the mystery of the old Triplescoop Mansion.

Interior

I had a lot of fun working on this project, honing my full-color digital illustration skills and getting a crash course in dog anatomy, and am super pleased to finally share some of the artwork with you guys. I won’t spoil the ending, but I’ll finish with my favorite piece from the book — Sherlock and his namesake!

Sherlock02

Yui, For Jonathon

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A piece I did for my buddy Jonathon Dalton. This is Yui — a frankly terrifying young woman who leads a faction of militant youths in A Mad Tea-Party, Jonathon’s spectacular sci-fi webcomic. The comic will be appearing in print thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, and this illustration will appear in the bonus art book he’s putting together. Hooray!

Cartozia Paper Figures!

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Sylvia-COLOR_Web

YOU GUYS LIKE PAPER DOLLS? I DO.

These are some fancy postcards that will come bundled with the second issue of Cartozia Tales. They’ll be fully sendable, so you can either cut ‘em out or mail ‘em to friends. The paper will be nice and sturdy, and the figures each have outfits that you can color and cut out yourself from the centerfold of the second issue. If you don’t want to cut up your precious comic, we’ll even offer PDFs of the outfits so you can make as many as you like!

Sarah Becan created Reshii (who’s one of the characters I’ll be working with in Issue 2), and Jen Vaughn is responsible for Sylvia.

In the meantime, as I mentioned yesterday, Issue 1 is available for pre-order at a dollar off the regular price until it starts shipping on August 1st!

SO MUCH EXCITING CARTOZIA NEWS!

Relief

You know the feeling. The fear that a triggering situation will arise in your future and incapacitate you the same way it’s done so many times before. And then, it happens. And you don’t care in the slightest. And it’s magical.

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(Due to popular demand it looks like I’ll be making postcards of this image in the near future. Stay tuned!)

Periscope Portrait

I’m sad to report that my internship at Periscope Studio officially came to a close on February 27th. It was an amazing four and a half months, but I’m not going to write too much about what being there meant to me. Not only because I’ll get all mushy and start crying on you guys, but also because…

I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE! That’s right. I know. I don’t believe it myself, but it’s true. I get to stay. At Periscope. For the foreseeable future. (I’m trying to use real words to talk about this rather than just replacing every letter in this sentence with an exclamation point, can you tell?)

Now, I’m only a lowly Studio Assistant, but it means I’ll continue to work alongside an incredible group of dedicated, powerhouse artists who inspire me to improve every day. If I have to run blogs and scan pages and help with shipping to make that happen, I’m more than happy to do so.

ANYWAY. That’s some of the big news I’ve been sitting on for a while. And boy howdy am I excited about it.

To thank everyone at the Studio for being so welcoming and helpful, I spent part of last week drawing up this group portrait of all the members. Ain’t they a studly bunch?

periscope

I’ll be away in California for the next three weeks helping out with a family medical situation, but I hope to keep you all abreast of what’s on the drawing table during that time. (And I should note that any orders you place in the store while I’m gone won’t ship until I return on April 3rd! Thanks for being patient.)

So long for now!

Vancouver Maritime Museum Installation

Some of you may recall I was doing some illustration work for the Vancouver Maritime Museum last month. Their Art of the Sailor exhibit opened this week, and Alina Anghel (of the Vancouver Trolley Company Blog) was kind enough to snap a photo of my giant poster on the wall!

sailor ink FINAL

 The exhibit runs through October, so I’m really excited to see it in person when I visit for VanCAF in May. In the meantime, if you’re in the Vancouver area, be sure to stop in and check it out! There are a ton of educational and entertaining elements involved — including beautiful pieces of scrimshaw and many photographs of actual sailors showing off their ink. To learn more, check out this in-depth article on The Tyee blog.

I’m also excited to announce that the Museum will be stocking all three issues of Baggywrinkles in their store. There have been some delays, so they might not arrive for a week or two, but hopefully Vancouverites can pick up copies on site before too long.

More art to come soon!

Worthy

I don’t often use this blog for soapboxing about artistic issues, but this comic deserves a bit of an introduction. It’s part of a short conversation I had with my mother (a freelance writer and former cartoonist) a few months ago while working on an illustration job. I’m proud of how far I’ve come in the past year in terms of understanding my financial worth and being unafraid to charge money for what I do, but moments like this still leave me a trembling, anxious wreck. Money and creativity have a fraught relationship at the best of times, and somehow financial matters always manage to cut to the heart of many people’s insecurities. We often believe we’re worthless. That we’re frauds. That someone will come forward one of these days and expose us. It’s only a matter of time. Taking risks and charging a fair price for the services we offer opens us up for the ultimate confirmation of these fears. If someone refuses our price, we are indeed worthless.

Of course, this is a load of bullshit.

Charging people money for something you love doing shouldn’t be difficult, yet somehow it’s one of the greatest challenges facing new artists in the field. We’re steeped in mixed messages telling us that creativity is simultaneously priceless and worthless. “How hard can it be?” people ask, turning around in the same breath to babble about “talent” and “genius”. The attitude I encounter most often involves folks looking wistfully over my shoulder and saying “Oh, I could never do that” — as if drawing is some God-given jar of pixie dust rather than a craft honed over hundreds and thousands of hours. Conversely, onlookers or employers can be astounded at the amount of time and effort that goes into a job — “Surely it doesn’t take that long!” “But that’s so much work!”

How can we create a system where artists don’t have to overcome so many conflicting viewpoints simply in order to get paid for their work? Of course, a great deal rests on having the confidence to realize that self-worth and artistic worth are separate entities. Often it just takes guts to be calm and up-front about asking for your price. By being professional about our financial requirements, we set a precedent for other artists in the field. But it can be hard to know where to start. It’s a lesson I learn and re-learn every time I take on a new job or decide to increase my fees in relation to the amount of experience I’ve gained since starting out as a freelancer.

This is an awful lot of gabble for such a quick comic, but it’s an issue that’s really important to me, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts. If anyone wants to read more, I’ve included some helpful links to other essays on the subject at the bottom of this post.

Phew!

Comic time.

Money

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Useful Links:

Jessica Hische: The Dark Art of Pricing

Katie Lane: Why You Should Raise Your Rates

Katie Lane: Be a Freelance Rock Star

Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me