I had a ton of fun wrapping up these watercolor paintings for my top-tier backers on the Baggywrinkles Kickstarter last week. Here’s a look at the final lineup of paintings:
Clockwise from upper left, we’ve got El Galeon (hiding behind PDX YAR’s First Mate), L’Hermione, Brig Niagara, and Kalmar Nyckel (in disguise under a different paint job, for reasons outlined in this Tumblr post).
In the process of getting all of these done, I learned a bunch about making time-lapse videos, which you can check out below:
I put up an informative essay each month about some aspect of my creative process, along with a load of other content for folks to read/watch/listen to/generally enjoy. I serious adore Patreon as a platform for making more of this work possible, so if you haven’t already checked it out, go take a peek! (There’s a lot of free stuff there, too, if you don’t want to commit to chucking some money my way each month.)
Fittingly, I’m writing this blog post from the deck of the Oliver Hazard Perry, a new tall ship in Rhode Island that I’m currently working aboard as a visiting artist. But that’s secondary to the following exciting news of the day: I’ve got a new comic up on The Nib!
For the last few months I’ve been researching and illustrating this brief introduction to the modern world of sail cargo—a movement driven by environmentalism, optimism, and countless volunteer hours. There are a surprising number of operations around the world working to convert tall ships into viable cargo-carrying vessels—or build new ones from the ground up.
It’s a trend I find deeply fascinating, and my only regret was not being able to fit more of my research into this introduction. The sailors working on these vessels are the embodiment of enthusiasm and dedication, and I really enjoyed talking with them during my research.
Of particular interest right now: Sailcargo Inc. are launching their Kickstarter to build a dedicated cargo vessel (Ceiba) from scratch in Costa Rica! Keep an eye on their website for details on the launch.
Fairtransport are also making great strides in building a coalition of sail cargo vessels around the world. Their website has a wealth of information, including vessel tracking and more. View all the ships in their network here.
Of course there are also efforts being made to implement modern sailing technology on existing container ships at a grander scale. To learn more about the DynaRig technology behind parts of that movement, check out this article. There’s some fascinating stuff afoot, and even though it’s moving slowly, progress is being made.
I’ll have more news after my week aboard the Perry, but until then, enjoy the comic!
If all this Baggywrinkles news has you itching to read the book before it officially hits shelves on September 9th, I have excellent news: the book is now available on ComiXology!
Big thanks to the team at ComiXology Submit for getting the book up and running on the site, and for giving it pride of place in the Indie New Releases section. We also got a lovely shout-out on Dave Carter’s Digital Comics Picks of the Week feature, alongside fabulous titles like Lumberjanes, Island, The Fix, and Howard the Duck! Thanks, Dave.
What ho, friends! I come bearing exciting news today: the Baggywrinkles East Coast Tour Extravaganza is officially launching this week and I’ve got ALL THE TOUR DATES lined up and ready to share. Here’s the plan:
(Huge thanks to my pal Heather Cummings for helping with design and layout for all my tour graphics!)
As you can probably see above, I’ll be hitting tour stops in Portland, Mystic, Boston, DC, New York, and Ann Arbor over the next couple weeks. Some conventions, some book stores, some comic shops, and some MARITIME MUSEUMS (oh yes). It’s going to be a wild and crazy adventure and I really can’t wait to get out to see some maritime history and meet all you East Coast pals who I never get to hang out with!
I’ll be bringing copies of Baggywrinkles: a Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea to all these locations (not to mention postcards and other treats), and would love to sell you a copy/talk about boats/draw in whatever you have handy.
Not in the area? Still keen to pick up a copy of the book? Here’s a handy graphic you can convey to your local comic shop or book store to pre-order a copy.
I’ll be posting tour stop updates to Twitter all throughout the trip, so keep an eye out there if you’d like to help spread the word about upcoming events!
There is a fabled holiday in the East, my friends. A weekend celebration of comics and friendship SO GREAT, SO VAST it has been known to BLOT OUT THE SUN. Under a single roof one may find the grandest collection of independent comics practitioners in the Western Hemisphere. There is where friendships are forged in the fires of community bonding, where children frolic in the aisles and parents stagger forth laden with armfuls of glorious sequential material.
Yes, that’s right: it’s TCAF TIME!
It’s no secret that TCAF is pretty much my favorite show ever. The audience, the venue, the exhibitors, the panels—everything there is just the greatest, and I’m so proud to announce that Baggywrinkles: a Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea will be making its debut at this year’s festival!
Here’s a sneak peek at the lovely advance run of books that we had printed just in time:
In addition to tabling at Table 279, you can also find me at the following events (during which time I will, obviously, not be at my table—plan accordingly!):
Saturday, 1:30 – 2:30 — Comics 101: How to Start Publishing Your Comics (Marriott: Summerhill Room)
Reading comics is not enough and your passion for the medium has manifested into the next form — making them! Self-publishing your own comics will be a snap with the helpful expert advice of indie comics pubs and creators Raighne Hogan (2dcloud), Hazel Newlevant (Chainmail Bikini), Lucy Bellwood (Baggywrinkles), Kevin Czap (Czap Books). Moderated by Rachel Kahn.
Sure we all love comics, but what’s the other thing that makes you light up like an incandescent bulb? Specialization isn’t just key to evolution—it can help bring new focus to your work and encourage readers to learn from (and share!) your enthusiasm. Join Kate Beaton (history), Erika Moen (sex and sexuality), Lisa Hanawalt (horses), and Lucy Bellwood (boats) for a discussion of how niche interests can lead to diverse, vibrant careers.
Bring out the inner artistry of your little ones at the Draw-Along Kids Room! All day, we are cycling in the best of childrens’ comics artists to draw alongside our youngest attendees. Come by and let your imaginations run wild with real, live cartoonists!
Something a little different today: a process GIF from a recent illustration commission! This cat portrait was done start-to-finish in Manga Studio with Frenden’s blue pencil and Hairpin Sable inker brushes.
You notice how the cat really comes alive in that last frame when the white highlights in the eyes come into play? Every time I add those to a piece I get this really vivid memory of going to art classes as a kid.
My teacher’s name was Sharon Butler. She was a realist painter from South Africa who painted waist-high stones to look like living cheetahs, crouching in the greenery outside the studio. The two rooms in her establishment were filled with the perpetual, chalky scent of pastels and Prismacolor pencils. We’d get pieces of illustration board handed out every time a new project began, cut down to the appropriate size. I completely lost track of time every session I spent there. My only job was drawing, as well as I could.
This was pre-internet, so Sharon kept a morgue file in the inner room. It was a metal filing cabinet—dull beige and taller than I was at the time—crammed full of photos and magazine clippings. There were folders for horses and dolphins and birds and architecture and chairs and people and costumes. Every manilla folder had a grouping by subject, and since Google simply wasn’t around yet we’d fight over who got the best picture of the dolphin to draw from.
I drew a lot of animals when I went to those classes with Sharon. She’d stop by while I was struggling to render a hummingbird as something other than a crude cartoon, giving suggestions on how I could better train my eye to see what was actually in front of me. The second-to-last touch, before the fixative stopped our pastel smudges from scattering off the page, was to add a dot of white in each eye. She taught us to use a Q-Tip or the back end of a paintbrush.
At the time it felt like wizardry—the amount of life that tiny dot of white could bring to an otherwise flat animal.
Those of you following me on social media may’ve noticed a new series of drawings going up over the last couple weeks! I’m participating in The 100 Day Project, which comes to us via Elle Luna and The Great Discontent. The premise of this project is simple: make something every day for 100 days. That’s all. Could be anything; a written word, a cake, a joke, a drawing, a button. I’ve actually been pitching it as a do anything for 100 days project—so one could even eat an apple a day or something similarly arbitrary. I think it’s the regularity of the ritual that’s important. There’s also value in creating something small every day and using the exercise to break down our inhibitions around perfection, but regularity breeds ritual, and ritual can take many forms.
Anyway, I’ve opted to use up the many, many Scout Books and Field Notes sketchbooks I’ve been accumulating from various events by chronicling 100 objects in my possession with words and pictures.
The format involves a drawing, however crude, and as much context about the item as I can cram on the page. It started here:
And has continued apace for the last couple weeks.
I love projects like this that require relatively little commitment on the day-to-day, but add up to something vast over time. I’m really excited to see where this goes. If you’d like to follow along, take a peek at my Instagram page or follow along on Twitter.
So as some of you may or may not be aware, I sit next to my friend Erika Moen when working at Periscope Studio. She takes a lot of reference photos for her fantastic comic, Oh Joy, Sex Toy, and since we’re perpendicular to one another I’m in a seriously ideal position to photobomb basically all of them.
We’ve been joking about putting together a zine of all these photographic masterpieces, and this month I finally thought “Why not?” and ordered a whole bunch of them. So, without further ado, allow me to present: BOMBSHELLS.
You can grab a copy in person at Emerald City Comicon later this week! The show runs Thursday-Sunday, and I’ll have a limited number of copies on hand to sign and sell. Find me at Booth 1214 with the rest of Periscope, or head to Erika’s table just across the aisle at 1322!
Hello, friends—it’s time for another installment of everyone’s favorite working holiday: Hourly Comic Day! This is my sixth(!!!) year participating which, for those of you who aren’t familiar, involves drawing a panel or two for every hour you’re awake on February 1st. It’s a lovely way to create a time capsule of your drawing style and general life trajectory over time, and I always enjoy to sense of creating something start-to-finish in a single day.
You can read the whole story over on Medium! Enjoy—I’m really proud of how this batch turned out.
As you’ve probably all noticed, this month’s Inktober challenge has morphed into something of a themed exercise for me. I’ve been illustrating my horrible little self-doubt demon in his many forms, trying to name some of the fears and anxieties that everyone deals with (in one form or another) when they sit down to make work. Here’s a selection from the first half of the month.
If you’d like to join in, please do! I’m trying to keep an eye on the #drawyourdemons hashtag and I’d love to see what your little jerks say and how you respond to them.
This character came out back in 2012 when I was stuck in an art rut. A bit of digging in the Ancient Bellwood Archives revealed the original:
Followed by this additional doodle:
(I can also guarantee the little bastard’s been plaguing me since long before I started making comics about him.)
Anyway, I’m contemplating putting all these illustrations together in a little minicomic when the month is done. If you’d like in on that, keep an eye out on Twitter. Happy Inktober!