It’s time for another installment of my favorite comics holiday: Hourly Comic Day! Every year on February 1st, creators around the world draw a panel (or panels) for every hour they’re awake. This is my eighth year participating, and I love it more and more each time around. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on where I’m at in my career, what’s changed in the past year, and how I’m feeling about the future.
(Full disclosure: while I penciled all eight of these pages on February first, I inked and painted about five of them on February second. I always want to watercolor my hourlies and never let myself do it so this year I got indulgent. Worth it.)
These were all drawn on 6×9″ Strathmore mixed media paper with a mix of Kuretake and PITT brush pens, Daniel Smith watercolor, and a 2H pencil.
Thanks for reading! You can check out my previous entries for Hourly Comic Day at the following links: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011.
This is it, friends! My last convention of 2017! If you’re in the D.C. area, come on out to Bethesda, MD for the Small Press Expo this Saturday and Sunday. SPX boasts an amazing roster of indie comics folks, and I’m so excited to be returning this year. I’ll be camped out at Table K9-A alongside the team from Cartozia Tales. You can check out the full exhibitor list and floor map here.
I’m also appearing on a panel on Sunday at 12:30pm:
Balancing World-Building and Character In Kids’ Comics
Laura Terry, Ben Sears, Janet Lee & Lucy Bellwood all create elaborate worlds for their colorful characters to dwell in. They will discuss how to balance the immersive quality of world-building with the development of character and story, particularly as it pertains to comics for kids.
Sunday, 12:30pm, White Flint Room
So what am I gonna have on hand? WELL.
I just picked up these extra shiny ✨new sketchbooks✨ from my time in Iceland. If you want 24 pages of watercolor studies, life drawing, and landscapes from two weeks in a totally unreal and gorgeous country, this is the book for you. (It’s also available as a PDF if you swing that way.)
I’ll also have a limited selection of miniprints from the 100 Demon Dialogues series, and the plush prototype for folks to get a handle on.
If you missed your chance to order a book or a plush toy through the Kickstarter campaign, there’s now a pre-order store where you can do all of that! No deadlines needed. Just for kicks, here’s a look at the letterpress print design I’m working on for the campaign:
In addition to these new treats, I’ll have gold foil box sets of my first 100 Day Project, A Life in Objects, which sold out in record time at last year’s SPX. (Don’t worry, I’m bringing a lot more this year!)
I’ll also have assorted travelogue minicomics and softcover copies of Baggywrinkles, if you somehow don’t own a copy yet. PHEW. Lots of goodies. Oh! AND. I’m also giving away copies of Mappin’ the Floor, the comic that came out of my three-week stint in the Pacific aboard R/V Falkor. Learn some stuff about oceanography in 12 bright and charming pages—fo’ FREE.
Okay, I think that’s legitimately it from me. SEE YOU AT THE SHOW!
As you may’ve noticed, I’ve spent the last three(ish) months working on The 100 Day Project, a creative game of sorts where participants try to create something every day for 100 days. I chose to illustrate meaningful objects from my life with little vignettes of text.
The final collection, A Life in Objects, is now up for sale! I’m printing a facsimile edition in three, 40-page pocket notebooks—the same size as the originals (3.5×5″)—with a fancy belly band.
The books will be printed locally in Portland at Eberhardt Press, and I’m hoping to debut them at SPX in September.
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.
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!
Those of you following me elsewhere on the Internet have probably already seen this year’s 31 Days, 31 Outfits challenge, but I finally got ’em all scanned and uploaded into a tiny army, so I figured it was time for an official post. If you’d like to compare notes with 2014’s 31 Outfits, you can take a peek at those right here.
I hadn’t intended to make this an annual thing, but it’s been really fun both times and I dig getting to see my progress year-to-year, so I guess I’ll be seeing you with another batch of these in 2016!
I like mixing photo reference with work by artists I admire (especially animators) since it keeps me thinking in terms of what can be simplified and exaggerated. There are so many masters to learn from, and the mechanical act of replication plus an awareness of form can work wonders on your technique.
To everyone who looks at this exercise and says “Wow, I could never do that!”, remember that a) all you have to do is draw one hand at a time, and b) even though this batch was drawn in a handful of days, this practice is a process that was set in motion over a decade ago. I really wish I had scans of the very first set of these I ever did in 2003, ’cause lemme tell you they didn’t look so good back then. Heck, they still don’t look so good to me right now, but they’re better. And better is what matters. Here’s some from a little over two years ago, here’s some more from two and a half years ago. Now: a little less stiff, a little more expressive.
Well well well, December already and I’m back in the States! I hope you all had a fabulous month.
England and France were absolutely spectacular. I had a sell-out show at Thought Bubble, met a load of great UK creators, explored some of London’s best museums, decompressed in the French countryside, and ate waaaaaaay too much cheese.
(Just kidding. You can never eat too much cheese.)
This is just a quick post to let you all know that my shipping deadline for holiday orders is THIS THURSDAY (December 4th), since I’ll be out of town visiting my family in California for most of December and won’t have access to my stock. If you’ve got a maritime enthusiast in the family, why not get them some quality nautical comics? You can check out all the stuff I’ve got right here. Be sure to request if you’d like me to sign ’em to someone special.
Also, because I feel bad that I don’t have enough time to do a full, in-depth write-up of the trip: have some pages from my sketchbook! (If you’d like to see absolutely everything I’ve done each month, there’s a Patreon tier especially for you! Supporting me making more comics gets you access to exclusive high-res PDFs of all my sketchbook stuff month-by-month.)
Proud to say I’ve been back on the sketchbook horse this month after a lengthy fallow period, so I figured it was high time to show my work. Behold! Some nudes from a figure drawing session last week (five- and one-minute poses, respectively):
There’s also a bundle of progress shots from my work on the Charles W. Morgan travelogue, random sketchbook pages, and the odd outfit sketch or two.
Gosh you guys: drawing for fun is FUN. Did you know? I forget sometimes. I’ll try to do another of these before too long!
This week I revisited an exercise given to me by my awesome mentor Eben Matthews almost ten years ago.
In one of our early meetings Eben asked me what my least favorite thing to draw was. Like any budding 13-year-old artist I immediately pulled a face and said “hands.” He smirked and told me to come back with 100 of them drawn by our next session. I glowered and grumbled, but truth be told it was a deeply valuable exercise that stuck with me for a long time (even after he made me draw 100 feet the following week, the scum!).
While recently looking at lots of inspirational animation captures of beautifully rendered, expressive hands, I realized how long it had been since I’d drawn those first 100 and decided to do it again. I sketched a lot of them during classes, but also used various photo references and even some of the animation stills to get an idea of how to effectively simplify the anatomy.
Rather than a week, this took me about five hours altogether. It feels so good that I may have to start doing it more often. A decade is a little too long.
As you can see, I devolved a little at the end there and started drawing eyeballs and classmates — one of whom happens to look an astonishing amount like the female protagonist of Dylan Meconis’ spectacular comic, Family Man. Who knew?
And, to round things out, here are a couple quick sketches of puppets from the amazing John Frame exhibit currently showing at the Portland Art Museum. Strange, fascinating stuff if you get the chance to go see it.
That’s all for now! I’ve got some really exciting news and projects on the horizon, but I can’t share them quite yet, so I’ll try to keep the little illustrations coming.