Over the past couple of months, while not cranking out my daily comics here at the Center for Cartoon Studies, I’ve been working hard alongside my buds, Luke Healy and Simon Reinhardt to put together a comics publication that brings together all the things that I love about comics and independent publishing.
Dog City is a small press comics magazine dedicated to publishing quality minicomics. Each issue of Dog City consists of a curated selection of minicomics packaged in an artfully designed cardboard box.
Issue 1 of Dog City contains over 120 pages of comics in the form of 8 mini-comics by 11 creators from around the world. The box also includes stickers, screen-printed art cards, a poster and a printed magazine about comics and comics culture.
One of the books I’m most excited to be publishing is Pigs Incorporated by Iris Yan. Have a look.As you can imagine, putting something of this scale has been a bonafide labor of love. It’s been an honor to be able to service the work of my fellow cartoonists in this production capacity and to present it to the world with the respect it deserves. We’re selling this first issue for $15(+$3 for shipping). You can pre-order copies today.
If you’d like to learn more about this project, hop on over to the Dog City site. There’ll be loads of posts in the coming weeks, focusing on the production process, artist spotlights and contemporary comics criticism.
Here’s a shout out to my classmate, Eleri Harris. She’s a real go getter. She’s trying to raise funds to jet down to her motherland, Australia. She’s doing so by selling a full run of 400 mini comics that document her forays in American Culture as an Australian cartoonist. She’s nearly halfway there.
Here’s a message from the cartoonist herself:
On June 1 my beloved friend Fifi is marrying a hippy name of Jarrah (he seems like an okay bloke) on a beach or something back home in Tasmania.
Clearly it’s important for me to be there – to live draw the entire event, tell embarrassing stories about Fifi’s colourful dawn of the new millennium youth and be a witness in the ceremony in a fancy frock.
The catch? I am a broke cartoonist studying for a masters on the other side of the planet and I can’t afford the airfare.
This is where you come in. I have made 400 copies of a mini-comic called #americanadventure detailing episodes of weirdness, humour and hi-jinx in the land of the free.
I need to sell all of them to cover my Qantas oriented debt!
They’re 16 pages, silk screen covered tiny things and they’re five bucks.
You can buy one here:
Eleri’s got a knack for humor and among my classmates she does some of my favorite memoir comics.
She’s already sent out the first 100 editions, so they’re going fast! Hop on over to Eleri’s Big Cartel shop and find out what the #americanadventure is all about.
During the last week that I’ve spent back in Pittsburgh, I’ve been repeatedly reminded by how invigorating its community of creators has been for me in my growth as a cartoonist. It’s a great place filled with some truly hard working creators.
One of the things that bums me out the most about not having been in Pittsburgh this past fall was not being able to attend the 2nd Annual Zine Fair. With a roster of exhibitors as juicy as the one that they organized, the event was bound to be a blast. Hopefully, the timing of the 2013 zine fair is conducive to me trekking down to the city.
For now though, I’d like to share a couple of photographs taken by Anna Lee Fields.
If you’d like to see more photos from this gathering, hop on over to the Zine Fair’s site.
Drawing Power will be a one day event celebrating and exploring the small press and self-publishing comics and zine community of Pittsburgh and its connection to the larger world. If you’re interested in the nitty gritty details, check ‘em out below.
Saturday, April 20th
Carnegie Museum of Art Theater (lower level)
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Moderators will be Bill Boichel from Copacetic Comics and Caitlin McGurk from the Billy Ireland Collection at OSU.
10:00-10:30am: Meet & Greet; tabling
10:30-11:15am: Panel 1
11:30-12:15pm: Boulet presentation
12:15-1:00pm: Big Feminist But presentation
1:15-2:00pm: John Porcellino presentation
2:15-3:00pm: Panel 2
3:15-4:00pm: Dash Shaw presentation
4:15-5:00pm: Panel 3
Panel 1: The Pittsburgh Scene, Bill Boichel moderator
Panel 2: Self-Publishing, Caitlin McGurk moderator
Panel 3: A Career in Comics, Caitlin McGurk moderator
On a different note, I would like to share a youtube channel that I’ve been watching recently, offtheLeftEye.
Sometimes we get too caught up in our own minds, concerned with how we compare ourselves to others. Those trains of thought often wind up hurting us. If you’ve ever grappled with your ego, you might enjoy the following by offtheLeftEye.
This past Saturday I travelled to Pittsburgh to lead a 3-hour cartooning workshop with Andy Scott at the community space for arts and technology, Assemble.
Have a look at the goings on. It was a blast.
To get into the nitty gritty about the workshop, Andy and I facilitated three primary activities.
To cover the basics and to make sure that kids didn’t feel much pressure regarding their drawings, we has a station dedicated entirely to covering the step by step construction of cartoons. Andy and I provided materials that would allow them to draw both famous characters and entire simplified worlds a la Ed Emberley. The kids would have the opportunity to copy them by sight or by using tracing paper.
I wanted to make sure that we harped on copying as a positive learning tool and not as something to be ashamed of. I know first hand how empowering it can be to know how to draw a character that you see on tv and on billboards. In my mind, an activity like this one would allow the kids to go home having nailed down Homer Simpson or Sponge Bob, a brag worthy skill that’d be a great boost to their self-esteem.
Besides step by step cartooning, we set up a self-portrait station, where kids were encouraged to draw themselves as animals, robots, bugs, superheroes or their favorite household items. These drawings would then be used to create a poster design for the following week’s Crafternoon.
In addition to that there was a large collaborative megacomic on a massive sheet of butcher paper. For this megacomic, Andy laid down a basic structure of frames, a couple of “meanwhiles” and “BUT”s and a few city skylines. After that, we let the kids go to town, encouraging them to take the stories to the outer limits of believability.
Of course, given that the space is oriented towards drop-ins, kids were welcome to follow their cartooning muses in any way they pleased. Some kids wanted individual attention, so I spent time with many of them making one sheet minicomics. The chief approach to my process was by collaborating with the kids, trading off our comics frame by frame.
Everyweek, the crafternoons offer a different engaging activity free of cost to kids from around Pittsburgh, but particularly to those from the Bloomfield, Garfield and Friendship communities. Have a look at their varied March offerings:
If you’re living in Pittsburgh and are interested in the possibility of volunteering your time to lead a crafternoon, please do so. The more we share our talents with kids in spaces like Assemble, the more opportunities for growth we give ourselves and the children in our communities. You can get in touch with assemble via the following email: email@example.com
Next week’s Crafternoon will be a screen printing session with Steph Tsong and the friendly folks from the Artist’s Image Resource in Pittsburgh. Using the contributions of the workshops attendees, I put together a little poster for the kids to try their hand at printing.
The goal of the poster was to create something that would work as promotional material for the crafternoons that would playfully capture the high energy environment which typifies the Crafternoons at Assemble and that could also be customizeable by the kids on their own. (Thus the empty word balloons.)
It was a blast to run a workshop like this. I hope to work with Assemble and similar organizations in the future to create spaces for kids to draw and work on comics fundamentals.
If I could do this for a living, well, that’d be a dream come true!