Annual Check-in

I’ve been extra extra busy. School has hit hard. I’ve moved from my old studio to new space at school. All my old projects still languish in limbo but I’ve gotten a lot done on new things. Projects on the go include:

  • Diaspora: First installment is ready, I just need to make a website. I’m writing the next sequences and about ready to draw more.
  • WHAT Magazine: The second zine is being drawn and readied. I’ve got several pages left to draw and then assemble the final zine. Issue number 2 looms! I’ll be printing many for:
  • Canzine 2012: A big zine fair in Toronto on October 21. I’ve registered for a table and will be selling zines, prints and buttons. You can buy the new What #2, my 2010 24-Hour Comic (also available at my website) and a special minizine made for the convention.I’m also preparing some exclusive WHAT poster prints and business cards and an updated website to roll out with the show. I’m not expecting any huge success with the show, just looking forward to finishing new work and getting it out there.
  • Comic with Steve: It’s rolling along. We haven’t met much since school started but we’re eager to dive back in, and this is the project I’ve made the most progress in. It’s through the process of planning, designing and drawing with him that I’ve further developed my skills and something resembling a style has begun to emerge. It’s encouraging.

I’ll also be doing comics as my undegrad thesis, so I’ve got a lot of formal experimentation and writing and cartooning exercises planned. I’m also self-teaching to switch to all-digital workflow, scanning only maybe loose pencils. I found this great link from idrawdigital for making webcomics, which I’m looking forward to diving into.

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Eureka! I’ve had a breakthrough in productivity. As I’ve mentioned I’ve been planning my website and had some very specific design and functionality in mind. I’d tried to hire a designer but that fell through, and tried labouring through tutorials and trying to make it all myself, but that wasn’t working either. The website languished in non-production for a long time as I lamented not being able to move forward without it.

Then the other day I found a free wordpress theme generator online! I was able to sub in a couple of my own graphics and make the site that way! Now there’s a site for the online version of WHAT Magazine.

Next up will be the site for Diaspora. I’m working on the graphics and initial content. I’m so excited I’m gonna puke!

* * *

All that aside, life is great. I went to Halifax for a week recently, visited friends, explored and gained weight. It put a big dent in my productivity from which I’m only slowly recovering, but no matter. I’ve got some extra little paychecks coming and some camping and then a long humid sweaty summer ahead. I’ve come a long way since last summer and have made solid measurable progress. I’m pleased with myself, which is a totally new and alien feeling. Elation.

I wanna publish zines and rage against machines

WHAT MAGAZINE #1 is out! And by out, I mean I made 20 copies thinking it would be enough but every one is accounted for and next paycheck I need to go print more.

It’s 24 pages, chock-full of comics, ranting, and comics. It’s not that good. You’ll love it though!

If there’s anybody out there (lol) who wants a copy, email me at: meinfuhrericanwalk@gmail.com The zine is free in theory, but if I have to mail it out, I gotta ask for something. Either we can swap or you can paypal me maybe. We’ll work out details in the email. If you’re in Kitchener or Waterloo, Ontario, I can hand-deliver it. Sorry Cambridge: you lose.

If anybody wants to contribute to future issues in any way, PLEASE contact me. I loved the whole process, but coming up with 24 pages of material is hard. Plus I want to collaborate with folks. We can pretend it’s the 90’s and listen to Beastie Boys.

Welp, see ya.

Run ’em over, Mark!

I haven’t updated this in ages. Luckily, stuff happened! Here’s a long post to catch us up.

2009 was a pretty zany year, to say the least. There were spectacular highs and Earth-shattering lows. In the end, it all brought me to where I am now, and I feel good about things in ways I haven’t in a very long time. Many thanks to all the amazing people in my life for being there for me. To my wife, my parents, family, friends new and old, I say thank you. I don’t really know why I though of all this now, but it needs to be said. You’re all awesome.

Now that I’ve buttered you up, you’ll read my boring crap.

I’ve officially upgraded to struggling artist from… not one. I started going to UW for fine art this past fall, got involved in some local art festivals and met lots of people. I originally was just settling for UW because I could do it part-time and it’s very local and convenient. My original plan was to go to Sheridan for illustration or animation, but money and not wanting to uproot my wife from her steady established job dictated otherwise.

But it became intoxicating. The more I read into art history and the movements and trends and developments over time, the more I want to be a part of it. My first love has always been comics, but I’m thinking more and more about how I’m going to pursue an art career later on. I want to do comics, but what else do I want to do?

I’m still exploring. Lately I’m scribbling constantly trying to sort out my thoughts about this, what I think about art, how I can fit into it, how comics can fit into it… Basically I’m in an artistic holding pattern until I figure that out, biding my time with school exercises and making comics.

Speaking of comics, I’ve got a lot of them on the go.

My main ongoing project for the past few years is my sci fi comic Diaspora, which I’ve talked about before. I did a complete rough draft and tried to start an actual page but was unsure about the format. I didn’t know if I wanted to create it for print or screen. I still haven’t decided definitively, but I’m gearing up for it on screen, and have already started the website for it. In starting it, I realized my actual technical skills weren’t quite ready yet, so I put it on the back burner in favour of some quickie projects to warm myself up.

These quickie projects, as you may have guessed, snowballed into these bloated nebulous concepts very quickly. I’m drowning in paper. I’ve got more things planned than I can even keep track of. It’s consuming me and I fucking love it.

The big thing now is my zine. A lot of great comics artists over time started out with their own personal comics, and that’s how I’m going to get myself started. Ivan Brunetti put out his Schizo series, Chester Brown had Yummy Fur, Chris Ware did Acme Novelty Library and you could even count Dave Sim in that category, starting his own publishing company to put out his opus Cerebus.

It’s worth mentioning that I’ve never read Dave Sim’s comics but what he did in the industry and for himself is a huge inspiration. As a person, I don’t know if I’d want to meet him. He seems to be this outspoken opinionated character and I’m not really one of those people who likes… people. But the idea of controlling my creative output to the degree that he has is a very attractive one.

This, among other things, is what led me to self-publishing. I’ve always had these romantic notions about being all underground and publishing zines and doing it all myself and whatever else. As my love for the comics medium grew, I realized this is a really good avenue to put it all into practice without having to wait for a real career and trying to get published in some mainstream venue. As I’ve said to people, “I’m not waiting for school to teach me shit.”

So since the summer, I’ve been brainstorming and drawing and now I’ve cobbled together a solid 24 pages of original material for the inaugural issue of WHAT magazine. I’ve got most of it done, with only a couple pages left to do. I hope to have it done and ready to make copies by the end of reading week. Eventually you’ll be able to order it from this page, and possibly later from its own website. I’ve got an empire planned.