How to Graytone… The AMERICUS Way!!!

(Dec 10, 2010)

Sorry about the lack of updates on my end.  I’m still plugging away at AMATEURS, and haven’t had a lot of time to work on much else.  However, I have written a guest post on the SAVE APATHEA blog which went up today.

It’s a quick tutorial on how I added tones to some of Jonathan’s AMERICUS pages using marker paper overlays.  So click here to read about how the magic happens! Though hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you’re already reading AMERICUS and know all about this post.  If not, then head on over and start reading Jonathan’s first graphic novel!

And of course, thanks to Jonathan and MK for the opportunity to lend my nutty typings to their website.

Apologies to Frank Sinatra

(Dec 01, 2010)

Jeremy and I are drawing self-portraits for use on the AMATEURS website.  Since the story is about a group of teenagers, we thought it would be funny to draw ourselves at that age.

When I was seventeen
It was a very good year
It was a very good year for acne cream
and peach fuzz goatees
I’d spend all my days
at the TV screen
When I was seventeen…

Amateurish Beginnings

(Nov 30, 2010)

AMATEURS, which you may have heard me mention on this blog in the past, is now up and running.  For those of you who haven’t read my past ramblings on the project, it is a comic series by Jeremy Massie and myself, and we’ll be posting new pages to our web site every Tuesday and Thursday.

AMATEURS is the story of a group of teenagers who become disgusted with the world of superheroes that surrounds them, and decide to rebel by starting their own crime-fighting team.  You can read it online at

oneofthejohns v 2.0 is up and running!

(Nov 19, 2010)

I have spent most of this week obsessively working on completely overhauling my website. Besides the design changes, I’ve based it all in WordPress, so it has its own blog and should be pretty easy for me to stay on top of updating. I don’t know if that means I’ll be posting less here, or maybe posting specifically bpb group project stuff here, or posting in both places.

Ideally, as Americus wraps up and with me planning to hit up some conventions next year, we’ll be trying to crank out a 2012 BPB calendar, as well as another issue of the brownpaperbag mini-comic.

Anyhow, I’m pretty stoked.


(Nov 17, 2010)

A quick something something for your Wednesday afternoon.  Everyone gabs about the sexy vampires dominating the pop culture landscape, but surely there are some dorky ones scrambling out there as well.  I’m sure there are some out there I’m missing, but it can’t hurt to have a few more to clash with all the cool bloodsuckers out there.

Blah Blah Elementary… Something?

(Nov 10, 2010)

Oh boy, it’s been so long since I’ve posted that the part of my brain that comes up with blog post titles has completely shut down.  Sorry about the radio silence on my end.  I’ve been busy working on getting AMATEURS ready to launch (November 29th!!) as well as some other commission work, and haven’t had much time to draw anything else.

However, a few nights ago I was catching up on some TV watching (Can I call it TV if I download shows from the internet? Anyway…) and got the urge to open up the old sketchbook and do a bit of drawing.  At the time I was watching SHERLOCK, a new BBC series that sets the world of Sherlock Holmes in modern times.  It was created by DOCTOR WHO writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, and it’s pretty darn entertaining.

Anyway, here are some ink sketches I did of Sherlock and Watson along with another character on the show.  This first one was drawn more loosely, while in the second drawing I tried to better capture the likenesses of the actors.

SHERLOCK is currently available to watch on the PBS website.  It should also be out on DVD soon if you’d rather not watch your TV on a computer.

Fastest draw in the west…

(Nov 10, 2010)

I did this illustration for the WW this week. I think I finished it in like an hour and a half. Ben, the art director there, commented on how fast I turned it around. It’s been so long since I’ve drawing anyone getting punched in the face, I guess it just needed to come out.

Also, this is the second cameo appearance of Punk Rock John, one of the characters from my old comic, One of the Johns, this week. He’s over on my post for today at SaveApathea too! Check it out!

Hopefully I’ll have something to share later on this week, too. I’m feeling productive!


(Nov 05, 2010)

So Jason and I have been talking about a super-secret project. Here’s a bit of a spoiler.

I really should have been working on the cover for Americus instead of drawing this, but you know… Sometimes a man’s gotta’ do what a man’s gotta’ do!

I plan on coloring it, but it might be awhile. Maybe when things clear up a bit work-wise for me.

Just shelf-talkin’, Part II

(Nov 01, 2010)

I know normally I post on Fridays, but since it’s been just me & Jason really, and the both of have a lot of stuff we’re working on, I figured that I’m just going to start posting things when I have ideas to post them. Hopefully that will more often since I’m really close to finishing Americus. Sound good?

Moving along:

[This post is semi-cross-posted from]

So a year ago I wrote a post talkin’ about them shelf-talkers I make at my day job at Powell’s City of Books. They’re basically little signage that stick out in front of books to try to get people to buy them. They’re a fun little exercise for me because I get to draw at work, and since I don’t have a computer to fix my mistakes, I get to be a little more loose with the drawing and lettering and not stress out about getting things perfect.

Anyhow, here’s a batch from the last six months or so. If you look at the previous post, I think you can see a very clear progression in the drawing, design, & execution of these shelf-talkers. I’ve also settled into a standard design style too, which is pretty interesting to see.

Ha! Notice how there’s a book on fire in the last one. Probably not the best choice from a guy who illustrated a graphic novel in which the central theme is book banning! Oops!

Hold the presses!

(Oct 29, 2010)

So last week I had to do an illustration for the Willamette Week about how John Kitzhaber, the Democrat candidate for governor of Oregon, is trailing behind Chris Dudley, the Republican candidate in terms of fund-raising. The article was to emphasize how labor unions, who have traditionally donated a lot of money to Democratic candidates had not been donating as much this year. It mentions at some point how labor unions are like a 500 pound gorilla that was holding out on all this cash, so the art director had me go with that imagery.

Here’s the illustration I busted out:

Shorty after I finished the illustration, I got a call from the art director, who had just got word from the news editor that the article had changed and that Kitzhaber had just received a large donation from the labor unions. The news changed in the time that I had gotten the job and finished the article!

Now we had to think of a way to salvage the illustration with a pretty quick turnaround and the least amount of reworking on my part. Luckily, with the way I had drawn the illustration [and the anal retentive way I tend to save a different file for each major step of my work] I was able to do so without much of a hassle.

Here was the fixed illustration that ran in the paper:

Not to shabby, given the turnaround time and what not, if I may say so myself. Also, I got to draw a politician eating bananas with a gorilla.

In other news: I’m soooooo close to finishing Americus. I have two pages left to tone and we’re brainstorming the cover design now. I also started writing and thumbnailing out the first couple of pages on my next project. I CAN’T WAIT!

‘Till next week, fair readers!

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