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Cartooning & Comic Art

Purge Yourself: Jealousy is Creative Poison

Posted by Rebecca Blake on February 21, 2014

Jim ZubThe multi-talented artist, writer, and educator, Jim Zub, has written a cautionary article on the destructive power of jealousy. “Jealousy is Creative Poison” is targeted to new cartoonists and comic book creators, but the advice is relevant to anyone working in a creative field. Zub acknowledges that he is stating the obvious when he warns artists against measuring their success against that of others. While he recognizes that jealousy is unavoidable in a career in which one’s ego is wrapped in one’s creation, he exhorts creators to push past it.

Zub passes on three key pieces of advice: First, don’t let jealousy motivate creation, leading you to tear down the work of others. Second, don’t lash out when you feel as though you’re failing. And third, don’t focus on others’ success, but live in your present. Zub ends on a high note, reminding his readers that there is an extensive audience for good stories, good characters, and artists who persevere.

Zub’s website is well worth a visit to aspiring comic book authors and graphic novelists. He’s featured a series of articles covering everything from “How to Break into Comics” to “How to Find an Artist,” comic writing, creator-owned economics, communication, and comic promotion.

Jim Zub is an award winning cartoonist and writer living in Toronto, Canada. He is the writer of Samurai Jack, Makeshift Miracle, Skullkickers, and Pathfinder. His client list includes Disney, Warner Bros., Hasbro, and Mattel. When he isn’t writing comics and graphic novels, he’s the Program Coordinator for the animation program at Seneca College.

Photo used with permission.

Is that a Cell Phone in Your Leotard? — How Superheroes Use Social Media

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 30, 2013

Batman Tweets, © Ed ShemsEd Shems, the illustrator behind EdNedFred (and former Boston Guild President), has answered a question for today: How would superheroes use social media? Shems’ answer spans the world of social media, from picture sharing to status updates. For example, in the superhero universe, Batman pauses during a particularly satisfying bust to take a selfie, Superman is outed as Clark Kent when his cell phone responds to a text from Lois, and Spiderman (poor Spidey!) doesn’t have many Facebook Likes.

The series started as a doodle in Shems’ sketchbook, and took on a life of its own. Shems is selling prints of his series on Etsy. We hope there’s more to come — after all, surely Wonderwoman is on Google+.

Doodle Alley: Sustain Your Creativity

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 26, 2013

Illustrator Stephen McCranie has published a wonderfully illustrated treatise on nourishing your creativity. Brick by Brick, appearing on McCranie's blog Doodle Alley, is a cartoon of advice on developing habits and practices to sustain a creative life. The publication was borne of McCranie’s desire to catalog what he had learned during his first couple years as an illustrator. He soon realized that what he was writing “… wasn’t a book about how to create, it was a book about how to be a creator.” Rather than cover the nuts and bolts of being an illustrator – practical advice on getting published, for example – Brick by Brick seeks to give artists the emotional tools they need to thrive in a difficult career.

Some of the advice is heart-warming and postive. In “Be Friends with Failure,” McCranie cautions artists against becoming harsh self critics, and encourages them to embrace failure as part of the learning process. Other advice is extremely wise: in “You Are Not Your Art,” McCranie warns the artist against deciding “…your life is your art,” cautioning that result could be “You treat the master of your craft like gods…but you could care less about people who aren’t as skilled as you.”

McCranie is working on a print edition of the book. His successful Kickstarter campaign raised over $39,000 – $30,000 more than his stated goal. The book will be a 200-page, full color comic about sustainable creativity, and will feature the cartoons on Doodle Alley. The printed publication will include three additional essays that don’t appear online: “Name it to Wield it,” “Divide and Conquer,” and “Work to Work.”

Artwork courtesy of the artist. © Stephen McCranie


Be Friends with Failure, © Stephen McCranie

The Digital Hearth: Yule Log 2.0

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 24, 2013

Yule Log 2.0 logoThe Yule Log, that broadcast of an endless loop of a crackling fire that first played on WPIX-TV in New York City in the 1960s, has become a beloved holiday cliché.  After having been cancelled for a number of years, the parent company of WPIX, Tribune Broadcasting brought back  the broadcast, and numerous knock-offs have been spawned. The most creative is Yule Log 2.0, a collection of short films and animations submitted by both up-and-coming and well-known artists. The collection is curated by animator and illustrator Daniel Savage, a 2012 ADC Young Gun, who has created work for Comedy Central and Google. The Yule Log 2.0 website was created by Wondersauce, a New York based web design studio.

Yule Log 2.0 showcases a lovely range of illustration styles. Both Frank Chimero and Leta Sobierajski created whimsical flames from wiggling fingers. Josh Parker’s stick-figure embers are reminiscent of early cartoons, and Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva, and Bianca Meier illustrated a hapless marshmallow who sits too close to the fire. Visitors to the website can either view each video in sequence, or, in true Yule Log spirit, set one animation to play over (and over and over and over).

Yule Log 2.0 offerings include submissions by (clockwise from top left) Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva and Bianca Meier; Yussef Cole; Greg Gunn; Matthias Hoegg; Josh Parker; and Frank Chimero. Screenshot courtesy of Yule Log 2.0.

Yule Log 2.0 screenshot

Digital Advent Calendar: The Christmas Experiments

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 20, 2013

Now in its second year, the Christmas Experiments continues to showcase the quirky, fantastic holiday musings of coders and digital artists.  Christmas Experiments functions as an online calendar, with a new offering revealed every day up through Christmas Eve. The submissions range from fun animations, such as “The Christmas Playlist” by David Donut, to winter landscapes, dancing Santas, interactive games, and a singing moose. Each project is a unique creation showcasing the talents (or providing a canvas for some experimental work) of the coder or artist.

One forewarning: some of the projects do not function well in Firefox or Safari. For the best user experience, we recommend downloading the latest version of Chrome – it’s worth your while.

Below: December 9-12 offerings on the Christmas Experiments website. Image © Christmas Experiments.

Christmas Experiments

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