Drink & Draw Octoberama Recap

I went to the Drink & Draw October event at Frank’s Power Plant in Milwaukee on October 12th. Because it is primarily a drawing event, I’ve dedicated the rest of this post to the things I drew there. Enjoy.

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Kenosha Festival of Cartooning Recap

Last weekend, I went to the Kenosha Festival of Cartooning. Unlike last year, most of the presentations were at the Kenosha Public Museum, but this year was extra special, as one of my favorite cartoonists made an appearance: Stephan Pastis of “Pearls Before Swine” fame. I gave him a copy of “Drannik & Lizzep” while I was there. Whether he’d be into the comic or not is another story. Anyway, here are a couple of photos from different events that took place:

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Bridge Celebration Artwalk Recap

Bridge Celebration Drawing

Last Saturday was the first Artwalk I had been some sort of part of since I took a trip to Los Angeles back in July. Unlike that Artwalk, however, this one didn’t turn into a riot.

Sign I used promoting my stuff

In all seriousness, though, I had a good time at the event, despite only selling one comic and not staying the whole time due to weather. It was very cool and windy because it was right next to the just-completed Wisconsin Ave. bridge, and later on it started to rain. Despite this, I made my presence known, and I got a few photos from the event as well.

Setting up for the Bridge Party

My table, before it was moved

Wisconsin Ave Bridge

Bridge Raising


Recap: “Heaven and Hell” Opening Reception

On May 12th, I went to the “Heaven and Hell” opening reception at Artworks in Kenosha. Because of how busy I have been over the last few months with the Drannik & Lizzep comic book, I did not enter this show, but I did stop by to see what other people did for it. All the pieces on display had the theme of Heaven or Hell, so most of the show involved religious imagery, but there were a couple where the theme was more allegorical (like a painting of a partly-cloudy sky). My personal favorite was the “tryptich” of Scott Walker, mostly because it was done more like a political cartoon, plus it’s quite the topical subject given what’s been going on in Wisconsin politics in the last year or so. There was also a dance troupe doing their routine throughout the show. I took a few pictures, of course:

Speaking of Artworks, I have Drannik & Lizzep #2 on sale there, so if you ever happen to stop by there (or Lost World of Wonders up in Milwaukee), pick yourself up a copy. They’re only $4 at each location (I also plan on making some more copies and dropping them off at one of the Collector’s Edge locations up in Milwaukee).

C2E2 Recap

Unrelated update: I have added some new links, as well as some new stuff to my portfolio. Also, I’ve made the portfolio tab in the menu above clickable in case the drop-down function doesn’t work.

Last Saturday I went to C2E2, which is a huge comic convention down in Chicago. While most people there were there to purchase comics from the big names such as Marvel and DC, as well as dress in silly costumes and the like, I was there to gain some comic career advice, support the indie comic creators, as well as spread my name (as well as Drannik and Lizzep) by giving some leftover copies of Drannik & Lizzep #1 to the vendors around the con (after I bought something, of course). Here are some photos from around the con:

I only went to two panels, but I did take some photos of one of them:

I also took some video of various goings on around the con:

I got to meet some other fellow indie comic creators, including Anthony Del Col of Kill Shakespeare, as well as Trevor Mueller again, whom I last saw at a con over a year ago. Here are just a few of the books I purchased along with the names of the creators:

By David Gruba and Rene Castellano:

By Various Cartoon Creators:

By Matt Chic, a Milwaukee native:

By Russell Lissau and Marvin Perry Mann:

By Trevor Mueller and “Gabo”:

Also By Various Cartoon Creators:

Finally, I got some autographs from Gail Simone, Dan Slott, and Robert Atkins. Also, Autodesk had a booth where they were giving away trial versions of Sketchbook Pro. I got to try out the program, as well as the 21-inch Cintiq they had to demo it. Having only used a Cintiq once, and even then only a 12-inch version, there is something about using a monitor to draw directly onto a computer as opposed to having to get used to a disconnect with a tablet like an Intuos.

All in all, C2E2 was a pretty good time. If ever you want to go to it, make sure you take public transportation like I did, as it is in the heart of Chicago and Chicago is a nightmare to drive through.

Event Recap: Art Milwaukee Art Jamboree

Art Milwaukee recently had one of their monthly Art Jamboree’s, this time at Flux Design on Vienna Avenue, just south of Capitol Drive. I actually had a table near the entrance where I showcased and sold some stuff. Because I took so many photos and because there is a lot to talk about, I’m going to have to put the rest of this post below the fold.

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Recap – Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper

Recently, a friend of mine and I went to see the Impressionism exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Although I brought my camera with me on this outing, I didn’t take any pictures in the exhibit as they don’t allow that. It’s going to be a little hard describing what I saw without any photographic evidence, but I’ll try the best I can.

Much of the exhibit was dominated by the more well-known artists such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Renoir, and the like, although there were quite a few pieces from artists I did not recognize such as Camille Pissaro and Eva Gonzales. The biggest shocker from me was the stuff on display from Toulouse-Lautrec, who is more well-known as an “art noveau” artist, and not an impressionist.

Among Renoir’s repertoire was the painting that MAM is borrowing as per a wager with the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Pretty much how the wager worked was: if Green Bay won the Super Bowl, MAM would borrow this painting from Carnegie, and if Pittsburgh won, the opposite would happen (I forget the painting that MAM would have to loan out). It was interesting seeing this work and the story behind its arrival in Milwaukee, as I had completely forgotten about that whole thing until I saw it face to face.

The medium that dominated the exhibit was pastel or charcoal on paper. A majority of the pieces on display were sketches for paintings the artist later did. Degas especially had a lot of pastel work on display. Monet had a lot of drawings too, but I’m glad one of his paintings was on display as well as his paintings expressed what he was going for a lot better than his drawings.

The show is going on from now until the 8th of January. If you happen to be in the Milwaukee area, you should definitely see it at least once. More information and images of the show can be found at the exhibit’s website.

Recap of ArtWorks’ “Monster” show, plus some more updates

I’ve uploaded some more older artwork to the Portfolio section. I’m currently working on a new project at the moment, but I’m trying to keep it on the down-low until it’s complete.

I’ve also added another link, this time to another fellow artist, Josh Frazer. He is also a cartoonist/illustrator who has done a lot of work around Kenosha. Feel free to check his stuff out when you get the chance.

For the last four years, ArtWorks of Kenosha has been putting on a show called “Monster”, which is basically an art show featuring monsters, either as homages to classic movie and folklore creatures, or something invented from the artist. Last year, I had a piece in this show (The Giant Claw), but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to make something this year. However, I like to check out the shows at Artworks, so I went to the Costume Party reception on October 29th.

There were a couple of relief prints that stuck out quite a bit to me, as they had this clean line look similar to what I’ve done with cartoons lately. In fact, I was almost envisioning what they would have looked like if they were given color via Illustrator. Then again, I’ve been seeing that a lot with line work, as I’ve been trying to improve my own color.

Another work that stood out to me was a pinball table made by one of my former professors. I’m not sure if it was usable or not (not exactly a good idea to just touch random artwork, after all), but it looked like it could be. I could recognize it as his work right away as he has a certain style to his work I have never seen imitated.

The reception itself was a pretty good time. Since it was a costume party, almost everyone there was dressed as something or someone else. There was a huge multilayer cake there that everyone had a slice of, and it was pretty good, I must say. There was also a dance routine going on featuring zombie/undead girls. I’ll admit that I was a little unnerved by it at first as I had no idea what was going on, but I figured they were in character.

The show is going on until November 7th, so if you happen to be in Kenosha until then, feel free to check it out. Maybe the next time I put up something relating to an event, I’ll remember to bring my camera so I can take some photos of it.

Review: “Miracle Mouse: Cranky’s Miracle” animatic

I want to put more content on the home page besides just updates on my portfolio and such, so I’m trying something else as well: brief recaps of art-related events I’ve attended.

Last Thursday, I attended a meeting of the Milwaukee Animation Group, and this last time they had a screening from a local man (Tom Hignite) who wanted to get into the animation business. The screening was an animatic to a future film called “Miracle Mouse: Cranky’s Miracle”, and the idea behind this screening was to get a critique on what has been done so far.

To begin, I’ll start with what was good about the animatic:

-The little bits of animation that were done so far were really good, but that should come as no surprise considering they were done by ex-Disney animators years ago.

-The story and message were clear and not jumbled about.

-The animatic felt more like a motion comic than any other animatic I’ve seen, which could make it marketable for the iPad market in case it needs more funding.

Now, there’s everything else: it was way too much of a ripoff of 90s Disney, for starters. Everything about it screamed Disney, and there were elements that were so close to plagiarizing Uncle Walt that I felt very uncomfortable watching it. The title cards struck me as something that would be in a Disney film like “Beauty and the Beast”, Miracle Studio’s (Hignite’s production outfit) title sequence was almost frame-for-frame like the opening Walt Disney castle sequence seen at the beginning of every Disney flick, there is a requisite song-and-dance musical number, even the title character looks like Mickey Mouse with a hard hat.

There was only one musical number so far (although Hignite said the final film will have more), but I can tell you that it was not very good. The voice actors that they got were okay for their speaking roles, but they sure can’t sing. What some animated movies do is they have someone different from the character’s VO sing the songs (case in point: Anne-Marie in “All Dogs go to Heaven”, for the one song she sings). That’s what should be done here. However, even if Hignite hires someone to sing the songs separately from the other VOs, it still doesn’t change that it was a bad song. I heard the word “miracle” so many times in it that I was expecting Insane Clown Posse to pop in and say “@&#$ing magnets, how do they work?” “Miracle” was the common word throughout the entire production (not just the song), and I was so sick of hearing it by the end of the 27 minute short.

My biggest problem with “Cranky’s Miracle”, though, was that the whole plot was extremely saccharine. It really was a film aimed toward a much younger audience, but there should have been something thrown in there to entertain the adults too. Part of what makes the greatest animated films so great is that they appeal to more than one demographic. Warner Brothers did this well with the Looney Tunes shorts, and Disney itself had the darker moments in films like “The Lion King” as well as the entirety of Pixar’s library. “Cranky’s Miracle” does not have that. The darkest moment took place during a storm sequence late in the film, and even then it seemed preachy about its message.

All in all, while the animation was nice, the film needs a lot of work before it can be shown on the big screen. If anything, it would be much smarter for Miracle Studios to develop it as a short film instead, as this film has been in production for over seven years and yet it’s still in an animatic stage. It needs to not only appeal to kids, but the parents of those same kids as well, otherwise critics will tune it out as kiddy pablum. Additionally, it really needs to gain its own style. Aping Disney’s style in animation as well as plot structure makes it too derivative, and could even get Miracle Studio’s in legal trouble, considering how protective Disney is of their copyright.

After the screening was finished, there was a brief survey as well as a Q&A. While I didn’t ask any questions, I did fill out the survey and pretty much made the exact same points that I made here (no parental bonus, too kiddy).