After a failed attempt at some digital painting, I enlisted the help of Brandon Dayton, celebrated cartoonist behind Green Monk and concept designer for EA Games, for a discussion and demonstration on how to paint with pixels. Lots of great material in the video this time as Brandon shares some terrific tips and tricks!
WARNING: If you wish to avoid spoilers or opinions on The Muppets movie, I suggest that you save this episode until after you’ve seen the film.
In this special audio-only episode of Comics Are Great! I’m joined by Dave Roman for a talk about the new Muppets film. We discuss some of the unique storytelling tricks used in the film, revisit some of our thoughts on the Mary Sue character (which we first broached in Comics Are Great! episode 03), and examine some of the special considerations one encounters when approaching storytelling with characters like the Muppets. Throughout our discussion we tackle complicated topics such as author intent, whether or not a franchised intellectual property must be frozen in time, and interpreting the mind of a brilliant creator.
This week we’re joined by Paul Storrie and Tony Cliff for a talk on doing your research when making a comic placed in a specific place or time–that is, when Paul and I aren’t too busy gushing over Tony’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant.
We start off with some talk on creating a premise for your story. How do you create a situation that propels your characters forward? We then kick into some discussion on research methods for creating a plausible sense of place and time for a comic story. But how deep into the reference materials or special collections should you dive? Is there a middle ground between verisimilitude and accuracy?
This week we address the time-honored topic of ideas and how a storyteller turns them into something useful. If ideas are a dime a dozen, then how do you know a good one from a bad one? If execution is everything, how do you execute? We’re joined by Norwegian cartoonist Kim Holm and local artist Jono Balliett, who share some insights on how they’ve combined non-trivial time restraints and a spirit of play to take crummy ideas and turn them into gold.
We’ve got two super cartoonists in the studio this week for a discussion on digital vs analog tools, with a demonstration on how to draw with what might be the program that perplexes the most cartoonists–Adobe Illustrator!
Together we talk a bit about Ryan’s recent adventures in South America and finding out he was a Google Plus star upon his return home. After revisiting some talk on social networking we started in Comics Are Great! episode 17, we move on to some drawing demos from Ryan and Jannie.
If you’ve ever wondered about “analog” inking techniques and tools, this is the episode for you! I’m joined this week by Michigan cartoonists Joe Foo and Mike Roll for a talk on why and how they use the brush to ink their comics. You might want to watch the video of this week’s episode, as Joe and Mike lead some really terrific demos of how they do what they do so well.
It’s a discussion on the positive power of fantasy stories on this week’s Comics Are Great! podcast, as I’m joined by Joamette Gil and Brian Denham for a discussion on their new comic, Exile. Gil and Denham’s story features a transgender protagonist who faces cosmic challenges while also dealing with her own gender identity. But this raises a question–why deal with these issues in a fantasy tale, rather than a memoir or slice-of-life story? How does a fantasy story change one’s approach in dealing with these issues?
We’re joined at the end by Sharon Iverson of the Ann Arbor District Library, who shares some terrific book recommendations with us.
It’s a bit of a silly episode with a special surprise topic at the end. I’m joined by Paul Storrie, Alice Hunt, and Tracy Williams for a discussion on the physical hazards of making comics, the Captain America movie, My Little Pony, and finally some talk on writing. Thankfully Eli Neiburger joins us at the end to tie some of our randomness into some kind of usable thoughts, along with some more great book recommendations.
Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):
November 18 marks the 40th anniversary of the University of Michigan’s Spectrum Center, making it the oldest LGBT student organization in the country. I spoke with Jackie Simpson, the director of the Spectrum Center, and Jim Toy, one of the two people who founded the organization in 1971. Jackie and Jim talked about the beginning of the organization, its history and ongoing development, and the challenges and joys of the center today. Make sure to visit the Spectrum Center’s website to check out all the great events planned for the anniversary weekend!
In June, Ann Arbor District Library director, Josie Parker, attended the second UNESCO World Forum on Culture and Cultural Industries, whose "Focus 2011" was "The Book Tomorrow: The Future of the Written Word". In our conversation, Josie discusses what she brought back from her experience in this international arena, as well as her views - and those of fellow librarians, publishers, and authors around the world - on the future of digital publishing.
Find out the history of the city around you with this collection of over 130 local history articles published in the Ann Arbor Observer. The articles (many written by renowned local historian and author Grace Shackman) describe everything in Ann Arbor, from its churches to its shops to its gardens. Articles are illustrated by a large collection of photographs from Ann Arbor's early days to its present days.