Comics Are Great! 45 – Balancing Act

Making comics is a time-consuming and challenging endeavor, especially when you try to balance your personal life, paying gigs, and passion projects. I’m joined by Skottie Young and Katie Cook for a discussion on the lifestyle of a working cartoonist and strategies to stay on top of one’s career, finding time for personal projects, all while still being present for friends and family.

We’re joined at the end by Eli Neiburger of the Ann Arbor District Library for some final thoughts and book recommendations.

Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):

Comics and book recommendations:

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CAG45HQ.mp4 321.8 MB
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Comics Are Great! 44 – Great Comics

We’re back with a new “season” of Comics Are Great! recorded live out of the Ann Arbor District Library Netcast Studio! And to kick it off, we’re starting with a discussion of the wild and varied landscape of comics by talking about some of our favorite books. Whatever your tastes, there’s a comic out there just waiting for you to fall in love with it.

I’m joined by Stephanie Mannheim, Gale Williams, and Eli Neiburger, who share some of their favorite comics and use music and movie metaphors to explain who these comics are made for.

Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):

Comics Recommendations:

Webcomic Recommendations:

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CAG44HQ.mp4 282.5 MB
CAG44AUDIO.mp3 44.5 MB

Comic Artists Forum Follow-up: Photoshop Lab

Sunday, January 15 | 1:00-4:00 PM | Downtown 3rd Floor Computer Training Center | Gr. 6-Adult

Bring in your comics art and use Photoshop Elements to clean it up and to apply color and shading. Cartoonist and Photoshop expert Jerzy Drozd will be on hand to provide instruction and answer questions for those who need it.

You can bring your comics art scanned and saved on a USB drive or we can scan it here at the Library. Don’t miss this chance to use PhotoShop to make your finishing work a snap!

Comic Artists Forum With Rob Stenzinger via Skype

Sunday, January 8 | 1:00-3:00 PM | 4th Floor Meeting Room – Downtown Library

Guest artist Rob Stenzinger will show you how to publish your serial comic one page at a time, keep your readers interested, and have it all link together as one big story. In this interactive workshop via Skype, Rob will share comic storytelling techniques, the importance of the dramatic reveal, and why comics are the perfect home for your serial story. We'll even work as a group to chain together a few short comic strips into a serialized comic! Rob is the creator of Art Geek Zoo: The Way of Sound, a music fantasy adventure online, collected in print, and available as an eBook.

Join the Forum to get fresh ideas for your next comics or graphic novel creation. Drawing supplies will be provided, so drop in to draw, learn, share, and network with other cartoonists.

Comics Are Great! 42 – My Life in France

As we close out the 2011 season of shows, I’m thrilled to have Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier on to talk about their recent experience at the Quai des Bulles Saint Malo Comics Festival. While watching some video and slideshows from their trip, Raina shares her reflections on how tabling at a French comics festival differs from ones in the United States, and Dave shares his observations about how the festival felt different for the person walking the aisles.

We close with an appearance by Sharon Iverson of the Ann Arbor District Library, who shares some more great book recommendations!

Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):

Upcoming events:

This week’s book recommendations:

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CAG68HQ.mp4 295.3 MB
CAG68AUDIO.mp3 29.2 MB

Comics Are Great! 41 – Digital Painting

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!

We’re later joined by Eli Neiburger of the Ann Arbor District Library for a discussion on micropayment systems like BitCoin, Flattr, and YouTipIt, followed by another round of great comics recommendations!

Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):

Book recommendations this week:

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CAG41HQ.mp4 362.4 MB
CAG41AUDIO.mp3 60.5 MB

Drink and Draw at Roos Roast this Thursday

Hey Cartoonists! Drop in 5-8 p.m. this Thursday, December 8 for a Drink (coffee) & Draw (comics) event at Roos Roast, 1155 Rosewood Suite B in Ann Arbor. Rosewood is just off South Industrial. Enjoy some great coffee, conversation, and cartooning!

December's Books to Film

Steven Spielberg directs the animated film adaptation of The Adventures of TINTIN. This first of a planned triogy is base on a very popular comic book series created in 1929 by a Belgian artist who called himself Hergé. Clever and ever-curious, TINTIN is a reporter-turned-detective whose pursuit of villains, criminals, treasure and the occasional artifact takes him all over the world, along with a colorful cast of friends. Hergé based his stories on real-world events and cultures - from space exploration to Arab oil wars.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer's critically acclaimed novel in which 9 year-old Oskar Schell embarks on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York in order to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts on an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey.

I was perfectly happy with the original film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first in his Millennium Trilogy. But I could be persuaded to take in the American remake coming this month with some irresistible big names (Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer) and a sizzling newcomer (Rooney Mara).

Benjamin Mee's memoir is adapted in the feature film We Bought a Zoo. Benjamin Mee, a former newspaper columnist, known for his humorous "Do It Yourself" column in the UK’s Guardian Weekend moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. Nothing was easy, given the family’s lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy.

Comics Are Great! 40 – Jim Henson Was Complicated

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.

Links mentioned in this episode:

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CAG40AUDIO.mp3 44.2 MB

Comics Are Great! 39 – The Delilah Dirk Fan Club

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?

We’re joined at the end by Sharon Iverson of the Ann Arbor District Library, who shares this week’s book recommendations.

Links mentioned in this episode (thanks to Eric Klooster for collecting them!):

This week’s book recommendations:

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CAG39HQ.mp4 315 MB
CAG39AUDIO.mp3 52.3 MB
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