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

Comic Artists Forum With Ryan Estrada and Jerzy Drozd

Sunday, December 4 | 1:00-3:00 PM | Multipurpose Room – Downtown Library

Join Ryan Estrada, cartoonist and Google+ guru with 32,000 followers, and Ann Arbor cartoonist and teacher extraordinaire Jerzy Drozd for an interactive discussion on using audio, video, and other exciting digital media to add extra layers of content to your comic's website. Learn how to spread the word about your work via a variety of social media like Google+, Twitter, and more.

Come to 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! 38 – Ideas are Crap

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’re joined once again by Eli Neiburger of the Ann Arbor District Library, who shares some closing thoughts and great book recommendations!

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

This week’s book recommendations:

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CAG38HQ.mp4 315.5 MB
CAG38AUDIO.mp3 50 MB

Comics Are Great! 37 – Adobe Illustrating

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!

And who better to demo than Jannie Ho, children’s book illustrator and comics artist, widely known for her work on The Great Reindeer Rebellion, Light the Menorah, and Lily’s Lucky Leotard.

Also in studio we have Ryan Estrada, author of Aki Alliance, The Kind You Don’t Take Home to Mother, and Chillin’ Like Villains (or you can just download the Complete Ryan Estrada Collection to get them all–for free!). Ryan was recently included in the next Machine of Death collection as well.

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.

We’re joined once again by Eli Neiburger of the Ann Arbor District Library, who shares some closing thoughts and great book recommendations!

This week’s book recommendations:

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CAG37HQ.mp4 319.2 MB
CAG37AUDIO.mp3 52.7 MB

Comic Artists Forum with Guest Artist Joe Foo

Sunday, November 6 | 1-3 PM | Downtown / Multipurpose Room | Grade 6-Adult

Cartoonist Joe Foo will answer the question "What makes a good character?" In the process, Joe will discuss classic comic characters and draw parallels to his own characters, like Desmond of Desmond's Comics.

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.

Zombie Story Invasion!

Help! There’s a pack of zombies headed for the library! Zombie graphic novels, I mean. It’s an outbreak of zombie apocalypse stories! Soon there won’t be any stories about living humans (or even vampires) left! For those of you who have eaten your way through The Walking Dead and loved every gory piece of it, check out these new titles coming soon to a library near you.

Death Valley – Being a high schooler is hard when your class is the last vestige of humanity. This is what a John Hughes zombie apocalypse story would look like.

Zombie Tales – An anthology of short stories that take the old human vs. zombie formula and turn it on its head. These humorous stories are often more akin to Oscar Wilde than George Romero.

Dead InsidePostSecret crossed with 28 Days Later. This collection of photographs from the post-apocalypse tells a story with pictures and “found” items.

The Hidden – A gorgeously colored and illustrated horror story about the end of times, featuring the undead… and more!

Daybreak – Award-winning author Brian Ralph brings a very different visual aesthetic to his story of two survivors in a zombie infested wasteland.

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