Comics Process Notes

7 02 2010

There’s a new post up on my art blog about how I use index cards to lay out roughs for my new comic book project. Check it out!

Go to the Art Blog.

Art Blogging

26 01 2010

In Lindsay’s recent post, she mentioned that, from what she gathered, I was in Portland, Oregon hard at work on comics. This is true. I’m also volunteering at some pretty nifty internships, playing the stand-up bass in a band, and getting addicted to vinyl. (There are worse vices, I think).

I will soon begin posting more updates on my comics work over at my personal blog. When I post there, I’ll mirror the post here for those interested, and the post also gets automagically mirrored on my Livejournal. So there are many ways to follow, if you so desire. (I’ve yet to start automatic tweet generation when posts go up…but perhaps).


Back to work!

I made something silly

13 01 2009

I opened up the Gnu Image Manipulation Program (a free open-source image editing studio similar to photoshop) just to play around with some filters. I used HSV Scatter to make a starfield and then I found myself desiring to put things in said star field, so I made a nebula cloud and then it just spiralled out of control. So, here it is, the new e-Christmas card for some friends of mine. So best future holiday wishes from Scott and Kt!


The Invisible College

16 10 2008

The first issue of my self-published comic book is here! You can find it in the comics link under my little section of the site. I recently printed a stack of issues to hand out to friends and fellow comics-ers at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD, and the folks at Robot Martini have just posted a review of it in their blog. It’s the first time I’ve ever been reviewed for creative work in a public forum.

For Lindsay

29 09 2008

The wasted scrap of a human girl gently puts down her bowl of crude paint made from bird droppings mashed with three (three!) kinds of colorful berries, wipes the blonde dirty hair from her eyes and sits down on a rock, sighing. The sighing soon leads to some gnashing of teeth, and a few half-hearted grunts topped off with an exasperated wail for good measure. As she sits the girl surveys the blag-wall of her dingy cave, on which she has up until recently been scrawling all manner of desperate incantations. The girl thinks maybe she should just get up and walk out of the cave. There are so many things out there to be doing! There are rivers to be crossed, rabbits to skin! There are whole wild minutes just waiting to be lived out in the wide world.

But no. The girl has a duty. The others may have forgotten but she cannot. Though she has forgotten the original purpose of her role here (was there something about goggles and red capes?), the acts of wall-blagging are so ingrained that she could no more stop smearing the walls with bird-shit-berries than she could cease breathing, or scratching fleas. Besides, the only things truly waiting outside the cave are heat, blindness, and burning at the hands of the wretched star of day.

A Little Brother review of sorts…

20 08 2008

…and some thoughts about security and science.

I know Jacob already wrote on this book several months ago, but it was so good, I couldn’t resist talking about it again. It’s been hanging around on my hard drive while I’ve been rushing around doing other things (but with Pi-Con coming up this weekend, an event at which Cory Doctorow will be in attendance) I just had to start reading. I read it in a two several-hour sittings, and I really didn’t even want to split it up that much. I just wanted to keep reading and reading until it was done.

I know that if I start I could go on for hours about the book and never get on to the rest of the post, so I’m going to try to control myself, so I can turn some of the energy that this book gave me into other projects that don’t involve blogging. So all I will say is that this book is important. I want everyone in the world to read it. Everyone.

A concept has been coming to me in pieces over the past couple years, well probably over the whole span of my life, through books, movies, conversations, and news stories. Most recently Little Brother, Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World, Kenneth Bower’s The Starship and the Canoe (a biography of Freeman Dyson), and Bruce Schneier’s Beyond Fear.

The concept is simple. The more people know, the more their quality of life improves. People who have proper access to the understanding that humans know possess are healthier, happier, and more secure. This all happens on a sliding scale, of course. “Developed” nations are certainly ahead of “developing” nations in quality of life, but almost no one in America is as healthy, happy and secure as they could be.

I was trying to figure out why people are generally content with their level of scientific and security-oriented understanding (which, when it comes down to it, is really the same thing). The answer is simple, people are worrying about other things. Most kids in America are worrying about getting through a school day without getting beat up, made fun of, looked at the wrong way, scrutinized or punished by well-meaning and misguided adults. They are blameless. Most adults are worrying about getting to work, getting a paycheck, getting food on the table, caring for children or family members, finding time to relax, party, and have sex. They are also blameless.

I think most people living in America today grew up with this concept of science as a force (for good or evil, or both) which operates outside their sphere of living. It’s something that other people are doing. This is dangerous in several ways. When scientists are those uncaring people steering us toward oblivion on a wasted Earth or in the event horizon of a black hole, they are remote sources of anxiety which paralyze us into a willful indifference. We escape into the palpable mundane of day to day life. Conversely, but no less dangerous, is the concept of scientists as those heroes out there somewhere thinking about all the things we can’t be bothered to think about, solving all our future problems. They divert asteroids and invent green technologies. This way of life lulls us into a false sense of security. The comforting thought that we don’t need to pay attention because things will sort themselves out in time. This is a way of thinking that has much in common with age-old human tendencies toward religion. It elevates scientists to gods and angels who have the power to divert any disaster as long as we put our faith in them.

I think the truth is that all these aspects of science coexist. There is the danger, the mind-numbing fear of uncertainty, and there is the hope. The combined efforts of Sagan, Schneier and Doctorow have revealed to me is that even the most well-funded science programs in the world, with full support from public and private institutions (which is far from the reality) would be useless if the general public did not concern itself with science. Many, perhaps most, of our politicians don’t fully understand the scientific issues that our society is grappling with. It would be irresponsible of us to expect them to. They are politicians. They know politics. But they are public servants and they (theoretically) represent us. If we don’t take the time to understand the scientific issues that confront us, and demand that they pursue courses of action that represent our needs and rights, then we can hardly be surprised when things go foul.

This is the beginning of a much larger discussion, but I’m running out of steam and attention span, so for now, I will end.

Do yourself a favor, read Little Brother. You don’t have to know anything about crypto or science. You just have to be someone who cares about freedom.

Book Review: The Plain Janes

5 08 2008

For those internet natives among you who have an average of 1.7 seconds of browsing time on each post or page before you need to clink on a link to a video of a dog riding a skateboard on YouTube, I will sum up the rest of this review in plain english:

The Plain Janes is a brilliant comic book. You should read it.

Okay, you can go watch that skateboarding dog now.

The Plain Janes is a comic book (for lack of a better term, a graphic novella) with a simple message: Art Saves. The plot blurb at DC Comics website is accurate if a bit bland:

When a transfer student named Jane is forced to move from the cool confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there in the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. — People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?

The book is quirky, fun and downright inspiring. The main characters are people you would want to meet and be friends with. It offers the comfort of a familiar setting and seemingly standard plot-line which it then deviates from in delightful ways. The book was more intricate than I had been expecting, and inevitably the characters must respond to the tensions of a terror threat culture in addition to navigating teen relationships and the often horrid institution that is high school.

The book is part of the Minx line of graphic novels being published by the mega-giant DC Comics, but it’s got indie heart. Upon reviewing the line-up I believe the Minx is attempting to target teen girls, with offerings from many female comics authors. Personally, I think this is fantastic. One of my biggest dreams for comics publishing is a proliferation of different voices and genres.

Final thoughts: this is a book that should be in every high school, college and public library in the nation. Someone should be waiting at the doors of high schools to hand them out to freshmen along with the schedules and planners. This is the kind of book that could save lives.

And I can’t wait to read the sequel, Janes in Love.

You can read the first 18 pages of the book on the DC/Minx web site.