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Talented CCS alum Colleen Frakes points us to the new Schulz Library Blog on her own blog, Tragic Relief. In her post, she mentions the mythic comics lighthouse/library from Dylan Horrock’s Hicksville. A haunting image from the graphic novel, the comparison is apropos – The Schulz Library has indeed grown to be a repository for our collective comics knowledge and continues to grow. Over the four years I’ve lived here in White River Junction it’s been satisfying to see the collection there grow to stunning proportions and watch four classes worth of cartooning students dive into the treasure trove for inspiration and knowledge. The library’s blog is a wonderful and entertaining read definitely worth bookmarking and adding to your weekly trawl.

preview2On the comics front, I’ve still been able to maintain a comfortable gait with my production schedule and about to take on a few extra challenges as various anthology contributions start to materialize as fully realized comics pages. I’ve been on a “traditional tools and techniques” kick for a good while now, especially absorbing Japanese production ideas and rendering practices. One new addition to the work which you guys won’t see for at least three more weeks is my migration from these duo-tone painted updates to a more graphically bold black and white manga approach. I’ve worked for so long on the web that I’d almost forgotten the beauty of black and white comics as well as the efficiency of full page layouts.

For many years I’ve cobbled together my comics “pages” by drawing separate images (sometimes separate elements, like background/foreground, in individual images) and assembled everything digitally. In a couple weeks the transition will begin as you start to see me hand lettering my pages and finally arriving at fully realized page layouts. No more boring rectangles and squares for me, it tell ya! Well, there might be a few here and there…  I’m also making a go at learning Manga Studio, which has been fun but waaaay too time consuming.  I’m sure it’ll be a great times saving tool as soon as I know where everything is and how it works.

preview1Hopefully the new approach will not be too jarring to the story, but I think it will be satisfying for all involved. This will also put me on a more even schedule for print publishing these stories sometime in the future as real volumes. I’ve started working on B4 manga sheets with the idea of setting up bleeds, etc. more easily and working in a semi-small compact size to accommodate my new techniques. So far I’m happy with the results. We’ll see in the long run.

Ultimately, I’d love to be able to produce the kinds of pages I’ve seen in manga lately that combine graphic black and white drawing with panels of fully painted images and combining all drawing techniques to enhance the storytelling and ability to create mood. We’ll see where all this goes. One day I’ll eventually stop experimenting so much and make a comic that can be printed and sold so I can finally make a living as a cartoonist. One can dream, anyway…

***NERDY EYEWEAR TALK ALERT***: I FINALLY got new glasses today. I ordered them online at a place called eyebuydirect.com, which was one of the first places that came up from a Google search. I’m pretty happy with them so far. These are the pair I ordered (click the glasses for the product description page, if you wish):

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The glasses cost me around $45 total (with added features like scratch resistance, glare reduction, etc. and shipping) Not too bad. I was really desperate for good glasses for a while now and haven’t been able to afford any for a while now. My old pair was hanging on by some liquid nail and a prayer. These frames are “wine colored”, and remind me of a pair of glasses my dad owned back in the late 70′s/early 80′s. Love the translucent spatulas. ***END NERDY EYEWEAR TALK ALERT***