Archive for Comics

Towards the Stage: a belated Announcement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 25 July, 17 by cantocomics

Hello, my dearests. I’m going to try to #makeblogginggreatagain by reactivating this site as a kind of production diary of a piece that I’ll tell you all about below.

This March I became the honored recipient of a grant from the incredible and generous New Hazlett Theater here in Pittsburgh. I’m using this opportunity to expand the world I first began exploring in my pieces for Maple Key Comics way back when. If you follow me on other, slightly easier to update social media sites (Twitter, for example, or Instagram), you’ll have found that almost all my work since the first pages of The Pestle have been devoted to telling stories in this setting. 

The New Hazlett in Deutschetown. A swell place run by swell people.

The project is called Büer’s Kiss (😘😘) and, as with the PestleUntil the Blood Runs Black, and Turmring, is inspired by particular and somewhat obscure historical events. I have been reading an awful lot into the history of disease and epidemiology (the black plague and leprosy/Hansen’s Disease in particular) and that research feeds the fires below the boiler in my brainpan. This is not to say that any of those projects are relations of real historical events or faithful representations of anything aside from my own fevered imaginings (to say nothing of my imaginings about fever). 

Büer’s Kiss is going to be a mulimedia live comics reading performed by myself, my good friend and Dr. Sketchy’s partner Ms. Joanna Becker, and esteemed voice actor and all-round cool dude Ryan Haggerty.  We’ll be doing some live Foley effects as well as voice acting, and it promises to be a pretty interesting experience. I am both trepidatious and excited.

The script is finished, and it’s LONG. The longest I’ve ever written. I managed to get the first draft done in a little over a month, and I’m proud of it.

I’ve started drawing the pages as well, which feels good after having ground on the script for that long. Each one is at 14×17″, which is larger I think than I’ve ever worked. So in short: Bigger, Longer, More Important to my Career than anything I’ve ever done. No pressure.

This project comes after several years of performing live comics (usually Sophie’s) at conventions up and down the East coast and in the Midwest. 

I hope to be able to take this project on tour, either as a separate piece from my normal cartooning practice or as an extension. What you can expect to see in this space over the coming months of frantic preparation are:

  1. Pro(c/gr)ess posts
  2. Thoughts about Live Comics Readings 
  3. Brief asides about history and research
  4. Jokes
  5. Florid prose

All hopefully in a relatively regular schedule of updates. I’m drawing whenever I have time at the moment, but as winter approaches I’ll likely be at the drawing board more frequently.

I’m also in the midst of a very busy time in my other creative pursuits–those being hosting burlesque events and Dr. Sketchy’s Drink & Draw nights–both of which are just a hoot and a holler, but take a bit of time away from the other work.

In short, it is an exciting time to be me, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you.


The Black Dog and the Hole at the Heart of the World, pt 1

Posted in Comics Pages, existential, hipster, romance, tbdathathotw, Unsettling with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14 February, 13 by cantocomics

Image Continue reading


Posted in Comics Pages, Diary with tags , , , , , , on 6 November, 11 by cantocomics

In addition to figuring out how to color in photoshop, I started a tumblr.

Also, I moved to Austin, TX. Probably you knew that.

Tentacle Kid: The Wolves of San Papel

Posted in Comics Pages with tags , , , , , , , on 9 February, 11 by cantocomics

Hey, ya’ll! In celebration of my having (finally) finished the first part of the Tentacle Kid story that I’ve been working on (print edition to appear at MoCCA, hopefully), I figured I’d share this with you. “The Wolves of San Papel” appeared last year in the Tales from San Papel anthology, edited by CCSers Nomi Kane and Jon Fine, and has the (dubious) honor of being the first Tentacle Kid story of any length. Have a gander, won’t you? As always, click the images to embiggen.

It’s nice to know that I’ve improved a bit since last year, if at the sacrifice of speed.

More comics soon, I promise!


Edit: I forgot to mention that Brain Wolf/wolves are the creation of fellow CCS-er Ben Juers, who’s been working on some wonderful slapstick stuff the last year or so. I wonder what his thesis will be like?

…Sorry for forgetting to link you before, buddy.

The Guns of Pittsburgh; Save a horse, draw a cowboy Pt. 1

Posted in As if you cared, Sketch with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20 October, 10 by cantocomics

Greetings, salutations, felicitations, &c.!

Sorry if it seems like forever since I blogged–we had a big deadline last Monday up here at CCS, and the intervening week and weekend were used up by PIX, which was a helluva good time.

While I was there, I drew some stuff!

This one was kind of fun.



The awful teeth came without context, but the SpaceApe–I guess I was thinking about Kode9’s collaborator on Memories of the Future (?)–arrived with the following description:

SpaceApe, the ape from space, lives in the deepest, darkest emptiest expanse of intergalactica available on his limited budget. As a result, his social skills are extremely stunted and he has a tendency to say the single most inappropriate thing possible at the single most inappropriate time imaginable. It is for this reason that the SpaceApe’s appearance is regarded as an ill omen at parties.

I was delirious with some manner of head and chest cold that I’m just getting over today, so I assume that had something to do with it.

Also, these happened:

A kind of slanted drawing of a cowboy from the TimeLife Old West volume on the topic. He was originally surprised by the photographer’s flash, I think.

For some reason nobody wanted this one. Maybe the idea of oversized female genitalia is not as interesting to most people as the internet would lead me to believe it is.

Further on the topic of that TimeLife volume, it’s already been an amazing resource for me. And I been drawing out of it too! Have some Montana Cowboys, whyncha.

The mustache was at is strongest as a cultural meme in the late 1800s.The TimeLife Old West series was recommended to me by Jason Lutes, an awesome dude and one of my instructors here at CCS. The books are really nice–leatherbound, bunches of full-color plates, nice heavyweight full-gloss paper, well-tooled covers with sections of Remington paintings–and they’re (mostly) less than a dollar on Amazon!

My birthday is in December, readers.

As stated before, PIX was fantastic, and I could not have asked for a better first con to table at, even if I was hacking up unnaturally colored pieces of infestation from my lungs. Massive props to all attendees and tablers, especially the following:

  • Cupcakes and Comics, who have delicious baked goods and panels,
  • Kevin Czapiewski, whose PUPPYTEETH anthology rocked my sore-chested world,
  • And, of course, my inestimable fellows Max, Paul, and Lena, all of whom are beautiful people and worthy traveling companions.

If I’m still on this coast the next time this con rolls around, I’ll be there with bells and a SARS mask on.

P.S: If you like friendly and enthusiastic people who are good at doing things, Kathryn Cantrell is the lady blogger for you. Her oil work is enough to bring tears to one’s eyes if one is prone to tears over art, and really, how can one not be?

Brocess: Behind the Scenes

Posted in As if you cared, Comics Pages with tags , , , , , , on 26 September, 10 by cantocomics

Like I said last time, I’m going to share how I do comics–or at least one method that I’ve worked out.

Of course, this is going to completely change depending on the project. I’ve found that it’s a lot more enjoyable for me to change aspects of my working method on the fly than to try to stick to a system.

Cos it’s when a system becomes rigid that it breaks down.

Anyway, I start off, as do most cartoonists, with thumbnails and scripting (developed in tandem in my case). They look sort of like this sometimes:

Then I let that sit for a while, usually setting it down somewhere, forgetting about it, doing long division in red pen on it, setting down a cup of coffee on it, etc. etc.

Then, after I relocate the thing after having lost it, I start the pencils. For the Tentacle Kid story I’m working on right now, I’m working pretty small–at about 9″x12″. I usually work a lot larger, but, uh…see above. I usually use a red pencil and/or a red ballpoint when I’m penciling, along with a mechanical pencil for finer details (or things that I’m having more trouble nailing down). Sometimes, the pencils look like this:

Then of course, inks. I recently purchased my first Windsor-Newton Series 7 brush, by which I think most brush-using cartoonists swear. So that’s what I’ve been mostly using for the linework on this project. It looks like this:

You’ll notice that the red’s not there anymore–that’s cos I dropped it out in PhotoShop.

Then comes toning. Before I started work on this story I rediscovered my love for Copic Markers–as Nomi Kane put it, “they’re like drawing with butter.” She is correct in this assessment.
I have to lightbox the pages in order to get the tones anywhere even close to correct, so before marker touches paper, the inked page has to be scanned, reduced in size so as to fit on letter-sized paper, touched up, upsampled, bitmapped, etc., etc.
So I throw the dang thing on the lightbox and spazz out with the Copics for a while, eventually producing something that looks sort of like this:

Astute readers will notice that this has been dot-screened in PhotoShop. I’ve never used actual screentones before, and I’m wary of them because they’re expensive and kind of hard to find. Also, I’m not real good with drawing on the computer, so I tend to avoid doing things like this digitally. This method developed as a result of my inadequacies! Yay!
Anyway, more ‘Shopping happens, and by around 3 or 4 am I end up with something that on a good day looks sort of like this:

Then, I write a blog post about it, which looks sort of like this:

C.R.E.A.M. 4: Susan Declares Independence, Part 6

Posted in Comics Pages with tags , on 15 June, 10 by cantocomics

Still all about the Benjamins.Agent Hamilton was supposed to look like Lance Henriksen, but as it turns out, I'm not real great at drawing specific people's faces.

In other news, those of you out there interested in experimental electronic music should do yourselves a favor and check out Condanna. Periodically I go through a period where I listen to a lot of almost formless, ‘difficult’ soundscapes (my Merzbow phase has yet to end, believe it or not), and Condanna’s first full-length, “E I Vermi Ammerano La Mi Carne” (Italian: “And the Worms will Love my Flesh.” Yeah, it’s that kind of thing.), features just the kind of creeping dread that I desire in my pseudoambience. The screams of tortured machines distorted by rusted ceilings, rhythmic grinding against the hollowed bones of some long-dead leviathan for a pleasure that you or I can barely conceive.

Tomorrow: Unexpected happenstances, followed by a break in which I’ll post a sketch or something.