Manga Mania Villains, 2003

This was my second project for "how-to-draw" author Christopher Hart. It was a chance to peel off the surface stuff and look underneath. I'd been drawing comics for over ten years, and it gave me a rare peek under my own hood. Always a healthy exercise for an artist.

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Mecha Mania, 2002 (Part 2)

In Part 1, I described how I got the assignment to draw robot designs for the first segment Chris Hart's Mecha Mania book. As I explained therein, I was not 100% thrilled with Chris' presentation choices. Shown here is my work for two subsequent segments, which I also took issue with for...reasons.

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Mecha Mania, 2002 (Part 1)

One day in 2001, artist/writer Christopher Hart invited me to contribute to his next proejct, a how-to-draw book on Japanese-style mecha design. The timing was good, and mecha design is close to my heart, so I relished the chance to turn it into a learning opportunity. But I have to report some mixed feelings about the end product...

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Secret Comics: Dataworks 1997 Annual Report

I've said it before in these pages, but it bears repeating: if you really want to draw comics, don't be picky about where your opportunities come from. When left to our own devices, we draw what we love, whether it's spaceships or horses or monsters. Which is just fine. But there's a limit to what you can learn from what's already inside your own head. And the potential for comics as a learning tool is practically limitless.

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Secret Comics: The Wall, 2006

All the way back in 2006, a strange little project fell into my lap via a friend in the comics biz. It was a sort of horror anthology called Tales of The Spooky. the comic never got done for reasons that I never learned, but I still have the materials for the story, so now it can finally see the light of day. And it's still just as creepy.

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The Vantage Point, 1981-83

When I decided to put some of my earliest works on a website for public view, I knew it would be like disclosing my high school yearbook photos. And now that becomes literally true. The Vantage Point was our school newspaper, and I contributed to it with almost no oversight for two years, which was utter madness. Here's a sample of what happened.

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SCREAM: the musical, 1993

I've handled some unusual projects in my time. I've taken a few meetings that would qualify as weird. But this one went to a wild frontier unmatched by the others. It was to be a live theater experience; a musical founded on psychological concepts that would probe different parts of the mind, turning them into a visual feast. My long history of reading and drawing comic books prepared me for anything, it seemed.

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Political cartoons Vol. 3, 1985-86

Reagan. Gorbachev. Marcos. Qaddafi. These were the news leaders back when I officially entered adulthood, and I spent that time turning them into cartoons for a weekly Michigan newspaper. No matter when you become of aware of them, politics are never new. Just sometimes easier to make fun of.

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Political Cartoons Vol. 2, 1985

Here's the second set of political cartoons from my days working for Cadence, a locally-based newspaper in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. The paper's editor-in-chief Susan Lovell was the originator and I was her art monkey.

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Political Cartoons Vol. 1, 1984-85

At the tender age of 19, I got a graphic arts job at a weekly newspaper. I was the only one on staff who actively drew, and when the editor in chief discovered this, she added "political cartoonist" to my job description. Here's the first of three time capsules from back then.

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Secret Comics: Sierra magazine, 2008

One day in early 2008 I was contacted by a fella named Bob Sipchen about doing what he called a "graphic novel" for an issue of Sierra magazine. I'm always up for something fresh, so I said sure. I don't do a lot of "real world" comics on my own, so it was a good way to find out I still could.

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Dead End Art, Volume 3

Here's some more from the vault of unsuccessful bids to seek out work. Sometimes it was a solo flight, sometimes an invitation, sometimes a determined effort to grab onto a speeding opportunity. They all resulted in work that didn't land me a job I was hoping for. But no matter what, they were always educational. That part was NEVER a dead end.

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Dead End Art, Volume 2

What do Judge Dredd, Aliens, Ren & Stimpy, The Terminator, Bubblegum Crisis, The Rook, and X-Wing Rogue Squadron have in common? I didn't get to work on ANY of them! But I definitely gave it a try. Here you'll see my fruitless attempts at these and other projects from my comic book morgue.

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Dead End Art, Volume 1

The main purpose of ArtValt is to air out all the stuff in my archives that never got to see the light of day. This batch comes from my time working on staff at Malibu Comics (1992-94). Sometimes a special project would come from editorial that required full-up illustration work. It got really interesting when sample art was needed for a project the company wanted to license.

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Comic book logos, 1990-91

Logos for comic books are a vital component, since they are the first thing that identifies what you're looking at on a shelf. But very little attention is given to the craft of designing comic book logos, and the unique demands of working with letters. Here's a collection of logos I created back before the digital world came along to take the handcrafted look off the table.

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Secret Comics: Godmoney, 1997

I will not be at all surprised if you never heard of an independent film called Godmoney. It's a teen crime drama in which, according to the official logline, "A former New York drug dealer's past catches up with him as he tries unsuccessfully to build a new life in California." When the director hired me to create a prequel to his film, it became my first and only crime drama. It was an experiment in style and color never seen by anyone until now.

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Newspaper cartoons, 1984

From 1984-86, I was Cadence newspaper's own version of Sergio Aragones, whipping up little jokes and cartoons for the margins. No reader ever commented and I don't know if they were actually noticed, but hopefully they brightened what could otherwise be a pretty standard routine of high school sports, local tempests, and that week's grocery bargains.

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Secret Comics: Mountain Bike magazine, June 1994

Once you cross the line into drawing comics professionally, assignments can come from places you never expected. This is one of those cases. It came from a fella named Dan Koeppel, an editor on Mountain Bike magazine. He wanted to create an article that reviewed tires, and he thought a 6-page comic strip would be a good way to catch some eyeballs.

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Derp Squad, 1997

They're weird! They're crazy! They're extremely unhygienic! Here's a bunch of dopey characters I invented during goof-off time at an animation studio. Not for the weak-willed or faint of heart.

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The 1982 Star Wars Calendar, 1981

Back in the days of the original trilogy, Star Wars was on my mind pretty much every minute of every day. Star Wars calendars were a regular thing by then; 1978, 79, 80, and 81 were covered, but as 1982 approached no new calendar was on the horizon. So I had no choice but to make my own.

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