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The Artist is Dead: Chapter 1

I stage-managed a production of “The Matchmaker” in high school, and was struck by the truth of a line uttered by the character Horace Vandergelder. It was something to the effect of “Art is something no one needs any of the time.” I paid an undue amount of attention to everything Mr. Vandergelder did during that production, as I was madly in love with the boy playing him. Regardless, there’s still a certain verity to these words. Art is frivolous, and non-essential.

One thing I have learned since making my living as a writer and artist is how very little respect some people have for those working in the creative industry. Despite the non-essential, wholly unnecessary nature of art, when people want it (though of course, never NEED it) they can become quite belligerent. It’s almost as if art, be it written, performance or fine, is actually something very essential and acutely necessary after all.

Early in my career as a freelance illustrator, I indulged in many email exchanges with prospective clients attempting to convince me that my work had no real value. I was informed what I did wasn’t a real job, it was a hobby at best, and I should be glad enough to be graced with an opportunity for exposure. It was selfish and lazy of me to try and earn money off things I just…drew!

One client even compalined to me that my pictures were getting harder to steal off of another client of mine’s website.

“Ughh, you must be trying to sell them or something.” He spat with disgust.

“Yeah, it’s my job.” I answered.

“Oh, you see, I’m enslaved by all that materialism!” He blustered, before launching into tales of his drug addled, teenage misadventures.

I think he was fixated on that era of his life because it was the last time he had financial security, thanks to his parent’s being “enslaved by all that materialism.” He’s in his 60’s now, and from time to time, gets high and starts texting me about the comic book we’re going to write together. Except I have to make the script, and do the illustrations, inking, lettering and colour. He’s just going to oversee the thing.

I don’t get paid of course, but I get half the royalties…promise.

These clients are of course easy enough to refuse or scare off by acting like a “normie”. Far worse are those who’ve learned to play the game, know the rules inside and out, and exactly how to ensnare an unsuspecting artists in the loopholes.

I am writing this piece in chapters, as a warning to others working in the creative industry. I want to walk you through the process of a manipulation in play, step by step, so that you can identify the signs when you see them. Many of us are introverted, private people, and less attuned to social cues than more experienced fraternizers. We second guess ourselves, and strive to placated people too often. Don’t fall into the trap of compromising yourself or your better judgement to appease a client, no matter what awards they boast, or connections they can claim. There are vicious people out there who prey on those they can convince to bend over backwards for them, a position which leaves you exposed and vulnerable. Never trust that someone has your best interests at heart, more often than not, they won’t.


I came in contact with the man through a comic book convention. I was a guest in artist alley, which meant a long day of sitting at a table, trying to beckon people over to buy my art and graphic novels. He passed by, and I complemented him on what I believed was a retro cosplay ensemble.

“You’re terribly attractive, may I take your picture?” I asked.

It wasn’t very much different than any number of ice breakers I’d launched during the course of the day. On this occasion however, the inflation of ego was actually palpable. This passer-by was only too delighted with an opportunity to talk about himself. I soon discovered, being a captive audience member as I was, he was dressed for a panel he’d be presenting later that evening. He would be assuming the character of a time traveler from the year 1964. His performance, he assured me, was regularly regarded as far superior to other panelists seen at these sorts of functions. With all that out-of-the-way, he at last introduced himself to me as Hewer.

Hewer: One who cuts wood, stone or other materials

To Hew: To sever from the whole by means of cutting blows

No, of course it’s not his real name, but for the purpose of this blog, we will be referring to him by it.

My husband, Weirdsley, and I attended Hewer’s panel. It was interesting enough. In the tradition of panels it was long, dry, and a bit self congratulatory. We were a little disturbed when afterwards, he decided to sit at our table and deliver an exhaustive harangue about himself. It was a subject he was clearly infatuated by. No detail was spared in tales of his work as an author slash historian and how he was the backbone of a Hugo nominated website. I smiled, and nodded respectfully at first. After a time, I felt myself, leaning ever so slightly away from him as he spoke, only to have him draw closer in reply. I held up my camera to record the band, now playing on the stage he had formerly occupied. I had hoped to gently suggest that the conversation had reached its inevitable conclusion. After what seemed like hours, he at last relented, but not before introducing me to his wife and daughter.

“She called me terribly attractive,” he divulged, “and I’ve been smitten ever since.”

We’d only been aware of one another for an hour or two. I wasn’t sure if this repartee was meant more to embarrass me or for him to bask in the compliment once again. My husband and I shot one another bewildered glances as he mercifully departed.

Back in the safety of our hotel room, Weirdsley delivered his verdict of our newfound friend.

“A little needy…but probably a decent fellow.”

I’ve come to depend on his insights with regards to people. The social arena is one that’s still unwieldy to me, then there’s the added component of marketing to contend with. Being someone more at home in the solitude of my own thoughts and the creative endeavors born from them, all conversations feel like some level of infraction to me.

“He said he won a Hugo award, I dunno, is he a good connection? Is this networking? Do you think I should have him on the podcast? ” I asked, still profoundly discombobulated.

I run two podcasts as an extension of the universe in my “Lost Bread” graphic novels. One being an audio drama, the other an interview show, set in that same world dynamic. The latter I had just recently started, and was hungry for guest material.

“Well, he loves to talk.” My husband offered with a shrug of his shoulders, “Why not?”

Why not indeed? I made arrangements with Hewer via email, and was even invited into his home to conduct the interview.

“If you dress for 1964, we could take pictures for cross promotion.” He promised.

Having a number of costumes at my disposal, I went with a B movie space girl get up, complete with plastic bubble helmet. After squeezing myself into this, and very nearly suffocating inside the a giant plexiglass dome of my helmet, imagine my disappointment at being greeted by a man in a polo shirt, jean shorts and bare feet.

“Did you forget we were doing this today?” I asked, lifting the trail of my space gown and stepped through the front door.

“No, I’m ready for you.” He replied, “take your shoes off.”

I groaned but obligingly did as I was told and removed my space boots. I hadn’t intended to make this an extended stay.

He offered to make me lunch, a nice gesture but one which was used as a catalyst for interrogation.

“So you think I’m terribly attractive?” He asked, returning again to our first exchange, “You don’t say that to everyone though, do you?”

“Oh no, not everyone.” I explained, “I like to acknowledge people’s efforts, costuming and all that. I think people aren’t used to being paid compliments”

He seemed disappointed with this answer and proceeded to grill me on how I had acquired so many followers on social media. There was the distinct implication that I didn’t really deserve to have more followers than him, the Hugo award nominated webmaster. I pretended to be oblivious.

“I just go out to places, clubs, bars, talk to people about what I do.” I offered.

He seemed dubious. I immediately felt the need to justify my social media standing to this person I barely knew, as if I was being called out as a fake. How dare he disregard the hours of work and effort I put into my art, writing and podcasting. Did he just suppose it was luck? The privilege of having tits while online? Or did he mean to suggest I had bought my followers?

“I showcase musicians and bands on my show,” I explained, “so we sort of cross-pollinate with followers from that I guess.”

“Oh is that all?” He huffed, making no effort to disguise his incredulity.

“Yeah, it is.” I said, patently annoyed “You know, it’s not something that comes easy for me, mingling and that sort of thing, but no one’s going to discover my work if I stay locked up in my apartment!”

He’d succeeded in at last exposing a nerve, and dug in with furious abandon.

“Oh, you don’t like people then?” He probed.

My emotions got the better of me and I explained how I had always been a private person. I unwittingly indulged him with delectable tidbits about my sheltered childhood, various diagnoses from teachers playing armchair psychologists, and even actually psychologists who couldn’t quite agree on just what was wrong with me. All of this he greedily drank up, and stored in his mental reservoir for later.

Despite the awkward conversation, I managed to finish my lunch. However, before the interview could begin, I first had to endure a tour of the house. The place was unsettling to me, though I couldn’t exactly pinpoint why. Beyond Hewer’s hoarder tendencies, a room plastered with pictures of hungry eyed anime girls, and the Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine in the garage, there wasn’t anything too far out of the ordinary. Still, it felt strangely like I had stepped into an Otaku version of Neverland Ranch.

Perhaps my unease stemmed from the realization that beside the client, I was the only other person in this house. The interview went well enough, no funny business, but I felt a certain wash of relief come over me when his wife came through the door.

We ended up taking pictures, but just of me, in my costume, now wrinkled and soggy with sweat. I stood, ray gun in hand, next to a bar cabinet in his living room, a framed picture of the moon behind me for “atmosphere.” The end result looked more like a deranged pre-prom picture, but I figured I’d be able to edit the raw material into something usable to promote the episode’s release.

Before I left, he invited me to take part in a weekly Sunday meetup he an his friends held. My heart sank. I really had hoped to be done with all things Hewer.

“I’m really busy with editing and stuff for the show.” I explained, desperately grabbing for the door handle of my car.

“It’d be a good networking opportunity for your podcast!” He shot back.

Abroad grin sweeped over his face. He knew he’d sunk his hooks in.

“Oh God, this is networking isn’t it?” I thought to myself.

If I pass up on this, then this whole uncomfortable evening will have been a waste. I had to do it, had to force myself, if only just this once. I’d come, make small talk, hand out my cards and be gone. I could manage that much.

I smiled, offered to attend, just this once, with my husband, and see how things went.

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Comicfest 2018

It’s been roughly two years since my last blog post, I hope you’ll forgive my negligence. You see I’m quite happy to while away the hours alone, with my work. I can commit myself to my writing (not blogs obviously) or painting for days on end. I fritter the time away, blissfully ignorant of where the dawn of one day begins and dusk bleeds into the first darkling hours of the next. Solitude is my refuge, but unfortunately as an artist by profession, I seldom make art for my own purpose. No, I am obligated to make art for other people, people who are rather unlikely to wander in to my hovel and discover my work. Ergo, if I hope to garner interest in said work, I cannot remain cheerfully withdrawn-and thus, I went to Comicfest 2018!

Me, banging my head against the wall in preparation for socializing … its a tremendously effective relaxation technique.

While this is my second Comicfest, the meet up was actually started by the original creators of the larger, and better known Comic-con International. Comicfest was born in protest of how commercial Comic-con International had become. While I still have a great love for Comic-Con, artists, especially independent one’s like myself, simply can’t compete with the inclusion of Hollywood studios and the star studded panels that they bring. Comic-con’s original inception, in the 70’s, had been as a place where people, who shared a love of comic books, could meet with others who harboured the same passion. This was a time before Superhero movies had conquered the box office, and reading comicbooks was still seen as something a touch juvenile.

The Keating House Inn

Comicfest’s intimate environment allows for fans, artists, writers and other industry professionals to converse with one another. People from all walks of life congregate to discuss their passion for comics, fantasy, pop culture and scifi. Rather than sprawling out over the entirety of a convention center, this year’s Comicfest was held at The Town and Country Resort and Hotel in San Diego California. While this may seem an unusual location, Comic-Con in it’s infancy, was held at San Diego’s El Cortez Hotel. As an artist, the smaller venue means I won’t be swallowed up by the crowd, or drowned out by the fanfare for the latest blockbuster movie.

You are now entering Flavortown!

On the subject of hotels, my constant companion, Weirdsley, decided it might be nice to make a trip of the three day event, and booked us a room at The Keating House Inn. Weirdsley shares my passion for history, and the Keating House was a pleasurable indulgence in this. The home was build in the 1800’s, during a time of prosperity in San Diego, atop an area called Banker’s Hill. Today Banker’s Hill is home to many beautifully refurbished Victorian manors. The Keating House is one of the most resplendent, and features “The Yellow Room” which you might recognize as an inspiration for a room that features prominently in the “Lost Bread” series.

We readied ourselves for Comicfest with Breakfast at Hob Knob Hill Cafe and Bakery. It’s a beautiful little place adorned with stately wood columns and twinkling chandeliers. Perhaps even more impressive, is the fact that this eatery bears the Guy Fieri seal of approval.

Crab and avocado omelette with a side of spiced apples.

I had a crab and avocado omelette with the obligatory mimosa. I say obligatory because socializing with fellow humans is a rare enough occurance for me that I sometimes require a touch of assistance. By the time my second glass was empty, I was ready to greet the day.

After a rollicking, madcap romp around the premises in a hunt for both Le Summit Room, where I would be participant in Artist’s Alley, and an ATM so I could secure change for the day, I took my seat among my fellow artists. The walls of the room were lined with five, 6 foot tables. Each artist was allocated a 3×3 foot square in which to display and hopefully to sell their original artwork, prints and comics.

To my left was my table mate, one Jeremy Cox. Jeremy is a reknowned industry professional whose worked for DC and has created his own original works “Vampirates”, “Zombie Love”, and “Skink and Skunk”.

To my right was Vince Alvendia of He provided the illustration for the book “Dark Agents Book One: Violet and Trial of Trauma” by Janina Scarlet. FYI the book is scheduled to be released February 2019.

Directly accorss from me were Emily Rocha and Scott Lost of the Accidental Aliens . This organization is a group of talented San Diego artists and writers, who pool their collective talents in the creation of original comic series and story anthologies.

The company was intimidating to say the least. Fortunately, in a relaxed atmosphere such as Comicfest, artists at various stages of their career are free to talk with one another and benefit from each others insights and experience. There is no velvet rope seperating the comic virtuosos from the novices.

While the conversations between artists were lively, I must confess one of my favourite parts of Comicfest is always the cosplayers. I asked permission to snap a few pictures when one would walk past my table.You can check out my Instagram account for pictures and links to these cosplay artists personal profiles. I love the creativity and ingenuity that people apply to their ensembles.

I made a few free sketches to enertain myself

A sketch of one of my nieces as Black Canary.



and managed to sell out of “Lost Bread” volume 1.

Out of a run of 25 prints for volume 2, I sold all but 9. These survivors of the original run are available for purchase in my shop right now! Go get your very own!

In what I consider to be sort of a right of passage, this year I was very fortunate to acquire two commissions from art afficionados making their rounds through artists alley. I consider drawing pinup art and glamorous depic

A reference presented to me by the client.

tions of the female form to be my bailiwick and I was pleased that both requests were of that variety.


The finished product, done in Prismacolor markers.

The first request, for an anime mermaid, came with very specific instructions. The client told me the entire back story of the mermaid to be drawn. I really appreciated his inventiveness! Basically, this young mermaid had been living amongst humans, who were unaware of what she was. She was transformed in the locker room when she accidentally got her legs wet. Now, she has to drag herself to where the towels are kept and try to dry herself off so that no on will learn her secret.

The other request was for a sensual painting of two of my favourite comic book minxes, Betty and Veronica, to be finished one month from now. You may see progress shots of it popping up around my social media soon.

With the success of Comicfest under my belt, I had hoped to add my new prints an merchandise to the site immediately after, and strike while the iron was hot. I made many connections with interested parties, and had my business card eagerly snatched up.

Unfortunately, I ran into major issues wrestling with outdated code on the website, which lead to a discourse with a very surly designer, and ultimately unhelpful designer. This tragic tale deserves an entry of its own, so stay tuned for that. I say this, hoping that in promising a new blog entry, I’ll feel compelled to make one rather than ignore my blog for the next two years, but the efficacy of this approach remains to be seen.





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More Reader Love!

As you may now know,at least I kinda of hope you do, seeing as you’re on my site and all, I write a graphic novel series called Lost Bread. Since I am just starting out on this publishing venture, I want to make it clear to my fans how much I appreciate them. I have stated that I will hand sign each order, and am happy to write a custom message or abide by special shipping instructions.

So far I’ve gotten a few that stand out. The tamest, albeit first, was for me to “Seal with a kiss.” I inked up my mouth (a taste I will never forget) and planted an indelible smooch on the inner cover.

Then there was the request to “Package with love.” That reader was treated to an envelope filled with heart shaped confetti (plus a comic of course.)

Next, I was to receive the request to sign “To my Puddin'” while dressed up like Harley Quinn. You can see the somewhat disturbing results here (Personally, I think I look more like Yzma from “The Emperor’s New Groove.”)
Alas, it was the best I could do! I can’t make myself more attractive (unless you guys buy enough comics to foot the bill for some serious plastic surgery! I kid, calm down!)

Another reader demanded that instead of packaging his order with love, I instead “package with disdain.” Hopefully, he posts pictures of the end result!

This latest request was a doozy!

If you aren’t an obsessive Ed Wood fan like myself, you may have no idea who the people listed there are. Let me elucidate.


Vampira (Maila Nurmi) The precursor to Elvira in the 1980’s, Vampira was the original horror hostess. In the 1950’s she provided sassy commentary and campy schtick to accompany late night monster movies. After being fired from her network, she would accept a role as a zombie bride in Ed Wood’s notoriously so-bad-its-beautiful masterpiece “Plan 9 From Outer Space”.


Bela Lugosi portrayed Dracula in the original 1931 film. His performance set the president for every actor to take on the part in years to come. In his later years, Lugosi was rejected by the studios that had once courted him. He was sited as being difficult to work with and battled an addiction to heroin. He would be given a second chance at stardom, and eventually become the cult figure he is today thanks to Ed Wood’s films “Glen or Glenda”, “Bride of The Monster”, and “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”


Tor Johnson a.k.a “The Swedish Angel” was a wrestler whose imposing appearance landed him work in Ed Wood’s “Bride of The Monster” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space.”

My challenge was to combine all three of these iconic personages into one entity! Here goes!


“Here’s your order sir!”


“You will sign for this package, I command you!”


I love it. I’m like that crazy old guy at the Goth club who elbows into your conversation and wants to brag about how they saw “Nine Inch Nails” before they were big. Actually, I think I am that guy. Damn it!


“Want to hear some of my dark poetry?”


Anyway, I hope the promise of watching me humiliate myself at your command might encourage you to buy some books and prints from my super happy store, right here, on this very site! What will you force me to do?

I have no shame, but I do have morals, a day job and family, so lets keep all requests PG and non-permanent. For instance, I’m not going to cut off my pinkie finger and include it it the order, so just stop asking! Granted, it is the least useful of fingers. I mean the only time you really need it is if you were say, having tea with the queen of England (pinkie’s up!) However, I want the option to wear a gaudy pinkie ring to accessorize my velour track suit when I get older and hairier. You wouldn’t want to take that joy away from me would you?

Thanks for reading, and keep the humiliation coming!

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I Love My Readers!

In case you didn’t know, the paperback version of “Lost Bread” has just gone on the market. I sign each one myself, and customers can order a personal dedication written just for them, no extra charge! This one below has to be the most creative request I’ve received to date!

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 3.28.20 PM

Those of you who know me in real life may be aware I have a slight infatuation with Harley. As far as I know, I’ve never met the person who placed this order, but with the impending release of Suicide Squad, Harley has been getting a lot (overdue) attention.

A lesser writer might have scoffed at such a request, rebuking it with a cry of “but I am AN ARTIST!” However, I love my readers and I love challenge!


Some of you may not know that I am not only a comic book creator, but also a prop maker and makeup artist as well, with a heavy focus on special effects work. Trust me, making myself passably “cute” requires some heavy special effects.

Wigs, grease paint, ample padding… okay, were in business! Shout out to John Blake Wigs and Ben Nye make-up! I don’t work for them, just swear by their stuff!

harkey arkham

I even set up a little Arkham Asylum backdrop… complete with bats! (Thank you Micheal’s Craft Stores!)


I hope my Grimerica shirt bounces back from having been stretched out like this. Honestly, I felt like I had padded the bustline a lot heavier than I did, but in the picture it looks pretty minimal. And while were talking about Grimerica, you should know that one dollar of every sale goes to support the podcast!

Harley Smirk

So, to the fan who made this request… you’re welcome! To the rest of you, sorry for the nightmares this may induce!

harkey scary

Do you have a request for a custom signature? (Lets keep it family friendly and non-permanent please. For instance, I’m not tattooing your name on my rump. If you read my comic, you’ll know that real estate belongs to Grimerica anyway.) Since you’re already here, why not buy a comic from my shop and leave me some special instructions in the order form? I’ll make it easy for you, click this link:

Both books and artwork are available!


And just in case you were worried, I turned right back into the same dork you know and love (or at least tolerate) except with way greasier hair from all the makeup remover I had to use!

What’s your request? Order a comic and make me your book bitch, I dare ya!




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He Never Came Home: A Texted Tale

I like to to experiment with new methods of storytelling. The classic “book in hand” variety that I favour is sadly, no longer in vogue. That said, I present to you the first in my series of texted tales, a format more engratiating to the modern reader. (Thank you to my very understanding friends, who tolerate these novels spontaneously unfolding on their smartphones!)

This one’s a bit of a romance!

He Never Came Home


He’d only been dating her for a few weeks, and yet when she’d suggested they move in together, it just felt right! 😍

And why not? She had a sex drive to match his own lusty tempermant. It was a rare treat after enduring countless bed mates, who laid there still, unmoved,even annoyed by the prospect of love making. 😴 Bedding them had been about as satiating as the nights he’d spent humping his pillow in that first miserable flush of puberty.😅

She talked like a pornstar. It was a bit embarrassing sometimes actually, especially in front of his friends. Sometimes the things that came out of her mouth bordered on something from a cheesy 70’s flick, the kind that smear across the television screen on a Sunday afternoon. Still, he didn’t dare call her out on it. He was scared that might stop it all together. 😱

She called him by those stupid pet names couples use. No, these were stranger, demeaning almost, but not quite. Names like Meat Puppet, or Sex Clown. Sometimes she’d come up with things that sounded as if they’d been lifted straight out of some old time cartoon. What was it she’d called him the other day? Scuzzo The Clown?😳

He got a thrill out of it really. Towards the end, his last girlfriend seemed to have come to the belief that his given name was “asshole.” Scuzzo was a marked improvement. 😝

Sometimes, he’d divulged to his closest friends, there was a sort of savagery to her. There were moments when the woman was lost, and she became something more like an animal, tearing into its prey. The deep grating scratches down his back and scabby bite marks she’d left had won him the envy of other men. Maybe that was why he couldn’t bring himself to admit that it honestly frightened him. Still, it beat the alternative, didn’t it?


He didn’t come home last night. She’d said something to set him off, and considering her usual conversation, it must have been a special kind of vile. In a frantic call to his best friend, he’d barely managed to communicate that he would be spending the night in a motel, which one he didn’t know.

Turns out it was the Travelodge on Main. Maybe she’d found him there. In this age of technological litter, a man is left with few secrets. Maybe she’d tracked him there, maybe not.

He didn’t come home last night, and he wasn’t in his room this morning. No crime scene to speak of, no blood splatter and gore. Instead, there was a neatly made bed and his iPhone, fully charged. Just a phone, left waiting on the nightstand, as if it were an open book, waiting to be read.





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Grimerican Episode Art

So, just in case you didn’t know, I’m the kid who does the featured episode art for each new and exciting episode of Grimerica. Seriously, it’s true! Starting up a new episode piece is generally the highlight of my week (unless something really extraordinary happens, and let me tell you, it would have to be pretty extraordinary to eclipse it!) I know its hard to tell from the written word, but if you think I’m being in any way sarcastic, I should tell you right here that I don’t get paid anything to do these. I create art for The Grimerica Show because I genuinely love the podcast, and simultaneously I love to draw. It’s that simple!

Episode art takes some time and research into each guest, seeing as you’re basically trying to sum up what they’re all about in a single image. Yes, it is a heady responsibility, and in this blog, I’m going to try and show you my process. I had wanted to actually film my work using a screen capture software like Camtasia. See I have a YouTube channel, but no videos. This makes me a bit sad, as I used to work in video and film production professionally, until I had my breakdown, (I’ll tell you about it sometime). Unfortunately, my YouTube debut will have to wait till I’ve accrued a bit more “disposable income” (if there is such a thing.) I know there’s some free alternatives to Camtasia, but most are either for PC only (I use a mac, how pretentious) or only let you record for 15 minute stretches, and well, that just doesn’t match my vision!

The magic begins, as it so often does in life, with a text. Harassing Graham and Darren on a regular basis allows me to discover who the next guest will be. I try to make my texts friendly, and non-threatening, yet raw with an innocent vulnerability and pleading desperation so as to increase the likelihood of a response.The process is not dissimilar to that of making a booty call. (I chose this text conversation to show because there’s no proprietary information!)


Once I have that information, Graham usually sends me some notes from the interview to help direct my work. At this point, I start to formulate an idea of what I’m going to do and skulk around the internet and my personal library shelves for reference imagery.

This weeks release will be Erich von Däniken, authour of such books as “Chariots of the Gods”, “History is Wrong”, “The Gods From Space”. Däniken’s work tends to focus heavily on alternative history hypotheses and ancient aliens theories. Being a comic artists myself, and a huge fan of Enkai Bilal, Däniken’s ideas start to dredge up imagery from Bilal’s “The Nikopol Trilogy” , a graphic novel series which touches on similar subject matter. If you haven’t read it, you should, it’s glorious. If you’re one of those folk who just can’t be troubled to read, (shame on you) they made a movie based on the first book in the series back in in 2004 called Immortal (ad vitam) So check that action out!

After a casual perusal of my comic collection and an impassioned Googling, I have a pretty good idea of how I’m going to approach this episode. I generally start out by creating a loose sketch of my idea, my layout.


I do this on a 35% grey background in blue at 35% opacity. The grey background will help show highlight and shadow once we get going. My choice to start out in blue harkens back to when I used to have to draw on paper (I use a Cintiq tablet currently.) Back in the olden days, I’d start my drawings off with a pencil in the colour of “non-photo blue.” It was useful in that when photographed your layout after inking, the blue sketch underneath vanished (for the camera anyway.) It just feels weird now to do my layout in anything but blue.

So, as you can see, we wind up with a sexy alien girl masquerading as Nefertiti. Alien ladies are a particular obsession of mine, and robot-girls, and girls with ray guns…and pretty much anything retro-futuristic and blatantly sexual. Call it a fetish, it tends to be where my art wanders to.

Now that the layout is complete, I solidify my design by tracing over my sketch in black on a new layer. I normally use a hard round pen tool in Photoshop, set on black at 100% opacity. In the brush presets, I set shape dynamics so they are controlled by pen pressure, with a minimum diameter of 0%. This gives a nice, tapered line, more like what you’d get from a pen or brush when you ink (take a look below and you’ll get what I mean).

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 10.32.26 PM

And now a close up on that crazy line work.


Next I generally add in the basic shading on a new layer.


And then the highlights on yet another layer, which I drag to the very top and keep it there through-out the rest of the process.


With that business taken care of, I usually lay down my initial colour layer, set below the shade and highlight layers, just to block it out. I set my colour layer to overlay, because I’m going to paint over it. For my comic work, I do the colour at full opacity.


After I have my colours set, they serve as a nice template for my painting layer. For this drawing, I really only devoted myself to painting the alien girl’s grey skin, as I want all of her accoutrements to remain flat, and false looking (they’re part of a disguise after all.) I just go through intensifying shadows and details to give a more three dimensional look.


I don’t want any background for this piece because I want it to feel a bit sterile. My idea is sort of that the human world is dull and mundane but alien influence adds in some colour, much needed pizazz, and sexual intrigue (note dat ass!) I also like the play of the greytones in her skin with the broad grey background. That, and I’ll be adding in text, so too much business gong on in the back can drown out the actual name of the guest, rather defeating the purpose.


I used a font called Herculaneum in black, rasterized the layer and added a heavy stroke around the outside. I need to make sure the guests name is going to pop-they’re the whole point of all this after all!


I then put a new layer with the same font on top of this, in a gold tone. This colour is actually the same one as the gold details in the alien lady’s outfit, except punched up to full opacity. The background being as light as it is, I wanted to overlay the text instead of using a drop shadow effect underneath. This way, I can create a crisper line that stands out. When I was in school they used to scoff and say:

“Oh GAWD, don’t ever use drop shadow, it cheapens the beauty of the typography.”

I say that’s a bit silly, I use drop shadow when it works, just in this case…nah.

Aaaand this is pretty much the final draft, unless revisions are requested (sometimes that happens.) Hope you’ll tune in for Erich von Däniken and the many other strange and delightful guests headed your way on the next The Grimerica Show podcast!



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The Comic Process

For the last two months now I’ve been working in my spare time to crank out a new issue of “Lost Bread”, a comic series for The Grimerica Show that chronicles my lucid dreams. It drives me nuts, sitting here, etching each tiny little line on my tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I love to draw (otherwise I wouldn’t bother.) It’s just that, dreams are so instantaneous, and making a comic is…well not. I have so many dreams in my journal waiting to be shared, but the process of transcribing them for eyes other than my own is laborious. However, I feel its crucially important to spend whatever time necessary for each and every image drawn to match what I saw in my head (otherwise, what’s the point?)

Since it looks like there’s still going to be a bit of a wait on this one, I thought I’d show you the process I go through in creating a panel for “Lost Bread”. I normally jot or rather tap my dreams down into iphone notes first. My trusty phone is always there waiting for me on my nightstand. I do this the moment I wake up, be it the middle of the night, early morning or an afternoon nap, so that I can still remember everything clearly. Then, I create a script, in a program called Celtx (free online) You could just as easily write it up in Word, but Celtx lets you divide your script up into panels, pages, captions and characters just by using a series of hotkeys. It makes trying to block out a comic a little bit easier. In addition to comics, it has settings for screenplays, stage plays and audio, all of which have their own specific format.

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This blog is going to follow the process used for the panel scripted as #12, but in the final layout, it wound up becoming #13. I go through several layouts before I’m happy with the end product. The first in the series is my “slop” layout. Here I’m just getting a very basic idea of how I want things to be positioned in the panel. I do some chicken scratch to represent the text, and make sure I won’t be crowding out any of my characters with rogue speech bubbles.

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After I do this, I normally sketch out the focal characters in the scene, conveying their body language and emotion. Here, my brother, Marco, and I have a spirited argument, as we often do.

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Yes, words to live by! The characters in this are actually reversed from their proper placement in the scene. I do that a lot. A little backstory here: I struggle mightily with spatial relations, to the degree that I have to actively think about which is my left and which is my right. Funnily enough, its never affected my reading, so I can’t claim dyslexia, just temporal confusion.

Knowing this about myself, I’ve found little ways to work around my handicap. For example, I used to work on ships, (I’ll tell you about it sometime.) For whatever reason, starboard and port click for me, where as right and left don’t. When I’m driving, my friends will call out directions as starboard and port, instead of right and left, so I don’t miss a turn. That doesn’t help so much in drawing, but you know what does…

Mapping out my scenes physically, so I have a reference.


Here I’ve mapped out the upper edge of the Campanile di San Marco using my art table, and created mock ups for the characters in clay. The bend in the clay shows me wind direction, which I’ll reference when drawing hair and clothes. My character (Nap) has a purple tip, (front left, er port, wait does a table have a port side?) The others all have their own unique markers to help me determine who goes where. This shot is just for place reference.


Then I take another shot, with my iphone, from the angle I’ll be drawing.


Now I can create my panel.

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Here are the characters in their correct placement.The pink colour is set on a layer below the line art, and will eventually be replaced with the final colouring. I’m not going to show you the final colouring here, because I want you to actually read the comic, and I’d hate to spoil the surprise. The pink just helps me differentiate these characters from the eventual background.

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I add in the floor tiles, to help give me a sense of space, and the box which will bound this panel.

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I use GoogleEarth to get an idea of what the view would be like from the corner of the Campanile my scene takes place on.

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And background is go! Now let’s add in some of those crazy balloons! If you’re following the series, you’ll know what I’m talking about, if not check this madness out! (by which I mean, click this link.)

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Again, I have these balloons set in a pastel green just to differentiate from the main background and the characters in the foreground. Now I’ll add in some more balloons in the distance, to create a sense of depth.

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And that panel’s pretty much where I want it to be for the now. It needs a little clean up (the largest balloon is breaching the panel’s bounding box) but as far as just getting the line art down, we’re good! Hope you enjoyed this little look behind the scenes, or were at least amused by the pictures. If not, sorry I guess. Either way, I’ve got to get back to comicing!



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A Far And Reaching Darkness

Some exciting news! Matt Schmitz (A.K.A Matt in The Hat) and I will be collaborating on a collection of short stories. He will be authoring them and I will be providing the illustrations.

The first in our treasury “A Far and Reaching Darkness” was originally posted on The Grimerica Show website, and now can be found at Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Smashwords respectively!

Schmitz’s literary voice brims with the kind of tongue in cheek nihilistic abandon that would make Camus or Sartre chuckle wryly. He shrugs his shoulders, bemused by the mechanical antics of modern life and grins unflinchingly at the inevitable approach of oblivion. My words alone cannot do his piece justice, only a reading for yourself can accomplish that:

Please help support independent artists like ourselves by purchasing this story from:


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Gordon White Comes To Grimerica

The chaos magic of Gordon White ( of ) is unleashed in a mesmerising interview from The Grimerica Show. I provided original episode art. It was a real challenge to try and capture White a single still image. He’s such a multifaceted personality. From his latest book “star.ships – the prehistory of spirits” to his views on the relevance of mythology and esoteric traditions in the modern world, White is a mind alive and brimming with ideas worth pondering!

#156 – Grimerica Talks Mythology, Spirituality & Much More with Gordon White

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Grimerica Welcomes Thom Powell

Tom Powell, authour of “The Edges of Science” gives a poignant interview regarding Sasquatch, and how the current paradigm of crytozoology may be fatally flawed. His dedication to the understanding of the entity known as sasquatch is sure to intrigue even the most hard nosed skeptic.

My own artwork, a sasquatch pinup girl, inspired by an unusual sasquatch report highlighted in this podcast is now available as a lithograph print in my store as well!

#155 – Grimerica Talks Squatchin’ & “The Edges of Science” with Thom Powell