Monday, April 23, 2007

Here's a pretty cool web comics site, appropriately called Web Comics Nation. Here you will find a plethora of online comics in just about every genre known to man. They're neatly organized on their side bar, so you need not fear getting lost.
There's something here for everyone from both novice and professional talent, featured artists to lots of buzz. Its a really interesting site where you can even post your own ongoing comics for free. (No, I haven't posted anything. I'm still working on trying to finish The Virtutus Key, so I can start submitting it to a few publishers.)
Another good site for comics and graphic novels is Dime Store Productions. (I'm not sure why some of these links are not active on this blog of mine, but just copy and paste to view)

Together with their Picks of the Week, Advertising Space for your comics and graphic novels, Submissions info, Members Forums and Links page and How To pages, its another valuable source for Graphic novelists and those interested in this field.
Next up is the blog of an incredible, candid, writer and her thoughts, Agy Wilson.

Agy is a woman of extraordinary strength, talent and insight. She is one of the founding members of I think perhaps she moonlights as Miss Arty-Pants. I could be wrong about the Miss Arty-Pants, but I don't think so, her voice and wit have a very unique style.
Visiting Agy's blog is like a chance encounter with an old curious soul in the woods, although she is anything but old. Here your mind will stumble upon gems of wisdom, glaring truths and whispers your soul barely knew how to express. Just take my word for it, brew a large kettle of tea and stay a while.
By the way, check out her illustrations on her web site.
Today is a good day for blogging, or trying to get caught up with a bit of online writing.

What's new? Well, not a lot, except I've added another morsel to my already full plate of projects, studies and seemingly never ending domestic and homeschooling activities. Do I harp on that a lot? Yes, its a sort of love/hate thing, the domestic stuff. Ah...but, some one's got to do it. Perhaps that's why I enrolled in another writing course. This one is a Gothic Novel workshop. Its online (they all are, how else would I find the time).

When I first read about what makes up your typical gothic heroine, I instantly sympathized and more, I had to take a closer look. I had to explore her journey, because I immediately felt it was my own journey beckoning me onward, my own quest daring me to see it through till the very end.

Courage, that's what I'm talking about, the courage of a frightened woman/child daring herself to face her deepest, most strangulating fears. The courage, will and discipline to look evil in the eye and banish it once and for all. I wonder if such a thing is truly possible, the once and for all bit? No, I think evil is a reoccurring foe, one you must face and conquer daily, even moment by moment in some cases. This journey should be interesting, wretched at times, perhaps even most times, but enlightening to say the least. Oh, yeah, its going to be the theme for my next graphic novel. I'm thinking of naming it Self Portrait: The Diary of Victoria Hart.

OK, on to better things. I'd like to help promote some wonderful site and blogs I've recently visited. Some of these are fairly new, others oldie, but goodies. Let the feast begin.

First up is a new comic site I first noticed last week.
I so wanted to post a link then, but I was swamped with work. One of the nicest surprises of this site is all the info they offer in a clear organized way. Everything from graphic novel reviews to graphic novels turned movies, to ad's for graphic novel writers and graphic novel lists. A wonderful resource for blooming creators like me...caterpillars that wish to turn into butterflies.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I discovered Randy Asplund last night and I was blown away by the level of his skills and expertise as a fine artist, illustrator, educator and illuminated scribe. Within his site are several galleries filled with surreal scenes of dragons, druids, Middle Earth inhabitants and an imagination set free. But, wait, within theses galleries you will also discover historical illustrations for both fiction and nonfiction books.

Too good to be true you say ? Ah, but you've yet to view his Site Map and therein lies another treasure chest overflowing with Articles and tutorials like his Middle Kingdom Scribe's Handbook, Reproduction Tools, Making Waxed Tablets, Making a Midlevel Knight's Helmet Crest and more, much, much more.
I was looking through my Favorites folder today, and I came across another great site. This one is for children's writers and illustrators. Yellapalooza is a warm, friendly, place chuck full of wit and wisdom when it comes to charting the sometimes choppy waters of children's books.

Here you will find valuable tips and resources in topics like Author, or Illustrator School Visits from the delightful insights of Ask Miss Arty-Pants. In their Articles section you can read about the members published books, both fiction and nonfiction.
Their links page is comprehensive, yet streamlined, no getting lost within a phone book of lists. But, the Tutorial page is one of my favorites, complete with How To's on topics like Critique Groups, making a Picture Book Dummy and Submissions.
Check it out, you won't be disappointed and don't forget to meet the members on the About Us page, a peek at some very generous and talented authors and illustrators.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I've been waiting almost two years for this mid-grade graphic novel, Ellie McDoodle Have Pen Will Travel. Its published by Bloomsbury and is scheduled make its appearance in May. I per-ordered my copy months ago and I know I'll have to race my kids to the mail box when it arrives.

Ruth McNally Barshaw, Ellie McDoodle's amazingly talented creator is one of my favorite well kept web comic secrets and fast becoming a household name on the children's writer and illustrator scene.

She's warm and generous and has been an everyday hero to countless writers and illustrators, as they juggle and fight for their dreams against all odds in an endless sea of laundry, dinner, dishes, kids, pets, carpools, field trips, rejections and family expectations.
There are three such journals capturing her adventures as she sets out from Michigan by train to the annual winter SCBWI Conferences in New York City. Her sketchbooks will make you smile, laugh and cry yourself silly. They will hearten and inspire you when you think you can't go on, and more they will give you words of wisdom and insights into the world of children's writing and illustrating. (And the first, the one that introduced her saga to millions across the globe)
I've recently discovered a few great graphic novel blogs. One of my favorite is the GNR...Graphic Novel Review.

This is easily one of the most comprehensive review sites out there. If you're wondering what's out there, or in need of some graphic novels to snuggle up to at night, this is the place to come. Here you can scan through genres and read up on featured titles by writers and illustrators both in the USA and abroad. Once here you better make yourself comfortable, cause you won't want to leave for awhile. ; )

Then there's Publisher's Weekly The Beat, "The News Blog of Comics Culture" by Heidi MacDonald. This is a huge site dedicated to reviews and the latest news on comics and their impact around the globe. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa and plan to be here awhile as well.

Last, but certainly not least is Artbomb.

Another review blog of graphic Novels. It features titles from children's to adults, like Hayao Miyazaki's soon to be released My Neighbor Totoro I. This will be volume one in a series of four graphic novels based on his wildly acclaimed movie of the same title.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

This is a peek at the pencils for a page I just inked for The Virtutus Key.

You can see how I changed the last panel for clarity of story, or story flow. Although, I initially loved the idea of the three dragon friends discovering the Book of Lannurm together, my son thought the flow was off.

You can check out the inked page at Picture Bookies.

There are a few great sites I want to share. Actually, one is a wonderful and informative list called independentcomics at yahoo led by the magnificent Terry Hooper. Check out his interview at SBC.
Another site is FRAP from Elfwood Tutorials. FRAP stands for Fantasy Art Resource Project. I could spend weeks here and still come back for more.
And of course there's Patricia C. Wrede's incredible world building questionare. This one you'll want to come back to again and again.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I've been real busy trying to do so much especially of late, what with self imposed deadlines and such...But, somewhere in the midst of all my creative passions and domestic responsibilities I was blessed with a moment of time. I've just read a truly beautiful, raw and inspiring graphic novel. The Pride of Baghdad, by Brian Vaughan and Niko Henrichon.

The Pride of Baghdad is an emotionally moving tale. Personally, it hits home on so many levels...dreams, freedom, self-expression, self-discovery, courage. Courage, that's a huge one...facing the unknown and the changes, challenges and questions of our readiness. Thank God, I think I'm finally accepting the worthiness, but that's another story.

This tale is more than just the tale of four captive lions, I see it as the hero's quest in us all. If you're fortunate enough to find it, read it, you won't be disappointed.


Monday, April 02, 2007

There is an incredibly talented modern illustrator who's work just blows me away.

I first discovered Mr. Quinton Hoover last year. It was quite by accident. At the time I was searching for other illustrators, silent mentors who would inspire and guide me with their unspoken genius. Well, I stumbled upon the right site, UndergroundComics, a list on Yahoo. Man, talk about talent and real down to earth souls. These illustrators have taught me more about the art and craft of visual storytelling than many books.

Its a real treat to visit some of their sites, so here is Mr. Hoover's, the man who's kindness unknowingly gave me the courage to follow my dream and just dive in to my inks. Of course his illustrations make mine look childish and pitiful, but that's Ok, mentors and masters have a way of glowing radiantly like the brightest of stars.
Check out the first 32 page issue of James Ritchey's Green Lama graphic novel at

Sunday, April 01, 2007

This is an illustration to a short skit I wrote, penciled and began to ink last year. This is an on going children's tale entitled Fairy Called. At the moment its forty pages and growing. Its based in part on some of my childhood experiences and fantasies. I inked it on Friday for the Picture Bookies Showcase weekly illustrative theme A Very Good Day.
This is another page I was inking for The Virtutus Key.

You can view the finished illustration on the Picture Bookies site. Its a site with an assortment of wonderfully talented children's illustrators who I am honored to have been invited to post some of my illos.

I love working with inks, in fact inks are one of the main reasons I became a visual storyteller. As a child I was captivated by master illustrators and visual storytellers like Hal Foster, Roy Krenkel, John Buscema, Walt Kelly, Rupert, Robinson, Pyle and of course Authur Rackham.

You might say their illos brought the stories to life and more, allowed me a safe haven in which to dream and escape the turmoil of childhood. Yes, I was one of those shy, frightened youths who's best friends were story books, the woods and my imagination.

I love to ink with all kinds of things, bamboo pens, feather quills, wooden skewers, twigs and just about any thing I'm drawn to pick up and play with. Here is where I find true peace, where the rest of the world falls away and I return to the sacredness of eternal youth unlimited and unbound.
These are some of my finished pencils for The Virtutus Key: Book One of the Flame.