News & Such

826 Compendium, Cricket and Ask

In just one week, three freelance projects I worked on this past spring & early summer manifested themselves in tangible, physical form! Last Friday night I attended the release party for the 826CHI Compendium, and yesterday I received contributor copies of Cricket and Ask magazines. 

The radiant Kendra Curry-Khanna (Deputy Director of 826CHI) introduces the event to a packed auditorium

The radiant Kendra Curry-Khanna (Deputy Director of 826CHI) introduces the event to a packed auditorium

Every other year 826CHI, the Chicago branch of the national writing & tutoring nonprofit, publishes the best of the student's work in a lushly printed book. This year they paired with DePaul University and their Big Shoulders Press to publish the fourth volume; students in one of DePaul's publishing classes helped edit and make publishing decisions on the book for hands-on experience. I was so thrilled to get to illustrate this fourth volume, which was gorgeously designed by Alison Kuczwara of Tiny Bold Creative. The highlight of last Friday's release party was listening to the student authors read their contributions to their work; I was on the edge of my seat re-living the drama of the jellyfish men rising up against the robot pelicans! Thanks so much to 826CHI Deputy Director Kendra Curry-Khanna and Compendium coordinator superstar Tara Jayakar--working on the compendium was such a dream, and I'm so proud to have gotten the opportunity to work on it.

Look at that die-cut!

Look at that die-cut!

The compendium is arranged like an atlas, with all the stories located in one imaginary landscape

The compendium is arranged like an atlas, with all the stories located in one imaginary landscape

Each of the six sections has a dense, full-bleed illustration with characters or scenes from all of the stories. Vampire bacon! Grandma T-Rex!

Each of the six sections has a dense, full-bleed illustration with characters or scenes from all of the stories. Vampire bacon! Grandma T-Rex!

Shortly after finishing the art for the 826CHI Compendium last March, I started working on art for the Halloween issue of Cricket and then ASK magazines. I pitched a couple of two-page story ideas for Cricket, and I'm so excited that everyone agreed to my favorite idea: a chart showing hybrid costume ideas! I had so much fun working on this, and I'm considering dressing up as a zombie jellyfish myself for Halloween this year. The art for ASK was also a delight to work on: who could turn down a project about the science of baking cookies? Clearly not me, especially when one clearly has to do lots of hands-on "research" with cookies. Thanks so much to Art Director Karen Kohn for these most excellent projects!

October 2014 issues of Cricket and Ask magazines

October 2014 issues of Cricket and Ask magazines

THIS IS SO EXCITING TO SEE IN PRINT

THIS IS SO EXCITING TO SEE IN PRINT

That zombie jellyfish, you guys!

That zombie jellyfish, you guys!

Caveman Fairy Princess also speaks to me on a pretty deep level.

Caveman Fairy Princess also speaks to me on a pretty deep level.

Cookies + science!

Cookies + science!

Genuinely very informative on how to make cookies exactly how you want them

Genuinely very informative on how to make cookies exactly how you want them

GRUMPY COOKIE ALSO SPEAKS TO ME.

GRUMPY COOKIE ALSO SPEAKS TO ME.

Summer and Fall 2014

Happy August, everyone!

It has been a long time since I have written here, but not from want of projects. Here is a short update on upcoming events and recent goings-on:

September 13 & 14: First and most urgently, barring unforeseen disaster, "In the Sounds and Seas: Volume II" is going to debut at this year's Small Press Expo in Bethesda Maryland! I have been playing this one close to the chest (save teaser pictures on Instagram and Tumblr) in case I didn't have enough time to finish for the show. I'm down to the wire finishing up the book now, but I'm confident that I'll have fresh, inky-smelling boxes from my reliable and lovely printers at Salsedo Press in time to jet down to DC. Find me tabling with generous-hearted and super-talented pals Beth Hetland and Josh Kramer--floor map coming soon.

September 27: I will be in St Louis for the inaugural STL Small Press Expo at Firecracker Press's new space in Old North St Louis. New books and all my minis and prints will be available at that show--so excited that STL is getting the independent publishing expo it deserves. Come out and say hi, St Louis friends & family!

For Chicago Artist Month, CAKE is sponsoring a show at Werkspace (a gallery/workshop space run by the wonderful book artist/printmaker/arts educator Jen Thomas) that highlights the great work done by women comic artists in the city. The opening is on Saturday Sept 27, and a closing reading is happening the afternoon of Saturday October 25. Mark yer calendars, details about the exhibition forthcoming!

October 6 - 24: Ragdale! I'm so grateful to my letter writers and to the jury who reviewed my application for the opportunity to attend my first residency. I have a work plan for my three weeks there, but I have a feeling that this is an opportunity best embraced with an open, experimental attitude. I can't wait to fail and fall on my face a whole hell of a lot this October. Chicago friends, if you want to come visit, let me know! Ragdale is just a metro ride away in Lake Forest.

October 30: If you know any students attending Harper College in Paletine IL, encourage them to enroll in Brian Cremins' entry-level English class--"In the Sounds and Seas: Volume I" is part of a syllabus that equally favors comics and classic literature. (My 10-year-old self just fainted from excitement!) As an extension of the class, there is a show at the Harper College gallery featuring the work of three comic artists whose work will be read and studied by the students: John Porcellino, Edie Fake, and myself. (My 29-year-old self just fainted from excitement!) There will be a Q&A discussion open to the public on the afternoon of Thursday October 30th, and the show will be up from mid-October until November 14th.

Other News:

August 9, this Saturday, is the Brain Frame finale! Chicago friends, if you have any time at all, please come out and help cheer on Lyra Hill and the community of experimentation and weirdness and joy that she has orchestrated the last three years. All good things must come to an end, alas.

I shared this on social media, but I'm thrilled to announce here that my books and minicomics are now distributed by Radiator Comics. If you know a friendly comic shop in your area that doesn't have enough independent comics in stock, point them towards Radiator; the growing catalog is already an excellent representation of some of my favorite self-published comics. 

This fall, a slew of comics and illustration projects I worked on in spring and early summer will be published and in-hand. Keep an eye out for the next 826CHI compendium, a book of student writing (kindergarten through high school) that I was privileged and delighted to illustrate, and a whole bunch of projects for magazines in the Cricket Magazine group, including hybrid halloween costume ideas in Cricket; cookie-baking science in Ask; dead author trading cards in Cicada; and a four-page myth comic in Muse. 

Bookmark this and come back frequently: Festival Season! Like Athena emerging fully formed from Zeus's head, this website populated by book reviews, show reports and comics community news is so well conceived, designed and written that it feels like an establishment that has been around for years. Three cheers, Kenan!

Cupcake Award! This is the last month you can apply to the Cupcake Award, a self-publishing microgrant of $250 that comes with email mentorship from Annie Koyama and a free table at next year's CAKE. Apply, apply!