News & Such

Spring has sprung

Winter months of seclusion and quiet labor are changing to spring: little nubbins of grass are popping up out of dry soil, snowdrop flowers are brightening up fence perimeters, and Chicago is dressed in optimistic shorts on the first over-40-degree day. The sun is out! Let's shine some light on what's been happening in these past few dark months! Apologies for the long-list nature of this thing; someday I'll get better at posting more regularly.


Image Plus Text

I'm excited to share the first episode of a new podcast I'm co-hosting with cartoonist Sam Sharpe: Image Plus Text! I+T is a biweekly panel discussion podcast where we will talk about a specific topic related to creative work (not just comics, but since we're both cartoonists there will be lots of comics shop-talk) with a guest. Sam and I first started talking through this project when we were at Ragdale together last fall, and since January we've been recording episodes and learning all the behind-the-scenes production that we'll need to keep a regular release schedule. I'm really proud of this and hope that people enjoy listening!  Follow our goings-on at soundcloudtumblr or twitter for updates, and send any feedback or suggestions to imageplustext@gmail.com. 


Bryn Mawr Visit

The poster for the event was designed by me with the feedback & help from my pals (& scholars of religious iconography, among other things) Joe Leach & Rachel Levy

The poster for the event was designed by me with the feedback & help from my pals (& scholars of religious iconography, among other things) Joe Leach & Rachel Levy

Last week I visited Bryn Mawr College to join an afternoon event on Religion & Comics with my friend & comics scholar Brian Cremins, hosted by the wonderful Shiamin Kwa. I talked about how questions in religious inquiry relate to my larger body of work and I presented a new little comic, and Brian gave a great talk about Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin. I was super honored to be invited; as an alum of a seven sisters college, being on campus felt like a homecoming--any anxiety I had (which was plenty) about giving a talk washed away when I arrived. Thank you so much to Brian, Ken and all of the students who joined us that afternoon, and especially to Shiamin for her open-hearted generosity--I couldn't have asked for a better host! 


Astrology Comic

astrologycomic_preview.jpg

The new story I presented at Bryn Mawr is a little 5-page comic I made for an anthology edited by the lovely Rob Kirby about astrology called "What's Your Sign, Girl?" It's due out in Fall 2015 from Ninth Art Press, and an artist from each zodiac sign is making a comic about their place in the stars. I was given the responsibility & heady duty to represent all my fellow Pisces. I thought it would be an interesting challenge to make a comic about something that I deeply & truly don't believe in. That seed grew in to a little personal essay comic that is half about skepticism & my agnostic-to-atheist origin-story, and half a celebration of deeply held beliefs in a structured system of meaning-making. I'm so excited to see the final collection--Rob has managed to collect so many of my favorite artists in to one anthology, it's going to be a thrill to see my name listed next to theirs.


CAKE Bake & other CAKE things

Let them eat CAKE! I also learned that I love drawing fancy mice making this poster.

Let them eat CAKE! I also learned that I love drawing fancy mice making this poster.

Today is April 1, which means the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo is only 2 months away!! This is my second year on the core organizing team at CAKE, so I have a better sense of how quickly those two months will fly. We've got a couple of fundraisers and smaller events coming up between now and The Big Weekend (CAKE this year is June 6 & 7, and it's gonna blow your socks off). The first big lead-up event, and my personal favorite, is CAKE Bake, our annual fundraising art auction! A truly boggling number of talented artists have donated their art & performance prowess to make CAKE Bake an event you won't want to miss. If you don't already, please follow CAKE on tumblr, twitter or facebook to keep up-to-date on all of our goings-on.


Literary Agency Representation

Big news in the "it's not big news yet but it's an exciting step in that direction" category, about two weeks ago I became a happy client of Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group! I have been working this winter on developing some next-big-book ideas, and I'm very grateful to have Mark's expert guidance as I figure out the next steps on those projects. 


Upcoming Travel & Comics Shows

Festival season is upon us again! I took a breather from signing up for early-spring festivals, but the rest of the year is getting booked up. Come say hi if you're going to be at:

  • LINEWORK NW at Norse Hall, 111 E 11th Ave, Portland OR: I'm tabling on Sunday April 19, but I'll be walking around on the 18th. This is my first west coast show (!) and I'm so excited to get to join the festival this year! I've heard nothing but wonderful things, and I love any excuse to visit my family & friends in Bridgetown.
  • Chicago Zine Fest at the Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W Washington Blvd, Chicago on Saturday May 9: it's the day before mother's day, and my mom will be joining me behind the table! Come say hi to two grinning Texans trying to sell you comics and just TRY to not get a hug.
  • CAKE! at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, Chicago on June 6-7. I'll be the one signing you in, handing out water bottles & snacks, and making sure you have an excellent time!
  • Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE) at the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd in Columbus, OH on July 18 & 19: it's a rain-checked date in a shiny-new space in one of the country's best comics towns--let's do this, Columbus!
  • Small Press Expo (SPX) on Sept 19-20 in Bethesda: did I win the table lottery? Nope! Will I be there anyway? You betcha! I'm going to join the Radiator Comics table for some of the time there, but I'm mostly excited to walk around, see everyone's new work and go to all the panels I can fit in.
  • TBD: Autoptic on August 8-9 in Minneapolis, MN: table announcements haven't gone out yet, but Autoptic is a hell of a fantastic show. Hope to see y'all there--fingers crossed! 

 

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.