Wednesday, June 29, 2011


note to self #111: no kids' behind left

Well, jack kelly, author of note to self has some more horrific comics, this week's installment being called "horror movie black guy." The first scrawling is about jack kelly's aspirations to become a modern-day teacher, which is to say, he wants to sit around screaming at kids all day, clock out, collect a check, buy video games, and then go home to play Xbox online so he can scream at 12-year-old Korean boys--who are pwning him hardcore (natch)--about how much he hates the idiot American kids he has to teach all day. It's the circle of strife. And it moves us all.

note to self #112: peanut better and yalie

Oh, jack kelly, how delusional are you? Where do you get off feeling superior to anyone? I've dropped turds more valuable than you. Seriously--I had swallowed a quarter earlier and it was wedged in the dooky.

note to self #113: ender's got game

Good job, jack kelly. Do you think you're tough by making allusions to the grittiest parts of classic sci-fi literature? Don't for a second even try to act like you're any sort of tough guy. I've seen you tear up during a popcorn commercial. And geez, I didn't realize you were from the deep south with that latter character's revelation. I bet your Valentine's Days are pretty sick. And I don't mean cool-sick, you creep.

note to self #114: thus steroids

I see, jack kelly, your psychological problems stem from your hideously anti-Kodiak memories of your father. No, no, it's cool. Really. Paternal angst is so in this year/generation.

note to self #115: jocks know the score

Come now, jack kelly, athletes at Yale on massive-rostered teams that spend hours upon hours together daily are just as prone to bouts of depression as potent as any undergone by isolated comicsers who only have at-best-apathetic "colleagues" who only draw to kill time between classes. Sure athletes have personal resources in coaches and teammates whom they interact with continuously every day and everywhere, on and off the field, but these gregarious extroverts can feel entirely as out of place and lonely during the two hours a day they aren't wearing coordinated outfits with fifty other dudes or clashing their bodies against their pals or throwing back brewskies with their broskies. Sitting in a room wondering where life went off the rails for you as you draw yourself into oblivion like an alcoholic on a bender is nothing. NOTHING. Give yourself a reality check before you mouth off next time, jack kelly, you insensitive idiot.


Monday, June 27, 2011


A giraffey commission.

The shades.

The lines.

The sig:


Friday, June 24, 2011


Bad beats, bro.

Zero Like Me #167:
Deal #2:


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 3, Deal 2 in panel 4. Garry McGruder's our featured guest star, who's aesthetic is inspired by the Budoka creatures from Champions of Kamigawa set.

Also, in case it isn't clear, "glhfdd" (how I tend to end my letters of support) means "good luck, have fun, don't die." "<3" means "less than three" or whatever...

Fun Facts: Ok, so for today's final version, we're trying borderless panels and completely digital inks. I think it's looking pretty solid, and I think I'll convert all pages to this model for the print edition. [Post-SDCC Update: borders for all!]

My goodness, it takes forever to produce these pages, though--it was hard enough doing strips! It's so easy to get carried away with details and stuff once we enter the digital phase of production. But I have to make these look as slick as possible for Comic-Con, and fortunately I don't have an editor breathing down my neck, so this is pretty all right, all things considered.
Baa: This comic's final draft took a while to post because I seriously messed up my insides--I ate some bad cheese, it seems, and it felt like my stomach was slowly being shredded on the inside by the craggy shards of a broken bottle for a couple days, rendering me unable to do art for any real length of time. It was agony. By day two I just couldn't handle it anymore--I'm not so lactose intolerant I can't handle a good chunk of dairy, so I was at a loss as to what could be the problem. We eventually figured out that Tums pills would do the trick and they did. Such a relief. At one point I was literally curled over, gripping my stomach trying to figure out how to trick myself into sleeping off the pain. But, Tums! Who knew! Hope I can still go to town on dairy, though. Love dairy.

Anyway, although we're a bit off schedule, Friday's page will be up as soon as I finish pencils with the finals to follow soon after, so yeah.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


note to self #106: ceo of what?

Despite my wishes otherwise, jack kelly, author of note to self, has five more ugly comiclings to debut, which he's calling "i killed tupac shakur." First up is a comic about jack kelly, a talentless Yale admit-mistake, wishing he could be more successful relatively right after graduation and then pouting about it, expecting my sympathy. Way to go, jack kelly, you weren't satisfied just getting into a university people literally torture their children to get into, but now you throw a hissy fit when you aren't then immediately thrust into the pinnacles of post-graduate success? How spoiled and entitled are you, jack kelly? What are you, white? I know how you grew up, jack kelly, it was beans, rice, and tortillas (with cheese, if you're lucky) every day before Yale, and guess what, you wetback hack, it's right back to the Taco Bell-sponsored projects with you. Don't look at me like that, jack kelly, you know you're not supposed to amount to a hill of beans.

note to self #107: racist joke

Aww snap, here comes jack kelly with the racist jokes. I'll be writing an angry letter to your editor, you know that, right? This is a high class website, you turd-monkey, and I won't stand for your reprehensible content. Last time I checked, jack kelly, you were neither black nor white, so I don't know where you get off making jokes about those fine, succulent, juicy races. You racist, uh...racist.

note to self #108: disappointment

Oh jack kelly, please stop acting like anything is owed to you after graduating Yale, I mean, as we just established in the previous comic commentary, you aren't white, so get off your high, white horse. Take your crippled place in society and like it, jack kelly. Love it. Stew with bitter anger and regret at everything you could have been, should have been, but never will be, but don't for a moment dare to complain about it to me or your entirely successful and luminously white college roommates, even in jest. How else can I spell it out for you, jack kelly? If I wanted to hear about an Ivy Leauguer who has had a rough past year, I'd listen to Conan. Are you Conan, jack kelly? No. So shut your mouth. And pass me a burrito.

note to self #109: the barber's unhappiness

Oh, jack kelly, stop masquerading behind old Matches song titles with your racist tirades. Be up front with your racism. Like this racist guy, HE has the guts to lay it all out there with his ever-spewing racism. Go big or go home, jack kelly, a home which I would assume is some kind of run down van on the US-Mexico border that houses you and your 17 brothers and sisters before your daily Kessel Run to a Home Depot parking lot. Unless of course you're on lookout duty for La Migra, in which case you're probably hiding outside your shabby cab, near a cactus, wearing a giant sombrero and a big, shiny mustache wondering how your unwed girlfriend is doing as she quietly heaves inside the van, popping out her fifth baby by an unconfirmed father. Racist.

note to self #110: cute couple

How dare you attack true love, you jealous hunk of coal, jack kelly! Who cares about the sordid circumstances that preceded their beautiful public union? They're happy now, so it doesn't even matter anymore! The past is the past, so long as we choose to turn a blind eye as we hurl in digust in the other direction. And don't even think about touching Roman Polanski next, you sicko. Besides, only Roman Polanski does the touching around these parts. And that guy from Beetlejuice. Wait, what was I talking about again? Never mind, I forget. Hey, let's watch Annie Hall again, jack kelly! I could go for a super depressing "comedy" right about now. To make it extra sad, let's rent it at Blockbuster. On VHS.


Monday, June 20, 2011


So I slowly keep creepin' to the beat of my heart,
But my heart keeps racin' and I can't keep up...

Very excited to announce my latest endeavor:

I'm storyboarding a music video.

This is our main character, Simon.

Simon says,

"You just don't stop."


Friday, June 17, 2011


I'd tap that (at the end of your turn).

Zero Like Me #166:
Deal #1:


Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 5, Deal 1 in panel 3. Ib's helm on the green mage. Zero's costume inspired by Puddnhead's Roofstalker Wight. Shout out to Polanski-clan creeps. Today's setting is the outskirts of Desert with the beginnings of a mysterious forest.

Fun Facts: This is my first time doing sequentials in about a year, so I have to admit I had a mix of anxiety and excitement about embarking on this, but here we go with our Magic-themed adventure! Every Friday we're going to get a new page, and by the end of it we'll have a little contained story, just like the Herald days.

So although I'm excited to be back, particularly on sequentials, most anxiety stemmed from the question of inking: do I ink this traditionally or digitally?

The last sequential I inked traditionally was over a year ago, before I owned a tablet. I've been digitally inking the past 50ish ZLMs anyway, so digital was definitely my inclination because of how clean and polished it can look right off the bat, while still being easy to further edit, the results of which you can see at left.

My worry with digital inking is that it's not really helping my artistic development, but I could argue either way on that, as I am definitely able to catch more errors on the digital pass.

Baa: Just to be sure I wanted to stick with digital, I decided to ink this traditionally as well, so at right is how it would have looked back in the Yale era. I think this is resounding proof I gotta stick with digital; digital lines are cleaner, crisper, and more easily manipulated, but at the cost of taking longer. Just gotta figure out how to get the ideal printing.

The traditional inks feel so clunky and the errors just get amplified. It's also so easy to get carried away and go overboard, which can only end badly if you're not careful. Maybe it's the paper, but I feel like the ink bleed is a little too much. I have a limited supply of Bristol board, but I'm reserving it for some other projects since it's more expensive. I can't print my page template on it anyway, so it'd be tough to get the pages to sync up.
The weird page formatting is present because I've matched Viz-publishing format (off a copy of Hikaru no Go) which has a big gutter on the spine-side of the page; you have to start your first page on the right side of the book, so the big spine-gutter is on the left. The idea is to collect these Magic pages together into a professional-looking minicomic and hand them out to some special someones.

Even if I permanently switch to digital inks, I still want to continue penciling traditionally, because I still have a lot of leveling up to do on that front and I won't be doing myself any favors by skipping this step, especially without a Cintiq. I tried doing a completely digital comic with no pencils once, and I dunno, I'm just not ready to go there yet...

All right, so next week, more Magic, plus some quite unrelated stuff.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


note to self #101: chip whitley is a beast

With my condolences to those affected by him, jack kelly, author of note to self, has five more poops-worth of comics in a turdbundle he's calling "the cocaine cubby hole." He starts with a comic about the only reason anyone would want to go to Harvard--screw the lineage of prestigious presidents, innovators, and agents of humanity, the only thing Harvard can really boast is that they got Conan. And now, like many a fictitious alumni, Dartmouth can proudly add Conan to their alumni list, too. Dartmouth--which I learned is a member of the Ivy League upon watching my first Ivy League basketball game my Freshman Year at Yale and seeing the nauseous-green D banner sagging sadly in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium's rafters--is like the Harvard of not-really-alumni alumni magnets. And Dartmouth's President Kim is the Harvard of checking his watch just as his honored guest and called-in-favor starts ramping up into the truest parts of his speech. I find myself wondering, would it be worth it going to Dartmouth for four years just to see Conan? Probably. But I went to Yale for four years and saw Conan at Dartmouth live on, no.

note to self #102: doncha wish your girlfriend was?

Well, jack kelly, you at least get points for not using the old "mysterious girlfriend up in Canada" line. And those points are the only thing you'll score.

note to self #103: waking up is hard to do

Oh, jack kelly, you ugly, ugly little thing that is ugly. If you want a friend, buy a dog. And a leash, cuz you know that hound's making a break for it, first chance it gets.

note to self #104: spec

Let me break spec work down for you, jack kelly. Spec(ulation) work is doing art for free for a client on the promise of potential future payment, or for mere exposure. Spec work is like taking an unpaid internship at a company you don't really want to work for, full of people you don't really want to work with, and you don't even get school credit. But they get to do whatever they want with your work and you get to roll over and take it and perpetuate the attitude among clients that art is not worth paying for, particularly when it is being used explicitly for commercial purposes by companies that, if they are seriously endeavoring to be professional, should be able to pay for art as they would pay for a carpenter or chef or whatever for their time.

Often such sucky clients'll ask you to produce one or more free works for them to consider before perhaps picking one of the pieces to perhaps pay for. The best part is seedy clients often pitch spec work to you as if it's something cool and daring, often asking if you're "up to the challenge" of submitting free work to them for the chance that they'll pay you later, if ever, but meanwhile promising you'll earn so much exposure that you'd be STUPID not to submit to them. With that in mind, I bet jack kelly actively works on spec just to spite everyone in the industry. See also this educational film on generally idiotic clients, or as I like to call them, "jack kelly" clients.

note to self #105: so stupid it stings

Come on jack kelly, sure "Walking on the Moon" is kinda mindlessly stupid when you think about it, but man, it sure sounds good, unlike anything that spews out of your horrible apertures, you jealous little sad sack.


Monday, June 13, 2011


A smiley commission.

These are the shades.

These are the lines.

And this is my sign off,


Friday, June 10, 2011


No summoning sickness in sight.

Shuffle up your sequential pages,

cuz we're dealing the first hand

next week!

Topdeck like your life

depends on it.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


note to self #96: white people kill me

Regrettably jack kelly, author of note to self, will achieve his 100th post-Yale comic this week, in a bundle he's calling "suicide tends to be funny." He starts with a comic about how whenever minorities hear about another minority going to Yale, they first ascertain that going to Yale is indeed an extremely good thing and then subsequently engage in congratulatory language, as opposed to whenever every single white person learns a minority went to Yale--the white person already knows going to Yale is a good thing, so they immediately ask if sports were involved with the admission. If you ask me, it's minorities who are showing their insensitivity and ignorance in these situations.

People should assume the only way a minority got into Yale was not by studying every waking minute of high school, eating alone every single day with no friends save the historical figures found in his AP US history textbook, and going straight to and from school, but rather that the minority got into Yale via some sports-related bonus points on his application. Duh. I mean, that's how I did it, and I'm Mexican, the scummiest of minority scum, so obviously sports was my only hope of getting in. And goodness knows me and my fellow idiot jock friends got along great! I got into Yale without having to stunt my social development at all, and I couldn't have done it without sports! So thank you, sports, for making brown-skinned turds like me appealing to something as otherwise inaccessible as Yale!

note to self #97: shut up, nerd

Again, jack kelly's pulling some stupidity about equating US comics with Superhero comics. I mean who is so ignorant that they can't discern genre from medium? OBVIOUSLY superheroes is a medium, and not a genre. You cannot make comics in the US unless they have superheroes in them. Just ask The Spirit. So shut up with your defense of the medium, jack kelly, it needs neither your help nor your content. The medium of superheroes will happily regurgitate itself ad nauseum until all that's left is colorfully spandex-clad blobs of vomit and the shattered dreams of anyone with an original thought in their skull. US comics is simply superheroes, period, and that is all comics ever will be. This is America, jack kelly. Leave diversity to the lesser countries.

note to self #98: kinkos and in-n-out burger

Geez, jack kelly, did it ever occur to you that you're just not qualified to handle the butt-riddling task of making photocopies or making animal-style burgers? Oh, jack kelly, you arrogant little puddle of poo, just because you went to Yale and the employers will not shut up about how freaking impressive going to Yale is doesn't mean you should expect to be get the painfully idiotic position you're only reluctantly applying for. Obviously you could handle anything these community-college rejects could throw at you, but that's not important. All that matters is...I have no idea, actually. Blindfolds and cork boards with dart-pinned resumes on it, maybe? Perhaps the ignorance of an employer who can't realize that if they are paying money for someone to agree to do something, the paid person is then obligated to do it, despite any internal qualms he has doing such searingly undesirable work?

note to self #99: brutal

I knew it, jack kelly, your hatred of black people and women all come together in one comic. Smooth. May you soon be Amadou Diallo'd with all deliberate speed. And may I be there right with ya, if not to watch, then to participate, on either end.

note to self #100: this comic is proof

Classic, jack kelly. Did it ever occur to you that if you had been less focused on academics during high school, you might have made some friends so that you wouldn't be so socially crippled when you got into Yale, so that after graduation you could get some sweet Yale, old-boy-fueled job? As we just established in today's first comic, you should have did high school sports, you short-sighted stooge! That way you could let your grades drop a little in exchange for social skills, and then you could only manage to get into a mediocre college and--oh, wait, I see, but then you wouldn't have been able to get into Yale and subsequently acquire that sweet Yale, old-boy-fueled job...hmm...quite a predicament... How do you get into Yale while still developing socially?

Whatever. Just assume you got in somehow, okay? Ok. So once at Yale, you could then have joined highly social groups, like the Yale Daily News or the Yale Herald or the Yale Record. Oh, you did? Then what happened? OH! Duh, you chose to do comics instead of real contributions. Idiot. Obviously you're going to end up drawing in your room alone and communicating with people electronically 95% of the time, thus prolonging your social infancy. Well, tough luck, moron. If you truly had a Yale-worthy brain, you would have figured out a solution to all this. But we both know that since you didn't get into Yale for sports, you obviously just got in because of your skin color. Maybe next time you'll think twice about being born a minority, you idiot. Just imagine if you were white, you could do sports, be social, get into Yale, and then easily get your old-boy-perpetuation on. And then decades later you could get to ask subtly insulting questions to dark-skinned kids who got into Yale. Just like Elihu Yale would have wanted.

Happy hundreth, jack kelly, you urine-soaked sack of turd-urine sacks,


Monday, June 6, 2011


An icy commission.

Also! I recorded a video of me painting the eyes:

The music in the video was made available by the artist here. Trippy stuff!

While painting this guy, I listened to the Big Illustration Party Time Podcast, which is an incredible resource of inspiration and knowledge that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you do freelance illustration or comics, you really, really should listen to them. They manage to cover a lot of businessy topics without ever drifting into monotony.

The episodes on contracts, copyright, payment, and all the non-arty parts of art are especially important to listen to in addition to the usual important subjects of portfolio arrangement and all that. They revamped their site, so a ton of the archives aren't on the site yet, so you have to subscribe through iTunes to get all the episodes, but it's well worth it. Listen while you work!

Anyway, for more process (in addition to the video) I as always keep close track of the updated versions of the art I send to clients, so we consequently also have a nice little process gallery to look through, too.

You can see the Photoshop paints without the pencils at top, and the paints themselves look pretty close to a finished portrait, actually, but for now I still cling to traditional pencils, for the most part, as my security blanket. I like working traditionally and lament the pressure to go totally digital.

The other shot is the shaded lines, and below that are the pure pencil lines. And that's how we make a portrait (and mangle grammar). I really like seeing process stuff, so hopefully this was enjoyable.

I'm going to be uploading some more process videos I recorded, including a hair-painting demo and a digital inking demo, so there's at least two more process videos coming up, plus a super secret project I'm excited about. But more on that later!


Friday, June 3, 2011


Here's the deal: we're going on a journey far, far away.

Well, not that far.

Like, Magic meets ZLM, loosely.

Anyway, totally pumped for the Removal staff meeting tomorrow!

Hardcast till you tap out.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011


note to self #91: future son

So jack kelly, author of note to self is gonna ride this one solo this week, as I have way importanter things to do right now. So take it away, you yellow little turd. And for goodness' sake...ya know.

note to self #92: line art

note to self #93: extremely ugly

note to self #94: every single interview

note to self #95: just communication

And that's the word.