Greetings, fellow comics engineers!

Alright- we’re coming into the third week of classes, and I don’t know about you folks, but between work, classes, and extracurriculars ,things are getting pretty busy on my end.


Beth’s lecture from the first week of class got me thinking about my own Secret Weapons, both for managing work and life in general.  I’m lucky enough to be friends with some fantastic and supportive folks, both in and out of the Chicago comics community, which is hugely important.  Playing music and movies in the background when working can also help me get into the rhythm in work, so having access to the school library has also been a huge life saver.

 Between the hours penciling pages in front of a monitor or researching in the back stacks, that place has become a second home to me.


That said, my other top Secret Weapon standby has to be keeping a sketchbook.  While I do keep notebooks specifically for ongoing projects, such as Uncle Davie’s, the information in those books tends to be more diagrammatic  or reference based.


A working layout of the family trees of the main characters from Uncle Davie's, color coated and altered

While sketchbooks are a great place to pace out stories, sketch out layouts for settings, and draw out characters, they also serve as a place to play and blow off steam.  Often elements from my stories will come from lines of dialogue thought of on the bus, or bits of nearby environments.   Plus, I’m a huge fan of sketching folks from life.


 In other news, I realized that the script I wrote last week was more designed for a two page spread, where the assignment calls for a one page image, so that particular auto-bio entry is going in the vaults for the time being.  Instead, I’m working on a one-pager, taking inspiration from Winsor McCay’s great “Little Nemo in Slumberland” newspaper comics.  I’ll be drawing it in black and white for simplicity’s sake, but a watercolored version in the future would be fun. Stay tuned!

Also, for folks that enjoyed Sam Alden’s comic “Haunting”, check two of his other works also available online:  “Backyard” and “The Worm Troll“.  They are both fantastic, and great work to look at for studying storytelling, pacing, and rendering of light in pencil and ink.

Until then, stay cool.