Let the Inktober adventure begin!

Back in January I set the goal to plan & participate in a proper “Inktober” project … and I am! While I don’t have as many drawings banked as I would like, I did improvise a little story around this year’s list of prompts, and am diving right in! I plan to do at least one drawing a day, which I’ll post to my Twitter and/or Instagram accounts; follow my progress there if you’d like!

[November 2019 UPDATE: my Inktober drawings have been collected in Ramble; get more details here.}

What I’m working on

Though I haven’t finished the next Human Spring story for you yet, I have been working on a few different things that I’d like to share with you. While I don’t usually like to talk about things too early in the process (since they can often just be shiny new ideas that go nowhere), these projects are starting to take shape…

March and April are going to be busy months for me, especially on the “fine art” side of things. There’s the art show at MidSouthCon (where I can just display & sell work without having to table the whole time– making drawings of dragons & monsters is a small price to pay for that perk!) and the East Buntyn Artwalk, a fun event that draws out a lot of people willing to purchase original art (no small feat in this town!)…


I also did this drawing for the Playhouse on the Square’s annual art auction. They are exceedingly generous to the artists who donate, so I’m happy to do a piece for them … like this drawing inspired by “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”. If you ever get the chance to see that show, do yourself a favor and go; you won’t be disappointed!


I’ve been working to finish up a couple of new comics in time for a book event at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library in April, too. For that, I plan to have completed the print edition of “Sultana”, a new Watusi issue, and Book 2 of “Watusi in Oz” (tho there’s still a lot of work– mainly the bonus chapter not shown online– still to go on that one).

I’ve also been collaborating with a local writer on a new comic that’s taking shape nicely. While it’s still a little early to go into a lot of detail (without spoiling its big reveal), I can show off some of its cast of Knights Templar…


Plus, I have actually finished a story this year, for Bob Corby’s moon-themed Oh, Comics! anthology to be published in April. My tale of a moon launch set between the wars involved more straight lines than I think I’ve ever drawn in a comic before!

MOONpage4So that’s what’s cooking at the moment. Most of the comic projects will eventually come your way in some form through this Patreon channel; if you want to see more of my pencil drawings, please follow me on Instagram, where I’ve been posting a new drawing nearly every day.


[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

Drawing for the joy of drawing

I’ve found over the last few years that I’m making a richer connection with customers and new readers not at traditional comic shows, but at reading festivals and art events. This is not so surprising, really, considering how cosplay-centric most cons have become … but I can be a slow learner at times. Or maybe just hardheaded, I’m not sure. Either way, I’m finding them to no longer be the best venue to connect with readers interested in original comics, especially those that are as far from the superhero genre as mine are.

With the intention to better present my work to art enthusiasts, last August I participated in an Open Crit at Crosstown Arts. While my hope for that critique was to get feedback and tips on how best to present & price my work for the Memphis market, I left with lots of food for thought and ideas on how to develop my work in a more “fine art” direction. I’ve been working towards that goal with a lot of recent drawings (some posted here, others on my Instagram account), and will likely continue to stay busy producing them during the month of October. Even though for a lot of artists all across the web October is better known as Inktober, since I already get plenty of inking time producing my comic pages, I’m kind of playing along from the sidelines, using the 2017 Inktober themes for my pencil drawings. I’m still a pretty deliberative artist, so thus far most of my drawings are really just character studies until I figure out how to mix them into larger, more developed compositions, most likely as acrylic paintings.


While comics continue to be my true creative love– the mixture of words and pictures in cartoon storytelling just feels like the richest form of my art– I am finding the art community here to be more welcoming of my work than the comics scene has been. And indeed, I had a better (and more financially successful) time at the recent Cooper-Young Festival than I would have had at that same weekend’s Memphis Comic Expo, at least judging by my experience there in 2016. Bringing my cartoon artwork out of the printed page and onto the wall as “art” is a challenge that I’m finding creatively energizing, too! I hope you enjoy this peek into another side of my artistic practice …

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared on my now-closed Patreon page.]

Hot off the press: Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular

ssp100pageI’m gearing up for my appearance this weekend at Wichita’s Air Capital Comiccon and I’ll be bringing a new comic (in addition to my “Watusi and the Emerald Serpent” roadshow) along with me. Well, maybe “new” isn’t quite the right word; here’s the story behind it…

The Smeary Soapbox Press-ents 100-Page Inventory Closeout Super Spectacular is my way of thinning out my backstock in a way that also pays homage to DC’s 100 Page Super Spectaculars of the early 1970s. Assembled from extra copies of my one-shot comics, each copy has its own unique mix of content (although I did make sure they each contained the characters mentioned on the cover: Watusi, Flamin’ Frank, FooF!, Professor Harvey, and the Guy with a Hammer!), as well as an original convention sketch. Given that nature of this collection, the material included varies, ranging from just a few years ago back to my earliest days as a self-publisher in the 1980s! The mix could include a sampling of my earliest superhero parody comics, a smattering of the annual holiday comics I’ve made since 1985, one-off comic “singles”, and/or comics featuring Watusi and his costars. The drawings may be rough, the stories may be silly, and they may even take me down a path I ultimately decided not to follow. But many of these comics are work I’m still proud of, if for no other reason than they led me to become the creator I am today.

I had fun “curating” the material that went into these copies, and I think my binding comes pretty close to capturing the feel of those great old 100-pagers. Check it out if you’re able to make it to the Air Capital Comiccon– I hope to see you there! But if you can’t make it, here’s a selection of some of the better sketches that ended up in the copies…

Not as rusty as I thought

I had the chance to do some actual life drawing yesterday, and I was pleased to find out that I wasn’t as rusty as I feared I’d be…


“Quick! Draw Degas!” was the November theme for the gathering of the Thieves Guild, a locally-grown artist collective. Trained ballet dancer Dolly D. Imples of Foxy by Proxy was the model, who “twist[ed] and turn[ed] into poses inspired by French artist Edgar Degas.”

It’s been a good 20 years since I had my last life drawing class– and I haven’t done all that much observational drawing since then, either– but I dug up some newsprint and charcoal and gave it my best shot. After so long drawing cartoon dogs that don’t look even remotely like real dogs, I wasn’t sure how switching to such a different media and such a different drawing method would work out. Especially given how unforgiving a medium charcoal is compared to the cut ‘n paste/whiteout/PhotoShop cleanup method I use in my comic strip. But it was actually liberating to not labor over a panel and just make the most of a 2/5/10 minute pose. It’s a good exercise for me to step back from the more complex issues of panel composition and story pacing and just enjoy making marks on paper– to remind myself how much fun drawing is!


It was a blast! I  had such a good time, I definitely intend to be back next month…

It WAS Free Comic Book Day 2011!

Hope you all had a great Free Comic Book Day! I spent part of last Saturday doing bag sketches at AstroKitty Comics and More; some of them are pictured below. I was most surprised when a boy chose the Marvelman bag over the Shazam! one. I wonder if it was because of Cap’s badly drawn hand…

[January 2023 UPDATE: this post originally appeared as a footer to that week’s Watusi episode.]