Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reactor Studios

About a week ago I had an informal field trip with one of my classes to Reactor Studios, located in downtown Toronto.

I'll admit, I didn't have very high expectations for the trip. The studio is only a ten minute walk from my university and my prof is the one that runs the agency, but I guess he thought it would be a good experience for us to go and see a studio in person.

I haven't really be interested in the class (I'm never interested in Visual Culture studies) but I was pleasantly surprised by the event. The place was really interesting, and my prof's agency had all these old illustration originals that dated back to the 1970s.

There was a print shop behind the studio, and we got to tour it as part of impromptu trip. I've never seen a printing press, and I was more interested in that than I was by the studio itself.  I love machinery and watching things being made.

Towards the front of the studio they had a bunch of old machines that I took to instantly: with all the gadgets and levers and gears it was like walking into Steampunk city. The entire thing was fascinating.

School's ended for the semester, so I'll finally have time to scan all my projects and post them online. I'm going to try and get back into regular blogging over the holidays. I've been slacking off since Canzine, and it's a habit I need to break.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Adventure Time: Hydro Corridors and Urban Wastelands

A couple weeks ago I went location hunting around the York University hydro corridor, to look for references to use in my Red Queen comic. It was cold and I was sick, so I bundled up, packed an extra box of tissues, and headed off to explore the vast fields of urban wasteland that surround the GTA.

I was supposed to go exploring back in August, but the weather was hot, school resumed, and I started making excuses when I really should have gotten it out of the way. The hydro corridor is isolated and difficult to get to, and the whole area is so depressing that I really had no motivation to go there. It's so ugly that it drains you of all inspiration: the kind of place that personifies the bleak existence of those trapped between urban waste and suburban decay.

I've gone hunting for reference photos before, but my trip to the corridor was the first time I've ever done any serious, in-depth documentation for the setting of one of my comics. I usually set my stories in futuristic or historical landscapes, but as there's a strong streak of realism in my current comic (and I want to keep that realism as authentic as possible), I had to find live sources.

I've got to hit up a couple more locations for photos before I really buckle down and illustrate, but as the hydro corridor was the most isolated spot on the list the others shouldn't be too much of a drain. Also of note: I've also discovered that I prefer black and white references over color (when working on comics). I'm finding more and more that monochromatic sources help me to visualize narrative compositions.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Canzine 2011

Canzine 2011 was a success!

The night before I spent hours and hours fussing over a mock up of my table in an attempt to set up a booth. A professional display wasn't in the budget this year, so I improvised when it came to magazine stands and made some out of bread baskets, napkin holders and Easter netting. Yes, I know it's random.

The venue for this year's Canzine was great. I got there nice and early, and managed to snag a decent table in the main hall. I was seated in a row of booths alongside several other OCAD comrades - Jenn Liv, Tabban Soleimani and Ness Leee - and all of them had amazing set-ups. After looking over the local tables, I grabbed a coffee from the Underground Food Market and snapped a couple pictures of my table before the patrons started to arrive.

The event itself was really busy. I sold out of all my sticker packs, and the Red Queen was a hit; I'm really inspired to keep working on the series, and I can't wait to get the first chapter of the graphic novel done and out of the way. I wish I had taken pictures of my sticker packs before they sold out, but I'll definitely be making more to sell at the next event.

I spent most of Canzine behind the table, but later on I managed to sneak away to buy some zines and see what else was out there. Here's my haul!

I picked up both copies of the Spontaneous Combustion magazine, as well Hoot, by Emily Taylor, The Shitty Guru series by Spaz, How the West was Won't First, by Fake Injury Party, and You can't get There from Here, by Martin Hazelblower, whose story Where Punk Names Come From I picked up during the summer. I also bought a bunch of pins from Selena Wong and Ness Leee, featuring bunny rabbits and noodle grannies, respectively.

I'll definitely be back at Canzine next year, and I'm hoping to have a booth at other zine fairs in and around the city in the coming months, so I'll keep everyone posted!

Also, big thank you to everyone who attended Canzine and for those who ran the event. And to all the other illustrators who had tables at Canzine - your work was amazing. Can't wait to see what you create next.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Canzine Prep 2011

My merchandise for Canzine is all prepped and ready!

As this will be my first time participating in a vendor's fair my display won't be that big, but I've managed to put together a decent collection of zines and stickers to sell for the event. I'll be selling the Fingerbiter zine, as well as copies of my zine project from last year, Seven Things.

I'll also be selling stickers, both individually and in small sticker packs. To my great chagrin my Red Queen comic and The Flesh Beneath zine will be unavailable (neither are complete), but as part of my ongoing Red Queen promo I will be selling Red Queen sticker heads. These stickers are limited, so if you want one, make sure to show up early!

A final reminder for those thinking of attending: Canzine is being held this Sunday, October 23rd at 918 Bathurst Street just south of Bloor from 1 - 7pm. Tickets are $5 at the door, and more info can be found here, but if you're in the area I definitely recommend attending. Next to TCAF, its one of my favorite local events.

This will be my last post before the big show Sunday: so excited and nervous!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fingerbiter Zine

It's finished! The Fingerbiter zine is finally here.

I'll admit, I was worried this project wasn't going to work out. I tend to be kind of anxious when faced with my own inexperience in certain fields of work, but everything turned out better than I had hoped for. Far better. And I'm so, so glad that the zine is done and out of the way. 

I posted my Fingerbiter illustration back in August, and I wasn't too pleased with it at the time. There are still plenty of things that I'd love to change, but it looks better than I thought it would in printed form, so I'm satisfied with my first time results.

Part of my job in organizing the zine included illustrating the back and laying out the cover as a whole. Below is my contribution to the cover: I wanted to do an illustration that played upon the idea of 'finger food'. Literally.

I also had to design an illustrative number set for the credit page: I had a really fun time making them. I've never designed any type beyond a basic title, so it was interesting to experiment with numbers and create a standardized font. 

I'll be selling Fingerbiter at this year's Canzine, so if you're in the Toronto area stop by and pick up a copy from myself or one of the other illustrators included in the zine! I'll also be selling exclusive Fingerbiter stickers in various sizes and colors, so if zines aren't your thing, stickers are always a good way to go.

Before I end this post: I'd like to say a big thank you to Lorr Aragon for illustrating the front cover and to Marta Ryczko for doing an amazing job on the layout and typography. I'm so grateful for all the time and effort you guys sunk into the zine. See you both at Canzine!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Currently Working on...

Yes, yes, I know I've been MIA and haven't posted anything in a couple weeks, and I apologize for my tardiness.

Honestly, I didn't mean to slack off (this time around). I've been beyond busy these past couple weeks  finishing up my zines and managing school, and I probably won't get back to regular posting until I've completed all my prep work for Canzine. (October 23rd, everyone!) Until then, here are a couple previews as to what I'm working on.

More illustrations for my Flesh Beneath zine:

Also helping to put the final finishing touches on the Fingerbiter zine, which is almost, almost done:

More to come in the following weeks: stay tuned for updates!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Currently Working on...

Red Queen character sketches, sticker heads and The Flesh Beneath zine. So much illustratin' I feel like my eyes are gonna bleed.

Also of note: just wanted to say congratulations on making it to thesis, to all my friends entering their final year at OCAD! I wish you all the best of luck running the gauntlet of professors when pitching your ideas, and I'm sure you'll do amazing! I'm rooting for ya.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Priest of the Fingerbiters

He's coming for you.

My submission for an upcoming zine, entitled Fingerbiter. A couple friends and I did a collaborative project the previous summer, but as they're busy with thesis I volunteered to organize the zine for 2011. It's my first time coordinating a group project, so I'm super nervous about everything working out: I've been constantly second guessing my decisions as to what works and what doesn't.

I'm not entirely pleased with the way my illustration turned out, partially due to the fact that I didn't add enough details and partially because I haven't established a solid method for working in black and white. I've been experimenting with linework and color for the past couple months, so black/white illustrations have gone by the wayside and I'm kinda all over the place in struggling to cement a style.

I haven't posted any of my illustrations in over a month (today's the exception), but I've been working on a couple dozen pieces simultaneously, so I should be posting more of my work in the weeks that follow. Keep your eyes open for updates!

Monday, August 22, 2011

4th Annual Zine Dream Fair

Yesterday I made the trek to Toronto to visit the 4th annual Zine Dream fair.

I really like zine fairs. Actually, I like attending any sort of vendor's fair, but I make a special effort to attend local conventions that pop up in and around Toronto, no matter how small. And Zine Dream was small. Very small. Around 50 vendors set shop just off Bloor St. West in a club called the Tranzac. I really enjoyed it.

One of the great things about zine fairs is that they all have a distinctly different feel to them. They're  classified under a general label, but each one caters to a different crowd. TCAF is filled with indie and small press comics, Canzine deals primarily in indie comics and illustrations, and Zine Dream is just ... indie? I found very few comics at Zine Dream, but they did have a lot of indie writers and their works, which made up for the lack of aforementioned comics:

My zine haul this time around wasn't that big, as I'm on a budget and trying to save up money for the fall, but a couple friends of mine were selling goods at the fair, so I went to check out their booths. Good friend and fellow OCADer Jeannie Phan had a small table set up in the main room. I've already collected most of the zines that she had for sale, and I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy of her comic Indigestion, so I bought stickers instead:

Don't drink the paint water. Truer words have never been said.

Jenn Liv also had a table at the fair, so I picked up a couple stickers from her as well: very cute, almost art-nouveau-ish linework.

Another OCADer - Marta Ryczko - was at the fair selling a bunch of her prints, postcards and zines. I've been obsessing over her mini-print collection School Yard Sadism for over a month now, and I finally managed to pick up a copy! So, so, so excited. The typography is absolutely amazing - makes me all happy inside.

I didn't take that many pictures at the fair as the lighting there was horrible, but Marta had these pins on display that I just had to get a shot of. The packaging is unbelievably cute:

I picked up several other zines during the event: Lose No. Three, by Michael Deforge (published by Koyama Press) and a set of story zines, Where Punknames come From, by Martin Hazelbower, and Time for Some Stories, by davesecretary.

All three zines are kind of long, so I haven't been able to read them just yet, but after I'm done I might do a review on each. Who knows. All I know for sure is that I'm dying for another vendor's fair. Canzine can't come fast enough.