We are pretty sure that only one SMUDGE exhibitor has been on Animal Planet!
We are excited to be offering free art workshops in the Education Lab at Artisphere all day at SMUDGE on Saturday, March 14. This one should be awesome!
1pm-1:50pm – Designing Characters with Jade Feng Lee
With well designed characters, we should be able to tell something important about them just by looking at them. Shape, line, texture, and color are all chosen carefully to tell specific things about a character’s personality and background story. In this workshop, we will examine these attributes in popular cartoon and comic book characters, then design our own characters based on a random trait generator.
This year’s SMUDGE Comics Arts Expo will expand to include animation and documentaries in Artisphere’s Dome Theatre. Our featured full length doc is Root Hog or Die – The John Porcellino Documentary.
Shot over five years, ‘Root Hog or Die’ is a full length (108 minutes) documentary about independent cartoonist John Porcellino. For 25 years, John has self published his ‘King-Cat Comics & Stories’, and has steadfastly held to his DIY roots. This film includes interviews with over twenty of his fellow cartoonists, friends, fans, and loved ones, and digs into how an independent artist attempts to live and work in our modern world.
This documentary is being show courtesy of Kilgore Books & Comics.
Tina: Advice for parents who want to support their kids to tell stories through comics?
Many of our exhibitors will be debuting new books and works at Smudge on Saturday, March 8, 2014. Two that we know about (so far!) are Ben Hatke’s Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Ben will have a very limited number of copies since this book doesn’t come out officially until May!
Steve Conley will premiere the 6×9 edition of his wonderful, full-color comic ‘Bloop’ at Smudge . So come to the show at the Artisphere in Arlington, Va., and get your copy signed!!
When: March 8, 2014 from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington VA 22209
Chris Flick writes and draws Capes-n-Babes, a comic about a strip mall, a comic book shop and one crazy werewolf. Chris will be exhibiting at the first Smudge Comics Arts Expo on March 8, so we asked him to share some art he did when he was a kid. He couldn’t find anything that far back, but was able to share the comic strip he did when he was in college.
Tina: Tell us about the strip that you did in college.
Chris: My strip was for an alternative newspaper that was distributed around the Radford University campus. The strip was called “525 Calhoun Street”. The title was based on my actual off campus address. I just thought “525 Calhoun Street” had a TV sitcom sounding name so I decided to run with it. Due to the demands of my art classes and school schedule, it ended up being a very short lived strip as it was also my very first adventure into actually created a comic strip with a deadline attached to it.
The basic plot of “525 Calhoun Street” basically centered around my college experiences around campus. All the characters in the strip were based on actual people… the people I hung out with the most during my college years. As you can see from the strips I provided, they were all pretty raw. I like to think I might have come a long way since than, but being a self-deprecating cartoonist, who can say for sure?
Tina: Did you draw a lot as a kid and what kid of a support system for making art did you have? Encouragement, tools, etc.
Chris: Oh yeah. I probably started drawing when I was around four. One of my favorite stories is that my grandmother used to collect Arby’s glasses with all the Warner Brother cartoon characters on them… Bugs, Daffy, Porky Pig and so on. So, when she watched me, she would let me borrow some of her very precious typing paper and sit me down in the living room table, put one of the glasses in front of me and ask me to draw whichever character was on that glass. Somewhere in my garage, I have a three ring binder with many of those cartoons. My grandmother always kept them for me. I really wish I could find it because I would love to add it to my Capes & Babes website somewhere.
As far as encouragement goes, I always got that from my mom and dad. My dad is a doodler and I remember him doodling and sketching as far back as I can remember. Every Christmas, he would paint some kind of Christmas scenery on our front window using poster paints. My brother and I picked up a lot of our artistic talent from him. My brother is an art teacher for an elementary school in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As for favorite tools, I LOVE design markers – always have. I have always been a “pen guy”… rapidiograph pens, brush pens, design markers, Sharpies. My drawing table is covered with all sorts of different pens. But put a paint brush in my hand and I completely lose it. The paint brush and I are mortal enemies.
Tina: Was there a time in your life when you stopped drawing or making art and if so, how did you start again?
Chris: No, not really. There were lots of times when I was doing things such as playing high school sports or participating in high school plays where I wasn’t constantly drawing but I have never actually quit. In fact, I took to caricaturing very early in high school and it wouldn’t be unusual to find me at a high school party sitting off in a corner drawing caricatures of everyone else in the room.
My dad also used to drive tractor trailers for a short period of time so it was not unusual for my family to take VERY LONG road trips during the summer. When that happened, I always brought a sketchbook, pens and pencils and would draw all sorts of things during the long hours on the road.
Later on in high school, when the drama department found out I could draw, I would always get recruited to draw and design the programs and publicity posters for whatever play we were putting on at the time. So, even though I would be involved in lots of different things, I always somehow managed to incorporate my art into those other interests.
Tina: How does your art as an adult compare to what you did as a kid?
Chris: From a subject matter stand-point, not much! Being a cartoonist, I’m still drawing super heroes and talking animals – just as I did as a kid. The biggest change from a kind to adult though is that I have long ago quit trying to draw “like someone else”. Back in high school, I would spend countless hours trying to emulate John Byrne, George Perez or Walt Simonson – some of my favorite comic book artists. But I’d get really frustrated because my stuff would never end up looking like theirs or as good as theirs.
It wasn’t until my college years when a light suddenly went on and I realized why I would get so frustrated. Only John Byrne can draw like John Byrne and the same thing with George Perez and Walt Simonson. Somewhere along the way I realized I wasn’t them and I was never going to be THEM. But what I could be was Chris Flick and Chris Flick was a cartoonist and caricaturist. Once I FULLY embraced that idea, my cartooning – I think – REALLY took a huge leap forward.
It used to be, as a kid or teenager, whenever I wanted to draw a super hero, I’d start by thinking “how would John Byrne draw this guy or gal”. That’s not the case any more. Now I’m only thinking of how I should draw the character – so that’s really been the biggest change from a young artist to an older one.
You can meet Chris in person at the Smudge Comics Arts Expo at Artisphere on March 8, 2014. You can check out his work online at http://www.capesnbabes.com/
Essa Neima will join us in the Black Box theater at Smudge at Artisphere on March 8, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. Animator/educator Essa Neima shares his experiences in animation, from working with companies to understanding what it takes to make a good cartoon. He’ll share examples of his own work, as well as provide some simple exercises that you can do at home to make your own animation using a spinning disc and flip books.