Archive for August, 2010

My Alternate Author Photos!

Posted on Monday, August 30th, 2010

Before HAPPYFACE came out, I enlisted my friend Cori to help me take a decent author photo! We spent a summer day driving around Wallingford, CT taking pictures. Here’s a bunch of the ones that didn’t make it onto the book!

The Sketchbook Habit

Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010

So, for someone who doesn’t have a ton of time for drawing for fun these days, I have an obsession with sketchbooks. I love trying new ones, always hoping to get that *just right* paper texture, thickness, and brightness… for the record it should be SMOOTH! MEDIUM WEIGHT! BRIGHT! But anyways I have a bunch of sketchbooks now, most of them barely used if at all. But I fully intend to use them… really…

There’s a great feeling to having a FULL or NEARLY FULL sketchbook, to look back on all the ideas and drawings and see how much work I’ve done over the past year or so. There’s also a great feeling to a NEW, EMPTY sketchbook – full of promise and waiting for creativity to bring it to life.

Here’s a look at my current collection:
These are all large – 11X17 or 14X17. The first one is 11X17 and I use it for my comic illustrations – my pin ups, “sitcomix” drawings, comic book pages. The large brown bristol pad is a nice heavy board that I plan to use for my WINTER TOWN illustrations, or at least the larger more detailed ones I want to do. I’m very excited to start those. The last one is a very thin marker paper – I was using them for LEMONS comics, fitting around 20 to a page. I liked it because it takes my brush pen really well and comes with a lot of pages, which is great for a bulk project like LEMONS.
These are my 8X10, 9X12 books… I have one that I bought because I love the cover art, one of them is my WINTER TOWN sketchbook that has all of my story notes and all the art I’ve done so far in it. I keep that book separate just for WINTER TOWN. When I did HAPPYFACE, I ended up with two and a half books just for that one project. The last book I’ve used as a standard sketchbook, but so far just has a jam strip I did with Elaine and a bunch of LEMONS comics I did while camping.
And THESE are my smaller sketchbooks. I have 2 moleskine books, one of them is about 75% full now although all the detailed work early on has kind of devolved into notes for LEMONS comics and quick sketches for fuller pieces I do on bristol board. The bright orange flexi-pad I got for a webcomic project I was considering doing before switching focus to LEMONS. The canvas-cover one I might use for my next project, I like the idea of painting the cover. I tried that for my WINTER TOWN sketchbook but the paint chips away off the smooth surface.

So anyway there’s my bunches of sketchbooks! I wish they were more full of content but I just can’t help buying a good sketchbook when I see one! I’m always curious what other artists use; spiral, bound, big, small, do they decorate or leave it as it is? Here are mine – a little of each!


Posted on Friday, August 27th, 2010

Everyone bookmark my Tumblr page to continue to read LEMONS, my autobio comic! It was cluttering up the website and making it hard to distinguish the flood of LEMONS comics from my other posts and I don’t want any important info to get lost. I’ll likely delete AAAALLLLLLLLLL the LEMONS posts soon since you can find them on Tumblr now. The whole thing took off so fast, i never got a chance to figure out a proper way to update them. Even now, I wish there was better navigation like a normal webcomic site, but I don’t have the time to make one. It is kinda cool to click on the archive button for my page though – it fills the whole screen with all of the LEMONS strips.

Anyway, starting TODAY with #155, go read LEMONS at Tumblr! Bookmark as it updates often!

Post-it doodles #8

Posted on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Here’s the latest installment of steve-on-the-phone doodles!

Influence Map

Posted on Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

I’ve seen a few other artists do this influence map meme and it looked fun! You can find the original template for it here –

It’s tough to differentiate between what inspired you and what you just plain liked. I could list a ton of comic books or video games that i used to try and draw like but that would get boring quick, so I tried to grab from a variety of sources.


SLG Legal Defense Fund

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010

One more update! If you’re a fan of me from my EMO BOY days or you’re a fan of SLG in general, they could use your help! Please take a look and considering donating something, I did! And if I did it, it must be the right thing to do.

“Online Presence” and ranting

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010

I figure I’ll try and do a real-live non-Lemons blog update! This will be ranty! I’m not sure anyone comes here to read it, though. I guess that’s kind of the topic – the ever-mysterious “online presence.” It’s a topic I always bring up when I meet fellow authors and comickers; whether they twitter or blog or have any dialogue with the public-at-large.

I like the idea of it, but somehow it always seems to elude me. I’ve done several comic strips online in the past, usually for several months to half a year before I give up. The numbers are non-existant to start with and usually go down from there. And I know that “numbers” aren’t everything, but if you’re going to take the time to write and draw something and update it regularly, online you aren’t doing it for money, you’re doing it to tell a story, to interact with your audience, to stay in the public eye. And if you don’t get any of those things, you may as well just draw in your sketchbook, right?

The weird thing is, I do get emails from people who like my book and say really nice things; I’ve gotten 3 starred reviews for HAPPYFACE and a lot of other really swell reviews from bloggers and readers and websites. I’ve done a few appearances and panels, I’ve met a ton of people, and I’m told HAPPYFACE is selling steadily, but somehow that audience doesn’t really “follow” me – I don’t think anyone really thinks of me as any kind of public figure. Like they enjoy the book, but the author is kind of a non-entity. Maybe I need more work published, a bigger library? How do I take that audience, and get them interested in my other ideas?

I spend some (not a ton) of my non-writing time working on this LEMONS comic. I started it for 2 reasons: one- I have an itch to draw. If I don’t draw, it makes me cranky. Even now, I want to draw bigger things, elaborate stuff. I can’t wait to work on the art for WINTER TOWN, I want to really go to town on it. <– pun The other reason, was I thought maybe it would be fun to write about the life of an author – I started the comic when I was in the midst of my conference-touring, staying in hotels and meeting fans and teachers and librarians and other authors. Plus, bonus reason, I wanted to document that stuff because it was interesting and my memory is shoddy at best. But, here I am heading towards 200 of these comics, and I start to think, okay, what am I doing this for? I haven’t written about my Chicago trip yet, which i’d like to do, but otherwise I’m not sure where these will end up, I’m not sure who, if anyone, is following them. And it takes time away from other stuff I could do. There’s a lot of things I’d like to do still. I’m going to keep working on these YA books, which I love and joining this YA world has been incredible this past year. But I could take this LEMONS time and work on a screenplay with my friend, who wants to shoot something. I had an idea of posting a series of short stories on my blog here, like one every few weeks or once a month. Or I have a few Graphic Novel ideas that I might not get to unless I did it in my free time as a webcomic. Another thing I have an itch to do is another EMO BOY book. But it’s hard to figure out what’s worth the time and energy. Time goes so fast! There’s so much I’d like to do and so little time to do it in, so making these choices becomes important. And if I do something online, be it short stories or a comic or whatever, is there actually an audience for it? I can do these print books and I have an agent and editor and publicity person and a large company publishing and promoting it, but with a webcomic, it’s just me. And I’ll be honest, I’m not loud. I’m very shy. It’s hard for me to talk to people, let alone to say “HEY LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT WHAT I’M DOING!” My agent and editor have to remind me it’s okay to say hello to people that blog and say nice things about me, and that I should consider these people peers and equals. But that’s getting into something else entirely, I suppose. Anyway, just thought I’d rant a bit to let everyone know where I’m at. Posting these LEMONS comics makes it easier to feel like i’m using my site even though I’m not really saying much. WINTER TOWN is coming along well, I’m about 2/3ds done with the first draft, hope to be done with the first draft in September, finished with the script altogether in October, and then working on the art through November. By New Years I should be ready to start whatever’s next. That’s an exciting thought! I can’t wait for everyone to read WINTER TOWN too. I think it’s a real nice progression from HAPPYFACE. If the third book is what I think it will be, it’s a huge step in a different direction. It’s going to be some work! That’s all for now, thanks for reading this if you read it, sorry it wasn’t structured better, I just kind of dumped it from my brain – it was the only way it was going to get written! And if you DIDN’T read it… you’re a bad person. There, I’ve said it.

Soundtracking WINTER TOWN

Posted on Monday, August 16th, 2010

I like to make CDs and playlists when I’m working on projects to keep me subconsciously working… here’s 10 songs that fit into the WINTER TOWN mold. Also of note, I have a tiny christmas tree out and the other night I watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is hard work doing a winter story in the middle of the summer!

Zak and Sara – Ben Folds
If there was a WINTER TOWN movie, I’d choose Ben Folds to score it. I keep Ben Folds and his music in mind when writing the male lead.

Become One Anything One Time – The Promise Ring
I also would have chosen “Be Unhappy” by Maritime, which shares a lot of the members of The Promise Ring, but could not find a youtube video for it.

Winter Valley Song – Fountains Of Wayne

Once Around The Block – Badly Drawn Boy

Love Song For No One – John Mayer

That’s Not Me – The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys tie into the plot.

Dear Prudence – The Beatles
So do the Beatles.

Something So Quiet – Jonna Lee

Anthems For a Seventeen Year Old Girl – Broken Social Scene
I was excited when I saw this was going to be in Scott Pilgrim, but they used it briefly and in a very weird way, they made it sound like some kind of strange alien music. It got a big laugh at the theater, and it’s really such a sweet song.

To Be Myself Completely – Belle & Sebastian: