Friday, December 23, 2011

Hard Candy Christmas

Christmas 2011

Happy Holidays everyone. Did this drawing in honor of the season. It's Generic Holiday Claus, perched atop his Level 5 mount, preparing to rain both terror and merriment in equal measure on all the children of the world. While I don't actually celebrate Christmas, I appreciate the veneer of it. Outside the commercial and religious aspects, I think the atmosphere is actually kind of nice. Besides, it's hard not to get behind a time of the year that encourages you to spend time with your family and be nice to people, especially when it's so dang cold outside.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Kwanza, Happy Solstice, and all those things! And remember - without mass market holidays, our economy would collapse! See you in the New Year. Stay classy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First the Drought, Then the Rain

Hey all! Sorry for the lack of updates this past month or so. I'm gonna level with you, I've been starting to delve a lot deeper into my work as of late. This might mean a slight decrease in the regularity of some of my posting for a little while (though hopefully not quite to the recent extent). Please don't take this as a sign of neglect! I still love you, Internet! I just need to ride this wave of recent creativity to its natural end before I can return in full force. In the meanwhile, here are a couple of quick things I've been up to this past month!

The above is a photo from a few weeks back, when I had a chance to speak to a couple of classes of grade 7 and 8 students at King Edward Public School. They recently completed a unit on comics, and had invited me in to talk about the craft, and what it's like to work on comics all day everyday (in brief: it's pretty awesome). It doesn't take much in general to get me excited about talking about comics with any age group, but these students came off as particularly bright and eager and were a real pleasure to talk to. Big thank you to Miss Venn for inviting me, and creating this opportunity.

Cartoon College

Then secondly, because I have trouble bringing myself to put up a blog post without some actual drawing in it, here's an excerpt of some recent work I've been doing for the upcoming documentary Cartoon College. It's a documentary about the comics school I went to, as well as about cartooning in general, and is full of some exceptionally awesome people (including Chris Ware, Lynda Barry and Art Spiegelman, to name drop a few).

I'm in it as well - likely acting like a generally silly dude, as is my wont. I'm fairly proud of some of the drawing I recently completed for it though, which is perhaps a thing of note. Anyway, more on all that as the film approaches completion and release, but keep checking here for updates as time goes on.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween 2011

Okay, you guys. Guess what? Guess what? HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Halloween 2011

Oh man, oh man. So Halloween is my favourite holiday of all the holidays, and I am always extremely excited every time it comes around. Actually, I wanted to do something big on the blog for it this year, but as soon as I started working on my plan I got swamped with work and wasn't able to follow through. Ah well. So it goes. But hopefully this fun little illustration will suffice in its stead!

I hope everyone reading this has a wicked happy Halloween! And I hope you all get a chance to dress up, or go to a party, or at least watch a scary movie or something. Halloween only comes once a year, ya know! Ya gotta enjoy it while it's around!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bleep Bloop Bleep


Another pile of backing board sketches. Click for bigger. The drawings on the right are largely copied from Mort Drucker's Mad parody of the movie "Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte," "Hack, Hack, Sweet Has-Been, or Whatever Happened to Good Taste?" And the dog in the bottom right corner is copied from Taiyo Matsumoto's "Tekkonkinkreet." In other news, started reading some Raymmond Carver for the first time recently. Man, that dude could write.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Craig Thompson

So I went to see Craig Thompson talk at the Toronto Underground Cinema a couple days ago, after a friend reminded me about it last minute. This was possibly a bit of a deal for me.

Craig Thompson 01

Reading Thompson's "Blankets" for the first time was a big part of what originally got me thinking about making comics more seriously (I'd been producing my webcomic for about a year at that point, but had never considered pursuing comics as an actual career prior to then). So he's always been someone I've admired pretty strongly.

What struck me the most about seeing him talk, however, was less the impressive nature of his work (though there was certainly a great deal of that) than the relate-ability of it. This is someone who, historically, I've always put on a bit of a pedestal. I love his work, but it also always seemed so unattainable. So I was a little surprised to find myself nodding along to his talk about exertion and process, and the slog of working on a longer piece. "Yeah man, yeah... I know how it is."

Then afterward, met up with some friends to go see Dark Dark Dark and A Hawk and a Hacksaw, which was pretty rad as well.

Craig Thompson 02

Also! Something I forgot to mention in my last blog post! But my friend Bryan has just started putting a huge chunk of his old comics online these past couple months! If you like comics (as presumably you do) then these are some comics worth reading. Especially the Onion Head stuff. So you know, maybe go check it out!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spider-Man Hates Weddings!


Saw this Spider-Man cover while bagging comics at work the other day, and instantly felt compelled to redraw it, if perhaps only for the pun. "With this ring, I do thee web?!" - hilarious! I'd submit it to the Covered blog, but it turns out they've already done this cover. Plus, I think my version kept a bit too close to the original. Oh well! Original cover by Gil Kane, who is a genius, and Spider-Man and all that stuff is owned by Marvel Comics, in case you didn't know.

I feel a bit bad for having fallen behind on the twice-a-month blogging schedule I'd had going for awhile, but I was away end of last month visiting Nick Patten, Ryland Ianelli and Beth Hetland! All three of whom are frickin' fantastic human beings, and who it was a total blast to see. It was fun having a chance to just wander around Chicago for a bit too. Beth even made a blog post about it! (I'm hiding in the dark in the picture at the bottom, 'cause that's what I do)

A couple other quick things: Steve Bissette recently posted a preview of his inks of my pencils for the N-Man collaboration we've been working on for the last little while. It's extremely exciting to watch this thing take shape - hopefully we'll have more for you some time soon. In the meanwhile, however, turns out SPX is this weekend! I won't be there physically, but I will be attending in spirit through my contribution to Lies Grown-Ups Told Me, which will be debuting at the show. Pick it up from Jen Vaughn, Nomi Kane or Caitlin M at table C6, if you're attending!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Here be Dag-rons

So Josh, what have you been doing with your time? Oh, you know. Reading A Dance With Dragons. Playing Dragon Age: Origins. Watching the movie Dragonslayer. I, um... I might have a problem... Yet where others might easily recoil at this parody of a life I have somehow shambled my way into, me, I choose to embrace it! Dragons are awesome, man. You cannot argue with this.


In other news, Rob Clough put up a nice review of Werewolf IV and Werepups, along with a bunch of other snazzy CCS anthologies, over on his blog. Kind words from Rob, and very much appreciated, as always. It's encouraging to hear him mention his interest in Darcy, my werewolf hunter character, too. She has been a central part of what I've been working on for the last little bit. Some of you regular blog readers know what I'm talking about. More on that down the line.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flip It, Flop It, Davey Crockett


More backing board sketching! The lady in the top left is copied from Steve Morris's extremely impressive book "Blessed Thistle," and the rest are copied from some random Phaidon photo collection. Whatever gets the juices flowing, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Some Things I'm In (Figuratively and Literally)

Pancake Preview

A couple quick things I've got/am going to have work in that I wanted to post about. First off is "Lies Grown-Ups Told Me," an anthology that the ever-lovely Nomi Kane, Jen Vaughn and Caitlin M. are putting together about the improbable things we are led to believe as children. I've got a two-pager in it called "Pancake Prevarication," about breakfasts and false expectations. I'll likely make another post as a reminder when it gets closer to release, but it looks like it's already shaping up to be a pretty serious anthology. So be sure to check it out when it debuts at SPX in September!

Secondly, I wanted to point out that "Panel to Panel: Exploring Words and Pictures" by John Rovnak is now available to order! I've mentioned this publication here a couple times before, as it's what my Public Domain Superhero drawings from awhile back were originally done for. Well now this 274 page monster is finally available for purchase, so you can hold it in your very own grubby little hands! In addition to illustrations by myself and a handful of other talented cartoonists, it features interviews with the likes of Alan Moore, Jim Woodring, Jaime Hernandez and Glen Danzig, among others, so definitely worth checking out if you have the cash.

Also, in real life news, I recently moved apartments! Which might account in part for the lack of updates as of late. You can see a brief photo-tour of my new set-up so far over on my tumblr. It's nice having a place all to myself, and having a room dedicated solely to drawing in. So yeah, that's kinda neat! We'll see how all that effects my productivity in the months to come.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cardboard Sketches

I've been busy with many things lately, and have had less time to blog than I'd like. And I've realized that there's a lot of drawing that I do that I often don't get around to putting online, and maybe should? So in place of anything of actual substance to report, here are some random doodles done on comic backing boards while at my "day job."



One more on my flickr. The sketches on the latter page here are mostly inspired by a book of paintings by artist Lucian Freud. His portraits are such an amazing mix of the beautiful and the grotesque, it really gets my juices flowing in interesting ways.

I wanted to point out as well a recent series of interviews that the Comics Journal podcast did with some Center for Cartoon Studies alumn. I've been mentioning CCS a lot over the past few blog posts, mainly because I've been putting up comics from that period, but also because going there was a fairly significant experience for me. And I feel like these interviews - particularly the parts with Melissa Mendes, who was in my class, and Joe Lambert, who was part of the community while I was around - paint a fairly accurate picture of what being there was like. So, you know, consider giving it a listen. And consider checking out Joe and Melissa's blogs as well, because both of them just happen to be ridiculously talented people.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ophestios, 1890

And after a brief break, we're back again with another addition to the still-growing comics section (which I'm already starting to consider trimming down a little bit. We'll see, we'll see). I realize that all of the comics I've added so far have been on the slightly lengthier side. Well let me tell ya, this one is the worst of the bunch. Good thing it's also probably the one I'm most proud of.

"Ophestios" is the comic I produced at the end of my first year at the Center for Cartoon Studies. I had a lot on my mind at the time, principally some ambitious thoughts on "comics as literature" coupled with a mild obsession with the works and philosophy of Bertolt Brecht. Suddenly, I wanted to do a "period piece." And I wanted it to have substance to it, and I wanted it to feel like all that great, depressing Russian and German literature that I'd learned to love in undergrad, oh so long ago. This was the result.

This story was originally intended as the start of a much larger piece, which I eventually set aside, but I think it still functions fairly well on its own. The Comics Journal's Rob Clough had some very nice things to say about it upon its initial release, as did Rich Kreiner more recently. Reading the reviews now makes me almost regret having decided to put this project on hold. But oh well. I'm convinced that the project I'm working on right now, in place of this, is pretty swank too. And there's still quite a few ideas behind the world of "Ophestios" that I still like, so maybe I'll return to it someday.

In the meanwhile, there are hard copies of the book still available for purchase through I Know Joe Kimpel, or through me when I appear at conventions. I wasn't sure if I had much of a desire to pump out another print run once this current batch runs out though, so I thought maybe a second life online might be the best way to keep the piece alive. At the end of the day, it's a story that I still like quite a bit. And hey, maybe you will too. (Be warned though, the comic contains both adult language and situations. Potentially NSFW)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Werewolf 4

"Old Bones" page 6

So just some quick news! Volume four of the Werewolf Anthology premiered at MeCAF this past weekend, and I've got an eight page story in it! I posted a couple of in-process photos of me working on this over on my tumblr recently, and there's a preview of the finished pages over on the Werewolf blog, so check those out if you want a bit of a sneak peek.

The book should be available shortly through the Werewolf Anthology site now that MeCAF is through, so keep a look out! My story aside, there's a ton of awesome people in this anthology, it's definitely worth a read. And look out as well for Were-Pups, the kid-friendly sister book to this volume of the anthology! How can you say no to that Nick Patten cover? Kids need werewolf comics too, y'know!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Sketchdump sketchdump sketchdump!




Way more on my flickr. So go check it out!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Old Comics, New Comics

I just made two new additions to the comics section of this here blog, both of which are comics slightly on the older side. To be honest, I actually came pretty close to deciding not to put them up at all. It's hard for me to not look at these particular pieces now and not have part of myself go, "Gawd! But it's so... so... UNREFINED!" (I mean honestly, the lettering alone! Egads!) However, in both these cases there was at least something to the stories that made me want to put them up rather than leave them to die a slow, slow death in the obscurity of my computer's hard-drive.

The first of them was a comic produced as part of an anthology assignment during my first year at CCS. Our anthology theme was "chance," and my initial idea for the comic was mostly born as an excuse to make a really bad pun. You can actually read a fairly flattering review of this comic on the 365 Zines a Year blog over here. Although maybe you'll want to read the actual comic first. I dunno, man. It's up to you.

The second is actually even older, and is the comic I was required to produce as part of my initial application to CCS. The comic needed to be a minimum of four pages, and needed to involve yourself, a robot, a snowman, and a piece of fruit. I remember a good friend of mine, not long after finishing this, telling me it was in her estimation the best comic I'd done up to that point. And another good friend, having read this comic before actually meeting me, later telling me that the comic had led her to assume that I was some kind of giant jerk. Heh, so you know. You guys be the judge!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Paw Prints, Online!

So I've been monkey-ing around with this old blog a bit today, and decided it wouldn't necessarily be such a bad idea to add a comics section to it. The plan is to gradually add more and more stuff to it over the next couple months, get some of that stuff that's currently just taking up space on my computer online for people to see. Truthfully, I could probably just put up a bunch of comics up at once. But I kind of think it's more fun this way, heh.

Anyway, to start things, I've put up the recently completed run of "Paw Prints," the comic strip I've been producing as part of an environmental campaign at Dartmouth College. I've mentioned the project on this blog before, but now I'm putting the strip online in it's entirety for all you crazy people to see! This is my first time putting it all online, so that's kind of exciting as well. You can find it through the "comics" tab at the top of the site, or simply by clicking the link below.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

N-Man vs Draculex!

Wanted to post a quick sample from a recently completed project. This is page one of my pencils for "The Bride of Draculex!", a brand new N-Man story that's going to be featured in the upcoming "Tales of the Uncanny: vol 1" by Stephen R. Bissette.

"The Bride of Draculex" Sample
(Script by Stephen R. Bissette, pencils by Josh Rosen; artwork & N-Man, Draculex, Sally Stevens, all characters and concepts TM and ©1992, 2011 Stephen R. Bissette, all rights reserved. The penciler asserts his moral rights.)

You see, Draculex has totally stolen N-Man's girlfriend, Sally Stevens, and wants to turn her into his Space Vampire Bride! Well clearly N-Man's not gonna stand for that! Unfortunately, N-man's first gonna have to punch through all of those wolves, as well as a bunch of other things, before he's going to have a chance to save her.

Longtime followers might remember me blogging about this project a year ago, over here and here, as well as Steve's comments on the collaboration over here and here. These new pages are an expansion on those "sample pages" from a year ago, having recently decided to take what we had and transform it into a full story for the finished book. The story is currently being inked by Bissette himself, which is a huge honour, especially considering his current state of "retirement" from the mainstream industry. Not gonna lie, I'm pretty excited to see the finished version in print. :)

Anyway, "Tales of the Uncanny: Vol 1" is due to be coming out later this year from About Comics. I'll keep you guys posted as it gets closer to release.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Web 2.0

web 2.0

There are some things about the internet that I really like. And there are some things about the internet that I occasionally find strange and slightly overwhelming and oh-god-don't-go-over-there-never-go-over-there! Historically, intense social networking/"microblogging" sites like twitter and tumblr have fallen more into the latter category than the former, for me. I know, I'm so "web 1.0," right? Well this grandpa has finally decided to take a step off his rocker and see what all the fuss is about! I've started a tumblr account, where I'll likely mostly be posting links to songs I'm listening to and quick computer sketches, and a twitter account, where I'll be doing... whatever it is you do on twitter. Feel free to friend me if you have either of those yourself! I'm not entirely used to this sort of stuff, but I'm honestly going to try to give it a shot. Let me know if you have any advice! Heh.

Also, speaking of people and the internet, I've been meaning to post a link to Denis St. John's submission to the Public Domain Superhero Project for Panel to Panel Magazine, which he recently put online. I don't know about you, but it looks pretty frickin' cool to me. I've also been meaning to make another addition to my People You Should Know series...

How cool is Katherine Roy? So cool she farts lush, beautiful drawings without thinking! So cool she recently got accepted for a spring residency at the Vermont Studio Center! She's got strong opinions on 19th century literature, and taught me pretty much everything I know about book binding. Keep an eye on her, because I'm fairly certain she's going to accomplish some pretty huge things before all is said and done.

Friday, March 11, 2011

CCS Awareness Week

Hey all, just wanted to make a quick shout out to the fact that this past week was CCS Awareness Week.

For those of you who maybe just recently stumbled onto this blog and aren't, perhaps, in the know, the Center for Cartoon Studies is a school focused entirely on the study and production of comics, and it's where I did my graduate studies for the past two years. I was, of course, making comics before going to CCS, and had I not gone there, there's still a chance that I might have continued to make them today. CCS is the place that got me militant about making comics though, the place that put my face to the wall and said, "Look! This is what comics are! This is what they're about, and this is what they demand of you!" And faced with said metaphorical wall, a young(ish) Josh, full of hopes and dreams, was forced to either embrace it or turn away. And so he embraced it. He embraced it, and he ingrained his ink-stained fingers into the coarse brick of it as hard as he could.

CCS also taught me about not being alone in this insane pursuit of this oddly specific artistic medium. There are others, just as dedicated, all pretty much universally amazing in their own unique ways, many of whom I can't now imagine not having in my life to some degree. CCS also gave me the tools to sustain all this, and to approach this art form with a far greater competency than what I'd possessed before. Essentially I'm trying to say that CCS was a pretty great place for me. And I've since graduated, and have started to move on towards that next big question mark on the horizon. And lord knows how that's gonna go. But I also know that I wouldn't be able to approach that horizon without nearly the same confidence I have now had it not been for CCS. So you know. Be aware.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Burlesque Sketch

So it seems I unintentionally took February off blogging? Sorry guys! It was mostly because I've been busy the past couple working on some additional pages for Steve Bissette's upcoming Tales of the Uncanny project. More on that, hopefully, in the next couple of weeks! In the meanwhile though, here's some sketch pages of ladies in various states of undress! (Note: potentially NSFW)

Sketch Page

Sketch Page

Sketch Page

Sketch Page

Sketch Page

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Barbarian Dude

So I don't think I've ever mentioned this on this blog, but when I'm not busy drawing things I'm currently spending a chunk of my time working in the sci-fi/fantasy/comics section of a very large used bookstore. This means very often being surrounded by a large amount of Robert E. Howard. Which means my brain often feels a strange compulsion to poop out things like this.

Barbarian Dude

I'm a product of my environment, what can I say.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Edwitch" in Retrospect

So here's something that I've been meaning to make a post on for awhile now, but haven't had a chance to with moving and work and life and all that craziness. But it's been long overdue, so I'm doing it now. I want to talk about Edwitch.

Edwitch is my old webcomic, which I produced and kept updated on a fairly regular basis from about summer 2005 all the way up to fall 2008. That's a little over three years, in case you're counting. And its now been about three years since. I recently got the site back online however, and this is significant to me, and I want to talk about it. Edwitch was the story of a witch living in a city. And it was about magic and spooky things, and it was about having friends in bands. And it was about feeling like an outsider. And it was about wearing the exact same silly outfit every dang day.

I'm going to try not to get too caught up in nostalgia for a moment, and I'm going to talk about my decision to get it back online, despite it being "old work" and despite it no longer updating. Edwitch was my "training comic." I went into this thing knowing nothing, and... it probably shows, especially in those early strips. It originally started out as just something I posted to livejournal just for fun, and I'd only expected people I knew to be reading it. But, it grew. And I grew (and people started reading it, which initially freaked me the hell out). And I started to learn things, like how shading can add depth, and how adding backgrounds to panels makes them look better. It taught me discipline too, it's the comic where I actually started to develop some cartooning muscles. And I want to put that out there.

There are reasons for this. Part of it is me wanting to be able to point at this and say "Look! Look how far I've come! I didn't know what I was doing then, and look at me now!" Part of it is also me wanting to show how I got to where I am presently. I like the idea of showing the blood and sweat that go in to honing a craft, and allowing others to actually trace the learning curve. Because, personally, I'm still learning things, and I'm still putting things I'm learning up for people to see. So if you're going to show it, why not show the whole spectrum? It's owning up to your roots.

On top of that, though, there's another reason for me wanting to get Edwitch back online. There's the fact that I actually still love this comic. I really, really do. I mean, the comic... it was very much a product of the stuff I was into at the time (some of which I'm still into) and the stuff I was going through and thinking about at the time (some of which I'm still going through and thinking about, though perhaps to a lesser degree). And looking back, there are definitely some parts where I can't help but now think "ugh, why did I make that decision? I can't believe I ever thought that was cool." Yet despite this, it still came together. And the end result was a comic that is still fairly close to my heart.

I love the characters. I love their story, and the directions it went in. I even still love some of the stupid jokes. I love the themes that it explored, because they are all themes that I care about, and themes that I will likely continue to explore in my work as time goes on. Rereading Edwitch now, I can see ripples coming off it, ripples leading off into things I know I'll be working on down the road. Edwitch is an example of the type of story I like to tell. And the type of story I'll tell again.

So here is my point: my old webcomic is back online. It's there for you to read now, if you want to read it. It's a bit rough around the edges, but I like it anyway. And maybe you will too.


Edit: Also, for extra ridiculousness click on the little drawing of a dude saying "comix" at the bottom of the Edwitch site. ;)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slightly Belated


Hey, it's 2011! Did anyone realize this? Sorry I haven't had as much of a chance to update this past month or so. This is because, in addition to the holidays, I've been busy moving into a new apartment! It is spacious and blue, and currently full of boxes, but it will eventually be beautiful. So please forgive my neglect in the meanwhile.

There have been a couple of Werewolf! reviews recently that I keep forgetting to link to, including one of the first volume on 365 Zines a Year and one of the third volume on the Comics Journal blog. I've also got a couple of half-written blog posts lined up for once things settle down a bit more, about projects new and old. I'm kind of excited, just so you know. For the moment however, just wanted to say a quick Happy New Year to everyone! And know that I'll always love you, baby.