The Fire Vampire on display at the Beverly Cooperative Bank (Beverly, MA)

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From September 26 through November 7 (2013), my original artwork of The Fire Vampire was on display in the lobby gallery in the Beverly Cooperative Bank in Beverly, MA.  Since the story itself takes place in Salem, which is the next town over, it was great to have my work on display so close by!  I hope visitors to the bank in downtown Beverly enjoyed all the work on display there.

photo 3With my framed pages.

Photinakis-Beverly-Cooperative-BankView of the pages relative to the bank and entrance.

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My husband checking out all the work in the lobby gallery.

Opening Studio Night

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Last night was the culmination of many months of work — the opening night of the art studio I’ve become a part of [name and location removed]. There are more than a dozen of us artists who work here, and we’ve put a lot of labor into rehabbing a previously unoccupied building and making it into an artist haven. The great thing for me, as a comic artist, is that there’s a creative variety of students and artists in the area. It’s not all painters and fine artists. Just a few months ago I was at an excellent comic arts gallery showing just down the street, with some top-notch talent represented there. So even folks like me can find their own groove here.

The great part about having the open studio was meeting all the wonderful people in our community. For several hours, people came in to our space, into my studio as well, just to see what I’ve been up to, ask me about my work and my processes. These awesome folks are our neighbors and it was truly wonderful to meet them and speak with them. I met a lot of other artists in neighboring projects, from writers to painters to actors and producers. There was so much energy in the air. I had a really great evening!

My sincerest THANK YOU to everyone who came by and said hello. It was an absolute delight to meet all our wonderful neighbors and friends in the community. Please come by any time!

And now, to the photos!

In my studio!
Here I am at my desk. I know, the chair is sad – I had splurged for an amazing drafting stool, but it’s a foot too high. So I’ll use it for painting, but in the meantime, I’m using an old lawn chair at my desk. (Nobody ever said this was a glamorous life.)  And yes, it’s pretty dark in there, but it was also about 9pm at night.  We took this during a lull in the crowds, as most of the time I had at least 5 people in my studio milling around and speaking with me, so there wasn’t much time to snap a pic.

 

Fire Vampire
Here’s me with the framed pages of The Fire Vampire, which you’ll be able to read in In A Single Bound #3 in about two weeks! These pages are going to be up in the studio halls for a few more weeks, and afterward will be on display at the Beverly Cooperative Bank from September 26 to November 7.

It was lovely to see people standing outside my studio door reading the comic on the wall and hearing their chuckles. It’s the best kind of feedback.

All gone!
This picture is a bit hilarious to me, as 1) this entire display is hobbled-together things that I had in my studio that don’t really mean anything, but I thought it looked neat. And 2) I had that easel on the right CHOCK FULL of free minicomics (Silent Fluency, which I made a few months ago). They just flew away, I couldn’t keep up! I wish I had printed more, come to think of it. But it was a nice problem to have. I hope people enjoy giving them a read. They’re quick reads as they are miniminimini, but it was handy using those in lieu of business cards. Just wish I had more. Oh well, I’ll print some more for the next open studio!

People also liked flipping through my more recent sketchbook. That picture you see right there is of Captain Sisko from Star Trek DS9 🙂

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This amazing guy is who really made a lot of this happen. We’re getting married about two weeks from today! He’s my fiance Eric, and he has done such an incredible amount of behind-the-scenes work that I can’t even begin to list it all. It’s thanks to the many, many, MANY hours of hard work that he and many of the artists’ supportive partners have put in to this place that we were able to make our open studios the great success that they were.

To all the partners of artists who work behind the scenes, know that we thank you and we love you and we could not do what we do without your support.  I am so grateful.

On the left side of the photo, you can see a little how-to/process table that I set up, with step-by-step notes on how I made the minicomic that folks were reading. People really liked this glimpse into how things get made, and many people had great questions into the process. I love this kind of thing! Explaining process is a lot of fun for me, for some reason (maybe it’s my project manager background?)

Panorama shot of my studio
The panorama shot! My studio, as you can see, is half-empty right now — that entire right side is going to be full of large pieces and paintings in the coming months. Right now though I am still working on paper, and that’s basically the left side of the world…

Also I quite badly need some shelving. But that will come in time!

If we met last night at the open studio night, thank you so much for coming by. I hope you had a nice time!

#MeCAF 2013 report!

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MeCAF was a few days ago and I still have the afterglow! It was my very first actual dedicated /comic/ festival (years of anime conventions just aren’t the same) and it was a lot awesomer than I was expecting. My experience with anime cons is that it’s hard to speak with artists, it’s crowded and noisy, and you’re basically just in a giant marketplace. MeCAF was the opposite of that in all the best ways possible – intimate, full of energy but not noisy, and a great way to connect with lots of artists one-on-one. I got to speak with so many talented folks who are incredibly passionate about making comics, it was a really inspirational trip for me. People were happy to share their work and talk to me about their process and their passions, which is something you don’t generally get to do at busier conventions. I am so freakin’ glad I went to MeCAF!

MeCAF 2013 was also my soft debut, and I was psyched to trade my minicomic with folks. I know Silent Fluency ain’t gonna shake the world, but it was my way of saying “hello” to the comics community so it meant a lot to me that people were happy to trade. Friends at Boston Comics Roundtable were kind enough to put my minicomic out on their table, which was totally unexpected and extremely generous. It was also exciting to speak with the folks at the Center for Comics Studies in Vermont, I’m hoping I can take a one-week intensive next summer (I’d go this year, but I’m getting married in the fall — too busy right now!)

I also was really happy to say hello to Cara Bean, an incredible artist and storyteller who I met a few months ago through a mutual friend, and Cara gave me a much-needed pep talk on creating comics when I was really not sure if I could move forward. She told me — “go to MeCAF!” — and had it not been for her encouragement, I wouldn’t have even known about MeCAF, let alone create a minicomic for it and attend. I owe her a huge thank you for that. Her encouragement for me for next year is to have a table at MeCAF, and that’s just what I’m going to do! Thank you Cara!

And of course, what would a comic festival be if I didn’t get TONS OF LEWTS? I went a little crazy buying comics, but can you blame me? Lots of works here that were new to me, and there were a number of artists I follow online who where there in person.

Combination of tons of loot plus tiny desk means… two loot photos! Here’s what came home with me:
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I’ll write out all the authors and titles shortly – there’s a lot of talent in these comics and, again, so happy that I got to speak with the creators themselves.

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That’s me at MeCAF*. Thank you MeCAF 2013 for being my very first comic festival and lighting a fire under my butt — you’ll see me next year, and I’ll be there with a little table of my own!

*hilariously(?) my purse got a lot of love from folks. It’s by Jump From Paper, and I like to bring it with me whenever I’m on sketching excursions. It definitely felt appropriate for a comic festival!

Gearing up for MECAF

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But I won’t be empty-handed! Remember all those photos I showed you yesterday or so? Of all those pages ready to be folded and stapled and trimmed? They went *into the trash* as I found a rather embarrassing typo while folding my 20th or so copy. SIGH. After agonizing on Twitter about this a little bit, I fixed the error, tightened up some other issues that had been bothering me while I was there, and then reprinted everything. It was costly and could have been prevented if I’d proofed my work more carefully. Sigh.

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So here was my new stack of comics to be folded, stapled, and trimmed. The only thing to make this whole thing a little less annoying was a nice glass of Riesling.

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A little later that evening – the finished product and the “comic confetti” aftermath.

This was a great learning experience to be sure. Definitely going to put a lot of what I learned to good use with my next project. In the meantime, I’m heading up to MECAF to meet fantastic artists and see what works they’re sharing with the world. I’ll have my minicomics with me to share with folks who are interested, so if you’d like one, just ask! I will look like a less tired version of this:
silentfluency-process-8
Would you like to read my minicomic called “Silent Fluency”? I know my face doesn’t fill you with enthusiasm, but I’m not usually this tired… 🙂

See you at MECAF!

Getting ready for MECAF – my first minicomic!

Comics, Shows

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I’m going to my first MeCAF this weekend, and though I’m not exhibiting at a table (still too much of a newbie for that I think), I don’t want to show up empty-handed. I was told that MeCAF was a great place to meet other newcomers in the scene, so the gears started turning on what I could to do basically introduce myself to other folks, especially since I’m a total unknown!
I posted this question on Twitter and someone had a great suggestion that, instead of business cards (ick, so formal!), that I should hand out a mini-comic instead. OF COURSE! Kind of ashamed I didn’t think of it. Comic convention! Minicomic!

I’d never attempted a minicomic before so everything was knew – from formatting to story pacing, this was a lot of new territory. The gallery above shows some process pictures I was posting on my Instagram account.

Here’s a bit more about what I learned during the beginning stages.

silentfluency-process-1
What I did: I knew I wanted to make an 8 page minicomic printed in full on 8.5 by 11 paper (so each page would be a quarter of that). I had some template paper but it was Legal sized and not Letter, so I had to do a bit of ~**~*~ MATH MAGIC ~*~*~* to get the proportions right. Man, that took quite a while. But once it was done, I started pencils in photo blue.
What I’d do differently next time: The template was fine, but I created all the pages in the exact order needed to print and fold the paper into a minicomic, and not in the final reading order. This would make a lot of sense if I was just copying the template and printing directly, but I ended up doing a lot of digital post-processing and layout work. Putting the pages in the final reading layout would likely have helped panel and page flow a bit more (though, in the end, this is just a minicomic and it’s not going to shake the world).

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What I did: Inking directly over the photoblues on bristol.
What I’d do differently next time: I’d like to try to ink digitally to keep things a little neater, though right now I am still faster inking by hand than digitally.

silentfluency-process-4
What I did: I scanned the inked pages into Photoshop, cleaned it up and added tones. Final step was lettering.
What I’d do differently next time: I need to get a lot better at understanding how exactly to use tones. I basically winged it, but some of them are very dark and others super light… for no real deliberate reason.

When it came to lettering, I did actually plan out where I’d place my lettering and I think that aided my compositions a lot. But it wasn’t perfect. I was also not really sure what font sizes to use that would still be legible shrunk down proportionally for the final deal. Thankfully my day job involves a lot of print work and I was able to make an educated guess past on past experience, but I’m still not a fan of the font I ended up using. The quest for a better, more legible font continues.

I also feel that I got lucky in terms of the amount of text I put into dialog and narration boxes. It seems like an art and science determining how much text is right when you’re in the scripting phrase. Of course, once it’s time to put that text in the boxes… more editing. That’s just part of the fun I guess 🙂

Printing the comics was interesting – lots of printing and reprinting until I figured out art bleed allowance. Hopefully this is one of those “learn it once and apply to all future projects” things…