Where have you been?!

My last posting was on September 30th, 2012. It’s been a while!

My apologies. It has been an eventful 14 months. Yes, I said fourteen.

In the Fall of 2012, we returned to Boston. We moved from Bartlesville, OK across the country to live in Arlington, MA. Stephanie had accepted a call as the Assistant Priest in Weston, MA. Shortly thereafter, we experienced our first hurricane….Sandy. Thankfully we received no damage, though it was frightening. We we obviously much more worried about the folks in in New Your and New Jersey.

In Boston, I continued my role as a work-at-home dad. Taking care of Henry, our Little Man Cub. I reconnected with the Boston Comics Roundtable, starting off with a group exhibition at Lesley University. There I showed pages from my graphic novel in progress, Toil.

I resumed teaching work with the folks at VSA Massachusetts, serving  one day a week, working all school-year at Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston. There I led 4 groups of Kindergarteners and one group of 3rd graders through multiple arts integration activities. For different reasons, this proved to be one of my most challenging teaching experiences. It took a long time for me to get my flow with this residency. The teachers there and the folks at VSA Massachusetts were very supportive and helpful.

November of 2012 marked the beginning of my partnership with the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. There I provided professional development training for educators. Training them in arts integration strategies.

The Fall of 2012 also proved to be a terrible flu season. Stephanie, Henry, and I each got sick multiple times. In March of 2013, I was hospitalized with pneumonia and a concussion. My first time in the hospital. I was there for two days and got great care.  Then I spent several weeks convalescing until I was just about normal. Our friends from BCR and VSA Massachusetts were very generous and supportive of Stephanie and I during this time.

April 15th,  the Boston Marathon Bombing happened. Frightening. Bringing back many of my own personal memories of the Murrah Building Bombing in Oklahoma City. Four days later, April 19, the incredible manhunt in Watertown, MA. Three miles from out home in Arlington, MA. Terrified.

All of this made for a very trying time. But, finally in May of 2013, we began to feel normal.

Then…… Stephanie received an unexpected calling. An exciting and challenging position in Lawrence, KS. Where we now live!

Henry and I at the Clinton State Park in Lawrence. There are over twenty great parks here. This is a dog walking park.

So…we have settled in. Lawrence is a very cool town. I am still a work-at-home dad making sure that Henry gets his Graham crackers and tea, while chipping away at my comics and education work. More on this in future posts.

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Toil: “Unite” Part 1: Inspiration

Over the next few posts to show and tell how I created a recent page for Toil.

During the current scene, Joe is trying to inspire the miners to organize into a peaceful strike. Dan wrote this great sequence in which Joe evokes the miners’ imagination, describing a marching army of millions of workers united against the company. In our early discussions, Dan and I imagined having Union Poster style artwork for this scene; a blend of Thomas Hart Benton and the Social Constructivist aesthetic. After a bit of searching online, I found these two interesting examples. The first is the cover of a book of Posters. The second was a random poster online.
These two examples had attributes that I was looking for. The “monumental” figure proportions and presentation. The dynamic compositions, conveying a very “active” spirit. Look at the strong diagonals in the layouts, forcing the eye to “march” right across the picture.

For my own image, I had in mind a less defined and more “monumental” figure, much like the example on the left. It also had the a clearly defined and limited value scheme that I wanted in mine. I was also attracted to the bold & flat lettering. From the image on the right, I liked the addition of the landscape and multiple figures. That struck me as having rich narrative potential. All of these elements helped to clarify the idea that I had in mind.

In the next post, I will share how I explored my ideas through multiple sketches.

Posted in Cartooning, Comics, Composition, Design, Drawing, Research, Toil, Visual Storytelling | Comments Off

Technical Problems and Apologies

Recently, my blog was infected by a virus. I am currently correcting this.

My apologies to anyone whose computer has been affected by this.

On a lighter note, here is another lovely Oklahoma sky.

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Cliches About Becoming a Parent


Ya’ know all of those corny cliches you hear about becoming a parent? “Your life is completely changed. You can’t imagine loving anything more than your child. Babies are so much fun. They change so quickly.”

My biggest surprise about becoming a Dad, is just HOW true those cliches are.

All of this has been wonderful!

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Little Sprig Arrived!

Our child arrived! Little Sprig was a boy!

His name is Henry David Jenkins. Both he and his mother are healthy. And together we are enjoying our time at home as a little family. Below is an illustration I did for a thank-you card that we printed for the folks who hosted our baby shower.

Happy days!!

Posted in General, Illustration | 2 Comments

Roy Crane: Principles and Practices of Cartooning

Roy Crane kept a detailed scrapbook for his assistant to follow, in order  to maintain his high standards. Parts of this scrapbook were published in two magazines, Cartoonist Profiles and The Hairy Green Eyeball. A big thanks to The Temple of Seven Camels, where I found the jpg files of the scrapbook.

There are two short interviews with Crane and over thirty pages from his scrapbook, like the sample below. I keep this by my drawing table for quick and easy reference. It is a goldmine of solid principles for cartooning. All of the examples that he included are from his Buzz Sawyer strip. And, there are several unfinished examples, in pencil, of an unpublished strip he created called The Lost World.

So as a little holiday gift for you readers, I took the liberty of compiling all of these individual jpgs and converting them to a single PDF file. To my knowledge, this material is out of print, and is within the public domain.

Click the following link to download the complete file. Roy Crane Scrapbook

Look. Learn. And enjoy!!!!

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In the Kitchen-Fall Colors and Warm Soup

Fall has arrived to Bartlesville. The trees are turning to nice autumn colors, in spite of our dry summer. Especially our neighbors’ tree, Mike and Laurie Watkins.

With the cooler weather comes SOUP! YAY!!

Butternut Squash is a favorite in our home. Here is a tasty recipe from the book The Soup Bible.

2 TBSP butter

2 small onions

3 cups peeled, seeded, and cubed butternut squash

1 1/4 quarts veggie stock (chicken stock will work as well)

1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes

1 TSP of paprika

1/2 cop whipping cream

1 1/2 TBSP snipped fresh chives, plus a few whole chives, to garnish

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt butter in large pot, add onions and cook until soft

2. Add the squash, stock, potatoes, and paprika. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer for about 35 min. until all of the vegetables are soft.

3. Pour the soup into a blender and process until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat slowly.

4. Stir in the chopped chives just before serving. Garnish each serving with a few whole chives. We ran out of fresh chives so we garnished ours with dried chives.

We like our soup with homemade honey wheat bread, some dill havarti cheese, and steamed broccoli.

And of course CoCo, ever helpful in the kitchen, offered to take dispose of the squash rinds for us.

Another picture of Mike and Laurie’s glorious tree. Enjoy the Autumn!!

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