As a meager gift to you readers, here’s a few goodies scavenged from the piles of scrap paper that litter the studio. Thank you, endlessly,
for being there — for reading the books and your encouraging comments!
1) mindless doodles, circa 1999. One day, the “flaming meanies” will be resurrected.
2) The scribbly rough of page 56 in Chunky Rice
3) The penciled version of page 442 of Blankets ~ July 1st, 2002
4) The photo that became the cover of Carnet de Voyage. 2ème arrondissement, rue des Moulins, Marseilles —
I claim that I didn’t use any photographs on those travels — but Top Shelf needed me to provide a
promotional cover for the book before it ever existed. So before I left for the trip, I used this photo
from January 2001 to capture a trip yet to happen in March 2004.
It seems my first book GOOD-BYE, CHUNKY RICE has been underrepresented on the blog, yet this summer happens
to be the ten year anniversary of my move to Portland and beginning that book; so here’s a few snippets of the process.
For the first half year, I was miserable in Portland: stocking shelves in the hardware department at Fred Meyer,
cohabiting with drum-circle hippies, assaulted at a bus stop by six drunken rednecks, suffering from stolen checkbooks
bounced across the nation, and worst of all, missing my friends back in Milwaukee, WI. So I used it all as fuel.
Below are thumbnail roughs of pages 73 and 89. Ballpoint pen, baby. Below that are a couple of finished pages that never made it to the final book.
A sad detail is that I never saw the Oregon coast until the book was completed, nearly two years after moving here, for lack of time and funds.
Now I go almost weekly. Better yet, I was so hard up for money at the time, that when I received my printer’s comps of the third printing of CHUNKY, I took the whole box of them to Powell’s Books to sell. I specified that they were fresh from the printer and that I was the author, so the Powell’s buyer asked that I sign each copy and then bought them from me for three bucks a pop. That $150 saved me from a month of starvation.
In response to one of the most frequently asked of questions, here’s my list of “art tools”. My apologies to those
bored with shop-talk… I pencil with any ol’ HB pencil — these “Berol Turquoise” will do. Erasing courtesy of
“Staedtler Mars Plastic”. The text lettering in the balloons is casually dashed off with a .05 or .08 MICRON felt-tip.
For inking, I dunk a watercolor brush in a well of India ink – the old fashioned way. SPEEDBALL “Super Black” makes
me happy with its soulful darkness. CHUNKY RICE and BLANKETS were inked up with these cheap Winsor Newton
Cotman III number twos — a synthetic/sable blend. With my new book, Farel Dalrymple turned me on to this
upgrade brush — the Raphael series 8404 size number four. It’s quadruple the price, but it’s debatable if my line
has improved at all. While on the go, the Pentel “pocket-brush” is certainly handy. Another frequently asked question;
“How do you get that dry-brush effect?” Answer: Vellum finish bristol paper. Its toothiness combined with an abused brush
caked up with gunky ink.
The dimensions of my pages has fluctuated plenty. The live art area of CHUNKY RICE is 10.5″x14″ reduced for print a whoppin’ 48%. That’s admittedly too much shrinkage. While all the details are sharpened in the reduction, some of the integrity of the original is lost. The Pantheon edition of the book is smaller than the Top Shelf one, but the details are sharper, because I finally scanned the pages at 1200dpi from the original art. The older edition was simply 600dpi scans from Kinko’s photocopies! BLANKETS is drawn far smaller and reduced less — 7″x11.25″ / 70%. HABIBI is in-between; 8.75″x12.5% reduced 63%. (Sorry, this isn’t metric!)
One last goody. On this page of BLANKETS, you can see a paste-up correction. Just a slice
of typing paper glued atop the bristol.