g a n z e e r . t o d a y

After giving up on trying to figure out how to get my Surface Pen to work again, figured I'd conceive of a troubleshoot-proof method to get some digital coloring done.

Blocking out color fields on separate sheets of paper with the aid of a lightpad. All in black markers, a kind of manual color separation essentially. I scan those in and apply the appropriate color to them in Photoshop. This works for me because I tend to go for a “graphic designy” approach to colors with very limited palettes.

It's a couple steps slower than working directly on screen, but better than having to troubleshoot a bunch of tech nonsense for hours on end and still not get anywhere.

In other news, found me some of that Moebius/Superstudio-lookin' gridded wallpaper, and maaaaaaay be tempted to scoop it up when/if I cease to be terribly poor.

#Journal #Work #TheSolarGrid #Comix

Came across this photo of Moebius (no photo credit, sorry) at work in his studio in the 80's and I'm getting hard Superstudio vibes from those gridded walls of his.

Superstudio was an Italian architecture collective founded in the 60's, with the vast majority of their projects—largely conceptual in nature—abiding by a strict black & white grid. Been a fan of Superstudio since I picked up the above pictured book some 20 years ago.

Those gridded walls though. Moebius' knack for precision makes perfect sense now.

Today is productive, even with the persistent migraine which may have been triggered by last night's spell of insomnia. Seems to be a recurring thing now, hitting once or twice every few weeks.

I'd finished yesterday's workload early, but found myself spending the night drawing up plans for my eventual boutique publishing operation, which I have a pretty solid grasp of now. THE SOLAR GRID figures into it, as does much of the writing, design, and e-commerce efforts I've been involved in over the past couple of years, all of which—in a rather unplanned way—has served as training for this thing.

The time is a'comin'.

#Journal #Work

It's been a minute since I journaled, huh?

Did what might've been two weeks worth of work in just three days and there was little time for anything else. Draining too, emotionally. It was a tribute video for Shady Habash who died in an Egyptian prison last week. Accompanying the video is a track by Ramy Essam, voicing Shady's last letter from prison, an unmistakable call for help. You can't do this sort of thing justice unless you pour yourself into it. A little late to do anything for Shady now, but his letter can a big flashing signal for everyone else wrongfully imprisoned.

Will post the video when it goes up.

Finally got a good night's sleep last night and feeling fully revived this morning. Packed this week's modest to-go mail and set it out for our lovely postal worker.

Now to work on a commission for my friend Corey J. White. This one is also part-character-design, for the protagonist of his cyberpunk heist novel REPO VIRTUAL. Looking forward to getting cracking on this one.

#Journal #Work

Haven't had the time to blog these past couple days. Was meant to start colors on my THE SOLAR GRID #5 pages yesterday, but had to work on a couple other “quick” pieces I agreed to do. Still ink-slinging away on them today, one of which will require some color work.

On Saturday, news broke out of the death of Shady Habash in an Egyptian prison. He was arrested two years ago for directing a satirical music video critical of Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's policies, his case never made it to trial, with his “detention” renewed every 45 days for the past 800.

Until he died. He was 24 years old.

I never met Shady, but this is devastating news nonetheless. I'm feeling compelled to do a tribute piece in his honor—it being “the least I could do” sort to speak.

(While simultaneously—and somewhat pathetically—feeling a little guilty to take on another thing that'll cut into my graphic-novel-making time.)

Grief and sadness aside, this oddly has me going back to obsessing about a regular anthology-like publication. Where all my impulses to make stuff can be funneled into it, rather than distract from it (as has been the case with THE SOLAR GRID, tbh).

In other news, businesses have reopened in Houston as per the Governor's declarations, and crowds have not wasted any time flocking to restaurants. More reason for frustration, sadness, and a little anger.

Don't get me wrong, I'm feeling that cabin fever as bad as anyone, but I ain't fuckin' with no viral outbreaks until the scientific community gives me that vaccine.

Honestly though, I haven't had the time to step out for a walk let alone ponder the thought of hitting a cafe or restaurant. Compounded frustration. It sometimes feels like no matter how much time I spend on the work, not enough gets done.


One of my favorite panel configurations is the partially open panel, which I think I picked up from Walt Simonson? Who Warren Ellis turned me onto a few years back. Simonson has grown to become possibly my favorite comix “drawer” since. I'm not sure I know of anyone in comix who has Simonson's command of illustration chops, storytelling techniques, and design acumen.

Almost done inking this Japan segment, which also happens to be the closing scene in THE SOLAR GRID's ch. 5!

I may need to hand-letter this last bit. Need some manga-inspired dialogue balloons which I won't be able to draw directly into my computer because my Surface pen has just gone bust (of course things are beginning to fail me just as I need them). Which will also slow down my coloring for the Mars scenes too. Still hoping to have it finished by May 15 though 🤞.

#Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

What, you didn't think I'd do a Japanese manga sequence without throwing a bit of food porn in there, did ya?

Quite enjoyed drawing these scenes. And proud of myself for including no more than one panel chock full of speedlines. Not a very big one at that.

Still a few touch ups here and there and I should be able to call it a night.

1:36AM, inbox at 66. Keep sending nudes.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

As one might have expected, yesterday's inks spilled over into today and I only just about finished. It is 9:30PM and I am dead.

Which means I lost a day's worth of penciling this week, my first in a bunch of weeks. Had me a good streak there. I also fell off the keto wagon and had me a cookie.

(They were actually a lot of cookies.)

It's cool though; only 4 more pages worth of drawing duties on this chapter! 🤯

(Of course it doesn't actually end there. Still an estimated week worth of colors, followed by about 4 days of lettering. Almost there.)

Inbox at 56, some of which are actually important. But they will have to wait till tomorrow (another thing to cut into pencil time).

Bed calls, where I will attempt to relax with the aid of a terrible comic (actually). Thank you and good night.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

11:00PM, will have to pull an all-nighter if I wanna have these pages inked before I turn in.

Which of course will affect tomorrow's designated two pages worth of penciling.

Remember how I mentioned yesterday the whole domino effect thing? Yup, that's exactly what happened. Fixed fulfillment issues though. By starting a Shipstation account (thanks to a friend's recommendation) and ordering a new sturdy postal scale, which should arrive by Thursday.

Time for some late night espresso.

Send nudes and podcasts.

#Journal #Work #Comix #TheSolarGrid

Got my two pages worth of pencils in, really loose though.

Today was less than ideal tbh. Lost a good 4-5 hours on troubleshooting a fulfillment thing (Paypal not letting me buy/print shipping labels) and then my postal scale decided to stop working.

Neither issue has been resolved.

And that is what really ticks me off. To spend so much time on something and still not have it fixed. The thing they don't tell you is that to operate as an independent artist—truly independent, with no ongoing connection to companies, collectives, galleries, agents, nothing—you do a lot more than make the art. Even when operating as a sole individual, multiple “departments” operate within your practice: the accounting department, retail department (a simple webshop is still a form of retail), fulfillment department, customer service department, marketing department, catering department (hey, you gotta eat), supplies department, technical support department, and of course the production department. And you have to do everything yourself.

And if there is the slightest bit of hiccup in the performance of any of those departments, it is likely to cause a domino effect across all other departments, and that's no good. You want everything to operate smoothly and efficiently across the board, but hiccups are always going to happen, some worse than others. The faster you resolve any such hiccups, the better the engine [that is your entire existence] runs.

9:00PM now. Will have to spend the evening looking into fast and effective solutions to the issues at hand so I can get back to work tomorrow with a clear head. I'll be able to tighten those pages up as I ink.

#Journal #Work

Christine, a lovely follower based in Canada, asked me to “draw whoever you want” for her commission, as long as the character was female. So I drew up a character I've been dreaming about for a future series (hinted at in Comix Engine #10).

It's such a thrill when you see an inkling of an idea begin to take shape in the real, isn't it?

Molly Crabapple moderated a virtual book talk with Elliot Colla and myself for our peculiar little chapbook WE ARE ALL THINGS. It is now streamable at PrintedMatter.org.

Spring is in full bloom here in Houston. The scent of jasmin brushing against you wherever you walk.

I don't know about you but I for one cannot stand to work in a cluttered space. Off to tidy around the house and dive into a deep clean. Tomorrow, I begin work on the very last scene in THE SOLAR GRID #5. Exciting! 🔥

#Journal #Work #Commission

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