Sunday, February 22, 2009


A great mouse once expounded upon the idea of 'recreation' being a re-creating of one's self... a chance to take a break from the usual and to explore other venues just for fun, and hopefully in the process reinvent oneself or expand one's creativity. Taking a vacation is a good example, or just getting out of a rut by doing something different. That laboratory mouse named Brain knew what he was talking about!

With this in mind, I have taken a break from The Inquiring Minds in The Ghost Pirate Skeletons of Three Craters Lake. Yes, it is very risky to take a break in the middle of an adventure because readers may not have the patience to wait. On the other hand, since I have not found a publisher yet for the project, taking some recreation time can help me to assure that the story is the best it can be.

Facebook is having a comic con next month, and I am planning on attending a convention in physical space this year, so my thoughts turned to creating some fun promotional pieces. The first is the drawing above, of The Inquiring Minds as my favorite superhero group, the Fantastic Four.

The second is a piece I drew of The Inquiring Minds to celebrate this year being the 40th anniversary of Disney's Haunted Mansion ride... an amazing achievement of creativity and engineering. This piece should be appearing soon at the Fan Gallery page of, a fantastic site created by Jeff Baham in tribute to the Haunted Mansion ride. I'm very happy with it.

If you are on Facebook, you can join our group at the facebook comic con, or check out the special things I have set up for the convention, such as the video in my last post. At Facebook I currently have two videos of me sketching, and plan more. The second video shows how I came up with the idea for the above-mentioned Haunted Mansion illustration, and it's a talkie! Yes, you can hear me laugh nervously and tell bad jokes while I draw in blair witch quality graphics. :0)

There is a lot going on right now, including an entire overhaul of our website, and how we do business. The Ghost Pirate Skeletons of Three Craters Lake will return soon, though, so stay tooned!

Cheers, JOHN :0)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Almost Live!

For the few of you NOT on Facebook, I am going to share with you something from my Guest Table at the Facebook Comic Con. No, the con hasn't happened yet, but I'm already loading lots of fun stuff at my Table for you to see, including real videos of me sketching to give it that 'appearing live at a convention' feel.

This is my first attempt at videoing while sketching, so there is a bit of the Blair Witch feel to it. And I was so nervous that I let the camera wander, I dropped my pencil, and forgot to draw eyes on a sheep. Good thing this isn't live, cause who knows how I'd embarrass myself.

You can see more at, if you are a facebook member. The rest of you may now show your pity by clicking a link at the right there, and checking out more of my stuff, and maybe buying a book to support a starving artist. :0)

Cheers, JOHN :0)

PS I've uploaded a second, bigger, better, longer video at the Facebook Comic con page, and this one is with real sound! Yes, lame jokes to go with the the sketching... and this one is a tribute to The Haunted Mansion, as well!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's Like Starting Over...

I began Cartooning quite some time ago: the Earth had long cooled, life thrived in the oceans, looked up, and moved out onto the land to try crawling and walking. Sometime after that I took crayon to paper, floor and wall to search for meaning in line and circle. You would think, in all that time, I'd know what I was doing by now!

Let's look at my recent storyline, The Ghost Pirate Skeletons of Three Craters Lake, featuring The Inquiring Minds. You know... my Big Summer Adventure? (looks at calendar, and out window where snow is falling, and shrugs what can I say?) Anyways, I feel strongly that my art has improvbed since then, and I have grown as a person. Sure, you say, it HAS been awhile since you started that. Hush, I say. I'm doing my best.

Anyways, with all the forethought of a teenage boy on his first date,I started Ghost PIrates as a comic strip, and like 3 Knights in India before it, it evolved rapidly into a comic book. You know... tall art, not wide like a comic strip. Different format and hard to reconcile. Okay, so The Inquiring Minds started out as a comic strip, and I still dream of being a comic stripper (watch it!) so it was natural to begin that way. However, it seems that a nice long storyline needs a comic book format to tell it right, and besides, you have a lot more room for art and dialogue.

So, what to do? I learned my lesson with 3 Knights in India... you can't just take some comic strips, cut them up, and rearrange them in comic book format. Well, you CAN, but you have to be really careful not to get too cocky, and to pay attention to page order and how the book will come out. One little mistake, and a reviewer like Johanna Draper Carlson will let you have it between the teeth! (Those who read her first review of the 3 Knights comic book will know what I'm talking about). Anyway, thanks to fine reviewers like Johanna (see link at right for comics worth reading), people like me get the feedback we need to become better craftspeople.

The result, I will have to go back to the early pages of the comic that you see in my free download of the first part of the story, and redraw, reformat, and sometimes rewrite to make this a top notch comic book.

After all, it's the end product that counts, right? And besides, as I've blogged earlier, I always leave the end of a story slightly open to account for evolution of the storyline. This way, by going back, I can fit the beginning to match the ending even better, if necessary.

So here is the first strip, remade into the first page. More to come, as well as brand new material.

Cheers, JOHN ":0)

PS The above page isn't finished yet, actually. I am thinking of creating my own font for all my comics, and I might tweak the top Logo a bit when I can.