13 July 2005

Brush and Pen

A few weeks ago I introduced my latest mini-comic Brush and Pen at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. Brush and Pen is probably my best mini-comic to date. It is the first comic I have made in which the finished product is identical to the original image I had in my mind at the point of inspiration. Or simply put, it came out the way I wanted. Or, at least it came out the way I wanted after Brad McGinty used his Force-like photocopy powers at the end of a whirlwind lost Kinkos expedition in, around and all over downtown Charlotte. Thanks Brad!

Brush and Pen is the end result of an artistic challenge I placed upon myself to create a comic using different art styles. Having no real art education and a limited knowledge of illustration tools, the easiest idea I came up with was, 'well, if I make a comic where I draw each character with a different tool, they can't help but have their own look'. So, I made a comic where all the characters are writing, drawing or painting tools and drew each character with the tool they represent. Clicky the ball-point pen is drawn with a ball-point pen. His wife Lucy the brush is drawn with a brush. Etc. so forth yadda... The story is told in old school TV sitcom style. Two newlyweds in slice-of-life melodrama in the style of The Honeymooners or I Love Lucy. (And yeah, Spaghetti Junktion is a sitcom as well.) The main them, as in those two great shows, is that opposites attract. The classy brush married to the common ball-point pen. One a tool for boring writing, the other a tool for inspired artistic expression. So, what you end up with is a comic book (a delivery system for the merger of writing and art) about two instruments of writing and art merged together as husband and wife. Of course, all I expect the reader to find in Brush and Pen is a cute little story about a ball-point pen and his brush wife. You can check out a sample of the first six pages here. Unfortunately sample doesn't show Lucy but it was the only section of the story that really stands on its own without leaving too much to explain or ruining the comic's punchline. Drop me an email and let me know what you think. You can buy it here.

Jeri and I had a great time in Charlotte at HeroesCon. I had the pleasure of sharing Indy Island beach space with the beforementioned Brad and the rest of the Cute Girl Demographics team Josh Latta and Jennifer Young. After three days of my shenannigans, none of them kicked sand in my face or tried to vote me off the island. It was the best con I've been to in the south for indy types like myself. At most cons, the dealers get the best spots (rightfully so, they spend a lot of money), the famous mainstream comics folks get the next best spots (rightfully so, they bring the customers), and the indy guys like me get shoved in the back corner. Not at HeroesCon. Thanks in no small part to J. Chris Campbell, HeroesCon had this huge Indy Island in the center of convention hall with a big banner and everything. It was very, very cool and the response seemed to be very positive so I hope Indy Island continues to grow.

I met a lot of great people and had a great time. I picked up new stuff and got fanboyographs from some of my favorite people in comics like Paul Pope, James Kochalka, Bob Burden and Robert Ullman. I also picked picked up a bunch of books by the very friendly and talented folks of Indy Island. I have a whole box of new comics, anthologies and mini-comics to read. J. Chris Campbell had a whole table of cool minis as well as his impressive new book Zig Zag from AdHouse Books. I was very impressed by The Common Bond gang. They were really great guys to hang out with as well as producers of very fine comics. Not to mention the bad azz t-shirt they gave me. Thanks Duane, Scott, Frank etc.! Atlanta peep Joe Pruett had all his new Desperado Publishing books out and I picked up new Flaming Carrot and Negative Burn. I also got my pal Robert Venditti's new book The Surrogates from the Top Shelf booth. I was very impressed by Rob's comic. It looks great, it reads great, it is great. You don't see good sci-fi in comics but he pulled it off. I highly recomend it and look forward to the second issue.

I also highly recommend everyone visit Cute Girl Demograhpics and check out Brad, Josh and Jennifer's latest books. I'm not just saying this because they are my pals. I really love their books and look forward to each new issue or project. At the con I was able to check out the two newest issues of Brad's book Wysteria, Josh's book Anxiety, Sleep-Problems & Depression and take a sneak peak quick read of the yet-to-be published next installments of Jennifer's Cold Summer plus these really cool minis she did called Plank Girls. You can buy their stuff at their website or if you are in the Atlanta area, come out to Zin-A-Palooza July 31st. I should be there with copies of Brush and Pen as well.
Love always, your best friend ever,
Shannon Smith
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