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Where in Hell

25 May
by Kevin Czap

Matt Groening Life in Hell

I’ll admit, I had another idea for a post but some last minute research toppled the whole premise. Looking through my bookshelf in a panic, I landed on my Life in Hell books. If nothing else, this post is intended to help keep Matt Groening’s old strip in our public consciousness. It’s easy to forget about this stuff, in the wake of the Simpson‘s franchisement, but Groening is a great comics artist first and foremost. If for no other reason, he should be celebrated forever for creating Akbar and Jeff. Continue reading

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Sketch

4 May
by Kevin Czap

sketch

So my Cube compatriots here were all talking about sketching and process over twitter sometime last week, and Darryl had the good idea of devoting time to write on the subject here. This idea caught me at a time when I’ve been doing some philosophizing about process and the whole idea of practice, so unfortunately that means you will have to bear with me.
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The Harold

27 Apr
by Kevin Czap

Kevin Czapiewski Spoilers

Note: This post is a continuation of an apparent series where I talk about story-telling methods and artistic practices that interest me, particularly in how they can be applied to comics.

“People say that life is just one damn thing after another. That is not true. It’s the same damn thing over and over again, and you’ve gotta keep your head loose enough to see it as it comes around again.” – Del Close

In high school I was a theater kid. This meant that my friends and I took theater classes every semester, we showed up on Saturday to build sets, we acted and sometimes sang in the school plays, we wrote and directed one-acts, things like that. It also meant that we did improv occasionally. Some of the most fun we had thoughout our high school careers was during improv practices and competitions (thanks in no small part to seanbaby.com).
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Influences and Process – Abstraction

28 Mar
by L. Nichols

I remember the first time I went to a museum and saw abstract art. I was 9 or 10 or 11 (somewhere around there) and we had driven 3 hours from my home town to go to Houston, TX to the museum. I was excited about the Renaissance art and also about the Impressionist art we saw there. They were easily relatable, their representation was obvious. And then I came across the more abstract stuff. I was confused. I didn’t really like them, per se…. but I was drawn to them nonetheless. Looking at them felt like I was fighting myself. I kind of laughed them off and ignored how they made me feel. But as I grew older, I found that I was still drawn to them. I began to understand a bit more about why an artist would choose that path. And I came to both appreciate it and be influenced by it.

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Influences and Process – Playtime!

21 Mar
by L. Nichols

One of the things I’ve fought long and hard to keep is a sense of play in my work and in my working process. Growing up, I was often told that I should not pursue art or anything along those lines as a potential job. Something about “once you’re doing it for money you’ll grow to hate it” or “you should keep it for yourself” or some other such saying as that. Again and again. Now, I’m not going to argue that that isn’t the case at least some of the time. It’s not the same as being a kid and drawing horses/dragons/dwarves/elves (… ahem…) for fun, but I’m also not the same as back then either. But I really couldn’t imagine being any other way.

After doing this for the past few years and finally getting to the point where I am actually working for clients and making some money doing this, I can totally understand why my parents would warn me about not doing what you love for a living. The line between work and the rest of your life can become totally erased if you pursue a field such as art. There’s frequently no 9-5 designation of “work” vs “play.” I know this line for me has become incredibly blurry; in some sense, I am what I do. I work weird hours. I work when I feel like it. And, honestly, I work way more than I would in a “real job” (as my parents seem to put it, i.e. “L., when will you get a real job?”). It has taken me years to find some sort of balance in how I feel about my work.

Work. Just saying the word brings up connotations of waking up early, being tired, bringing home the bacon (so to speak). In physics, it is the is the amount of energy transferred by a force acting through a distance. Going up stairs is work. Lifting heavy things is work. In art, people talk about “bodies of work,” their pieces are considered “works.” Work is that responsible thing that grown-ups do, the sign of maturity. Playing and things that seem like play are for the young ‘uns. But playing is where we learn! Playing is important, too! Playing is not just for kids! We should embrace playing as something vital and important to our growth as human beings.

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Too Many Muffins

18 Mar
by Darryl Ayo

Years ago, I worked at a cafe and had a good enough time doing it. At one point, we had two kinds of muffins. We had plain muffins and blueberry muffins. One day, we switched pastry vendors and ended up getting shipments of muffins like you wouldn’t believe. It was a cornucopia of muffins. Every kind of muffin you could imagine. Customers’ faces would light up and they’d ask us what the different kinds of muffins were. And halfway through listing them all, the light would fade from their faces and it was obvious: the person was not going to be buying a muffin.

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Scenes

16 Mar
by Kevin Czap

Jaime Hernandez, if the scene sucks, you suck

While there are certainly endless avenues to explore just in the vicinity of the craft of comics (and believe me, I could pass the night away just gabbing about them), I think sometimes it helps to step back and get some perspective. A breath of fresh air if you will. It’s important to remember that comics, like any art, is directly tied to the living complex culture that they’re created in. Regular human beings put in the time and effort to make these amazing things that effect us so significantly, and I think it’s useful to think about environments that these folks live in. Continue reading