A FEW THINGS OF NOTE!

Good morning! It is Friday morning as I write: I'm in Charlotte, NC, with my windows open, wearing flip-flops and still in the clothes I slept in. But by the time you read this, it may be a whole other time of day, and you or I might be in entirely different cities, and I will have probably changed some or all of my clothes! What a magical mystery this world of technology is that we live in! But that's not what I wanted to talk about--yesterday I saw a bunch of cool things on the internet while working, and I wanted to share a few of them with you: 1) This video went up yesterday, and has been spreading all over since then. If you've already seen it, try it again--it's basically a bunch of amazing cartoonists talking briefly about the tools they use, all in promotion of next weekend's Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It's pretty great, and not only includes some of my very favorite cartoonists like Seth and Chester Brown, but some of my very favorite people, including Michael Deforge, Vicki Nerino and Britt Wilson. Coolest promo video ever. Speaking of which, I myself will be at TCAF, hopefully in those changed clothes I was talking about before. I'll be loaded for bear at the Koyama Press table, with all my prints, including a new one I'm working on as I type, as well as the debut of DIARY COMICS #2, which will reprint July 1 to September 12 or so of my diary strip from last year. And, although the official schedule hasn't been posted yet [UPDATE: Oh yes it has!], I'll be moderating a panel on Saturday morning featuring Kate Beaton, Joe Lambert, John Martz, and Dylan Meconis, all about ideas and what to do with them. TCAF is an amazing show, a really perfect melding of a city, its residents, its cartooning community, and then a bunch of strangers like me. Highest possible recommendation, if you've never been. And if you've been before, this year looks like it might be the best ever (probably because of my panel). 2) I've been thinking about trying to get better at watercoloring, which is a huge blank spot in my abilities as an artist. Plus I'm thinking of doing a children's book, and black and white children's books aren't the most exciting children's books in the world. So I asked on Twitter yesterday after some recommendations for simple travel sets, and thought I'd report on what I learned: John Martz, Domitille Collardey, and Joe Lambert all recommended the Winsor & Newton Cotman set, which is like if the Three Wise Men recommended a good place to pick up some frankincense. So I bought that thing. Britt Sanders, reporting from our Western Bureau, pointed out this little number, which looks like the same thing but a little bit cooler. Also, Cheap Joe's is located right here in NC, and their Charlotte store is the best for art supplies around here. I also heard a lot of reports on other ones--mainly the big takeaway, as always with tools, was that people can make anything work for them. The most interesting thing was Jill Thompson pointing out that you can squeeze out--or mix!--tube watercolors, then let them dry into little cakes or whatever, and you can get essentially the same effect, but with more control over colors, etc. Super smart. 3) But the coolest thing to come out of that was what Dan Berry had to say. I wasn't really familiar with his work, but he sent me this photo of what he uses, essentially a bunch of Pentel pocket brushes filled with his own diluted ink solutions. And one brush with just plain water, for pre-wetting paper for washes, or just fiddling with stuff, or whatever. This is super brilliant--I bet this would go overlike gangbusters for doing little con sketches, but still be high-quality enough for actual finished artwork. Super impressive solution. Also the side benefit was discovering Dan's awesome site. Man, what is with British people being so good at everything? Turds. 4) Last up, check out this sweet collection of Alex Toth originals from Hot Wheels. I bought the new Toth book yesterday at Heroes Aren't Hard To Find, my alma mater. I can't wait to crack that thing open. I'm a huge fan of Toth, but it's always frustrating to read collections of his work because usually the stories are just poop. So a high-end book filled with extra stuff and context and biographical information is the perfect backdrop to read that stuff against. I mean, I could care less about what happens to The Hot Wheels, but Toth's art transcends even the most banal story. Related--I probably wouldn't have searched the book out if it hadn't been for this review/interview by Dan Nadel on the Comics Journal site. Dan is such a curmudgeon about scholarly books about comics creators that this glowing review by him took me aback. Is that right? Took me aback? Maybe I should say, "had me so tooken aback, like crazy," I think that's more grammatically correct, no? I will leave that to you to decide, Dear Reader. I have clothes to change into.

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