9pm ET / 6 pm PT this Wednesday, July 30th @ www.livestream.com/steverolston.
You may have seen me talk about a comic idea of mine called TRAPEZIUS PEPPER. It’s a project I’ve been wanting to write & draw for quite a few years now. A series of comics revolving around a writer-turned-gambler in a city filled with crime, corruption, mystery and, of course, talking bears and raccoons.
I’m getting serious about it now and have created a Patreon page so people can show support for the project by kicking in a little bit of money each month.
With this Patreon, I’m going to take TRAPEZIUS PEPPER from a collection of scattered ideas and form it into an ongoing webcomic series launching later this year. Since I’m still experimenting with the visual style and character designs, I’m going to start off by drawing some one-page comics to get a feel for it. And I’ll be giving my Patreon supporters exclusive early access to that work for as little as $1 a month.
Patrons who pledge at least $3 will also get access to Creative Process posts where I show off and discuss how each page comes together. Go on, head on over to my Patreon page to find out more! And spread the word!
If you want more of a taste, you can download my digital #INKtober sketchbook, RACCOONS & HUMANS & BEARS, OH MY!, which is a collection of character designs I was exploring for the TRAPEZIUS PEPPER stories.
I’ve just made my latest sketchbook available to purchase online! “RACCOONS AND HUMANS AND BEARS, OH MY!” is a collection of my INKtober sketches from 2012 and 2013, including some notes about the drawings, the characters and what inspired them.
You can choose between the physical booklet, which is available in my Etsy Shop, or a digital PDF version, which is available via Gumroad. I’m quite happy with the cute little booklet but I also like flipping through the pages on a tablet or smart phone. I chose Gumroad because I’m curious about their Pay-What-You-Want option, which allows creators to set a minimum price and then the customers can decide what they want to pay. I’ve set the digital price at ZERO, so you can download it for free or choose to give me a little something for it.
While at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival the other weekend, local funny guys Ian Boothby and Dave Dedrick had me as a guest on their SNEAKY DRAGON podcast. I had a great time, bullshitting with them about comics, Madballs and Ninja Turtles. You can give it a listen here:
And don’t forget to gaze with wonder upon Dave’s rendition of us as Madballs…
I just stumbled across Hansel Castro‘s unflattering review of my 2003 graphic novel One Bad Day and I think I’m in love with it:
“I recall Steve Rolston’s artwork for Greg Rucka’s “Queen and Country” never impressed me: the simple cartooning was at odds with the maturity of the story. He draws and writes for his own graphic novel, 2003′s “One Bad Day.” It’s a fluffy, familiar Hitchockian tale. Marie Leblanc is a “wrong woman” who inherits a singularly unimpressive McGuffin” and is pursued by varied thugs and a killer with the heartless name of Tinman. (That the Tinman has a clingy girlfriend that shows up at the scene of his hits is the novel’s most clever idea.) Ed Brubaker described this as “Slacker Noir”, which is about right: this is noir (albeit printed in green ink), and it’s not trying too hard.”
“RATING: GOOD ENOUGH”
It’s a somewhat brutal review but I can agree with most of it. I mean, I definitely tried my best but not everyone’s first graphic novel is going to be solid gold. One Bad Day is out of print but I still have some copies available in my Etsy Shop if you want to judge this “good enough” comic for yourself.
Another chance to see me out in public, if you’re in Vancouver!
The VANCOUVER COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL (aka VanCAF) is this weekend, May 25-26, at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in the Yaletown district of Vancouver, BC, Canada.
This a very good show that focusses almost entirely on creator-owned comics and the creators themselves. And best of all: it’s FREE to attend! So wander on down to the Roundhouse and pop in for a look around. I’ll be there (Table B-3) selling my comics, original artwork and my newest sketchbook, “RACCOONS AND HUMANS AND BEARS, OH MY!” I might even have a handful of prints of the BEER ROBOT drawing I did the other month.
I will also be talking on a couple panels on Sunday afternoon:
BROUGHT TO LIFE: CHARACTER DESIGN
Sunday, May 25th, 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM
Featuring Aaron Diaz, Kadi Fedoruk, Tyson Hesse & Steve Rolston.
This panel, featuring talented and experienced character designers, will demonstrate some of the core concepts of designing a character–from a purely aesthetic viewpoint to the rich imaginings of character-driven details. Learn how to create characters of different body and facial builds while still retaining strong cartooning ideals.
Sunday, May 25th, 4:00 PM – 4:45 PM
Hosted by Ian Boothby & David Dedrick and featuring Steve Rolston.
SNEAKY DRAGON, Vancouver’s tied for 3rd favourite podcast, returns to VanCAF with a live show with guest Steve Rolston (Queen and Country, Ghost Projekt, Pounded and Degrassi: Extra Credit). Join hosts Ian Boothby (Eisner winning writer of The Simpsons and Futurama Comics) and David Dedrick (host of the Completely Beatles podcast) as they unlock the Secret of the Mummy’s Curse! Or just joke around about comics, either’s good.
Beat Route Magazine posted an nice little article about VanCAF after talking to myself and fellow comic creator Sam Logan.
Over the past year or so I’ve been doing the occasional storyboard gig for a San Francisco-based agency, Rebel Unit Media. Some of the jobs have been storyboards for live action commercials while others have been for animated instructional videos. I’ve enjoyed the experience and it’s been good to stretch my storyboard muscles again. It also forced me to work looser and faster than I normally do when drawing comics.
I thought I’d share some of the storyboards I did for FLAMESTOWER, a product that lets you charge your electronic devices using heat from a fire:
You can view the final live-action video here: vimeo.com/87621984
Next up are some storyboards I did for an INFOR commercial with a Rubik’s Cube theme:
Very much unlike the work I do in comics. But it can be interesting to tackle different challenges than you’re used to. You can see the finished video over on the Rebel Unit website.
One of the writers at Rebel Unit is Mariko Tamaki, whom I collaborated with on the graphic novel Emiko Superstar. It’s been cool to work with her again. And the last time she was in town we met up and she gave me some slick prints that Rebel Unit had made up to celebrate their various projects, done in a minimalist style by artist Matt Chase. Recognize the cubic spaceship?
This last batch is from one of many projects we did for SALESFORCE, the cloud computing and customer management company. I’ve drawn plenty of computer-filled offices and cubicles in various comics like The Escapists and Public Relations, but I’ve probably drawn three times as many just for Salesforce.
So there’s a peek at some of the storyboards I’ve done lately.
On a somewhat related note, you should all keep an eye out for Mariko’s latest graphic novel, THIS ONE SUMMER, which just launched from First Second Books. It’s another collaboration with her illustrator cousin Jillian Tamaki. I haven’t read it yet but their previous graphic novel SKIM was excellent.
This weekend I’m going to be at Fan Expo Vancouver! It’s a three-day convention this year, filled with comics, anime, games and celebrities. You can find me at Table P-27 in Artists Alley. I’ll also be doing a signing from noon-1pm on Sunday at the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund table.
I don’t have any new comics to bring to the show, so I printed up some booklets collecting my #INKtober sketches from the past two years, including some notes about the drawings, the characters and what inspired them. I hereby present “RACCOONS AND HUMANS AND BEARS, OH MY!”
Robin McConnell has been interviewing comic book writers and artists for years on his INKSTUDS radio show and recently hit 500 episodes. Now he’s teaming up with cartoonist Brandon Graham to take his show on the road and talk to creators on their home turf.
Their Kickstarter has now raised enough travel funds to take them to Los Angeles and New York City, where they’ll interview loads of talented creators such as Jaime Hernandez, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Tom Herpich and Pendleton Ward. The next stretch goal is to add the United Kingdom to the agenda.
There’s only 3 days left and the more money they get, the more creators they’ll be able to visit. So if you value quality conversations with independent comic book creators, toss some money their way. There are some good pledge rewards, like the Inkstuds interview book, a sketchbook from the road, comics, original artwork and even lunch with Robin, Brandon & guests for those high-rollers out there.
My next Introduction to Comic Book Production course at VanArts will be starting up on March 17th, so now’s the time to sign up! It’s a 12-week course that runs on Monday nights (or Tuesday if there’s a holiday) in Downtown Vancouver, Canada. I take my students through the process of writing, thumbnailing, penciling, inking and lettering a four-page comic. There’s a strong emphasis on clear storytelling, in addition to teaching all the other things I’ve learned during my fourteen years as a comic book artist.
Feel free to email me any questions you may have about the course. Or head over to the VanArts website to register now: www.vanarts.com/courses/introduction-comic-book-production