Cupcake & Dino

For those who don’t know, I returned to the animation industry a few years ago and have spent the bulk of that time at Atomic Cartoons, mostly drawing storyboards for MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. But at the beginning of this year I moved onto a different project which has just been announced: CUPCAKE & DINO!

I spent the first half of 2017 as storyboard supervisor on this Netflix original series. It’s a hilarious show about two brothers (one is a cupcake, the other is a dinosaur) who get into adventures as they go on General Services gigs.

It was great to be part of such a fun series and work with the storyboard team (hey Steph, Chelsea, Jae, Gary and Kat!) to hash out ideas and establish the show’s sense of comedy. I have much respect for Pedro Eboli, who created & directed the series and was a pleasure to work with. And I tip my hat to everyone else at Atomic, Birdo and EOne who made it an enjoyable experience.

I’m proud to have been a part of this project and I totally would have happily stayed on for the rest of Season 1… if I hadn’t been offered the chance to write & direct another show, which I’ll talk about in my next post.

Definitely keep an eye out for CUPCAKE & DINO. It will premiere on Netflix in the U.S. and in 2019 it will end up on Teletoon in Canada and on Disney channels in Latin America.

Did I mention Cup and Dino’s grandmother is a steak? GRANDMAAA STEEEAAAK!!!

Atomicon + Vancouver Comic Con + VanCAF

If you dig comics and other graphic arts, there are a few events you should check out in Vancouver this month.

ATOMICON — The animation studio I work at, Atomic Cartoons, is putting on a convention at the Anza Club on Friday, May 12, from 6-11pm. I’ll have a table there, as will over 30 other artists from our studio. It’s free to attend but you do need to be 18 or older, since it’s a licensed venue. A great place to grab a pint and then buy some cool prints, comics, buttons and other art objects.

VANCOUVER COMIC CON — Then on Sunday, May 14, there’s a comic show at Heritage Hall. I won’t be a guest at this convention but my pals James Stokoe and Marley Zarcone will be back in town to promote their current comics, Aliens: Dead Orbit and Shade the Changing Girl, respectively. $4 admission / free for kids under 14.

VANCAF — I will be tabling at the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival on Saturday & Sunday, May 20-21. That weekend you can wander into the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre for free and check out what over 250 comic creators have to offer. There will also be a bunch of panels and workshops, including comics lessons for kids & teenagers throughout the weekend. Featured guests this year are Brandon Graham, C. Spike Trotman, Chip Zdarsky, Faith Erin Hicks, Sandrine Revel, Mike Lawrence, Marcelino Truong and Katherine Collins.

Hanging Up My Teaching Hat

Tonight is my final comics class at VanArts (the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts). For the past 12 years I’ve taught a part-time course called Introduction to Comic Book Production. I showed students the tools & tricks of the trade, helped them learn about all the things a comic artist should think about when crafting a page and encouraged them to strive for clear storytelling so the reader has a smooth and enjoyable experience.

It was good. I feel confident that I was able to give students their money’s worth and, in most cases, make them stronger storytellers. It was also a nice outlet for me to share the things that get me excited about the comics medium. But it’s been difficult juggling the course with full-time employment in animation, especially as my responsibilities there increase. So I’ve decided to bring this chapter to a close. I’ve accomplished what I wanted to as a teacher and now it’s time to focus on new opportunities.

Thanks to VanArts for providing me the venue and support to share my comic book knowledge over the past 12 years. And thanks to the 151 students who passed through my course and let me ramble at them about the comic creation process. I hope you got something out of my post-it note critiques.

Just remember: You should always plan out your lettering in your thumbnails!

A sampling of those post-it note critiques.

Everafter #6

I drew issue #6 of EVERAFTER for Vertigo Comics. It’s a stand-alone story, hitting comic shops on Feb 1st! It’s a spin-off of FABLES! Go get it!

Experience the dawn of the Everaftering through the eyes of the legendary magician, The Amazing Szymon! At a crisis point in his tired career, the Amazing Szymon is on the verge of throwing it all away when his tricks of the trade are suddenly revitalized by real and inexplicable magic. After Feathertop intervenes with a promise to guide this new Fable in exchange for his service with the Shadow Players, Szymon’s mission to rescue a Mundy pop star from a distant goblin realm reveals sinister underpinnings.

Written by Dave Justus & Lilah Sturges. Pencils by Steve Rolston. Inks by Ande Parks. Colours by Michael Wiggam. Cover by Tula Lotay.

www.vertigocomics.com

Littlest Pet Shop

The last of my Littlest Pet Shop episodes has now aired. I spent half of 2015 drawing storyboards on this kids show over at DHX Media. It was fun time, getting back into my animation roots and getting the hang of more cartoony, slapstick storytelling sensibilities.

Littlest Pet Shop

I got to work with some swell directors: Joel Dickie, Steve “Meatstick” Garcia and Mike Myhre. And my storyboard partner John Young was a delightful dude. John and I would each board half of an episode, so if you’re curious about what I’m to blame for, here’s a list of my episodes, all from Season 4:
Ep. 09 – Un-Vetted (front half)
Ep. 14 – Steamed (front half)
Ep. 19 – Race Team Buttercream (front half)
Ep. 24 – Seeing Red (back half)

You can watch them all on Netflix, if you’re into cute kids shows about big-eyed pets. I also storyboarded an LPS short called “Squeak Up!” featuring Zoe the purple dog. I don’t think that one has aired yet but it should be available eventually on littlestpetshop.hasbro.com.

FYI, I’m currently a rough storyboard artist on Marvel’s Avengers Assemble at Atomic Cartoons. I joined the team halfway through Season 3 and we’re now working on Season 4.

VanCAF 2016

Come see me this weekend, May 21st and 22nd at the VANCOUVER COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL! You can find me at Table D7 where I’ll be selling my books and things, including a brand new booklet of my INKtober sketches, fresh off the press. I’ll also be doing a talk on Lettering Comics at 11am on Saturday.

VanCAF is held at the Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown’s Yaletown neighbourhood and admission is FREE.

Hourly Comic Day 2016

February 1st was Hourly Comic Day, where people do a tiny comic for every hour that they’re awake. I had posted mine on Instagram and Twitter (hashtag #hourlycomicday) throughout the day but here’s the entire load compiled together:

Public Relations #6 in Previews Catalog

Wow, has it really been 5 years since I’ve had something new on comicshop shelves? Well don’t cry… the wait is over!

PUBLIC RELATIONS #6 is in the current Diamond Previews catalog with a launch date of March 9th. Our publisher, Devil’s Due / First Comics is also putting out a collection of the previous arc, so everyone can catch up if they’re late to the party.

I should note that someone screwed up and the Previews listing says #6 is still being drawn by David Hahn, who valiantly pencilled the first five issues. But ignore that. It’s me. Cross my heart.

PUBLIC RELATIONS is a workplace comedy that takes place in a magickal kingdom. It has both dragons AND dick jokes! Written by funny guys Matthew Sturges & Dave Justus, pencilled by me, inked by José Marzán Jr, coloured by Hi-Fi Color and graced with covers by Annie Wu. Are you sold yet?

Head on down to your local comic shop and ask them to pre-order PUBLIC RELATIONS #6-11 from Devil’s Due for you. Maybe ask for that first collection too.

Here’s a sample page from #6 to let you see what you’re in for.

Public Relations #6 pg 18

Comic Lecture at Vancouver Public Library

I’m going to be giving my talk on creating comics at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library on the evening of Thursday, January 14th. I’ll be discussing the basics of drawing comics and explaining the typical stages of script, thumbnails, pencils, inks and lettering, using examples from the graphic novel Emiko Superstar. The event is free to attend.

See more event details here. 

This is a good talk for those who are new to making comics and want to get a glimpse at how another artist does it. This will also give you a good idea of the types of things I teach in my comics course at VanArts. My next course there starts up on January 25th UPDATE: We’ve pushed the next start date to February 15th.

Comics in Transit: Doors of Copenhagen

Doors of Copenhagen comic

Here’s the one-page comic I created for the COMICS IN TRANSIT project put together by Cloudscape Comics and the City of Vancouver. Twenty different comics by local artists are gracing some bus shelters for the next month. Each comic is only at one location and I don’t know which one mine is at, so let me know if you see it!

You can find a list of all the locations on the Cloudscape website, where they also have information about a contest they’re running. Basically, tweet a photo of yourself in front of one of the comics and you can win some Cloudscape comics.

Some of you may recognize the doors from the photos I took while visiting Denmark, meant as reference for another comic. When this project came along to create a one-page comic about an international city, it was a no-brainer to tackle Copenhagen in this way.