A journal of posts relevant to
my profesional work as an artist and teacher.

#ThisMAIfreeArt; TCAF; and FBDM! (5/7/2024)

It’s May, and I’ve got a few things to catch you up with that are going on this month!

This May, Free Art with us!

We want to free it from exploitative extractive generative AI capture and training without consent or licence! And encourage people’s human right to true self expression, rather than resorting to gamified prompting engines for a simulacrum of it.

Human Made Arts’ is founded by a group of artists and our tentpole action for May starting with International Workers Day, is a 31 day art challenge! We created prompts to use to inspire some drawing fun, or work in ANY human driven medium. Share the results of yours with the hashtags #ThisMAIFreeArt and #HumanMadeArts along with others like #NoAI.

If you join in, tag our social medial platforms in your posts too so we can re-share them! You’ll find those linked off of the landing page here. You don’t have to be a great artist! Just a Human. support the cause of human creativity and ethical treatment of our creative labour.

Look forward to seeing your art! Here’s the first prompt list, and the first 7 days of Daily Counter Prompts. The daily cards are inspired by Oblique Strategy cards, and can be used as foils against the daily prompts on the list or on their own.

And here are my first 5 days of work for the challenge!

I know there’s a few typos, I’ve fixed those for a little free zine I’ll be giving out at festivals this month and later posts and publishing. But posting here as they appeared on my Instagram FB and other social media.

It’s Festival Season!

I’m not big on comic conventions these days but I love a good comics festival! I’m not tabling at TCAF but going to go hang out and see folks for the first time in years there! I was a Juror for the Doug Wright Awards so thought that was good enough an excuse to go.

But later in the Month I will be tabling at FBDM! My table is D30 Between Mount-Royal and Marie-Anne!

I’ll have my usual at the table: My independent books, prints, and the zines collecting my first 5 days of the #ThisMAIfreeArt stuff too! Hope to see some of you at either of those, come by and say Hi if nothing else!

Ok that’s it for now! Hope you’re having a good one, or at least as good as can be expected.
~max

FBDM/MCAF 2023! May 26th-28th (5/24/2023)

In a couple more days the main event of FBDM/MCAF starts so thought I’d add an update here!

FYI I’m tabling May 26th to the 28th. In Tent C19! You’ll see in the listing for our block, that there’s a number of us presenting in that kiosk, but not so many you’ll have any trouble finding me, OR Brendan Montgomery who will be joining me Fri and Sat in his role as publisher and editor of Sequential Magazine, a sister print and digital quarterly publication launched off the Sequential Comics news site I started just over 20 years ago!

Issue 14, and many others will be available all weekend, Sunday too I think. unless we sell out?

Of course I’ll have my 5 latest books, along with some of my events exclusive 13×19″ prints! Including this new one from a bit of fun I had creating a pin up for the future issue of Mind Engine.

The festival is free to the public, held in Montreal on Saint-Denis street between Gilford and Roy. Our tent will be about midway between Marie-Anne and Rachel, in the middle of it all!

See the maps included here below for where to find us and more info about the festival can be found here on their main site!

I took this shot of the festival last year Friday, day one walking back to my tent. It was just after some rain which isn’t great but were mostly in the tents protected and over the weekend it was dry!

Here’s a boisterous clip from the festival promoting this years show!

Movement & Wordless Conversations in Comics | Cages vs Journal T3 (2/19/2023)

One of my all time favorite books is Dave McKean’s epic, Cages [1990-96]. 

Cover for the collected hard cover edition of Cages

I’ve recorded a short overview of these two sequences on my YouTube channel here, and a presentation I gave of them for FBDM is posted here as well!

There are many lovely sequence with no words in this book but one of them documenting a conversation between the main character and a new romantic interest always stuck with me as a great example of how things like sound mood and movement can be captured in comics.

Along with several other visual gags like word balloons filled with pictograms and fluid shifts in style to effectively communicate changed in the emotional content of the encounter.

It’s notable how being wordless not only does not hamper it, it probably facilitates it.  It also takes more space than an actual conversation can if it’s just text but this may have more to do with pacing. Still, sometimes a picture is worth a million words, but other times it takes a lot of them to get across the idea.

A classic case of making the reader a participant in the writing. Often the best way to get something profound across is to not actually say it, but imply and leave space for the reader to project what they think. And how that can be a lot more profound than explicit text.

Cover of Journal 3

I was then reminded a LOT of this when I first read another scene, in Fabrice Neaud’s Journal T3 [2002].

The book was published later but it’s about a time period in his life around the same as when Cages was published, so I often wonder if he was influenced by it.

ED: I later talked to Fabrice and he told me that the work in Cages very mush inspired his scene, it was done as a homage!

There are ways in which his is more efficient, and clearer in what’s been talked about. His art is more draftsmen like so it tends to be less organic and brushy. And he used a lot more repetition. But still keep a a good amount of flow in the reading and captures many of the same feelings and ideas in term of the formal tools working to play with time, movement, and communicate emotions. And he’s even bolder in shedding any text in the lean in and exit of his chapter compared to McKean’s.

Fabrice is depicting a ‘true’ event, where he has a crush on a straight guy but by the end of it there’s a hint of how they end up not connecting as much. 

He used much more specific symbolism as well during the wordless conversation, while Dave has 9 pages of dialogue conversation before the wordless sequence, to frame and set it up [i’ve included those for context]. 

So Cages actually wordless conversation dance is only 13 pages long, compared to the whole 19 page wordless scene in Fabrice’s. Fabrice thus is doing more literal narrative work with it by far, between the specific symbols and the page count. While Dave is using it more evocatively. In Cages, a work of fiction, the story builds up the synergy of their feelings to a more positive outcome by its end.  The morphological visual metaphor is built around music at first, and in Journal T3, it’s dance. 

Sound versus physical motion and rhythms, all things not native to the medium of comics, leaning on visual stylizations to suggest the lived sensory experience of them. 

Both of these are examples of decompressed storytelling, so they take up a lot of real estate to get the job done. You could use similar tools in a short story but you’d have much less space to get the idea across…I’ll have to see if I can find an example of that too.

And here, side by side comparisons of what I think are examples of how each artists handled a similar moment.

Moving over to Substack! (9/11/2022)

Hi folks, with the new job I was delaying payments for a while on Patreon but eventually just shut that down with the plan to move all my content posting over to Substack!

It took me a little bit but I’ve done that now! You can subscribe to my posts there for free, for now it’s podcasts once a week or so, and when I’ve got some art done I can share I’ll post it there too!

Check out the posts so far and sign up here! You can also sub to the podcast on it’s own via Anchor.

Work Blog Update : Half a year back in Animation! (6/10/2021)

What up everyone!

So I’m coming up on a month of working on the new show? My time on season 5 of F is for Family was quite the ride. Straight up fun for preproduction for 3 months, once things got under way with the main production period and I took on supervising three departments, it was a bit intense!

But I got it done, and with the help of a great crew my departments were pretty well positioned when animation got underway. I think I might have even been ok at the job! Got a lot of praise from the director so yeah, hopefully did not wrap up my departments with too much suckage! Pleased with all that. The image here is my likeness as an extra, you’ll spot me and a bunch of the crew in the crowds watching the Thanks Giving parade! ;) Not really suposed to show anything but I think I can take a small liberty with this one given I posted the head on social media already. :D

The Next Thing

On the new show I’m just a prop designer, by request. Wanted some comparative down time after that run. I’m also helping with some of the Sup work and doing a bit of detailing for Backgrounds, so far it’s pretty good.

I have been working on my own comics very very slowly, it seems like it’s been longer than 7 months since last Oct, the routine and and regular income have been good for things on the personal front, I’ve got a stack of things backlogged to get done for old Dracula Kickstarter backers still, some art to ship and need to figure out what we’re doing for the hand full of high end leather bound books.

The print edition of that book is finally coming out this coming September from Dark Horse Comics, with all the hiccups along the way I’m a bit holding my breath until one in my hands though to be honest. But fingers crossed, there will be no more delays there.

Patreon has been on payment hold all year, been thinking about what I’ll do with that in terms of long term plans. Not sure yet. Not sure how long I’ll be in animation but right now it’s a good thing for my future plans economically so will have to consider if I keep it around, revamping dramatically.

I thought I’d post an update but that’s all there really is to say for now, you can catch live streams with me over on youtube now and then still, I’m up about once a week still. I’ll leave you with this page from the latest instalment of A Bastards Tale, and see you around the inter webs!

What’s new! (10/31/2020)

It’s been a while since I updated this here! FYI I’ve been using my Patreon as my work diary blog for the last year or more. Go there to fill in the blanks!

I wanted to post a general career update here, things have changed! After 7 years of paying the bills in part by teaching art part time at Syn Studio, I decided it was time to find something more lucrative.

I’ve lived through a few economic down turns now at 50, and the one’s I weathered the best were when I had solid full time work of some kind. The school was not willing to host more classes by me or pay for my prep time, even was reducing my classes in the wake of the pandemic so that simply wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

And while I’m still with Three in a Box, and had hoped for more, freelance illustration work has not been forthcoming this cursed year.

A very basic bit of ‘animation’ made in Harmony with my test art to see if I understood a few thing.

So when I was talking with my old friend Eric Theriault on discord and he mentioned Oasis, the local studio he works at was gearing up for a new season of F is for Family, I got their HR info from him [application portals suck and given I’m a high-school dropout they always screen me out before anyone sees my work], wrote a friendly cover letter and sent them some samples. I got asked to do a test, which went well because they hired me on the spot!

These three images are the test art I did.

So the last few weeks now, about a month I’ve been working full time designing props for F is for Family pre production for season 5. All goes well when full production kicks in I’ll be supervising the dept. Exciting and while a bit intense deadline wise, I’ve been managing well I think? The work is all remote so still in my studio at my desk. I am having to get up much earlier than has been my norm for the last 20 years though, find Saturdays are becoming the sleep deficit catch up day.

I wouldn’t call it hard work but there’s a lot of it to do! Honestly though compared to my personal stuff which is very labor intense, I enjoy the relative simplicity of commercial animation art. And it’s offered a few fun challenges along the way. I’m also looking forward to training on Harmony around the holidays.

I don’t have a lot of time left after work for my own stuff now, but I do have lots of gas in the tanks at the end of the day creativity wise. Same experience I had working at Nelvana in the 90s. So still working away on personal stuff in my spare time, slower than ever but eh, that’s fine. Here’s a chunk of a wordless story I’ve been working on for Mind Engine recently.

I’m still teaching one class a week of cartooning, but it will be my last class for a while when it wraps up in 5 weeks. I loved teaching but it also always feels good to change things up when it comes time.

I’ll be halting all patreon payments, probably as long as I’m doing this job? I can neither work on my own stuff fast enough to justify them i feel, nor need the $ right now. But I’m still updating the blog there and will post what I do get done.

I’m not sure if you’ll still be charged for the first time if you pledge right now, but for sure that will be the only time for a while, so might be a good time to join my Patreon and read the over 400 pages of comics and get all my updates in your inbox?

My YouTube just passed 10k subscribers and I’ll still be updating there when I can too so if you haven’t, go subscribe and hit the bell!

There’s also a series of interviews I’ve conducted with Sam Noir just before the new job started that I’ve got to edit, and will be hopefully not the ONLY episodes of a new Sequential Vodcast/Podcast program, it has it’s own channel here and you can catch them via the Sequential site or FB page. I’ve already published a short version of our talk with Ho Che Anderson, which a text version as well can be found in Issue 7 of the magazine!

See you all around the inter-tubes!
Max

New Posts On Youtube and Ko-fi (2/12/2019)

Hey all, so I’ve got some new clips i’ve posted over the last while,
and i’ve added Ko-fi to my funding options too.

 I like Patreon, plan to keep using it, but I’m aware some folks are falling of love with the platform, and some people want a more low commitment option than a monthly pre programed payment to help out. So you’ll find buttons like this in the widget section of my site just under the Patreon logo, if you would like to help out you can use that now!

What’s new on YouTube (11/5/2018)

I’ve posted several clips since I last updated
the workblog about my activity there.
Here’s the highlights!

This one documents some of the last bits of inking for my work on Dracula Son of the Dragon.

Here I talk about a basic inking tip re how to place lines relative to the forms you want them to describe.

This one about is how I digitally colour my work.

This one, relates to the last in that it’s about line weight and values.

And these two are about how to draw a horse, but also using gesture, constructive anatomy, and figurative contour, and how Aphantasia does not get in the way of my work.

And last, i’ve made a video presentation of a talk I given in my Making Comics class and at events on the mechanics of sequential art, you can watch the 4 part series here!

Stormy ink & wash (11/3/2018)

I’ve been doing some catching up with things this fall, this commision is one of the last two outstanding I had backlogged.

Details of the work are posted to patreon here, here, here and here.

 

And here’s a time lapse clip of the inking and washes posted to youtube.

Reading what a clients wants. (9/10/2018)

I posted on Patreon about profiling your clients desires and helping them to visualize what they want more clearly so they can share that with you enabling you to actualize it more efficiently. It’s a key skill in a freelancers toolkit.

The job in question was this one.

Snakes, ladders & closure: The mechanics of comics art (5/21/2018)

FBDM/MCAF is coming up, along with tabling [#72] i’m also hosting a workshop talk on comics this year!

Snakes, ladders & closure:
The mechanics of comics art.

Sun 27th in the ‘studio’ 4pm-4:45pm.

I’m going to try to record the session so I can post a clip of it on Patreon, though not sure if i’ll be able to pull that off.

If you’re in town for the fest come say hello and make sure to remind me if you’re a patreon patron!

Darth Vader Sketch, my first! (5/14/2018)

Just got back from the Ottawa Comic Con, wasn’t a great show for sales this year which is sad, but had a really good time visiting with some fellow comics people.

I had an online commision that didn’t get started before I left so I didn’t necessarily expect them to show up for it, but happy with how the art came out, I put it up for sale on my store now! It could be yours for $100 cnd.

 

New Album Art Gig : Mirage (5/7/2018)

Hey folks, I posted a process post about this job here on my Patreon blog, and added this new work to my illustration sets! Nice little gig for local band Le Trio BBQ.

Lots of notes on it on the blog post. Just wanted to point out here, it works both right side up and upside down! Catch the development process here on Patreon. It’ll go with their album Mirage.

 

Blog is back after a long hiatus? (4/29/2018)

Hello! For ages I kept a work blog on this site, which over time kind of drifted to become a mashup of personal blog and stuff basket. The Feature image you might be seeing on the workdiary page on this post is from one of the last incarnations of that blog.

Over time social media sort of took over for such things and the need for one on my site seemed to end. Especially once I started posting my blog like things on Patreon.

I plan to continue doing that, but I’ve decided to start the home site work blog back up fresh, it’ll host some cross posting with Patreon, but mainly I feel like it might be a good idea to keep the home base at least a little bit more active than I have.

This is going to be a trade and craft space exclusively this time though, sketch posts will be the most personal things, nothing else goes here. News about my work, posts that come out of my teaching, how two clips like the recent YouTube clips embedded below, that kind of thing. Hope you enjoy it if you stumble in here, let me know on twitter or facebook if you do!

So yes, here’s a set of more recent work clips from YouTube, i’ve been posting instructional desk side stuff there for a while, subscribe here if you want to get updates as I post!