Hi! Sorry I’ve been blogging so little lately. I’m just spending long days every day drawing Hereville. And it’s not just the time; it’s also, somehow, mental creative energy being expended. Even when I have a few hours after work, I just don’t seem to have it in me to write new posts.
Anyway, this too will pass.
I’ll be appearing in Vancouver, Canada this weekend, at the Vancouver Comics Arts Fest. It should be a lot of fun, and I think admission is free; so if you’re in Vancouver, please come see me and say hi.
Here’s the page from Hereville 2 I finished yesterday — and it’s a pretty spoiler-free page. I’m pretty happy with how this page looks.
It has two unusual elements for me. First of all, it’s yet another attempt at an Eisner-style collage layout. I wouldn’t say it’s completely successful — certainly not as nice looking as an Eisner page, but that’s a given, isn’t it? — but I think this works better than the Eisner-attempts in book one did. (Which were pages 31 and 32, if you’re wondering and have book 1 handy.)
Secondly, drew panel one with the kind of over-the-top foreshortening that artists like Jim Steranko used to such great effect, which is not something I can recall ever attempting before. I think it came out okay, but I probably won’t be doing this often in the future — it’s so visually oddball looking (to my eyes, at least) that I think it’s bound to distract from storytelling in most contexts.
I’ll be at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon this weekend. If you’re there, please come up and say hi.
I’m planning a very light con schedule this summer, incidentally, since most of my time is going towards drawing the second Hereville book. But in May I’ll be appearing at VANcaf in Vancouver, Canada, and in August I’ll be at GeekGirlCon in Seattle, Washington.
I’m in Ohio today; I’m typing this from the library of Worthingway Middle School in Worthington, Ohio. I’ll be speaking to the kids here today, then this afternoon I’ll speak at Kilbourne Middle School, and tomorrow I’ll be visting McCord Middle School. School appearances are always fun for me, and this time I’m expermenting with some new material, a “workshop” on writing and drawing a comic strip. Wish me luck!
Then, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be at the Mid-Ohio Comic Book Con. I’ll be at table 1013; please come and say “hi” if you’re there.
I just did an author visit at the Agnon School in Cleveland via Skype, and it was so much fun! I got to talk to their 4th grade class, do live drawing demonstrations for them, show them an animated film of my drawing process, and answer their questions.
And when I was done, I was right here in my studio in Oregon.
To conclude: living in the world of the future is teh awesome.
Here are the live drawings I did for the kids. When I do this presentation, I first demonstrate for the kids how to lay out a face by using the eggshell-with-a-cross method, which is a very easy method. Then, I call on the kids to answer questions like “what should the nose be like?” or “what expression does this person have?,” and then I draw whatever they tell me to. (I draw a lot of mohawks and afros, therefore.) It’s a lot of fun. After the presentation is over, I email the drawings to the librarian, so she can print out a copy for any kids who want.
Right now it’s mostly well-off schools that have Skype setups, but nothing about being able to use Skype is so outrageously expensive that any school couldn’t do it. All that’s required is a computer monitor large enough to be seen by the whole classroom, and an internet connection. For the kids growing up now, talking to creators and other folks from all over the world is increasingly becoming an ordinary part of education.
Many thanks to Aimee Lurie, the kick-ass librarian at Agnon School who put this all together!
I’ll be at Comic-Con in San Diego this week, starting with preview night tonight and through the end of Comic-Con on Sunday.
I’m in Artists Alley, table DD-5, a fair amount of the time. I’ll have copies of Hereville and my new short story, How To Make A Man Out Of Tin Foil, with me.
I’ve never been to Comic-Con before — which is to say, I’ve been to the comic book convention that takes place in San Diego before, but as far as I can recall I’ve never been to it since it became, you know, COMIC-CON! I’m completely intimidated by the sheer hugeness of Comic-Con, but also excited.
I’m planning to spend some time going to panels, looking at other cartoonists’ tables and trying to enjoy the con, so I won’t be at my table every minute — but I’m planning to be at my table at least a few hours a day, possibly more. In addition, I’ll be doing a Hereville signing at the Abrams booth Friday and Sunday mornings.
Comic-Con is so huge that you pretty much need a strategy to attend. I’ve decided not to try to attend any of the really BIG events — the Whedon appearance, the Matt Smith appearances, and so on — because it would require too much time spent in line.
Although seeking a chance to talk to the big celebrities can lead to extremely treasure-able memories. Winter McCloud told me a great story about getting called on to ask Kristin Chenowith a question at a panel at a previous Comic-Con. (Chenowith, who is less than five feet tall, commented, “wow, you’re as tiny as I am.”) Winter (who is not shy, and who is, like me, a big fan of musicals) asked Chenowith if she’d sing just for a few moments. The crowd erupted in applause at Winter’s request, and Winter was rewarded with this performance:
I’ll be in Montreal, at Babar en ville (1235A Greene Ave, 514-931-0606) from 5 to 7pm on Monday, signing copies of Hereville. If you’re in town, please stop by and say hi.
I’m on my way to Toronto, where I will visit a couple of schools (yay!), hang out with some relatives, and attend the Toronto Comics Arts Fest. If you’re going to be in Toronto, please come by and say hi — the Fest, located in the Toronto Reference Library, is free to the public.
The National Post sent out a survey to all the cartoonists attending TCAF who haven’t attended before. Here’s their questions and my answers:
Who are you? Why are you here?
I’m Barry Deutsch, a cartoonist from Portland, Oregon, USA (one of several Portlanders attending this year). I’m here to introduce people to my first graphic novel, Hereville, a fantasy adventure about a troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.
Why have you never been to TCAF before? What’s wrong with you!
If you folks would hold TCAF in Portland, I’d attend every year! That’s not asking too much, now is it?
What kind of stories have you heard about TCAF?
No lie: I’ve heard it’s the best-run comic book convention on the continent.
Do you attend many comic festivals and conventions? Why are they so important?
They’re not important! Important stuff involves getting work done and paying bills and dressing in brown and very probably sitting in a room where the only sound is pens scraping across tedious government forms. Comic book festivals are for fun.
If you’re not from Toronto, what do you know about the city? If you are from Toronto, what should out-of-town guests do in their free time?
I regularly listen to Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Cafe” while I draw. So I’m looking forward to meeting the cute and folksy types that I believe comprise 100% of Canada’s population.
What part of TCAF are you most excited about?
I’m excited that TCAF is held in a public library and is free for the public to attend. Hopefully this means that some folks who aren’t comic book fanatics like I am, but who might nonetheless enjoy reading a good graphic novel, will come see the show.
There’s a lot to see and I don’t have a lot of time, so why should I come to your table on Saturday or Sunday?
When I go to conventions, people always tell me that I have the best pitch they’ve seen at the entire show. Seriously, people often hear my pitch, and then return later dragging their friends so their friends can hear the pitch too. Even if you don’t like my comic at all, you’ll enjoy hearing my pitch.
(My publisher would appreciate it if I just casually mentioned here that a School Library Journal reviewer called Hereville “the best kid’s graphic novel of 2010, bar none” Hereville is nominated for an Eisner Award, a Nebula Award, and is the first comic book ever to win the Sydney Taylor Book Award. So if you want to read a funny, exciting, and extremely unique comic that both kids and adults will enjoy, that’s another reason to stop by my table.)
The festival is kicking-off with a panel discussion featuring Chester Brown, Seth, Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. I have to ask: who’s your favourite and why?
It’s impossible to say who’s the best cartoonist of that lot; they’re each beyond incredible. But of those four, I get the most enjoyment out of Seth’s comics. Seth’s work contains the precise mix of playful whimsy and mind-numbing depression that most appeals to me.
If you could spend a day with another artist attending this year’s TCAF, who would it be and why?
Aaarrgh! Too hard. It’s 2:49am and my brain can’t process a question this difficult.
What’s your most anticipated comic of the year?
The advance word on Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol is incredible, and I can’t wait to read it. But the graphic novel I’m most looking forward to is Dicebox, by Jenn Lee, a 350-page graphic novel collecting her webcomic of the same name. Lee is one of very few cartoonists creating intelligent, grown-up science fiction comics, and her drawing is exquisite. Plus I love that Dicebox isn’t about some starship Captain or galactic rebels; it’s about ordinary blue-collar workers trying to get along in the universe.
This summer we’ll see Captain America, Thor, and the Green Lantern on the big screen. What comic should next make the leap to film? Who should direct it?
Chris Ware’s “Jimmy Corrigan” should become a big-budget blockbuster directed by Chris Columbus of “Home Alone” fame. It can’t miss!
What will have to happen this weekend for you to consider TCAF a success?
I’d like to sell a bunch of books, have some great conversations with fans and other cartoonists, meet the girl and or boy of my dreams, have a passionate yet tragic and ultimately doomed love affair, invent a time travel machine and have tea with Oscar Wilde, reconnect with my estranged best friend from the sixth grade, fight a duel with my mortal enemy Skelator, each of us are armed only with broken umbrellas from bad takes of “Singin’ In The Rain,” win six billion dollars and use it to buy the rights to more seasons of “Firefly,” and eat a really delicious sandwich.
Stumptown went great! I sold all 60 copies of Hereville I had with me, chatted with many readers and cartoonists, and just generally had a swell time.
From The Beat, here’s a photo of me at my booth at Stumptown.
Thanks to Jen Vaughn, who took that photo and is also an excellent cartoonist with a series of comics about menstruation.
I also had the good fortune to be on a panel about world-building, moderated by Evan Dahm; the other panelists were Carla Speed McNeil, Jenn Manley Lee, Kel McDonald, and Larry Marder. So that was pretty awesome.
Happily, Evan made an audio recording of the panel, which you can listen to here.
I’ll be at Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon this weekend; look for me at table C-26 (see map below). I’ll be signing and selling copies of “Hereville” and just basically hanging out. If you’re there, please come say hi.
I’ll also be appearing on a panel on Sunday:
Worldbuilding • Sunday, April 17th • 2:00-2:45pm in Room A106
Evan Dahm moderates a discussion featuring Carla Speed McNeil, Barry Deutsch, Jenn Manley Lee, Larry Marder, and Kel McDonald, as they share the challenges and rewards of intricate, in-depth world-building for your own fictional settings.
Hope to see you there!
The Miami Book Fair was terrific! I’ve been to a fair number of comic book conventions over the years, but this was my first book fair. Naturally, I hung out with other cartoonists virtually the whole time.
Still, it wasn’t really like a comic book con. At comic book cons, there are so many cartoonists that we tend to divide ourselves by brow height — the allegedly “lowbrow” superhero cartoonists hang out mainly with other superhero folks, the highbrow Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly people hang out mainly with each other, and I mainly hang out with other “middlebrow” cartoonists. But because there were relatively few cartoonists at the Miami Book Fair, I hung out with all sorts of cartoonist. and it was loads of fun!
I have the world’s worst memory for names (really, it’s amazing), so I can’t list every cartoonist I hung out with. But I spent lots of time kicking with Amy Ignatow whose very funny graphic novel is The Popularity Papers. Amy and I did a panel with Chris Schweizer (the cartoonist behind Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March, both of which are super fun adventures) and Raina Telgemeier (whose amazing graphic novel Smile is on everyone’s “year’s best” list).
I also got to talk with Vanessa Davis (Make Me A Woman, another frequent resident of “years best” lists) and her gentleman friend whose name I can’t remember (I suck!), but I hope they’re serious about moving to Portland; Dave Roman (Astronaut Elementary); big-time superhero cartoonist Amanda Conner, who recommended I read her comic book The Pro; I did read it, and thought it was utterly hilarious and very well-drawn (although definitely for grown-ups only). Jimmy Palmiotti (writer of Power Girl, Jonah Hex, and about a zillion other comics); Lars Martinson, whose graphic novel series Tonoharu is almost painfully gorgeous; and other folks whose names I’m blanking on.
Plus, a wonderful breakfast with Abrams editor Charlie Kochman, where we sort of discussed business (he told me about an upcoming Abrams book that I’m just drooling to see) but mainly just geeked out about comics together. Charlie later snapped this pic of me and Amanda discovering we attended the same high school:
Last and not at all least, I was interviewed by my fellow Oberlin alumni Heidi Estrin, who interviewed me for her podcast The Book of Life; it was a really fun interview, and I can’t wait to hear it.
After Miami, I went off to Orlando for the ALAN workshop! I’ll post about that later.