the jukebox journey

Jukebox idea, 2014

Jukebox pitch, 2016

I spent last fall thumbnailing my next graphic novel, Jukebox. It’s a story about two cousins, Tannaz and Shaheen, who find a jukebox that takes them back in time. The thumbnail manuscript is where a cartoonist lays out the story taking into account page layout, panels, page turns and flow. I wrote the book with my hubbahubba, Nick Giordano. Over the past few weeks we received early feedback and I’m wrapping up revisions. Next week I will start drawing final art for the book. It’s roughly 200 pages.

Each milestone in a long and arduous project deserves a celebration. I’m pretty terrible at taking the time to mark these moments because of my work demands. But… finishing the thumbnail manuscript was a feat. I approached it differently than Pashmina which began with a full script. I abandoned the full script for Jukebox and went straight to thumbnails, stopping to write when needed. This approach integrated the visuals and text concurrently and took five months, compared to Pashmina, which was over a year. In those five months I lived inside the story. I talked about the characters like friends I was trying to understand. It’s my absolute favorite part of the process.

Working on the final art is fun and labor intensive. I’m looking forward to using color to communicate pieces of the story visually, approaching the line work in a way that allows for focal points and nuance and drawing my favorite city, San Francisco.

I will continue to share sales, occasional art and events (I will be in LA, St Louis, New York, and PA this year) but mostly I will be quietly working on Jukebox. I will share snippets when I can and it will hit the shelves in 2021. Jukebox is very dear to my heart. Writing a book with the love of my life has been wonderful and challenging. I’m a pretty intense person to work with! The truth is that Nick contributes to all my projects but this book is our joint love letter to music, family and connection. The wait will be long but worthwhile.

For now I’m sharing these early images. Nick and I started talking about our idea in 2014 and I roughly sketched it. The next drawing was used to pitch the book immediately after finishing Pashmina in 2016. Neither will appear in the finished book but I love them both. Making a book is a looong journey and I’m in the middle. Finishing the manuscript is an important milestone. Based on my other committments and schedule, I should finish drawing  it by years end but it will leave little room for anything else. So, I will stop to celebrate this milestone… and then get back to work!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

pie time

I spent some time making time lapse videos of my ink drawings yesterday. It was super fun!

Meanwhile our last sale of the year ends soon! Take 15% off with the code CYWEEK18 in our shop ends Sunday!

I hope you have a great weekend!

cat basket

 

As I travel and am away from my drawing equipment more and more, I decided to invest in an ipad and apple pencil. I started to play with an app that tons of my artist friends have been raving about – procreate. Last night I discovered that it records the creation process! I’m sharing it here:

Tomorrow I will be speaking at St. Victors in San Jose with Gene Yang, if you’re around please join us.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

nachle

I had every intention of completing this drawing of our family dancing. Some of our best days are when the hubbahubba puts on a record and our daughter demands that we get up to dance (mostly to chaiyya chaiyya). Like many things this year, though, I did not have enough time. So I share it in its raw sketchy state as it still captures our joy.

It’s been a strange, exhausting year. Aside from sharing PASHMINA across the country, creatively the best art I shared were my free resistance coloring pages. Most of my other work I cannot share yet. In fact one of my projects, a picture book titled I WILL BE FIERCE was just announced.

For the first time in my years of working independently, I am taking 2 full weeks off for the holidays. Not working late on Christmas eve, not missing catching up with friends and family and taking a much needed mental break.

Thank you for all your support & shares. I hope you have happy, warm holidays.

 

leaf play

leafplay

My theme for inktober is fall favorites. If you have a fall favorite you’d like to see my draw, leave a comment and I may draw it!

One of the things I enjoy the most about the inktober challenge is using color in harmony with the ink. I realized that if I don’t ink the outlines of all the elements (in this case the leaves), I can give the appearance of a foreground and middle ground. That means that the ink can pop forward and the color, even though its everywhere, has a more subtle quality.

SOLD! They measure 2.5×3.5 inches on bristol board made with a combination of brush pen, color markers, microns and a little dash of colerase pencils. I will update the post with sold if they’re gone ^_^

 

cooking with you

nidhi-chananiprocess Cooking with you I recently did a set of commissions and loved how thehubby described their cooking sessions – he made the food while she snatched samples along the way! Ive been asked about my process for awhile so I thought I would create a short gif to give some insight. I begin in flash with a line drawing, then I draw over that with solid color. I export my flash file in layers to photoshop and add shadows, lighting and adjust the colors.I hope you have a happy week!

night duel + urban epicurean festival

dueldeux duel1 Very early in my career my hard drive crashed and I lost the full resolution files of my illustrations. Duel was one of them – and as my work has been featured on different websites I’ve been asked for it as a print. Sadly I cannot recreate it – but I did revisit it! It was so much fun – it gave me a chance to truly see where I’ve grown. I understand anatomy and character weight better, but also light and shadow. I still have a long way to go but I know from years of experience my best route to improvement is to keep drawing. ^_^

Meanwhile, this weekend I will be at the Urban Epicurean Fest in San Francisco selling prints, cards and calendars with the wonderful Lyla Warren ofLittle Brigade. She’s coming from Portland to share her lovelySeedlingswith you all! Littlebrigade_seeds_of_love If you’re around please come by and say hello!

priyanka

prisss

 

I’m back in the studio after a 2 month break to be with my daughter. It’s the longest break I’ve had from art in 5 years! My biggest project is working on the final art for my graphic novel, Pashmina. As I opened my completed pages I noticed my main character, Priyanka, looked different in a few panels. I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to keep her consistent throughout the book. As I revised the panels that bothered me, I thought about how much work isn’t seen by the reader. There’s so much pre-work – sketches, notes, ideas, drafts. Through the next few months as I work on final art I want to share some glimpses of the pre-work with you.

As I worried about character consistency, I pulled up a file with a bunch of Priyanka expressions I drew during the thumbnail process. This exercise not only gave me an idea of her personality, but also how to draw her face up, face down, and from the side. Once I brought this file up, I felt calm. I already did the work that could help me with consistency. I use the file for reference through each page.

This is my first attempt at a graphic novel. The whole process is a learning experience. By the time you hold a copy in your hands, each page will have been revised, redrawn and edited at least eight times. The manuscript had five drafts. The thumbnails had three rounds of editing. The final art will no doubt have at least two. Some pages are easier than others. I’ve read about other creator’s processes in writing and drawing. I’m sure I’m doing things wrong and I know I’ve made lots of mistakes. I’m okay with that. Once I finish, I will know what works for me.

For now, I must push forward, making mistakes and learning along the way.

fluffy friend and brush pen tips

fluffyfriend This is one of my recent evening brush pen sketches. In art school I was incredibly uncomfortable with the brush pen – it was a challenge. After years of practice drawing WITHOUT it I have a much better feel for it. Why? Because I have put in hours and hours of drawing time to understand form, shape and my own limitations (which are many). I start with a loose drawing in color pencil (usually whichever pencil is closest and sharpened, in this case it’s orange) and after I have the sketch, I bring out the brush pen. I ink over the lines as confidently as possible. The most important piece of this, which I didn’t understand before, is to commit. Once I put the ink down I cannot go back. I must be sure. I try not to lift the pen, to make solid, fluid lines. Some artists remain sketchy and loose at the ink stage, which is achieves another lovely look. I like the clear, solid lines so I attempt that. My favorite part of the process are the accents that appear due to the brush and paper texture. When I push down to make a thicker line, or pull back for a thinner line, the organic cracking and grain is so visually pleasing! I have more brush pen sketches on my Facebook page ^_^ Have a happy Friday!

little light

littlelight

I created this entirely in photoshop in 30 minutes – I usually do the base drawing in flash. I wanted to explore painting on just one layer but old habits die hard! I ended up with 12 layers but that’s a big change for me.

I woke up with this image in my mind because I felt a bit crushed by the news… it feels as though all we have is a little light – but hopefully that’s enough to grow out of these shadows.