Showing posts with label DC Conspiracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DC Conspiracy. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Hobbes Holluck

Hobbes Holluck and Karly Perez at SPX 2016

by Mike Rhode

Hobbes Holluck of Winchester, VA participated in the Heroic Aleworks comic book fair this spring, and asked to postpone an interview until he launched his new Kickstarter campaign.  It's live now, so he's telling us about his career by answering our usual questions.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

The things that seem to be constantly recurring in my work are monsters and humor.  Right now I have two fairly distinct styles I work in.  One is a very colorful cartoony style that I use when I do my own storytelling.  The other is a much more dark and expressive style I developed working with Karly Perez.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I generally work traditionally if I can.  I use pencil, ink, inkwash, markers, airbrush, acrylic paint, gouache, etc.  I basically use whatever medium is appropriate for the effect I want.  For Fuzzbuquet, the current story I'm working on, I will generally start with a pencil sketch, ink it, color it using copic markers and then use airbrush for the background and special effects.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in San Juan Puerto Rico in 1981.  Growing up in the 80's had a substantial influence on my work.  Saturday morning cartoons, toy culture, Garbage Pail Kids, and that era of comics definitely resonated with me.  I could go on and on....

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I grew up in the suburbs of D.C. in Chantilly, VA.  I spent about 5 years in Richmond for grad school and then moved back to the area to work as an art teacher.  I recently moved to Winchester.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

I have a BA in fine art from Virginia Tech but I didn't learn much about comics or cartooning there.  I probably learned more about the art of cartooning from the blog of John K than anywhere else.  Spending time studying my favorite artworks/cartoons/comics and trying to recreate techniques I see is also quite illuminating.  I learn a lot from artists who share their work on YouTube and social media.

Who are your influences?

The classic Looney Tunes and Disney shorts (especially those by Jack Hannah and Chuck Jones) John K, Ralph Bakshi, Dave Sim, Eastman and Laird, Brom, Tony Diterlizzi, Eric Powell... again the list could go on and on.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

I wish I would have spent more time making things and less time playing video games.  

What work are you best-known for?


What work are you most proud of?

Fuzzbuquet.  I finally feel like I am producing a story that's close to the way I envisioned it in my head.  It's a fantasy story that's heavily influenced by my love of the cartoons in the 80's and early 90's but it's also very much its own thing.  While it's a whimsical tale, I think once I get through the whole story it will be a meaningful one as well.  I also really identify with the main character- He's an idiot chasing his dreams. 

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

If and when I finish Fuzzbuquet, I'd like to get into making wooden nutcrackers from scratch.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

If I don't feel like drawing/painting I try to force myself work for at least 30 minutes.  If I'm still not feeling it I'll take a break and come back to it when I'm ready.  As far as writer's block, I usually let my best thoughts come to me when I'm driving to work in the morning or taking a shower and then record them as soon as I can.  My wife is also a phenomenal help when it comes to writing, critiquing and bouncing off ideas.

What do you think will be the future of your field? 

It seems things are going more and more digital.  Maybe that's why I enjoy working traditionally so much.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Small Press Expo, Awesome Con and Baltimore Comic Con.  I think each one appeals to a slightly different crowd.  I've had good experiences at all three. 

What's your favorite thing about DC?

Joining the DC Conspiracy and finding other people that love making comics as much as me.

Least favorite?

The traffic.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

The National Gallery holds a special place in my heart.  I vividly remember my trip there in 5th grade and it changed my life.  It has a little something for everyone and it always brings back great memories.
How about a favorite local restaurant?

This is outside the city but in Burke, VA there is a tiny little Spanish restaurant called El Pueblo.  If you go, get the Xango's for dessert.  Bananas and cheesecake never tasted so good.

Do you have a website or blog?

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Small Press Expo day one photographs

SPX returns today at noon.

Joe Procopio of Lost Art Books

Ben Hatke

Rob Ullman

Drew Friedman

Erica Jang of Red Stylo Media

Joe Sutliff

DC Conspiracy

Lindblom Brothers

Hobbes Holluck and Karly Perez

Joe and Carolyn of Curls studio

Tom Gauld

Glen Baxter

Aimee de Jongh of Holland

Sara Glidden

Richard Thompson memorial panel - Shena Wulf, Nick Galifianakis, David Apatoff and Joe Procopio

Gary Groth, of Fantagraphics, earlier at the Library of Congress

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Meet a Local Cartoonist: A Chat with Michael Brace

by Mike Rhode

Michael Brace is a member of the DC Conspiracy comics co-op.  He was at DC Zinefest this summer, and finally agreed to answer our standard questions. He will be at SPX next month if you'd like to meet him.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

I just finished my second black-and-white comic book its in a realistic style. I also contribute one-page stories to a local newspaper comic Magic Bullet and those tend to be a little more cartoony.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

Mostly traditional pen and ink. I used a computer for lettering and occasionally for adding color.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?


Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

Long-time Foggy Bottom resident. I came here to pursue an illustration career.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

Took a one-year commercial art vocational training class back in 1973.

Who are your influences?

Too many to name. I'm a big fan of turn-of-the-century book illustration (I should say turn-of-last-century book illustration) and woodblock prints.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

Would have focused more on writing skills.

What work are you best-known for?

Pages in Magic Bullet and artwork for District Comics.

What work are you most proud of?

Managing to finish two comic books.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

I would like to expand on my last comic "Never Rescue an Octopus from a Tree".

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

I try to have a couple of projects going so I can switch off to keep things fresh.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

I think independent comics will continue to expand on both the web and in print. Flexibility is key.

What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

Zine Fest and Small Press Expo this year. Great to have an alternative to superhero cons.

What's your favorite thing about DC?

Don't need a car to get around.

Least favorite?

The local neighborhoods are being gobbled up.

What monument or museum do like to take visitors to?

Air and Space Museum and National Cathedral.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

No longer around "Dove and Rainbow." Made their pizzas with Greek cheeses, they were great.

Do you have a website or blog?

Not at this time.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Local comics at Transformer exhibit

DCist has a brief write up and photos of the new “Gift Shop” exhibit at Transformer gallery, which includes a few comics from D.C. Conspiracy members. The exhibit runs through June 18.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New DC Conspiracy anthology at DC Author Fest

The DC Conspiracy members will among the featured speakers at D.C. Author Festival Oct. 24-25 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. On Saturday, Andrew Cohen and Evan Keeling will be talking about the DCC's Magic Bullet comics newspaper at 2 p.m.

DCC will also be premiering a new comics anthology published in partnership with the DC Public Library system. DC Conspiracy, 2015: Comics from the Nation's Capital is 76 pages packed with mostly four-page comics by local creators (The cover is by David Ross). Proceeds from the sales of the book will go toward publishing Magic Bullet.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eric Gordon's DC Creepers invade Kefa Cafe, Silver Spring, MD

by Steve Loya

Local artist Eric Gordon is currently having an art exhibit of his "DC Creeper" portraiture at the Kefa Cafe in Silver Spring, Maryland. If you're familiar with the local zine circuit, you may know Eric for the zine and blog he and his wife Sara run called Vinyl Vagabonds, lovingly chronicling their adventures in vinyl record collecting. However, Eric is also a spectacular artist, specializing in expressive, spontaneous portraits of folks in and around the DC area, almost exclusively done on site. Eric's been documenting this work at his DC Creepers blog as well, and I was fortunate enough to witness the man in action at the first ever Cartoonists Draw Blood fundraiser event, organized by Carolyn Belefski of Curls Studio fame. 

While I wasn't able to make it to Eric's opening night last Friday, which I heard was pretty well packed, I'm certainly glad I decided to make good use of my snow day today and, along with my wife Kris, make the drive out to Kefa Cafe for some breakfast and coffee and a look at Eric's art in person. Eric's show, officially titled "Creeping Every Day: Sketching Without Being Too Sketchy" is part of an ongoing series of new art exhibits at Kefa Cafe, in a space dedicated to showing local talent called Space 7:10. The show will run through February 28th, 2015, so if you're in the area, don't hesitate to drop in, have a bite and a sip and a look around!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Catching up with comics writer Michael Cowgill

Michael Cowgill (pronounced CO-gull) is one of the mainstays of the DC Conspiracy comics co-op. He's appeared regularly in the Magic Bullet free comics newspaper, including the new issue #10 out now. He also wrote stories in the District Comics and Wild Ocean anthologies that Matt Dembicki edited. While he defines himself as a writer, he draws minicomics too, which you can buy from him at the annual Small Press Expo. Michael tells me he will be appearing next week at Fantom Comics on February 21st for the DC Conspiracy's 10th anniversary bash.

Mike Rhode: What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

Michael Cowgill: I mostly consider myself a writer and have a background in prose fiction writing, which I still work on, too.  That said, I've done nonfiction/educational work for books like District Comics and Wild Ocean, and from issue 6 on of Magic Bullet, I've written and drawn my pages, featuring my characters Lil' P.I. and Trina Trubble and have done mini comics featuring them.  There, I'd say I use a style in the Charles Schulz school (but in no way mean to compare myself to him!)

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

"Skip Dillon: Son of the B.E.F." from District Comics, art by Rand Arrington
For writing, I might start in a notebook or on scrap paper or the occasional napkin with some notes and sketchy drawings if I need to think out a page.  There, I just outline or maybe write dialogue and very brief descriptions ("Fight!" "Pie in the face," etc.)  Then I'll write a script in Scrivener, a cool and inexpensive word processor that features templates for all kinds of formats, including a comics script template created by Antony Johnston (The Fuse, Wasteland, The Coldest City). It has a lot of automated features that speed things along and allows you to quick rearrange scenes without having to update page numbers and so on.

For art, I create panels in Manga Studio and print them to a board in blue line (so they won't scan later), then draw with a blue pencil and ink with various pens.  I'm still trying figure all that out and should probably teach myself to draw on the computer, but I find the inking stage particularly satisfying and relaxing.  I scan that back in and then letter, color, and fix everything in Manga Studio.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

1973 in south Jersey, but we moved to the Atlanta area (a planned community called Peachtree City) when I was 3.

Why are you in Washington now?  What neighborhood or area do you live in?

I moved here in 1997 to attend the MFA fiction program at George Mason University and ended up sticking around.  I live in Falls Church.

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

In cartooning, reading a lot of comics and books about comics. I don't have any formal art training.  In writing, I have a BFA in creative writing from the University of Evansville (in Indiana) and an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from George Mason.

Who are your influences?

Growing up, Chris Claremont's X-Men and the Star Wars movies and toys were huge influences, as well as Bill Watterson, Berke Breathed, and as a kid from the eighties, I'm sure Garfield's in there somewhere. In late elementary school and junior high, serious young adult fiction like Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia and Virginia Hamilton's books caught my attention, and in high school, less serious fiction like Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels influenced me, especially his dialogue.  From literature, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty, William Maxwell, some Hemingway, Colum McCann, Michael Chabon, Ross Macdonald, poets like Seamus Heaney and Stephen Dunn, many of my teachers. Musicians like Bruce Springsteen, The Band, The Beatles, Dylan sometimes, R.E.M., Tom Petty, Scott McCaughey. All sorts of movies and TV have infected my brain from all the dumb crap I watched as a kid to comedies like Seinfeld, NewsRadio, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Community to dramas like Homicide, The Wire, Breaking Bad, etc.

From current mainstream comics, writers Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction have influenced me.  Bendis especially.  In my prose fiction, I like to use a lot of back-and-forth dialogue, something that can get tricky in comics because of visual aspect and space limitations, and seeing Bendis' work showed me that you can accomplish that.  Brubaker has influenced things like tone and pacing, and I admire Fraction's swing-for-the-fences attitude.  Some artists that inspire me include Walt Simonson, Paul Smith, and Chris Samnee. My colleagues in the DC Conspiracy inspire me. I probably wouldn't be doing this without their support.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

Maybe start earlier--I didn't know about Eisner's instructional books, and we didn't have things like script books or Understanding Comics when I was finishing high school and first entertaining the mysterious idea of writing comics.  If you look at a novel, you might not be able to see how the writer did it it, but the book you have ultimately represents that work in a way a comic, especially one done by multiple creators, doesn't.  With a comic, you see the house but not the blueprint.  Also, I would have taken some art classes.  I drew a lot as a kid but never had any training, and now I'm playing catch-up.  Especially in terms of my prose writing, I'd be more aggressive about getting my work out there.

The first Lil' P.I. story from Magic Bullet #6
What work are you best-known for?

I suppose Lil' P.I. since it appears in Magic Bullet, which has a nice big print run.

What work are you most proud of?

Lil' P.I. means a lot to me and makes my friends and me laugh at the very least, and I've done it all on my own.  I'd say it's a tie between that and my story in District Comics with Rand Arrington. It comes closest to what I'd like to accomplish.  It has an emotional arc and a voice and uses the comics medium to accomplish its goals rather than just telling a story I could have written in prose.

How long have you been a DC Conspiracy member?

About 4 1/2 years.

Tell us about your Abstract Garage comic book...

"Night of the Jackalope" art by Art Hondros
I put together Tales From the Abstract Garage last year for SPX. I wanted it to serve as a showcase for some different styles of writing. I also wanted to work with artists I picked and write to their strengths. It features a few framing pages of Lil' P.I. and Trina Trubble introducing and closing the book and two stories. I wrote "Duet" in a literary style. It focuses on a moment when two strangers make a potentially romantic connection, and it's probably closer to a poem or song than a full-on narrative. I asked Jacob Warrenfeltz to draw this because he has a fairly realistic and humanistic style, and I decided to put one character on a motorcycle because Jake likes those and likes to draw them. For the second piece "Night of the Jackalope," I wanted to write an action-style piece and chose to avoid narration. It plays as a supernatural western, where a mysterious stranger faces off with a giant jackalope but discovers a secret. For this, a chose Art Hondros, whose great use of black white and crosshatching fits the mood and the old timey feel of the story. I know both artists through the DC Conspiracy, and they brought a lot to their stories. Jake did things with the layout that added a sense of weightlessness an floating to the dancing and motorcycle elements, a sense of what the characters feel physically and emotionally. Art added a lot to the design of the stranger, most notably the snake hatband and rougher look. I'm hoping to do more of these.

What would you like to do  or work on in the future?

Maybe get better at drawing so I can do something long form on my own, even though I like collaborating with other artists I'd really like to do something like This One Summer from last year.  I love quiet grounded fiction that still has a lot of emotion, and if I can do something along those lines that uses the medium to accomplish things I couldn't in prose, then I'd like to do that.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

Take a break.  Work on something else, play guitar, watch TV, spend time with friends or family.  From writing novels, I can say it also helps to have a long-term project because you have something to work on each day, as opposed to, say, poetry, where you might just tinker with a few words for weeks at a time.  I believe in the just write it, then fix it method of writing.  It helps you keep momentum.  It sometimes helps to leave yourself problems to solve or a cliffhanger of some kind.  After feeling the sting of rejection in the prose world, delving more into comics reinvigorated me. Having friends and colleagues to commiserate with helps, too, or a good editor.  For Wild Ocean, I couldn't quite get the script down and alive, and Matt Dembicki suggested I just write it as if writing an article first and not worry about the comics part of it, and that helped a great deal.  A good editor can do that, send you in the right direction without doing the work for you or making you feel like you're failing.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

It's hard to tell.  I've more or less embraced digital books, but I still buy and prefer comics in print and like the communal aspect of going to the comics shop.  We're in a period where more people are embracing the medium, and I like that, and I think using the medium more for educational purposes, not just to educate about a topic but to encourage literacy by having fiction and nofiction comics about all sorts of things, has a lot of potential.  I've come to enjoy the DIY aspect of comics, and given that we live in that kind of world with e-books and YouTube and web comics, it makes sense that that could spread even more in comics as the kids that are reading graphic novels now grow up.

Awesome Con comics convention in Washington, DC. District Comics panelists - Art Haupt, Rafer Roberts, Mike Cowgill, Andrew Cohen, Jacob Warrenfeltz, Mike Rhode, Carolyn Belefski and Troy-Jeffrey Allen.
What local cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, Intervention, or others? Any comments about attending them?

I've attended Baltimore just as a fan and had a good time.  I like its comics-centric nature.  I've spent time on both sides of the table at SPX now, but I missed the early years, which sound a little more fun and unpredictable than the institutional role it plays now. I'll be exhibiting at Smudge this year and have exhibited at Bmore Into Comics in Baltimore a couple times, which is small and a good place to get some con experience.  Awesome Con has potential, but ultimately, I wonder where comics fit into that.

"Duet" art by Jacob Warrenfeltz
What's your favorite thing about DC?

Probably the people or more specifically the people I know and that it does have some kind of scene for literature and comics at least, and even though it takes a while to get places, I like the proximity to the city itself from places like Falls Church.  I also like the reasonable proximity to places like Philadelphia and New York.  The two weeks of spring we get.

Least favorite?

Traffic and what happens to it the day before holidays, when the weather gets a little cranky, etc.  I'd like to like and use Metro more, but I can't say that I do. I probably would if I lived in the city itself.

What monument or museum do you like to take visitors to?

I guess one of the Air and Space museums, mainly because my dad was a pilot and we would visit the main museum when we came through D.C.  FDR and Jefferson memorials work, too.

 How about a favorite local restaurant?

Hmm. I'm enjoying Ted's Bulletin a little too much right now.

Do you have a website or blog?

Preparing for the D.C. Conspiracy party on Feb. 21

Members of the D.C. Conspiracy (namely Evan Keeling and Andrew Cohen) prepare the DCC comics arts exhibit at Fantom Comics, which on Feb. 21 will host the DCC's 10th anniversary party. The celebration, which runs from 3-9 p.m., will include a comics-making workshop, chat with creators and live music by Mickie & Mallory (which includes comics writer Joe Carabeo).

Sunday, July 20, 2014

DC Conspiracy exhibit pictures

I was able to see the DC Conspiracy exhibit on Capitol Hill over the weekend. Here are some more photographs.

The latest Magic Bullet comic book came out today.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Photos from CARTooons second exhibit at University of District of Columbia

CARTooons second exhibit at University of District of Columbia. Curated by Teresa Roberts Logan and featuring Andrew Cohen, Michael Auger, David Hagen, Carolyn Belefski, Matt Dembicki, Steve Artley and Rafer Roberts.