Out of the closet at last!

Had to track down my college diploma for a job interview this morning (I feared I might have thrown the near-useless piece of paper away) and ran across tons of old artwork. Indulge me as I purge these bad memories. A lot of this stuff immediately went into hiding right after I drew it. (Click to enlarge, as usual.)

The cover artwork for the Lyrix Xchange cassette, wherein Songmaster General Caleb Fraid and I wrote and recorded songs using each other's lyrics. Caleb's natural tunesmanship so outclassed my own that I still can't bring myself to release an official CD version of the tape. (Someday, I'm just going to hold my breath and plunge right into a box set release of all my old, ratty 4-track recordings and be done with it. But not today.)

You can tell I'm not used to this sort of tonal rendering, but it was an experiment I wanted to try (and may try again). I drew the whole thing as line art in ink and made a halftone copy, so light the lines were barely visible, on cardstock paper. Then I used the faded linework as a guide and went to work on the paper with whatever pencils I had lying around. Since I never do this kind of shading and such, it looks a lot to me like the stoner art I used to doodle in high school. In other words, an underdeveloped technique.

Note my acoustic bass guitar, a then-new purchase from the pawn shop down the road. I still use it today, in spite of its horrible buzzing and fret clicking. Can't throw out a perfectly good bass.

Fan art drawing of Avatar, created by Terry Collins and Al Bigley. At least he used to be Avatar. Trademark conflicts with some comic book imprint or other forced the boys to change his name to Geminar before the book was published by Image. Geminar can be seen these days as the host of Bigley's excellent how-to book on cartooning effects, Draw Comics Like a Pro (which, as we all know, is short for prostititute).

Unfinished strip from 2001. The final panel adequately expresses my critical evaluation. I have no idea what was supposed to be in the word balloons - surrealistic gibberish, no doubt. A product of desperation and creative malaise. I'm sure to engage is more of this exact type of pointlessness in the future. In fact, that's a promise.

Cut paper experiment from 2000. I have no idea where this appeared - maybe a cover for Charleston City Paper? Something to do with summer reading, obviously. I think the message here is "reading is gay".

Anyway, this was the sort of thing I used to do to achieve color before I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the digital age. The piece was xeroxed onto various sheets of colored paper, which were then cut out and reaasembled. I think I picked up this stunt from Bob Staake, who also "went digital" around the same time. You can see where the rubber cement has discolored the paper over the years. Trust me, when it was new, it was vibrant and stunning.

Strong Ever Meulen influence in the figures here. Well, maybe YOU can't see it, but I know where my head was.

Don't know what to tell you about this one. I probably drew this during one of my frequent nervous breakdowns. It's one of my favorites. On the left is an early version of El Guano, a character that pops up often in my sketchbooks, but has yet to materialize in print. One problem is, just like with Avatar, I discovered that Rick Veitch also has a character called El Guano (in Maximortal, I think). Rick ran so many of my Bedbugs strips in his Rare Bit Fiends comic back in the day, I'd hate to piss him off.

But hell, what can I do? His name is El Guano, he can't help that.

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