Author Archives: alexschumacherart

February round-up

Hello all! My recent (and ongoing) neglect of this here blog has not been in vain. There has been so much going on and as I hurry up to wait for news on the animation front, I thought I’d run down the list of other projects currently happening.

First is my upcoming picture book to be published by the wonderful folks at Wandering in the Words Press. I am nearly done with all final artwork and the book itself should be out some time in the spring. I will keep everyone posted here on release dates but don’t throw a fit like this kid, I promise the wait will soon be over…

Tantrum_2

Next up is my contribution to Betsy Streeter’s Neptune Road. As described by the creator, it is a comic about “people (misfits, hackers, criminals, lost children…) who are living on Neptune. The sunlight and air are borrowed, the planet’s core is unstable at best, and Earth thinks Neptune is a place to send anything it doesn’t want – living or not.” Catch up on the first 4 chapters at Perihelion Science Fiction before mine is released next month. Here’s a teaser from my chapter:

nr 5 page 1

My good buddy and writer extraordinaire, C.W. Cooke and I may just have some great news soon regarding our creator-owned crazy-train-of-a-comic The Guitarist. Seems that recently there is some publisher interest, though we have a few kinks to work out before pursuing this particular avenue. It’s still exciting and I can speak for both of us when I say this has been a story we’ve wanted to tell for some time! Details to follow but hold on to your hats when this bad boy is unleashed! (I also designed the logo for C.W.’s new book Solitary coming soon from Devil’s Due Publishing)

Cover_2There are a couple other really fun things happening right now which I hope to be able to talk about soon, including news and/or updates on the animated series front. Until then I hope everyone is having a productive and wild 2014!

As always, feel free to contact me via the email on my contact page to ask questions, inquire about hiring me for a project or just to say hi!


Morrie Turner, a pioneer of popular art and humanity

This past weekend the cartoonist community and the world at large lost an amazing person, Morris “Morrie” Turner.

Morrie was the first professional cartoonist I met after moving to the Bay Area in 2002. He regularly invited this greenhorn into his home and was happy to spend hours discussing cartoons and life over coffee, and reveled in showing me the amazing pieces of original art he had procured over the years from colleagues of his. Forty years on he still radiated excitement and a childlike wonder for the craft. Morrie continued  to genuinely seem in awe of the fact that he had been able to make a living from his art, not to mention the fact that he was one of the most influential and trailblazing cartoonists of all time. Humble is not a word I would use to describe many of the artists that I have met over the years but for all of his wonderful, barrier breaking achievements Morrie remained one of the most self-effacing and gracious individuals I have ever had the pleasure to have known.

More than being the ever delightful and sublimely talented creator that he was, Morrie was an unwavering supporter of the arts and up-and-coming creators. His support and encouragement made me actually feel as though I could achieve my goals. He even went so far as to get me involved with the Northern California chapter of the National Cartoonists Society as well as the fantastic Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Morrie believed in people and his philosophy in life was echoed in three words he used often: Keep the faith. While Morrie was religious, this sentiment was not merely confined within the boundaries of spirituality. He was talking about the faith in humanity and the faith in others. The faith in the world and the faith in all that is good around us. I truly believe that, above all else, he was talking about the faith in love. Morrie loved everyone regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, etc. In return, everyone loved Morrie.

I moved away from the Bay Area in 2009 and since then there had been an unfortunate decrease in our communication. We spoke on the phone a few times each year and kept each other abreast of our latest projects and appearances, but nothing would compare to the years I was lucky enough to spend with Morrie in his studio. I was able to see Morrie one more time in person last year at the Big WOW! Comicfest in San Jose where I spoke with him at his booth and attended a panel featuring him and Frank Hill about creating comic strips. Even at 89 and despite obvious medical issues Morrie was full of joy and as welcoming as always. He passed away this past Saturday surrounded by family and since then it has been beautiful to see the outpouring of emotion from so many like me who were touched and inspired by this man. So many like me whose lives and careers would be completely different had it not been for him. So many like me who know there was no one like Morrie Turner.

Thank you, for everything. Rest peacefully and we’ll all try to keep the faith.

Morrie comic con 2007_2

Morrie and me at San Diego Comic Con 2007


Happy New Year!

Hi there folks! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that 2014 is going great for you so far. This is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years for my professional life ever. To kick it off here are just a few of the projects that will be available soon:

First off is Neptune Road, a science fiction comic about people (read: misfits, hackers, criminals, lost children…) living on Neptune. The comic is an experiment in collaborative cartooning devised and written by my badass cartoonist pal Betsy Streeter. Each episode is drawn by a different artist and will be presented on this page from time to time. Each episode is self-contained, within a larger story arc. I have been commissioned to provide the artwork for episode 5 which will be appearing in early February 2014. I’ll update with an exact date of release when I have one. See more on Betsy’s Neptune Road page.

Neptune Road title

Next up is a project I’ve had on the shelf for some time and will see the light of day early this year thanks to Jennifer Chesak and all the amazing folks at Wandering in the Words press! You may be asking yourself, “which project are you talking about”? It’s my first children’s picture book! I don’t want to reveal too much before our actual promotion campaign begins but I’ll share a teaser image to whet your appetite. I snapped this pic whilst working on this illustration the other day:

KidLit 1

Last, but definitely not least, I am gearing up to pitch several animated series which I have been developing over the past year with the help of a talented, extremely knowledgeable and all around swell fella who happens to be an agent in LA. Of course, with the industry being the way it is this labor of love may amount to absolutely nothing. However, this is a very exciting time for me and as well connected as my friend is I hope to have some exciting news for you in the very near future! If nothing else we’ll have some great new properties to pitch in other forms of media.

Happy 2014 everyone!


… And a partridge in a pear tree

Hello all! I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are in the throes of a very merry holiday season. This year has kind of been a blur with book releases, convention appearances, in-store signings, series development and so much more. 2013 was pretty good to me and 2014 is shaping up to be an even bigger and better year with animated series and children’s books in the works! More details on that in the new year but for now I wanted to share another review I found recently for my graphic novel, The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung, released this year by Arcana Studios.

Read the review here or by clicking the image below:

02_panel

Here’s another tweet I found recently from another satisfied reader:

AL_tweet2In other news, I have also just made a deal with Wandering in the Words press to release my first children’s picture book (hopefully of many) next year. This is a story I wrote and illustrated myself and I am very excited to have the opportunity to finally put it in the hands of families around the world! Once everything has been finalized you can expect all of the details on who, what, where, etc. to be posted right here. Until then you’ll just have to deal with the anticipation…

wanderinglogo

I still have a few spots open for commissions if you’re looking for that perfect and unique holiday gift. Feel free to message me at leadheadajs@yahoo.com for sizes and prices. There’s still time before the holidays to pick up “The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung”, “Fame: Tom Daley” and “The Moon vs. The Sun” as well! They make great stocking stuffers or stand alone gifts. If you’d like to send them my way or visit me at any of my upcoming appearances I’d be happy to sign them for you too.

Have a happy holiday season and I’ll see you all again in 2014!


Update, Batkid and an announcement!

Hey folks! Hope this post finds you all well and ready for Thanksgiving. Lately I have been hard at work on wrapping up the development of a few animated series which I look to pitch with my agent pal in Los Angeles in the next few weeks or, at the latest, the beginning of next year. We are very excited about the properties and I can’t wait to share more with y’all as this endeavor moves further along. Stay tooned (yuk yuk)…

Just a little over a week ago I was honored to be a part of a special day for a very brave 5-year-old named Miles. On the 15th of November the Make-A-Wish Foundation transformed the city of San Francisco into Gotham City to make young Miles’ dream of fighting crime alongside his hero Batman come true. The full story about that day can be read here and here. Miles is a true superhero fighting one of the scariest villains anyone could ever face, leukemia. Andrew Farago of the Cartoon Art Museum enlisted the help of several cartoonists to help make Miles’ day even more special with personalized Batman-themed drawings. Among those involved were Graham Nolan, Betsy Streeter and myself. From pictures and videos I’ve seen of the day it looks as though Miles had an amazing time and to have any hand in that, however small, is a wonderful feeling. Keep fighting Miles!

Bat-Miles_gray

Announcement: HOLIDAY COMMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN! Looking to beat those Black Friday crowds? Want to find a unique gift which is highly personalized? Look no further! You can get your loved ones a B & W 9 x 12″ for $35 and/or the original drawing plus a color print for just $50! Message me at leadheadajs@yahoo.com if you’re interested and help support independent artists and businesses. Thanks!

Below are a few sample pieces from last year:

Little Mermaid_2Superman_2


This weekend is APE!

The Alternative Press Expo (APE) returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco this weekend October 12th and 13th to celebrate its 20th annual event. One of the leading alternative and self-published comics events in the country, APE was started in 1994 by Dan Vado, the head of SLG Publishing. I have been many times to this wonderful convention and for the past couple years have even conducted workshops on collaborating and networking. This year I will be exhibiting with the awesome Bridgett Spicer!
I will be selling copies of the “Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung”* which I co-wrote and drew for Arcana Studios, “Fame: Tom Daley” which I drew for Bluewater Productions, a sixteen page teaser for CW Cooke’s and my upcoming series “The Guitarist” and some of my illustrated children’s poetry cards (all pictured below). Come on by and see Bridgett and me at table 832B from 11-7 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday! See you at APE!
APE goods
For more information visit http://www.comic-con.org/ape.
*Due to unforeseen shipping delays I may only have a few copies of “Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung” but am currently working to remedy the situation.

APE info and more…

Hello friends, fans and fellow cartoon enthusiasts!

As noted in the previous post, I will be exhibiting at the Alternative Press Expo this year alongside my friend and wonderful cartoonist Bridgett Spicer! I will be selling copies of “The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung”, “Fame; Tom Daley” and a 16-page preview of the creator-owned “The Guitarist” by the awesome CW Cooke and myself! I will also be taking a few commissions as well as selling some original pages from the above listed books. It’s an awesome show still very much geared toward creators without the corporate influence of Hollywood so come on by and say hi! Click on the image below for the info for our table:

ape2013_exhibmap_imgLately I have been immersed in secret projects involving the animation industry and while I can’t divulge too much information at this point I will say I’ve been keeping quite busy and may have some very exciting news to share in the near future. I may have also been hired on as artist for a comic being relaunched as an online series from a certain publisher I’ve worked with previously. More on that soon as well!

Hope y’all out there in internet land are having an amazing fall so far! See you at APE!!

 


APE and Networking 101

The Alternative Press Expo, or APE as it’s affectionately referred to, is just over a month away and I can finally announce that I will have some real estate there selling my wares and taking commissions alongside my good pal and fellow cartoonist Bridgett Spicer of Squid Row fame. It’s one of my favorite conventions as it really is still all about the creators without any of the Hollywood interference of some of it’s bigger convention counterparts. I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to conduct workshops at the show for the past couple of years and I thought it’d be fun to do a little something different on the blog today and share the outline/info I distributed during my workshop on networking last year.

If anyone is interested I’d be happy to elaborate on the outline as I did during the workshop as well as start a series of posts about what it takes/my road to become a cartoonist. Please feel free to email me (via the email on my contact page) or comment on this post. Without further ado, here is Networking 101 as presented by me at APE 2012:

So how do you break into the comic business? John Ostrander (The Kents, Spectre, Martian Manhunter, Hawkworld, Suicide Squad, Deadshot, Blaze of Glory, creator of Grimjack) says, “Usually our answer is ‘with a crowbar through the skylight in the dead of night.”

“There is no one way that works for any two people.”

This is true. However, no matter how you break in there is one aspect which is consistent in every creator’s story about their ascent to comic stardom: Networking.

Introduction:

  • Most important piece of networking is…YOU! Your work, professionalism, etc. creates the desire and/or demand to work with you.
  • Find your style. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but it won’t get you anywhere in the cartooning/comics industry.
  • Take time to build up a portfolio. Make sure your portfolio includes different genres, people, places things, etc. Variety is a HUGE aspect in separating a good portfolio from a great one.
  • Very important in this day and age: Establish a web presence! No one can hire you if they can’t find you or your work. There are plenty of (free/cheap) channels to assist you including, but not limited to:
  1. WordPress
  2. Blogger
  3. Deviant Art

Collaborators:

  • For those who are artists or writers looking to partner with someone of like mind on a project and/or pitch.
  • Many avenues of finding collaborators:
  1. Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites/)
  2. Digital Webbing (http://www.digitalwebbing.com/talent/)
  3. Community involvement (i.e. Cartoon Art Museum; National Cartoonist Society)
  4. Comic Shop boards, etc.
  • Not all styles fit together. Make sure to find a collaborator who brings out the best in your work and vice versa.
  • Open and honest communication. No working relationship will succeed if personal cannot be separated from the professional.
  • Cross promote. Each collaborator should have online presence. Use them!
  • Create collaboration fan page:
  1. Facebook
  2. Website, etc.

Editors & Publishers:

  • First and foremost: Do not, I repeat, do NOT cold call, submit unsolicited material (unless otherwise stated) to or try to dupe an editor. As stated in the Image Comics submission guidelines: “DO NOT try to pull a fast one! Don’t think that you can get away with saying that you had a book approved at a convention or that a previous publisher gave your book the go ahead. If your book is not up to snuff, you’re just making yourself look unprofessional.”
  • Conventions! Conventions! Conventions!
  • Promote yourself. Print business cards (postcards, ash cans, etc. if applicable) to exchange with editors/publishers whom you engage at conventions/trade shows/holiday parties, etc.
  • Only show your latest and greatest. Showing works-in-progress, half done or old samples only screams amateur and will do nothing but set you back.
  • Do not take critiques personally. Be polite, take constructive criticism and do not defend your work. Editors are not being mean, they are sincerely trying to help. Heed their advice. *Keep in mind this is a very subjective business and a thousand “no’s” doesn’t mean you won’t ever find one “yes”.
  • Table at a convention. Buy a small press or artist’s alley table when there is product to show/sell. This shows initiative, intent and the fact that you can produce a product.
  • Conventions are also a great way to meet potential collaborators! Most conventions these days, including APE, have comic creator connections. Take advantage!
  • Attend/volunteer (get involved!) gallery openings and industry attended parties for such reputable Bay Area establishments such as the Cartoon Art Museum. *As this workshop was conducted at APE I focused on the Bay Area but this is applicable anywhere.
  • Keep track of your contacts. Business cards should be kept safe and organized during and after the convention.

Perseverance! If you want to work in the comics field then do not give up. You will be rejected. A lot. It’s a part of this game. The ones who end up doing this professionally are the ones who use that rejection as inspiration rather than discouragement.

Scott Rosema (Space Ghost, August, X-Men Adventures, Tiny Toons, etc.) agrees. “I did a lot of submitting. I had a really tenacious attitude of constantly submitting, regardless of the rejections.”

“What’s important is the ability to work your way past the rejection letters and just resubmit.”

Create what you want to create, not what you think people want you to create. The main piece of advice I can leave you with is do this because you love it. If you’re only looking to get rich or have a stable occupation you’re better off becoming an accountant. That said you can make a living doing what you love.

Good luck!!


Hot August nights!

Just a few updates this time around kiddies. First up is to make sure you preorder, or tell your local comic shop to preorder, The Unemployment Adventures of Aqualung coming out next month from Arcana Studios! I received a few copies and let me tell y’all, they look outstanding!

comps

Next, check out this (brief) article on Comic Book Resources about my upcoming one-shot bio-comic from Bluewater Productions! Read all about it and see some snazzy preview pages, including the one below) here.

FAMETomDaley-3-bb495

My next appearance, which I can’t officially announce, will be coming up in the next few months. It’ll be as fun as a barrel of monkeys and I’ll be sure to post plenty of information as it develops/when I can. In the meantime, check out the recently updated Comic Book Art and Design pages on this here site!

I’ll be back soon with updates on all the other cool stuff going on… Thanks and enjoy the rest of the summer!


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