Graphic Novel Writing Retreat #4

Just got back from another writing retreat. The graphic novel is shaping up – very exciting!

Since this is by far the longest comic I’ve done (about 200 pages, as opposed to, well, 14 pages), I’m having to figure out my systems as I go along – brainstorm on 11″ x 17″ sheets of paper, thumbnail on 8.5″ x 11″ templates, etc. I need to see a whole chapter in order to wrap my head around it, so a long hardwood hallway is great:

Rearranging, editing out, adding in.

Day 6: Goodbye, house. Sweep floor, clean sink, reflect and review and– shit, the ferry!


Whoa! A mad dash for the ferry dock, and I am again the last one on the boat. Kind of a Dukes of Hazzard jump there at the end. (Screee!) Goodbye for now, Friday Harbor! Back to rearranging papers in the hall at home.

Thanks again a shmagillion times, Alix, your place is perfect.

Rockin’ “the Coolest Summer Camp for Teens”

Seattle Magazine’s Best of 2010 issue just honored Cornish’s way awesome summer program for teens:

Coolest summer camp for teens
Cornish College has become a mecca for teenage artist wannabes, thanks to a fantastic summer program that was expanded this year and gave 340 youngsters a taste of life in art college. In addition to being immersed in the local arts scene, participants got to take studio classes with big-name Seattle artists, such as comic illustrator Ellen Forney and life drawing artist Jeffry Mitchell. The students came from all over the country and even overseas, a testament to Cornish’s reputation. Sign-ups for the 2011 summer session begin in January; visit

Summer at Cornish 2010, comics class: critiquing each others’ work. “Cool!”

More info: my Comics Studio class description; KING-5 Evening Magazine’s piece on my comics class (including footage of class in session); home page for Summer at Cornish 2011. Registration for the program starts in January.

I Push My Agenda on Out-of-State Undergrads

I’m going to be giving a couple of talks at a couple of colleges next month: Northern Arizona University on October 6, and Virginia Wesleyan College on October 21. An honor and a kick! I’m finishing sculpting my PowerPoint talk, which I’m titling “Why Comics?” though my real inside-my-head title is “The Magic of Comics,” which I’m not using for obvious reasons.

My promo shot, which includes my drawing of Junior from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:forney Photo credit: Jacob Peter Fennell

“Counterculture Comix” and Me!

I’ll have work in this art show at Seattle Center’s Bumbershoot festival this weekend, including a couple of my big paintings (like this one and this one). I’m really looking forward to it – just look at the lineup of cartoonists! – and the other art shows look intriguing too, so you should come! The festival is free on Friday, Sept. 3, and the art shows are in the NW Rooms (at 1st Ave. N and Republican).

September 4, 2010 11:00AM – 8:00PM @ Olympic Room


This retrospective examines the Northwest’s legacy as the birthplace of alternative comics (aka comix). Beginning with the work of Lynda Barry circa 1980, and running through today, the emphasis is on the role of comix in Seattle’s youth movement of the ’90s that went on to influence global popular culture. Curated by Larry Reid in conjunction with Fantagraphics Books, this exhibit features original artwork on display together with demonstrations by Friends of the Nib and Bureau of Drawers, as well as screenings of Hooked on Comix. Artists include Lynda Barry, Charles Burns, Peter Bagge, Jim Woodring, Ellen Forney, Patrick Moriarity, Mark Zingarelli, Roberta Gregory, Megan Kelso, Jim Blanchard, David Lasky, Justin Hampton, Ted Jouflas, and others. Curated by Larry Reid in association with Fantagraphics Books.

More info at

UPDATE: Photos from the show here.

Art Opening: Thunderbitch at Tether

I have several posters, some original ink drawings, and a 6′ hand-painted black light banner in this show.

Thunderbitch: Women Designers in Northwest Rock 1966-2010
Opening party August 5, 5-8pm
Exhibit runs August 5 – 27
Tether Design Gallery, 323 Occidental Ave S

From DIY Xerox flyers to album covers to silkscreened posters, women designers have shaped the visual identity of music in the Northwest for decades. Artists include: Lynda Barry, Ellen Forney, Lisa Orth, Alice Wheeler, and dozens more!

With live music by Barbara Ireland + Stone Gossard and Visqueen, plus an appearance by The Piston Packin’ Mamas, Seattle’s all-girl car and motorcycle club. Immediately following the opening party, Damien Jurado will perform a free, all ages show in the gallery.

Check out a video preview of the art here:

Summer Comics Classes at Cornish

This summer, I’ll be teaching comics at the (new! improved!) Summer at Cornish program – one class for adults and two classes for teens (age 13 – 18). I’ve taught the teen class for the past 6 years, and I’ve found that kids who actually seek school in the summer really want to be there, so it’s fun and everyone works hard. The adult classes are new this summer, and I really like teaching adults, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that goes.

Graphic Novels (adult class)
Comics and graphic novels are quickly becoming recognized as an important new literary form. But reading and appreciating a graphic novel is different from reading an all-text novel, and creating a comic is different from just writing or illustrating a story. How do we read or create a work where words and art are inextricably linked? In this course, students will read and discuss selected graphic novels, and use them as the basis for exploring studio skills in writing and drawing.

July 6 – August 13
Mondays 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Sign up here!

Comics Studio (teen class)
Create your own comics! Students will learn basic skills including cartoon drawing, storytelling, drafting, lettering, and page design. At the conclusion of the course, students will make a mini-comic book containing all the comics created in class. No previous experience necessary!

Session I
July 6 – 23 (Final Exhibition on Friday, July 23)
M/W 9:00am – 12:00pm
Sign up here!

Session II
July 26 – August 13 (Final Exhibition on Friday, August 13)
M/W 9:00am – 12:00pm
Sign up here!

I will also add that Jake will be teaching Animation Essentials (for teens) in Session I.

I Love My Neighborhood

I am excited to announce that after serving on the board for one and a half years, I have been elected Vice President of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. Many thanks to the Board Directors for this honor and vote of confidence! I will do my very best.

I would like to add that the grossest thing I found on the CHCC’s Capitol Hill Street Sweep this past Saturday was in a smelly, trashy door alcove: one of those plastic dental floss picks. Otherwise, the weather was gorgeous, the company spirited, the coffee delicious, and to my surprise it was honestly really fun! The next one is in the fall, and I will hound you all to come.

My Graphic Novel!

Having spent another morning writing and thumbnailing, I figure it’s time to announce: I sold my book to Gotham/Penguin. Hooray! The storyline combines autobiography and studies about artistic creativity, and brilliant cartoonist Megan Kelso agreed to help comb over my roughs.

It’s been a long time in the works: two writing retreats, a reading at Richard Hugo House, lots of late nights at the tea house with my laptop. Now I have until August, 2011 to get it done. Sleeves rolled up, nose to the grindstone!

A deep curtsey to Lucia Watson, my editor at Gotham, and Holly Bemiss, my agent. Thank you!

This Week’s Stranger Cover!


This is a portrait of Jake and me, based on a photo Jake took one morning a few months ago. I was in a terrible mood, and he put on a bling-y medallion of mine, and unbuttoned his shirt to reveal it. It totally cheered me up. Of course!

This cover is also timed to announce Love Note, the installation Jake and I are putting together for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival next weekend.