It's Been Less Than a Month?!

And yet, and yet so much has happened!

I went to SPX, saw a bunch of my old friends, met some new ones, we ran out of gas nine miles outside of town at 3AM on our way home from SPX, were rescued by the incredible Abby Howard at 4AM, I packed all of my worldly possessions into boxes, and moved myself and my cat two states to the South, back to the Connecticut shoreline where I grew up. SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED.

Today I went to Clyde's Cider Mill in Mystic, CT, where they still press their apples with a steam-powered screw press and sell hard cider out the back in their sketchy stone basement.

Today I also drew this!

New brush sets, yeeeeeeaaaaaaah!
Also, terrifying things are happening between Daniel Craig and Fred Armisen on SNL right now. WHAT IS THIS, I DON'T EVEN.



Hi, Internet! How've you been? I've really been digging all of your new cat videos!

Finally, just in time to have entirely missed Summer, I have emerged from under my rock in order to let you all know that I am, in fact, still alive, and to announce that I am the proud owner of a kitten lo these past few months! His name is Eugene, and he has many thumbs.

Any of you following my Twitter account already know ALLLLL about Mewgene, haha!

In other news, I have actually been working on comics! A group of CCS alumni, myself included, are in the process of making a 71-page, full-color story, the contents of which I cannot tell you, as it is secret. But it should hopefully be out, either as a PDF or a book--or BOTH!--by the end of the year. It's awesome. It's like a Coen Brothers movie...but it's a comic. Once I get the go-ahead to start actually talking about it, I will talk ALL about it. Don't worry.

I'm also sloooowly chipping away on ROCKALL. I'm trying to ink and scan as many pages of Part III as possible before I lose easy access to CCS's amazing lab computers and large-format scanners (I'm moving back to the sea in a few weeks, because Vermont is landlocked and it's finally driven me insane), but soon--SOON!--updates will be back to their regular schedule.

Speaking of moving, my roommate Melanie Gillman just recently moved back to her homestate of Colorado, and this was my going-away present for her:

I framed it in GOOOOOOLD.

Melanie, who is an amazing cartoonist, and whose work you should totally check out (She works all in colored pencils! One of her pages, which was entirely a spot black, took her SEVEN HOURS. It's incredible), got peer-pressured into watching The Legend of Korra with me, which led to rewatching the entirety of The Last Airbender with our entire household; which led to a discussion of shipping (we have a lot of Zutara fans here, haha!), which IN TURN led to Melanie shipping herself and Lin Beifong. BECAUSE WHY NOT? I ship it. And that is the tale of how this image came to be. Cool story, bro!

Is anyone else going to SPX this weekend? I'll be volunteering at the Center for Cartoon Studies table, J5, on Saturday from 5 to 7! Come say hi! I don't have anything new to show, but I'm really friendly and have been starved for human interaction all summer (read: I penciled 136 pages in the past three months). IT'LL BE FUN, I PROMISE.


Good news, Everyone!

That's right, you guys--I'M A MASTER OF FINE ART!!! You must all call me "Master" now; I won't respond to anything less. Except that I totally will, because the enormity of this situation still hasn't sunk in, haha.

Last Thursday, I defended my thesis (Rockall) before a tribunal of published cartoonists in order to graduate. All three, Steve Bissette, Bob Sikoryak, and Jon Chad, have been my professors at some point over the past two years at CCS--and I'm proud to say that I think we're all friends, too--but I was still out-of-my-mind-nervous to get that last critique. I worked my butt off this year, and I'm super proud of the product I turned in, but when you spend so much time with any given thing (it took me THREE DAYS just to hand-bind the books!) all you can see are the imperfections and they are SO HORRIBLY GLARING.

Like the fact that my bangs were still uneven after all the hairspray I poured on :\
It was a great experience, though! There were a few little constructive criticisms to tweak for the future, but overall it was overwhelmingly positive and reassuring. And I passed! THANKS, GENTLEMEN! :D It has truly been a pleasure.

All of us second years, in addition to meeting with a Thesis Committee, also had to hang original art for the gallery show with our own hands. It was a fun callback to my Museum Studies years; the last time I hung actual art for a show (instead of just didactics) was waaaaay back in 2009. It was nice to know that I've still got it!

We all took turns holding the glass for each other while someone hammered in their nails. Go Team!
Later, Jon went through and hung a copy of everyone's thesis project next to its corresponding artwork, so visitors could read and compare the finished product.
I love that fat little seal so damned much.
Then my parents came into town, and we played all of the pinball and ate all of the food! It was great, I love hanging out with them. It was also incredibly interesting to meet everyone ELSE's parents, too, and try to guess who belongs to whom, haha! Everyone was so nice. AND THEN WE GRADUATED! My dad got distracted by the ceremony, so this is the only picture I've got of what is possibly the most important moment of my adult life:
Not pictured: when I curtsied right into the goddam podium and nearly took the microphone out.


But it's ok, because I was totally the prettiest girl there!
Right? Right.

I am seriously in love with this dress, however.

Then there was more pinball, and more food, and all of the rum and beer. And I think that pretty much brings us up to date?

IN OTHER NEWS, Rockall got a super-nice review from Johanna Draper Carlson, over at Comics Worth Reading! She stopped by the table I shared with Billage, Donna Almendrala, and Melanie Gillman at MoCCA (no doubt lured by our mesmerizing orange tablecloth), and we all had a really good chat.

Reviews?! Networking?! It's like I'm a real cartoonist or something, haha!


MoCCA and Thesiseseeesseeeiisez?!

Hey, guys! I realized it's time for a new bog post, and not just because most of you new visitors from MoCCA will be routed here from my business cards because I was silly and used my blog's url and not my new site's. WHOOPS. With the Thesis deadline crunch I didn't have time to make new cards in addition to eight hand-bound books, and screenprinted covers for Rockall Part I reprints, AND facetrim a pile of Part Is and Part IIs for MoCCA. I'm still baffled at how much I got done just last week! At least ROCKALL (the webcomic) has been updating regularly! Tuesdays and Thursdays!

So, Thesis! It's all put together and handed in, and now I have no idea what to do with myself since I have free time again. I slept a lot today; it was awesome.

About eight days ago, I was finishing up the digital files of my cleaned up artwork and plugging them into the InDesign file. Exactly a week ago, this is what my project looked like:

You can't tell, but that stack of paper on the right is, like, two inches tall. Over 1,000 pages, Baby!
Then I separated out all of the signatures, cut the endpapers down to size, poked holes in all of them, and sewed them together with my Hulk Hands. All eight books took me an entire day, because I kept snapping the thread on accident when trying to pull it tight. They don't call me Amelia "Rips Doors Off Hinges" Onorato for nothing, folks. That has actually happened. Twice.

But early last Wednesday morning, I was looking at these beautiful babies! The spines are cardstock, doubled on itself and glued directly to the book-binding cloth, which in turn is glued directly into the sewn-together signatures.

So much glue, you guys.
Then I took a nap.

THEN, I cut down 12 pieces of faux-microsuede and got nine viable screenprints of the cover design out of them! I didn't take a picture of either that step or the ensuing steps of gluing together the bookboards and guts, because I was operating on autopilot at that point, but of the books themselves I've got pictures a-plenty!

It looks so much better than the dummy, haha--and that was a version that won me a cut of the April Fog Memorial Scholarship!

Plus there's a sweet little chubby-chubs hiding out on the back! EEE!

SPINES! Dummy copy is on top.
Then I sewed them all into their little knit pouches while watching Hellraiser: Hellseeker (staring the Allstate Mayhem Guy and Liz Lemon's ex?! YES, PLEASE), and lined them all up for one last group photo. Although we had to make eight copies, we only had to hand in six to the Thesis Committee; we can keep one for ourselves and send the other to our Thesis Adviser. And, since all the patterns are unique, and I'd been working on them for so long, they all felt like their own little personalities.

What should have been a moment of triumph turned into a version of Sophie's Choice, albeit with somewhat fewer Nazis.

Thursday night and early Friday morning was spent facetrimming Parts I and II for sale at MoCCA--

--Thesis projects were handed in--

Here seen with the lovely Donna Almendrala!
--and Donna, Melanie Gillman, Billage, his wife Sarah, and myself drove down to New York, where we met up with my friends Amy and Chris (citation_needed, tl-dr), crashed in my aunt's apartment, and went to MoCCA!

Our table was the best! And the only one with an orange tablecloth. That was really a sheet. Which Donna and I found for $1.26.
I made back my table cost and made some pretty sweet trades, and I got to hang out with a bunch of friends I haven't seen in a while! HUGE SUCCESS!

I also got to try Bubble Tea for the first time!

The tea itself was good; still not a fan of tapioca.
I also got to see Cabin in the Woods on Saturday night, which may be the best $13 I've spent in a long time. Don't listen to the critics--the ending is PERFECT.



No, literally: Holy Shit, A Comics Anthology I was part of, was reviewed by Rob Clough of The Comics Journal. I was voted most satirical! Considering that my contribution to a collection of religious stories was a satirical collection of religious stories based on the history of Catholicism, I'm definitely happy with that statement. Thanks, Rob!

On a related note, Gary Groth, the editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal and co-founder of Fantagraphics Books is here today for Industry Day, and I have a meeting with him in a little over an hour. My other meeting is with Chris Duffy, so Big Leagues all the way!

And in OTHER news, ROCKALL's won an award!!! It's like I'm a legitimate cartoonist or something, haha!

The April Fog Memorial Scholarship is a program that started last year at The Center for Cartoon Studies, where I'm currently in my last semester before (hopefully!) getting a Master's Degree in Cartooning. We've got two pinball machines on campus, and this is the second year that half of the quarters put in them were donated to four seniors to put towards the printing costs of their thesis projects. I am one of those seniors, and ROCKALL is that thesis project! Here's a pretty picture of my certificate:

I even put on lipstick for this photoshoot, although you can't tell. I was not, however, wearing pants.

You can read more about the scholarship, my friends who also won, and pinball in general HERE :D !

In other-OTHER news, I now have a bike! My parents pulled her out of a dumpster in Connecticut, and my dad helped me fix her flat tires over Spring Break. Much to my mom's chagrin, I stuffed this relic in the back of my car and high-tailed it back up to Vermont, where I have thus far ridden her once to the park, once to the post box, and once to school. It's been really cold this week, ok?! And I'm out of shape.

This bike, she is older than I am. And, why yes, that is a Vespa helmet dangling from those handlebars.

My mom can't be holding too much of a grudge, though, because she sent me a care package of every single kind of Girl Scout cookie, plus a foot-tall solid chocolate rabbit.

Happy Easter to ME.


How'd You Spend Your Wednesday Night?

I spent mine making a goddam BOOK! And then watching RuPaul's Drag Race, but that is neither here nor there.

Awwww yeahhhh

Bookbinding is surprisingly easy, though rather time consuming. Thanks to spying on fellow classmates both making their own (thanks, Dakota McFadzean!) and listening in on their Skype sessions with book-making gurus (thanks, Beth Hetland!), I was able to turn out a pretty decent mock-up of what ROCKALL will look like when it's done. SPOILER: it looks purtee.

A spine?! What is this, a real book?

Now we get to walk through, because I am very proud of myself and took a ton of pictures:

Let's crack that cover open, shall we?



It even lays nice and flat.

Hey, Part II!

You can even flip through the pages, revealing spoilers for Parts II and III!

The spoiler is that they're only pencils at this point.

"Wow, Gurl!" I can hear you all saying, "That's a lot of book!" Why yes, Internet; yes, it is. 144 pages lot, in fact! It's quite thick and makes a wonderful noise when abruptly snapped shut.

Not pictured: wonderful noise.

The covers are covered with faux suede; it's supposed to look and feel a lot like sealskin, since one of the main characters in the story is supposedly a selkie. It's a bit macabre, I guess, but it feels delightfully unctuous (which I just mispelled so badly spellcheck thought I was shooting for "unambitious," ouch). But the icing on the cake is the tiny book sweaters! SO MANY TINY BOOK SWEATERS!

The textile factor of these books just exploded. Don't even bother reading the contents--JUST TOUCH THEM!

Books! I can make them!


Dear Internet: You're Welcome

Entirely ignoring the fact that my last post was back in September, hey guys! Since we last checked in, I've finished Rockall Part I, made a website, started posting pages of Rockall biweekly on part of said website (it's on hiatus this week while I start inking the first pages of Part II), I made a little three-page comic over at Wunderkammer that crosses over both stories, I renewed the nolens-volens domain name, I read the Hunger Games trilogy, I saw the new Studio Ghibli film, my cousin had her baby, and scientists discovered an asteroid that they might actually have to blow up before it crashes into us in 2040. No shade. Bruce Willis is going up in space, you guys.

Oh, and I turned 25 yesterday. And in celebration, I drew THIS:

May it give you all as many lulz as I had while drawing it.
You're welcome.

And all due respect to Craig Thompson and Habibi, of course.
I just...I just...stupid chickens.