Monday, May 02, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016 Bonus: Jacob Chabot

Apparently, I'm supposed to write a "reflection" post about my A-To-Z Challenge experience. While I figure out what to write, I figured I'd go over a few artists I wound up passing by in April.

Jacob Chabot is one of those artists I see often around the New York area. He does stuff like SpongeBob SquarePants and his creator-owned The Mighty Skullboy Army. The first time I met him, it was at MoCCA Arts Festival in 2007. He did a Pokémon spread for Life Meter, and I asked him for a sketch of the monster I identified with most: Snorlax.

Over time, I wound up hitting up Jacob for whatever I was into at that time, like Death Note, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and South Park. I also read a few of his minicomics, which was all-ages fun.

I also found out that Jacob is a fan of Doctor Who. While I haven't asked him for anything too obscure, he has done four great sketches for me from that show, including three Doctors.

Jacob has always been cool to me, and he puts in a lot of effort into his commissions. I usually brings references with me, and he's game to try whatever I have in mind.

I've run out of stuff to say about Jacob. If you see him at a convention, give his stuff a shot. And even if you're not into kiddie comics, get a commission from him. You won't be sorry.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: Z

This is it. I know that I didn't get too much traffic here, but I'd like to thank those who visited this site. I'm thinking of doing a few "bonus" profiles in the days to come. I don't know what I'd do for an encore. At least I'll have eleven months to think it over.

Jeff Zornow

Jeff comes to Comic Book Jones every once in a while for signings. The only time I got something from him was in October 2014. I had gotten an Ice Warrior figure from a Doctor Who blind box, and I gave that and a few 2-D references to him. I think they were from "Cold War" because those were easier to find than old-school images.

Thom Zahler

I confess to never getting into Thom's Love and Capes comics. He does good commission work, though. Also, he's a fan of Arrow, so I decided to get Felicity Smoak from him.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: Y

One more day until the end of the A-To-Z Challenge. I have four artists under "Y," so let's see their sketches. Apologies for the lack of profiles as I near the finish.

Kelly Yates

Kelly was one of the artists involved in IDW's Doctor Who: The Forgotten, which spotlighted all ten of the Doctor's incarnations. I was getting the Doctors sketched around the time I was at Comic-Con International in 2009, and I hit up Kelly for the Sixth Doctor, as played by Colin Baker.

Katerina Yeizarov

I met Katerina at AnimeNEXT last year. I meant to get Jabra from One Piece in my book, but she wound up drawing him on different material.

Stephanie Yue

I briefly met Stephanie at MoCCA Arts Fest in 2007. She had contributed to the Life Meter minicomic, which centered on video games, and I asked for Dashing Prince from Katamari Damacy.

Steve Yurko

I wound up meeting Steve twice at the Javits Center in 2014 . . . Special Edition NYC (the comic-intensive convention held by Reed Expo) and New York Comic Con. Steve had One Piece prints on sale, so I went to references from that anime for him to work on . . . including something for my "Straw Hat Pirates as American Comics Characters" theme, Nami as Catwoman.

Jason Yungbluth

It's been ages since I've seen Jason. I picked up a few of his comics at shows: Deep Fried and Weapon Brown (his post-apocalyptic take on Peanuts). He also wrote a Green Lantern story in the anthology Bizarro World, prompting me to ask for the only Hal Jordan sketch I will probably ever own.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: Helen Xue

Yes, I have an "X" artist. Just one, though. New York Comic Con 2011 was where I met Helen Xue. That year, Reed Expo folded New York Anime Festival into NYCC, so I'm thinking those that had been with NYAF before were relegated to their own little area. That's what I remember thinking back on it. Anyway, I hit Helen up for Lust from Fullemtal Alchemist. It was late in the day when I got my book back, and I noticed that Lust didn't have her homunculus mark on her chest. I wound up bringing the book back to Helen, and she managed to draw it in at perhaps the last minute that day. I wish there was more to the story, but it is what it was.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: Judd Winick

Truth be told, it's been a long time since I've been a fan of Judd Winick. I borrowed his Hilo graphic novel from the library, but I only got halfway through it, and it's mostly for younger readers. I read his A Town Called Dragon miniseries, but I wasn't enthralled by it. Recently, he and wife Pam Ling were spotlighted on a MTV Special about love on The Real World. It was a little jarring to see them, especially after wading through hook-ups and flings throughout the show's history.

I remember watching a lot of The Real World: San Francisco in 1994, when Judd was part of the cast of the third season. Around that time, he was working on Nuts and Bolts, a daily comic strip. He dated a lot, but had a crush on med student Pam that wasn't really addressed on the show. He was also roommates with Pedro Zamora, who was HIV-positive. I recommend picking up Pedro & Me, the graphic novel published in 2000. In case you don't follow RW (and I can't say that I blame you, especially after the last decade), Pedro died in November 1994, the day after the final episode of the season aired. Judd and Pam wound up becoming a couple.

Judd would go on to create Frumpy the Clown before being recruited by Oni Press to writing and drawing "Road Trip" for Oni Double Feature. Next, he created The Adventures of Barry Ween for Image Comics, which was centered on a foul-mouthed boy genius. It was hysterical. He would do two more miniseries featuring Barry for Oni. Soon, he was picked up by DC Comics to succeed Ron Marz on writing chores for Green Lantern, and he would go on to write such titles as Exiles, Green Arrow and Outsiders. Around 1999-2000, I interviewed Judd twice. I had a tentative agreement with a magazine for an article. He was very nice about it. As I got more into reality television, I liked Judd as an example of somebody who came off as a putz winding up with a public career on his terms. Also, he was part of a panel that previewed The Real World: New Orleans and Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour, probably to increase his visibility for Pedro & Me. I reckon the highlight was him saying that Melissa and her parents deserved their own show.

I've met Judd in-person all three times at Comic-Con International in San Diego. I got sketches from him of Barry Ween and Jeremy Ramirez (Barry's hyperactive best friend). In 2009, I received a quick sketch of Juniper Lee, who had a show on Cartoon Network for a few seasons.

The sketch I remember most from Judd came at Wizard World Philadelphia in 2002. It was the first year of that convention, and I went as far as staying over in the city. This was back before I became comfortable with making long-distance commutes. Two days before the con started, Green Lantern #150 came out. Written by Judd, it marked a major turning point for Kyle Rayner, and it included a costume overhaul from Jim Lee. I wound up getting a sketch of Kyle from Judd. And years later, I got a t-shirt with Kyle's new emblem on the chest. I only wear it when I'm at cons.

HONORABLE MENTION: Mark Waid (this sketch of Samandahl Rey from Sigil that I didn't recognize until Dale Eaglesham drew that character for me), Bill Walko (two sketches), Adam Warren (three quick headshots, all based on Empowered), Freddie E. Williams II (two), Bill Willingham (three; including Rot Lop Fan, created by him and Alan Moore), Charles Paul Wilson III (four stellar commissions), Javier Cruz Winnik (four; including a double-page spread of Razer from Green Lantern: The Animated Series), Ted Woods (two), J.K. Woodward (three; featuring a Spider-Man commission that got featured on Comics Alliance twice), Tremaine Worrell (two).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: V

Getting back to posting sketches. I don't have much from "V" artists. Before yesterday, I figured that having "Von" or "Van" in the middle of the name didn't count. Apparently, I was wrong. I'll just post what I have.

Jessie Van Gyzen

AnimeNEXT was a fun place to meet new people and get commissions. There was a little miscommunication with Jessie . . . I vaguely recall asking for Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist with wrench in hand, in the style of the "We Can Do It!" poster from the Forties. I think it came out well, especially with the top and the bandana.

Ethan Van Sciver

Since Ethan is a "name" talent, I've only gotten head sketches from him . . . both of Green Lanterns, both from 2008.

 Alexia Veldhuisen

Last year, I trekked to Dewey's Comic City in Madison, NJ, for Free Comic Book Day. I finally got around to getting the Master from the Doctor Who movie from 1996 sketched for me by Alexia. The only incarnation I'm lacking now is Professor Yana from "Utopia."

Emilio Velez Jr.

I see Emilio at local conventions, but I have only gotten one sketch from him: Darla Deering (aka Miss Thing) from FF. Emilio's webcomic is The Dodgeball Teens. so Darla was suitably posed.

Rob Vellone

I met Rob at the Fan Expo Canada in 2014. I had a blank-covered Superman #32, and he did a decent Man of Steel for me.

Sean Von Gorman

It's pretty hard to forget the first time I saw Sean. It was at a MoCCA Fest, and he was promoting Secret Adventures of Houdini by escaping from a straitjacket. I don't hit him up often enough, but I'm very satisfied with the results.

P.S. This is my 300th post! Took me eleven years to get here. Here's hoping I can get to 500 by decade's end.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The A-To-Z Challenge 2016: How "U" Can Get Sketches

In case you haven't seen my ComicArtFans page . . . no, I don't have any sketches from any artists whose last name starts with "U." Originally, I was thinking of displaying the two Ultron sketches I've collected. Then I was contemplating spotlighting an artist I wound up relegating to "Honorable Mention." With that, I'm thinking of waiting until after April. Instead, I'm going to give you the basics on how to get sketches from artists at shows and events.

What do you need to start? Let's begin with the basics.


The first book I had was spiral-bound. It took me years to get that filled out, and it wasn't made for that. Eventually, the front cover came off due to wear and tear. I graduated to hardcovers after that. They're tougher to scan (I'll get to that later), but you get fewer accidents that way. Also, the page quality is better, and you don't get too many blank pages messed with ink from a prior sketch. I usually get a sketchbook at Barnes & Noble. I also look for inside covers I can write entries in, so I can catalog my collection.

If you can't get a sketchbook, a comic book board will do in a pinch. I've gotten a few sketches on behalf of people who couldn't make it to a con . . . like the time I got a Lenore sketch from Roman Dirge for my friend Nicole. You can also find comic books with blank covers at comic shops and conventions. I try not to pay above cover price if I can help it. According to my CAF account, I've gotten 64 cover sketches. They are addictive for me to collect, especially since I can get two or more commissions done at the same time. One warning about getting blank-covered comics, sketchcards and other "loose" art: be sure to put them in a safe place. I've lost a few items amid the clutter at my place. By comparison, I usually put my sketchbooks on the shelf.


I have to admit . . . it's a little easier for me to go to a show full of artists. I live on Staten Island, NY, which is a ferry ride away from Manhattan, and where I can drive to parts of New Jersey without being too big a trip. The longest commute I had for a con was when I went to Wizard World Philadelphia, where I'd drive 75-90 minutes each way. Eventually, the bigger companies withdrew their presence, I found myself skipping the final day of that con, and I stopped going altogether. I'm also open to driving to cons and staying at the location for a few nights. In addition to taking road trips to Baltimore Comic Con, I also went to my first Doctor Who-themed show last year, Long Island Who in Hauppauge, NY.

A good place to start looking is Convention Scene. Usually, I go to "All Upcoming Events" and use the list view. Sometimes, I get wind of a show that I would have missed. is also useful for finding smaller cons. Even if there are no artists, I would recommend going to an anime-themed show, especially if you want to see a lot of cosplay. You can also check your favorite comic shop's website, as well as those of individual artists. Maybe somebody you like will be in your neck of the woods, and you'd want to meet that person. For me, I found out about AnimeNEXT in Somerset, NJ, while following the abridgements of Yu-Gi-Oh! by Martin Billany, aka LittleKuriboh. I wound up attending that show for one day in 2010; enough for me to get his autograph, as well as four sketches. I kept going back to AnimeNEXT for the full three days through 2015, and I would have gotten an advance ticket for that this year if it didn't move to Atlantic City, which is too far a commute for me. Instead, the Garden State Exhibit Center will be hosting Anime Fan Fest next month. I'm hoping it will be as fun as AnimeNEXT.


Artists have to eat, too. When I first started getting sketches in 2000, I attended two shows unaware of the existence of "Artists Alley." As a result, I didn't pay for a sketch. At larger cons, if you're willing to wait on line, you can get freebies at the booths of the bigger companies. While I don't consider myself to be a "Marvel Zombie," I wound up getting quick sketches at New York Comic Con from "name" artists at no cost. I would have done the same at DC Comics' booth, except they moved their operation from the show floor to the other end of the Javits Center, and they only made their schedule available via app. On the other hand, I lucked into hitting the Titan booth at the right time. They are the official publisher of Doctor Who comics. I wound up getting three freebies, including a long-overdue Captain Jack Harkness.

Getting back to the point . . . you will need money if you want something more detailed. Because I'm not employed, I have yet to break three digits on a single piece. I think the most I've paid was $75. I try to be conservative when it comes to paying, but I tend to hit the ATM while attending a con. I don't negotiate prices . . . at most, I ask the artist about rates if those are not displayed. I usually prefer pencils and inks, though I'll take a headshot over a bust or full body. I don't get special rates from certain artists for being a repeat customer. I always try to be nice to artists. After all, you never know if you'll be going back to them in the future. Why burn bridges?


This is probably the only thing I'm anal about. I am a sloppy mess in most areas of my life, but I'm always ready with material for sketches. Usually, I seek out relevant material via Google Images, paste it in MS Paint, and print that out. I use a color printer, though I think a black-and-white reference can work as well if needed. I don't bring heavy books with me. Instead, I opt for softcovers and manga volumes, with the proper characters bookmarked. Sometimes, the artists have devices to look up references, but I never take that for granted. Looking at my most-viewed sketches, I notice that only one of my top ten did not require references. If you're only interested in getting characters that your artist is familiar with, then you don't have to sweat material. I find that having stuff at the ready gives me more options. At my last show (MoCCA Arts Festival), I gave references to four artists, and then I got a watercolor piece from Priya Huq after seeing Star Wars characters that she was selling. I wound up getting a very nice Rey from her.

Online Presence/Scanner

Since I have little to no artistic ability (ever read my 30-Second Recaps? Brutal stuff), I like showing off my sketches. Once a year, I pay a flat fee to get unlimited storage space on Flickr. In addition to being able to display the pictures I take at cons, I am also able to upload sketches there. That is the site where I have posted most of my sketches from during the A-to-Z Challenge, since I can do so at multiple sizes.

In 2009, I discovered I don't pay for premium access because my needs are basic. I just post what I get, occasionally writing accompanying stuff about it. There was also a chat room that is currently out of commission. From that, I befriended other CAF users and got to see their original art. You can also search artists in order to get a feel for their skills.

When I commute to shows, one of the first things I do after coming home is scan my acquisitions immediately. I don't use anything high-end. I just look for a printer/scanner hybrid that gets the job done. Hardcover sketchbooks are a little more difficult to process . . . I usually have to leave the lid open and press down on the book in order to get the best scan possible. When I'm away from home and want to share my stuff, I try to take a good picture of the sketch and I upload it from my camera. When I get home, I replace that with a scanned sketch.


It's good to have a basic gameplan in place. I find myself juggling visits to artists with panels, food, and general browsing. If I'm at a larger con, I try to time things where I don't have to spend a lot of time on line. When I am on line, I kill time by reading. Manga and magazines make for lightweight material. When dealing with an independent artist, I usually leave my cell phone number with him/her, so that I can get a text when my commission is complete. This is an area where improvisation is key, because a lot can happen over time.


If you look through my CAF account, you'll notice that I have a wide array of sketches. Some people devote their sketchbooks to individual themes. I started out getting sketches of characters that the artists were currently drawing, but I eventually had ideas for running themes. I never find myself that hellbent to complete a theme, but I like getting them drawn out as soon as I can think of them. Over this past month, you've noticed that I've gotten sketches based on particular shows, comics and manga/anime. Here are a few examples:

South Park characters as Lanterns

Emotions from Inside Out (all acquired at New Jersey Comic Expo 2015)

Characters from Death Note

Characters from Fullmetal Alchemist

Characters from Yu-Gi-Oh!

Superman (I like starting off a book with the Man of Steel)

Characters from Doctor Who

Transformers I owned as a kid (I never got Slag the Dinobot, but he was the robot Triceratops I wanted the Doctor to ride)

I'd like to know what you're into, whether you're starting to collect sketches or have done so for years. Stories, themes, fails . . . drop me a line in the comments section. Happy hunting!