Silver Sprocket

tru-punx art, music, and activism crew

Not everyone is lucky enough to work full-time doing what they love, but our pal Rob Cureton is. By day, he’s an animator, and by night, he’s either drawing comics or making the memories that inform the comics.
Though his free time is limited, we were able to tear The Cure away from his recent birthday celebrations to get the scoop on where he gets his ideas and how he draws a line between work and play.
Read on to discover more about how Wallace and Gromit set him on his career trajectory, which songs he’d choose as a soundtrack for this interview, and what part of Scene City he’d live in (this week).[[MORE]]
Interview by Natalye for Silver Sprocket
What’s the story behind why your art graces the pages of As You Were #3?
It mostly came pretty much out of the blue. Mitch Clem just casually sent me an email one day asking if I’d like to be in issue one. Couldn’t quite believe it at first. Nothing Nice To Say was the first web comic I ever started reading regularly, and suddenly the guy who drew it is asking me to be in his new project. I guess I must’ve been on his radar after buying a painting off him a year or so before.
Obviously, I turned it down the first time because I’m an idiot. Also I had a lot of other work on at the time and couldn’t fit it in. Thankfully Mitch asked again for issues two and three, so there we go.

You have an autobiographical comic, Orful Comics. Where does the name come from? What made you decide to start drawing the comic? In what ways is making art about your life beneficial for you? Because comics can be less vague than, say, poetry or song lyrics, do you ever feel like you have to leave moments out or censor yourself?
The name is pretty much just a stupid play on words. I’m a big fan of self-deprecating humor, so it makes me laugh that the first impression I give of my work is that it’s terrible.
I first started doing auto-bio just to practice the process of actually drawing comics. I wasn’t really confident enough to try and write something original at the time, so figured I’d work my way around that and just use moments in my life as a starting point. I started to quite enjoy it, and friends were keen to be the next guest, so I carried on and it became a thing.
Doing a weekly comic keeps me in practice too. If I don’t draw a comic for a while, it comes out all dumb when I start back up again. It’s also nice to look back on and remind myself of good times
I do censor quite a bit. There’s often moments that I’d LOVE to put into comics but can’t for various reasons, be it not wanting someone to know about a certain thing, or maybe it’s a bit too personal for me to want to share. I change quite a lot too. I’ve obviously only got so much space on a page to fit things in and sometimes little details need to be switched about to make an actual story out of it.
You also draw Scene City, which is sort of like a science fiction-y musical adventure. Where does the inspiration come from for that? Is it 100 percent fictionalized, or do you use moments from your life as the basis for some of the stuff that occurs?
The idea of Scene City actually came as a bit of an afterthought when writing the first book. I pretty much just had this story I wanted to tell taking the piss out of ska bands turning emo. I wrote a few different drafts of it but none of it was working. I had a little re-think and came up with the idea of it being set in a city divided by musical genres, and then everything just fell into place.
From there, it opened up this idea of being able to make fun of various genres of music and the interactions between them wrapped around some supernatural/sci-fi junk.
It’s pretty much entirely fictional. A few locations have been pinched from real life, and there [are] obviously a few celebrity parodies, but it’s mostly not based on anything. Apart from the bit about giant robot pop stars. That actually happened.

An excerpt from Scene City appears in As You Were. What is the larger context surrounding this inclusion? Is it from those comics or was it created as a complement to them?
The Scene City stories in As You Were [were] written specially for those books. I made a conscious decision when I signed up to not use the auto-bio comics for it. I knew there were a lot of artists already signed up who would be doing auto-bio, and I wanted to do something slightly different, and also use it as writing practice.
The As You Were submissions fit into the same universe as the Scene City books. If you look carefully, the two stories are linked and tie into the main comics. I thought it would be a bit of fun to have some short stories that run alongside the Scene City timeline, using different characters.
In addition to drawing comics, you work in animation. What sparked your interest in that? What’s some of the work you’ve done? When you’re inspired to work, what is the deciding factor between whether it will be comics or animation, or is it a pretty clear split between comics = play and animation = work?
I’ve always been into animation since I was a kid. It’s great fun! I loved Wallace and Gromit growing up, and [wanted] to be the next Nick Park, so [I] studied animation at uni. Unfortunately, stop-motion animating is HARD, so I did something a bit easier instead.
I’ve worked mostly in corporate animation over the years, making animations for conferences openers, internal communications, health and safety videos, that sorta thing. This year I’ve finally broken into broadcast animation though, which is where I really want to be. I’ve been working on a preschool series for Cartoonito called Childs Farm for the past few months and recently started working on a pilot for something I can’t really talk about in public yet (sorry).
Animation is entirely work for me. I’ve considered doing some animation for myself again over the years, especially when corporate was dragging me down a bit, but honestly, when I’ve spent all day staring at a screen pushing keyframes around, I just want to put on some music and draw. Which is thankfully where comics come in. Good old pen and paper comics.

Showreel 2012 from Robert Cureton on Vimeo.
I’ve read that Jim Mahfood is one of your comic heroes… who else do you find inspiring (artists or otherwise)?
Sooooooooooooo many! Pretty much every convention I go to, someone points out an influence in my artwork I didn’t even know was there! There’s obviously a bit of Mahfood and some nods to Brian Lee O’Malley in there. Both big inspirations of mine. I’m hugely inspired by Jamie Hewlett, Skottie Young, Charles Schultz, Quentin Blake… there [are] many. A lot of incredible artistic influences and too many to list properly.
Based on your dates posted online, it looks like you’re very active and make appearances a lot. That said, what’s the comic community like in the UK? Is it very close-knit? Do you tend to see familiar faces at each of the events, or is it different depending upon where you are?
Yeah I do a LOT of conventions. Too many sometimes. They’re great fun but hard work.
The scene in the UK is really strong at the moment, with lots of great creators popping up all the time. We’re all pretty close too. Me and some friends started a UK creators community on Facebook a few years ago to try and help each other out and get to a point where we’re all friends. It’s been pretty successful over the three or so years it’s been running, and I’ve made some great friends through it.
You see a lot of the same faces at the bigger events, which is great. It’s also nice going to smaller local shows and seeing the people you only see around there where they live. 

Music is obviously a big part of your life, which is not only evident in the comics themselves, but also in your inclusion of your drawing soundtrack at the beginning of each collection. Is there a certain kind of genre of music that you work best to, or does it vary? And if you had to create a soundtrack for the person reading this interview, what would you include on it?
I love putting the soundtracks in the comics. It’s a thing I nicked from Jim Mahfood books (yes, more Mahfood) that I quite liked. There’s not really a particular type of music I work best to. I more have to make sure I have the right music on for the mood I’m in. It’ll be some dumb pop-punk or ska if I’m feeling great. If I’m a bit down or sleepy, it’ll be nice acoustic stuff or ambient electronic-y something or other. Sometimes no music works best.
Favorites at the moment for the interview playlist would have to be Masked Intruder, Dizraeli & The Small Gods, The Dreadnoughts, and By The Rivers. Also, The Aggrolites, because I went to see them last week

If you could only listen to one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be? (Or I guess another way of phrasing this: if you lived in Scene City, what part of town could you be found in?)
Ooooooo why would you do this to me!? I’m so torn! At the moment, it’d have to be pop-punk, since I’m really feeling it at the moment, but [I] might have to make a sneaky defection in like a week or something. It changes too often; don’t make me choose!
You seem to be lucky working in a field that you studied and also that you enjoy. However, if you were to branch out in the art world, what would you want to try next?
Being in a proper band is something I’ve always wanted to do but has never really materialized more than one practice (I’m looking at you, Ceiling!). I’m not sure what I’d want to play though. There [are] a few styles I’d love to do, and I want to do them all, so it might end up being a pretty weird band. Latest idea was ukulele covers of video game music with beat boxing and rapping over the top. Maybe I’ll do that one…

Wanna keep tabs on what Rob is up to? Head over to Orful Comics, sneak a peek at his animation, or buy some comix (available as digital and physical copies). And don’t forget to check out all of the awesome art in As You Were.   High-res

Not everyone is lucky enough to work full-time doing what they love, but our pal Rob Cureton is. By day, he’s an animator, and by night, he’s either drawing comics or making the memories that inform the comics.

Though his free time is limited, we were able to tear The Cure away from his recent birthday celebrations to get the scoop on where he gets his ideas and how he draws a line between work and play.

Read on to discover more about how Wallace and Gromit set him on his career trajectory, which songs he’d choose as a soundtrack for this interview, and what part of Scene City he’d live in (this week).

Read More

If the contributors to As You Were #3 were all songs on a mixtape, well we’re not yet sure what the others would be, but Sarah Graley would absolutely, hands-down, without a doubt be the super cute twee song… and with a British accent to boot! Talk about dreamy! 
But don’t take our word for it! Read on to see her colorful art, listen to her two bands, and discover why her art is (obvs) the best ever.
[[MORE]]
Interview by Natalye for Silver Sprocket
Describe yourself in exactly 11 words.
I couldn’t decide, so I asked my boyfriend, and he said: “Sarah Graley I’m lazy please don’t sit on me i’m fragile”—(sung whilst playing the guitar, good in person, less good typed out). I think “cute space cowboy fragile messy trash puppy cartoon drawing cat person” would also work too, though. That is a tricky question!!

What’s the story to how your art ended up in As You Were?
Mitch Clem emailed me, and I was like, “I’m on Mitch Clem’s radar? I gotta tell my mum!”
Your art makes use of a lot of color, particularly pastels. How do you make your art? What mediums do you rely on? Do you tend to stick to one way of doing things or do you like to experiment?
I pretty much use biros on printer paper for everything, but lately I’ve been using mechanical pencils on nice sketchbook paper. It’s kind of boring of me, but I love the basics! The basics are so good! Then I color everything on Photoshop. Aw man, I wish I had a way more exciting answer for that question.

Your comic, Our Super Adventure, details moments from your life. Have you always told your life through drawing, or did you ever have some kind of traditional written diary or journal? At what point did you begin using artwork as a way of documenting your day? And do you do something every day, or with less frequency?
I totally had a diary from a very young age up until I was about 17/18 I guess? Which is probably when I started drawing about my everyday [as opposed to] writing! I think that was around the time [I] was really getting back into comics and my first brush with autobiographical comics. I’m a really open book, which is kind of comforting to me to have everything laid out, but also terrible because I will overshare and not everybody wants to know your wedgie has peaked to irreversible conditions.
I draw everyday unless I’m really really tired. Then I just think about drawing instead. I just got the first volume of American Elf by James Kochalka and I’m thinking of doing a diary comic every day through October… Creating and sharing a finished comic every day seems kinda tough to me! Like badass tough, though. I wanna become badass-comics tough.
You also have a comic, RentQuest, which is pretty self-explanatory. What was the impetus for that? Do you feel a certain kind of freedom in making art that is somewhat removed from your own daily occurrences?
Haha! Well, some aspects of RentQuest are very loosely based around stuff happening in my life. The protagonist is bummed out because she wants to be a successful Warrior but doesn’t know how to get an agent to hook her up with quests, where I have the same problem but with being a freelancer and finding an agent for myself. Her housemate also changes into five cats. I live with four cats and one cat-like boyfriend. I guess we’re both slowly making portfolios for the things we want to do. I’m hoping I get an agent before my fictional character does, though.
When I was first drafting the comic up, I was really stressed about making rent and frustrated with the uncertainty of what to do next, art-wise. Fictional comics are really fun, because you can draw ghoul fights and outfits you wish you owned. I really like making up stories, so I started up RentQuest.

Your comic in As You Were #3 talks about removing negative relationships from your life. What made you decide to take this step? What sorts of challenges did you face? What did you learn about yourself in the process? And how is your life better now as a result?
This is pretty hard to answer eloquently! The toxic relationships I cut from my life were between me and my hometown friends, and consistently drama-filled. I guess when so much drama happens, it sort of becomes this dull hum? I got used [to] it and figured it was standard, although a lot of it still upsets me when I think about it. I moved cities, but still visited home a lot. There was always new drama.
I moved cities again, a lot closer to my hometown. One of the big issues for me was that I’d always visit home, but nobody would visit me. Near the time I realized these friendships were so toxic, I had started a band with my boyfriend Stef. I started hanging out with new people because of the band, and everyone was dead lovely! We played our first show in my hometown, and my “friends” missed it because they were drinking in a pub on the same street. We played our set and we watched our new friends play and then we all danced, and I was like, “Why am I trying to hang out with people who make me feel so bad, when there are people out there that are so great?”
(If your friends are actually terrible/you’re moving to a new city, start a band. It is a great and also very fun way to meet new and beautiful people).
Challenge wise, I’d sometimes feel like I was making a mistake, but then I’d remember the time they bailed on my birthday to put up a shed (like wow, c’mon) or one of them went through my email after we fell out, etc. etc. ugh rubbish.
I’d like to think now that I wouldn’t put up with any rubbish from anyone, but luckily I haven’t had to since I stopped hanging out with that group. Now I just hang out with the cutest and best people and it is bloody lovely. 10/10 would recommend ditching your mean-as-hell friends. You don’t have to put up with that!!
In addition to comics, you also have a new job, play in two bands, and are working on making a video game with your boyfriend. What can you tell us about any or all of those things?
I am in a band with my boyfriend Stef called Sonic the Comic. We are indie pop with a lot of video game-y bleeps. We both loved Sonic the Comic (the actual comic) as kids, so we chose that name. We sing songs about video games and stars and sleeping in loft beds and such. I am also in a band with my friend Elly Kingdon and we are called Treetrunks, either after Tree Trunks from Adventure Time, or actual tree trunks, or how big legs are sometimes referred to as tree trunks? I forget which; I hope it’s all three. We sing songs about cutting your own hair, Sandy Cohen’s eyebrows, watching scary movies, and more. We play shows in cosplay and played our first show both dressed as Sandy Cohen, but I’m not sure people got it. I am not very musically talented at all, but both Stef and Elly are, so it works out. I provide very dumb song lyrics, out-of-time handclaps, and ukulele.
My job is incredibly unexciting! I work in a stock room and anyone else who works there will tell you how much they hate working there without any prompting. It’s sort of like a greeting. A very sad greeting. I’m only working there to make rent, but my contract will end in the new year and I will be able to return to drawing 24-7 and stressing out about bills again. I am excited!!
The video game is a little on the back burner. Stef said we should make it about vampire dads but then changed his mind. I am being fussy and not budging off vampire dads. It’s going to be an RPG and feature chiptune versions of our songs and our friends’ songs.
 
How long did it take you to “fine-tune” your artistic “voice,” or do you feel like it’s still a work in progress? What do you think are your strong points? What techniques do you feel like you could improve upon?
I think between starting to draw comics to present day, my artistic voice has become fine-tuned to what I’m about now! I started getting back into comics about six years ago, after discovering indie comics, small press, and autobiographical comics. My first diary comics used to be full-page, single-panel drawings with odd notes on my day. The more comics I read, the more direction and ideas I get for my own. I’m pretty sure I’m where I want to be now, although I’m sure when I look back on what I’m making now in two years time it’ll be very different. A lot better, I hope! Haha!
My favorite thing about illustration is that it’s easy to see the progress you make over the years.
I would like to do some more serious comics. I just need to actually do them. They’re all planned out in my head! But I think currently what I’m making and what I’m about is synced up.
I’m not sure about what my strong points are! ALL OF IT, all of the points are strong, I am great, my art is the perfect package, wink emoji. Techniques I could improve on? NOTHING! (But really coloring. I need to work on my coloring).

Aside from things like pizza and cats, what other things inspire you? Furthermore, are there specific artists, writers, musicians, etc. who inform your work or technique?
Cartoons! There are some incredible cartoons being currently made that are both visually and storyline awe-inspiring! I need to catch up on my cartoons, but I can tell you the first series of Gravity Falls is a masterpiece. I’m a big fan of C.H. Greenblatt's work too, from the humor that gets put into his show, to the art style.
I find some movies very inspiring too! I recently saw The Boxtrolls by Laika Studio (they make their films with stop motion animation) and I’m still buzzing from the incredible character design throughout. They make me want to up my character design game!
Liz Prince, Marc Ellerby, [and] Lucie Ebrey are a handful of my favorite comic artists currently. Liz Prince really got me back into comics when I came across her work in 2008/2009? (Thanks Liz!) Lucie Ebrey does a daily diary comic and I’m so very in love with her style and comics. Ellerbisms by Marc Ellerby is one of my favorite comics. They make me want to make better comics!
Atom and His Package is probably the most influential musician on my work. Have you listened to his live album “Hair: Debatable?” I think that totally shaped me as a person, and as the majority of my work is autobiographical, I should probably thank Adam Goren too. Ha!
If you could do whatever you wanted and get paid a living wage to do it, what would it be?
I would love to be a storyboard artist at Cartoon Network/Nickelodeon/Disney/actually anywhere. I’m really not fussy. Hire me! I’m cute as heck!
Basically though, I just want to be able to pay my rent/bills with drawings! That’s the dream. If I could travel about and draw comics too while making rent, that would be even better!

Sadly, that’s all for today, but you can get an extra dose of Sarah, Tumblr style (here, and here, and here). And if you want the exclusive how-to guide on ditching your terrible friends and hanging out with awesome folks only, pick up As You Were #3 from our store.   High-res

If the contributors to As You Were #3 were all songs on a mixtape, well we’re not yet sure what the others would be, but Sarah Graley would absolutely, hands-down, without a doubt be the super cute twee song… and with a British accent to boot! Talk about dreamy! 

But don’t take our word for it! Read on to see her colorful art, listen to her two bands, and discover why her art is (obvs) the best ever.

Read More

LISTEN UP YA DINGDONGS!!! SAN FRANCISCO, THIS WEEKEND, RIGHT NOW. IF YOU AREN’T AT HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS, WE GOT LIZ SUBURBIA HANGING OUT SATURDAY AT APE, ANDY WARNER HAS GOT THE NEW IRENE COMICS #5, RACHEL’S GOT A NEW SUBCULTURES BOOK WRITTEN BY OUR OWN ION. WE GOT A PRIZE WHEEL FOR ALL YOUR NIGHTMARE NEEDS. GET IN THE FRIENDZONE.

mixtapecomics:

APE is this weekend, October 4th and 5th at the Fort Mason Center. I’ll be there at table 833 next to my buddies from Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club (832) and Irene (831).

I’ll have copies of my self-published books Side A: The Music Lover’s Graphic Novel (and it’s accompanying record Winter Bloo), Frankie Comics #1 and #2, two different Frankie stickers, and three different Frankie-related posters (“Keep It Up Tough Stuff,” “Goodbye to Sleep,” and the “Life With/Out a Cat” comic).

I’ll also have anthologies that I took part in: Maple Key #1 by Maple Key Comics and SubCultures: A Comic Anthology by Ninth Art Press.

Silver Sprocket will have As You Were #1 through #3; and screenprints, patches, stickers, and buttons with artwork by Liz Suburbia, Ben Passmore, Lindsay Watson, and Nation of Amanda. Probably some t-shirts with artwork by Mitch Clem and Nation of Amanda, too!

PLUS: Special Guest LIZ SUBURBIA at the Silver Sprocket table. (Saturday ONLY.) You know I’m stoked. (Gotte bring all the things with me for Liz to sign.)

Irene will have Irene issues #3 through #5 (with issue #5 making it’s debut at the show) along with The Complete History of Everyday Objects and When We Were Kids by Andy Warner. They’ll also have a whole new 2-color Dakota McFadzean original risoprint to promote Irene #5!

So, needless to say, there’s a huge body of work between our three tables and we would love for you to come by and admire it.

You all like sports, right?! I mean, who doesn’t? That’s why we’re super stoked to bring you an interview from Jed Collins, who plays fullback for the Detroit Lions! Number 45, woooooo!!! How does he do it? Well, read on to discov—
Oh wait. My sources are telling me that there are in fact at least two dudes named Jed Collins, and I guess we interviewed the one who makes art, which sort of makes sense. A quick google of his name provides no useful information whatsoever, so Jed Co. (the artist, not the football guy) had to do all the hard work and fill in the blanks for us. I guess this is how things were done before the Internetz?
Read on to get the scoop on Jed’s experiment in not drinking, his drawing routine, and how having a kid makes him cry while watching commercials.
[[MORE]]
Interview by Natalye for Silver Sprocket
How did you get wrangled into having your comics in As You Were? 
I noticed a post on Facebook or Tumblr from Mitch Clem that said he was looking for cartoonists for the anthology, I think. Or, maybe I just emailed him and asked him if I could be in it. Mitch’s comic, My Stupid Life, was one of the first comics I ever followed online, so that’s why I knew who he was. He said I could be in it; that’s how he wrangled me.
Aside from the fact that you share a name with some NFL dude, what else should the general public know about you?
Oh, man. I hate that guy. It’s a real bummer trying to google yourself, only to see some famous hunk that’s not you. About me? I recently had a kid with my girlfriend, Marseille. The kid’s name is Iggy. We’re into him. We live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where I make a living as an illustrator/graphic designer, and by buying and selling computers on Craigslist. Though we may not be here much longer, since our building is being sold. We’ve been lucky enough to have cheap rent for a while, but now that that’s about to be over, we may leave the city. We’re thinking about Cleveland, since we’re both from Ohio. We’re also considering getting an old RV and moving into it, but I think maybe that’s a really stupid idea.

What’s the backstory to Champ? When and why did you start the comic? Where do you get material for it? 
Champ started Jan. 1, 2010. It was initially called Champ 2010, and the premise was a daily comic for the whole year, documenting my not drinking. I was drinking a lot before then, and was miserable in general. I started drinking again on Jan. 1, 2011, though not so destructively (though still annoyingly). Now, Champ is just the title for my autobiographical comics. I came up with the name because there [are] tons of comics out there with self-deprecating titles, and I was trying to think of my own self-deprecating title. Then, I decided to go the other direction. I think first it was going to be called Chump 2010.
In addition to your Champ comics, you seem to collaborate quite a bit, whether it’s designing album covers or illustrating things. What other sorts of things do you do art-wise? What mediums do you enjoy working with the most? Are there additional things you’d like to do but just haven’t got around to yet?
I illustrated a book that my pal Caroline Knetch wrote, called The Rock ‘N’ Roll Exterminator. It’s about being broke and getting rid of rats and cockroaches and stuff like that. You should buy a copy. I’ve also done various other illustrations for companies and bands and people. I recently worked for a company, Red Marble Media, on a TV show for the H2 Channel. I did these simple whiteboard illustrations for them, where they recorded my hand drawing things. The show is called “How 2 Win,” and I think it airs this fall. I’d be happy to do more stuff like that.
I mostly work with a fountain pen or a brush and ink. Sometimes I color things with watercolors. I usually clean stuff up in Photoshop. Sometimes I get drunk and make stupid paintings on canvas, usually with acrylic, and usually of fat people, or drunk people, or fat drunk people. I also work with my pal, Chris Monday. He recently put out an anthology, My Stupid Raygun. The title comes from me making fun of one of his drawings one night, I think. I have a comic in that. We also used to do an advice comic called Bad Advice for Bad People. I ended up moving to New York, and the advice comic sorta dwindled away, though it was funny, and really fun to work on. That was during the year I was sober, and he’d come over and we’d stay up really late writing the advice. It was fun, and sorta like being a kid, when you get really excited about hatching some kind of scheme with your pal, and all your ideas seem hilarious, because they are. I hope we pick it up again someday. You should read some of his comics.
As for things I’d like to do, I want to make a comic book. I’ve made minis in the past, and I printed a collection of the Champ 2010 strips. But I want to make a comic book. You know, not a collection of strips or a bunch of little stories, but one big story. A comic book!

You also mentioned that you’re in the middle of launching a new comic project. Can we get the inside scoop on that?
Like I said, I make money buying and selling computers on Craigslist. I’ve been doing that for a few years. With that and the illustration and design gigs I get, I haven’t had to have a real job for over two years (and the last real job I had was delivering weed on my bicycle in Manhattan, so maybe I haven’t had a real job for more like three years). Anyway, I run into some weirdos doing that, and I’ve started to make some comics about it. You can see the first official one here.
In 2010, you didn’t drink all year and instead focused your energy on making comics. Could you share more about that experience, e.g. its inspiration, if you really abstained from drinking the whole time, what you learned from it?
I really did abstain the whole year, except for some generic Nyquil with alcohol in it when I was sick (which I document). I think I may have taken a shot of that once or twice when I wasn’t sick too; I can’t remember. I was drinking way too much before I started Champ 2010, and I needed to stop. I was a fan of journal comics—James Kochalka’s American Elf in particular—and I had been thinking of trying to make my own for a while, with a few false starts. When I knew I needed to dry out, I thought it would be a good idea to make a comic about it. I also thought putting it all online for people to see would motivate me to follow the rules (#1 draw a comic every day, #2 don’t drink) and possibly garner some attention, which I’m a fan of.
The experience, summed up, was good. It was a change in that most of the problems I had during that time were just normal money issues, or hating one of my three jobs. I no longer had problems like, “I need to avoid Jim because last night I got drunk and told him I hate him, and even though that’s true, I don’t want to deal with him knowing that.” Or, “I shit my pants last night.”
I also met my girlfriend that year. We would not have started dating if we had met while I was drinking all the time. I moved to New York, following her, which was a really nice change from my life in Athens, Ohio. At some point, it dawned on me that I could have a good time without alcohol. Even though I started drinking again once the year was up (these days I only drink on the weekends, as a strict rule, which I’m guessing is the last grasp at normalcy for a lot of drunks), I still have a lot of fun sober. I really enjoy doing things sober, which wasn’t the case before 2010.

Your contribution to As You Were is about a big change in the form of bringing a child into the world. In what ways has having a kid changed your life, your relationships, your thoughts, your art, etc.? 
I think I’m still in shock that he’s here, and it’s been a year. A year of shock. I got sappier immediately upon his arrival. TV commercials affect me differently (by getting me to have strong, emotional responses) if they’re relating to kids, or having kids, or protecting or doing a good job by your kids. It’s also a lot easier to be less selfish because of how guilty I feel when I’m being selfish. I feel obligated to make better comics and drawings and work toward sustaining us financially while doing something I like. I’d like him to see it’s possible to enjoy the way you make a living. I’m trying to learn things about drawing that I should have learned around the time I dropped out of art school.

Do you stick to some kind of art-making schedule, or do you simply create when inspiration hits? Do you have a designated spot or studio where it comes together, and if so, what’s that like?
I like to draw in our tiny kitchen, even though there are four other rooms available. It’s an inconvenience for the rest of the family, but I really like drawing in the kitchen by the window, which looks out to the back of all the buildings on our block, and there are some trees out there, and it’s usually quiet. I used to draw in another room at the other end of the apartment, but the window in that room looks out to a red brick wall, covered in pigeon shit, bearing the weight of the BQE.
I like to draw in the morning, which can be difficult with a small child, but I get to draw some most mornings. I usually have a few comic strips written, or mostly written, so I’m not waiting for inspiration to hit; I’m just waiting for the ability to sit down and draw to hit. It can be hard. I’m easily distracted. I like to write or sketch with the TV on sometimes, because then I’m not fully committing myself to the task. It’s like a compromise, so I’m sorta tricking myself into getting work done by allowing myself to watch old episodes of The Simpsons that I’ve seen 40 times before.
If you could do anything for the rest of your life and have all your basic needs provided for, what would it be? 
I’d like to be a scientist that is well-respected because of how brilliant and handsome he is.

If you just can’t get enough of Jed Co., check out his comix, or follow him on Tumblr, or both. Bonus pro tip: if you haven’t already, you can get yourself your very own copy of As You Were #3 from our store.   High-res

You all like sports, right?! I mean, who doesn’t? That’s why we’re super stoked to bring you an interview from Jed Collins, who plays fullback for the Detroit Lions! Number 45, woooooo!!! How does he do it? Well, read on to discov

Oh wait. My sources are telling me that there are in fact at least two dudes named Jed Collins, and I guess we interviewed the one who makes art, which sort of makes sense. A quick google of his name provides no useful information whatsoever, so Jed Co. (the artist, not the football guy) had to do all the hard work and fill in the blanks for us. I guess this is how things were done before the Internetz?

Read on to get the scoop on Jed’s experiment in not drinking, his drawing routine, and how having a kid makes him cry while watching commercials.

Read More

mitchclem:

Did the album art for a pretty rad split 7”. Joe Dunn did the colors. If this is the type of thing you’re into, you can get the vinyl here or the mp3s here.

Kyle Kinane tells a weird story about a skunk!

The Slow Death present their take on two songs originally from Richmond hero’s (Young) Pioneers!

Art by Mitch Clem and Joe Dunn!

First pressing of 330 on skunk piss yellow and 220 on black death, Includes MP3 download.

Split release, get it from us (Silver Sprocket) or our buds at Rad Girlfriend

Two Portland visits ago, a rat-queen lead us from the woods to a backyard campfire sing-along with an outdoor bathtub and a furry naked dude in that tub smoking a cigarette and listening to a Mountain Goats cassette. That was the very best.

Last weekend’s trip was no less magical, this time with Andy from Irene Comics for the Rose City ComicCon, then with Nu Pagodi from the UK for tru punx adventure shenanigans.

Got some rocken comics and zines at the con and at the shows including standout gems from Lisa Rosalie, Danielle Steal, Lucy Bellwood, Corey Lewis, Peter and Mary Hoey, and (not pictured) Bryan (Forming).

Big thanks to hero’s for taking care of us, places to stay, rides, foods and adventure! Especially Alex @ Portland Button Works, Brian @ Robo Taco, Zack @ Blackbird Raum, August and Bryan @ Black Mold Tapes, Dannielle K and Gary at The Placenter, New Scowling House, other house whose name I don’t know… and all the stuff I forgot. Portland is my favorite town to chill out in, thanks big for having us. Will return soon. 

Postcards from the enchanted forrestscapes that surround us constantly even if we aren’t used to focusing in on them, the artwork of Lindsay Watson takes my mind to a place both intensely magic and serenely peaceful, like coming back from a mushroom trip without forgetting all of the lessons gifted from the universe.

We are stoked as six-legged pixies napping under mutant fauna to feature Lindsay’s artwork on the back of this month’s Silver Sprocket catalog, along with a limited run of screen-prints and pins of her “Care For Your Spirit” drawing, available now in the Silver Sprocket store.

Today’s edition of “Words From Good Art Doodz” is from the preposterously talented Emilja Frances. You might remember Emilja as “the first human consciousness uploaded to a computer,” paving the way for things like “the cloud” and “penicillin,” but after all the fanfare and award ceremonies, Bill Gates unceremoniously forgot about ol’ Emilja in a room under the Pentagon. What has Emilja been up to all this time since we were promised this new computerized way of living would “guarantee you live forever” and “spit in God’s smug, unruly face?” Making a ton of rad-as-fuck comics! We are so lucky to have talked Emilja into joining the As You Were crew, and we’ve been dying to interview this electronic marvel. Turns out the Pentagon is like, stupid easy to sneak into. We found good ol’ Emilja in a room marked with a crude hand-drawn “robots” sign, and proceeded to get the scoop, and steal Henry Kissinger’s Gmail password. 
Read on to find out what she’s been reading, what she draws, and why her dog is the most perfect creature ever.[[MORE]]
Interview by Ion for Silver Sprocket
How did you get sucked into this As You Were thing?
I have very little idea. All I know is that one day I was drinking a coffee after work and got an email from Mitch being like, “Hey y’all, I’m starting this thing and want you to be in it!” I had never interacted with him before, so it was a surprise, but I assume he had been alerted to my existence by friends of friends.
Your autobiographical comic, Ship of Fools, has been going for almost five years! Did you expect it to go on this long? Do you have plans for an omnibus or some sort of collection, and would you like this to be your main project?
I had no initial plans for it. I had just started drawing comics and realized I really liked doing [it], and I was already a zine person, so I just figured that’s what you do—start a series! I’m glad I’ve stuck with it for this long, though. My dream would be to put out an anthology once I finish ten issues, but I seem to be stuck at eight, so we’ll see. It’s the only way I can ever really see myself publishing a book, since I don’t have the attention span for drawing novel-length stories—if I try to go past 30 pages, I completely lose interest.

If you never had to worry about money/time/responsibilities again, what would your dream project be?
I guess this is supposed to mean comic project, but honestly, all I can think about these days is blacksmithing and woodturning. I recently got to forge a knife for the first time, and also use a lathe, so my dream project would involve those two things. Of course, I would probably simultaneously draw something about me being a badass female blacksmith.
What do you do in your non-artsy life?
Well, most of my life is arts/crafts-oriented. I just love to make things. Lately I’ve been really into woodworking and mead making. I grow plants and make tinctures and I learned how to quilt recently. And I fucking love to read, and hike, and go camping, and drink beer with friends… and of course I work stupid service jobs to pay the rent.

Favorite conspiracy theory?
I wish I knew more about them. What’s the lizard people one about? Lizard people sound cool. Like the Silurians in Doctor Who.
Are your comics at all informed by your queerness?
I guess so, but only in the sense that my whole life kind of is, in subtle ways. My comics are all autobiographical, and while I very rarely write stories about being sweet with anyone, the whole way I relate to people is informed by my queerness—not just in terms of gender, but in the fact that I don’t view romantic relationships as this important defining thing in life. My commitments are to my friends, and those relationships are my priorities. And also, yeah, I don’t view gender as a weird binary, where I have to relate to people differently depending on which side of the line they’re assigned to. And I think, if anything, those are the ways my comics reflect my queerness. Maybe too subtle to be read that way, unless you’re looking for it.
Your comics don’t shy away from topics like depression and the general horror of being an ape with monster feelings. Is making yourself vulnerable on your own terms in your art therapeutic, or do you do it just because something compels you to not shy away?
When I first started drawing comics, it was a way to tell funny stories about adventures with friends. Then I ended up in this fucked up non-relationship, and I drew about it in order to process what was happening. Upon realizing how helpful it was to me, I kind of just kept doing it. My comics became an avenue to reflect on periods of my life, turn those events into a story, and find the conclusion to it or the lesson learned. And since I struggle a lot with depression and anxiety, those factor heavily into the stories. And the thing I quickly learned from drawing those kinds of comics is that… they mattered to people. People related to them or drew strength from the lessons I learned. And when I meet someone who tells me that my comics have gotten them through a difficult time… that feeling is why I keep drawing.

I just finished the last book I read. Any suggestions for a new one? Are you reading anything currently? If it is non-fiction, wanna take a wild stab at how it will end?
Oh goodness! Well, everyone should read basically everything by Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler. Masters of sci-fi, those two. I’ve been reading more than usual lately, because I just moved and we don’t have Internet yet. The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman, Audre Lorde’s collection of essays called Sister Outsider, M. Craig’s The Narrows, which fulfilled my dream of a fantasy novel about queer punk hipster babes. And I just picked up a copy of Judith Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, which I’m excited to read next. Fuck, I love books.
Tell us about your dog!!
Oh my god, she’s perfect. And by that I mean she’s not perfect at all, but I love her more than anything in the world. She’s a blue pit who came from the Baltimore city shelter. She’s a giant baby, she wants to cuddle all the time, and [she] flops around like a little shark. I call her pig-shark. Also “Little Mouseface” and “Seal Pup” and about 20 other animal-related pet names. She has some behavioral issues; she’s dog-selective and not always good with strangers, especially men. But the people she loves, she does fiercely. Basically, she’s exactly like me.

You are elected treasurer for life of a small socialist archipelago. What do you spend the money on?
Um, abolish money and feel really confused that anyone elected me to anything in the first place? Be like, “Y’all, I have knuckle tattoos. Who thought this was a good idea?”
How do you think the artist community has changed in the Tumblr age of instant interaction? How do you think it has affected artists’ chances of success?

I think it’s weird, because Tumblr in particular makes it so the artist is removed from the art, because people reblog things they think are pretty, without ever looking up the creator. And I think it can sway people into making work for those platforms—more one-liners and less in-depth things. It’s just another weird form of capitalist consumption, supply and demand, whatever. But given all that, I think it also gives people a lot of exposure they wouldn’t get otherwise, which is awesome, and can be really beneficial. Like, my best friend started making knives less than a year ago, and he’s already supporting himself as a craftsperson solely due to Instagram. So that’s fucking awesome.
What the fuck is success anyway?
It’s such a subjective term. For [some people], it could just mean people noticing their work, while for [others], it could mean supporting themselves with their art. Like I said earlier, for me, meeting someone who tells me that my comics helped them through something feels like success. Sure, I’d love to publish a book someday, but in the meantime, since I’ve been in an artistic rut this past year, just putting out another zine would feel like success. It can mean whatever people define it as for themselves.

Can’t get enough of Emilja? Neither can we. Luckily, there is lots of E.F. art on Tumblr, and there are some seriously sweet comix of hers in the first and third issues of As You Were.

Today’s edition of “Words From Good Art Doodz” is from the preposterously talented Emilja Frances. You might remember Emilja as “the first human consciousness uploaded to a computer,” paving the way for things like “the cloud” and “penicillin,” but after all the fanfare and award ceremonies, Bill Gates unceremoniously forgot about ol’ Emilja in a room under the Pentagon. What has Emilja been up to all this time since we were promised this new computerized way of living would “guarantee you live forever” and “spit in God’s smug, unruly face?” Making a ton of rad-as-fuck comics! We are so lucky to have talked Emilja into joining the As You Were crew, and we’ve been dying to interview this electronic marvel. Turns out the Pentagon is like, stupid easy to sneak into. We found good ol’ Emilja in a room marked with a crude hand-drawn “robots” sign, and proceeded to get the scoop, and steal Henry Kissinger’s Gmail password. 

Read on to find out what she’s been reading, what she draws, and why her dog is the most perfect creature ever.

Read More

irenecomics:

Irene and Silver Sprocket in Portland this weekend!!! Sept. 20th 10am - 7pm and Sept. 21st 10am - 5pm. Come see us!

HEY PORTLAND BUDS!  GET IN THE FRIEND ZONE!Rose City ComicCon is this weekend!!
We will have new comic books, screen prints, patches, stickers and all sorts of stuff, along with our usual bad ideas, and special guest Alex from Portland Button Works on Sunday. Come hang out. We will be giving bad haircuts if we can find an extension chord long enough. Bonus if you can give us a ride to the Nu Pogodi (UK thrash/crust) shows Sat and Sun night.   High-res

irenecomics:

Irene and Silver Sprocket in Portland this weekend!!! Sept. 20th 10am - 7pm and Sept. 21st 10am - 5pm. Come see us!

HEY PORTLAND BUDS!  GET IN THE FRIEND ZONE!
Rose City ComicCon is this weekend!!

We will have new comic books, screen prints, patches, stickers and all sorts of stuff, along with our usual bad ideas, and special guest Alex from Portland Button Works on Sunday. Come hang out. We will be giving bad haircuts if we can find an extension chord long enough. Bonus if you can give us a ride to the Nu Pogodi (UK thrash/crust) shows Sat and Sun night.