Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Albert Camus isn't afraid to ask the tough questions.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Franz Kafka

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us."
Franz Kafka
drawing via

Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
#9: When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
#10: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
#11: Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#12: Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
#13: Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
#14: Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
#15: If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
#16: What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
#17: No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on - it’ll come back around to be useful later.
#18: You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
#19: Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
#20: Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
#21: You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
#22: What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
via dumblr

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rocky Balboa

I drew this for the Heroes and Villains chart in Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, but ended up not using it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Alan Moore portrait

I'm drawing my favorite authors. Here's the terrifying visage of Alan Moore.
"The city is afraid of me, I have seen its true face."
—Rorschach, Watchmen #1

Krispy Kreme Kommercial #2

A commercial set. DOOGIE sits facing the camera. A huge crate of doughnuts with a trapdoor in the bottom is suspended above his head.
The camera ZOOMS IN so the crate isn’t visible.

Okay, it’s raining doughnuts, take 1.

April showers may bring May flowers, but my favorite time of year is—

The trapdoor opens too soon and all the doughnuts fall out of the crate on Doogie’s head while he’s in mid-sentence.

The same set. DOOGIE sits facing the camera. An ASSISTANT is wiping the jelly and doughnut sprinkles off his shirt and face.

Are you going to fix that stupid trapdoor?

Yeah don’t worry, they’re fixing it now.

Suddenly the trapdoor opens and the doughnuts fall all over Doogie and the Assistant again.

The same set. DOOGIE sits facing the camera. An ASSISTANT wipes the jelly and doughnut sprinkles off his shirt and face again. Doogie is angry.

Okay, it’s raining doughnuts, take 3.

[deep breath]
April showers may bring May flowers, but my—

A single doughnut falls from the ceiling and lands directly on Doogie’s head.

DOOGIE [cont.]
—it’s a piece of wood on a hinge, WHY CAN’T YOU FIX THAT?
[looks up at trapdoor]

Maybe it would work better if we put coffee in it?

[turns to camera, alarmed]

The same set. DOOGIE sits facing the camera.

It’s raining doughnuts, take 4.

April showers may bring May flowers, but my favorite time of year is Autumn, because that’s when the doughnuts fall.

Nothing happens.

[looks up]
Oh, now it doesn’t want to open?

The trapdoor suddenly opens, spilling hot coffee all over Doogie, who screams in pain.

Sorry, that was my fault!

First Person Present

Some people say first person present is the most powerful, immediate form of fiction, but I can't write that way without feeling like I'm penning a detective novel.

"I pull the first drawer open and take out a bottle. Pull the second drawer open and take out my gun. I belt the whisky down fast and it kicks hard. But I know the snubnose kicks even harder, and I need to fortify myself for the work ahead. Just thinking about it makes my hands shake, so I take another shot. It won't be the last tonight."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Krispy Kreme Kommercial

A commercial set. We see camera tracks, sound man with boom, scaffolding, a painted backdrop of clouds.
DOOGIE stands in a suit, gingerly holding a doughnut.
The camera ZOOMS IN so all the extra stuff is hidden.
An ASSISTANT leans in with a clapboard.

Okay, Krispy Kreme tastes like a dream, take 1. ACTION!

Zippy music plays in the background.
The camera starts to TRACK BACKWARDS.
Doogie starts walking towards the camera, with a happy spring in his step.

Boy, it certainly is a dream, to nom nom delicious Krispy Kr—

Doogie suddenly trips and falls.

Ah! Gah!

The camera continues to TRACK BACK

Stop! Cut!

I don’t know how to stop it!

The camera tracks so far back we can see all the scaffolding, extras—it’s clearly tracked too far.

Look out! Run away camera!

The camera tracks back and reveals a bunch of STAGE HANDS standing around, eating a box of KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS.

These are delicious.

If I could marry this doughnut, I would.

Self-portrait c. 2009

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I'm on my way, I'm making it.
Best Spider-man cover ever? Perhaps. I'm sure there's some Ditko cover that tops it. Anyhow, this is one of my favorites. Drawn by the legendary John Romita.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Double American Gothic
Mystery in Space #22, The Square Earth! Oh man, how are they going to fix that?

Miss Peregrine

Faceout Books was nice enough to interview me about a book I designed, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Finally, I get to show some of my alternate covers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

by Jory John, via McSweeney's

Update: Buzzfeed has actually written some of McSweeney's suggestions.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Congratulations, you're an asshole.
Sometimes life is like that, via Ffffound

Great little song by Vic Ruggiero, keyboard player from the Slackers.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Breaking Bad illustrated by Andre Carrilho, via Hey Oscar Wilde!
"You're on a gravy train with biscuit wheels."
My friend Christian Alsis pointed out the similarities between Pete Weber and Bill Murray's character Ernie McCracken in Kingpin; they are hard to deny.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Like a boss.

The King of Comedy

Jerry Lewis and Martin Scorsese on the set of the King of Comedy. via dumblr

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Serenading the Audience

An audience member in the front row subtly suggested I stop singing, so I improvised a little ditty for him.
Essential reading for all crackers, via Julia Segal.
Good interview with Brian Regan on WTF.

Monday, July 16, 2012

“Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.”
William S. Burroughs
William S. Burroughs, drawn by Charles Burns.
“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.”
Just another Murray Monday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Your E-Book is Reading You

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Drawing my favorite authors, #3: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Mickey Spillane

"Those big-shot writers could never dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar."
My favorite authors, #2 Mickey Spillane.
drawn by Doogie Horner

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut

I'm drawing my favorite authors. First up, Kurt.
“To be is to do - Socrates
To do is to be - Sartre
Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra”

Conflict as the Fulcrum of Western Fiction

The necessity of conflict is preached as a kind of dogma by contemporary writers’ workshops and Internet “guides” to writing. A plot without conflict is considered dull; some even go so far as to call it impossible. This has influenced not only fiction, but writing in general—arguably even philosophy. Yet, is there any truth to this belief? […]
For countless centuries, Chinese and Japanese writers have used a plot structure that does not have conflict “built in,” so to speak. Rather, it relies on exposition and contrast to generate interest. This structure is known as kishōtenketsu.
Kishōtenketsu contains four acts: introduction, development, twist and reconciliation.
Here's a short comic showing the four acts of Kishōtenketsu:
And here's a similar story told with a Western, conflict-centered plot and resolution:
In the Kishōtenketsu comic, that third panel replaces the conflict in panel two of the Western comic. The third panel seems random, but we know it must have something to do with the story. We keep reading to discover how panel three is related to panel one. There's no conflict, but there's still interest, mystery, and resolution.

Excerpt from Still Eating Oranges via the New Shelton Wet/Dry

I'm sorry, I don't know who drew this. But I wanted to post it because it's awesome. If anybody knows who the artist is, please let me know so I can credit them!
Basquiat, Museum Security [Broadway Meltdown]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ryan Gosling

Another DHARBIN! $15 drawing, the Gos in Drive. Commissions available here.

Bill Murray

Raleigh St. Clair, drawn by DHARBIN! It's one of his awesome $15 sketches. Want one? OF COURSE YOU DO. You can commission one here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Dog is Crazy

My mutt is a real nut! A couple days ago he said that his veterinarian was having sex with his secretary, and I know he’s not because I’ve seen photos of his wife and family on his desk.

So the next day I told the veterinarian what my dog said, and he said, “Whoah, your dog is definitely crazy. So crazy that I’m afraid we’re going to have to put him to sleep just to make sure he doesn’t talk about Sarah anymore,” and I said, “Who’s Sarah?” and the vet said, “Nobody.”

So I said, “You want to hear something really crazy? My dog said you might try to put him to sleep, and that if you did I should give you this manila envelope.” The vet asked me, “What’s in the envelope?” and I said, “I don’t know probably dog food or something. I saw him bury a copy in the back yard.”

I never got to see what was in the envelope because the vet took it into the other room. When he came out he looked very serious and said, “I’ve changed my mind. Your dog doesn’t need to be put to sleep, what he needs is medication.” He wrote down a prescription and handed it to me. It was a prescription for bacon. The vet said he’d continue to fill the prescription every day for the rest of my dog’s life, and then he gave me some bacon money. I asked, “Will this stop my dog from talking about you?” and he said, “God I hope so.”

I still don't know what all that was about, but I know this: I've got one kooky pooch!
Nam June Paik, Video Flag Z, 1986. via Cave to Canvas

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 rules for writing a short story

Originally listed in his short story collection Bagombo Snuff Box:

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. 
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. 
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. 
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action. 
  5. Start as close to the end as possible. 
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of. 
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. 
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

by Personal Message