Monday, April 16, 2012

Visit to Austin Books & Comics

I was lucky enough to take a rare non-comics related trip last month, yet still managed to get comics involved! Usually I spend my personal vacation time at New York Comic Con or other conventions along the east coast. This usually includes show prep, travel time, expenses, and loss of vacation days... so if I really think about it those aren't vacations in the traditional sense at all! Don't get me wrong, we do enjoy meeting fans at the shows, drawing commissions, and making Curls Studio more visible to the world, but let's face it - that's not a vacation. That's working.

So it was such a treat to enjoy a relaxing time at Austin Books & Comics in Austin, Texas. Their store is amazing and had an excellent selection of material including indie, self-publishers, all-ages, back issues, trading cards, buttons, shirts, newly released comics, and more. In addition, everything was clean and the aisles were easy to navigate. Several comic stores I have seen seem mildewy and dark with the front display comics damaged by sun, but at Austin Books & Comics the books were in good condition and it was a fun experience to shop there. They even put on a lot of in-store events and support the local community of artists. Many of the local creators are tagged with signs to indicate their books including Bad Cat Comics #1 which features a hand-printed silkscreen cover. The employees were friendly and guided me next door to their other shop, Guzu Gallery, which focuses on art books, special children's books, limited edition products, and designer toys.

In my eyes, Austin Books & Comics is doing it right by getting their customers excited and building a community base of fans and creators. The shop is beautiful and I hope more comic store head toward this direction. Even having a gigantic Hulk display is reason enough to come in the store.

Here is a photo of Jimmy Palmiotti's Queen Crab on the shelves. Shameless plug: I have a pin-up in that book.

As you can see in the photo above, my (not so secret) stash from Austin is filled with many goodies that I look forward to reading. I also purchased a card game called Nuts and a pack of old ALF trading cards!

If you are interested in seeing more images from our trip, head on over to the Curls Studio Facebook page and give us a "like" while you're there:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Curls Studio will be at WWE RAW Tonight

We're going out tonight
To kick out every light
Take anything we want
Take everything in sight
We're goin’ til the world stops turning
While we burn it to the ground at night

YES! YES! YES! Curls Studio will be at WWE Monday Night RAW Live tonight April 9, 2012 from Washington, DC. We have even made signs in advance with your favorite characters CURLS and TOAST from and took photos so you can spot us in the crowd (we are in the 5th row off to the side corner), so record the show and if you see us send us a screen capture for a free gift of comics goodness from us. Email info[at] to get in contact with us! You can watch live on your TV at 9PM eastern on USA Network. Enjoy the show.

MoMA Presentation at AIGA DC

On Thursday, April 5, 2012 I attended August Heffner's presentation "An INitiative Event: Why In-House Designers are Smarter, More Creative and Better Than Everyone Else" hosted by AIGA DC. August is an In-House Designer and Associate Creative Director of Graphic Design and Marketing at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was very interesting because the MoMA design team does such great work with some limitations (mostly one typeface and limited, but very bold color palette) and their design encompasses exhibition, display, advertising and promotions to get people to come to the museum. It is best to look at their work in this link to see for yourself, or even better make a trip up to NYC and see for yourself. Here are some tidbits of knowledge I learned at the event that I can share with you:

• MoMA mostly only uses the Franklin Gothic typeface and otherwise creates their own if needed (like Tim Burton's based on his handwriting or the Marina Abramovic typeface)
• Did a rock poster show and used wheat paste to put up the signage, but hired the person who does the wallpaper at The White House to install the display, which I thought was an interesting combo of punk rock and high-class
• Marina Abramovic was at the museum every day for 3 months sitting in a chair
• They do not work on MoMA exhibit book publications
• Summer attendance is typically slow at museums
• In general, most people are afraid of modern art
• Original template design by Paula Scher, Pentagram
• At first many people were upset about the lowercase "o" in their branding, but now they own it
• They silkscreen their walls (no vinyl) so people don't peel the graphics
• Working with the artist estates can be hard because they can't use the art in advertising sometimes, so they have to come up with other solutions to "problems"
• I felt like it's good that they showcase their work online because the museum is constant changing with exhibits and their work doesn't last forever on the walls, everything gets painted over and refurbished after each exhibition
• Team promoted summer exhibits last year with really fun handouts at Times Square -
• They are starting to do more with video and online ad campaigns
• Breaking "branding" guidelines – Tim Burton does MoMA logo -
• Pixel Art they did for exhibition, received 50/50 reaction (some people upset they were re-creating art from art), but they were still able to do it -

The photo above is a picture of me at MoMA during the time of Tim Burton's exhibit near the end of 2009. That exhibit was amazing and I just realized now that I never wrote a blog about it during that time. It was probably one of the best exhibits I have been to along with Van Gogh's Van Goghs at National Gallery of Art in 1998. Make sure you check out the Burton exhibit photographs in the link to MoMA's design studio. I really appreciated this event because it renewed my vision for design and also makes me embrace limitations at this time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Cartoonist Studio Contest Outcome

I recently received word that my comic strip will not proceed in The Cartoonist Studio contest round 8 (of 10). Thanks to all who voted and supported. I really appreciate it. If you have any feedback or suggestions about the strip or comments on the contest, shoot me an email at info[@] I think we went far on a clean run and could not have done it without your votes.

Thanks again,