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Brigada Graphic Novel

I've always loved graphic novels published from Europe that has such a wide scope of style, substance, and creative ingenuity. Creators like Jean "Moebius" Giraud are what inspired me to be a visual storyteller to this day especially having grown up with the Heavy Metal magazine back in the day. 

It has been a long time since I've read a good graphic novel from overseas and recently one title caught my eye while walking around in Earth Prime Comics, located in Burlington, Vermont. This shop has literally everything you're looking for especially the indies. 

The style of this particular artist got my attention because I've seen his work online in certain photo sharing websites and unfortunately, at the time, it was in entirely in Spanish. His name is Enrique Fernandez who's work can be seen at his website. It so happens to be in beautiful bound hardcover with rounded corners and in english, to my luck. 

Front cover of Brigadainterior of BrigadaThis is one of the most beautiful books I've read with lush line art, vivid colors, and the pacing flows wonderfully like animated film. In fact, this illustrator has some background in the animation industry as a storyboard artist which definitely brings the premise to life. I suspect he colors the book digitally after scanning in the line art or directly with a tablet. 

This book is actually the first part of two volumes while the second won't be released until later in summer which I hope to get my hands on to complete the story. It's got a nice mix of mid to high fantasy flavor with a bit of Norse/Viking/Elder Scrolls tone. I won't spoil the story but concept may appear simple on surface but rather more intelligent in layers more than one would think. 

One of the best books out there since Petersen's Mouse Guard which I greatly love. Highly recommended!


New LePen Drawing set

Recently, I ordered some new drawing pens from Marvy Uchida to experiment with because I enjoy the essence of inking and how it flows on paper. Not only that, it's a way for me to search for the right pen that would fit my style and workflow.

The new pen set has point sizes ranging from .005 to .08 and interacted nicely with my moleskine sketchbook even though the quality is not so different than what I experienced with the Faber Castell Artist PITT pen, which is one company that I really love. They make the best graphite pencils in the 9000 series that have such admirable quality. 

I suspect these pens would interact better on smoother paper than the moleskine to have a uniform line quality, especially if it were done on hot press illustration board which comes to mind. If they do, then I may buy more of them to stock up on specialized drawing surfaces. It would also come handy for life drawing sessions for crisper line and form, I think. The pen set is affordably priced and are comfortable to hold. 

One of the better pens I've tested in some time. 

LePen Drawing setThe font style reminds me of what Dover publishing books use with academic clean look.Here's a close up of what the tip looks like.A little experiment with dark theme using the LePen set.


Meeting Aaron Draplin-Graphic Designer

It's not so often I get to attend speaker events locally but one by the name of Aaron Draplin, hailing from Portland, Oregon, got my attention when he was expected to be in Vermont. One event was hosted by the AIGA VT which cost a bit more and challenging to get tickets since this was a workshop. The next evening was at the University of Vermont at the Ira Billings Lecture Hall, hosted by the UVM Ski & Snowboard club and sponsored by Healthy Living and Market Cafe. Fortunately, the ticket was ten dollars compared to the previous night through Eventbrite.

This event was for his book tour titled " Pretty Much Everything " in hardcover which I got at the bookstore wth beautiful looking logos on the outside and inside of the book. It surveys his mid-career work and examines the processes he's gone through. 

Although, the weather had snowy and wet conditions that made it a bit slushier on ground as I had to find parking, thanks to the Parkmobile app after grabbing Starbucks Coffee en route. I almost felt like a student again walking on campus to the other side at the Lecture Hall only to see some people already inside the building. I could see some staff walking about in the hall and getting the tables ready. 

Aaron then showed up down the hall, appearing out from the lecture hall doorway having a chat with other people. A few minutes later, he starts approaching the first few of us at the doors about to sign autographs. I've been made aware of his work the last few years based on some of the graphic design work he's done for Burton Snowboards, located in Burlington, Field Notes ( one of which I'm familiar with ) and a few other images, especially the Obama administration. 

Draplin's book cover

AutographAfter that, I picked up some food from the tables and found a seat in the hall, seeing a DJ warming up the audience near the podium section. It would take another half hour for the entire auditorium to fill up and lights go out for Aaron to be introduced. His talk took about two hours going from 7pm til 9pm with inspiring insights and experiences. One part of his talk amused me by his mention of my hometown Cleveland which he already toured in.

After it all ended, I decided to drive back home which would be a 45 minute drive back south despite the fact it was a Friday night. The weather was getting crappier and I did'nt want to risk the road getting worse by the hour. 

People may wonder why an illustrator like me would go to this and frankly, to me, he's an inspiration when it comes to design as it's one part of what I do. But also, the process of design fascinates me, giving way for an illustrator to understand what graphic designers go through. He's done some illustration work, so that part applies. Many of the images he's done were produced on Adobe Illustrator which is obvious and they have this clean and concise look. Illustrator has such wonderful precision that I can appreciate and I'm aware that there is a competitor to this from Affinity Designer which is very tempting.

And it was all worth it as I plan to read the book throughout the week. 


Contributing Art To Fencing

Some time ago, I created three prints based on each weapon of classical and olympic fencing using different gods to represent the past connecting to the present. It was also part of something I had in mind to expand on in the future as a way to introduce and educate people on this sport. For about nine year now, I've been fencing epee and really enjoy the aspects of the game but also the physical workout it provides for me as an artist to stay in shape. 

And each year or every other year I would contribute my talent to the fencing community to design a t-shirt. Although, I'll be doing the twenty-fifth anniversary shirt in Spring of 2018 instead. This time around, I've decided to contribute three prints from my Society6 online store to the Middlebury Open tournament on weekend of March 1st, which occurs every year by tradition, where they have raffle prizes to give out when people buy enough tickets. The money is used as a fund raiser to support next year's budget for the Vermont Fencing Alliance

This is also a good way for me to market myself through the fencing community and outwards., one in which I think would be an interesting experiment. The prints, having been delivered to my address, came out really nice which made me very satisfied. Society6's print quality is beautiful and they use, I quote:

`Gallery quality Giclée prints on natural white, matte, ultra smooth, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson UltraChrome™ K3 archival inks - the standard by which all other professional level ink technologies are measured.`

This is only one of these unique times when I contribute my work to the community because I enjoy this sport very much. 


Photo of Deus Epee printPhoto of Deus Foil printPhoto of Deus Saber print