Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It's time to move on...to WWW.JOHNAWALSH.NET. This blog is shutting down and has been moved over to my new & improved website. Some tinkering is still going on over there, but it's up and running for the most part. So head over and check out the new site and new blog.

This blog served me well as I discovered and experimented with blogging. Since it was created in 2006, it went through three names as well: BROWN PAPER BLOG, INSERT WITTY COMMENT HERE, and finally THICKMICK'S BLOG. Oh well, all things must pass!

Update your bookmarks and see you at the new site: WWW.JOHNAWALSH.NET

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

PADDY pages

Here are two versions of the same page from my Graphic Novel "GO HOME PADDY". While it's fun doing the pages in full-color, the process takes too long. So I'll be doing the rest of the work in two-tone. Plus, I actually think the two-tone works better with the overall tone of the story.

I'm hoping to post the entire first chapter when I finally put together a Wordpress run site/blog.

Warm-Up Sketches

More examples of my morning routine.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Random sketches

Here are some more recent warm-up sketches that I do in the morning before getting down to work. So that I can just loosen up, I give myself very little time to work on these. It's all about PROCESS people.

Also, I think the second sketch (the figure drawing) is my fumbling attempt to draw a "R. Crumb Woman".

Now I'm doing quicky Movie Reviews?!

Well, I'm not sure if this will continue or not, but thanks to the generosity of one Bartholomew Stankowitz (AKA Horselips McSorley) I have a new DVD player and I've been putting it to use.

FROST/NIXON: Excellent film. Frank Langella absolutely kills it as Nixon. I highly recommend this one!

THE SPIRIT: Well...I can't say that this wasn't a total mess, but as Bartholomew Stankowitz said, "It's JUST LIKE a comic book". The violence is over the top in a Tom & Jerry kind of way (which is funny) but the story is about as thought out as a Tom & Jerry cartoon too. Only recommended for DIE-HARD Frank Miller fans & green screen enthusiasts.

CORALINE: Now this is a beautiful looking film! Stop motion all the way based on the kid's book by the amazing Neil Gaiman. I was surprised by how faithful the film remained to the book in terms of creepiness. Go out and rent this!

WALZT WITH BASHIR: Another animated movie, this time dealing with the subject of Israeli soldiers' memories of the 1982 Lebanon War. A VERY powerful film with exquisite animation! Also features design/art by the amazing brothers Tomer and Asaf Honuka. I highly recommend this one too!


So I'm thinking about switching my website and blog over to one site powered by Wordpress. Besides being able to have everything on one site, various Wordpress plug-ins would allow me to easily present web-comics too. But.....I'm a little nervous as I know NEXT TO NOTHING about websites, installing programs on servers, etc.

If any of my readers have any advice, please leave a comment or hit me with an email.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

South End Slant & Ted Kennedy's Tears

Yep, I think this one is just about right. Coakley was a joke...and will be for quite some time too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Warm-Up & Preliminary Sketches

This is a quick warm-up from this morning. Once again, I completely goofed up on the eyes.

And here's the cleaned up and ready for inks sketch done for this week's South End Slant that I'll post on Thursday.

Book Reviews!

The Strain: Book One of The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan from William Morrow: This one is a REAL page turner; not Literature, but DAMN good. I truly hope that Del Toro (Director of Pan's Labyrinth & The Devil's Backbone) makes a movie out this tale of NYC infected with a Vampire virus. Sections of this book were good enough to remind me of Matheson.

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill from Harper Paperbacks: This was fun, but not as enjoyable for me as Hill's collection of short stories 20th Century Ghosts. Joe Hill has made a fan out of me, and I'm looking forward to his next novel. You can follow Hill on Twitter HERE.

The Dylan Dog Case Files by Tizlano Sclavi & assorted Illustrators from Dark Horse: Um...not quite what I expected here...maybe I was fooled by the cover by Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame? The six stories of Paranormal Investigator Dylan Dog collected here seem somewhat scattershot, and the revolving door of artists certainly doesn't help. But, I guess this stuff is HUGE in Europe...so what do I know?

The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, & Frederic Lemercier from First Second: A smart and experimental mix of photos and illustrations that tell the true life tale of a Photographer that travels to Afghanistan to document the work of Doctor's Without Borders. Guibert is without a doubt one THE BEST working in the Graphic Novel medium at the moment.

The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio from Doubleday Religion: Now this was different. Not an all-out insane demonic tell all, as much as an insider's look into the training and daily lives of Catholic Exorcists. Worth the short time it took to read.

The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck from Penguin Classics: I can see why this one is often a subject of debate among Steinbeck fans as this novel is nothing like his work from the 30's & 40's. Focusing on the downward spiral of American morality in the 1960's, The Winter of Our Discontent is an excellent read due to the novel being full of Steinbeck's searing insight into human nature.

City of Thieves: A Novel by David Beniof from Plume: A very fun read full of humor, action and introspection. It's the tale of two young Russian men searching for a chicken in a ravaged and starving St. Petersburg under siege by the Nazis. Isn't that description enough to make you want to read this one?

BUtterfield 8 by John O'Hara from Modern Library: Now this is some good stuff! I read somewhere online that "O'Hara wrote like we wish Fitzgerald did"! A tough story of loose women, lapsed Irish-Catholics, rich, spoiled WASPS, and the underbelly of NYC in the 1920's. An excellent novella.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman from HarperCollins: The story of a living boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard (think The Jungle Book). An entertaining read that seems to lose steam by the end. Parts of the book are incredibly imaginative though and Gaiman has no peer when it comes to presenting old cliched ideas in new and very strange ways. Added bonus: the copy I read was full of beautiful, offbeat Dave McKean illustrations!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I'm inking the last few pages of chapter one.

More warm-up sketches

Too bad I REALLY screwed up the eyes on that guy to the left.
Oh well, these are just sketches.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More unfinished panels from GO HOME PADDY!

Still working...

Warm Up Sketches

Various faces that i've sketched in the mornings before getting to work.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Unfinished Paddy Panel

Some of today's work. Lots and lots to go still.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010

Boston Year End Special!

Here are three illustrations I did for the cover of The South End News' 2009 Year End Special. Enjoy!

Boston Mayor Menino took on and defeated all three opponents in the city's 2009 Mayoral race.

In Boston's District 7, indicted politician Chuck Turner won re-election and claimed Tito Jackson as his heir apparent.

Aaron Michlewitz became the shining rep of the 3rd Suffolk district in the State Legislature after his mentor Speaker of the House Sal Dimassi resigned amid a corruption scandal.

Thursday, December 31, 2009


To everyone: Here's to health and growth in 2010! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a few drinks to finish........

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The RETURN of the 2-3 sentence Book Reviews!

Heeeere we go:

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson from Three Rivers Press: An entertaining historical read mixing the invention of wireless telegraphy and the murder of a woman in London. Good, but not as stellar as Devil in the White City.

All Souls by Michael Patrick MacDonald from Beacon Press: A rough and insightful memoir regarding Boston's "Southie" projects. MacDonald perfectly captures the blend of poverty, racism, and violence that so many of us inner-city kids experience growing up. Also, All Souls is a very, very, very Irish read.

Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel by C. M. Butzer from HarperCollins: When I read this, all I could do was think that this graphic novel was MADE for young boys! Butzer does a great job of making the subject matter appealing to kids (I should know, since I'm still one) and his art style and storytelling are excellent. A very good present for a grammar school boy that needs to know a little more about history.

Ball Peen Hammer by Adam Rapp & George O'Connor from First Second: Well, obviously I really liked this one since I felt the need to interview O'Connor about it! A dark story with no real light at the end of the tunnel, Ball Peen Hammer is still full of insights regarding apathy, maliciousness and even hope (just a tiny bit of hope). And O'Connor grows tremendously as an Artist with this one.

The Impostor's Daughter: A True Memoir by Laurie Sandell from Little, Brown and Company: Another memoir from someone that can't draw. No, just kidding...kinda. Worth reading, but I don't think The Impostor's Daughter is worth the accolades that it's been receiving.

South End Slant & Christmas

Yeah, times are tough out there.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Interview with Graphic Novelist George O'Connor

I recently had the chance to run a brief Q&A past Author and Illustrator George O'Connor. George's most recent book, BALL PEEN HAMMER (with Adam Rapp) has garnered great reviews as well as solid sales. Publishers Weekly describes BALL PEEN HAMMER as "an eerie postapocalyptic urban world, where humanity is turning on itself". Also from publisher First Second, George created JOURNEY INTO MOHAWK COUNTRY which was based on the actual diary entries of Dutch trader Van den Bogaert, who set off through New York's Indian territory in 1634. Thanks to George for his time!

Is this your first time working with a writer for a graphic novel? If so, what was the working relationship like? Was there much more editorial involvement since you weren't the complete and sole creator?

Unless you count Harmen van den Bogaert, who’s been dead for over 300 years, this was my first time working with another writer ;). As for our working relationship, the truth is, Adam and I never actually met until after Ball Peen Hammer was finished. Aside from a few e-mails of character designs and such, there was virtually no interaction. This was actually a good thing, in my opinion. I was able (with some help from editorial, repositioning a few pieces of text, etc.) to go in and create my own vision of Ball Peen. I think it worked pretty well—Adam was very pleased with how the book the book came out, and I am too. It really feels like a book we both contributed to equally.

What was your process for this one—from script to finished page? Did the writer present you with the story as a whole or broken down into specific pages/panels?

The script of Ball Peen was written as a play—there were no panel or page notations, just dialogue and stage notes. After reading the script a few times, I started marking up the script, breaking down the dialogue into panel-to-panel chunks, and occasionally drawing some sketches in the margins. Then I started sketching out thumbnails of how these panels would fit on a page, figuring out the wordless stretches (and there’s a lot of them in Ball Peen), repositioning some chunks of dialogue, stuff like that. Thumbnailing is, for me, by far the most difficult part of the whole process. After thumbnailing, I create a “dummy” of the book—a rough draft of the whole thing in a bound notebook that is the same size as the print version of the finished book. This dummy will serve as my blueprint for the finished artwork, with page turns, compositions, lettering, etc all in place.

With everything laid out, the final step, finished artwork, was a comparative breeze. I drew the final artwork at approximately 10 by 15 inches, and inked the whole thing with dip pens (and brushes to fill in the many large areas of black). This was my first time working with dip pens. I originally decided to use pens for Ball Peen because they gave the lines, partially due to my unfamiliarity with them, a weird, wonky, disturbing quality. Now I love the pens—almost all the artwork in Olympians is being done this way.

Why do you think that the book has had such great initial success?

“Such great initial success”—I’m blushing! Well, I’m assuming you’re referring to the book going into a second printing already, which has been nice, I admit. As for why, well, I’ll say Adam has written a remarkably “true” feeling book. Yes, there are a lot of not-nice things happening in it, but there is an actual soul to the piece that really resonates with some people. Plus, I heard that the artist is a cool dude.

What's next for you and what other types of stories are you interested in tackling down the road?

I’m currently had at work on The Glory Of Hera, book 3 of the projected 12 book series Olympians I’m doing for first second, which are graphic novel retellings of the Greek myths. Books one and two, Zeus King of the Gods and Athena: Grey Eyed Goddess, come out in January and April, respectively. Interested folks should check out my blog at geooco.blogspot.com for some sneak peeks. If all goes well, these will be keeping me occupied for a good, long time.

Who are your influences? Whose work do you follow regularly? And what's the best book you've read in 2009?

Influences—I’m always worried that my influences might be too transparent in my work, but some of my faves are Mike Mignola, P.Craig Russell, Jaime Hernandez, Bill Watterson, Mike Golden. I try to keep up with all of their work, except, of course, Mr. Watterson, who hasn’t done anything for public consumption for many years now. Best book I’ve read in 2009? I’m going to go with Stitches, the first graphic novel by children’s book illustrator David Small. Wow, what an affecting memoir, such great storytelling, and his drawing line is so expressive it’s actually, at times, shocking. Great stuff.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Blogging Update

Sorry for the lack of updating; I've been knocked out with the FLU this week. I'm hoping to be back up to speed next week at which point I'll post my Q&A with George O'Connor!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

South End Slant & THANKSGIVING

Presented here — exactly how the first Thanksgiving went down between the Pilgrims and the Indians!

This one is pretty much literally based on an OLD Thanksgiving greeting card from the early 1900's.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GO HOME PADDY! all the time

Another unfinished Paddy page of pencils at top. The bottom two photos show how some of the pages are looking at the moment.
See you all next Tuesday!

Random STUFF

I recently conducted an email Q & A with George O'Connor (author/artist of Journey into Mohawk Country and Ball-Peen Hammer) and I'm hoping to post it next Tuesday. George is a cool guy and it was nice of him to take the time to answer my questions.

I'm also hoping to post some new quickie book reviews next Tuesday as well. It's been a while since I posted any book reviews and I think I've read quite a few books since then.

Also, for book lovers—check out the blog of The Boston Bibliophile. Excellent reviews are posted often and the Bibliophile often reviews Graphic Novels as well. So....click the link and check the blog out!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Double page from my graphic novel "GO HOME PADDY!"

Unfinished pages of course!

Also, that's TWO updates today. Let's see if I can update again on Thursday and try to start a Tuesday & Thursday update routine.

South End Slant & KING MENINO

Just like EVERYONE thought, Menino still rules the City of Boston.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

South End Slant & FLOON

Well, now we know how well the whole "Floon" thing worked out in the election campaign to replace Menino as Mayor of Boston.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Random Paddy pages

Here are some pencils from pages that I'm working on. Sorry for not posting as often lately—seems I'm paying more attention to Twitter than I am my blog! Anyways, I'm thinking of starting a posting schedule for this blog: something new will always be up on specific days...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two-Three sentence book reviews!

Post Office by Charles Bukowski from Ecco: This is a great novel full of depravity, self -induced misery and true originality! I've known guys like the main character and Bukowski's Henry Chinaski rings true. After you read this, you'll never, ever, look at your mailman the same again.

Slow Storm by by Danica Novgorodoff from First Second: Novgorodoff is a real talent; with this book she proves the saying that there are NO RULES when it comes to graphic novels. Excellent line work and beyond excellent watercolor washes bring this story of an encounter between a female firefighter and an illegal immigrant to life. Go buy this!

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Ray Bradbury & Tim Hamilton from Hill and Wang: I LOVE Fahrenheit 451 and Ray Bradbury; and Tim Hamilton's art in this version is exceptional. But this adaptation only left me wondering, "What's the point of this?" This just didn't work for me at all, and I feel like Hamilton's talents would be better suited working on original ideas as opposed to adaptations.

Bourbon Island 1730 by by Lewis Trondheim and Olivier Appollodorus from First Second: When I started to read this tale of pirates, slaves, colonial powers & ornithologists(!) set in the Indian Ocean, I was initially bored. By the time I had finished a quarter of the graphic novel I couldn't put it down. The artwork is black & white and would probably benefit from the addition of color, but I can see why the publisher avoided that option due to some of the more mature themes in the book; Trondheim's art style is very whimsical and could easily fool someone into thinking that the book would be appropriate for younger children.

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala from First Second: In what seems like the first installment of a series, a young girl trained as a master thief stumbles across a family mystery. This seems like an excellent read for young girls due to Sala's lighthearted art and Nacy Drew-ish story. I may buy this for my nieces!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Paddy Panel

Like the title says, here's another panel from my graphic novel proposal Go Home, Paddy!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Two-Three sentence book reviews!

Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett from Nan A. Talese/DoubleDay: I've really got mixed feelings about this one; truthfully— it didn't seem finished. Parts are beyond excellent, while other sections of the novel seem to be rushed and less developed. I'll be VERY interested to read the reviews on this when it's released in January 2010.

Laika by Nick Abadzis from First Second: I absolutely love this graphic novel. A genuinely original work telling the true story of the first dog in space set in The Soviet Union during the 1950's. I can't wait to see what Abadzis does next.

Parker: The Hunter by Richard Stark & Darwyn Cooke from Idea & Design Works: Damn! Cooke adapts Stark's story of a man in 1960's NYC Hell bent on revenge with such skill that I cringe in jealousy! Cooke is such a masterful draftsman and storyteller that I think he could try his hand at ANY type of story and succeed!

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill from HarperCollins: This is the first time I've read anything by Hill, and this collection of short stories has me wanting to read everything else that he's written. Almost all of the tales are excellent, but the story "Pop Art" is on another level. At times reminiscent of Bradbury and Matheson, these stories transported me to another place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

South End Slant & Pre/Post Primary cartoons

I forgot to post the South End Slant cartoon from before the primary this past month, so here's both cartoons for September. The primary results decided that it would be Menino vs. Flaherty for Mayor of Boston. Flaherty and Menino used to be on very good terms (some have even suggested that Flaherty was Menino's handpicked successor), before a falling out several years back.
Interestingly enough, Sam Yoon came out today not only backing Flaherty, but is attempting to run as Flaherty's Deputy Mayor. Developing...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Paddy panel...

Work on my Paddy graphic novel proposal continues.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two-Three sentence book reviews!

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen from Picador: An excellent novel that had me HATING several of the characters — which to me was the mark of a great writer. At one point I put the book down and thought, "Thank God no one in my family is like these characters!" Franzen's writing is funny, depressing and has a understanding of human nature that you don't find as often as you should.

Pig Island by Mo Hayder from Bantam Books: A so-so read that seemed a little too interested in mimicking the style of Dennis Lehane. The novel contains some interesting ideas, but I felt that the ending was rushed and unsatisfying.

I'm currently reading an advance copy of Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett sent to me from Double Day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Asterios Polyp Review

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli from Pantheon

How do I even begin to review this graphic novel? I could go on and on about it, but I'll try my best to stick with my usual style of brief reviews (although my typical two - three sentence review is out the window for this one). Simply put, David Mazzuchelli has created a Graphic Novel masterpiece.

Asterios Polyp works on three levels: One, the book features the absolute perfect compound of words and pictures; neither works as well without the other. Two, Asterios Polyp is an excellent story which focuses on the humbling transformation of the title character. Mazzuchelli presents a witty, poignant, and philosophical tale full of oddball characters and oddball moments. Three— the art; Mazzuchelli is a superb draftsman and cartoonist. Also, his use of limited colors in the book is both simple and complex. Sounds weird, but it’s true.

This book is awe-inspiring to those of us that have studied the graphic novel format due to Mazzuchelli's complete mastery of sequential storytelling. This book will inspire some to new heights and disillusion others who will feel that they will never be able to compete. Asterios Polyp will be “the” textbook for sequential art classes for years to come— this book is THAT good.

A few examples that really caught me from the book are below. The last example is just one panel—but it's such a beautiful panel!

South End Slant & Boston's Mayoral Election

This week's South End News editorial cartoon. Bets are that turnout will be LOW.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paddy page 5 & 6 color variations

UPDATE: The sizing on the full-color pages is now fixed so that when you click on the image, it pops up large enough so that you can read the text.

Thanks to all the people that offered advice and opinions to me though the comments on this blog, through Twitter and especially through Linked In. The above illustrates where I'm at right now: Full color & a blue/green toned version. Time to plow through coloring the rest of the pages in my submission.

Monday, August 10, 2009

South End Slant & Boston's Latest Role Models

I forgot to post last week's cartoon for The South End News. Ortiz got popped for doping, and DiMasi & Wilkerson were both indicted. Nice.