Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Duck Tales

My comics and illustration, when they're accused of any thing, have been accused of being very 'masculine': primarly colors, strong outlines, heroic poses, to say nothing of the content. I'm OK with that - hell, I'm a guy -, but it doesn't mean that I can't appreciate the effort of the fairer of the species. Frankly, a woman's perspective is exactly what I think the world of comics needs more of. A lot more.

I grew up in relatively typical New England town, and I was lucky enough to meet a bunch of great people, one of which was the House of Guerra. Five kids in all, I became close with the two oldest of the Guerra family, but the entire family posesses a natural talent and easy way with creativty that makes the question of Nature vs. Nuture even muddier.

I didn't really know Lynn growing up, as is the case with the younger siblings of friends, but in the past year, I've found out that Lynn makes great DIY comics. Below is her first offering, and like I mentioned above, the comics have a feminine sensibility (the pacing alone is something I wish I had the patience to dream up), as well as her excellent draftsmanship, with, and I think this another really cool part, a ballpoint pen. It reminds me of dooding of science class, and hence reminds me high school, and then on top of that, the content, well, the whole thing just leaves me all gushy. Enjoy.

(Click to enlarge)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Love of The Game

I assumed there came a "Bright Lights, Big City" moment in every young professionals life, that point where you actually got an office of your own, you were given the keys to the joint, when some *called you* and offered you a job. I don't know what others thought. If my close inspection as a youth of various movies starring a member of the Brat Pack is any indication, this usually involves a BMW and a lot of shaking of hands.

I don't feel like drawing tonight: my stomach hurts, and I feel uninspired. My insistent focus on that moment above I'm sure does nothing for my gastronomic health. What's more, I'm pretty sure that moment doesn't actually happen. For anyone.

Well, that's not true: there are some extremely lucky or extremely well-connected people, for that What They Want seems to happen all at once. These folks are the people that seemingly float above the morass of the daily struggles of life and expectation and disappointment and false hope, like so many iron-hulled battleships while the rest of us seem to be in dingies made of newspaper.

I am, of course, talking about those of us of the artistic persuasion: I'm always had a keen and very specific type of jealousy for those people who found their calling in more defined realms of the world. I'm sure it's tough to get into Dentistry School, but that's what you need to do if you want to be a Dentist: you need to go to Dentistry School. Then, you graduate, and you're a Dentist. End of rinse-and-spit story. Tragically, there is no school for being what I want to be; at best, there is art school, and I don't think art school could give me what I need. Plus, I can tell you right now what would happen after I went to art school, with all the debt on my back.

For the few things that I am proud of, I can with certainity say that I am indeed a 'self-made man': with a few exceptions, I've not really ever taken money from anyone, or used family connections to leapfrog those who are more deserving of the prize. I don't mean to sound boastful, though it is my blog, and I can say what I like. But it is also a private pride. It's not really something one can bring up at parties, and as we have seen recently, it's not exactly the way the world works.

However, I will say that, as a generational group, we have been sold a bit of a sale of goods when it comes to the hot and heavy romance of what awaits you as graduate from college. Amid all the Up With Peoples, and You Can Do Its, my generation seems to have been vicitms to bit of false advterising, non-malicious though it may have been. It's not the rock star lifestyle promised by our guidence counsellors, who told us to just "Follow your dreams!", that's for damn sure. I am, as I'm sure so many of compatriots are, starting to become especially well aware of what it means to be someone who is pursuing a career in the "The Arts".

What it seems to involve is sacrifice, more hard work than could be possibly be explained, constant failure, disappointment, rejection, self-doubt, along with a few nuggets of just enough inspiration and success to keep you from pulling a Cobain. I guess I can see why the guidence cousellors don't really advertise that. It's not exactly the greatest piece of advertising I've ever heard.

So, what's the big picture, here?

There's always someone better than you? Check.

People who don't deserve it will be more successful than you? Check.

Success never comes when you need it, and it's never as much as you want? Check.

The magnitude of what you're doing never strikes you until you're too far away from it to actually turn it into what you hoped it would be in your head? Check.

And finally, trying to make a living as a creative person is really motherfucking hard?


What are we to make of this? As it stands, I can't really change who I am; I can't go and pretend to be someone I'm not, to pretend to enjoy a job I loathe. Frankly, I refuse. There's a lot of talk about what "Selling out" means, especially in this post-post-advtertising era of viral marketing and Jay-Z releasing his songs on Bud commericals. I believe it's much more insidious than that. Anyone can sell a picture or a song to a big corporation; that's not selling out, that's called making living. Selling out is taking what you love to do, putting it in a box, and deciding to go the easy road. It's a selling, in the end, or your interests, and hence, yourself.

So I get to go tomorrow to a design job I'm not really thrilled with, because it pays well, and I work on my comics at night, when everyone else gets to go and have fun, because I refuse to be beaten. And I'm fine with all that. But I think I need to focus less on the "success", and all that implies, and more on what I really like to do.

I guess that's the only thing I can take away from this long, rambling diatribe. I do love to make comics. Love it. That's the only thing that matters. The rest of it can fall by the wayside. I'd do it if I had no readers at all (which is just about true). Which I guess tells me I'm doing the right thing, in the end, after all.

Still doesn't make stomach feel better, though.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sin City- For reals, this time

From Boing Boing: The Las Vegas police
department has redesigned their site to look
like a Dark Horse comic. Yet another example
that our culture is at last actually taking
comics seriously .


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Creature Feature

If you're like me, every single time you got sick as a kid, your days home from school yould invariable include Ray Harryhausen. Whether it was on USA or TBS or TNN, a film with one or more of his creatures would always show up, invariabley upstaging the ham-fisted actors prodded into these movies. This site is just amazing: it's a list of every creature he ever did, and what's more, a little Quicktime link to each one in action. Bow before the master, peasants!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sketchblog 1/25/06

Penciled while listening to Elvis Costello and Devo, and inked mostly while watching a goddamn debacle of a football game. I love cross hatching, but I need to get better at it, and at inking in general. I feel so comfrtable with a pencil now that I when try to do with a pen, it gets all screwed up (see the hands is this sketch, which, when I drew them looked perfect, but now look like some kind of strange Lobsterman appendage.) Some guys have got it down, other don't. Also, I need me a hat like that.

(Click to enlarge)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Remind Me, Remind Me, Remind Me

A few years ago, I was sitting in a high rise in East Jerusalem, exhausted, worried, and troubled (it's a long story), lying on a leather couch and watchcing a gigantic TV, when suddenly, the video for Royksopp's Remind Me came on.

Even a few more years ago before that, I had an idea of a video that took all of those wonderful schematic diagrams that filled science textbooks and subway maps, and create an animation from it. French animation house H5 beat me to it, but it's ok. They set the bar so high, I would have just been disappointed in the end, anyway.

If you've never seen it before, dig it. If you have seen it before, do yourself a favor, and dig it again.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Here's a few more designs for 8th Wonder. I like the top one.

In other news, the Basic Virus store is finally open. Look for new products in the coming weeks: and yeah, I know the prices are less the stellar, but they're all American Apparel. Keep an eye out for some handmade limited edition tees relatively soon, that'll be cheaper, and signed, to boot.

Also, it came to my attention that some browsers had some problems with The Basic Virus, and I think I've fixed them long enough to surivive until the big Flash change over. Ooo! Aren't you so excited! My fingers are tingling just writing this!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sketchblog 1/15/06

I'm making a logo for my friend Dan's film company, called "8th Wonder Films" : here's a few of the ones that I think are more successful. I'll keep you updated with which one he finaly goes with.

I'm kinda hung up on Black and Orange these days, as you can see. But the real hot color this year is gonna be Cyan. It will be to 2007 what Lime Green was to 1999. Just watch. You heard it here first.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Episode 3 is up.

Episode 3 of The Basic Virus is here! The episodes are still arriving too far apart, but it's getting better. Dig it, and let me know what you think.

In other news, Godspeed, Mr. Takamoto. Hopefully, Scrappy Doo didn't make it to the other side.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sketchblog 1/7/07

I just completed some storyboards for an agency here in town for a Visa campaign, and these are the ones I actually feel like showing to the public. The concept was showing small business owners day dreaming about the $250,000 prize offered in a new Visa contest. I don't really know what to say about these, except that I'm really proud of the way my bursh skills are coming along: I don't have it down completetly, but I'm getting there.