Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry X-mas 2011

Merriment abounds. I am pretty much going to try and lay low today before making the trek to the northern woodlands of Pardeeville Wisconsin to see family. I will be hitting the interstate around 8am X-mas day. Should be good.
These were gifts for family members that I thought turned out alright. Yeah I am a cheapskate and make paintings rather than buy gifts. That's how I roll.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ninth Gate Vogue and a crook of the neck

So I have been swamped with stuff for the holidays. Steve Schnauzer #1 print files are out! Just waiting for the books to show up at my doorstep. I have a bit of work to do on The Carriers and then I am done with that too.
The first image was done as a commission for a guy I work with. He really digs the movie The Ninth Gate. I was really into making the borders. I was totally aping Mark Buckingham's Fables borders! But it was a ton of fun.

I saw a picture a friend had uploaded to facebook. In the picture was a girl with her head tilted in just the strangest way. I was really facinated by the question of why she had crooked her neck this way. Did she think that was her best angle? Must have been since it facinated me so much that I put her in my sketchbook. I don't think that the sketch really gives the girl justice.

Also some Vogue models in my sketchbook.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Still got a few pages to go before the end of The Carriers.

I have just a few more pages to color up before the fourth and final issue of The Carriers goes to print. It feel really good to be walking away from these characters for a bit and into something new. I am planning on returning to them someday in some form or another. Until then I have to really step up for the next book. HWID will present drawing challenges that I haven't tackled in quite a long time. HWID will also be painted in an entirely new method (see post below). Lots of work to do!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I am not sure about this...

I am getting a lot of compliments on the watercolors lately (pats self on back 5x) and it has me wondering about doing original art for comics with watercolor. I love digital though and it took a lot of work to get to where I am with it. So maybe a mashing of the two might work for me. I am enjoying the results on the tests that I have done. It is kind of cool to have base colors to work with in the original scans. It also allows me to be more selective with where I want to spend my time fleshing out the painting. Final art will be a combo of sumi ink, watercolors and digital paint added in post. I know I am not the first one to work this way but it isn't about that. It is about finding a working process that works for me. This feels right to me.

Ignore the shitty test quality of this. Instead think about buying full color orignial art from me at the next show you see me at. Yeah... That would be cool.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

watercolors etc.

So at MIX I picked up a nice set of Russian Watercolors that are the bees knees. I have been futzing around with them. Tell me what you think.

Monday, November 28, 2011

New page yo!

I have finished all the penciling and inking of The Carriers Vol. 1 (ending on chapter 4). The next two projects that I am working on have really got me pumped up! I have to put together a short story to go into a comic that I want ready for con season 2012. The short story will be put out as a convention exclusive and will feature all three Cuddlefish artists. It is in the early stages and I always underestimate the amount of time it will take to put something out. I do have the goal to get it done before February 2012. I will also be putting out a ton of Steve the Schnauzer over the next few months. I might have two Steve Books out in print by c2e2 2012. That is the goal at least.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New page of the Carriers!!!!

This page was a lot of fun to do. I skipped the value stage of the coloring and just went at it with straight color. Lots of fun stuff to paint on this page!
Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ah MIX and other things

So where to begin. Well I think I need to start at the begining of last week. I can't start to describe the week without acknowledging the passing of my amazing grandmother. Cancer is a really horrible thing and it was really hard to watch her go. The whole thing stirred up so many emotions and memories that I am pretty sure that I was walking around in a fog all week. Between Thursday (the wake) and Saturday (1am) I went without sleep. We buried my grandmother at noon on Friday and by 2pm I was on my way to Minneapolis for MIX (Minneapolis Indie Expo). We went to the Cloud Show at Pink Hobo first. I was really impressed with the work on the wall. It really made me want to get back into printmaking. Pink Hobo is a really beautiful place with all sorts of cool things on the wall.
Jake Reuth and I bounced off to get some Indian Food. It was delicious and spicy. After diner we headed back to Pink Hobo. There was an organized Drink and Draw event here. Not really knowing anyone, we decide to find a bar and put on our own little drink and draw. We found a little Irish Pub (fitting place to end the night at considering where the day started). We drank. We Drew. We Threw darts.
We got up early Saturday (6 hours of sleep for me) and headed down to the Soap Factory. We were greeted by the beautiful and incredibly nice/ hard working/ organized/ etc etc... Sarah Morean. We got to our table and set up. I hadn't brought much because I knew that this wouldn't be a show where I would do a lot of commissions or sell a lot of originals.
Andy Krueger bopped over and said hello. I kinda thought he was a crazy person at first. But then I realized who he was and I totally got why he was so excited. For Sarah and Andy this must have been pretty amazing to see this show come together. This was a total DIY show and it was really something to see it all come together.
Saturday was a fairly slow day for us. Hell it was slow for everyone. I realized I wouldn't make any money at this show so I should try and get around to as many people as I could and introduce myself (social awkwardness and all). It turned into a nice little networking show. Jake still was able to sell a bunch of prints to little girls that dug his colorful creatures. My stuff looks too much like the superhero stuff that the rest of these guys are rebeling against. I get it though. I don't read a ton of superhero stuff. I would much rather read an indie book that is hand stapled and hand printed.
We headed up to the Bulldog Bar and Grill and grabbed a bite to eat before heading to The MIX Mixer. It was sort of awkward again. Not really knowing people at this show really made things tough. Though I got to sit and hang out with Jake and get into some really deep geek talk.
Sunday was much the same as Saturday. But had a few really cool moments mixed in. I decided that I didn't care if I made a single sale. I made a point of going out into the show and finding new comics that would inspire me. I picked up a Paul Pope comic from the Adhouse guys. They could have taken all my money. They had the most amazing books I have ever seen. They all had this handmade feeling but on a mass production scale. The books all smell of soy ink and expensive paper. I could gush on and on... I picked up Britney Sabo's new book Those Who Travel Alone. This comic is short but awesome. B. Sabo is a real talent! I picked up Blammo #6 by Noah Van Sciver. I finally bought Pranas T. Naujokaitis Beard. He was awesome. It was weird because I don't know him personally but I felt like I knew him since I have been reading his Ink Dick comic all along. I suppose that is the downfall of having an autobio comic up on the web. Lastly, I picked up Lale Westvind's Hyperspeed to Nowhere. This book was my impulse buy. It was so good though in a crazy "I don't give a fuck" kind of way.

I was happy to meet a few publishers and some new friends. That is what I got out of MIX (and I found out what an Arnie Palmer was....sosoooooo goooood!).

I recuperated Monday... Accomplishing absolutely nothing. Tuesday was better.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Some new pages

So based on a few economic conditions I am pushed to make certain creative decisions for HWID. This is just reality creeping in. HWID will be painted black and white full value scale. This is for the same reason that I outlined in an earlier post. Fact is... it will cost me half as much to print Steve The Schnauzer than it does to print The Carriers. Do I love full color? Of course I love it. The cost to print color on a large scale has become prohibitive. If you look around the indie comic scene you can see why I did The Carriers in color. To stand out! And The Carriers does stand out. It's very different from any other indie book out there.
HWID will have to be black and white with full grays. As for The Carriers #4- I will be printing it as a single issue full color very limited print run. I wanted and still want to create a Collected Edition of The Carriers. I will probably be taking another stab at a Kickstarter for that though... its crazy expensive to print a trade paperback!
So Steve The Schnauzer and HWID will be printed black and white. Future issues of The Carriers will be in color. The Carriers will just have to have small print runs and only be available at conventions.
I have just started writing the final draft of the script of HWID and the plot of the second volume of The Carriers.
Expect lots more.... As always.

Friday, October 14, 2011

What does a page of The Carriers look like at the ink stage?

So if you ever sat alone in the dark on a Friday night listening to emo music and pondering the great philosophical questions and the question of "What does a page of The Carriers look like at the ink stage?" then ponder no more.

This page was born out of a great deal of struggle. I was really pushing how I think about a page and the tools I use to create the page. This is for me the half-way point. The next steps are painting in value ranges and then adding color. The value takes awhile but it is the most satisfying step as it really fleshes out and adds dimensionality to the image.

Tell me what you think about this image.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

new page

A scary page for me.... I hate leaving it black and white in the second panel but it just worked so well that I had to.

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Page of the Carriers page 13 of chapter 4

Lots going on these days. I have been feeling pretty good about where the books are going and the work that I have been getting done. Need to really hammer down if I want to meet my deadlines but I think that I can get The Carriers done and to print by the end of November. Then it I am going to focus on the HWID pitch and first issue. HWID will be much more mainstream than The Carriers (at least I think). HWID is something that will be able to get a bigger fan base than the Carriers. I don't want to get into too many specifics but I really like the direction that we are going in and the subjects that HWID will explore.
24 hour comic day was a blast. I drank too much caffeine and ate too much pizza but it was totally worth it. I created a character that can really do anything and go anywhere. Please check out Steve the Schnauzer at I will be keeping this going as a webcomic to fill the internet void that will come once I stop posting The Carriers and move onto HWID (a book that will not be a webcomic- Sorry).
Steve is such a fun idea that I can see it really taking off and being a ton of fun to do. Please check it out.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

24 hour comic Steve the Schnauzer- now ongoing webcomic

So 24 hour comic day was yesterday. I didn't finish... Sleep deprivation go the better of me and I fell asleep on top of my pages. I got a ton of work done and brought to life a character that I will keep going as a webcomic called STEVE THE SCHNAUZER! I will update twice a week and keep it going for as long as I can. Excuse the little issues in the pages. I was tired! Anywho... bookmark-

Monday, September 12, 2011

sumi ink and my new love affair

I really wasn't going to post this because I hate posting my non-finished stuff. This is shit and I know it. But holy hell is sumi ink where it is at for me. One more tool that will really allow me to have fun on a page. I cant recommend the stuff enough to other comic artists. So yeah this is my first three little putterings with the medium. I just wanted to see if it mixed with my digital painting process and it totally does. It adds a bit of solidity that wasn't there before. I never spotted blacks or really had any blacks on my pages. That will change.

New Page of the Carriers

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Publishing- a few thoughts

Since Wizard World Chicago I have been asking myself - What is CuddleFish? Are we an Art Collective? Not really as we have helped each other in various ways to produce and distribute finished print material. That, in my mind, makes us publishers. This is an Idea that I can really get behind. I think that the other members of CuddleFish can agree that we have done better on our own than we ever have trying to work for others.
I have been thinking about Top Shelf Productions a lot the last few days. A small niche comic book publisher with devoted fans that pick up everything that they release. Mostly black and white graphic novels. This makes a lot of economic sense. With Diamond Distributors increasing their minimum, having a small press "floppy-sized" comic doesn't really make sense. Diamond Distributes to around 3000 comic stores in the USA. To make a profit on a monthly basis one has to hope that each of the 3000 stores buy at least one copy of your $3 comic.
3000 stores buy 1 of your $3 comic= $9000
Diamond pays (best guess) 60% of cover price=$5400
Cost to print 3000 comics with print on demand Kablam-black and white $4755 color $7905
Cost to print 3000 comics with a four color offset printer-$3000 in China (minimum order and must be 6-8 months ahead of distribution schedule.
Now I am just flinging these numbers out at you knowing that I only know these things from research and not from actual experience. There are probably cheaper printing solutions including some of the Canadian four color print presses. But I am just learning and trying to check my logic.
So if you turn the basic bread and butter of your publishing company into publishing primarily Graphic Novels then you can increase the profit difference between what the printer charges and what Diamond (or any other distributor) would be willing to pay for your product.
This will be the tough part of course. Printing bigger means bigger printing bills. That upfront cash to begin the process of getting book to consumer is larger than anything we have tackled yet. We have been reliant on super low print runs and face to face distribution of our products. Lower amount of risk has translated to lower rewards even when we are having successful shows (or selling out of a print run!).
So why am I still awake and thinking about these things despite the fact that I need to be up early tomorrow? Good question.
I want to change the way I perceive CuddleFish. More as a brand. The work that we produce has, up to this point, been intense labors of love. We craft and create each of these books with such a dedication. The plan going forward (at least for The Carriers, HWID, and any other books I put out)- Collected Graphic Novels only. With ISBNs barcodes and distribution.
How will I produce the work? Well, some things have changed in my "day job" that will allow me to focus more on pushing pages out. This is all part of the plan. Scale back and build up. I will be looking to produce a ton of new pages and illustrations. I really want to run a black and white book at the same time that I run a color book. This will be double the production. The black and white book will be a bit more free form and not as precise or detailed as the color work but it will allow me to be more experimental with the art.
Are these lofty goals that I cannot possibly obtain? Possibly. I really don't know. The last year really makes me feel like we can possibly do this. All it takes is putting the time in to put out quality products. Now I have the time.

So this is a letter of purpose. While I may put out a few POD floppies out in the meantime, the goal is to do larger format books with full distribution. DIY all the way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thank You Chicago!

Had a great time in Chicago! We did a lot of sketching (and drinking). We also met a ton of great artists! New favorite artists- Christopher Mitten, Nathan Fox, Nate Powell, Greg and Fake , Matt Waite , and a bunch more.
Thanks to cool people like Ryan Browne, John Lennon, Franchesco, Matt Taylor, and Matt Hill! See you all at the next show for sure!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Bright future

So we are about ten days to go before we meet/fail to meet our kickstarter goal for the collected edition of The Carriers. Megan and I just wrapped up our move to our new place. New town, new studio space, and potentially new jobs for the both of us.
The Kickstarter campaign has been a valuable lesson in marketing. If I would give advice to anyone thinking about doing a Kickstarter it would be this- connect your project with the nearest metropolitan area. For my campaign I said I am from Whitewater. This was stupid because it limits the number of people that are going to find my project based on location. I should have said I am based out of Chicago. Chicago is where I do most of my shows and Chicago has a much more interested audience. So lesson learned. Next time i will make that adjustment.

I am also working on a new project that will be sort of like my own version of Heavy Metal Magazine. A bunch of short stories illustrated by myself and the other Cuddlefish Comics guys as well as artist profiles about our friends and show diaries from the various conventions we go to. Early stages at this point but I really like the idea.

The new apartment has really kicked up my creativity so expect over the next few weeks to see a lot more work out of me.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chapter 4 page 9

new page of The Carriers Yea! So I continue to fit as much time as I can into this comic. I am pushing to get pages out. It just takes a long time to get them out because I continue to work way too many hours at my day job without devoting enough time and energy to my art. That being said (in my opinion) the pages continue to improve. I have gotten into a nice groove here.

Remember to donate to my Kickstarter if you are able. I am getting closer to being done with the first arc of The Carriers and I really want to wrap it all up in one collected trade paperback. And I need your HELP! give what you can.
There is an incentive for you to be able to have me draw an issue of your comic! check it out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wizard World Chicago 2011

Cuddlefish Comics will be at this years Wizard World Chicago! August 11-14th See ya there!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 21 2011 SpringCon

Hey just wanted to remind everyone of this weekend's events!
This weekend of course is the MCBA SpringCon This is the first show that I have been a part of that I am going into with no anxiety or worries. The people putting on this show seem to have everything covered and are going above and beyond.

Some of the people who I'm going to drop some cash on-
Sam Hiti
Zac Sally
Brittney Sabo
Jessica Abel

This show makes me want to live in Minnesota!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

new The Carriers Pages

Thanks everyone who has supported my Kickstarter Project so far!
I still have 79 days to go to meet my goal so help me out and promote the heck out of it. float the link anywhere you can! Your help is the key to making this successful.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

kickstarter comic THE CARRIERS

My name is Kevin Bandt and I write and draw The Carriers. It is a full color fully painted comic that has been described as Final Fantasy meets mohawks meets a rainbow. So yeah its pure awesome. At least I like it. And my wife. And my mom. So there's three people right there telling you to check it out.

So anywho... I am working on a Kickstarter to help fund the big collected edition of The Carriers. I am really just looking to get people to check out The Carriers and help financially if they can.

Check out the video here