Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Reflection 2009

So here I am at the office. It's cold and quiet. I am alone here. Light snow is falling outside matching the mood of the Glory soundtrack playing in the background. It's the last day of the year. My mind, still fresh with the image of my daughter's face as she waves from the window of her preschool I just dropped her off at.

The snow has picked up a bit...and I think about the past year. The losses and the births.

I saw the departures of the YMCA's after school program in Simsbury and the closing of the administrative offices of the Farmington Valley Arts Center. I miss the kids in that program. I miss running around and having fun with them. I remember the feelings of closure and rebirth as I left the driveway of the Y (the same day as the passing of Michael Jackson). I remember the shock of finding out that the Art Center was closing its office doors the night before I had to teach the last class of the session there. I remember going there to teach anyway that next afternoon for the kids. I miss Marty, Chris and Jim. Easily the closest I'd ever been to the office staff in all the years I worked at the art center.

We lost Rusty Haller this year. This hits me hard in a number of different ways. He was a good man. I feel regret because...

...I learned more about Rusty in the last year of his life than I knew in the years that I knew him overall. He was an awesome cartoonist and I am very proud of what we were able to do here at the office for him before he passed. He left behind a caring group of creators that rallied together for him. If you were not here for it, it was quite the sight to see...the room was packed. People threw their money around carelessly for his benefit.

I miss you, Rusty.

I can see the snow starting to accumulate on my Jeep. An indicator of how much I suck at typing. As I look out the window from my desk I scan the room. 2009 saw the birth of this office. Look at this place...if you haven't been here, it's an awesome space. I am surrounded by so many excellent things like: The Great White Board where I do my teaching now, the waiting area/graphic novel library where we host our meetings and our guests relax, the easels and workstations that see our hard work. Yeah, it's a mess right's alright. This place has grown so much...from our first students, Chris, Rachel and Chris to working with local towns and organizations. I want to thank Steve and Peter for allowing me to be here. I want to thank them for helping me take the next logical step. I love it here-and you know what's great? I know other people love it here too. We are going to make this place even better in the coming year.

I look out the window again. It's still snowing. I see the baby seat that's right next to me and the playpen (that's still out) next to my desk. This year saw the addition of little Alaina to our family. The original projected delivery date was going to be October 2nd I think. That date would creep up earlier little by little week by week. By August I was in a full court press to get as much work done as possible before the birth of our new little one. Leigh Ann was put on modified bed rest. September 18th brought Alaina. What a beautiful little girl she turned out to be. She comes to work with me in the mornings every once and a while. Her favorite spot is up here on the desk with me. I wonder what she's going to be like. It's funny how when I look at her she seems so small. I'm very lucky to have my girls.

I want to thank my Mom, Omah and stepmother for all their support over the years. They're support allows me to do so much and keeps the family close. I really can't thank them enough.

Here is to 2010:
I'm not going to have a stupid resolution to eat better or get more exercise...I know that stuff.
My resolutions for me and for you...Chase the dream. Fight for it. Rebound. Take the hit and GET BACK UP. DO. LOVE. BE.

I will see you next year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays to all...

I hope you all can enjoy the holiday this week, I know I will...

No Drawing and Painting classes this Friday or next...but if you can't get enough of me, we will still be hosting our Monday night drop ins...

Year end reflection to be posted soon...

Maybe a web show too...

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Doctor is IN

Greetings all! Here we are at the week of Christmas holiday...I've been giving thought as to what my year end/big blog entry will be.

This time of year brings a lot of craziness... My last day at Raymond Hill School for the year is today. Good buncha people there. I'd love to go back! Just started my cartooning classes at Tootin' Hills last week. What a return that was! What an honor it was to see the teachers and kids that I bonded with when I was there earlier in 2009. They made me feel like a rockstar when they saw me! Steve Kanaras and I will be giving a lecture/workshop Wednesday at Central School in Simsbury too. On top of all that, we're hosting the FLS weekly drop in tonight too! During all this, I still have commissions and jobs to do. Like I said, crazy.

Here's what I'm workin' on of the good Doctor for a project we're workin' on.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Video! Inking with Carlos

No time to shop?!

Free Lunch Studios now has Gift Certificates for the classes and workshops they offer! Wow. I know if there was something like this around when I was a kid...heck, even as an adult...

Give the gift of Cartoon Anatomy, Drawing and Painting for Teens, Creating a Comic Book World or Comic Book Storytelling. Those are just the classes I teach...there's a lot more at

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Continued work on the Black Roses

Worked on King of MM a little today and did a little coloring too. Did some time on Only In Whispers 3 and Beyond the Kuiper Belt 2. Now I'm gonna work on a freelance job and call it a night. Here's Captain Zira and one of her Vargol crew. Art by Norman K and colors by Me! Enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Work update

Black Roses 2 is almost complete! Just to let you know a little secret...once I'm done with the Roses, I'll will be starting a very cool project with Mr Steve Kanaras! Trust me when I say this...(and I say it to my friends a lot!)...this project will be a game changer! You guys will be the first to know when I am allowed to say more!!! Bigger fans, fear not! The next issue is ready to go and I hoping to release that book in Jan or Feb and the projects will not interfere with each other.

The Champ is HERE!

New contender, Justin "The Deadfool" took over the mini comic marathon to take the honor of being our newest FLS Mini Comic Madness champion. I almost finished mine...I'll put it up here when it's complete...who knows when that'll be! Keep an eye on for the announcement for Mini Comic Madness 3!

Current MCM Champion: Justin "The Deadfool"
MCM1 Champion: "Mad Dog" Maddie

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mini Comic Madness 2!

The five hour mini comic marathon is back! Can you come up with a story and final art for your own mini? Join me at Free Lunch Studios during this fun experience! Record a promo, keep an eye on your opponents and have a blast! The event starts Saturday, December 12th at 11 am and the judging is at 4 pm and is only $5 to enter. Bring your lunch money and your trash talkin'!

Current Champion: "Mad Dog" Maddie

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Black Roses loose pencils video

Thumbnail video for the Black Roses!

I've been bad...

I know, I know...I have not updated in a while. Well, time to play catch up!

I finished both sessions of Cartooning classes last week. Good group. We worked on our finals in both classes and a lot of good work was turned out. Here's what I worked on PLUS a little bit of gold from one of the students!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving! Black Friday too!

What am I thankful for? My family, my business partners, my friends and my supporters. Enjoy the day.

Here are some character designs I worked on today.

Black Friday is comin'! Kids! Come to Free Lunch Studios for our first Black Friday Comic Fest, Friday from 12:30 - 2:30! only $5!

Teens! (and older) Come to our Drawing & Painting SUPER CLASS! Starts at 2:30 and runs to 6:30! Bring a foodie item! Drop ins are welcome (only $10) Come and see what we do at Free Lunch.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colors! ON VIDEO?!

Just started the colors for the cover, actually did a little bit streaming live on Stickam. So far, so good...Got the Bigger books today! Yahoo! So here's the video I long will it be before I don't even type on here anymore?! (please forgive the clearing of the throat)

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's a BIGGER start to the week!

Can't tell you how excited I am to be getting BIGGER 11a & b this week! (Maybe tomorrow!) My goal is to have number 12 out in January or February...we'll see. By accident, I was at a job the other night and due to my jovial state, I mistakenly spilled details on the next BIGGER series. I'll share a little with you...Slip will play a BIGGER role. That's it for now...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The quest for covers continues...

Finished the inks on the Only in Whispers cover today and started inking the cover for Bigger #12. Pretty productive day.

Had a meeting tonight with some friends and (I'd hate to sound like a broken record, BUT...) King of the Monster Mountain is coming back! I'll be sure to give you more details as they develop.

One other thing...I will be returning to Tootin' Hills school to teach Cartoon Anatomy, Comic Book Worlds and Comic Book Storytelling! If you go there and want to join in, tell your parents or ask the office for more details!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's ALIVE!!!

Just got the King Of the Monster Mountain game board! Awesome! If you loved playing it at the office, now you can play it at home with your friends! Ava and I just brought it to the office and it looks good. Here's a peek.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Black Friday Comic Fest!

Come to Free Lunch and join us for our first Black Friday Comic Fest to create your own comic story or strip. The 2 hour event is November 27th and starts at 12:30 pm. This event is only $5! Call or email us today to reserve your spot.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here it is!

Finally! I'm done with that last page! Yay!! And as promised, here it is!

Storybook class yesterday

Here's a little pic from class yesterday. We did a little experiment with the great book, Where The Wild Things Are.

I promise, I'll get that scary story panel done...I'll start it right now. Tell you what, I'll scan it when it's done.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Busy continues...

Almost done with that scary story...seriously, I have one more panel to draw...let's kill it tomorrow. Still have 3 covers to finish and a commission. I'll be sure to share them with you here when they are resolved. The Free Lunch Studio continues to pack in new friends...Steve and I taught our fullest classes yet. I've been workin' on a couple different things (as usual) one of which is what you see here...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mini Comic Madness Returns!

The five hour mini comic marathon is back! Can you come up with a story and final art for your own mini? Join the staff at Free Lunch Studios during this fun experience! Record a promo, keep an eye on your opponents and have a blast! The event starts Saturday, December 12th at 11 am and the judging is at 4 pm and is only $5 to enter.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A little late...

...but in the spirit of Halloween, here's a pic from a creepy story I got comin' up...more details to follow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monster Mountain was HUGE!

An amazing turnout for King of the Monster Mountain this Halloween! The Free Lunch Studios office WAS PACKED! There were 15 competitors of all ages and just as many spectators! The King of the Mountain ended with an epic battle between Brandon and Mike's monsters, leaving Brandon atop Monster Mountain. He ended up winning a T-shirt featuring this very pic with his beastie on it! Congrats Brandon!

If you want to see all the exciting things going on at Free Lunch, check out

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I was makin' a list...

... of all the schools and businesses I've spoken or given workshops at and I was able to come up with: Raymond Hill School, New Britian CT, Tootin' Hills School, Simsbury CT, Diloreto Magnet School, New Britian, Illing Middle School, Manchester CT, Guilford Arts Center, Guilford CT, Kelly Lane School, Granby CT, Sage Park School, Windsor CT, Central School, Simsbury CT, Farmington Valley YMCA, Granby CT, Granby Memorial Middle School, Granby CT, Henry James School, Simsbury CT, East Farms School, Farmington CT, 3PI Con, Enfield, CT, Farmington Valley Arts Center, Avon CT, and Granby Memorial High School, Granby, CT

Raymond Hill School

Good buncha kids at this school. The last lesson I taught there was a character design exercise. Next we move on to creating a world for their characters to exist in!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Super Busy! (and it's good!)

Just got back from a couple jobs on the road in time to teach at Free Lunch! I'll be turning this piece in to a client today too! Busy, busy, busy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Open Studios!

Every October, the Granby Artists open their studio doors to the public. This year Free Lunch Studios made its debut. All weekend, people came to Free Lunch to see what was going on behind its doors. Matt and Steve took turns running workshops each day for people to observe. We want to thank everyone that stopped by and we hope to see you all again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My 24 hour comic is UP!

Here it is, just click this!

Once you are there, just click on the pages to advance. Enjoy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Free Lunch Studios on the Granby Artists Open Studio Tour

Free Lunch Studios is on the THE GRANBY ARTISTS OPEN STUDIO TOUR! Meet the artists, visit their studios, and see some truly wonderful art. This year, as a special gift to the guests, they have "Passports" that will be signed at every studio visited. If you visit at least 10 of the 15 Open Studios, you will be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift certificate that you can spend at any studio on the tour-- so be sure to make a "wish list" of your favorite artists' work! Here is the website!

Free Lunch Studios hosts 24 Hour Comic Day

A gathering of dedicated indy comic artists gathered at the Free Lunch Studios office to venture on the difficult quest of completing the 24 Hour Comic Challenge. Steven Kuster checked in regularly on the group throughout the challenge. Everyone started at 12 noon on Saturday and all the participants were done by 11 am the next day. The youngest challengers were two high schoolers, Lizzy Tramonti and Jessica Mathis. Others involved were, Keith Murphey, Albert Luciano, along with hosts Matt Ryan and Steve Kanaras. Sue and Everett Soares were there to support and encourage all the participants. A good time was had by all and everyone is already looking towards next year.

For pics, click here!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Busy Day

Went back to work today...did these pieces. The football goon is for Cliff's upcoming show in November. The Tenta piece was a test illustration example for cross hatching.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cliff's Cons Sunday!

Hey there, everyone! Cliff's got a show on Sunday! (September 27th). All of these shows run at the Plainville V.F.W. Hall- 7 Northwest Dr. (Route 10) from 10 AM to 3 PM. 99 CENT ADMISSION, CHILDREN UNDER 10 ARE FREE! I'll be there with the rest of the gang from Free Lunch Studios selling comics, conducting portfolio reviews and giving demos of some of the classes we offer at our office Granby CT.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wonder Woman Day

On Monday September 15th, the Free Lunch Studios Monday Night Jammers started drawing our contributions for Wonder Woman Day 4. In past years, Wonder Woman Day I-III has raised over $69,000 for Domestic Violence Shelters and Crisis Lines in Portland, Oregon and Flemington, NJ. Last night, Monday September 21st, we collected pieces from David Davies, Yuko Salvadori, Norman Katz, Chris Jennison, James Rodriguez and myself to donate to the cause. Well done!

Here she is...

Born Friday, Alaina is home. Happy!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Three years ago...

Just a few days over three years ago, I remember we were in the waiting room of my wife's doctor's office. I was sitting next to Leigh Ann thankfully sketching in one of my art books. I say thankfully because their sound system was constantly replaying a Hanson song over and over and over again. We were finally called in to see the Doctor and after a few minutes we were surprised to find out that we were going to the hospital immediately to have our first child.

Here's the pic from the waiting room. Ava and I talked about it and her name is K'nixy Rolla. David and I are already planning to place her in a Black Roses story. To be continued....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wonder Woman Day

Beginning Monday September 15th, the Free Lunch Studios Monday Night Jammers started drawing our contributions for Wonder Woman Day 4. Wonder Woman Day I-III have raised over $69,000 for Domestic Violence Shelters and Crisis Lines in Portland, Oregon and Flemington, NJ. We will be collecting our artwork (and others) and any financial donations at Free Lunch Studios to send on 9/21 starting at 6pm until 8:30pm. Come by. Draw. Donate.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sneak peek!

There's a sneak peek pic from BIGGER 11a at my facebook page! Check it out! It's pretty least I think so! It's called "Oh no".

New Cartooning classes starting!

New classes posted at! FDP4T (Friday drawing & painting for teens), Cartoon Anatomy, and Creating a Cartoon World. All beginning this week!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

King of the Monster Mountain

I'm hosting a special workshop October 31st, Halloween Day, called King Of The Monster Mountain! I will teach a new special creature creation workshop for all ages that runs from 10 am until noon! Who will have the scariest? Who made most disgusting? Whose will win King Of The Monster Mountain?

2 hour session, Saturday morning, October 31st 10 am to 12 noon.
Workshop is only $5!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yesterday was the end of the current sessions of Cartoon Anatomy and Comic Book Storytelling. Good classes. The final day of Cartoon Anatomy we do a character design exercise. These are the ones I did for the! New classes start again September 19th! See for more info.