“For artists who grew up admiring the work of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, nothing can bring on a panic attack faster than attempting to draw Charlie Brown’s head for the first time. So when the artists at Blue Sky Studios, the creative folks behind the new computer generated 3D “Peanuts Movie” needed some sage advice about how to create Schulz’s iconic characters, they turned to former Atlanta Constitution graphics editor Paige Braddock. For the past 15 years, Braddock has been the creative director at Charles Schulz Creative Associates in Santa Rosa, California. The cartoonist and creator of the ground-breaking LGBT comic strip “Jane’s World” was the last artist to be hand-picked by and to work directly with Schulz before his death in 2000.
In an interview with Eldredge ATL, Braddock (who attended the premiere of “The Peanuts Movie” last weekend in Los Angeles with the film’s creative team) discusses her role in helping to bringing the cherished franchise back to the big screen, her thoughts on the film and yes, the challenges of drawing a certain blockhead’s sort of circular skull.” Read more here…
This past weekend I participated in an event at the Charles M. Schulz Museum to celebrate the launch of Boom’s Peanuts tribute book and also to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Schulz’s comic strip debut.
It’s been a crazy year for Peanuts, leading up to the release of the first ever CGI movie and all of us that work at the Schulz studio have been carrying a huge workload. Leading up to this event at the museum I would say that I’ve been feeling stressed and burnt out. But then something magical happened. A group of cartoonists got together to talk about comics, share tips on drawing tools, sketch for fans and then eat tacos outside Schulz’s studio. And I found myself falling in love with the art form of comics all over again. I felt refreshed. Spending time with a group of talented cartoonists made me remember why I love comics so much. Comics are simple, accessible, heartfelt, personal, friendly and inspiring.
Thanks to Lex and Jessica for helping organize this event and to all the cartoonists who attended: Thank you! (I’m afraid to try and list everyone for fear I miss someone.)
Brent Anderson was in the audience and responded to something that Paul Pope said from the stage. I’m paraphrasing, but basically Paul observed that the daily Peanuts comic strip was like a post card to each of us directly from Schulz’s psyche. And Brent responded from the audience by saying that if that was the case then this event was our love note back to Sparky. Brent, you couldn’t have been more right about that.
The Case of the Mail Order Bride
I just delivered the manuscript to my editor for the Jane’s World Novel. It’ll be out next year, but I was too excited not to share a little bit about this project now. Yay!
(This is a working version of the cover. Not the final cover. But it’s close! Click to enlarge.)
I’ve been working on a new concept for a Y/A graphic novel. The hardest part of that (besides the story) is figuring out the cast… the characters. And I usually start with a main character. For me, once I establish that main character then they sort of tell me their story. I guess I’m not one of those cartoonists or writers for whom the story comes first. I always start with character. This character is starting to gel. She’s an LGBT androgynous teen girl. I actually started penciling the first few pages of her story this week. Very exciting. I’m beginning to build her world. That’s the fun part of comics. The previous post shows my starting point for this character, but here’s where I’m ending up.
I’ve been playing around with sketches for a new graphic novel concept. This one is more of a young adult story, set in a High School. Not sure why I keep drawing Alex from behind. I’ll work on more sketches and various views. I just wanted to share these for fun. I need a good title. I realized at a recent panel I was on that my “working title” was too close to a title a cartoonist friend of mine is using. Titles are key. I find them inspiring. Maybe this one needs “High School” in the title… but I’m not sure. The concept is basically about the experience of being a young butch woman and dealing with all the usual angst of Junior year.
As some of you may know, I’ve done 11 volumes of Jane’s World. (Count ‘em, 11!) I love these characters, especially Jane. She’s helped me through breakups and boredom and loneliness and many sleepless nights. My cartoonist pal, Terry Moore and I have often talked about how great characters are a gift. And once you find them you want to keep them in your life. I definitely want to keep Jane in mine!
I’ve been doing comics and graphic novels for forever so I thought it might be fun to mix it up and write about Jane and her crew in the form of a novel. I still plan to include a few comic illustrations in the book, but otherwise it will be a traditional novel. The book will be released in June 2016, by Bold Strokes Books. Stay tuned!
To commemorate my new adventure with Jane, I thought it would be nice to share the news with a sneak peek at the novel’s finished cover image and a refresh of my website. (I have Celina De Leon to thank for my site’s new look. Thanks, Celina!)
I sketched and inked this image, and then sent it along to my friend, Brian Miller so that he could work his color magic. We tried one less traditional approach where the woman in the foreground (Natasha) is all in blue. But I wanted her to be warmer, so we ended up with the final piece having more warm tones. Then Brian added a cool “weathered” texture for effect.
As this cover implies, once again, Jane is way in over her head. She’s been laid off from her newspaper job. But thanks to everyone who participated in the fun storyline contest I held, Jane decides to take a position at the local library. She’s quietly going about her daily life when she receives a panicked call from her roommate, Ethan. It seems her PayBuddy account has been hacked and she’s accidentally purchased a mail-order bride. Natasha, aka, the mail-order bride, shows up unexpectedly at her house with rolling luggage. Let the mayhem begin!