John Muir Trail Graphic Novel

comics, personal

Working on my graphic novel about our experiences hiking the John Muir trail last summer. Hoping to ramp up the production on this over the next several weeks, to take advantage of the downtime that this current pandemic is causing. Not only is the work therapeutic, but reliving our trip is proving mentally soothing.

Back to the Beginning

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Back in 1989, when I started freelancing, I had few if any clients, and spent a majority of my time drawing samples and self promotional pieces, anything to keep busy and practice drawing. One of the earliest portraits I can remember drawing back then, was a portrait of my favorite authors, Charles Bukowski. I have returned to that subject this afternoon with a new portrait, thirty some years later (I also happen to be reading a biography and re-reading his first novel “Post Office” currently, so he was on my mind). I plan on using some of my down time on doing new samples for my ispot page (I was told that every time I upload new samples, I get bumped to the front of the queue for potential clients viewing), plus working on my John Muir book (see previous posts). Trying to keep busy.

John Muir Trail Book

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Last year, while we were in the midst of our 4 week trip, the idea was proposed amongst the four of us that we should turn our adventure (or series of misadventures) into a graphic novel. This spring I have been working on doing just that, and here’s another page sample from the project. (I posted another sample a few weeks ago) I envision the book as a mix of comedic travelogue (along the lines of Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’), and ‘hiking dos and don’ts’ guide (learn from our mistakes), with occasional nature tidbits (like the old ‘Mark Trail’ comic strip), with a bit of middle-age angst and philosophy thrown in for good measure. Hoping to pick up speed and get enough done to start shopping the idea around soon.

Sample Bookshelf

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As a full time working illustrator, I’ve had time to amass quite a pile of printed samples of my work over the past thirty years. By no means a complete collection, it is starting to burst at the seams. For the first ten years, I was not very diligent about saving all my samples, but after twenty years had passed, I started to take this collection a little more seriously, and I scour eBay and thrift stores for copies of work that I’ve let slip through the cracks. I’m still on the lookout for old copies of Cicada magazine in which I’ve appeared (I’ve only got one copy), and I’m missing almost a decades worth of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, several early Baker Book House book covers, and a few editions of “A World of Literature”. If anyone has a lead on anything drop me an email, as I’m always eager to fill up these shelves. See the bibliography in the menu above for a full list of book titles.

How Not to Hike the JMT

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Now awaiting the go-ahead on 4 book projects, and in sort of a holding pattern, circling the runway. In the meantime, with a lot of time on my hands, I decided to start work on a book project of my own. While we were on our hiking trip last summer, conversation frequently came around the idea that we should write a graphic novel chronicling our misadventures. The working title is “How Not to Hike the John Muir Trail (or How to Not Hike the John Muir Trail)”. Above is one of the first two page spreads that will likely open the book. Once I get a chapter or two completed, I may begin shopping it around to various publishers. Stay tuned for more as this dry spell continues.