Tuesday, February 28, 2006

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Happy birthday to Brett VonSchlosser. Congratulations! Con-grat-u-lations!

Everything is going pretty great here at the BTA, we got new mats so our chairs don't scratch the new floor, and some new paint so we feel a lot more important.

Animate Late!

We've been working on a new animation that will be online in a few weeks...ONLY a few weeks. Max and Tim were cranking on it late tonight:

Here Tim uses the lightbox to make tweening illustrations. The cartoon is illustrated by a cartoonist named Jordan Crane but Tim approximates his style to make extra bits and pieces. Everyone knows that this is the way traditional animation works but we actually don't need to do this very often. Our (and most everyone's) technique in Flash is 80% pupeteering and 20% new drawings. This reduces the time it takes to load.

Here's Max workin' some animation magic. Most of the extra drawing is done on that big tablet where his mouse should be. It's an Adesso brand tablet, not as good as the industry standard Wacom tablet but about 1/3-1/4 the price for the size.

He just made a woman explode but our lips are sealed until this is done.

Our Endangered Cartoonists, part IV

Monday, February 27, 2006

Book Purses

My wife Anna was being extra crafty this weekend and made some purses out of old books. Most junk books don't have very interesting covers so we silkscreened some clip art onto them.

Shoot..I think I just ruined the plot of the movie:

Our Endangered Cartoonists, part III

Gadzooks! More adventures with Shad and the Cannons

My 3 Bosses: Episode 3

The sentiments expressed in "My Three Bosses" may not actually be the opinions of Big Time Attic ... or the comic's author. But it's fun to think about the BTA dynamic in a new way. Having said that -- and I earnestly do not want to disappoint anybody, but -- "Baseball-Man" is not an actual comic Zander is working on (... yet). Nontheless, and despite anyone's trying to do anything about it, including Zander, it will win an Eisner.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Burger Time The Movie

We're learning about video...and will show you why later. I didn't figure out how to get the auto-hide player bar to work but will dig into the manual soon.

You'll need Flash Player 8 to watch this. It's totally worth it.

Minneapolis Cartoonists in the News

Minneapolis cartoonists are invading the media! I ran across a few tidbits while reading over my lunch break:

In the Feb. 22 issue of City Pages, you can find a blurb about Ryan Kelly's "Local" on page 35, and Lonny Unitus's art gracing the cover. Click Here to view "Unhinged" -- Unitus' recently-completed anthology, which features a story called "Marketing" by Kevin Cannon.

Also, the Jan 2006 Comics Journal talks about BTA neighbor Zak Sally and his departure from Low. Strangely, this is also on page 35.

Our Endangered Cartoonists, part II

Click on Emily to continue the story...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Our Endangered Cartoonists, part I

In honor of our recent hiring blitz, i thought I'd post this recently-completed Donnie Danger story. "Our Endangered Cartoonists" was originally written for the upcoming Lutefisk Sushi show, but it ended up being too long, and thus no longer "mini."

So here's the full story, presented in five-page chunks once a day for the next eight days.

Click on the image to go to the story.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Big Time Challenge #01

Ahoy there, kids! To celebrate the beginning of what's sure to be a lovely weekend, today kicks off the first installment of the super-exciting Big Time Challenge! For all those out there who really feel like you've honed your BTA chops, this will be your chance to certifiably prove it. Whoever can successfully nail each of these every-Friday challenges (without cheating) can lawfully deem him- or her-self a genuine Big Time Attic Super Fan. (Runners-up can call themselves Big Time Attic Deputy Fans, and so on in descending order.) Anyway, on to the first week's trivia challenge!

While we all know that this hotbed of creative professionals is stationed in the Twin Cities, not all of us know about the veritable tapestry of geographic backgrounds that comprise BTA. In fact, mere months before that wacky train we call "destiny" chugged along its way toward BTA's birth, one of us wasn't even living on the continent! Using the chart below, match the BTA crewmember to where he was living within a few years prior to his joining the Big Time family.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Zander's heading to the New York Comic-Con!

So I'm heading to the New York Comic-Con this weekend to do the comicon thing: sign books, sell originals, do sketches, shake hands, catch colds... you know. The difference is that this is a brand new convention, and that it's gi-mungous. I mean, the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center? My god, if it stands out against other convention centers the way Jacob K. Javits stood out against other men, why then, this shall be a funnybook get-together of epic proportions.

It's cool to be at the first show of a particular comic convention. I mean, of course, that it's a cool thing to do, which is why I'm doing it, but also that the experience itself is kind of cool. I was at the first SPX about... exactly ten years ago, and it was a neat feeling to look around about halfway through the show and think, "Hey, this is turning out to be a really good con. I now have an unspoken kinship with all of the rest of the people here." I mean, comic book geeks were not always the first ones brought in on other people's secrets back in the day, so we particularly appreciate being in the inner circle now.

So I'll be bringing plenty of originals both from my older work and from Big Time Attic projects, as well as printed material from graphic novels to minicomics, color to black and white. I'll also be bringing some skills, such as they are, if you want a sketch or some other such carry-on. More than anything, however, I'll be bringing my thumb-wrestling skills, so if you can beat me in thumb-wrestling, I'll give you a free sketch of the match.

See you there!


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Read'em and weep boys!

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Time for bed ... or is it?

It's time once again for a "Webisode" of Waaayyy Fun! or WOW-fun for short.

I think I may have been trying to cram too much into episode 2. But I'm afraid you'll just have to get used to it, people ... it's how my scatterbrain works. For all you fledgling cartoonists out there who observe how the storytelling style changes so very radically between strips, or sometimes panels, and are curious as to how you can match the deep complexity ... here's a little 'tip'. I find it especially useful to ink while listening to the sobering adventures of 'The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane' and change drawing instruments at both chapter breaks, and at the use of words containing the letter "B".

As for the gradients, I am sorry. There is simply no excuse.

Next week: Is Max Fired?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Return to Action City

What do you do when it's -6 degrees f in Minneapolis? You get out of town! So Max, Tim and I went to Eau Claire where the banks told us it was -22 degrees.

Max and Tim and their breath, which is bigger than either of them.

We went there to get photos for their brochures and website then got to play for the rest of the night. We had a ton of fun and Max and Tim were a part of the most thrilling Go Kart race ever. The cars run on a set top speed, you race against the clock and try to keep from braking (impossible) or sliding out on corners. Usually there isn't enough of a difference in speed or the track clearance to pass each other but it was neck-n-neck when Tim passed Max and then Max came back and overtook Tim in the final stretch. WHOO HOO!!

Tim has a little boast about his climbing skills and then put-up when he demonstrated scaling up the hard side in no time.

He made the whole thing look effortless and might have set a record for best climbing but DEFINITELY set a record for best dismount.

He flipped upside down and hit the wall hard and LOUD when the harness caught him. It was awesome...and more awesome that we have worker's comp insurance.

Then I closed out the night for shoppers with an impromptu performance of "Rainbow Connection" for the first time ever WITH PUPPET thanks to the AC store.

Which is how I'll close out this blog post:

Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side
Rainbows are visions
But only illusions
And rainbows have nothing to hide
So we've been told and some choose to
Believe it
I know they're wrong wait and see

Someday we'll find it
The Rainbow Connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Edward Wilson, Antarctic Cartoonist

As our Minnesota winter dips into the "It's f***ing cold out here" range for the first time this season, the great British naturalist Edward Adrian Wilson comes to mind. Wilson travelled on two Antarctic expeditions at a time when a talented artist could capture the mysterious Antarctic better than expensive and bulky photographic equipment. A highly skilled and mostly self-taught naturalist, Wilson brought life to drawings of polar animals, which prior to Wilson had been drawn from stuffed samples. Drawing from life was particularly challenging in the deep south:

"[Wilson] walked to the top of Crater Hill with Shackleton almost daily to read the temperatures at the outlying meteorological station. It was during such walks that he sketched, under extremely difficult conditions, some of the phenomena of an Antarctic winter. Able to work in pencil for only a few minutes at a time, he would then warm his hands in his armpits until the pain of their re-warming had passed, then continue to sketch."

On his second trip to Antarctica, Wilson was hand-picked by Scott to travel to the South Pole. The trip to the pole was successful, although the Brits were beaten to the pole by the Norwegians. Sadly, on the return trip the team of five (including the Captain Oates) perished under unseasonable frigid conditions. Wilson was a naturalist to the end, however, and his notebooks, sketches, and collected specimens enriched the world of art as well as science.

Fans of Bone Sharps will enjoy reading Wilson's biography, as the pre-Antarctic Wilson reads like a Cope/Knight hybrid. Like Cope, Wilson grew up keeping a detailed naturalist notebook, kept a studio littered with live and dead animals, and eventually died in the field. Like Knight, Wilson studied under taxidermists, spending much of his time in zoos. Indeed, Wilson's last great achievement was a sub-zero trek to collect Emperor Penguin eggs, which were thought to provide a link between dinosaurs and birds.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ze Artiste

Sorry to have another picture of me*, but Julie and I are taking a community ed oil painting class (about which Joolie Doolie has blogged before). Julie hates the class, and judging by the attitude the teacher has taken to her, I can't blame her. I feel guilty, because the teacher's perfectly nice to me, though I wish there was a little more painting and a little less talking about painting.

It's interesting being a cartoonist by trade and learning oil painting. The nature of cartooning is to work in line first and color planes second, whereas with painting (at least the way I'm learning to paint) you put in the color planes first, figure out all of the color balance, and then actually do the eyelashes and glasses and mouth line and nostrils at the very very end. Weird. Counterintuitive to the max.

I also want to take this opportunity to make it clear that the things claimed by Brittney and Max on this blog are possibly not 100% true. For instance, I don't ACTUALLY fly a helicopter to work. I fly a TRUCK that TRANSFORMS into a helicopter.

And when Shad, Kevin, Max, and I speak, words do not actually appear in floating white balloons that point tails at our head. We make sounds.

*and sorry it looks like I just woke up.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The BTA Fleet

Wassup, ya'll?

I'll bet you all have wondered from time to time how a bunch of busy professionals and their underlings get around from place to place here at Big Time Attic. Well, today I'll share with you a quick introduction to our superb fleet of transportation vehicles. Grab a seat (shotgun!), buckle up and come along for the ride!

Convention/Intern Van

Sleek, state-of-the-art, plenty of leg room. All these and more describe our convention/intern van. With a raised ceiling and enough room for literally THOUSANDS of comics and a few tables, it's a traveling convention within itself. It's aerodynamic construction and hybrid fuel cell cut down cost and gives it great gas mileage.

note-- Interns are stored in a small compartment in the floorboards. Ventilation optional.

BTA Wagon

This little beauty is made for the open road, and gets the word out for us with it's duel BTA window flags. Also nicknamed 'The OC', Kevin Cannon can usually be found driving it around town when out on business, and sometimes just for fun. Hey guys, it's got cup holders in the front AND the back! Who wouldn't be driving this any chance they got?


Lovingly waxed to a spectacular shine, the Shad-Mobile is a sight to behold. It's the flagship of BTA, and when you look in your rearview mirror and see Shad's spectacularly bright smile reflecting back at you, you'll instantly feel re-energized and ready to vector Flash assets.

Special Feature- holds appx. 350 Starbucks cups.

Wait, what? What is that you ask? How does Zander Cannon get around? Well, let's just say he has an 'alternate' method for getting to work....*wink*

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

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Entries for Lutefisk Sushi B are due today. Judging from how many cartoonists I saw at my local copy center this evening, I can confidently say that procrastination seems to be a New Year's resolution that we've all given up on very early.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Introducing a new web comic!

Everyone, it is time to take this blog to a whole new level.

You saw it coming ... we've all thought about it ... now the planets are alligning, the numbers are crunching, and the familiar gears are oscillating in a whole new way ... Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's time for a new weekly web comic.

The renderings are crude, the coloring is half-hearted ... but we're talking about a commitment here. We'll see how long it lasts. I have a lot of catching up to do in the accelerated BTA history, and the first few episodes of my new strip 'My Three Bosses' will cover a lot of ground -- especially focusing on the progressive hiring of each of the new interns and employees here at BTA, as they -- and our dear readers -- get to know the three bosses that those close to them have come to love so well. I use the word 'my' loosely, as I feel that this truly is a comic for us all ... just as deep down, I think, Shad, Zander and Kevin are truly the bosses of us all. Check back every monday for a new strip!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Hey friends, be our friend:


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Warren Buffett: An Animated Fellow.

Warren Buffett, the man who turned Grinnell College's $30 savings account into a billion dollar endowment, is going to lend his financial expertise to children. Buffett will star in an animated DVD series called "The Secret Millionaire's Club," produced by the world's most inappropriately-named children's television production company, DIC. Topics are likely to include "Climbing the Social Jungle Gym Ladder," "The Art of Naptime Politics," and "Social and Economic Reasons Why Your School Bully Will Be Pumping Your Gas in Ten Years."

Here is the alluring Buffett in modern cartoon form:

Fans of Buffett will no doubt remember his brief appearance in the second episode of Johnny Cavalier:

To read more:
Yahoo! News

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cool Layout Process! Gee, thanks.

Here I am with the pages for the Top Ten story in America's Best Comics, A-Z, published by Wildstorm. We just sent them off to Gene Ha, who will be doing finishes over them. We did rough brush-pen illustrations, converted them to non-photo blue, combined them with the computer lettering (uploaded by Todd Klein) and panel borders, and printed them out on Bristol board. It's kind of futuristic (y'know, it's all done on computers), but it's also kind of retro (it's printed on the same old Bristol board). So Gene gets some seriously retro-future pages retro-futuristically FedExed to his house! As for the rest of the process, I imagine it's the same old 12th century technology that most cartoonists use: sable mink-hair brushes, crushed carbon and shellac ink, pulped wood, ...and, uh ...Photoshop.

You can kind of tell from the photo I got a haircut, too. It was really long before, and people told me it was my "image". Huh. Now when people ask me why I cut it, I tell them this story: You know how when you're a kid, and you go and hide behind the drapes and just watch the world go by and don't do anything? Just watch and watch and watch? Y'know? You don't? Oh. Well, eventually, you get tired of doing that, and your legs start hurting, and people wonder why you're back there, and your parents start calling the social workers, and you decide you just need to get the heck out of there. Okay, well, then, imagine those drapes were ATTACHED TO YOUR HEAD. In any case, word's gotten around that I'm telling people that story, so no one really asks much anymore. Victory!

You will catch me rolling around...

We are all worn out, but the ol' headquarters are back in order today after getting a new floor!

The floor we had this morning crumbled and broke under our chairs...and was very dusty:

The floor we have tonight is beautiful and clean (Tim is also clean):


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoonist Conspiracy at Diamonds!

After three years of first Thursdays at the Spyhouse Coffee Shop, the Cartoonist Conspiracy jams got a little too big for their baristas. (It usually draws around 30 participants.)

No problem! Diamonds Coffee Shop in North East Minneapolis was happy to take us in and has been a TERRIFIC host. As a bonus for us, Diamonds is located in the Thorpe building right below Big Time Attic.

The first Thursday of the month is also open-studio day at the Thorpe Building. We're happy to join in this tradition and welcome anyone who's interested to stop in and page through our original art, play Burger Time, or just see what's up. There is a map to our space as you walk into the front door at Diamonds.

A boatload of cartoonists downstairs, live music (often), and a bunch of open studios...first Thursday of every month....mark your calendars already.

Cartoonin' in Diamond's "Bunker" room.

RSS Site Feed

We didn't notice, but the site feed was broken. If you use RSS, try resubscribing to us and it should work. I use bloglines.

Here is a direct link to the feed:

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I'm not very articulate when it comes to writing, so I guess I'll have to start planning my Tuesday Blog Time Attic entries a week in advance.

Being that I'm unprepared to blog anything halfway interesting I want to take this weeks entry to thank everybody at the BTA for the opportunity to work with you guys. I'm a little nervous, but very eager to get going on things. Why I remember back when I was a college lad, my chums and I would bunker down in the MCAD basement working on comics and folding paper airplanes, pining for the day we might be granted the chance to prove ourselves worthy of the big leagues. We dubbed our hideout the Big Time Basement in honor of the BTA, and it was a pretty amazing place. We would assign roles, argue about who got to be Kevin for the day, and take on underclassmen as interns. We felt like bigshots. It seems rather bizarre to now be given that chance I'd always dreamed of, it's kind of intimidating. But I'll give it my best, and pray that it's good enough.

Thanks again you guys.

More Bloggers.

Well shucks, if you're paying attention to the "Contributors" section at the right you're going to see a few names pop up there over the next few weeks. You should know Max Konrardy already, he was our first intern and first employee. Max took over my duties as animation lead, but is a terrific cartoonist with a degree in comics and clever programmer too.

Tim Sievert has also popped up there. Tim is a talented and versatile cartoonist and printmaker who we're thrilled to have join BTA...Wednesday. Everyone will know who Tim is when his first Graphic Novel "That Salty Air" is published by Top Shelf Comix later this year.

Illustrator Brittney Sabo has also promised to blog on the history and habits of our Burger Time machine. While finishing her illustration degree at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Brittney works on BTA's first children's picture book and has thrown down on some of our commercial projects. Her first published comic illustration was in Issue #2 of Brian Wood/Ryan Kelly's "Local."

Jon White's name should show up there when his two weeks notice to the eLearning company he's working for is over. Jon's dual degree in design and comics and passion for educational online projects will help push some of the new media goals of BTA. I don't know if we actually have goals, but we sure like the Internet.

Welcome these guys if you get a chance, we didn't know that BTA was going to get bigger...but it did. Neat.

You can tell who's posting by the little grey box at the bottom. Maybe all of their Moms will start commenting too. (Kevin's Mom reads this but doesn't comment because her son gets embarrassed easily.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lutefisk Sushi Site

As co-sponsors of the coolest mini-comic gallery show in the country (er...YEAH!) we are charged with designing the promotional website. This was a fun one, an effigy torching of King Mini's box design last year, and using Ken Avidors illustrations for this year's show.


Spread the word!


We can now join our designer brethren and sisterhood with these!

FLASH 8! The modern equivalent of such popular computer programs as "Flash", "Flash 4", and "Flash MX" we can now do such spectacular effects as "tweening" and have a powerful tool called the "key frame" which is rapidly becoming industry standard.

With these important updates to the software at Big Time Attic, we are sure to make quick, successive strides of inordinate length to the future. When the new Lutefisk Sushi Volume B site opens in your Inter-net web browser, prepare to have your mouth drop open in instantly humbled lack of muscle tension.

The future is soon!