Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Comic Strip Superstar Quarterfinalist

Comic Strip Superstar CompetitionI'm happy to announce that my comic strip, Above the Fold, has been selected as a quarterfinalist for Comic Strip Superstar, an international competition being hosted by Amazon.com and Andrews McMeel Universal in search of the next popular comic strip artist!

I received an email message on Monday morning, notifying me of the good news. By Tuesday, Amazon had posted a PDF list of the 250 quarterfinalists on the contest's website. Unfortunately, only the comic strip titles are identified (and not the names of the cartoonists); however, Alan Gardner of the cartoon industry news website,The Daily Cartoonist, is compiling a more comprehensive list as cartoonists are identified.

Due to contest rules, I cannot post any samples of my Above the Fold comic strips that I submitted, but here's a rough pencil sketch of one of the strip's main characters, who aptly goes by the nickname "Ace" ...

Rough Pencil Sketch of 'Ace' from Above the Fold by Mike Cope
Rough Pencil Sketch of "Ace" from Above the Fold by Mike Cope

... That's an extremely poor caricature of President Obama that he's talking to on his iPod Touch :)

If you browse through my previous blog posts, you'll find a full-colour sample of "Ace" standing beside another yet-to-be-named character.

According the the competition's Key Dates, the Second Round Review Period has officially started. Universal Press Syndicate and UCLICK editors are now reviewing and judging each of the First Round Finalists. The top 50 Entries that will advance to the Third Round Semi Finals will be selected by October 11th...

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

NetTrekkers - Comic Panel Evolution

The following image is an example of how I take a NetTrekkers comic from the rough pencil sketch stage, to inked, to final full-colour version with text.

This panel is from Page 3 of NetTrekkers in Swimming Upstream, which will be published by LesPlan Educational Services Ltd. in the October 2009 issue of The Canadian Reader. In this episode, students will learn about the life cycle of salmon, including some amazing facts about what happens when they spawn.

Click to enlarge ...


Click to enlarge: NetTrekkers Comic Panel Evolution

A few notes of interest ... I've adjusted the brightness/contrast levels of the rough pencil sketch stage so that you can see the lines more clearly. The pencil marks are actually much lighter -- they're barely visible ink the inked stage, so don't strain your eyes too much!

Most of the inking was done with a dip pen, but I tried using a brush for some of the bear. I was trying to get a furry effect around the top of the bear's back and side of its face, so I kept my brush a little dry. I don't normally draw bears, so I credit any of the successful parts to beginner's luck!

Since the work is currently unpublished and done for a client, I can only show you a small sneak peak of the final comic pages ...

And finally ...

For any Canadian elementary school teachers who may stumble across this blog, copies of NetTrekkers Comic Yearbook #1 are being printed! Be sure to check LesPlan's website for ordering details.

I'll post some photos and more details about the books when they arrive. For now, you can click the cover to enlarge.

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope

Friday, September 18, 2009

Comic Strip Superstar Competition

Comic Strip Superstar CompetitionExactly one month ago, Amazon.com and Andrews McMeel Universal announced the launch of the first Comic Strip Superstar, an international competition in search of the next popular comic strip artist.

The deadline for submissions was last Saturday night at 11:59PM, and I'm happy to say that I got mine in just before the clock struck midnight (and my Apple turned into a pumpkin!).

Due to contest rules, I cannot display any samples of my completed cartoons, but since I have about a month to wait before I learn the fate of my submission, I may post a few rough sketches or other goodies along the way.

Aw heck, here's one now ...

Sneak Peak of Characters from Mike Cope's Comic Strip Superstar Submission

For now, I'm back at the drawing board working on other projects and "patiently" waiting ... :)

Stay TOONed!

- Mike Cope