Monday, January 25, 2010

Leroy Brown's ICECUBES

Put on your hats and mittens folks.
Now settle into a comfy pile of snow, chill out
and enjoy:

'ICECUBES' is a newspaper style comic strip about
life inside Alaska's arctic circle for a motley crew including
 Nooky the Eskimo, Freeze the penguin, Peckinpaw the polar bear
 and EggMan the walrus. The characters are unwittingly engaged
in cultural commentary from their arctic perch atop the world.
 Their icy environs only serve to heighten their warmth
 and humor of the more intelligent variety.
A comic for those who have read a book or two.

I've been drawing comics since I was about 10 years old.
Eventually I grew up and went to art school in NY
and studied illustration. In art school I was more into the
 'underground' scene and did stuff with guys like
 Bob Camp (Ren & Stimpy) and Gary Panter (Raw Magazine).
I got published in some NY ‘alt’ papers and even showed my
comics to Art Spiegelman to try and get into RAW magazine.
 However, not being big on superhero stuff I never did really
see a way to make a living from comics back then.
I was also very distracted by things like animation and
computer graphics, which eventually became the focus of my career.
A few years ago I made a conscious decision to get back into
drawing comics and I came up with 'ICECUBES'.
 Surprisingly it was an idea that formed very quickly
and everything seemed to click- the characters, the format.
After unsuccessfully submitting 'ICECUBES' to the syndicates,
I went straight to the Internet.

Although it's sometimes a struggle to be publisher, web designer,
 merchandiser, cartoonist and publicist all at once,
I enjoy the direct contact I have with my readers.
At this point 'ICECUBES' is now also published on the Amazon Kindle
as a collection, and Volume 2 will be available next month.
 (Go to and type ICECUBES.) The first 'real' book
should be in print by this spring. Additionally, I get a lot of requests
 for tutorials and how to's so I will start a podcast series on how to
 draw comics the 'old school' way, with a book to follow as well.

When it comes to drawing 'ICECUBES' I am definitely very old school.
 'ICECUBES' is entirely drawn by hand. I only use the
computer to scan, resize and color the comic.
I draw on stiff Bristol with a hard 2H pencil.
 I usually practice the drawings on a sketchpad before committing
 because I absolutely hate erasing.
 When the scenes are blocked out I draw
blue grid lines for the speech. I letter all my comics by hand as well!
 Inking is done entirely with metal pen nibs. I am very specific about
 the ones I use and it took me a while to find them.
 I then make any corrections with titanium white acrylic paint
 and finally I draw the panel outlines.
Everything is drawn by hand with real ink- no felt tip pens here!

Every strip is a distilled product of many different ideas.
 I feel successful when the strip is simple and to the point and
the drawings are good. I always keep a piece of paper next to the bed
 to write down ideas that come during the night. I find myself
 constantly thinking about it in the back of my head.
 I have this ongoing internal dialog
so I tend to get my ideas from that.
Sometimes I get ideas from a book I read, other times from
a personal situation. At times I get an idea
directly from a drawing too.
 Charles Schulz said that he would sit there and draw his characters
 in funny poses and that would give him ideas, I do that too.

For inspiration I read books. Books, books, books...
I love history, philosophy, biographies, classic literature...
 I wish I could write a book, but to me that is just terrifying.
Leroy Brown, Jan. 2010
Well done Leroy. Thanks for sharing this classic strip.
  CCU thinks you have a book or two in there.
Give it a go. Please.
Come back soon and give us an update.


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