Thursday, January 28, 2010

Artist Profile: Al Bigley

If Al Bigley were a baseball player, he would be a relief pitcher. Not the starter who gets all the attention or adoration, but the guy who comes in to finish the job, fix the mess, and save the day. Al has been one of those guys who makes his living not by going with trendy styles, but by being consistent and on-time with his work (which is becoming rarer in comics everyday!). It's not just comic book work Al is involved with- he has done work with too many different people to list (but you may be interested to know it includes firms like Lucas Films, Disney, Warner Brothers, NASCAR and National Geographic, to name a few) and the range of jobs has included toy designs, concept art, retail displays,story boarding, collector's cards, posters and prints, toy packaging, licensing designs for shirts, towels, coffee mugs, etc.
Al is most widely known for his work on Sonic the Hedgehog and for his own comic creation Geminar. He also has a book, Draw Comics Like a Pro.
Here are ten questions with Al-
1) What has been your favorite job ever? Least favorite?
Drawing and co-plotting GEMINAR, my own creation, with writer pal Terry Collins! Nothing like working on your own creation! Least fave? Romance comics I drew in 2005 or so. Done for editors who had NO idea how comics worked. Tons of silly changes that stretched the work FAR longer than it should have gone. Ugh.
2) Best convention experience or moment? Worst? Weirdest?
All cons are great, getting to meet friendly folks from all over the place! Can't think of too many weird ones....
3) Favorite comic book and character as a kid? Favorite cartoon then? Now?
Batman. Period.
4) Best thing you've read?
Too many to list! I wouldn't know where to start or stop!
5) Favorite TV show or movie?
I love MASH, BATMAN-BRAVE AND THE BOLD, MAD MEN, etc...Fave film is probably A FACE IN THE CROWD with Andy Griffith..
6) Person in comics who helped you the most?
Joe Orlando gave me valuable tips when I did my first work for DC Comics in the early 90s....Many others I could list...
7) Favorite comic to work on? least favorite?
I dug drawing a story for AVENGERS WEST COAST in the mid-90s, that had all the greats in it..Iron Man, Captain America, Vision, etc...
I didn't dig drawing Marvel's DARKHAWK, as I didn't really like the characters, and the Darkhawk costume seemed needlessly complex to draw..
8) Besides being an artist, what else do you do?
I enjoy working out, reading, being outdoors, spending time with family, etc...
9) What's the biggest change you've seen in comics since entering the business?
The use of the internet by editors and art directors to find talent. To them, it now seems as if there are THOUSANDS of available artists for any job, since Google says so! :)
10) What other appearances will you be making this year?
Heroes Con in June, and the Charlotte Mini-Cons run by Dave's Comics of SC! Maybe more...
11) Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob? (Kidding!)
Don't get that!

You can see more of Al's work and learn more about his interests and his knowledge of comics at these sites:


His book, Draw Comics Like a Pro can be purchased through or via PayPal to Al (details at Al The first issue of Geminar can be downloaded for free to your iphone! Details at the Geminar facebook page.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cartooning Club!

The Cartooning Club had it's monthly meeting last night and about 12 kids were there! We discussed the latest news on upcoming superhero movies (like the fact Sony has decided not to make Spider-man 4) and we talked about the upcoming comics events this summer. First is Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) on May 1! Comics fans, or those curious about comics, can head over to any area comic book shop like Heroes Aren't Hard to Find or Rebel Base Comics (see my links for details). There they can get an assortment of specially made comics for FCBD and meet artists and writers, other fans and who knows what else?
The next big event will be the HeroesCon in Charlotte. Breaking with tradition a little, HeroesCon will be the first weekend in June instead of Father's Day weekend. Dustin Harbin is working hard to assemble incredible A-list talent to keep Charlotte as the largest convention in the southeast!
Following those events will be The Return of Mini-Con! If you've read the older posts you get a sense this will be a real quality event, and we still have five months to work on it!
The Kids in the Cartooning Club are working on giant poster-sized pieces of art work, taking the process in stages- creating a draft, laying down the pencil lines, clean-up and inking, revisions and color, final touches. Many of them took their posters home so they could continue with their pencil work.
The Cartooning Club meets usually every third Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 6:30. Our next meeting will be Feb. 18. Everyone age 8 on up is welcomed!

The art included with today's post are samples of the work done by the kids in the Cartooning Club. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Return of Mini-Con- Update part 1

Because so much could be going into this mini-con, a planning staff has been put together to kick around ideas and and talk logistics, budgets and other fun things.
At the moment, it looks like the days are getting shifted over one more day. This will allow the libraries to be open either before or beyond the regular hours.
Dave McDonald, the creator of Hamster Sam, will be doing a comics workshop at the Union West Library the week before the mini-con. The planning committee decided a similar event would be good for Monroe's library, so painter Oscar Ortiz has been tagged with presenting that program! Visit him at
More artists have also said they will participate in the mini-con, bringing the total to more than 16 people for the two locations- and there are still a number of people to get back in touch with! A costume contest, or cosplay contest as the manga/anime crowd call it, is also on the slate. To encourage participation, members of the Rebel Legion and of the 501st (Darth Vader's Fist) have been invited to attend!
A Rising Stars Art Challenge is also in the works where different age groups will compete to see who composes the best storytelling page.
Since there is plenty of time until June, this blog will also spend time introducing readers to the many artists who are coming, one at a time. Stay tuned to see who will be first!

Today's picture is a design of the mini-con mascot- cute but mysterious!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Year: The Return of Mini-Con!

I could talk (or write) for quite awhile about how great last year's mini-con was, how grateful I am to each of the artists who came out and gave of their time and talents to help promote our summer reading, and how enthusiastic the response was from the kids and parents and others who came.
But I think equally telling of how well it went is that the library has agreed to do it again, this time a little bigger! This year, The Return of Mini-Con will be Friday, June 25 at the Union West Regional Library in Indian Trail, NC.THEN...the action moves to the Monroe Library in Monroe on the 26th with more festivities!
Two locations, two different days, a bigger opportunity for people to enjoy this event. Activities like a cosplay contest, a Rising Stars Art Challenge, filmfest, a kids' art show, and a seminar of the merits of reading comics are all on the slate and are being planned and tweaked further.
The list of artists who have committed is already bigger than last year's and there is still five months to go!
If you are a comics, sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture or pretty much whatever fan and you live in the area of Union, Mecklenburg, Stably, Cabarrus, Anson or Chesterfield counties, please put this on your calendars and check us out!

The image with today's post was a picture I drew and inked then colored on the computer (GIMP). This was used as the cover for last year's program that was handed out to everyone attending.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last Year's Mini-Con!!!

Last year the Union West Library held a mini comic book convention as part of the summer reading for the kids. The mini-con lasted about 3 hours and brought in more than 300 people, maybe close to 400. For that many people to say "Hey, let's spend our evening at the library" I think is pretty cool!
As Troy Hasbrouck, creator of the Night comic books as well as proprietor of Rebel Base Comics and Jester Press said, "It was the best darned miniest mini-con ever!"
A whole bunch of great artists came out to give of their time and talents for this event including Marcus Hamilton (Dennis the Menace), Al Bigley (Geminar, DC, Marvel), Andy Smith (DC, Image, Marvel, CrossGen), Budd Root (Cavewoman), Buddy Prince (Night, Marvel Masterpieces), Dave McDonald (Hamster Sam), Holly Plyler (manga artist on the rise!), Marcus Kelligrew (Captain Courage), Derek & Nikki Davis (The Erad Adventures), and the guys from Heroes Aren't Hard to Find comic book shop!