SKETCHBOOK : Open Mic Night

     This is what I sketched while we were at the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana last night, watching our friend Matt do "open mic" night. Matt played guitar and sang, and did a great job. There were maybe one or two other acts that were okay, and the others were mostly endurance tests.
     I never know where to look when anybody other than Matt is up there. We sit very close to the stage, and I don't have much of a Poker face, so I'm afraid to look directly at the performer, in case I accidentally sneer, frown, or make a painy face. So it helps my nerves to have my sketchbook to disappear into. Especially if someone is reciting a poem, which is worse than having your teeth drilled.
     It was kind of cool, though, when a young lady at a table across the room somehow set some napkins on fire with the candle on her table. All of a sudden, while some guy was performing, there were flames and people running over to douse it with water.
     The lady was by herself, and had a strange honky afro. When she first walked in she had an attitude like, "I am a quirky, interesting lady!" But after the fire, she looked like she wanted to disappear into the floorboards.
     In my mind, I have re-written it so that her honky afro was what caught fire.

ORIGINAL ART : The Mustache

"The Mustache"
Colored pencil
T. Kovac

     The only thing I can figure is that this sketch is probably inspired by the growing number of transgender kids and adults in my sphere of acquaintances. Not sure. It also reminds me, now that I'm finished with it, of Dorothy and the Wizard In Oz. That's the book where they go down into the earth and discover the Mangaboos, a race of vegetable people.

ORIGINAL ART : Color Pencil Sketches

The following are some color pencil sketches I've done in the month of June.

These first two were done in the last week or two of school, when the teachers were really getting on my nerves, and I was feeling pretty anti-social:

"Alienate Everyone"
Colored pencil
T. Kovac

"'No' Face"
Colored pencil
T. Kovac

And then this is when I was finally on summer vacation. It must represent freedom, psychologically. I guess. Or not. Or whatever.

"Devil Astride Hippity-Hop"
Colored pencil
T. Kovac


     The nice people at Big Red Comics in Downtown Orange invited me to sell books and sign autographs as part of their Free Comic Book Day celebration. (FCBD is always the first Saturday in May, but it has taken me many years to get that straight in my head.)
     Incidentally, I did not make that name plate for myself, the nice people at the store did. I would not have referred to my own comics as "awesome," although mayhaps they are.
     See the free bookmarks with tassels? I gave away 60 of those motherfuckers! Anthony cut out and hole-punched every single one of them, and we put the tassels on together at the kitchen table the night before. I'm a fan of tassel-related projects.
     I did a lot of doodling that day, beginning at breakfast and continuing at the event.

Sketch inspired by Anthony's "bananas foster pancakes" at IHOP.
Bananas Foster's randy gay brother.

Alice and the Cheshire Cat, just because.

Sketch done for a really cool kid who suggested I draw a wizard monkey. Because wizards are cool, and monkeys are cool,  so, "a wizard monkey would probably be REALLY cool."

I was challenging myself to see if you could draw the Cheshire Cat NOT smiling. As you can see, it's mostly unsuccessful and unsatisfying.

     Right as I was drawing that hideous spraying Cheshire Cat, which is very wrong and regrettable, this cute family came up to see me in Wonderland-inspired costumes. I quickly flipped my sketchbook to a less offensive page.
     The mother had hand-made a Queen of Hearts dress for herself and a Mad Hatter outfit for her daughter. They were there to get a signed copy of Wonderland, and it was very flattering and fun. Dad was a cool guy, too, and told me about this website called Spoonflower that his wife uses to actually have her own original designs printed on fabric, which she uses for the outfits. Pretty cool idea.

     All in all it was a very successful day. I sold some prints, some copies of Wonderland, Stitch, Skelebunnies, Royal Historian of Oz, Smells Like Library Vol.1, and Smells Like Library Vol.2. I was there from about 10:30 to 5pm.



Me staggering to the car with a box full of my books.
Very cool poster to advertise the event
     So I was invited by Anat Herzog at Chapman University to participate in their first "Salon," in conjunction with Anaheim's WonderCon 2015. The topic was "Comics As Social Change," which I thought was a great topic.
     Chandra Jenkins spoke first, introducing the topic and giving a brief overview of the history of comics and graphic novels, particularly as agents of social change. Then I spoke for about 10 minutes, then Andrew Vo, and then David Brown. Andrew is a student who did an award-winning thesis on comics as propaganda in WWII. David won an award from the NAACP for a black superhero comic he did, inspired by the L.A. Riots.
     One coherent and possibly on-topic thing I said was that if ideas are like viruses, comics are an ideal vector for spreading them fast and efficiently. Comics are usually cheap, and because they are largely visual, the ideas can be processed quickly by the reader, and handed off to the next person with a, "Hey, check this out!"
     I also talked about how people sort of EXPECT comics to contain controversial or edgy material.

     Part of the evening's program stated that Tommy Kovac (that's me) would be visually documenting the discussion. So I made sure to doodle on the butcher paper table-cloth while people were talking about stuff, and while I was thinking of what to say.

     And here are some close-ups of some of the doodles...

Group shot of all involved. David Brown, Anat Herzog, Andrew Vo, Me, Chandra Jenkins, and Ahmed Younis.


Tommy & Skeletor (?), BFF!

"Fairy Dust" Gays & Disney panel discussion. Some... colorful types there.
What am I doing here? I mean, other than being gay and having blue hair, why the fuck am I on this panel?
One of my favorite former students (in the middle), and her friend (on the left. because obviously that's me on the right. duh.)

Some notes to gather my thoughts, even though that gigantic scary drag queen did most of the talking.

Jotted quotes from the discussion. And other impressions.

This is actually completely true: my friend Angela and I used to sing this horrible song when we were in high school, referring to any guy who identified too much with Disney, because that meant GAY. I was still in the closet then, and a total hypocrite. Angela doesn't remember this song, but I SWEAR it's true. Somewhere there's a VHS home video tape of her singing it. We were terrible people back then, but now we are ANGELS and never say or do anything mean.

My WonderCon purchases. Adorable blue ram & Ghostface from the Scream movies. BFF!

ORIGINAL ART : "Art Friends Are the Best"

     Received a really cool envelope from a friend, highly-decorated with special postal stamps and such. Inside was a print of Little Nemo-inspired artwork my friend had done recently, and a nice little note about inspiring each other artistically.
     So I did this drawing last night, and plan to put it in the mail as a lil' thank you.
     Long live snail mail and spontaneous art!

ORIGINAL ART : "The Curse of Lopez"

"The Curse of Lopez"
by Tommy Kovac
Ink on illustration board
     I'm experimenting with "illustration board," which is very thick and sturdy, and therefor seems more like a real piece of "art" when you're done with it. I used my regular ZIG markers and Sakura fine liners on this. I'm practicing for a commission piece I'll be doing soon, thinking I'll use illustration board for it. Now that I've inked this, I'm going to try watercolor over it, and see how it looks. If it gets ruined, well... Then I'll know not to try that again.