Friday, September 20, 2013

The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 + behind the scenes

My friend recently was going through her inventory and look what she bumped into, one of my first endeavors in self-publishing: The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1! It's a 69-paged anthology that has comics, poetry, short stories, and more comics that my partner-in-comicbook-making-crimes Alan Abbadessa-Green and I put together. You can see also in the pic above that it is "suggested for mature readers." As I remember, it was a massive labor of massive love.

May I remind you of the bars to your right? Do you see the Books I'm In section? Notice that Mind's Overflow has been there all this time? Here's the post all about it.

Inside, you will find an exciting sneak preview of Philip Clark's Quantum: Rock of Ages comicbook series. Philip Clark is soul musician by trade, and trust me, he can rock a soul out of your body. Check out his site for some free listening. I would suggest The State of the Blue-Eyed Soul. But he is an apt writer of comics also. You can read an IGN interview about Quantum: Rock of Ages here, you can read issues #1-4 for free here, and even issue #5 here (with art by James Rodriguez), yes, for freeee! Come on, you know you want to. Give indy comics a read. You'd be surprised how much of high-quality stories are in independent comicbooks. Forget super-heroes; they're so establishment. Indies are in and they're sexy!

Inside Mind's Overflow are also some comic strips by Jeffrey Plotkin. Just do yourselves a favor and go to his link in the last sentence. At face value it looks all cute and cartoony, but his strips are deep when you read into them. He can say a lot in one picture. Here's a random page from his DeviantArt gallery so you can see what I mean:

Alan Abbadessa-Green and I, while planning all the logistics of The Mind's Overflow, came up with a couple of themes, keys and key holes being a central one. So as you can see, the cover has a key hole, giving you the illusion of you peeping inside the book. The cover illustrates one of the short stories, 'A Dying Bird' by Matthew Scott Carr, illustrated by Joe Kelly. All the stories and poems had a front page like this, with the title and credit and a key hole giving a glimpse of the inside of its respective story.

Yours truly was Editor, Art Director, and one of the general illustrators. Alan Abbadessa-Green was EIC. He would read all submissions, sift through the ones he likes so I would read them, I would sift through the ones I selected and we'll discuss the finalists' submissions to select which ones will end up in the anthology. I made the cover design and logo, as well as the design for. Every. Single. Sixty-nine freaking pages! And this is before I knew how to mess with InDesign! Both the designing & illustrating and the editing aspects of creating the book were arduous work for both of us, but I enjoyed it immensely (and I know Alan too). Publishing is something I can definitely get used to. Creating a book from scratch just seems to be what I like to do, and I'd do it again (hint, hint).

Below is an example of some of general illustrations I did for MO. It's from one of the short stories 'Return' by Miguel Ortega.

Below is another of my illustrations. I like this one because the guy is a writer and he is real. Yup, a real existing writer. I also think the illustration's cute. This drawing is from the introduction, written by Alan. He mentioned how we bumped into this writer at a comicbook convention, sitting at his table selling his books (he's a prose writer, not a comicbook writer, but comicbook conventions tend to not be exclusive like that. God bless them). We kicked off a conversation and it impressed Alan. Here's a glimpse from the introduction (by the way, a reminder, this is For Mature Readers Only, so if you don't have the stomach for cuss words, you might as well skip the quotation):
Step in the fat guy. While at a convention, I see Rammer talking to a fat man sitting behind a desk. I decide to join them and see who the fuck this guy is. It turns out he's a sci-fi/horror/fantasy writer (which I should have known from looking at him). Being the artistic whore that he is (and has to be in this industry), Rammer asks if he can be considered to do artwork for the guy's book jackets. This somehow spins into a conversation about how to make it in the industry. And by "the industry," I don't intend to limit that to comicbooks. Comics are particularly hard because the market is weak and saturated (a bad combination) but the same holds true for novelists, screenwriters, painters, and illustrators. Creators are in for a rude awakening when they first try to send their art into the market. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, the fat guy says that if you want to be successful, there is a very easy way to do it... Do it. It's as simple as that. Here I shall try to quote him as best as my memory will allow [yes, a double quote. So what? You're in a house of mirrors here.  —Rammer]:

"If you want to be a writer, write. If you want to be an artist, draw. Every night, even if it's just a page a night. In a year, you'll find you have a book. If someone invites you to a party, decline the invitation. If you want to go out on a date with a girl, don't. If you want to have a life, too bad. Hell, if you want to, I'm fine with that. There's already too much competition for me out there and I'd be very happy if you didn't pursue your work. You'd be doing me a favor to sit home and watch TV. But if you want to do it for real, you have to actually do it."

Now, this isn't original advice, but it's true. I'd actually given my brother similar advice when he was having difficulty finding the time to write. I suggested he take baby steps. A page a night. It was advice I had given him but had failed to practice myself. I say this man may have saved my life because he re-instilled that work ethic within me. Now, whenever Rammer and I are tempted to meet at a bar and drink our paychecks away, one of us will always remind the other to "be the fat guy." And it's advice I pass along to any of the inspiring writers and artists out there. Be the fat guy.
And I'm passing the advice forward onto you. Be this guy.

I know I will see him in another convention in the future. He always makes sure to have a table. What a hustler. When that happens, I'll make sure to buy one of his books and get his name and mention it here.

Now, without further ado, I'd like to present to you my contribution to The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1: the comicbook story by the same name, drawn, inked and lettered by yours truly, more drawing and inking by Jeff Ploktin, and with writings by Alan Abbadessa-Green, pre-pressed by moi. I really enjoyed this one. It's very unique. I'll tell you why and how. 

First, the main character, Key, man he's something that can only come straight out of Alan's head. "Make his feet HUGE," he tells me. I give him this:

He tells me, "Make them BIGGER!" LOL. So I gave him this.

Play close attention to his face. He's like a realistic cartoon in a unrealistic real world. His hair is something else. The hair would convey and echo the emotion Key's going through and/or direct your eye to the focus for that particular panel. It's a great visual aid and aesthetic in character design. 

Here's a character design for Molly, Key's girlfriend, just to be fair for both characters.

Now, I will tell you why this is a very unique comicbook. You see, in the story, Key goes to another dimension. Alan had the idea to do something visually interesting: have one kind of artist draw the characters in our dimension and the background in the other dimension, while having another kind of artist do the vise versa. Being that I like to stick to details, he chose Jeff Plotkin as the other artist, for he's more on the comic strips/cartoony side. It was an intriguing and unique progress.

This is the first segment to 'The Mind's Overflow' comicbook story, starring Key. Another reminder: this is For Mature Readers, don't like cuss words? Please skip the comic. Hope you enjoy it!

Here's a bit more from behind the scenes:

Alan Abbadessa-Green wrote about The Mind's Overflow book and comic too over at his blog Look At All the Happy Creatures, but in completely different take.

I have fond memories of Alan and I going to Baltimore, MD for the not-so Small Press eXpo con. We had tons of material and art work to show, plus MO. I also met a lot of creators that I still am proud of knowing to this day. And guess what. The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 ended up in the Baltimore Museum of Art's Cram Sessions: 02 Dark Matter exhibit! That's what pays to go to cons as a creator.

Alas, The Mind's Overflow was an endeavor that ended prematurely. With all of life's demands and anguish, there is no Volume 2. But Alan and I still work together. Since then we've made tons of comicbook short stories that ended in comicbook anthologies. He continues to writes books, like The Sync Book (Vol. 1 and 2), one of which we have work in. We have our 8-page comicbook story 'Desperate Skin' in it, and I have two poems in there. I ended up becoming a poet of sort and host a monthly party and open mic while doing gigs in Graphic Design (if you're interested in my writing and poetry, may I direct you to my writing blog I, Rammer? If you are, thank you and I hope you enjoy it). Comicbooks is still a love of mine. I put comicbooks and graphic design in one set; they're the same to me, just with the same elements re-arranged differently. But that's a topic for another post.

Although The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 is out of print, you can still purchase a copy for a measly $6! I have like five of them left, I'm sure Alan has one or two, but there are two copies of The Mind's Overflow, Vol. 1 at NYC's Forbidden Planet comicbook store! Just go there and ask for it.

Hope you enjoyed the post. And if you've been reading and looking and have gotten here, all I have to say is:

(the Happy Face bag is the last thing you see at the last page of MO. We also had a ton of those bags to put MOs in when costumers purchased it. So, Thank You for reading!)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What the G says to the O in GOD.

While the D is clueless. I figured the D is clueless because it's countenance seems to look to our right; the G is also to the right, so it would speak to the O, a frontal and very egalitarian vowel.

Hope you like.

Friday, May 31, 2013


Know those ubiquitous figures in train stations forever sleeping, like they've been caught up with their beauty sleep and they're now on triple overtime? 

Sandman catches them when they least expect it. It can be anywhere. He waits in those interstitial moments that lies a true vacation. 
Done in watercolor and color pencil.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hands in Poetry

Here's a nice straight-forward charcoal and pencil drawing of hands in the process of typing poetry. Any other hand models out there? :-P

Friday, February 1, 2013

Word at 4F

I've been noticing something of late: house parties in NYC are beginning a certain kind of spike. There's the guys at 5fity 5ive, all about all the different kinds of house music (not to be confused with "house party"), providing parties all over NYC, but originally began as a house party at Apt. 55. There's When We Were Kings, a '70s themed party in Brooklyn that happens at a regular basis, also at an apartment. I know of my good friend Alba Mota's Sancocho parties, where she and her friends have a huge pot full of that good ol' Dominican soup, where partiers can scoop their own bowl of sacocho when taking a break from dancing some Latin music (aside from other genres), and I'm sure you already know in what kind of venues they throw it down.

But right now I want to treat you to the 1st of a series of spoken word, readings, music and stand-up comedy parties where, yes, you have all these literary and showcases going on, but it's also a bonafide BYOB party. I'd like to introduce you to...


WORD AT 4F's intention is to cultivate poetry and a literary community at Uptown NYC. If you're interested in attending tomorrow, Saturday February 2nd, to party or to perform, please RSVP to (after all, it is a party at a very homely home, so some crowd control would be need). This will be a series that would happen roughly once a month, made and hosted by Angela Abreu and yours truly!

And a big THANK YOU! goes out to Angela Abreu for opening up her home to the world for the art and the power of the word.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Thank You" Menorah

"Thank You" Menorah
This was a "Thank You" card I drew, a typographical menorah drawing saying "Thank You" I did for a doctor. I really lucked out on the "N" and "K" there. Done on pencil and color-pencil, free-hand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Headshot Retouch

This is Luisa Inés García.

Actress, with many different side-skills that can be appropriated with her craft. (Directing, Writing, Poetry, Acting, Dance, I believe she does Costume Design, and even freaking Gymnastics)

I did some retouching for her Headshot earlier this year. I tried to smooth out the natural blemishes while keeping true to her look and aura/aesthetics, while enhancing some other areas. True, I could have taken some more of those stray hairs, but dammit if the hair doesn't end up looking like she's wearing a head-piece that looks like hair. You would notice there's probably a 20% increase in eye size. Yup, the rules of subliminal allure, made not-so-subliminal in this blog.

Here's little bio of Luisa Inés García:
Luisa Inés García earned her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (PHTS) in Creating Original Work and Acting. For the past two years she has worked in New York, New Jersey and internationally as a director, actress/dancer and teacher. She most recently co-founded Buffoonocene Productions with Seth Baum (Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions), which creates new works built on scientific research to stimulate dialogue and promote activism regarding climate change. The project was debuted at this year’s Nature, Ecology and Society Colloquium at the CUNY Graduate Center and the newest video will be available on YouTube soon! She currently plays the role of María Teresa in In The Time of the Butterflies at the Spanish Repertory (Repertorio Español) .

She's currently directing El Coordinador. “The Facilitator” takes place in an elevator where four people must deal with the ambition and morals of the others. Shut in the elevator, they experience a collective desperation that results in the discovery of the true personality of each person when their fears and virtues come out to play in this game of survival. Winning play of the 1993 Best Dramatic Text Award at the VII North American Chilean Institute’s Theater Festival and the 1994 Municipal Award for Literature in Theatre in Santiago, Chile. 

They have 5 performances!
August 23: 7pm
August 24: 8pm
August 26: 6:30 pm
August 30: 7pm

August 31: 8pm

Written by: Benjamin Galemiri
Directed by: Inés Garcia
Assistant Director: John Gutierrez
The players: Antonio Solar, Billy Martin, Elena Sanz, Ron Sarcos
Set design: Leni Méndez
Sound design: Erin Cummings
Light design: Miguel León Valderrama
Tickets are $10, with premium seats at $20
The play is in Spanish with simultaneous English translation.

You can find more info on El Coordinador.