Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Beautiful Life Project


Many people have asked me about how to start an autobio comic. Other than just doing it, I didn't really know what to say. It can be a pretty daunting thing to do.


I was inspired by this sketchbook called MY BEAUTIFUL LIFE - MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN DRAWINGS published by Chronicle Books. It gives you a topic on a each page to draw as a reflection of what your life is today. This inspired me to see what other people choose to depict from topics like the ones in the book from anyone any age, from anywhere in the world. Imagine if the topic is shoes...what would that post be like from someone in their 40's? In their 20's? From a 13yr old? From someone living in China or Norway??

This project is for anyone. Doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, what your skill level is. It's a great way to start an autobiography for artists. You can make it in comic form, choose to draw one whatever you want! I plan on drawing an image and then writing about it.

You could get the book if you want to but I will post a topic on twitter (@emibot) at NOON PST on Monday and Thursdays. Perhaps have your drawing posted before the next topic? This is for myself and also for people who would rather have a schedule. But by all means, you don't have to follow it! If you have the book, draw and post when you like! I want this to be carefree and fun and easy. I don't want anyone to stress about how good anything looks. Just do it! I will plan on having my pages ready for when I announce the topic and post it to the group page.

The group page is on FLICKR here:
This is where participators will share their drawings! Lets support and inspire each other! I will be moderating the site to keep it clean. Be sure in the title of your post you put in the topic for that page!

Seeing how this goes, I might start a TUMBLR to highlight pages once a week! 

I sorta just threw this together so there might be some kinks. Let me know of any issues. I know this could crash and burn and have no one participating but to me, the point is I tried! You never know what could happen if you don't put yourself out there and try, amirite? Let's see where this experiment will go! If it doesn't go anywhere then it doesn't but, oh, if it awesome would that be?

Hope to see you there!

- Emi

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Recap

2011 was a very hard year in the Lenox household. HOWEVER, luckily a lot of it did not have to do with my career so I can't complain about that.

The first EmiTown book did better in sales than I could have ever imagined it would. EmiTown for the most part was well praised which is a huge relief! It has taught me a lot about the industry and even is making me think about what to do next. I want to continue EmiTown but I want to experiment and try something different and I've already been making notes to do so. SO EXCITED.

My guest pages for Madman and Sweet Tooth were also released earlier this year and as far as I know, it was received okay. Not that that really matters, I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to work with the Allreds and Jeff Lemire.

The conventions were awesome. This was my first year having an actual book to sell at my table and I met some pretty awesome people as well.

EmiTown 2 was completed at the end of December and will be released in early 2012. I think that is pretty good accomplishment for 2011. That's about 400 pages of art right there. *pats back*

Had my first art show at a nearby coffeeshop and sold 4 pieces!

Successfully participated in 24hr Comics Day.

I also got a job as a server at a bar. I need to make some papers!

I finally lost my last baby tooth. Yes. It's true.

Despite all the ups and downs we all face in life, I'm still pretty proud and feeling good about where I am today. I learned a lot from the pitfalls and feel I may have leveled up several times in 2011! That's awesome.

So 2012.

- I made it into the Monsters & Dames book for ECCC '12!
- EmiTown 2 should be released early in the year
- I will be starting on a project with novelist Pamela Ribon for Oni Press
- Will be on a Graphic Novel Panel for the Graphics Artist Guild in Seattle January 28.
- Speaking to high school kids about a career in comics in Jan. too!
- ECCC, Stumptown, maybe TCAF, maybe SDCC.


- Maintain my wonderful friendships
- Start a new personal comic project
- Market the shit out of EmiTown 2
- Level up at least 3 times this year
- Be the best Emi I can be
- Become financially stable
- Level up in artistic skill
- Maybe another art show? (of watercolor illustrations)

Alright, Emi. JUMP TO IT. 2012 is gonna be aces. I just know it.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


So I have been feeling the need to write an "End of 2010" reflection post. A lot has happened this past year and to be honest, it makes me fear that it can't get better than this. But that's silly, huh? I mean I'm only 27 and I seriously doubt that the best year of my life has already flown by.


2010 definitely seemed to be my comic career building year. If anything it has created the foundation for me to really go for it. It was in March that I had my first ever convention table at Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con. It was there that I had shared my work (which was printed thanks to my supporting readers and friends!) and met Image who later in the year published EmiTown. I also tabled at Stumptown Comics Fest here in Portland in April.

Also during 2010, I had done an 8 pager for Mike and Laura Allred's next Madman special and a 4 pager for Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth, both due out sometime this

Most importantly, in December, I was laid off my full-time temp job. Trust me, this was a good good thing. I was working in a gray cubicle punching in semi-truck serial numbers all day. I have to say, even though it sucked working at a non-artistic job, I had a regular paycheck. But having to leave that place couldn't have happened at a better time. EmiTown was hitting the stores, I was getting some dollars from some other comic work which relieved some of the fear and stress that losing a job would create. Now I can truly focus!

I can't believe I'm where I'm at now. I do feel a lot of pressure to make sure to keep momentum and I hope I can do it! I know it will take hard work and dedication but now that I don't have a day job, I really have NOTHING holding me back!

Other awesome 2010 things:

- I have an awesome boyfriend
- I have an iphone!
- Attended my first signing for Wonder Woman Day '10

- Completed another 24hr comic
- My Monster's & Dames piece actually made it into the ECCC 2011 book!!
- Attended two Opera Sketch Nights!

Goals for 2011:

- Continue working on EmiTown
- Pitch an OGN idea
- Have regular comic work and survive being a freelancer
- go to on a train ride
- Table at ECCC, Stumptown, TCAF, APE, maybeeee SPX?


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thoughts on Finding Your Style and Voice in Comics

Inspired by Tek's suggestion in the comments from my last post, I'll give it a go and try to talk about my thoughts in finding your style and voice. I hear this is a concern for a lot of people when I talk to them about comics. I remember this was a huge concern for me back in the day but honestly, I don't really worry about it anymore. I've decided that you can't force style, style comes to you.

So like my last post, I will talk about what I learned in my own experience! I can't say this is the "how to" but this is how I found my "groove". And To tell you the truth, I'm always growing as an artist and my art will always change little by little. The more you draw, the different kinds of art you are exposed to, the life you lead, I believe will reflect in your own style. This is how I see it:

Like a stew, (HA! Me and my metaphors) you start out with the broth. Much like a decision you want to draw/write. You can practice anatomy, perspective, etc but this doesn't necessarily give you style. You have your base broth and key ingredients and then you add things you enjoy into the stew to give it the flavor!

I find it hard to advise about drawing specifically since I did not learn awesome perspective or perfect anatomy. In fact, I flunked out of art school. I am aware of my need to improve in these fields and it's constantly on my mind! My stew is backwards.


When I was in my teen years, I copied (yes, copied) my favorite characters and styles of artists I adored. I would read comics and notice certain things that I thought were awesome! I loved Jeff Smith's Bone and his use of spot blacks and the way he drew faces. I also read a lot of Adriane Tomine because I loved his melancholic faces. I studied forever of Craig Thompson and his beautiful dry brush line work. After trying to copy a few things I would try to draw something on my own using what I learned through my sketches. Certain things stick. It's a learning process. We are a lucky bunch that "studying" includes reading our favorite comics!

Add all these things into your stew as your inspirations and sooner or later you're going to get a something that is pretty darn unique. You like onions? toss in an onion! You like potatoes? Toss in some potatoes!

I think people get a little scared because they feel it's stealing a recipe when taking aspects of art from others. But I say, NO! NO! It's inspiration! It's one thing to copy a panel/character design and then use it as your own work, and another to incorporate techniques you love into your own drawing. It magically fuses with your own style. You're using it as a tool to learn. I know a lot of people who learned to draw from copying their favorite comics. If there is something you think is awesome, study it, learn how they did it, try it with your own art. FUN IN A BAG!

Also, drawing everyday (even the slightest bit) helps a lot. Doing EmiTown everyday vastly improved my art. Compare my first EmiTown pages from mid 2009 to a year later in 2010. Not only do I feel I have improved with drawing, but layout as well. Everyday, I had to think about layout and flow; the best way for me to draw out a whole day efficiently using only one page. By doing it everyday, it helps for that kind of thinking to come more naturally.
A page from 2009

A year later in 2010

The beginning can be tough. Like you are lost in the dark. But the more you expose yourself to the dark, the more your eyes will begin to adjust and see shapes. I think if you keep drawing and studying your idols, a "style" will emerge naturally.

I also want to stress that to me, personally ( I don't know if everyone would agree) "style" isn't drawing the same every time. "Style" is that voice or essence in your art that is recognizable to everyone that it's you whether you draw circle heads, manga, or superheros. Heck, I've had some people complain about having a lack of style and I can totally see it!

Bottom line, study and practice! It comes naturally because it is you. I would think it's hard to avoid as long as you're drawing from your heart!

As for writing, I'm not sure if anything I have already said applies to that. I write how I think and talk and I know that won't fly for everything! I have a lot left to learn with drawing and writing and that's exciting to me. Try new things! Always be flexible to new ideas! It's darn tootin' fun, I tells ya. And the coolest thing about art? There is no way to know EVERYTHING! Because art itself is continuing to grow and expand.

Ok then,

xoxo <--(you think if I do this enough, I can be like Gossip Girl?)

- emibot

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Starting in Comics (Emi tries to advise)

I've received several emails from folks asking for advice in regards to getting started in comics. I don't know how much I can help. Especially since I feel I myself just started. I will share what I have learned so far from experience, peers, and through my internships.

1) As Brett Warnock(Top Shelf) had once told me: "Produce, produce, PRODUCE!"
Now, I don't want to hear anyone complain about time. Believe me, I know a thing or two about a lack of time. I'm holding a 40hr a week day job (which has nothing to do with art!). If it's something you love, you make time for it! I do a lot of doodling and thumbs at my desk at work. My mind is constantly in comic mode. I think that's the first sign that comics is life!

2) More on Produce Produce Produce
Make mini comics, print them, distribute them to your favorite artists! Make a blog! The more you share the more people will be able to know about who you are and what you do! And don't feel like a "whore" because you're running around talking about your own stuff. You have to learn to market yourself in this biz. Things mainly get around by your own efforts and word of mouth. If people love comics, they'll love to receive whatever it is you're offering. So if you're not a social butterfly, try and step out of that safety box and throw yourself out there!

3) Socialize!
Get to know others in your field! You'll learn quickly that comics is an industry where everyone is very supportive of each other. I rarely felt any sort of ill competitiveness in the comics world. It's a small industry compared to others and you'll become aware that everyone knows each other in some sixth degree or other. To socialize:

a) Attend comic events such as signings, release parties, conventions, etc! Make friends, share your minis! The comic world is like a wonderful funderful family!

b) Join social networks online! Forums, Twitter, and Facebook are some examples. If you can't make it to cons, these online sites are great places to make friends too.

c) If you are lucky to live in the area of a comic publisher or studio collective, see if there are any internships available! I personally interned for Top Shelf Productions(publisher of Blankets, Essex County, Jeffrey Brown etc) and Periscope Studio(collective of comic artists/writers including Jeff Parker, Steve Lieber, Colleen Coover etc) here in Portland.

d) See if there are any Drink & Draws/sketch groups in your neighborhood!

3b) A Note on Socializing
Say what you will on what I'm about to state but I PERSONALLY learned that you shouldn't fawn and be all fan-girl/boy over your idols. I've been taught that if you want to be treated like a creator in the industry you should act like one, not a crazy fan. Your idols are still mentors/inspirations but at the same time they are your peers in the comic world! I'm not saying you can't be excited and compliment them, I just mean tone down the "OMG OMG OMG YOU ARE _____ ______! I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOUR BOOK ____ _____ CAN I TOUCH YOU?"

4) Be Nice!
Yeah? Yeah? Does that sound silly? Well, from what I heard from folks, it helps immensely if you are a person who is friendly and easy to work with. Even if you could draw the most inticrite Zeus riding a Cerebus striking Magneto with a lightening bolt, if you are a jerk, not many people will want anything from you. But if you ask me, that's a simple rule from the playground. If you don't play nice, no one will play with you no matter what cool kicks(sneakers) you wear.

6) Never Give Up!
Learn from your failures and learn to focus on even the smallest of successes. Don't fear to try new things and keep on truckin! If you get shot down, or do not hear continuous praises, don't lose hope! If anything, that should fuel you to work harder! Uh oh, watch out, golf metaphor coming-- Not everyone hits a hole-in-one on their first swing! Sometimes you might get the ball in the rough or in the sand. Doesn't mean at all that the game is over. Try a different club, check the wind, practice your swing. Don't blame the caddie for bad advice...or because someone coughed at the tee. or...I think I'm losing my metaphor.


7) Draw With Your Heart!
That sounds cheesy I know, but people can recognize when someone draws/writes from their heart and it stands out so much more!

I can't stress enough how lucky we are to be in the age of the Internet. It's so easy to connect with other creators all over the world and share your own work in minutes! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT! For serious.

That's all for now I think.


and I leave you with a downer comic:


- emibot

Monday, April 12, 2010

I Birthed My Blog Today

I made this blog just so I can write about updates, inspirations, and things going on in life. Not everything can be crammed into a one page comic a day. Plus, I want to have a regular ol' blog where I can put whatever I want in it!

So for starters I want to talk about my awesome sketch group!

First there is Angie Wang whom I have known for many years from an online forum. I realized one day that she lived in Portland too! We got together and began infrequent sketch groups. Check her stuff out! She has some awesome big projects coming and I have no doubt this girl is gonna be a name to know!


Second is the wonderful Natalie Nourigat! Whom some call Tally but professionally I think she wants to be known as Natalie. She does amazing comics and her skills have been growing out of control! I was introduced to her by Jeff Parker last year at the Cosmic Monkey After Party (Stumptown Comics Fest weekend) because we both were interns at Periscope Studio (Not at the same time!). We were insta-friends! She is one to watch! She's full of awesome!

Tally Art
Between Gears

And here's an old something I never posted: