Restricted Frequency #142

Speedy styles, the Isles of Blogging, and buckling up for 2020


Part of the need to express oneself through a variety of media has to do with a terrible strain of creative restlessness. Even within the very same medium, I can get a little restless, and that is perhaps not-so-secretly why I wrote/designed THE SOLAR GRID to incorporate numerous illustration styles, whereby different points in the timeline are given a different visual treatment.

Another reason is to test out the strengths and weaknesses of each approach. One very important “strength” to take into consideration when making comix is speed.

I conducted a little survey on my Kickstarter backers about their favorite TSG style, and much to my surprise… two of my fastest styles came out on top!

Style on the left-hand side (which we’ll nickname… the Templesink), gets its speed from its looseness and heavy reliance on atmospheric “suggestion” for backgrounds and environment. Although it utilizes a wide variety of media in its execution (nib+ink, pencils, black and white ink washes, geso, blowdryer, all on brown-tinted kraft paper), it still allows for speedy implementation due to its nonchalance for accuracy or lack thereof. Also, you’d be surprised how much time not having to draw in proper gutters will save you. I remember at some point in the book, I knocked out about 4 pages a day done in just this style.

You might say the style on the right-hand side (which we shall nickname the Eurofrank) is the polar opposite of the Templesink. It utilizes one single tool instead of several—namely a 0.1 mm Staedtler Pigment Marker—thereby eliminating any variation in line weight. It features no shading whatsoever, and thus allows for a complete disregard for light and shadow. It does mean that you have to put in the line-art for every little thing quite clearly (none of the murky suggestiveness of the Templesink), but the need for only one single drawing tool on top of the unconcern for shadow work make this approach a major time-saver as well.

This is good to know when considering what style to employ for future comix projects; projects that—unlike THE SOLAR GRID—won’t necessarily require stylistic variation within the same yarn. I think it’s safe to say that the Templesink proooobably works best for comix intended to be in black and white, while the Eurofrank is kind of more suited for color.

(This was Comix Engine #3.)


I have rejoined the “Isles of Blogging” again with, a most deceptive title given that I don’t blog everyday (although, I just might with the persistence of a title like that in my face).

I use the gloriously minimal and serene (suggested to me by the ever awesome Dan Hill who has a great one-shot on Comixology now called DISCONNECT). I have it set up to transmit to the front page, along with my twitter and instagram. now feels a proper one-stop go to for all my output, which is what a website should be, I think (death to the website-as-placeholder-brochure!).

For the RSS reader afficionados (I use Newsflow), you can plug this URL into your reader for the blog:


2019, quite frankly, hasn’t been the best. Not a bad year per se, but it does feel like it passed me by in a weird way. There were exhibitions and conferences and commissioned work and travel—all the things you find yourself getting caught up in as an artist—but none of the big milestones I would’ve liked to hit (TSG suffered, as did TNH, along with my reading and even my involvement with Restricted.Academy—which is still going strong, btw). This is partially due to needing to uproot and move states again, with another move already on the horizon (luckily within the very same city this time!). This instability has been a consistent feature of a good half of the previous decade for me, and if you are someone whose output relies on making physical tangible things that people can hold in their hands, well… a situated homebase—a “factory” for that output— is instrumental. Not to mention the psychological effects of—for lack of a better word—community erasure. It’s weird to suddenly no longer see the faces that were a feature of your daily life for 10+ years, and have to deal with those faces switching on you every 2 years. As much as one might enjoy meeting new people everyday, a degree of consistency to go with that would be nice.

Hoping my 2020’s are a little more stable, a hell of a lot more productive, and involve a lot more community-building and tribe-finding (but don’t let that mean I don’t want them wild, roarin’, and free!).

Happy new year in advance and talk to y’all next year,

December 21, 2019
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico