More Syndication News: The Fate of The Malcontents

So not long ago I received another rejection from a syndicate, this time from the Washington Post. Once again, I was given notes, and this time I was even encouraged to resubmit at a later date, since they were not taking on any new work at the time of my initial submission. Considering this is a rejection letter, I find it extremely heartening to get a letter like this. So I'm currently developing a new idea that I hope to submit down the road. While I work on that I thought I would share the strips I made for last submission.

That strip is a more family-friendly version of Malcontent that features our main Malcontent character, his awesome girlfriend, his crazy dog, and his best friend, who just happens to be a bear who can talk and who hates fish. It's called The Malcontents.

I will be posting full-color versions of the strips on Malcontent every week for a while. I hope you like them.


Numerous techniques exist for watercolor that stem from the fact that there is no way to remove color once it's been applied. One of those techniques is masking. Masking involves applying a thing I just learned about, called masking fluid, to the area that you want to block from paint. Until recently, I'd had no need for this. But while working on the cover for Apartness, I discovered one.

This is sketch for the cover, which will be in ink and watercolor. You can see that the sky in the background is blue, while the text that sits in front of this sky is red. You may also notice that the blue sky is very blotchy and uneven. This is because I was unable to wash the blue on in broad strokes because I was carefully painting around those letters, and everywhere I did so left a blotchy edge that later translated into the blotchy sky you see before you.


Turns out this can all be avoided with a little planning and some masking fluid. Here's what you do.

Draw your letters in ink, of course.

Then apply your masking fluid to the inside of the letters. The fluid will be shiny and have a slight tint that allows you to see what you're doing. Once it's dry you can apply some watercolor.

You can keep applying paint and build up your wash, with broad even strokes, without ever having to worry about getting paint on the text.

Once the paint has completely dried you can remove the masking fluid from the page by simply rubbing it with your finger.

You can see there are some imperfections: some paint got through our mask, and the mask was slightly too big in some parts. These were mainly due to my own carelessness, but should be completely fixable later.

Next you'll simply go ahead and paint in the text.

And then finally you can correct the over-masking problem with a little touch-up using the background color.

And there you have it! A much cleaner wash and much cleaner text. 

Oh, also, I'm using Winsor and Newton masking fluid which I was able to easily obtain locally from the Michael's up the street. Works great!

Apartness Color Sundays

Well, all the art for Apartness is done. All that remains now is to make it into an actual book.

In the grand tradition of the Sunday funnies, I've colored the larger half-page strips that I made for Apartness. This is how they'll appear in the book. Here you can compare them to the black and white versions. Click on an image and then hit the arrow keys to see them fade from black and white to full blazing color. Fun times!