I’m an Ink Jet!

Oh man! It’s a beautiful world we live in, friends!!

I’ve recently had a break through with my inking process for drawings. But first, a tiny history between ink and myself.

I first learned about inking when I decided to make an effort to learn how to draw comics. I got a small book that gave me a few terms and tips about the inking process. It taught me that comics first start off as a penciled drawing that was then either inked by the penciler or sent off to a person whose job it was to ink these drawings. This job required a utility belt of tools and skills that I was never even aware of. I’ll list some of the supplies they wrote down:

  1. Pen holder
  2. Pen nibs, of the drawing variety
  3. Round Brush, size 3
  4. India Ink (some of the better brands include Higgins, Pelican, and, my personal favorite, Speedball)
  5. Prowhite (basically an artist’s version of white-out)

I saw that list and two feelings came over me; one of dread and one of excitement. My dread came from the fact that I was from Gila Bend, where anything that was related to art supplies was about an hours drive away. My excitement was in the fact that I had been pointed in the right direction.

Many time and money consuming adventures later, I finally had what was necessary to begin practicing. And practice I did. I must have filled up hundreds of pages worth of tick marks and feathering, all the while learning to communicate to my pen/brush what I wanted it to do (I took the time to practice with both)… When I had finally graduated to drawing a line longer than an inch or two I ran into a problem with my pen: my ink well didn’t seem to hold enough ink to keep the ink flowing. My figures could be inked but only with a lot of frustration and ripped paper (Remind me to talk about paper at some point). Brushes were fine but I really liked the control I had with a pen. I tried to come back to it here and there between present time and a few years back but my defeat had gotten the best of me, really. Until that faithful day…

That faithful day was actually last Sunday. I was in my friend Chantel’s room. I was commissioned by her to make her invitations for her voice recital this March. I knew what I wanted to do, but it would require me to take up my pen again…my commitment was more important then my fear at that point so I began, this time with a new piece of information. You see, in my previous excursions I had dipped my pen in water in order to dilute the ink enough to where it would flow from the tip. However, when my drawing teacher, Jerry Schutte, started talking about his ink drawings. He showed us his pen, which was still covered in ink from the last time he had drawn. I was confused. Weren’t you supposed to keep that thing clean…and wouldn’t the ink be less dense if you were supposed to be dipping it after every stroke. I took time to ponder this. Fast forward back to the moment I was drawing the invite, I decided not to dip in water and just let the ink build, an idea formed from seeing Jerry’s pen. I felt sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stupid. IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!!!!! I suppose I really can’t blame myself though. The books I read on inking were never specific enough. So I’m going to be there for you the way the greats have never been for me:

I AM GOING TO EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW TO INK (for those of you that need as much explanation as I do to understand things)

  1. Place nib on pen and open ink
  2. Dip pen in as far as the little hole in the nib (called the ink well)
  3. Wipe bottom of nib on the edge of the rim of your ink’s container (so that it doesn’t drip everywhere)
  4. Draw your line (if you are having trouble getting the ink to flow then just draw a small line repeatedly on a separate sheet of paper until it starts to flow. I call this stroking)
  5. Draw until your ink stops flowing (or if stroking doesn’t work)
  6. Dip pen again
  7. Repeat

This process should work as long as your ink hasn’t started to clump up from age and drying out. If that happens you can try working with it by putting some of the ink into a bottle cap or something and working around the clumps. Sometimes the ink can turn into something like black snot. If it does that, then you can add water. Ink is a tricky friend, but a friend it is and you will come to love it if you take the time to get to know it.

I hope you learned something from this. If you have any questions about inking, let me know. I’m still learning but I do have a lot of experience with it (despite what this post might make you think) and I seem to be more available then the professionals out there that I tried to contact.

Thank you for your time and attentions,

Sicily Marino

Gooooooooooooooooals That I Have

Welcome back!!!!

I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve got just a little bit more to go through, so this shouldn’t be too long.

Work, work, work….you ever think of work as though it was a game of Duck Hunt? I never have, but I thought it would be a funny way to talk about goals.

You see, I’ve heard from a very reliable source that making goals is a great way to form a future…I hope that doesn’t sound condescending. Because when you think about it, when was the last time you actually sat down and wrote your goals…I know I’ve only done it when a teacher has instructed me to do so. I’m not sure why I haven’t done it otherwise because I always feel so empowered afterwards. So, I now take on the task of writing prescribed goal types for the sake of a grade and, of course, a future.

Goal type NUMBA ONE: Five Short Term Goals

  1. Get syndicated!
  2. Publish my already drawn, 24 page comic.
  3. Have at least two children’s books illustrated.
  4. Meet/get in contact with at least 5 people who talk cartoon business.
  5. Animate a character for 30 seconds
There’s some short term goals. Whaddya think? Pretty snazzy, wouldn’t you say? I think all of them are pretty achievable…I’m a little skeptical about that last one…I once did a thirteen second animation in two nights and it was pretty bad. So I could pull it off, I’m sure. I just need to figure out what it’s for. Maybe my senior exhibition…but I would have to figure some artistic means of presenting it. I have ideas *warm smile*
Here goes some more goals, but we’re going to change it up! My teach was talking about these and it got me to thinking…I’m not really sure I have any of these, excluding regular “life” goals, except to continue what I’m working towards now. However, I realize that there could be a lot of good in trying to cook up some. So, let’s give it a shot, shall we!
Goal type NUMBA TWO: Five Long Term Goals (in no particular order)
  1.  Write an article including an interview with John Williams (or any old by-hand animator…he’s just my loftiest aspiration).
  2. Curate a show that highlights George Herriman’s career (again, a little lofty…better leave wiggle room and make it any artist. Doug TenNapel may be a great one, as well. I really love him.).
  3. Teach some form of free cartooning class at a Rec Center.
  4. Find a studio to publish my comic books
  5. Make said comic books (pfft, duh)

There you have it folks. Some long term goals. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself…and apparently I do because it made it to my blog. To end this post I want to leave you with a clip from one of my favorite movies, for several reasons. It’s an uplifting animation about a cat who just can’t be brought down, Cats Don’t Dance.

Gratefully yours,

Sicily Marino

Post Script: Other reasons to loooove this film:

  • Randy Newman was a part of the creative process behind the music…WHICH IS AMAZING (the music that is)!!!!!
  • The animation is solid gold.
  • THE DANCING WAS CHOREOGRAPHER BY GENE KELLY, for whom the film is dedicated to.
  • It will knock your socks off.

Also, Danny the Cat dresses like Buster Keaton!

That's Keaton's "character" outfit in a lot of his films

A Scoop of Sicily

It’s good to see you again!

In this post, we are going to talk about myself as an artist. I hope you enjoy the adventure you are about to embark upon. Feel free to comment!

Much of my time as an artist is spent asking myself if my art would gain the approval of an artist that I admire…and most of the time that artist is George Herriman. His art style and character writing shot me in the heart like Captain Ahab’s harpoon.   Even though there are tons of fish in the sea of my heart, I will always say that George Herriman is the Fairy Godfather to my art life. What he did with comics is what I aspire to bring back to life so that the generations that I encounter as readers will know the beauty of past genius.

So now I’m a girl, with one more year of college, a dead guy for a mentor, and aspirations to fulfill before the clock strikes midnight and I turn into a full-fledged adult. I’ve got a full plate, but that’s okay. I’m not just sitting here waiting for the world to come to me. I’m trying to stay fast, so I do things like edit a comic from this:

This is how Boy's Cat Started off.

to (after much hard work, many hours, and a lot of discussions with my friend Chantel Lawrence) this:

This is what it is today!

It’s something I’m proud of. It’s also a fine example of what an artist can accomplish with friends who aren’t afraid to give feedback. And while I’d like to give a list of credits at this point in time, I’m aware that this little tug boat has still got a long way to go before it can reach syndication, though I believe in it full-heartedly.

But a girl can’t live off of syndicate funding alone. I’m trying to branch out with illustrating, as well. I’ve got a gig going on now that I still have  a lot of work to do for, but it’s going to be a good ride (whether there are potholes in the road or not). This is because I have a great author, who, though she may also be new to this, did her research and is really working hard to get her book published. I’ve read countless articles and even have a few books on getting stuff published, and I know it’s rare to find someone who is as sincere as my author. I can’t show you guys anything now, but expect posts for advertisement around March for when this thing hits the shelves.

Other things will come along. I’m hopeful…and prayerful.

So that’s what I’m doing, but I suppose I haven’t really told you what I’m planning. (You ready for this)

I want to be known as the Queen of Cartoons!

…I realize that’s rather vague, but hear me out, will you. I’ve been studying cartoons (both animated and stationary) since I was a little girl. I know, I know, everyone watched toons as chitlens, but usually people have an age when they drop it all. I’m from a small town, where headlines consisted of things like who was voted the latest Old Crab. While I may have had trouble keeping in the mainstream loop, this gave me a chance to develop my interests into skills. While I watched these cartoons I took notice of what worked and what didn’t (there was a lot of that…I’ve sorta became a snob), I would draw them to develop a style vocabulary, but, most of all, I would dream. Dream of what kind of people worked on these cartoons and what it would be like to work with them. Soon I became exposed to newspaper comics, enjoying dailies with my step-dad (aka Papa). After that, upon arriving at college, I was exposed to comic books for the first time. These three fields, animation, newspaper comics, and comic books, filled me with a creative spirit that is alive me to this very day.

I am happy with these medias. I still am willing to try new things, but these media are special in that they are my tools to telling stories. However, the American bred girl that I am, I soon became hungry for new story material. I was becoming more and more displeased with the latest shows and comics (well…not all of them). So, I turned to the past. It started with a trip to the ASU Library, a search that started for some of my childhood favorites. This trip, however, turned into a chance encounter with a couple of Buster Keaton DVDs. I had never been exposed to silent films before, except for the more famous Charlie Chaplin clips on YouTube, so you can imagine my splendor (if you can’t then you should really look into Buster Keaton). I became obsessed. There were many DVDs at the library, but that most certainly wasn’t enough. Not only because I knew that Keaton had done many more films than they were providing, but because some of his earlier films introduced me to many other slap stick artists; Fatty Arbuckle, Al St. John…I met Chaplin too, but only through his own films. Lucky many films were on public domain and view-able through Video.Google.com.* The point being, I became heavily influenced…and was moved by how little these artists were still known. Their work was good, REALLY good, and I knew that if people could just get over the out of date imagery, they would see it too.

*My only problem is that you can’t really do homework while watching silent films

While I’m still in love with the charm of old film quality, I have since then come to understand that change is inevitable and it is impossible to believe that all of society would conform to my way of thinking. Moving on, I decided to take this passion and let it influence my aesthetic choices.

These are the jewels that will adorn the crown of my title as Queen of Cartoons; my reign, a living echo of their success. Ok, so I have motivation, but what shall I use it for. Well, have started my campaign by honing my skills as a dailies’ artist, George Herriman’s guidance in my heart…I still have a ways to go, but it’s something. The end of the tunnel may be something entirely different. While it is not something I want to do as a profession, I hope to one day have a gallery show , showcasing the work of olde as well as creating work that uses the tools and tips of a time without the shortcuts that technology began to create. These will mostly be animations and comics but with the influence of slap stick. While I recognize that my interests may change over time, I most certainly would still love to one day have a show. This goal is mostly due to the fact that I realize the reality that the work I want to do may only have a place in a gallery. Part of my dream may also involve an entry into independent film with some hand animated goodies…if that is successful, then maybe even a studio, as long as I’m working with others who are of the same “royal” dreams.

This is getting rather long. my word count is over 1000. I’m going to continue this post in another post. Please read it.

Hopefully yours,

Queen Sicily the Olde

Drop Anchor!


Whenever you find an anchor, try clicking it. It will take you directly to pages that give insider’s information and interesting stories behind my work…. maybe even a few sketches, too!

Please note that as a Bible-believing-Christian, my faith is a big part of my work. As such, some of my Drop Anchor! pages will reflect my personal beliefs and views. Please respect them as well any comments that might go up on these pages.

Also remember that if I feel your comment is inappropriate or negative towards the point that I am trying to make, then I will most likely delete it.

If you have questions about anything I post please email me at BusterM33@gmail.com

Kindly put,

Sicily Marino

The Very First Post

Dear People of the Internet,

I’m a charismatic little firecracker who wants nothing more than to use her imagination to touch the hearts of strangers. Some of my favorite words include poodle, giggle, canoodle and flibbertigibbet (meaning nonsense or balderdash).

I am a lifelong pencil pusher, pushing my pencil to draw whatever my little head wants to see. I study cartoons in depth, from the science to the content. Newspaper comics are a beloved passion of mine that I also have a lot of history with. I cannot forget to mention my respect for the ones that brought us the super heroes of yesteryear.

Professionally, I am student of the drawing program at Arizona State University, a comic artist for the State Press for two complete semesters (and am working on my third), and am currently working on illustrating a children’s book that I was selected to do by a three week long application process.

In conclusion, please explore my page. I have many lovely plans for it, so if you continue to visit you will get to see it grow…much like a Chia-pet.

With love and adoration,
Sicily Marino