Travel :

What a Weird Long Trip It’s Been

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March and April flew by like a train on fire! I managed to juggle my full-time work with weekends jetsetting around to comic conventions with Eddie Wright to promote our new book, hitting up Austin (lovely!), Sacramento (spread out!) and Denver (snowy!) and only lost a little bit of sanity in the process. I haven’t gone to any conventions in awhile, and it was a splash of fresh enthusiasm to be around amazing creators and meet a bunch of new faces and return home with the thrill that something is happening and we’re making things! I really loved Denver, and the comics culture there, the community seemed awesome.

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(I was caught in the act of freezing outside the venue and hearing my name called by the taco truck guy)

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Returned to the bay to do some signings at my two comic home-away-from-homes, Isotope Comics and Atlantis Fantasyworld. James has been a wonderful, supportive awesome friend over the years, and signing at his shop is always a blast. We signed on Record Store Day and James recorded a haunting doomsy track inspired by the first issue of Lake Imago and we designed a mini disk together. You can listen to the new song online. Such a fun day!

 

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And Atlantis, what can I say? This is the first shop I started buying Batman comics at when I was little, I started working at Atlantis when I was 16, and I learned all about the industry while working signings, reorders and talking to passionate readers. Atlantis is my family. To great to see Joe, Trisha and Nate and roam my favorite comic book racks. As you can see, I’m pretty thrilled (Eddie, on the other hand…) :

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Somewhere in the middle of all that I got to see my absolute love of a fantastic daydream comedian, Noel Fielding! Of course I had to draw a comic about that.

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Eddie and I just did a podcast with Canned Air, and you can listen to it here!

Now I’ve got some breathing room until SPX later this year, so I’m going to be hard at work drawing Lake Imago #2.

Dream big,

-J

Hello 2015!

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What a difference a year can make! 2014 started off so uncertain, and the whole year was about staying open and re-inventing. 2015 is starting off bold and building upward: new website, new freelance projects and new goals. I wrapped up the development on the new jamdye.com over the holidays and it’s finally time to kick it off! This year I want to share more, talk about process and design, push my style further, and travel as much as possible. When I think back to 2014, I first remember the places I visited, and my trip to Puerto Vallarta and Palm Springs both changed me and influenced the artwork I made. Plus, it’s nice to remember warmer places at a time like this, brr!

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My first trip to Mexico and first trip with my boyfriend Jay, we roamed through cobble-stone streets, drank margaritas on the beach, and explored the Rio Cuale. I loved the colors and the romanticism of Puerto Vallarta, and as soon as we got back, I was so inspired I started drawing comics about the trip.

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Not sure when I’ll wrap up the Rio Cuale comics, so I’ll leave them here for safe-keeping.

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2014 was about discovering the power of collaboration! I began working with the lovely Star, and we’re discovering an exciting mix of design, development and illustration that we’re able to do together. She convinced me to go to Palm Springs to Designer Vaca (read that post here). Not only was it super cool to meet everyone and see the physical network connecting freelance designers, but now I’m working on projects with some of the ladies I met there.

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In Palm Springs Star introduced me to Shauna (who’s just as brilliant in person as she is on her blog), and before I knew it we were taking photos together like old friends. Now the three of us are working on some new sites together, and I /love/ the new projects we’re working on. I’ll be covering our new websites as they go live in the next couple of weeks.

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Also coming down the pipeline is the comic I’ve been working on with Eddie Wright for the past year, which has grown from a little sketchbook of storyboards, to a script, a little pocketbook called Chrysalis, and now it’s metamorphosing into a crazy painted comic this year!

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2015 is about surrounding yourself with positive people and starting exciting new projects! Now is the time to reach out as I start my 2015 schedule: I’m taking on new illustration, branding and web development projects. Contact me if you want to talk about developing something new!

Let’s take on this year for everything it has to offer!

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Designer VACA

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It’s been a week now since I was in Palm Springs, enjoying the mixed process of talking shop, meeting professionals and lounging in the pool that is Designer VACA. I imagined it to be like a reality show: put 100 female designers in the desert and watch the drama unfold! But, alas, everyone I met at the conference was sweet and open, and everyone I met was at a different point on their career path, but the decisions and conflicts seemed to be the same at every scale. Whether you were just out of school and starting at an agency, starting your freelance business THAT WEEK, or on your third year of being self-employed and expanding, everyone was pushing themselves to improve their craft and their image, from their first website redesign to launching a new studio. The energy was vivid and it’s stayed with me all week.

There were many exciting things about getting out of my studio and meeting a bunch of busy designers, from seeing that the blend of illustration and design was a trend throughout and discovering how fluid personality and work can be. When you sit at a roundtable with a group of women who specialize in branding for their clients, self-branding is a bit topic. Honesty and vulnerability were keywords heard throughout.

When we weren’t listening to guest speakers (Jessica Hische left everyone happy and inspired!), attending meetings in the morning, or business dinners at night, there was plenty of pool time and mingling over meals and going on trips to the Salton Sea. I took photos with Star and Shauna, we visited tiki bars, met new faces in the pool, and walked around the desert at night. It was HOT, but not unbearable.

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On our last morning in Palm Springs, we drove with Kathleen, her husband and son to Salvation Mountain, an hour and a half through the desert and past the Salton Sea, a stone’s throw from the Mexican boarder, and Star and I did a photoshoot amongst the colorful rocks in sweltering heat. Amazing place! Still processing the photos from that one.

I adored watching Kathleen and her little Fox, best duo ever!

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I returned Saturday night, and was at Fort Mason Sunday to share a table with Eddie Wright at APE! I sold some books right away, enjoyed running into old friends at their tables, but couldn’t help forming comparisons between the conference and convention. How cool would it be to sit around with your favorite artists at a destination meeting, without having to trying to sell books at the same? There’s a reason why the bars and poolside late-night happenings at Comic-con are the main point of going. As the state of things changes, and sales become less lucrative and connections seem to be more and more about twittering, having face-to-face events seems to be a good direction to go in. Is it possible to make it not be about making money, but about forming personal and creative connections? Maybe it’s just a matter of having a couple days of selling comics to cover the costs, then a day or two of creative talks, lunches and drawing sessions with the goal of getting away from the sales table and genuinely hanging out.

It’s something to consider, as I leave the desert with a handful of new friends and enthusiasm for new projects including website design and drawing a new comic book issue. It’s the blend of life and design, drawing and coding, signing books and meeting new people.

What We Wore: LA

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We went for a quick 40-hour trip to LA last weekend, right in the middle of this crazy heatwave, and our plans fell apart almost immediately. With a Saturday to fill, we ended up at LACMA during the last showing of the Van Gogh to Kandinsky exhibit. I was overwhelmed and thrilled, Impressionists are my favorites, and they absolutely radiate in person.

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It reminded me how much I love to paint, and how important it is to keep up my painting. I’m working on a longer post on keeping the balance between work and personal projects, which tends to get harder and harder when freelance design work is all over your workspace, but the importance of doing the thing you love is vital. I’ve stepped away from painting for awhile now, but as I stood before a beautiful Kandinsky painting and listened to it like a classical composition, I knew I’d be pulling out my acrylics and gouache when I got home.

If you follow me on instagram (@jamdye) you’ll see some previews of my new paintings. I’m attacking it with the sole purpose of painting what I want to see at that very moment, from cute girls on BART to Grey Gardens to what-we-wore sketches. Do what compels you!

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JAMDYE



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