Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Gifts 2011

Some drawings that I made for the family this past Christmas...

The Gnome's Campfire Tale

Mrs. Dowlin never suspected that the class pet iguana was planning the takeover the whole time...

Monster Holiday Blues

Originally appeared in the Philadelphia City Paper's annual Comics Issue, December 1, 2011.


Finished poster illustration based on director Nicolas Winding Refn's film.


Finished illustration of the family of Casterly Rock, based on characters from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The Children of Stark

Finished illustration of the Stark kids, based on characters from George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Make sure you find yourself in Philadelphia on August 14 for the Philly Alternative Comic-Con. I'll be there along with other great comic creators from Philly and elsewhere selling cool comics. Put it on your calendar NOW!

Poster by Pat Aulisio

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Children of Stark

I made up this illustration based on Game of Thrones (or A Game of Thrones, for the book aficionados out there) for a mini-zine that someone is putting together. Hopefully it makes the cut, but nevertheless, it was fun to make.

I'd like to think that this is a full blown illustration, but at its heart it's fan art, I know. And is that such a bad thing? I think most of the work I make is inspired by someone else's work, and while my effort pays tribute to their work, at the same time it tries to capture the same energy and spirit that the original work was created with. That doesn't make much sense, but that's the best way I can describe it.

And so, it should be known that George R.R. Martin's books have become sort of an obsession for me. In a matter of two months I've consumed the first two books, and I'm now on the third, and this coming from a very slow reader. Chances are that the rest of the summer will be devoted to the fourth and fifth books, and then I have to wonder what I'll be reading in the fall because I doubt that I'll find anything to live up to this series. And from what I hear, the HBO adaptation is top notch, so I can't wait to finally see that (I lack the means for cable TV).

Also, I fell in love with the pencils I made for this illo, to the point where I was considering just leaving it at that (with the exception of the bottom text, that always needed work). There was just an energy and vibrancy to the pencils that I really liked, and that I've rarely been able to capture through inks. But at the same time, the ink forces you to commit to something, whether a line, expression, or layout, and it has a very good way of exposing your mistakes. So, in the end, I'm pleased with the final result, and I'm even thinking this may deserve a watercolor treatment down the road.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dr. Sketchy's - June 11, 2011

A selection of sketches I made during the steampunk-themed Dr. Sketchy's June session (in Philadelphia).

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Spider-Man Sketches

If you've been keeping up with the blog, you may have seen me mention something about a personal Spider-Man project, just a five page sample to try my hand at something 'mainstream.' The project is somewhat...stalled at the moment, due to other projects, of course. I have the page layouts complete and the panels roughed out, but at the moment I'm not sure when I'll be able to pick it up again.

However, I have been able to work out some sketches for the characters I'll be using. I have to admit, my sketching style can be infuriating. I'm always amazed by people's clean sketching styles, because it is the complete opposite of mine. My own is always frenetic, like my brain and hand can't get the drawing out quick enough so that the next one can be drawn. I don't particularly like the practice, but that's just how it has always been, and I've learned how to work around it. Honestly, I'm amazed I get anything done.

Mary Jane Watson

Your Friendly Neighborhood Web Head

Thursday, June 02, 2011

New Online Store & Featured Products

Jeez, been exactly a month since I posted to the blog. Sorry dear readers, things have been busy, but things are always busy, right?

One of the things I've been busy with is setting up a new online store through Big Cartel. Etsy was nice, but the slow sales were getting frustrating, and I liked the look and flexibility of Big Cartel. So, you can find the store here: Mike Sgier Comics & Illustration - Big Cartel

I'd like to highlight two items that I've recently completed, and are available to buy. First, I created a reproduction of my Sketchbook Project 2011 contribution The Fibonacci Device. You can get a glimpse of the complete book at a Tumblr I set up for it:
And you get your own copy of the book here:

Also available at the store are a set of sketch cards I made based upon the films of Federico Fellini. At first this project was a just a fun 'hobby,' but it turned out that I really enjoyed it, people liked it, and I kept coming up with ideas for cards. It gives me a chance to tackle a lot of subjects in a short amount of time.
You can buy your own set of Fellini cards here: Fellini! a celebration in sketch cards

And there's plenty of other stuff there too, so please, browse around!

That should do it for one night. I'll try not to be a stranger!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Moving into Spring and Summer

Figured I would update you on the goings-on in Mike-land. I don't have anything concrete to show, but a batch of things are in progress, and will be making their respective debuts in the months ahead. So, without further ado...

-I'm currently in the midst of a short storyline titled Dig over at my webcomic Supernova Lullaby. It'll end up being a 14 page comic, and will make its first print appearance at the Philly Alternative Comic Con in August, hopefully with a nice screen printed cover. It features a few characters I introduced in the Relative Visitors and Alien-kind's Best Friend storylines, and I'll most likely be using them more in future stories. Dig is inspired mostly by The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, but is now entering a short flashback sequence showing some Las Vegas-like shenanigans.

-I've also begun work on a 5 page Spider-Man action sequence. I wish I could say this is for publication, but sadly, no. It just occurred to me that I had never actually drawn a comic with actual superheroes, and figured it would be a fun exercise and something to show potential clients that I'm capable of this kind of comic. It features the friendly neighborhood web crawler, Electro, and Mary Jane. For some reason, I like drawing Electro over other super villains. And I have a soft spot for redheads, so I'm continually baffled by Marvel's efforts to fudge Spider-Man's relationship with MJ. With the exception of maybe Gwen Stacy, is there any other woman out there in the Spidey-verse that can hold a candle to Mary Jane Watson?

-And in all honesty, a Silver Surfer story would probably be better suited to my talents. If someone wants to write up a short episode, send it my way.

-I've been plugging away on sketch cards, and I've been upping my game a little bit by using ink washes instead of colored pencils. You can find them at a Tumblr blog I set up: Sketch Cards I Make. Mostly cards inspired by Fellini films, but I've got some other things cooking.

-NO LIFE: A few weeks back, I started reading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire due to the hype surrounding the premiere of the HBO adaptation. Holy crap, you guys, this went beyond the hype. The first book, A Game of Thrones, clocks in at 800 pages, and I finished it in a mere span of weeks. THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN. Seriously, I'm a slow reader, I get bored easily and find something else to read in the midst of the book. Not with this one though. Don't let the fantasy elements turn you off, this is the real deal. If all of you grown adults out there can stand to read Harry Potter, then goddammit, you should definitely be reading this. This has it all: sex, death, palace intrigue, war, giant wolves, extinct dragons, and a giant continent-wide wall protecting civilization from chaos. Go out, buy the first book, and enjoy. (Or watch the series, either way, it deserves your support.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Dr. Sketchy's - April 16, 2011

Went to my first Dr. Sketchy's event ever, right here in Philadelphia. Here are some of the drawings:
above: a couple 5 minute sketches that ran into each other

The theme of the event was 'Art Deco,' and the hostess had a couple challenges for us. One was to incorporate some kind of leashed animal (real or imaginary) into the sketch above. I liked the way the pose turned out, but I kind of ran into a wall with the animal part. Probably for the best.

The second challenge was to transform the pose into a letter, number, or astrological sign. My two sketches for this were more successful, and Libra, the image above, was my favorite of the day (because everyone knows that Libras are the best!).


And above is my attempt at the letter F.

So, there you have it. It was a lot of fun. I plan on going again. And you should go if your own city has them. The end.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Secret Prison #4 and MoCCA this weekend

Secret Prison #4 makes it's debut this weekend at the MoCCA Comic Art Festival in New York, New York. I have a comic in this issue which I'm really happy with, and I can't wait to see the rest of the stellar art from the contributors. In case you can't make it to MoCCA, or are not in the greater Philadelphia area, I've posted the comic (a color version, no less) at the link below.

click on the image, and all will be revealed

The Muon combines a little science (though I won't attest to its accuracy) with a dose of galactic spirituality, which is something that I've been wanting to explore within the universe of Supernova Lullaby. It's an element of the comic that I hope to develop over time.

As for MoCCA, I'll be there, though I won't have a table this time around. I didn't do so hot money-wise last year, which was a bit discouraging, particularly since MoCCA is one of the more expensive shows to get into. So I'll just be a humble attendee this year. I'll bring some books to trade and give to publishers, pass out some postcards, buy some comics, make some friends...who knows, maybe I'll even run into the love of my life. It is New York after all.

Honestly, it'll be nice to not have the pressure and hassle of sales, and to just enjoy comics with like-minded people on a Spring day.

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Painting of Sarai

This post is gonna require some background so bear with me. Late last year, I held a Kickstarter fundraiser for the latest addition to my comic series The Ballad of Toby & Sara. Among the rewards offered were some commissions for original artwork. My friend Lori was lucky enough to pick up one, and she gave me free rein to come up with a painting.

I honestly had no idea what to do. But I did have an image in my head that I had been meaning to make, which also happened to be a character from the series that had not yet appeared. I made a drawing for Lori, and she gave me the green light to make the painting.

So, this is Sarai. If you've read Track 5, you know that the story has a double-sided nature to it, part of it taking place in present-day Omaha, the other part taking place in the ancient city of Nineveh in Mesopotamia. The connective thread between the two eras is the wandering archangel Raphael, who in the present story goes by the name Ray Azzarus. By the end of Track 5, we catch a brief glimpse of a young man named Tobiah who Raphael has been looking for in Nineveh, which coincides with his meeting of Toby Jasinski in Omaha.

This idea of counterparts is one of the key narrative hinges in the series, but it's taken time to establish. And so Sara Reynolds, the young woman that Toby has a crush on in Omaha, will have her own counterpart in the past in the person of Sarai, a young woman who bears similarities to Miss Reynolds, but has her own unique demons to fight (literally).

Confused? Yeah, it's a lot to understand. It's given me a lot of challenges as a writer and creator, and there are a lot of question marks still to fill in, one of these being where and how to introduce Sarai to the main narrative. But I at least wanted to give her a visual persona to inhabit, to at least bring her out into the world and give her some kind of existence in people's minds.

And one last thing: Sarai's dress was inspired by a number of artistic sources, most of them from Persia circa the 16th century C.E. This is a bit inaccurate since the Nineveh story takes place around 700 B.C.E., but the fashion fits with what I was trying to accomplish in the painting. At the very least, it's a place to start for the her design in the comic.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your chance to help Secret Prison in 2011

Secret Prison, a Philadelphia-based free comics tabloid, has 10 more days to raise funds to keep it in print for 2011. It's doing well, but we need a final push to get it through the home stretch. Put it this way, if 25 people pledged $15 for a year's subscription, we'd be done. Or if 19 people put up $ get the idea, it's that simple.

So, why should you support Secret Prison? Because issue #4 has a great lineup of artists, who are doing everything possible to make new and original comics that you're not going to see in your local newspaper, or in any mainstream comic. Because it's a completely grassroots effort, no one has our backs on this one. The NEA isn't sending a grant our way, and the big shot museums and galleries are too busy putting up their noses to take notice. Because YOU believe that emerging artists need a venue to not only be published, but to help them find their voice and an audience for their work.

None of the artists putting together Secret Prison need to be doing this. We have bills to pay, jobs to go to, families to raise. But to tell us not to make comics would be like telling us not to breath. It's in our blood and our DNA, and we believe that it's important not only to us but to the cultural life of the city, and comics community as a whole. Sure, the Web is good and all, but there's something to say for that printed matter, being given something where each page offers a new world to explore. Some are funny, some are demented, some are downright weird and obscure. But each is a unique and singular voice worthy of recognition.

If you think that Jersey Shore, Dancing with the Stars, and Battle: LA are the only things that the culture at large has to offer, then all I can do is feel sad for you and your dull, boring world. Because there are artists right in your own backyard making incredible things, and one of those is Secret Prison. So step up, show your support, and help us make this happen!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Best Show Related Material

Both of these images saw the light of day a while ago, but I figured I would post them since I have a personal connection with at least one of the people depicted, and they are both connected to a radio show that I'm a big fan of, The Best Show on WFMU.

The top poster I made for my friend Geneva, who is currently in the running to take over for Best Show Protégé (or Protégée, in her case). Sara Bauer (of Hey Pais fame) came up with the idea, and then Geneva sent it my way to take a crack at it. I'm not sure how formal this campaign is, but it's been a fun aspect of discussion within the FOT community. One of the reasons that I even listen to the Best Show is because Geneva was always talking about it when we both lived in Minneapolis. At the time, I was listening to WFMU, just not the Best Show. But after Geneva's high praises, I finally gave it a listen, and I haven't turned back. So, for obvious reasons, I think it's only fitting that Geneva be granted protégée status.

The below image is of Best Show caller Laurie from Miami (now Chapel Hill), which was made for the Best Show trading cards that were part of the marathon rewards pack from 2010. I actually made it last summer, and from what I've heard, the cards are now being delivered (at least I hope the rumor is true...). Through that fabled network of 'friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend,' I was asked by Best Show host Mr. Tom Scharpling to make the image, and I was only too happy to oblige. Laurie's library background gave me a chance to include a lot of Best Show related material, so click on the image to have a good look at the background.

Thank you Geneva! Thank you Tom! And thank you Laurie! Glad I could help in some small way.

Charlie Rose Sketch Card

I made a boast on Twitter that I was making a Charlie Rose sketch card, and I wasn't lying. Not sure what inspired it, but I figured he deserved one.

What can I say, Charlie Rose's show is really one of the last places in the media landscape where you can find critical, intelligent discussion. You're just not going to find it on any of the cable channels, and so I'm glad there's at least one outlet that can support his type of show.

Watch, and broaden your horizons. You won't regret it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Comet Wranglers (Kite Edition)

Recently, I had the good fortune to be invited to the First Flight show at Masthead Print Studio here in Philadelphia, PA. The show opens in a couple weeks, but I've been including process photos of the work on Facebook, so I figured it would only be appropriate for me to include photos of the finished work here on the blog.

The Comet Wranglers
Pen and ink, watercolor, bristol board, strong

The premise of the show is a kite theme, which could be developed in a variety of ways. My thought was to use the kite as a vehicle for an image, and give some indication of a story or world within the form and structure of the kite.

This is obviously an untried medium for me, but I found it...I don't want to say 'liberating' since that sounds so cliché...but something about the process was really enjoyable for me. Maybe it's just that thrill of the new, of testing uncharted creative waters. Maybe it's the reactions I've received from people as I've posted the process photos, which seem to be more numerous than anything I've received from my comic or illustration work. I don't know, my feelings for this have escaped words.
But, overall, I think a real thrill for me was breaking past the edge of that kite boundary, which in some ways served as an oversized panel border. That little piece of string may be slight, but by incorporating it into the action of the image on the kite, I think it helped to create a harmonious whole not only for the image but the kite as well.

I realize that I'm not really breaking new ground here, I'm sure there's a kite designer somewhere in the world who has considered all the things I've done here and made a swell living doing so. But I think for me this opens a new door for storytelling possibilities, a new way to explore the universe that I've created with Supernova Lullaby, and a new way for the characters to interact with that universe. Who knows, I just might, might be onto something.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Kickstarter Commissions

A couple more commissions from my Kickstarter project. Click on the image for a larger view.

pen and ink on watercolor paper

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
pen and ink on watercolor paper

Sketch Cards Project

This is a side project that I've begun working on this year, making handmade sketch cards based on various characters from comics and movies. Eventually, I may include some of my own characters, but I'm still waiting to see how these cards are received in general. All cards are 2.5" x 3.5" on bristol paper, made with pen and ink and colored pencil, and are available for purchase from my Etsy shop.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2011 Opens this Weekend

The Sketchbook Project 2011, sponsored by Art House Co-op and the Brooklyn Art Library, opens this weekend at their home base in Brooklyn, NY. If you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and check out the books. I was there this past weekend (since I won't be able to make it to the opening), and they said they have received 12,00o books for the tour. Incredible!

While you're their, keep an eye out for this eye, The Fiobonacci Device by yours truly:

And if you can't make it to Brooklyn, the show will be traveling across the US over the year. Dates and locations are listed below, but more may be added, so make sure to check their website on occasion.

Brooklyn Art Library - Brooklyn, New York, - February 19-27
Austin Museum of Art - Austin, Texas - March 12
SPACE Gallery - Portland, Maine - March 30-April 2
The Granite Room - Atlanta, Georgia - April 8-9
Transformer Gallery - Washington D.C. - April 11-30
Form/Space Atelier - Seattle, Washington - June 10-12
111 Minna Gallery - San Franciso, California - June 18
Hyde Park Arts Center - Chicago, Illinois - July 14-17
Full Sail University - Winter Park, Florida - July 29-31

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bounty Hunters in Love Print

Bounty Hunters in Love prints are now available in my Etsy store. Prints are 11" x 14" on high quality Kodak Endura photographic paper, printed by The perfect Valentine's Day gift for that special geek/gamer in your life!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Alien Eustace Tilley

This is my entry for the 2011 Eustace Tilley contest at the New Yorker. I did something similar a couple years ago, but I decided to start from scratch since the old version had significant issues that required a new set of solutions. It was actually kind of nice to revisit an old idea, believe it or not.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Batgirl Commission

Barbara Gordon - Batgirl & Oracle
Pen, Ink, and Watercolor on Watercolor Paper

This was a commission I did recently for one of my Kickstarter backers in the UK. His request was for an image that included both incarnations of the Barbara Gordon character, so I developed a montage of sorts.

I feel like I'm gaining a greater command of watercolor, but at the same time, I still feel that it isn't the right painting medium for me. Perhaps gouache? Any suggestions from practitioners out there?

I sent this over a week ago, so hopefully the backer has received it by now. I tend to over-worry stuff like that...

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2011 Preview

I'm posting a few select images from my contribution to the Sketchbook Project put on by Art House Co-op in Brooklyn, New York. At least, I hope it will be part of it...the deadline is coming up fast, and there's still a lot I want to do with it. I was a bit ambitious when planning this one out.

So, how does this whole thing work? Basically, you sign up for a sketchbook, Art House sends it to you, you fill it up, you send it back, and then it goes on tour across the country. Basically, it's a chance for people to see your work up close and personal, and to get a bit of insight into your creative process.

This time around, Art House also created themes for the artists to work from. I decided on 'Dirigibles and Submersibles,' and so developed a story and characters around this. The book is set up as a series of dossiers done by an investigative agency during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. The people in question possess a device that can create an unlimited source of energy. Some are seen as friendly to the interests of the U.S., others are seen as threats, while a few have hidden motives. Essentially, this was my attempt at an adventure/steampunk concept. A bit different for me, but a good challenge nonetheless.

Below are a few images that are complete at this point. Text will go along with these, but that's not quite done yet. I'll keep posting as it all reaches completion.