Friday, April 3, 2009

Lights On Broadway

I started this piece called Lightbeam in 2005. After I was unable to draw due to stress fractures that developed in my hands, I continued working on it by using the slight movement I had in my index finger on the computer mouse to make each pixel by pixel composing the images (sometimes using a larger brush tool for the larger white areas). Over the years, it eventually became a 48-page story.

In 2007, eight of the more abstract pages of Lightbeam were used in Andrei's pitch to Fantagraphics for Abstract Comics: The Anthology. (My piece in the book called Shapes is something I inked and painted last year after my hands healed).

At the time of this post (April through the end of May 2009) an excerpt from Lightbeam is featured in Comics To The People! at the Portland Center for Performing Arts on Broadway. Others in the show include: Farel Dalrymple, Erika Moen, Jesse Reklaw, Craig Thompson and more - so if you're in the Portland area, check it out!

More information about Lightbeam can be found here:


  1. Honestly, I don't know if I ever knew that this was all digital--or, especially, I don't think you told me at the time about your stress fractures... Sounds incredibly painful. And yet it came out beautiful, I particularly love the third page here. Did you ever publish it as a mini? I want one.

  2. Ya, no one ever thinks it was done digitally. Most people think it's charcoal or ink and then inverted.

    There was a bit of filtering to make it look more natural: There was a version where I tried adding a bunch of grain to it, hoping to distort the pixelation but that just grayed it out. For this final version, I took the original, increased the resolution to 600dpi, applied a slight median filter, then reduced it back to 400dpi.

    I probably won't try this kind of thing again. All that clicking on the mouse is insane.

  3. By the way, why is this post called "Lights on Broadway"? Was that something you actually had in mind when creating "Lightbeam," or is that just a jokey title?

    Of course, whenever I hear that song or read that title I end up thinking of "The lamb lies down... on Broadwaaay." Memories of a dorky youth.

  4. Because the show that Lightbeam is currently featured in is on Broadway here in Portland (read third paragraph of my post).

    I listened to a lot of music while making this comic but no Genesis or George Benson...

  5. in my head, i retitled this "lights thru birthway" because i was reading/viewing it as a spermjourney, to the luminous ovum, into the light, egg.

    take no offense, i know many people get touchy about mis-reading or whatever, but i read it as almost a spiritual experience, if you will, beyond the merely biological matter there is that will to live, that drive, a soul if you may & this work remind'd me of that biolumunescence within our undefine-able bodies.

    the fact you created this work while unable to draw kind of amplifies this effect for me, i dunno if it'd be different if i didn't read the postscript, but being that i did, i knew this must have been a difficult endeavor & prodd'd my mind toward the thoughts about the intensity of the creative drive, the birthing process & the press-on-regardless beauty of the human spirit.

    nice work!


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