Thursday, December 28, 2006

Rook City Remastered

There's a new illustrated lyric picture up. But it's already been correctly guessed. I really enjoyed this one, as it's from my favorite U2 song. And U2's pretty much my favorite band.

In bigger news... I am finally done with getting Rook City #1 ready to print! I should be sending it to the printer the next couple of days. Once I get the proof copy back and all that jazz, you should be able to order a copy right here. So stay tuned.

In the process of getting all these Rook City stories together, I went ahead and "remastered" the very first tale, "Bullets and Bedpans." That story was originally drawn before I knew anything about Photoshop, so the lettering and gray tones looked completely different from the other Rook City stories. To make everything flow together better, I relettered those pages and added new gray tones. I even touched up my old drawings in a couple spots. I also updated the webcomic version of these pages. You can see the results below. The changes might not seem that big, but I think it will really help with the overall quality of the book. What do YOU think?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A new lyric

Only a bit late... there's a new illustrated lyric up. There may even be a clue to this one in the picture.

Christmas break has just begun. I'm hoping to get lots of artwork done, yadda yadda... we'll see. It's crazy how time seems to slip away on these breaks. I never feel like I use them as well as I could.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Well, I didn't post this last week when it went up, but there was a new Illustrated Lyric. Andy Jewett (another Indie Spinner Rack guy) correctly guessed "I am Trying to Break Your Heart" by Wilco. One of my favorite bands.

The next installment will be a week late. The last week of the semester is always crazy at school, so my time for artwork is very limited. But there will be a new one up next Tuesday.

Also, for those of you interested in the progress of our adoption... we've started a blog all about our daughter Grace. We'll be updating everyone there with pictures and news.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Great happenings!

The fourth lyric in our ongoing contest is up! Check it out, and e-mail us your guess to win original art and other cool stuff!

On a personal note... this Thanksgiving break was particularly awesome for my wife and I. We have been in the process of trying to adopt a child from Taiwan since June. Well, on Thanksgiving day we received the great news that they have a little girl for us! Her name is Grace Savannah, and she was born about two weeks ago. We won't be able to go get her for a few months, but it's awesome just knowing that we have her! I'll keep you updated as more develops.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Anudda one

Alright... last week's winner was Michael Muranaka, who correctly guessed "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" by Death Cab for Cutie. Man, people have been sending in their entries less than an hour after I post the new artwork. So, if you want to guess this week's lyric... better do it quick!

I'm looking forward to the upcoming five day weekend. Going to try to get lots of comics done. And much football shall be watched.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Another chance to win

Well, quite a few of you sent in entries for last week's contest. Everyone guessed correctly that it was Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here", but Ry Spanos (a fellow Indie Spinner Rack listener)was the first. So he won the original art and a free copy of Random Ink #1.

Here's your chance to try again... another illustrated lyric is up and ready to be guessed. This one's a bit more obscure, but not very old. Have at it!

Monday, November 06, 2006


While Rook City is on hiatus for the next couple of months, we will be running a weekly contest here at Three Trees. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I'm obsessed with music. Well, every Tuesday I will be putting up an illustration of mine that is inspired by a certain song and features lyrics from that song. The first person to correctly guess the artist and song title for that lyric (in an e-mail to us) will win the original art for that illustration and a free copy of Random Ink #1! Cool, huh?

The first illustration is already up. Some of the lyrics I choose will be somewhat obscure, but this one shouldn't be too hard... give it a shot!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Slight pause whilst I adjust my accoutrements

Some of you will recognize the character in the last panel. It was fun to draw him again.

The Big News: This will be the last Rook City page for a couple of months. The series is going on hiatus until January, which will allow me to finish up a few comics projects. These projects include getting Rook City #1 ready to print, submitting Evil Ain't Easy to some weekly newspapers, and submitting a story for new anthology that I would love to be in. I've been struggling with trying to finish these things and keep Rook City on time, and it just wasn't working. Stopping for a while will not only let me get these things out of the way, but also make sure that Rook City is always on time when it returns.

HOWEVER... even though Rook City will not be updated for the next couple of months, we will still have new content up on our site every week, including our first ever contest! It's sort of a "first come, first served" thing, so make sure you check back here next Tuesday for more details.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The plot thickens

Page numero ocho is up for the current Rook City story. I hopes ya likes it.

Should have a big announcement next week...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Force is strong with this one...

I did another of these digital sketches, it's a fun little excerise. Enjoy Gannon.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back on schedule

Hey, it's Tuesday and a new Rook City page is up. All is as it should be.

Talk about it in our forum. I dare ya.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

My son the Jedi.

This is Gabe , he is 4. He wanted me to draw a picture of him as a Jedi, with a green lightsaber. So now you know what's going on here. I like how it turned out, and he will be taking it to show-and-tell on Friday.

Late Nights

Hey everybody wanted to repost these images from a couple of days ago with links that
work. Sorry for the trouble.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The story continues. This page introduces Linus, a character you will see fairly regularly in this here Rook City thing. One of the main things I enjoy about this comic is the chance to make up characters that are contradictions to what you would typically assume. That's, uh, kind of a major theme in Rook City.

On a completely unrelated note, today was the first meeting of the new cartoonist club I'm running at the middle school where I teach. I've been doing afterschool art clubs there for years, typically doing murals and such. But it is hard to gather enough to energy at the end of the day for middle schoolers + paint. So I switched gears this year to something I really love... comics. I wasn't really sure what level of interest I would get in it, but I actually had to turn kids away because I had so many applicants. That's a nice sign. Anyway, I'm looking forward to teaching them how to crank out the comics. Look out, world...

Testy Pirate

Hello to everyone that looks at this stuff. My name is Dusty for those who don't know. I am testing the blog-image-posty-ness. Anyway thanks for checking us out! Later.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Digital sketches and such

Here are some more doodles done on Photoshop. Still figuring stuff out, but man it's fun. Hope you like 'em... (Click for larger view) Also, a new Rook City page was posted last week. Just a note... the next page will not be up until next Tuesday. Sorry for the delay! Day job taking priority lately.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Convention Blues" continues

The latest Rook City story marches on. I'm really enjoying working on this one. Four pages have been posted so far... remember to check back every Tuesday for a new one. And remember to post your thoughts here or on our forum!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rook City reviewed

Hey, Rook City just got a nice review from the fine folks at Independent Propaganda. Check it out! IP is a great new site dedicated to getting the word out about indie comics.

The "Convention Blues" story continues. School is starting around here, so it's back to the life of a teacher for me. However, I am one page ahead on Rook City. Hopefully I can keep it up and maybe even build up a "buffer" of pages someday.

Heh. Not likely.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Massive Rook City story begins

And by "massive" I mean 20+ pages. That's massive for me.

This story is one I've been wanting to tell for a long time. It's called "Convention Blues" and it will feature nearly every Rook City character you have seen so far... plus a bunch of new ones. It starts with a dream sequence which was dang fun to draw, because I could just cut loose and do whatever. A lot of it was done digitally. (Special thanks to my good friend Fletch for his quality feedback during that process.)

Anyway, I think you all will really enjoy this one. So keep checking back, and don't forget to tell us what you think!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dean Rankine is groovy

Click for larger view!Check this out! One of my favorite comics artists right now is Dean Rankine. He is the Australian creator of the insanely quirky and enjoyable Holy Cow! Christian Comics (read 'em... you're guaranteed to smile). Well, we recently did a pin-up swap, where we drew each other's characters. Above is his great rendition of Ralph, Gregori, Esmerelda, and Dimitri. Man, it's dang fun seeing someone else's take on your characters! Thanks for doing this, Dean.

Below is my version of his Grossgirl and Boogerboy. This was a lot of fun to make... trying to adapt Dean's kooky characters into my style.

Click for a larger view!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Digital doodling

A couple of weeks ago, I joined the ranks of lucky artists who own a Wacom tablet (a device that lets you use a pen instead of a mouse to draw on your computer). I've been having a blast experimenting with it and trying to get a feel for how it works. Here are a few of my sketches I've done with it so far. These are all-digital, no paper or ink involved. (As always, click on an image for a bigger view).

And, of course, it's Tuesday... and that means another page of ROOK CITY!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Last Evil Ain't Easy... for now.

Here is the seventh Evil Ain't Easy strip. This will be the last one for now, as my assignment from the KC Star is over. However, I plan on making more of these. I'm probably going to submit some to other weekly newspapers and see if there is any interest in carrying them. If nothing else, we'll continue to post them on our site as another webcomic.

If you want to let us know what you think of little Dr. Nimbus and his troubles, then head to our FORUM to do so! As always, thanks for checking out our stuff!

And remember... Rook City returns from hiatus this Tuesday!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Back from the mountains

Well, Laura and I are back from our adventure in Montana. Much fun and rest was had on this trip. I learned a valuable life lesson... when riding in a convertible all day, one should wear sun screen. (My parents rented a convertible to drive through Glacier National Park one day while we were there.)
One of the best parts of the trip was finally checking out a great comics shop in Missoula, Montana... Muse Comics & Games. Man, I wish this place had been in business when I lived up there! Not only are they just a dang cool store with a great selection, but they even help local comics creators print up their mini-comics and sell them. I haven't heard of another store that does that! They also bought a few copies of Random Ink #1 from me. I was also able to find some great books there, like the very scarce Project:Superior hardcover and Matt Madden's 99 Ways to Tell a Story.
I didn't get as much artwork done as I had hoped, but oh well... that's what vacations are for. Relaxing. I did finish the next page of our jam comic we are working on and these couple of sketches you see here. That first mountain one was done on the way to Glacier Park one day. And this last one here was drawn on the flight back home. Bet you can't guess what movie we had just seen...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Holiday and stuff

Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. I went to a bbq and watched a few fireworks, but my favorite part of every 4th is at the end of the day when I sit down and read the declaration of independence by myself. It always make me want to pull out my copy of common sense then visit the local bookstore and read up on the founding fathers.

Anyway, now that I’ve bored all the non-Americans I’ll get to my point. While looking through some of my old papers I found the stash of comics we worked on when we were in junior high and High School and I have to say that they are very entertaining, though not always for the same reason they were when we made them.

Since I don't have a scanner handy I can't put up any scans so I figured that one of the top ten lists from the back of one of them would be fun.

So here it is

10. Speedy
9. Brian O’Connor king of the little people
8. Future Boy
7. Cateyes
6. Army Ants
5. The Monster Squad (including members: Oger, Hyde, Guru, Momzie, Schyler and Jo)
4. Grog
3. Blobish
2. Junkman
1 The Artillery(comprised of Crosshairs, Cannon, Buckshot, Colonel Voldank and Brewsky)

And yes those are mostly names of real characters we had created.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A short hiatus...

Wednesday morning we take off for beautiful Montana! Yesssss. For those of you that don't know... Elton, Dusty, and I all grew up in the mountains of northwest Montana. I'm heading up with my wife and my older sister's family. I didn't get to go up there last year, and it about killed me.

The only downside is that this means there will be slight pause in the Rook City updates for a couple of weeks. The next page will be posted Tuesday, July 18 (or possibly sooner). In the meantime, you can check out these new Rook City sketches for some behind-the-scenes info on the series. Thanks for your patience!

Also... I went ahead and posted the next Evil Ain't Easy strip. I've got one more in the bag, and I'll put that up next week sometime, barring technical difficulties.

When next I post, it will be from my mountain homeland!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Forums are swell

It has finally happened... Three Trees Studios now has its own FORUM! This is the place to go to discuss anything and everything about our webcomics, books, or whatever. We'll even be posting some exclusive content over there. So check it out... you can interact with us and other readers!


-Flight Forum: This was setup by Kazu Kibuishi, who puts together the excellent Flight anthologies. Just a great community of talented and supportive artists there. Forum: One of the best networking places for Christian comics artists... members run the gamut from "just starting" to professional creators.

-Parable Forum: This forum was started for creators working on the new Christian anthology Parable, but it is also just a great place to interact with some extremely talented artists.

-The Drawing Board: A huge board with tons of designers, comic artists, and other creators. There is almost too much great stuff to take in at this board!

-Kansas City Comix Scene Board: The place for comic people from KC (and surrounding area... I guess we count).

All of these forums are full of amazing artwork. Dusty and I use these as artistic inspiration... just looking at what others are doing for a little while gets you really pumped about drawing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

New Rook City Story

The new Rook City story started yesterday. It's called "Road Block" and it features the return of the Vlad Squad! This one was written by Elton and me. Elton originally came up with the Vlad Squad idea, and then we developed it together. Same thing with this story. "Transformations" introduced these characters, but we're trying to show you a lot more about them in this tale. This will be a four-parter probably, and then we'll start our first major Rook City story arc (by major I mean over 20 pages).

Here's a Vlad Squad pin-up some of you might not have seen:

And don't forget... a new Evil Ain't Easy strip will be up tomorrow!

Monday, June 19, 2006

S.P.A.C.E.d Out: Part 3!

Here's even more of the great loot I acquired while at S.P.A.C.E. It's taken me this long to get a chance to read some of these.

Zig Zag by J. Chris Campbell- This guy is just way too creative. Zig Zag is a one-man anthology full of quirky stories of hypochondriac robots, killer store owners, and of course... Attic Bugs. This book is a blast to read! So many styles all done so well.

Owly by Andy Runton- What a great book for anyone to read... kids to adult! The wordless adventures of a loveable owl and his friends. I really love Andy's work with a brush pen- just a really clean, fun style to look at. There's a reason this book is really taking off.

Superior Showcase by Bertozzi, Dawson, and Trippe- A great little anthology of superhero tales by some indie creators. I especially enjoyed Nick Bertozzi's convenience store heroes and Dean Trippe's tale about the sidekick Butterfly (a great webcomic, by the way).

Turtletown by Steve Hamaker- Steve is the incredible artist who has worked on Flight, Bone, and his own series, Fish N Chips. This is a cool book about obedience he illustrated for a pastor. Very well done! He showed us some pages from his story in Flight 3 (coming out June 27) and they looked so great. Cannot wait to get that book!

Fanci-full Friends by Gustav Chompe- A print collection of a highly quirky webcomic. Very original and eccentric stuff... and I really dig it.

Happy Town by Justin Madson- Justin had several collections of his series there, and I only purchased the first of them. I'm really impressed with his very unique style and the size of this series. It includes everything from superheroics to fantasy to sci-fi to slice-of-life... all in one cohesive tale. Ambitious and engaging.

Creature Tech by Doug TenNapel- I picked this up at the Top Shelf table. This is just a crazy fun book about scientists, space eels, ghosts, and surprisingly... faith. This is probably my favorite thing I got at the con. I've got to track down more of Doug's stuff!

The Amazing Cynicalman by Matt Feazell- Dubbed the "King of Mini-comics" by the Indie Spinner Rack guys, Matt has obviously been doing this a long time and has got it down. At his table, if you did a quick sketch of Cynicalman (basically a stick figure), you got a free webcomic. I traded our book for the collected Cynicalman... a very good swap. Lots of simple and yet witty humor!

Probably the most inspiring thing at this show was the chance to see so much great, creative stuff being produced by so many cool people. It really got us excited to work even harder on our stuff. This was Nathan's first con, and he was especially jazzed about it all.

Whew... that's it for our S.P.A.C.E. report. Can't wait to go again!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

S.P.A.C.E.d Out: Part 2!

When we went to the S.P.A.C.E. convention back in May, we traded comics with a bunch of the cool creators from the Kansas City area. These are people we have been corresponding and collaborating with over the last year. KC has a pretty noticeable comics scene... a lot of very talented folks just doing this for the love of it and not afraid to offer encouragement to others doing the same thing. I know they have definitely spurred on my creativity. Check out their site for more info!

Anyway, here's some of the groovy books we got:

- Matt Hawkins: Cowboy Clyde & the Pirates (a hilarious strip that ran in the KC Star a few months ago) and Melvin & Frank Comics #1. Matt has a really well-developed and fun cartoony style that compliments his off-beat humor.

- Rob Schamberger: Rob Schamberger Makes Comix. Rob is one productive guy, and this collects some of his recent stuff, including stories, sketches, and the his "Empty House" series that also ran in the KC Star.

- Duane Cunningham: Band on the Sun. Written with Rob, this is a high-energy tale about a band and their adventures in the last days before Earth is wiped out by an asteroid.

- Shaun Gray: Odd Jobs. This is a fun idea- a strip about gamers but from the perspective of the other characters in the game. Shaun draws it in a clean, simple style that really fits.

- Michelle Arcand: Being Different. This is a pretty dark and yet somehow meaningful tale about kids and how things really work.

-Kyle Strahm: Girl Friday and March of 10,000 Undead Gabors. Kyle's stark black & white artwork is so fun to look at and these stories are a hoot! Gotta love Scottish warriors taking on the undead!

Anyway, you all should check out the sites of these fine creators. Hopefully, they enjoyed Random Ink as much as we enjoyed their books.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Just another reminder that there are new Evil Ain't Easy and Rook City pages up. Check 'em out and leave a comment... I dare ya.

We've just started work on a jam comic that all four of us are working on. We're all pretty jazzed about this. Each artist is doing a page and then passing it on to the next guy. Should be pretty crazy and fun. We'll be posting more about it here eventually.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New things

The second Evil Ain't Easy strip was posted online today. Check it out... and let us know what you think!
We have our first Three Trees Studios swag now available for purchase! That's right... you, too, can be on the cutting edge of fashion with this stylin' t-shirt. It features artwork from Dusty, Nathan, and I on the back and our logo on the front. Check out our store at CafePress for ordering details!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Absent-Minded Teacher

Well, school has been out for a whole week now... glorious summer is here! That magical time of sleeping in and getting lots of artwork done (hopefully). I thought I would give you guys a peek into just how weird my brain is. The above image is a collection of notes that I wrote myself during the last school year. You see, I travel between two schools every day and I'm pretty absent-minded... without notes like these I tend to forget a ton of things. These particular notes were the offspring of some serious boredom apparently. Pretty goofy stuff. Hopefully you find them amusing.

(By the way, "ISD" stands for In School Detention. Those are the poor kids who get to do bookwork instead of art projects because they got in trouble.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Another webcomic for you

As promised, the first EVIL AIN'T EASY strip is now up for you to see. Click on the image for a bigger view. We'll be updating this one on Thursdays from here on out.

This strip has been a blast to work on so far... it pretty much writes itself! The most challenging thing is the colors. It's just something I don't have that much experience with, since all of our comics have always been good ol' black and white. But I'm getting there. Luckily, my wife Laura is here to help me out. This usually consists of her looking at the colors I have initially chosen, exclaiming "Yuck!", and then suggesting some other hues that don't offend the eye.

IN OTHER NEWS... don't forget there's a new ROOK CITY page up! This one's a bit late (there goes my streak of on-time updates). Blame it on the convention and end-of-the-year teacher stuff. Or just blame me.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Evil Ain't Easy

This last Thursday, the Kansas City Star started running a new strip of mine in their Previews section. This is a little different than the full Rook City pages I did for them... these are in a strip format and in color. These are going to run weekly through at least May and June. Pretty exciting stuff!

The strip is called EVIL AIN'T EASY and it features Dr. Nimbus. He's a diabolical scientist bent on world domination... unfortunately the mundane annoyances of life keep slowing him down. Along for the ride will be his trusty henchman, Lothar. Click on the sketch above to see a bigger view of these guys.

We'll be putting this up as yet another webcomic on the site very soon. But if you're in the KC area, be sure to pick up a copy of the Thursday edition to see this in print!

Monday, May 15, 2006

S.P.A.C.E.d Out: part 1!

Whew! We're back from our first convention as exhibitors... S.P.A.C.E. 2006 in Columbus, Ohio. And it was great! Thirteen hours on the road each way, but well worth it! Many adventures were had on the road. Nathan probably knows more about Elton and I than he ever wanted to...

Anyway, we have so much to tell you about this con. In this first part, I'm just going to show some pictures we took and talk about the people and events of the weekend. We all got a TON of incredible books that we want to tell you about, too, but that will have to wait for another post.

Here is us at our table as everyone was finishing setting up behind us (Left to right: Nathan, me, Elton). You can't really see all of our table in this shot, but we had lots of copies of the newly printed Random Ink #1, some of which we actually sold and many more of which we traded to other creators for their books (one of the coolest things about the con). We also had free postcards advertising the Rook City webcomic and Nathan's upcoming book, Alms Rook (which you will hear more about very soon). I had my portfolio there for people to look through, so they could see some stuff not featured in Random Ink yet.

The day started pretty slow, but there was an hour or two there where we had people talking to us about our book pretty constantly. I did sketches for some people who bought it, which was a lot of fun. We passed out a bunch of the postcards... a lot of people seemed pretty interested in it. The pages from the Blind Willie Johnson story in my portfolio caught a lot of people's attention... one guy even recognized him, which was crazy.

We were right next to all the guys from Kansas City. From right to left here you see Rob Schamberger, Shaun Gray, and Michelle Arcand. Not pictured (or easily seen) are Eve Englezos, Joshua E. Moutray, Kyle Strahm, Duane Cunningham, and Matt Hawkins. Duane was the only one I had actually met in person before, so it was great to finally put faces with so many names! To make their table stand out, Rob and Matt swiped a pillow and bedspread from their hotel and made it look like a bed. They're so indie...

This gentleman is Steve Hamaker, and as you can see he was situated directly behind us. One of the coolest people I got to meet at the con... he's the colorist for the Bone books, he's got a story in the next installment of Flight, and his comics are just amazing! It was really great to talk to him about Flight and his stuff. He offered me some advice on coloring, which I desperately need. Very cool guy... check out his site!

Just a shot of the con floor to give you a feel for what it looked like. It was a bit bigger than it appears here. I got to meet two other people who have been on Indie Spinner Rack. One was J.Chris Campbell, whose stuff is just amazingly original and fun. Very fun to talk to. The other was mini-comic legend Matt Feazell, a very nice guy who has obviously been doing this a long time. He's got it down. I also met Andy Runton, the creator of Owly (which I finally was able to purchase). He drew a cool sketch in it for me. I attended a panel discussion on webcomics. Didn't learn to much new info, but it was nice to talk to some other web guys and see what they're doing.

Overall, the atmosphere of this show was so great. Just so much creativity going around... I wish I could have wandered around even more. As it was, I felt bad leaving our table for more than a few short spurts. There was just a really cool vibe at this con. Someone had the brilliant idea of passing around a sketchbook with a cow theme. I think most of the artists there (including Nathan and I) sketched in it... it was crazy how great some of the stuff in there was! Things like that just added to the fun of the experience. I think we succeeded in our goal of getting our stuff out there and making connections. If anything, S.P.A.C.E. just wet our appetites for going to more cons!