Tiny Report / Paper Rocket Tour

SPRINGTOURLast weekend I looked at my calendar and FREAKED OUT, because I had gone overboard applying for festivals and committing to events. I had accidentally committed to six comics events over the next seven weeks. When I complained on Facebook, Box Brown pointed out that what I actually had done was booked a tour! So here’s the Tiny Report / Paper Rocket Accidental Spring Tour 2015.

March 28-29: RIPE in Providence, RI
Micro-Press and distro panel at 1pm on the 29th

April 5: KGB Comix Night in New York, NY

April 11-12: MoCCA Fest in New York, NY

April 20-21: CCS class visit in White River Jct, VT
Lectures with students about micro-publishing and editing

April 26: Brooklyn Zine Fest in Brooklyn, NY

May 9-10: TCAF in Toronto, Ontario

Hope to see you there! Please bring me words of encouragement and snacks. It’s going to be an intense month and a half.

CCS Deep Girl Exhibition Recap

Before I launch into my CCS recap, I want to announce (loudly, boisterously) that Paper Rocket will be at Comic Arts Brooklyn this Saturday. CAB is Brooklyn’s newest, most anticipated comics festival. The show is managed by my boss, Gabe Fowler of Desert Island. I’m super excited!


I had a sweet, but way too short (less than 24 hour!) visit to The Center for Cartoon Studies last weekend. I was there to give a talk at the opening of Ariel Bordeaux’s new exhibition. It was great to see Ariel again, and we also got some quality time with James Sturm.


The show is great, and there’s a room full of Ariel’s Deep Girl pages.


I talked briefly about Ariel’s Deep Girl years, and then I went into depth about the production details of The Complete Deep Girl. I also talked briefly about micropresses, a concept that the students are familiar with–they have one in town (Good Pals) and CCS grad Chuck Forsman runs one of the best micropresses around (Oily comics).

Ariel followed my talk with a reading from her book. We had a smart and friendly audience. Lecturing for CCS students is always a treat.


Ariel and I, looking fancy. Here’s hoping I can make it back to CCS soon.


Robyn and Ariel at the Center for Cartoon Studies

This Friday Ariel and I will be at CCS to celebrate an exhibition of her artwork, which will include many pieces from her Deep Girl days. The exhibition is part of White River Junction’s First Friday gallery walk, and it’s free and open to the public. Ariel and I will be talking from 6-7pm. The Complete Deep Girl will be available for sale, and Ariel will be on hand to sign books.


Comix Night at KGB!

It’s that time again! Please join us for a FREE night of comics, friendship, and raffle prizes!

Annual Post Thanksgiving Comix and Graphic Novelist Night

Sunday, November 25 7pm
85 East 4th Street
New York, New York

See the Facebook invite!

Join us for the annual Post Thanksgiving Comix and Graphic Novelist Night! With special guest readers Gabrielle Bell, Alabaster, Julia Wertz, Nathan Bulmer, and Jeffrey Lewis.


Hosted and curated by Robyn Chapman

Our annual comics reading event is more than just a night of entertainment–it’s a book drive with awesome raffle prizes!
Donate a graphic novel or $5 at the door to be entered in our raffle! Book drive donations will benefit The Center for Cartoon Studies and The Sequential Artists Workshop (and I’ll give a little cash to the readers too).

Gabrielle Bell was born in England and raised in California. In 1998 She began to collect her “Book of” miniseries (Book of Sleep, Book of Insomnia, Book of Black, etc), which resulted in When I’m Old and Other Stories, published by Alternative Comics. In 2001 she moved to New York and released her autobiographical series Lucky, published by Drawn and Quarterly. The title story of Bell’s book, Cecil and Jordan in New York has been adapted for the film anthology Tokyo! by Michel Gondry. Her latest book, The Voyeurs, is available from Uncivilized Books. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Alabaster is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Brooklyn, New York. The character Talamaroo has appeared is several of her comics, which are each self-published and hand crafted by the author.

Julia Wertz was born in the San Francisco bay area in 1982. She is the author/illustrator of the unfortunately titled autobiographical graphic novels The Fart Party vol 1 and vol 2, Drinking at the Movies and The Infinite Wait and Other Stories. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York and makes comics at Pizza Island (RIP). Her work appears in absolutely no other publications and she’s an irregular contributor to twitter.

Nathan Bulmer is an illustator whose work has graced the pages of Time Out New York, Seattle Magazine, The Kansas City Star, and The Pitch Weekly. He’s even shown work in galleries like Dieu Donne in New York and Grand Arts, The Bank, The Bakery, and various other galleries in Kansas City, Missouri.

Born and raised Lower East Sider Jeffrey Lewis leads a double-life, as both a comic book writer/artist and a musician (or is that a triple-life?). His critical writings on the comic book Watchmen have lead to Jeffrey lecturing all over the world. Jeffrey’s most recent self-published comic book Fuff is an anthology series combining biographical pieces, fiction, and travelogues, and is currently up to issue eight.

CCS Summer Workshops

I’ve been a busy bee (and a bad blogger!)  Last week I was up in Vermont teaching part of their Cartooning Studio Workshop. The summer workshops were always the highlight of my year at CCS. I structured most of the summer programming we use–it was my first really involved curriculum building assignment. It’s bitter-sweet to hand the torch to Jon Chad, and to watch him wield it so expertly. But I have no regrets. New York City is where I MUST be, without a doubt.

One of my favorite subjects to lecture on as the summer workshops is book design for comic self publisher. Jon Chad and I have a few philosophies about book design, and we’re trying to turn our students into true believers. I blogged the following mini lesson at Lerner and CCS, I hope you won’t mind me recycling it again.

Design is Content

Most cartoonists consider their comic pages to be the content of their book, while book design is just the wrapping paper they slap on at the end. I believe design is content. Book design affects how a reader experiences the story. Before your reader ever sets eyes on a panel, they interact with the book as an object. If cartoonists make thoughtful and appropriate design choices, they can use book design as a narrative device.

My go-to example of appropriate book design is Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth, a self published comic that was created by Jon Chad when he was a summer workshop intern. Our protagonist, Le Geo, burrows deep into the earth for educational adventures. Because the book is about digging down, Jon Chad made a clever design choice. His book reads vertically, top to bottom like a calendar, rather than left to right. It’s the perfect design for this book, and it significantly contributes to the reading experience.

These photos show the first printing of the comic, as a self-published booklet with a screen printed cover. Next March the book will emerge as a hard cover graphic novel from Roaring Brook Press, a “real” book! It’s a true self publishing success story. And a big part of that success is due to book design.

I find it helpful to break down book design into six categories. Consider each one, and make appropriate choices:

Paper (Cover and Interior Stock)

What color, texture, or weight should your paper be?

Book Size

Letter, legal, and tabloid are the standard paper sizes that can be photocopied. You can trim these to a non-standard size after printing.

Book Shape

Why have a rectangular book? Die cut or hand trimmed for a custom shape.


Most minicomics are photocopied or printed on a laser printer, usually in black and white. Consider using these other printing techniques: screen printing, Gocco, linoleum block, spray paint stencils, stickers, or stamps.


Saddle stitch (a staple down the center of the spine) is standard. Consider using needle and thread, a sewing machine, or a rubber band.


Slip cases, bags, and belly band are popular finishing touches.

Keep these in mind the next time you publish, and remember: design is content!