A miscellany of weekly ramblings on comics, art and film by Ted Mathot, storyboard artist and writer/artist/self-publisher of graphic novels and comics

Monday, June 16, 2014

CORA 3 update

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hey all, as you can see this blog hasn't been getting much love lately. Pretty much all of my updates are now being posted on the Rose and Isabel Facebook Page, so if you'd like to stay up to date with what's going on with the books (and to hear my occasional rambling), head on over there and hit the 'like' button.

The Rose and Isabel STORE will be linked to the FB page as well.

This blog, sadly after 8 years, will be going down sometime in the near future. Thanks for the support and see you on FB!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Hey an update!

Been busy with all sorts of things, but mostly with the script for Rose and Isabel. The first draft is done and I'm about to embark on the second draft. Writing has been really fun for me and at times I enjoy it more than drawing. More to come soon.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Need help with your book?

Going to be at Tr!ckster 2 this year in San Diego? Need help with your book? I will be doing a special
1-on-1 cocktail working session on site with you on your book to help raise funds for the Tr!ckster campaign at Indiegogo. We'll talk about story structure, layout, character design, color, whatever you'd like help on. I look forward to working with you!

More info here:

Monday, April 02, 2012

Hey! An update!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth at Emerald City Comic-Con last weekend, and for supporting creator-owned independent comics. I'm going to be posting here more often now, with updates on CORA 3 as it nears completion, info about the upcoming Tr!ckster 2012 event in San Diego, (which I'm currently planning with partners Scott Morse and Anita Coulter), and more film and art related analysis and observations.
For a while last year I had the beginnings of what I hoped would be a big fancy new website. Long story short, I'm sticking with this here easy to use blog, and have shut down the other one.

Some updates:

• R&I and Cora books are on sale now to make way for the new crop of books that are coming later this year. ROSE AND ISABEL, CORA 1 and CORA 2 are all now just $5 in the STORE. There are only a handful of CORA 2 books left in stock, so get them NOW! (CORA 2 will not be reprinted as a single issue; only as part of the upcoming compilation).

• 2012 also marks the debuts of NEW books. CORA 3 and the first CORA collection (CORA 1,2 & 3 in one volume) will be debuting in the fall. The French edition of CORA Volume 1 will debut at the Quai des Bulles festival in St. Malo in October. I will be there to draw dedicaces in those as well as the newly reformatted second edition of ROSE AND ISABEL from publisher AKILEOS.

Monday, May 16, 2011

TR!CKSTER is here

Hope to see you all the week of July 19-24. Click the image for all the details.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Real Reality

Most of the programming that passes for "Reality TV" today is obviously not real at all but some kind of quasi-scripted, controlled-environment entertainment product of big studios, that is shot and cut in order to manipulate audiences. This kind of stuff is giving the word reality a bad name and unfortunately threatens to change its very meaning.

I much prefer what can be called "real reality", the kind that appears in films like CIRCO, which I just had the pleasure of seeing. Aaron Shock's first film documentary is a beautifully shot and moving story of a Mexican family's circus company that is struggling to stay afloat.

CIRCO is one of the more memorable docs I've seen in the past few years and will most likely be one of the best this year. There is a great score to accompany the film as well, provided by Calexico.
Support independent film and filmmakers and go see it!

More here:

Friday, April 15, 2011

How Does It Make You Feel?

To me this is one of the most important things in any artistic endeavor, whether it be film, painting, dance, music, theatre, etc. When I was writing and drawing Rose and Isabel, the number one thing on my mind (aside from trying to make the deadline) was "how do I feel when I read this? Do I care about these characters and their situations?" If I wasn't reacting strongly enough to a certain scene or bit of story development, if I wasn't thinking about it in the off hours when I was away from the story, I would scrap it and come up with something else.

For all the staging, blocking, composition and general story boarding stuff I post here, the number one thing should be "does the story elicit an emotional reaction from the audience?" Are they going to bring something away from the experience? Will they discuss the film on the way out or debate where they're going to eat?

I understand that for much of the movie-going public, movies are entertainment...an escape from the everyday world -- and that's fine, but because of what I do for a living movies need to be more than that. When the summer movie season lets me down in this way, I look for other outlets, either older films I haven't seen, foreign films, or I read (actually I am constantly reading, but even more so right now). Steinbeck's East of Eden was one of the most emotional and moving books I've ever read (not to mention some of the best characters ever created in Cathy and Samuel Hamilton). Cormac McCarthy's The Road, John Updike's Rabbit series (especially Rabbit Redux and Rabbit at Rest), Philip Roth's American Pastoral, and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle are high on the list of recent reads. Herman Wouk's The Caine Mutiny spun my head around and really made me think about how we perceive things differently from one another based on our experiences. It's a clever piece of manipulation by the narrator (although "manipulation" isn't quite the right term for it, since he doesn't know he's doing it).

Naturally, as I expressed in my comment about The Caine Mutiny, people are going to come away from a story with different feelings based on their experiences; but what seems to be a common thread in movies, books, music and all other forms of artistic expression is when an artist creates something for his or herself, is honest to it, and crafts it well, chances are it will resonate with others in a powerful way.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sketchbook MATHOT now available in the store!

I just received a small shipment of the sketchbook I did for French publisher ComixBuro and they are now available in the store (link below). The book is full of sketches and ideas from the past 8-10 years or so (including images from this blog) in a 48 page, color, square bound volume. Also, each book comes with a unique drawing on the inside!

Click below to order the book:


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CORA 3 and beyond...

CORA3 will be hopefully be released in 2 formats next year.

The first format will be as an 80-page stand-alone book, and the other will be as part of a 180 page graphic novel of the first three CORA books. There is also something in the works for a French release of C2 and C3, so keep an eye out for that.
CORA 1,2 and 3 as individual issues will most likely not be reprinted.

The reasoning behind this is that the CORA books are almost cost-prohibitive as the print runs are 1000 units (or more) each. When I sell out of one book, I have to reprint another 1000 (to keep reprint costs down) which creates an imbalance between the different volumes (it's like the ratio of hot dogs to hot dog buns when you buy them in the store...they never really match up).

New CORA3 character, Elizabeth

SO...it looks like individual issues of CORA may become a thing of the past. As I move forward, individual issues could be offered as digital downloads, while the printed versions will be longer graphic novels.

This can all change of course, but so far this is my plan in moving forward with CORA's saga.

Monday, November 15, 2010


The first edition of 500 copies is gone. I'm considering either re-printing or offering it as a digital download. Stay tuned. I discovered a box of CORA 2 books recently and they are now available (in limited quantity) in the R&I store.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Art Prints Are Coming!

I just purchased a new printer and got it up and running over the weekend, which means art prints will be coming very soon! If there are images of my work you would like to see (Rose and Isabel/Cora imagery or otherwise), please leave suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Golden Theme

For those familiar with Brian McDonald's excellent book Invisible Ink (which I wrote about here), he has a new book out called THE GOLDEN THEME.

I haven't read THE GOLDEN THEME yet, but having had a number of conversations about story with Brian, and as an attendee of his lectures, and as a fan of INVISIBLE INK, I know it's going to be great.

You can pre-order the book on Amazon.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Thank you to everyone who came by the table at the APE show this past weekend. It was a great show! There were many questions
about when CORA3 is coming and I'm working hard to get it done. I'm talking to yet another printer (third time's the charm I hope) to bring a you a book that will be the best representation of the work as possible. They are excited and eager to work with me which is a great sign. If you have seen the hardbound books by Bill Presing, Scott Morse, and Josh Cooley (not to mention the excellent card set by Bill and Josh), you will be familiar with the very high level of quality that this printer delivers. Please keep an eye out here and on the FB page for updates.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Alternative Press Expo!

APE at the Concourse in SF is this weekend. I will be exhibiting with Derek Thompson at Table #106 (E-Ville Press/Derekmonster/Rose and Isabel).

I will have the ROSE AND ISABEL :: COMPLETE EDITION at a special price, as well as CORA volumes 1 and 2 for sale.
See you there!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rose and Isabel :: The Complete Story Now Available

For those who didn't spend all their cash at Comic-Con, the Rose and Isabel Complete Story TPB is back from the printer and is now available online! Click the Rose and Isabel STORE Icon in the sidebar to be taken to the shiny new R&I products page (Paypal account required); there you will find all currently available products as well as upcoming ones.

208 pages, B&W, square bound softcover
*Mature readers (contains some graphic violence)

"...poignant and often savage, and extremely well-told" - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"Rose and Isabel are so life-like across the pages this it's easy to lose yourself in their saga. In every panel, we're secure in the hands of an ace." -Paula Rodgers, KQED Arts

"...Mathot brings to the graphic novel medium a smart rendition of strong literary characters and conflicts with the rich, visual magic of animation" - Indie Pulp

Previews here and here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Drawing Again

I haven't done any drawing on Cora 3 in over three months. I needed a break from the relentless and nearly impossible cycle of preparing books each year for Comic-Con. The rest was good, since I'm looking at the book with fresh eyes again and seeing very clearly where I can make improvements to the story.

Cora 3 will hopefully be ready for ECCC in March 2011, and I would really like to have Cora 4 done for the upcoming TR!CKSTER show in summer 2011.

On a related note, The Rose and Isabel Complete Story books will be arriving from the printer in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for those. I'll also be ordering COMIXBURO MATHOT sketchbooks to sell here on the blog.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Rose and an unknown partner in crime rob a train in a sequence I'm currently storyboarding. The sequence will be used as an example in an internship I'm co-instructing this summer. Below are a couple examples from the sequence. These are pretty much the same level of roughness as when I produce production boards, which allows me to move quickly and try things out without burning up too much time.

Clarity over cleanliness is something I strive for. I don't mind if a drawing is rough as long as it reads and gets the point of the shot across.

It's been fun working with these characters outside of the comics environment. I get to flesh them out more in their movements and actions.

More to come...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CORA3, R&I and Comic-Con 2010 updates

It was a difficult decision to make, but I will not be attending Comic-Con in San Diego this year. I've chosen to continue work on Cora 3 and will have an 80 page book ready for fall of 2010 (in time for the APE show in San Francisco).

The Rose and Isabel Collected Edition had a very limited initial run of 100 books early this year (which are long gone) but the next 900 books in the edition are being readied at the printer in Canada. I hope to have them in May or June, and will post here (and FB/Twitter) as soon as they are available.

CORA 3: Here is a rough page from the new book (in progress). I'm really excited about the new book and how it's shaping up. Thanks for your support and patience in waiting for the books to be finished. More images to come soon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Breaking Upwards

I just saw the indy comedy Breaking Upwards, a film reminiscent of times before the hideous terms "rom-com" and "dramedy" were invented...when comedies that dealt with relationships were smart AND funny (and I'm talking character-based funny, not the garbage-pail, lowest-common-denominator humor you see in most comedies now). I'm a fan of Woody Allen relationship comedies of the 70's (Annie Hall, Manhattan) and wouldn't even think of seeing the films that pass as romantic comedies these days. Rumor has it the film was made for $15,000 but it looks like a lot more than that on the screen. Zoe Lister Jones is fantastic and Julie White and Andrea Martin are especially good in supporting roles.

Smart independent films like these need support. They need to succeed in secondary markets like SF to get wider distribution. Breaking Upwards opens this weekend at the Lumiere in SF. Check your local art-house theatre for showtimes and go see it!

Breaking Upwards Movie Trailer from Breaking Upwards on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WonderCon 2010

I will be exhibiting with Derek Thompson at this year's WonderCon event in San Francisco. We'll be at booth #810 (EVille/Derekmonster/Rose and Isabel).

I will have limited quantities of the new Rose and Isabel Complete Edition softcover book as well as CORA 1 and CORA 2.
Copies of the just-released Sketchbook MATHOT from French imprint ComixBuro have arrived in the US and will be available at Stuart Ng Books (Booth #1023).
Stuart has limited numbers of these so get them early. If you buy a sketchbook from Stuart, bring it on by the booth and I'll customize it for you.

Special note: Friday 2/4 the booth will be open at 12pm. I will be there from 3-7 pm.

UPDATE: The Eville/Derekmonster/Rose and isabel booth will NOT be open on Friday 2/4.

We will be there on Saturday and Sunday at these times:

Saturday 2/5: 10am -7pm
Sunday 2/6: 11am - 5pm

Sunday, March 28, 2010

CORA3 :: update

It's been difficult getting the third chapter of CORA on its feet. I'm attempting to tell 18 years of Rose Callaghan's life in 80 pages. The story will focus almost completely on Rose, from age 4 up to age 22 when she decides to leave home in search of her missing brothers.

(I've added some rough panels to show how I've been working. This is what the first stage of writing and drawing looks like).

My approach to this book isn't any different than the others, although this time I'm drawing scenes out of order, which I have not done before. Call me crazy, but I'm letting the book define itself; I'm drawing the scenes I know I want and then figuring out how to piece them together as well as create the proper pacing. It's tricky business but as I've said in other posts, very liberating. What I'm coming up with is vastly different from what I imagined the book would be. The story line is essentially the same, but the path has changed.

This kind of outside-the-box, on-your-feet thinking is good story training. It really gets your brain working to come up with the best and most honest solutions. For most scenes I know the intent, but not how it will play out or what the character "business" will be. I read the incomplete story over and over and work it until it feels right.

Sometimes I get what some friends and I call a "story hangover" where you think your story's working great, wrap for the day, re-read it the next day, and say to yourself: "what was I thinking?? This stinks!" The drawings might be there, but the emotion just isn't hitting. When that happens move on to another part of the story you know you want and give the tough stuff some time. The solutions will come.

More soon...

CORA3 Status:
50 pages roughed
5 done

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recommended reading :: Invisible Ink

I participated in Brian McDonald's Invisible Ink story class in 2006 and was surprised and excited at his refreshing take on how to craft better stories. He approaches storytelling and story structure from different and illuminating angles in his class and now his insight has been published as a book. Brian isn't afraid to introduce new ideas and has a very straightforward and honest approach, which I'm a big fan of. I could go on, but for now I'll say get it, read it, and put it to use.

A quote from Andrew Stanton:

"Writing stories is hard. They are stubborn by nature. No matter how many times you master one, the next story is obligated to conceal its faults with an entirely new disguise. Your only recourse is to keep writing, while concurrently increasing your understanding of this deceivingly simple, yet highly complex, organism we call story. Brian McDonald's insightful book does just that. Somehow, Brian has found yet another fresh and objective way to analyze how great stories function, and emboldens you to face the challenge of scaling whatever story mountain looms before you. If I manage to reach the summit of my next story it will be in no small part due to having read 'Invisible Ink'."
-- Andrew Stanton

Check your local stores and if they don't have Invisible Ink, ask them if they will stock it. You can also order it though Amazon.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Share Posts on Facebook!

Hello readers...sorry for the absence of posts lately...No new artwork just yet, but there will be some rough pages from the new CORA book coming soon. For now, I've added a Facebook share button that appears on each post in case you really really like something and want to share it with your pals. Or, even if you kinda like it, or...well, it'll be there for you to use.

Keep an eye out for some new artwork soon!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New email address

Happy New Year everyone!

This is the year I hope to get the official roseandisabel.com website off the ground. In anticipation of that, I have a new email address for the upcoming website. The new address is up now and is info[at]roseandisabel[dot]com. Please update your address books. You can also click the image to the right in the sidebar to send mail. Thanks!