MSCA Zine Art- “The Good, The Bad, And The Sketchy”

Hey, gang-

I recently was a participant of the first Mid-South Cartoonists Association zine, “The Good, The Bad, And The Sketchy“. 


The group has published two previous anthology comics- “Beneath The Drawing Board” and “Overdrawn And Underwritten“, which I was a contributing artist to. This was the first “zine” (short for “magazine“) comic book we have done.

One of the MSCA members, Dale Martin, is an ol’ pro at creating zines, and has produced many including his “Watuzi comic strips. (You can follow Dale on Twitter- @SmearySoapbox)


When Kevin and I attended the Zine Fest at the Crosstown Concourse and talked with Dale and others about zines we knew this would be a fun project for our group- and inexpensive one to produce, too. Dale agreed to act as editor, and Jason Negan agreed to be co-editor. Now we just needed content from our members!

We decided to shoot for an October release, and went with a Halloween/horror theme to the zine.

I had an idea for a take off on our MSCA hand/pencil logo and volunteered to do the cover art. I did a couple of rough thumbnail sketches of the zombie hand and sent them off to the guys to get their opinions on the layout.

They dug it so I started on refining the drawing in pencil next. I usually just use a yellow #2 pencil on copy paper at this stage, and use my lightbox when needed. I ditched the shopping list and brain doodles on the paper ideas, and just went with some simple stick figures.

When the pencils are done I’ll grab a sheet of Bristol paper and turn on my lightbox to ink the drawing. Normally I use a Pigma Micron #03 for my inking.


I like to draw the image in pieces in case I need to edit the art. Much easier to scale and move the pieces around to make a better fit on the page, as well as color my line art. Then I scan the art into my computer. I just have a small HP scanner/printer so I try not to work on paper bigger than 8.5″x11″, otherwise I have to scan it in sections.


I used Corel Draw, and convert the scanned pixel image into vector art for it using Corel Trace. It changes the b/w pixel image into editable line art with points. I can then adjust/clean up lines, color, add a background, typeset, and piece the whole image together. Dale had sent me a template image with a masthead logo he created for me to use for positioning. 


This is where having everything in editable pieces and on layers came in handy. Had to tweak the positioning of the hand and paper a bit for the final version, as well as the stick figures and type to make the image fit better. 


Once the cover art was done I emailed it off to Dale to do a final approval and prep to send to the printer.

Next I had to draw a couple new “Scared Silly” toons for the zine. My kitty Lena tried to “help” me…

Like the cover art, I penciled these, then lighboxed them to get the inks done. Decided to ink the Invisible Man and Frank’s heads separately in case I needed to re-position them a bit once in the computer…and I did have to.

Thankfully I was able to finish the new toons and get them and a few older Have Geek Will Travel toons off to Dale and Jason as well. Just need to do a couple more Scared Silly ones to be able to finally go to print on a full sized comic of them. Oh, also working on developing a new webcomic that I’ll eventually be collecting and printing as a zine…more about that later. 😉

Dale had the pages printed out of town and we got together at his place a few weeks ago to put the zine together. They were done on 8.5″x11″ sheets of paper and folded in half to create a zine booklet. 


Dale would group the pages together in the correct order and staple them, and I would fold them. Each MSCA member who participated got a copy for each page they submitted, and could order extra copies if they wanted. They went together fairly easily. We plan on doing more quarterly, and our next issue’s theme is “out of this world“. I’ve got some ideas of new space/alien toons, and will probably submit at least one or two older Scared Silly and Have Geek Will Travel toons, too.

Once the zines were completed we divided them up and took them out to each of the three of the comic shops here in town- Comics & Collectibles, The Cellar, and 901 Comics. Dale also took some down to the Monster Market shop on Main Street.

On Halloween Dale and I did a singing appearance at 901 Comics in midtown in the Cooper/Young area.


Dale had some special Halloween zines of his own made up that had a “recipe for a monster” menu on the inside flap of the front cover. You could pick out what ingredients/qualities you wanted your monster to have and he’d draw one for you on the spot!

On Saturday, November 9th some of us from the MSCA stopped by Comics & Collectibles to do zine signing and sketching session.

I had some mini-comics left over from Halloween so I brought those to hand out, as well as some new MSCA buttons.

We had fun hanging out, had some folks stop by and talk toons, some kids drew with us for a bit, and we did a few sketches for Donnie to use in his Memphis Comic Expo art auction next year. #DonnieConROCKS

The MSCA meets up monthly at Garibaldi’s Pizza off Walker/Highland near the U of M across from Tiger Book Store. The next dinner meetup will be the first Thursday in December from 7-9pm, but after that we’ll start meeting on the first Tuesday of each month. We hang out, draw, eat pizza or pasta, share what we’ve been working on, and just catch up for a couple hours.

Also- I’m back out at The Cellar (formerly Comic Cellar) weekly on Wednesday nights after work to hang out and draw. If you’re in the neighborhood and would like to draw and talk toons with me feel free to stop on by. It’s at 2737 Bartlett Blvd. between Bartlett Park and Stage Rd. (Sycamore View Rd. exit off I-40, head towards Summer Ave. and Raleigh-LaGrange Rd.). I’m there from around 5-9pm, unless it falls on a holiday. Lots of space to draw. I like to work on sketchcards, sketchcovers, and work on my cartoons. I try to have my Copic markers with me, so if you’ve got any questions about working with them don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll share what I know, and even let you try them out if you’d like.

Don’t forget, I have finished sketchcovers and sketchcards- as well as MSCA zines for sale there.


Mid-South Cartoonists Association


Twitter: @MSCA_Memphis

The Mid-South Cartoonists Association (MSCA) is a non-profit organization comprised of professional cartoonists, aspiring cartoonists, and toon enthusiasts. All MSCA monthly dinner and quarterly lunch meet-ups and many other events are open to the public.

MSCA Zine Art- “The Good, The Bad, And The Sketchy”
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