Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Posts Tagged ‘Chad Blakely’

How do you measure fame?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

 This cartoon is my friend’s  Chad Blakely version of fame.  He is an illustrator that goes to all the Comic Cons and I get to hear fantastic stories of costumes and the Comic book (Graphic Novel ) world.  Today we were joking around about combining NCECA and Comic Con, and if you ever wondered this is what it would look like.  So here I am tabling my work at CLAYcon!!!  Maybe we should start a new trend! And if anyone ever comes up to me in a costume cosplaying one of my pots, I know I made it!  Haha!  Well, I do know I am already a giant geek!

Here are a few of the entries from the Support Show it was in a couple of weeks ago.  It was a fun invitation, my friend Georgia Roswell who owns Artful Hand Gallery came up with the idea of Supporting the American Cancer Society for breast cancer and she asked several of to make bra related work.  It was a nice challenge and I came up with my bra bowls.  While making these I had to make several prototypes before I came up with something I was happy with.  Sometimes trying to get these bowls done I felt like I had two left hands.  But I’m pretty happy that I sold two of them!  So I think I will make a few more! 

BraHide was made by Georgia’s husband!  I’ve never thought of using rawhide as an art material.  His bra is amazing!  The last one is made by Do Palma and Carman’s bra is magnetized.  You can grab the strawberries, pineapples or the flowers and change her bra.  It’s a great piece.  I love Do’s work! 

Artist Interview – Chad Blakely

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Now for something a little different, today’s interview is my long time friend Chad Blakely.  He and I got our teaching degrees together and have taught across the hall from each other for ten years now, at Carey Jr. High.  He constantly draws and always entertains us at every faculty meeting with his drawing.  He has recently just published his first graphic novel, and we all of us at Carey wish him the best.  Now without further ado, here are excerpts from his graphic novel Kidnapping Kevin Smith, and some of his paintings.  

For more  information on Chad and his work go to his blog “Whacha lookin at?” and his “like” his Facebook page, Kidnapping Kevin Smith. 

 If you are interested in ordering a book,  contact Chad at Or order from your local comic shop this June!


Tell us a little about yourself!

Well, I am currently a full time junior art teacher in Cheyenne, Wyoming as well as a full time COMIC BOOK GEEK!  I have just self published my first graphic novel, Kidnapping Kevin Smith, under my own imprint, pathetic aesthetic comics.  The comic is the tale of two comic book store employees, with zero prospects and tons of vitriol.  They decide to kidnap indie filmmaker Kevin Smith and try to force him to write a screenplay for them.  It doesn’t work out too well for the kidnappers in the end, but Mr. Smith comes out on top!

How did you become an artist? 

When I was a little boy, about 3, I always had my mom draw me pictures of Popeye.  One day, she got tired of drawing Popeye and decided to teach me how.  After that, I just started drawing and drawing.  Recently, my folks moved and found a box of my old 3 and 4 year old drawings; there are drawings of KISS, Mr. Rogers, and Star Wars.  Guess I haven’t changed much as a person, I still like two out of those three subjects!

How would you describe your style? One of the hardest things for artists to do is to stand apart from everyone else. How long did it take you to come up with your own style and signature look?

I feel that my style is still evolving; every piece I create, every comic I draw, my style changes slightly.  I think the best way to describe my style, is cartoony realism.  Even when I try to alter my style and ape someone else’s, it still looks like my line.  I have recently fallen in love with doing gray toned, ink washes; a technique that is featured prominently in my comic book.  I am even experimenting with ink washing my watercolors before I add color; I am getting some interesting results!

What is your inspiration for your pieces?

For my non comic book pieces, I love to paint buildings around Cheyenne.  Edward Hopper is one of my favorite artists, so I feel that has a big influence on my work.  I enjoy painting images of around Cheyenne that depict that emptiness and desolation of our city.  In my paintings you will see buildings, and cars, but never people out walking around; people in Wyoming rarely walk anywhere (I blame the wind). So I try to chose buildings that are visually interesting and Cheyenne-centric and paint them with few signs of life. 

When it comes to my comic book work, I have no idea where my story ideas come from.  Sometimes it will be watching my kids play, other times it will be hearing a story about small town scandals of the past, just whatever sparks my interest or sounds like a good story.

What keeps you motivated?

This sounds cliché, but I am motivated by the wheelbarrows full of cash my art work provides me! Just kiddin.  To me there is nothing quite as satisfying as looking at a finished piece of art or holding a finished comic book in your hands.  The sense of “Hey…look what I made!  All those hours of hard work paid off!”.  That, and the droves of screaming and adoring fans!

Are you a full-time artist? How do you come up with your creations? Can you walk us through your creative process when dreaming up new pieces?

No, I am not a full time artist…but I am a full time dreamer!  The process of creating a comic book, especially as a one man team, is a long one.  First I do an outline, like you learned in elementary school, where I work out the main plot points of the story and how the story will go from point A to B to C.  Then based on that outline I do thumbnail sketches of the pages, working out “camera” angles and story pacing.  Then I collect reference photos, which can be anything from taking snapshots of my friends and family, to Googling specific locals and whatnot.  Then I draw the page in pencil, ink over it, then graytone it with inkwash.  Next, I write a script of all the dialog, scan the pages, and insert the dialog using Adobe. Then the work gets e-mailed to the printer and the next thing you know, after months of hard work, you have a comic book in hand! 

What was it that made you want to start creating? Did something specific trigger it?

I think all artists create art to communicate their personal world view to others; so, my trigger was wanting to tell people stories.  In college I did a series of paintings, showing everyday scenes from my life; waking up, shaving, reading a comic on the toilet, telling the story of me.  The paintings I do of around Cheyenne, tell the story of what it is like to live in Cheyenne and our own little culture here.  Graphic novels, again BIGTIME storytelling.  I love nothing more than having drinks with friends and family and sharing stories, my art is an extension of that.

What or who inspires you?

My narcissistic need to make others see the world as I see it!  Inspiration comes from everywhere.  As a kid the work of Todd McFarlane and Brian Bolland and John Buscema and Frank Miller inspired me to draw comic books.  As an adult I am still inspired by comic book creators; Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Dave Stevens, these guys are illustrators that make me want to be a better artist and storyteller, they inspire me to try harder!

How do you manage being a Father and artist? 

Being a parent, and a teacher, and a husband, and an artist, can be a challenge!  Luckily I have a wife who is very supportive and doesn’t mind me being shackled to the drawing board.  My son and daughter love to draw and paint, so we have these little jam sessions where we all sit at the kitchen table and work on our art together, which is a fun bonding experience.  But it is a struggle of balance all things in life and still be productive.

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

I look at art the way I look at music.  Most bands start out aping their favorite bands and over time they develop into their own band with their own style.  Nick Derington, a comic book artist and animator, once told me to stand on the shoulder of giants.  Meaning, look at the past and all of the great work that has come before; look to them for inspiration and use them as a foundation to build your own style upon.

This is the cover to Kidnapping Kevin Smith. Art by comic book legends Mike and Laura Allred.

If you are interested in ordering a book,  contact Chad at Or order from your local comic shop this June!

Among Friends Art Show and Sale: “The Artists Part 1″

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Chad Blakely

Chad has been a long time friend of mine.  He has taught art across the hall from me for 11 years.  He and I teach the advanced Junior High Art classes.  He teaches 2-D classes and I teach the 3-D classes.  This year he is reproducing all his paintings into greeting cards, his original paintings will also be for sale and in the show.

 Check out Chad’s blog here.

This year most of Chad Blakely’s artwork is “PINK” in honor of his sister who is battling breast cancer, and he is donating all his proceeds to help Heather with her medical bills and missing so much work.  She is a second grade teacher and is taking the rest of year off for all her medical procedures. 

I will be raffling off one of my bowls for Heather as well.  I haven’t decided which one yet.  Check back to buy a raffle ticket.

I was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where I started drawing at the age of 3 and the guidance of my mom. She taught me to draw Popeye, and I’ve been drawing cartoons ever since. I graduated from UW in 1999 and started teaching art in Cheyenne that same year.  As an illustrator I have self published four comic books and done inking for various companies. I am currently working on an original graphic novel that I hope to have published by summer 2011. I currently live in Cheyenne with my wife and two kids.

Kelley Jones

I met Kelley when she lived in Cheyenne, but unfortunately she moved to Colorado.  I love Kelley’s work.  I traded her for one sculpture last year, and it is a favorite of everyone who comes to my house. 

Check out Kelley’s website.

My work is inspired by a childhood of low-tech toys, comic books and cartoons.  My later years of studying art in college, however, did not lead me to my dream job of being a cartoonist.  Time passed, kids were raised, and alternative careers explored. Eventually, my guys (a sort of 3-D cartoon character actually) were created. I now have a home studio in Eaton, CO, where I live with my husband and the lords of the house: the dogs.
Each piece is hand sculpted, painted, and sealed. The captions are original, intended to be humorous. Kinetic features add another level of whimsy.

 Heather Fetsco

Heather Fetsco lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her Husband, Dan and their Son, Jackson.  She has been creating jewelry since 2001, when she knew what she wanted for her Wedding, but just couldn’t find it.  She uses only natural materials like glass, semi-precious stones, metal and even rocks – no plastic or resin.  Many of her pieces are one-of-a-kind, but she also enjoys doing custom sets for Weddings or other special gifts and events.  Her styles range from classic, to thoroughly modern.

The Among Friends Art Show and Sale

Dec. 9 -11

Artful Hand Gallery

3o2 East 1st Ave.

Cheyenne, Wyoming