Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gitter Dragons Comeback!

The Glitter Dragons are back! Well, at least for this one drawing. I've been meaning to re-visit the GDs for a while but, not sure what to do. I thought of commissioning a friend for a theme song for the not-yet-existent Glitter Dragons cartoon and then doing a bunch of character studies.

Instead, here's a quick (three hour) re-imagining of one of my favorite albums as a Glitter Dragons album.

I might do another but, we'll see. I do like the Glitter Dragons. I like that I've created some characters that are cute but, also have the potential for complex personalities. I think...

Listening to while posting: "Don't Die Alone" by Jaguar Love (on Soma FM)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Super Nerd-fest Mash-up time!

The challenge for this week's Happy Little Art Challenge was "something from TV". Sure, there was lots I could do but, because I'm me, I had to get super nerdy. A Babylong 5/Doctor Who mash-up? But, of course!

This was relatively ambitious, being a crowd scene that included some likeness/caricatures. There are some nice moments but, the final work doesn't live up to the sketch. Something was lost in the tracing. But, trace I must as lots of erasing goes into the sketch.

The piece was hand drawn and inked with Pigma Micros. Digitally colored. I went with minimal color and tried to get an old-school comics feel, not just with the half-tone but with the color choices. Too many modern comics color all the way to the far background and things get muddled. In the olden days (like the 90s), they’d use color more compositionally to give focus to certain areas.

Click on 'em to see 'em full-size, please. Much better.

The final sketch:

The sketchbook doodle that started it all:

Listening to while posting: "July Jones" By the New Pornographers

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Two drawings in less than a week? I am on FIRE!

Anyhoo. This was for the Happy Little Art Challenge. The current theme was "Pirates" and I jumped at this.

I may have rushed it a little bit but, I was trying for firsties and, unfortunately, failed.

Rather than a regular pirate, I thought I’d do a space pirate. If you add “space” to almost anything it automatically becomes cooler. Try it!
I had grandiose plans of a group of pirates on the outside hull of a ship with their pirate corvette (the type of ship, not the type of car) floating behind them. Instead, I ended up with a pirate girl. I was going to do a pirate queen but, the face was a bit crazy so she’s just a regular pirate girl. Or, rather a space pirate girl; see how much cooler that sounds.

listening to while posting: “If You Build It” by Air Traffic Controller

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


On a sort of dare from Sweet Enemy, I did what is my first pencil picture in years. The pencil part wasn't the dare, I decided to do that on my own to challenge myself. As you can see, I'm still very tentative with the medium.

The subject matter was the dare. We had walked down to our neighbor's field while the turkey was cooking on Thursday and noticed the big mama goat. She's big and has horns with drilled golf balls stuck on the end of her horns (to protect folks form accidental and intentional impalement, we've been told). I suggested that SE draw a Queen Goat. She shot back that I should do my own. So I did.

I started searching through my old freshman year art history books looking for a clothing reference. I found a pic of a young Elizabeth I as a princess and liked it enough to use it as a reference.

I thought I'd give my goat princess a bit more of a personality and tried for a sly, knowing look. I also gave her a different name.

Here's Alexandra II as a Princess:

I may do an inked version. But, first I must draw some space pirates for this week's Happy Little Art Challenge!

Listening to while posting: "Human" by Killers on SomaFM

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's BBWW time again!

My computer was in the shop for a week (A WEEK! long story...) getting a new HD put in. This caused three things to happen. Firstly, I missed being connected more than I thought; not as much of a Luddite as suspected.

Secondly, made me realize that I am craving new music. My MP3 player was full of new stuff when I dropped off my machine but after a week of no somaFM or Pandora, I was going a bit batty. At least I'm not going to be one of those guys whose musical tastes stop evolving.

Thirdly, it gave me lots of time to draw! I'll try to keep this up. Make sure to click on the drawings for full hugeness

First up is this month's Big Beautiful Wonder Woman.

I've been wanting to do a lesbian kiss between BBWW and Power Girl for a while. I discovered that doing so was as hard as I'd feared. Also, decided not to cop out on the hair as in the past. Spent a day just practicing hair. Sheesh.

Here's the first attempt. BBWW's face is pretty good but PG's isn't the best. It took a long time to get it this good. PG is a bit large in this but maybe it's BBWW as portrayed by Marissa Jaret Winokur

The second attempt has PG's face as better than BBWW's. her face was soooo good in my sketch for this piece but I couldn't translated it for some reason. PG is also more like Power College Girl compared to BBWW but, I sort of like it that way. Who's seducing whom? BBWW's hair isn't as good in this piece as in the first.

And to show how much I've been drawing a lot this past week, here's a hand-colored comic!

Up here in Vermont we've got the Center for Cartoon Studies, a college that teaches how to create comics. Since I've been making comics since '07, I've always wanted to attend.

Our great local weekly paper has been printing works by students from the CCS and I've found myself to be singularly un-impressesed. Almost without exception I find the works printed in the paper to be trite, sophomoric, poorly drawn, poorly laid out and poorly written. If these are works that represent the CCS, I'm glad I never applied. I do better stuff on 24 Hour Comics Day.

Anyhoo. I made this work in a week and plan on submitting it to the paper, just to see. I tried to keep it simple, PG and accessible. What do you think? Is it trite, sophomoric, poorly drawn, poorly laid out and poorly written? Am I just an arrogant ass? Let me know!

And here's a small sketch. I was just playing around with a figure that's slightly cartoony but a bit realistic. Oh, and baby goats are the cutest thing ever. Even more so than ducklings or kittens. However, it would likely hurt to have a baby goat climb on your head.

That's all for now! Time to go draw some more!

Listening to while posting: "Bohemian Like You" by The Dandy Warhols

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

24 Hour Comic Day 2012: Full Cycle

Well, I've finished it. Nearly a week later but, it's done. I tried to keep the same pace and do nothing I wouldn't do during the event. That means one try at each page, no revising, no re-working to death. Because of this, ass with the rest of the pages, that some things work really well and some things don't. I have some panes and drawings I'm pretty proud of. So proud that I feel I might want to cut them out and post them, saying what I like about them. Overall, I like the story. Heck, I want to re-draw and re-panel it and make it a full-on Obscure Tale. This is weird for me, as usually my own stuff pales pretty quickly. I hope you like it. Sweet Enemy laughed at the last page but, missed a joke I had running through the whole thing. Ah, well.
That's it. Please give a shout if you think I should re-work this better. Listening to while posting: "Italian Leather Sofa" by Cake

Sunday, October 21, 2012

24 Hour Comics Day 2012!

This year's 24 Hour Comics Day comic was a sort of success! I didn't finish, only got to 15 pages but, there was LOTS of good to come out of it.

I did cheat a little. Anyone who's been to an Artists' Mediums 24HCD knows that I'm a BIG stickler for the "no preparation" rule. Some folks come in with a huge plan and it irks me; that's not the point. This year, however, I cheated. I've gotten some calls for a new Lysander Twilight story and I went in with only those characters in mind. I didn't have a story, just Lysander and his partner Elderberry. I started a stream-of-consciousness outline which can be seen at the bottom. Then, went into the sketching. I drew twenty-four pages and got writing/laying out. That took until one or two in the afternoon.

I think the story has great potential with only a small tweak of dialog. Even with that, I thought I did some rather nice pacing. I've come the closest I've ever come in creating cohesive, individual characters with good 'voices'. They're not perfect, but much better than the past.

WIthin the comic, degradation of art due to exhaustion notwithstanding, there are some really nice moments in both pacing and the composition of individual panels. Some of which I am dreadfully happy with. Some don't work perfectly but, we're in a time crunch after all.

My only regret is lack of production design. When I reached the stage where I introduced the four main characters, I realized that I'd have to draw four different girls and was daunted.

The title is a line I remember in passing from an Usulla K. LeGuin book. I don't remember the context. It also has connotations within the story that would have been explained in a little exposition, but, it got left out in the edit. One of the characters is name April and there is a sort of throwaway line that alludes to what the title means.

Let me know what you think!

Added Bonus! Here's the example of my workflow that I promised. Reads from top to bottom, mosty. Stream of consciousness is fun! When I finish the comic you'll see that some plot points have changed slightly.

Listening to while posting: "Friday Night" by Lily Allen

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hallowe'en BBWW

Here's the Big Beautiful Wonder Woman for October. Yes, I'm well aware that I've not posted one for September and I really meant to. Work and a good number of drawings to get done along with getting 24 Hour Comics Day 2012 going have made September BBWW-free unfortunately.

All these things got in the way of this current BBWW. It's a sketch that I really want to turn into a finished cover for "The Werewolf of Paradise Island!".

In honor of Jake Parker bringing back Inktober, I've been really wanting to get back to my deep inking; crosshatching and more black. However, it's been a while and not being Art Adams is really getting me down. I tried to do this last night and two crappy versions (with some okay elements) and three more crumpled pieces of paper made the night not so good. I learned a lot, but not learning fast enough ;-)

Here it is, such as it is.

Here's a small sketch I did for Becca's Happy Little Art Challenge's challenge of "Your Art Hero"

I grew up watching Bill Alexander on PBS. For those who don't know, he was the guy who taught Bob Ross how to paint. Bill's Austrian bombast and joy of painting had me swiping paints from paint-by-numbers sets and slapping that paint on canvas boards.

Ian Miller's crosshatching work in the Tolkein Bestiary had me swiping my dad's Pilot pens to try pen and ink.

And Frank Frazetta. Oh, Frank Frazetta. Nobody could paint like him, though many (too many) have tried. Frazetta's voluptuous women had me... well, never mind.

But, in all this whirlwind of artists, one person stands head and shoulders above the rest as my Art Hero: Jim Zemianek.

Or, as I often refer to him "Weird Uncle Jim". He was a massive influence to me both artistically and personally. He was nearly a legend in his own time having been a good friend of my dad's since I was two. An artist of no mean ability, he never taught me anything directly save for how to draw simple pine trees. But, he encouraged me constantly always ready with a new pack of markers or a pad of paper. He exposed me to gobs of surrealism both in art and life. He was a kind, giving man who was the best uncle anyone could have hoped for artist or not.

He died in the nineties, far too young. Regrettably, I have no artwork of his and besides the memories and anecdotes the only other things I have are two photographs of him, some photos he took, a black and white Hawaiian shirt (that recently ripped) and a theater card depicting Emilio Lizardo and John Bigboote (From Buckaroo Banzai) that he talked the theater manager into giving me.

His will stated that my father should have painted Jim's ashes into a painting. His family contested the will and he was buried instead.

There are so many Jim stories I could spend hours telling them, but here are a few. These are not definitive, but only the ones I found easiest to write quickly and concisely.

1) This is a story from my Dad: Jim, my dad and some other folks were sitting around on the stoop of our building in Brookline, MA smoking weed and drinking beers. A summer thunderstorm had just passed by and there was some residual lightning. Spooked by the storm a pigeon slammed into one of the building's windows and dropped to the sidewalk. Jim went over, picked up the pigeon and proclaimed:

"I AM THE POWER AND THE GLORY!" and threw the pigeon into the air.

There was a flash of lightning and the pigeon, who was only stunned, woke and flew away.

2) in the basement of his house he had a huge Victorian iron birdcage. On the perch was the skeleton of a bird that he stripped and assembled himself.

3) Jim was an early adopter of VHS. I'd often spend summer weekends sleeping over his house. Many fine R-rated films made up our movie nights. I saw Alien, Night of the Living Dead and Heavy Metal long before I was old enough to get into an R-rated film in the theater.

4) For my twelfth birthday, he told me I was "King for a Day" and could have anything I wanted. If I'd have asked for a new bike he'd have gotten it for me. All I asked for was a coke, a roll of quarters and for him to go to the arcade with me (Yes, I'm old enough to have gone to arcades).

So many more. So little time./p>

Listening to while posting: "Crooked in the Weird of the Catacombs" by Oranger