Sunday, January 28, 2007


'RED' was one of those woefully ambiguous topics. Sure, I don't like ulta-specific topics, but any color name is just so vague. From the nearly-infinite number of choices I decided to try to draw my paternal grandfather from memory.

His real name was the same as mine and my father's but, he was always called 'Red'. This was very perplexing to me as a child because for the entire time I knew him (with the exception of the chemotherapy) his hair was snow white. It wasn't that old man yellow, it was very, very white. We would visit my paternal grandparents monthly or so until the early 80's when they switched coasts. Red was by no stretch of the imagination an unkind man, but he was very intimidating and unapproachable. He wasn't a jerk at all, I just think that he had his life and it never really had room for a new person. Plus, like my father, I don't think he really got into kids. That being said, he seemed to take great joy in having us over for dinner; it was nearly always some kind of roast which he carved and ate with relish (he also ate the fat with relish, which never failed to gross me out). Most of the memories I had of him when they lived nearby were of him watching golf and changing channels with an ancient 'clicker' with two buttons that actually went 'thunk' when pressed.

He died in 1998 of lung cancer; he never smoked, but worked as a construction foreman in the 60's and it was likely something related to asbestos. In 1995, he and my grandmother drove across country to visit me at college. We had a nice dinner and a nice talk, but he died without me having known him much. I really think he regretted that. One nice thing that did come out of Red's death was that my father and I have become friends.

So, here's Red. This is from memory and it really doesn't look much like Red. It's close, but Red really didn't look like Ted Knight's brother.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Supah Hero

I think I'm addicted to IF: I found myself checking for the new topic at 8am EST. How sad is that?

Two of the perks of posting to IF are related. One thing is getting to see a whole lot of very nice work; it's inspiring. The other is people whose work I really enjoy leaving little snippets of praise on my drawings. However, I have a selfish request: Praise is always appreciated, but critiques are better. So, if anyone wants to leave snippets of critique that would be sweet.

Here's my hero. I just finished it a few minutes ago. It's loosely inspired by a work by the Japanese illustrator Falcoon. A description of the image cannot do it justice, but I will say it was a bit Alex Ross-esque. Regretably, the image itself is no long posted, probably due to storage constraints (he's very prolific). His work is worth checking out. Start here and work your way around. It will be so worth it. This guy has talent in droves.

Anyhoo. My piece is an exploration of simple comic book shading technique. I need to work on this. My problem is I start over-rendering in places and the piece gets very muddy and a bit half-assed looking. This turned out pretty well. For now.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The 80's

When I first saw this was the IF subject, I didn't like it. I still don't like it. The initial reaction is to think of the decade. Perhaps temperature, perhaps age, but mostly it's the decade of zippered shirts, parachute pants and hair metal that flits first through the mind. The 80's saw the rise of the teen romantic comedy, the decline of SNL and The Police, and enough bad tv shows for a boatload of Trivial Pursuit games. I graduated high school in '86, so I'm allowed to talk like this.

Anyway, here's my cheesy idea to go with a cheesy subject:

Here's a bonus pic:

With this particular work, I thought it was just going to be an exercise in drawing the same character over and over; no tracing. It turned out that repetition was the easy part HAIR was the hard part. My god. Hair makes drapery look like drawing a single line segment. I can do hair on subtractive media like stratchboard. Fabulous hair. But, on additive media, I need lots of work.

The entire purpose of posting with IF is to force myself to extend my abilities. Part of that is to do these as quickly as possible; to post as close to Friday as I can. I'll never post an image I did previously that happens to fit the topic (my first post, 'HELP' is the exception. While it was done of a Friday, it was done for another project). I find myself losing hope regularly. I know what 'good' is and I'm frustrated that i'm not there. The five-year break I took certainly isn't helping, but I think I'm just about to where I was five years ago. It's tough. It's rather like the old Bloom County bit where Opus looks in the mirror in the morning and screams because he suddenly realizes that he isn't Tom Sellek. I do the same thing, only I scream when I realize that I'm not Alan Davis.


Rick out.

Monday, January 8, 2007

schnelle Vogel

For the most recent IF challenge 'BUZZ' I tried lots of ideas and none seemed to work. The one that came closest was one of the characters from an upcoming comic (by Kick Enemy Men and myself) being drunk. But, it didn't thrill me. I was lost until I was hyperlinking my way through lunch and found a site on air racing. What a crazy sport! I thought air racing went out with the Gee Bee (the plane that was all engine, not the band that was all cheese). Add finding the site to a model I've been working on and here you go:

The aircraft is an ME-262. Sure it was built at the order of a genocidal megalomaniac, but it is still a beautiful aircraft. So, I decided to turn the weapon of war into a racing steed. The official name of the aircraft was Sturmvogel, or 'stormbird' while its pre-production name was the Schwalbe, or 'swallow'. Being oh-so-cheesy, I changed the name to Schnelle Vogel which, according to BabelFish, means 'speedy bird'. If there are any German speakers who'd like to correct me, please do!

making up for lost time

Due to the holidays, I missed doing the last two IF challenges. So, I sat down twice today and did two quick sketches to take care of my self-designated obligation. The first one I missed was 'PEACE'. I immediately thought of my fiance who, instead of sitting her regular Zazen at my old aikido dojo, ran herself ragged at Christmastime.

The other I missed was 'PHOENIX'. There were a lot of cliches available: an actual firey bird; the ship from Battle of the Planets, or Jean Grey. I decided to go with a lesser known cliche. I am still new to digital coloring and haven't quite got the feel of the tablet yet. I am no guache expert by any means, but there is a feel to moving paint that digital coloring doesn't have.

So, these aren't finished illustrations, I know that, but it's the thought that counts, right? Right?