Saturday, January 26, 2008

sketch dump 2

Another week without a finished work, and this weeks offerings are sketchy even by sketchbook standards. I hope that doesn't bode anything. I am working on my first cartooning commission. I'm doing business related cartoons for the presentations of a guy who consults about something or other. This is interesting because I am not a cartoonist. I have no real cartooning style at all. Oh, well. He liked the comp I sent him and he doesn't mind the fee I came up with (which makes me think I lowballed it. Oh, well.).

Anyway, I didn't include all of this weeks sketches (aren't you lucky) because some of them were not so good. Just pencil moving on paper as I tried to get some ideas going. Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes the bear eats you.

Monday went well. I worked out another sketch for a huge, ongoing challenge at Dare Detectives.

This is the second part of the challenge; create an associate for the hero we created last challenge. His look and some of his personality traits are based on my best friend when we were helicopter crewmen in the Coast Guard together. One of the main differences is that the character is a widower, while the real guy's wife is alive and well. Here's the hero. Everyone else seemed to be creating superheros in capes or big guys in armor with swords. I thought I'd go with a Sephen King-y 'ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances' direction.

Then on Tuesday, for some reason, it was spaceships.

On Wedesday, it was a generic superhro being attacked by his nemesis. The figure works pretty well for being done at my desk at work. His left forearm is a bit long, but it is a sketch. One problem I run into is that the current lead in my pencil is too soft and it smears like the devil, so going back over a sketch becomes futile.

On Thursday, I had a few sketches, but only a couple were any good. Here's Twilight again (audience groan) and an El-Bear (audience groans). I really like the eyes on Twilight in this one, which is why I posted it.

Friday was not much, but I did do a picture of Wendy Watson from the Middleman turning into a werewolf, but that may come later. One thing that is cool. Yesterday, I got an initial script from AndreZero for the Mr. Twilight story. So, if you're interested, keep your eyes peeled.

Listening to while posting: "Shellshock" by New Order (from Substance 1987)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Maybe I need help

So. It's elevated bears again. I can't help it, they're fun to draw. One of the (many) things that I've been having trouble with the elevated bears is how the eyes work around the snout. So, at the suggestion of (and with clay provided by) Sweet Enemy, I did a small bust of an Elevated Bear. It's rough as I haven't done any kind of sculpture in about eight years. I think this turned out well. Of, course FUR is an advanced skill so this is a de-furred elevated bear. I started about 8pm EST and worked on an off until about 11. Here it is, two inches tall to the ears:

listening to while posting: "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra

storage hog

So, no new finished works this week. However, I have been drawing every day for a while now, so I thought I'd post this week's sketchbook offerings.

A rear view of the Valkyrie suit. Designed by myself and AndreZero (15 Jan).

Since AndreZero is finishing up the script for the first installment of the Mr. Twilight story, I thought I'd brush up on drawing some of the characters. Here's Jackson Cort. And a hopefully thirties-esque airplane. And a random guy I made up who I think looks pretty cool. (16 Jan)

More Mr. Twilight. I'm trying to codify his look. I'm getting very close. It's nearly the same guy. I'm really happy with the expression on the right. (17 Jan)

While sitting listening to Sweet Enemy read Paula Poundstone's funny new book out loud to me. It was about midnight or so when I did this. I don't usually draw with a sketchbook in my lap, but these seemed to work out well.

A spacegirl! Yay! This was a bit sketchy so I worked it over at lunch. (18 Jan)

Another Twilight. Sweet Enemy says he has girl-eyes. So. He likes wearing a little mascara? He also packs a pair of M1911s. These weren't worked over, but done at midnight.

Also at lunch, I drew a little generic European car. It's an amalgam of many memories of 1930's cars.

The last lunch sketch from 18 Jan. I don't really draw a lot of guys, so I decided to try to draw Nightcrawler. I ran into the age-old problem faced by many comic artists during the years: how the heck do you show where Nightcrawler is looking? He's got yellow eyes with no iris!

Finally, here's an old picture of Jackson Cort. It was before AndreZero came up with the cool idea of having him in a cavalry shirt and Swinebread suggested rodeo gloves. It's even before I did research on Henry Rollins, J.C.'s inspiration. He's still pretty cool, I think.


Listening to while posting: "the Pillows (Japan)" by Moon Marguerite. It was on my QuickList on Pandora.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

More Process

In an attempt to harsh on my own work and to hopefully elicit outside critiques, here is more process work. I enlarged the original sketch and re-pencilled the entire thing. Then, on the recommendation of Sweet Enemy , I then traced the pencil over in blue, refining the shading a bit more. Then I inked the entire thing by hand. I could ave just done the outlines and filled in in Photoshop, but I really like inking large areas. It's meditative to me, like sweeping. Then a dash of color. This is a really basic color job. I'm going to hit colorist Steve Hamaker's blog for some of his coloring tutorials. He'd done the entire Bone series and Jeff Smith's Shazam! as well. So, he just might know his stuff.

Blue. Man, I do like how blue pencil looks:

Ink. I think I really got the fur, and solved the breast problem this time. Now, the doctor's face is a bit off:

Color. Yup. color. Very basic, just enough to show the characters:

Listening to while posting: "Charles Darwin" by Artichoke from the album 26 Scientists Volume One Anning-Malthus . It was listened to on Pandora the coolest online radio station. It is the result of the Music Genome Project . IPandora = cool. Songs about scientists = cool. Go! Go now!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I've been finding that, rather like putting a piece on a blank wall and stepping back, posting a process piece has caused me too really look at it.

Here's a more refined version of the Doctor and Elevated Bear. I seem a bit stuck on elevated bears now, but I get stuck on things sometimes. It's not really obsession but I do get stuck. A couple of years ago it was Spacegirls. I worked and worked to create one really good drawing of a spacegirl, but never did. So, now it's elevated bears. I've got a bunch of sketches in my sketchbooks. studies of fur, of heads, of the relative size of elevated bears. There are other things, but lots of bears.


Well, here is the sketch:

I think there was a bit lost in my transfer method. I decided to trace it, then do a graphite transfer. This makes the sketch I worked from a third-generation and a bit wonky. I'll use the current drawing as an inking test. If it doesn't go well, I'll just trace it on the lightbox.

Here's the pencil:

Here's the ink:

Here's the basic color:

I learned a lot. I think the fur turned out rather well, and I'm not so afraid of black as I once was. I think the shading of the doctor worked pretty well. What I need to re-work is how the fur hangs over the breasts of the E-Bear. They have retained their shape too much and don't look as though they are covered in thick fur (sort of how Image artists treat human breasts and clothing). i think extending the shadow and giving it a sharper angle might work. Sweet Enemy is making me a 6" tall Elevated Bear sculpture out of Sculpy (or some such) because she is cool.

listening to while posting: "The Pruning (Pat O'brian - Acess Hollywood Mix)" by Rasputina

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I am my own bane

So, I spent today doing a rather large version of the 'doctor and bear' from last post. I don't think AndreZero even has a place for 'elevated' bears in the current Mr. Twilight story, and he hasn't expressed any thoughts either way as to if he'd want them. But, darn it, it was a challenge to draw, so I had to do it.

Since I am a detail-oriented (obsessed) person, I've done many sketches of the possible anatomy of an elevated bear. The legs would stay a bit short for stability, the hips would have to change to facilitate a stable upright stance, the muzzle would have to be shorter, teeth smaller and jaw and tongue muscles changed to allow speech, and elimination of the Ursus Arctus 'hump' because nothing gets a 7' humanoid bear riled up like Igor jokes. Oh, and thumbs. Can't forget thumbs. I also thought about clothing or lack of it. This is why the bear wears that harness (which AndreZero likened to the classic St. Bernard's barrel). They wouldn't need clothing (in fact it would be uncomfortable and annoying), but the would need something sort of pocket-y. I had originally drawn a cool commando-looking vest with pockets and D-rings and such, but since this takes place in the 30's when things were a little bit clunkier, I clunked it up a bit.

The drawing went pretty well. My new year's resolution is to use more black and a little less line. I find that I am deathly afraid of black for some reason. I think it is because of its ease of addition, but pain of subtraction. What was fun and hard was the fur. Doing fakey fur is easy: it's just a bunch of lines fading from black to white. Real fur is all thick and bunchy like this. I'll need to try again. As soon as I posted this, I realized that it was not good at all. While the doctor was pretty good, the overall pose was too stiff. The fact that I chose such boring lighting for a face-on shot of the bear only adds to its boringness.

So, today at lunch, I did another sketch that I'm going to expand. This is a much more interesting vignette. Easier and more fun to light as well. I'm posting this in-progress because when I work, I really, really like my roughs. Then I go and muck them up. Here you go.

In RL news, Sweet Enemy, AndreZero and his mad scientist gf and I went sliding on Sunday (that's how we say 'sledding' in Vermont. For some reason) on Casey's Hill. This is a cool local feature that was going to be turned into mushroom houses, but was saved. It was a fun sliding day, but theres a very slippery and steep five foot downhill to get to the hill. Filled with energy at the prospect of sliding, I caromed down it and promptly fell on my butt on the rock-hard grass and dirt. My coccyx still aches I comfort myself in that it was something that would have hurt as much at 18 as it does now. The highlight of the day was a 7 year old girl who, with a slight push from her dad, went down one of the less steep sections. She went pretty fast for a little kid and when she finally came to a stop, she looked up at her dad and yelled "that was HORRIBLE!". The funny part was, we couldn't tell if she was complaining that it was too fast and steep, or not fast and steep enough.

Listening to while posting "Big Time Sensuality (The Fluke Minimix)" by Bjork

Friday, January 4, 2008

new year, new Twilight sketches

I bring my sketchbook to work every day now. At lunch or when I need to take a break from some tedious html coding, I draw. These are from the past week and are mostly studies from the comic that AndreZero is writing.

These are pretty rough, but that's why it's called a sketchbook.

Here's the man himself: Lysander Twilight. English, dapper and deadly (note the deft at which I avoided an alliteration)

Here are some studies for the non-flight uniforms for The Valkyrie. AndreZero didn't specify that they'd need regular uniforms, but I did them anyway

Here are some initial character sketches for a character that is currently nameless and, to save suspense for the comic, identitiy-less as well. Who is this mystery woman? One of the many things I'm working on is drawing the same character over and over. I think the trick is to take at least one single defining feature, such as hair or a certain jaw and make sure that you keep that consistent. Then you just hope that persistence of memory kicks in.

Here's something else that AndreZero didn't even hint at. After drawing another headshot of the redhead, I decided to add something else I'd been working on: an 'elevated bear'. I'd submitting work to the Flickr group for Bears In Ill-Fitting Hats, and recently I'd been playing around with drawing, not an anthropomorphized bear, but what a bear might look like if it had been crossed with enough human attributes to make Urus Erectus. I tried to somehow rationalize the anatomy and make it sensible. THIS is why I have trouble drawing cool fantasy/sci-fi: it has to make sense somehow. And for me it rarely works. So, here's the redhead with an Ursus Erectus (Arctus). I thought they'd be a bodyguard, maybe. I made it female because all of the Valkyrie are female...

Here's a picture of the iteration of the bear drawn on the page just previous to the one with the redhead

Here's something AndreZero did ask for. A secret base on a remote island. I've been trying to think of a name for it, but could only come up with The Enclave or The Bastion . I've already worked out a p lot plan placing it at the foot of a sleeping volcano giving it access to geothermal energy (since this takes place in the 30's and there was no solar and an oil tanker arriving at regular intervals would eventually negate the 'secret' part of the secret base.

Now, here's something for Swinebread and the crew at Atomic Romance.

Fairness Battalion Banner (60k. 100dpt. sized for letter)
Fairness Battalion Logo alone ( 24k 100dpi)

listening to while posting: "They Got Lost" by They Might Be Giants from 'Long Tall Weekend'