Wednesday, June 30, 2010

sort of relevant post

While driving back from the in-laws tonight, something came up that reminded me of an anecdote that I recalled to Sweet Enemy. It doesn't take much for me to decide to tell an anecdote.

While in Kodiak, a friend and I were watching the awful Grace Jones vampire flick "Vamp" on VHS. This was the movie about a coven/clutch/herd of female vampires. We're about halfway through when my friend's roommate came in. Laconic as usual, he stood and watched for a bit, then deadpanned,

"Huh. Clampires"

Then he walked away. My friend and I just fell over laughing.

This led to a discussion of different vampires by SE and I.

Glampire = bloodsucker who like 1970s British rock music
Spampire = bloodsucker who work in email marketing
Alakazampire = vampire magician
Drampire = bloodsucker who only takes a drink now and then
Prampire = bloodsucker who preys on infants
Slampire = bloodsucker that haunts punk and hardcore shows
Trans-ampire = the only vampires to wear a mullet
Crampire = bloodsucker who studies too much
Whampire = bloodsucker who wake you up before he'll go (go)
Lampire = a bloodsucking light fixture
Scrampire = bloodsucker who leaves very quickly
Wham-bam-thank-you-ma'ampires = the much hipper version of the scrampire
Hampire = Bela Legosi
Sampire = a blood-seeking anti-aircraft missile
Rampire = bloodsucking sheep
Shampire = not a real vampire at all. Rather like the ones from Twilight. Which is the sort of relevance of the is post as the third sparklies vs. plushie huskies movie just came out.

That's all we've got. It's late and we're tired. Anybody got one?

Listening to while posting: our new cat's extra-jingly rodent-and-bird-warning collar tags and bells.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We have a Winnah!

The winner was chosen by a thoroughly random process: writing the names on pieces of paper that folded to about 1cm x 1cm, placing those pieces in my special studio-only coffee mug, shaking the mug, handing the mug to Sweet Enemy and having her shake the mug, then having SE dump the pieces onto my desk, closing her eyes, picking one piece out and holding it up for me to take.

The winner is:

Mike (who has no blog).

As soon as Mike gets in contact with me, we'll get the ball rolling.

In other art news, I spent nearly all of Saturday pencilling this year's Twenty-Four Hour Comics Day poster. It's awesome so far, if I do say so myself (and I do). It's all hand-lettered, too. Though, I just noticed that I lettered COMIC DAY rather than COMICS DAY. Well, it's not inked, yet!

There will be two versions, an inked version and a color version where I'll ink the type and SE will do the rest fully-painted. The full-color one will be raffled off with the proceeds benefiting the local food shelf. I'll post images as they are available.

The only art I've done is the poster, but here's some OLLLLLLLLLD art for you. I don't know my age, but I'm guessing about seven or eight. The original is 14" x 17" and I'll leave it to you to guess what it depicts.

Listening to while posting: "Avenger" by Atom and His Package

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

more pigs

They've got me doing some light developing at work in addition to design. The developing app is notoriously slow opening, slow synchronizing with the main repository and slow starting the local server. More than enough time to draw something.

After finishing the Pigs In Space comic cover, I had pigs on the brain. Working out the snout in different expressions and angles, while still keeping it slightly muppety was the task here. I neglected the hair and ears to concentrate on the faces. Some work, some don't, but that's just the way of things

Captain Lincoln "Link" Hogward (renamed from 'Hogthrob', hey, if they can do it for Apollo)

Lt. Piggy Lee (she was 'first mate' in the show, but that's just silly)

All I know is, if they ever do a re-imagining of Pigs In Space, I'm ready...

As far as the Page One Hundred contest goes. If I get no other entires, I'll be flipping a coin at 8pm EST to decide between Rambler and Rambler's Kin.

listening to while posting: "Playground Love" by Air

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

art: Hmmmmm

Here's the thing I've been working after the last Page One Hundred. What it is obvious. I don't really think it'd make a good Battlestar Galactica-type re-imagining, of course, but it's fun to imagine.

Color and I have never been friends, even in school. My teachers said I used color 'emotionally' rather than compositionally. I also use too much local color, which is why I often lean towards cel shading rather than do some painting. I'm not entirely happy with it. It's not bad, but not what was in my head. That's the most frustrating part. I can see what I want, but it gets lost in translation. I do like my re-design of the Swinetrek (renamed the Sus Initeris) and I think Lt. Piggy's face comes close to what I wanted coloring-wise.

Things I learned:

- The brush pen is coming along, I think. I'm pretty happy with it.

- taking photos of subjects really helps with figure drawing.

- My drapery is coming along. I found that my guesses were pretty close to what was photographed. Though, I went with what was photographed.

- I'm slowly getting the difference between shape-defining shadows and cast shadows.

I may shoot the original to Sweet Enemy and see if she wants to paint it for fun. Also, this is the first real application of a typeface I made back in '03, dubbed "Spacegirl".

As far as the contest goes, only Rambler and Rambler's Kin have actually said they wanted in. C'mon. I'm not the best, but you can't beat the price! If you want in, just type 'contest' in your comment.

Listening to while posting: "Kissed Me" by the Dresden Dolls

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Late night art post

Here's the latest Page One Hundred Project is "The Dharma Bums" by Jack Kerouac (no link needed). This was my favorite book for years after being introduced to it by my good friend, Murray Lopez (not his real name, long story. He's also the guy who I stole the name 'Arkonbey' from, btw). Sure, it's Kerouac and it rambles and is occasionally incoherent, but mostly it's awesome. I think it is much superior and readable than "On the Road"

The hardest part was what to show and what to leave out; I only had one page to work with. I decided on capturing the feeling Ray Smith had of coming home (read text below). Was I successful?

This was done, as I mentioned earlier, in a pale imitation of the style of Michael Cho. I'm certainly not trying to cop on his style. I just love it so much that I had to see if I could, in a small way, think like him. His way of looking at something and seeing it in terms of black, color and negative space is astounding (also, that man can see. Look at this drawing of a small house in Toronto). I'm thinking of shooting him an email to tell him what I've done. To sort of praise him and apologize if copying him offends him.

I learned a lot doing it and came within a few hundred kilometers of getting it right. I enjoy how some moments (the bus, the fourth panel) work and others I find are lacking. I'd originally meant this to have type, but then (after conferring with Sweet Enemy), I decided that since Jack as so wordy, but created subtle narratives, I'd use no words to convey those narratives. It isn't a cop out (as I'm a terrible letterer), but a real decision.

Things I learned:

-This style really needs more forethought in composition. I drew this first to be inked in a clean-line Herge' sort of style. Certain compositions work better depending on the style.

- I'm not afraid of black as much as I was

- I'm liking my brush pen a bit more. I used a surgical glove when pencilling, gouache-ing and inking to prevent any oils from my hands getting on the page. The ink reacts badly to oils, but when the page is clean it fills in areas like velvet.

- I've got to do more people studies as most of my characters have too much of me in them.

- gouache is hard to work with. If I ever work in a style like this again, I'll just do a two-block lino print of the piece instead.

Here we go. First the art (click to enlarge. It works a bit better larger):

And the text:

"...just for fun, and froze my feet and hands standing in dismal country roads in freezing dusk. One good ride took me to a little town and there I just waited around the tiny telegraph office which served as a station, till my bus arrived. Then it was a crowded bus going slowly over the mountains all night long and in the dawn the laborious climb over the Blue Ridge with beautiful timbered country in the snow, then after a while day of stopping and starting, stopping and starting , down out of the mountains into Mount Airy and finally after ages Raleigh where I transferred to my local bus instructed the driver to let me off at the country road that wound three miles through the piney woods to my mother's house in Big Easonburg Woods which is a country crossroad outside Rocky Mount.

He let me off about eight p.m, and I walked the three miles in silent freezing Carolina road of moon, watching a jet plane overhead, her stream drifting across the face of the moon and bisecting the snow circle. It was beautiful to be back East in the snow at Christmastime, the little lights in occasional farm windows, the quiet woods, the piney barrens so naked and d rear, the railroad track that ran off into the gray blue woods towards my dream.

At nine o'clock I was stomping with full pack across my mother's yard and there she was at the white tiled sink in the kitchen, washing her dishes, with a rueful expression waiting for me (I was late), worried I'd never even make it and probably thinking, "Poor Raymond, why does he always have to hitchhike and worry me to death, why isn't he like other men?" And I thought of Japhy as I stood there in the cold yard looking at her: "Why is he so mad abut white tiled sinks and 'kitchen machinery' he calls it? People have good hearts whether or not the live like Dharma Bums. Compassion is the heart of Buddhism." Behind the house was a great pine forest where I would spend all that winter and spring meditating under the trees finding out by myself the truth of all things. I was very happy. I walked around the house and looked at the Christmas tree in the window. A hundred yards down the road the two country stores made a bright warm scene in the otherwise bleak wooded void. I went to the dog house and found old Bob trembling and"

(transcribing that was a royal pain)

Listening to while posting: Sweet Enemy watching a DVD of "All Creatures Great and Small" (still an awesome show0

Monday, June 14, 2010

older art

Back this winter, I offered free ink commissions for the first five people to comment and ask. Four of five were taken. One went to Snab, one went to a Famous Artist Whom I Admire, one went to an old art school buddy King Ben (which I still have to deliver, btw), and one went to Rambler.

Snab's commission was the hardest and took the longest, Famous' was the most daunting, King Ben's was the most specific and Rambler's request was the most vague:

" about something involving tea, yoga, and either a carnival mask, an avocado tree, or a camp/bonfire? Extra points if you can fit in a veiled reference to LotR

How about that?

Well, Rambler's kindly lent the piece back to me to scan for all of you:

I only got the tea, yoga and the campfire, and the LotR refrences aren't in the least veiled, there are two of them.

Also, the Page One Hundred Contest is still going on. Did I mention that shipping is free? What do I have to do to get some comments, post art nearly every single day this past week?

of course, I could post a Green Lantern-A-Day like Rawls (go back and look at his Hulk Month, too)

listening to while posting: "Waking up is hard to do" by +/- (good band, bad name for search engines)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

art and music: Sweet Enemy indie music superstar

I've been working on the "The Dharma Bums" Page One Hundred... page and this song came up on iTunes.

It's a ska version of Rush's "The Spirit of Radio" that I was working on a few years ago. I got stuck on the bridge and it has languished. I wrangled Sweet Enemy into singing on it; she's got a pretty good voice when she wants to use it, which is almost never. (Since I have a horrible singing voice, I think it's like having a Porsche 911 and leaving it in the garage). The classic slightly-bored, slightly-annoyed indie-girl sound isn't an affectation, she really didn't want to do this. She's probably pretty happy that I haven't gotten the bridge worked out yet (the problem is that the bridge is, itself, in a ska/reggae sound and I'm trying to figure out how to make it into a different sound. It's proving elusive.

Here's the unfinished version. It was created in Garage Band. Bass and guitars are by me. The drums were hand-sequenced in Garage Band by me. The voice is Sweet Enemy, of course. Since this is unfinished, the mixing is spotty at best, so don't judge it too harshly.

Also, The Dharma Bums is moving slowly. I've decided to try to emulate one of my favorite artists, Michael Cho. His style is so singular, I had to see if I can think like he does. Look at his work. He is able to think and visualize both positively and negatively at the same time. It's not just about line, or color, or shape, but all at once. He's awesome and I totally acknowledge that I'm copying his style just to see if I can.

One sticking point is that I haven't touched gouache in about a decade, but I'm working hard to remember how to use it. Another is that I discovered (the hard way) that the ink I'm using is not waterproof and bleeds when thinned gouache touches it. Lovely.. What do you guys think?

Panel Two:

Panel Four:

And remember, the Great Page One Hundred Giveaway. Leave a comment on that page or mention 'Page One Hundred Giveaway" on these comments for a chance to win.

Listening to while posting: "Tank!" by Yokko Kano ('Tank' is better known as the 'Cowboy Bebop' theme)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm terrible at surprises

I just can't wait and give them away too soon. I'm selfish that way.

This is a small side project I was sketching out while taking a break from the next Page One Hundred: "The Dharma Bums". Which is finished, pencilled and waiting to be lettered before inking.

In these days when cheesy 80's sci-fi becomes re-imagined, often with harder, more naturalistic edges, I got the wild hair to suggest another re-imagining. It's going to be a full-color fake comic cover when I'm done. I was going to wait to post until it was all colored, but I liked the sketch so much that I wanted to post it before I wrecked it inking.

I thought about using this as the contest for the original Page One Hundred art give-away. But that would have been too easy for people of a certain age so, I'll just use it as part.

The contest is simply to leave a comment. After one week, I'll print out the names, throw them in a hat and pick one at random. The winner will receive their choice of one of the previously completed Page One Hundred pieces or a new one from the book of their choice. If that person can guess the name of the show I'm re-imagining, along with the names of the characters, they get a free smaller crappy drawing of my choice to go with the main prize.


(click to enlarge. It looks better bigger)

Lee Sargent asked about my lettering of the previous Page One Hundred. I used the ever old-school Ames Lettering Guide. It's pretty easy to use basically, but hard to use for real. The included directions are cryptic and while there are some videos on YouTube, but they amateur at best. However, even basically, it's easier than measuring and lining with a ruler.

Listening to while posting: "Width of the Circle" by David Bowie

Monday, June 7, 2010

Page 100 Number Two!

Here's the second of my Page One Hundred Project pieces. Page 100 of "Small Gods" by Terry Pratchett.

Learned from this one:

1) I hand-lettered it and while you can read it, it's a bit small. I think a heavier line for the type might help as well. Learning the Alvin lettering guide might also help. The tortoise lettering was done by Sweet Enemy (The tortoise in the fourth panel is stylized on her suggestion as well).

2) Hair. I need to practice light colored hair. I did use a brush to do the hair which is unusual in itself. I usually only use one sort of tool per drawing. This is not a good thing and I'm trying to break the habit.

3) Drapery. I have to get off of my but and draw more drapery.

4) drawing a background separately seemed to work pretty well.

The original text:

Brutha lay on his back among the sails and ropes somewhere under the decking. It was hot, and the air smelled of all air anywhere that has ever come into contact with bilges.

Brutha hadn't eaten all day. Initially he'd been too ill to. Then he just hadn't.

"But being cruel to animals doesn't mean he's a... bad person, " he ventured, the harmonics of his tone suggesting that eve he didn't believe this. It had been quite a small porpoise.

"He turned me on my
back," said Om.

Yes, but humans are more important than animals, " said Brutha.

"this is a point of view often expressed by humans," said Om.

"Chapter IX, verse 16 of the book of --" Brutha began.

"Who cares what any book says!" screamed the tortoise.

Brutha was shaken.

"But you never told any of the prophets that people should be kind to animals," he said. "I don't remember anything about that. Not when you were... bigger. You don't want people to be kind to animals because they're animals, you just want people to be kind to animals because one of them might be you."

"That's not a bad idea!"

"Besides, he's been kind to me. He didn't have to be."

"You think that? Is that what you think? Have you looked at the man's

"Of course I haven't! I don't know how to!"

"You don't?"

"No! Human's can't do--"

Brutha paused. Vorbis seemed to do it. He only had to look at someone to know what wicked thoughts they harbored. And grandmother had been the same.

Whew. This turned out pretty good. Next up is The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac.

I'm thinking of another give-away to help me grow in my art. Not another free ink drawing to the first five takers like last time but something more contest-y. I haven't got a contest-y thing yet, but I think the prize will be a choice of either one of the Page One Hundred projects already complete, or doing a Page One Hundred of the winner's favorite book (unless, of course, the book is awful).

How's this strike you guys? If even one person expresses interest, I'll come up with a contest. Sound off, people!

Listening to while posting: "Broadripple is Burning" by Margot and the Nuclear So and So's (jeezum. I had to go back twice to get that right)