Sunday, December 11, 2011

Season's Greetings

The cusp as the new year ends and another begins is usually a time for reflection. This is one of those refletions.

I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people on the planet. Mostly it's people. In my life now are many wonderful people that make my life wonderful. They are nearby and seen every single day. They are far away and not visited nearly often enough. They have never been met in person but, I very much like to.

The things they do are big and they are small but all help make my life great. What makes the things they do all the more marvelous is that they seem to be done unconsciously just because of who the people are.

I want to thank you all. To avoid embarrassment, or any semblance of favoritism, I won't make a list. It would also take a long time.

That's how lucky I am.

I feel as though George Bailey, on Christmas morning, would say "Dang. You've got a lot of nice people in your life, son!"

Thanks, everyone.

I hope I've done enough to earn your friendships.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Call to Artists (of sorts)

Okay. As you may know, I work at an independent bookstore. Yesterday, I was working with a female colleague when a mom and nine-year-old (ish) daughter walked nearby. I overheard a short exchange and recounted it to her.

Me: that little girl was hilarious. She told her mom she wanted a puppy calendar but then said that she really wanted a rock star calendar. So, now I have to invent the perfect little-girl calendar with puppy rock stars!
Colleague: And glitter! Have to have glitter!
Me: And dragons!
Colleague: Glitter dragons!
Me: That's it! A calendar of a puppy rock stars in a band called "Glitter Dragons"!

So, this is you mission, should you choose to accept it: A picture (or more) of puppy rock stars in a band called Glitter Dragons. I'll be doing this to and posting my result(s). If you would like to participate, there's no money nor likely even fame involved. Just fun. Standard PG-13 no scat/vore/gore rules apply. Send your pics to Deadline for submissions is Jan 31, 2011 (unless a bunch of folks want to do it and demand a slightly longer deadline)

I'm personally doing it because it's outside of my comfort zone. I don't do cute very well and I've never actually drawn a puppy.

Listening to while posting: "Cruel Sea Captain" by Bryan Ferry from the compilation "Rogue's Gallery"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

24HCD 2011


Another year, another 24-Hour Comics Day. A shout out to our sponsors firstly Sweet Clover Market for the BIG box of assorted snacks; Phoenix Books for the two urns of coffee and a dozen cookies; Rocky's Pizza in Williston for, what else? Pizza. And of course Artists' Mediums for the venue and hard work.

This one was harder than normal because I was not only participating in the 24HCD, not only helping organize it, but also participating in the Open Studio Weekend on Saturday from 6m - 8pm; right during 24HCD. So, I spent the week before getting stuff from sponsors for 24HCD and getting some artwork ready to hang at Phoenix Books.

The setup of both events went smoothly, the Open Studio the night before. I arrived at the event, set up the coffee and I fell into my normal 24HCD routine: I started writing the story first. I love coming in cold, it's part of the fun. All I had in my head since the drive in were the words "bi-plane" and "sphinx". So, with those words I carved out a rough story. Then, I started thumbnailing and writing at the same time. This is sort of a scaled down version of how some folks do 24HCD; they start at the beginning and just write until all pages are filled. It's the same way except there is some revising and I try to have at least an idea of the ending before I get too deep.

Writing and thumbnailing took two hours. It would have taken less except that I mis-numbered my thumbnails early on (I had two #3s) and had to add some pages.

Then, I started drawing. I used a Pentel brush pen (hacked with Higgins Black Magic replacing the awful stock ink) because I didn't want to get bogged down in the details as I would with a Pigma Micron. I did use Microns for the panel lines, lettering and for the eyes .

There were more interruptions this year with friends coming in to talk, great artist banter and heated discussions, so I didn't even get to page five before I had to go to the Open Studio bit. I wasn't sure what to do there as I'm usually on the other side of the art scene. However, two friends were there and they bought me some good beer and we had an impromptu tasting. What was nice is a local middle school librarian asked for my help in an upcoming project where kids will be either writing a play or a graphic novel.

Then back to Artists' Mediums to try to finish my comic. The beer-bringing friends showed up at 24HCD (sans beer) and chatted for a long time. I kept working until 5am then took a nap for an hour. I got to finishing the pencils and then inking the panel lines and letters of page 17 when I just had to stop. I helped clean up and we were out the door by 9am. I was good to go, tired-wise, until I was within a few hundred meters from our house, when I nodded off for an instant and drifted into the oncoming lane. I snapped awake before I went off the other side and, since it was a 30mph zone on a backroad in Vermont on a Sunday morning, there was nobody coming.

Sweet Enemy and I crashed for a bit; she on the couch with Fat Grey Cat and me on our bed. We didn't plan to sleep more than an hour but while I set the alarm I forgot to turn it on. I drifted awake three hours later and felt good to go.

Here's this year's story. There are some issues I have with it. Some are story elements I would have done differently if I'd had the time to revise the script; stupid ideas I'd purge; some are words I put in by mistake ("ridden" for "riddled"); and POVs that I wish I'd done differently.

It's got a lot of aviation in it but it's "television" aviation. That means there are some really stupid things involving planes and history here. I'm a former aviator, scale modeler, war history buff and usually a stickler, but I'm asking you as all of these things to please forgive the tv-style silliness...

But, here it is with all its flaws and incomplete-ness.

I'll probably finish it in the next week. I'll refrain from editing m thumbnails and try do each page as quickly as if it were at the event to try to maintain a continuity of style.

So, what did you think? Should I continue? Should I refine it into a tighter story with tighter art or let it lie?

Listening to while posting: "24" by Jem. I bought Jem's "Finally Woken" for Sweet Enemy for her birthday and I like it more than she does now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's coming!

It's that time of year again! Time to unveil the poster for this year's 24-Hour Comics Day at Artists' Mediums (yes, they know it should be 'media'). Actually this poster is a little late as I've been going through an artistic funk that was recently broken by the Huntress. What you can't see in the JPEG is that the comics panels are halftoned for that comic book feel and to contrast with the flat colored type.

What do you think? Milestones: first superhero in four years, first manga catgirl ever.

If you're in town, stop by! I'll pour you a cup of joe and you can join the fun!

listening to while posting. Some sort of techno song by Parov Stelar.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good gravy!

It's been a weird couple of months. I got a job at my local bike shop and, while it's fun and the people are great, it's a lot of... action. I won't say stress, but my days are full with little time to eat and a big feeling of responsibility to my co-workers and the customers; we're so hands-on that people often wonder if we're on commission (we're not).

I've been riding to work when it's good weather (a 30 mi round trip unless Sweet Enemy picks me up after work). This feels pretty nice. I don't leave until after the morning rush so most of the roads are pretty empty. Almost feels like a ride for fun.

With all that going on plus some financial scares, not much art has been made.

This is not a good thing

I've planned on opening commissions for Page One-Hundred works but I wanted to get a small body together first. My slacking has not helped. I also need to get a poster for this year's 24-Hour Comics Day done. So, I made myself some coffee this morning, sat down and started drawing.

The Page One-Hundred is now fully in-progress and, after doing some studies of some Comfrey flowers, I thought I'd do a quicky. I took my goth pin-up thing and do something new with it. It's not sexy, but it's not bad. I think the wolf-girls are better in this new one.

Best of all, it's actually a drawing

Also, I went sailing on Lake Champlain for the first time ever today. Thanks to my Step-Mother-in-Law for being a great skipper!

So, until next time!

Listening to while posting: Secret Agent Radio on Soma FM

Friday, May 13, 2011

New Page One-Hundred

Today was good. I'll tell you about it. If you get bored, there's art at the end of it.

I exhibited many parts of my persona and their modes of dress today. It was my "Saturday" today, so I got up early, brewed some strong coffee and started drawing and working on a model.

Then my contractor father-in-law called and asked if I could help him the last door of thirteen I'd helped him install last week (I don't know much, but I can carry heavy things and follow direction. I now know quite a bit about installing replacement interior doors in an old, badly-built house). So, it was on with my Carhartts and old t-shirt. The door went in remarkably well and I got slightly dusty.

He didn't need my help trimming the doors (which I know nothing about and is a one-man job anyway), so I left and since I had my riding togs and bike in the car, I went for a ride on the way home. While mostly dry, there were some muddy bits and I got dirty. I only meant to go for one 45-minute run but, as I was starting to pack a guy I ride with occasionally rode up and I decided to tag along for another 45-minute ride. He's slightly better than me, so I had to push hard. It was good for me; I'm usually the leader.

Then home to shower, eat, hit the hammock with the cat and a book for a while and then get dressed* for my Graphic Novel night at my local bookstore. It's never the same night twice and it's been rather.. lightly attended. I did have some parents bring in a kid last week and, on my recommendation, he bought Scott McCloud's "Making Comics". They came in again this week and this kid is actually pretty good. He's only eight, so his draftsmanship isn't that great, but he's really getting story and image and he's really got some inventive panel layouts; simple, but not just same-size boxes. I didn't want to tell him too much, he'll be better served by finding his own path. He did ask where I got my ideas and I just told him "the same place you do". Then, I just picked three random objects (penguin, robot, steamroller) and told him that all he has to do is pick three things and write a story about them. He laughed pretty hard and I think he might just do the penguin/robot/steamroller story. I'm working on one right now, so keep an eye out.

So, I'm busting to get better so I can start offering commissions for Page One-Hundreds. These need to be extra, special good as they're meant to be framed and hung, so post-production digital manipulation is right out. I'd appreciate any feedback.

This one is based on one of my favorite books: "Northern Borders" by Howard Frank Moser. It's a rip-roaring tale of a boy sent to live with his grandfather in rural Vermont. Now, this isn't a kid's book and neither is it a "heartwarming tale"; not chick-lit this. It's a naturalistic and slightly magical account of a boy coming of age in the fifties. Try it, it's good for you.

I won't put the actual text on Obscurum, but you can read it on my DA page. Here's the page, just finished inking it today:

Also, there's an update to The List. The second one I actually misheard at a job interview.


Listening to while posting: "No Sunlight" by Death Cab For Cutie

*Nice shoes, khakis, good brown windowpane short-sleeve button-down shirt and my new straw fedora; hey, I like to look good when I'm going out! That's the fourth part of my persona.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

small update

I just finished the pencils for the "Norther Borders" Page One-Hundred Project piece; I'll be inking tomorrow. However, I needed something to do, so I colored up a Big Beautiful Wonder Woman in Photoshop. I was reading Darwyn Cooke's DC: New Frontiers and thought I'd grab my brush pen and try to emulate Mr. Cooke.

Real Life 1

It was about sixty this afternoon, so I threw a leg over my Kona Jake and hit the road. I only did about eight miles in a half-hour, but it was the first ride of the year. I climbed two big hills (including the unavoidable one that our house is on) and didn't dab or even ralph. Sort of expected to ralph. I've always referred to the first rides of the season as "Ralph Rides". I guess all of the working out this winter slowed the decline much more than usual. Cool.

Real Life 2

Tomorrow evening Sweet Enemy and I are sharing dinner and porto with a good friend (and fantastic printmaker) and his wife. Not sure why I'm telling you this except to promote him.

Listening to while posting: "Head Honcho" by Devotchka

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring colds and books.

Well, I missed a week of looking for work, drawing, making model airplanes and anything else fun as I was down with a cold from the 17th to the 22nd. Sheesh! I only get sick twice a year, but when I get sick, I get SICK!


I have been doing some work on something that might lead to something else. Like money. I really enjoy making Page One-Hundred Comics. I got the wild hair to think about offering commissions of a people's favorite books. So, in that spirit, I've been working on a fully inked and hand-lettered suitable-for-framing page as a test. I chose my absolute favorite book: Northern Borders by Howard Frank Moser. I will recommend it to anyone who likes a good novel. It will be like little, if not nothing, you've ever read.

How's it going. Here's first test (click for extra-big version):

The layout itself took about two weeks of sketching. I had to take many liberties with the text because a lot happens, but there's a big moment that had to be shown. But, I'm pretty happy with it as an adaptation goes. The explosion turned out, if I may say so, awesome. A lot of failed attempts went into it and it worked, considering I've never drawn an explosion that occurred in water before. The lettering is good, but I sort of cheated with the sound effects: I typeset them in Illustrator, printed them out and traced them.

What didn't work was the figures. Even discounting the misshapen head of the grandfather, they figures are... unsure. My linework is wishy-washy and tentative. I think it might be my lack of confidence with my dip pen. I'm going to re-work the whole thing this weekend.

Another Book

In March, Sweet Enemy snagged a big audiobook cassette set of "Tojours Provence" by Peter Mayle. It was the second book of (probably) true memoirs of an Englishman who decided to escape the city life and move to rural France. His exploits of language, customs, odd neighbors and finally coming to completely adopt his new hometown's rhythms and lifestyle is funny, sweet and satisfying. For comparison, think David Sedaris if he actually loved life mixed with Bill Bryson if he was 90% less insufferable.

We then snagged the other Provence books and are now in love with the place. With the exception of the food (which Mr. Mayle writes about with infuriatingly loving, mouth-watering detail), Provence is a bit like Vermont which is, I suppose, why I fell in love with it. SE and I would like to visit, but our money, time and French language skills are lacking. If we go, I'm going to hit up my Québécois/American friend Ghislain for some helpful phrases like:

1) I have no idea what you're saying. Do you speak English?
2) I know very little French and that I do know is abysmal.
3) Lunch, please? Tasty and not expensive? What would you recommend?

So, that's it. I have been working on some Big Beautiful Wonder Woman drawings, but I put them on hold to work on the Northern Borders comic.

Listening to while posting: "Gender Bombs" by the Stills

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sorry I'm late

It was a very full four-day weekend last weekend, so this will be a long post.

Sweet Enemy headed to Massachusetts to visit my family and do some stuff.

On Saturday we stopped off in Northampton. A strange little town that appears to be equal parts annoying rich people and annoying poor hipsters. For example, there's a nice, small indoor mall which sported both a tiny, hip and expensive men's store as well as a surplus store where you can get everything from hotel soaps to cheap tools to candles to novelty magnets.

Northampton is also home to lots of galleries including SE's main target the R. Michelson Gallery. We also hit a smaller gallery down the street which offered two fun things. First, it was full of a neo-Flemish painter who, in addition to the standard still lives, also painted realistic pictures of stacked donuts. Secondly, the gallery's mascot was a friendly French bulldog. SE and I were admiring the paintings when we were startled by a clicking and a snuffling. We looked down to find this so-ugly-he's-cute little brown snorting thing. He smelled us and let us pet him then ran away, his little claws scrabbling for purchase on the wood floors. We talked with the attendant for a while and then the dog came scuttling back bearing his favorite to toy offered for inspection and an invitation to play. He was a hoot.

Then home to visit with the family. My niece is cute and four, but I was warned that she was attempting to be a drama queen; prone to moping and sulking if she didn't get exactly her way. It's just her nature, she is not spoiled. My sister finds the best way is to ignore her. The lack of attention is a painful punishment. She's still cute and I'm still the Best Uncle.

On Saturday, SE and I hit the Worcester Museum of Art. Say what you want about Worcester, but the museum is spectacular. We spent five hours there and still missed a couple of rooms. In the Mesoamerican room, I formulated an hypothesis about three related artifacts. I'm going to contact the curator of the department about it. I'll let you know how it goes. We also were turned onto a Lebanese deli by a friend and WOW, it was awesome. We grabbed some spinach pies, some halwa, some pita, some really powerful cookies and a potato-shaped mass of savory goodness called a "kibbee ball".

We also went to visit my paramedic friend Decapod Diver at work. We hung around outside talking until it got cold, then he fired up the "truck", got the heat cranking and we all sat in the back and jawed for another hour or so. It's always good to hang with him, and now it was also an interesting venue.

On Sunday, my dad and I went to a scale model contest in Chicopee. Some friends from VT were going to be entering models and running a vendor table so I thought I'd go. On a whim, I entered my Savoia S.21. At first, as it is a fictional aircraft, there was slight contention over where it would be placed. But, it ended up in 1/48 scale single-engine aircraft.

There were some amazing models there including a meter-long aircraft carrier that was easily the most detailed thing I'd ever seen (it had a lighted interior hanger bay and teeny deck crew abut 2mm tall). We got to shadow the some judges (armor) and I learned a lot. After the contest ended, I packed up my plane and we headed up to say goodbye to my friends; my dad was getting tired of standing.

One of they guys told me I should wait for the awards ceremony. I told him that there was not much chance of winning anything, but he convinced me to stay. It was neat to see awards for models that I'd been able to see judged. Then came the 1/48 aircraft. I was expecting a certificate, or at most a third. Then I got called up for the first place! I was stunned. Still am. I must have cheated.

Sunday night we watched a remarkable and utterly unique film called Mary and Max. It's a strange, poignant tale of an Australian girl and her inadvertent pen-pal, a obese Jewish shut-in. Did I mention it's all in stop-motion?

Monday saw the morning start with a lot of playing and walking in the woods with my niece and then a lot of swing-set swinging with her and the neighbor boy who's a little older than my niece (I'm told he looks forward to my visits too and calls me "Uncle", too).

The drive back was uneventful except we reached the end of the awesome book on tape (yes, tape) that SE found.

That night, after food and a short nap, we hit the local music club to watch Devotchka awesome show. Well worth the money, even though that's about it for the budget.

The past week was rougher. I'm now on the extended federal unemployment benefits, having exhausted the state ones. I'm going to have to look for not-awesome work now, I think. Maybe landscaping. So, as much as I tried, there was not much drawing as my mood was grim. I did do some work on the identity for a great local gallery that SE shows at occasionally. I friends with the gallery owner so it's unpaid, but I could get exposure. Plus, I get to help out a great local gallery, SE and a friend. It's all good.

So, because I have to post art., here's a little sketch that I did for an idea for the identity, but ended up not using:

That's all!

Listening to while posting: "The Goalie Bop" by me.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

ENJP 2011!

Woo hoo! Up pretty late (0115 EST). Feeling good, but shouldn't have had coffee after dinner. I make GOOD coffee, so I'm still feeling it.

Anyhoo. I was jazzed up, so I drew, inked and colored a new version of the Evil Nazi Jetpack Penguin! I've been thinking that the first two words are sort of redundant. But, it just rolls of the tongue better (looks like Mr. Eastman was on to something!)

It's almost an improvement meme if you look at the original version from Feb 2007. If I didn't already tell the story, it was done for a "Monster Of The Week" series I did for a co-worker at my last design job. :

Then came this guy from 2008. Now, I think "Ewwwww!":

I think I needed the improvement meme thing. I've been down in the dumps from the lack of design job callbacks. Oh, well, at least I've got some evil penguins

Listening to while posting: "Do What You Want" by OKGO. In my head actually. I watched the video twice today for some reason. OKGO is my guilty pleasure. I'll have to go see Devotchka next week to gain back my indie cred ;)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

heavy, then light

First, my heart goes out to those affected by the horrific devastation in Japan. To watch the videos and see the before and after photos is to see power beyond our imagining. I don't know how they'd begin rebuilding their cities, their towns, their homes and their lives. A blogging buddy of mine lives with his family in Japan. He wasn't near the devastation and is safe, but Japan is not that big a place and he felt the quake and is still dealing with its repercussions. Stay safe, Pandabonium.

Now, to lighter stuff. I started work on the first of my pinup/covers for the bear cop comic. It's tentatively titled "Partners Vs. Crime".

Sweet Enemy picked the one of the five to start with. I know other people liked different ones, but I have to listen to SE.

This was an ambitious project and as such, has small successes and small failures. I think the overall composition turned out well and the perspective is not too bad. I think I did a good job of drawing the cop from a photo (of me, actually. I am my own stock photographer). He looks a bit stiff, but that's to be expected from photographic drawing. I needed to use the photo reference as part of my learning clothing wrinkles; the figures will get more lively as I improve.

I won' mention all of the failures except to say that I might revisit the bear's expression. I don't think it works. I kept the background free of lots of shading to reduce its impact on the foreground. I'm not sure if that was successful. I'm also not too sure of the depth of the piece. Are the cops and cars in the background too far away?

Listening to while posting: "My Intention" by Ape School

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Three Things

1) Second attempt at sexy. With some feedback from pinup artist Becca and some others (including my dad. Weird), I got back to work. This one is closer. Not there, but closer. I seem to have forgotten to use one piece of feedback that Becca gave me: exaggerated features often make a character look more natural. Looking now, the piece would definitely benefit from a little exaggeration. The poses and composition, however, I feel are a bit better. Sweet Enemy says when I finally get a drawing I'm finally happy with, she'll go all James Jean on it. That should be sweet. Here it is:

2) I spent the morning at my local independent bookstore (LIBS) with an double Americano and sketched out some potential covers/pinups of the stars of Interrogation 101. Anyone got a favorite? If not, I'll probably do them all for the inking practice.

3) Serendipity. This has nothing to do with art, but I thought it was neat enough to mention. Last Wed. I was heading back from my LIBS coffee morning. At a certain point on the way home, I had to stop for a bit because a wide load truck was negotiating a sharp corner. The truck was carrying some massive wind turbine blades! They were huge and all sci-fi-looking.

Yesterday, I was heading home from my LIBS coffee morning and at the same point in the road at around the same time, guess what? Yup. Another wide load truck transporting wind turbine blades! Freaky, no? Good thing I don't believe in coincidence. I guess that Wednesday around 11 AM is Wind Turbine Blade Truck Time in Jericho, Vermont!

Listening to while posting: "Shadows" by Au Revoir Simone

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


To keep my design chops up, I occasionally do posters for fun. For this challenge, I took one of my favorite books and tried to do a two-color poster in two hours. That's sketching, finalizing, comping, and readying for print in two hours. I did it but, whether or not it's an effective poster is up to you, the viewer. The bell was made by me in Adobe Illustrator and the font is Mrs. Eaves.

And, yes, I feel that Guillermo Del Toro is the only contemporary director who could do Garth Nix's fantastic novel justice.

Listening to while posting: Secret Agent Radio station on Soma FM

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I spent the the day drinking good coffee and drawing. I really mean I spent the day drawing. I started at 9:00 am EST with a tiny, incoherent thumbnail, sketched and sketched and finished inking it about 7:30 EST. I learned a lot. I learned how to work with a new nib. I learned my Pentel brush pen hack works pretty well. I learned that things in my head still look better than what they end up as on paper. The most important thing I learned is this:

I cannot do sexy. Not even slightly sexy. That bothers me. I like sexy, I appreciate sexy, I can definitely tell sexy from not-sexy. Unless, of course, I have to draw it. I think I can draw attractive women pretty well, but when it comes to making them sexy, I fail miserably. It's almost embarrassing, actually. I mean really embarrassing. Like a karaoke singer who really thinks they can sing.

So, in the hopes that someone will tell me what I can do to make this even slightly sexier, I'm posting it. The idea was to do a cheesy, silly, sexy pinup thing that might have appeared on a Heavy Metal magazine cover in the 80s. I think I got two out of three. So, here it is.

Technically, it's got some good points and I really learned a lot. But, please, if you know sexy, let me know how I can improve. Is it the composition? The style? The poses? The entire idea? Help!

Here it is as a cover, just for fun:

Listening to while posting: "Jinji" by Tomoyasu Hotei

Thursday, March 3, 2011

small stuff

AndreZero is still writing the Obscure Tales story that the Deneb Princess appears in.

In the meantime, I've started fleshing out some more concepts to throw at AZ. One is an overly ambitious sort-of-superhero-y team book. The other is something I've been thinking of for a while. It's a story of an Alternative WW2 where Gen. Billy Mitchell wasn't discharged to die at age 59, but was actively listened to by everyone about the uses of military aviation and (and this is probably the farthest fetched part), became and advocate of women combat pilots.

The idea came about when friend named her graphic design company after a certain plant, the Cobra Lily. I thought that Cobra Lily would be a great nickname for a pilot and so built an improbable alternative universe out of it.

In doing some sketches for the cover of the fake first issue of Cobra Lily, I decided to work on a patch she'd wear on her jacket. I came up with the backstory that Gen. Mitchell created his own training unit and trained women to fly combat. After they'd proved themselves against men, they were shunted out to active units. All of the "plankholders" of Mitchell's training unit wore their patches with their nickname "Mitchell's Molls". The character is loosely based on Fifinella the mascot of the WASPs.

These were sketched on paper, scanned, vectored (in Illustrator) and digitally colored (in Photoshop)

Clean version:

Slightly dirty version:

That's all. I may have a cover by the end of this week. Tomorrow night we're heading to an art opening that Sweet Enemy's taking part of. It's at the super-cool S.P.A.C.E Gallery in Burlington. So, I'll be hob-nobbing with a bunch of wicked cool folks who are much more talented than me. If you're in town, stop by.

Listening to while posting: Porcelain by Moby

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mediocre art weekend

Working on a cover idea for Special Deliver my 24 Hour Comics Day comic from 2010.

I did a bunch of sketches and refinements and this inking seemed to work as a proof-of-concept. I did it with my Pentel brush pen (which works much better after my hack that allows me to replace the crappy stock ink with Higgins Black Magic). I'm finding I really enjoy using the pen, but I really need to practice with it a lot more. This POC is pretty good with a few elements I like. There's a fair amount that I now believe sucks. Regardless, with the original piece having a size of 6.5" x 10", it's the biggest face I've drawn in a while.

I'll hit the drawing again tomorrow and see if I can get something better.

Listening to while posting: "Typical American" by The Goats

Saturday, February 12, 2011

fan art!

Last night I hosted a meet-up for comics and graphic novel fans at my local bookstore. It went pretty well. One guy who showed up was Mark Gonyea. He's a cool guy and a mad scratchboarder. One of the books I brought to introduce to people was Ross Campbell's fantastic TBP Shadoweyes.

This morning I got up at 7:30, made a lot of strong (French press) coffee and hit the studio. I sat at the table and decided to do some Shadoweyes fanart! Yay! The only other fanart I've done was a Missile Mouse for Jake Parker, but I didn't let that stop me. It went pretty well. The pencil drawing came together in about an hour, the tracing and inking another hour, then, as I was getting ready to scan, I found I'd FORGOTTEN THE DARN TAIL! Gah! This seems to happen every time I want to draw Shadoweyes. So, I had to scramble re-trace and re-draw.

However, it turned out pretty well. I must say, that I'm overall, pretty happy with it. There are some small things I see, but they're mostly technique stuff and not big mistakes. One thing I did change was the color of Shadoweyes' calves and forearms. In the comic, they're straight black with the hands and feet just black shapes. When I drew the original pencil, I tried to extrapolate the extremities and I liked them so much, I had to keep them. I hope Ross doesn't mind

So, go get Shadoweyes. It's pretty darn awesome.

In the FUTURE!

Listening to while posting: Ghostrider by RJD2

update: post +15 minutes. Wanna hear something kind of crazy? I also posted on my Deviant Art page (yes, I have a deviant art page, but so do lots of people who don't suck. Like Ross Cambell for instance). Anyway, I posted the pic but, decided I wanted to edit my description. I got into edit mode, wrote an new sentence and saved the changes. In that time six people had viewed it. I really never had the immensity and 24/7 nature of the internet until that moment. I mean if six people viewed it, that must mean that thousands are online and watching the Deviant Art new submissions page. Sheesh.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

wrinkles part 2

Continuing my attempt to understand clothing wrinkles, I grabbed a stock photo from set of Steampunk costume photos from Zeldyn-Stock. The photo I used is 'in storage' and I really should have used this one because the hands are less problematic.

This is a bit better than the first wrinkles test, but there are still many issues that need addressing. I may try again with the photo I linked. Here they are in order. The original is 7.5" x 3" or so.

Listening to while posting: Some sort of violin concerto coming from the radio in the woodstove room where Sweet Enemy is chilling with the cat and reading some Hugo Award-winning stories from the seventies.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I spent a couple of hours today working on copying a photo to try to get a grip on wrinkles on clothing. I can feel how it should go naturally, I can nearly understand how things would work on a pose I made up. Not quite, though. Something is missing and I still need more work on it.

Here's the picture, though. It's a portrait of Anke-Eve Goldmann in her winter riding gear. I'm not posting the original image as my mistakes (the eyes are a bit high on the face, for example) would be more glaring, but I am linking to it in case you think I've traced. Of course, that would assume that you thought it was too good ;)

First in pencil:

I then traced the pencil, transferred it to Bristol and inked it with a Pigma Micron 01:

I then scanned the inked image and colored it digitally:

There are a good deal of things that need work on this, but there are enough good moments to keep me going. More drapery to follow.

Listening to while posting: "B&S" by The Bobby Hughes Experience

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Working on a larger, more complex drawing. This was a test of the black shading that evolved into a full-color test.

On the 'real' piece, I've bitten of more than I can chew at my current ability. In my head (and pencilled on Bristol) are four flycycles pursuing this one and they are flying over a nighttime cityscape. The figures are lit by the full moon from above and the city lights from below. (based on watching a United flight fly overhead of Manchester, NH. The approach was so low that the lights of the city were reflecting on the bare-metal belly of the airliner)

Gods! what am I thinking? I'm not good enough for the stuff in my head to find its way onto the page. I need to buckle down and practice. I'm going to spend tomorrow drawing drapery (clothing from photos and myself in a mirror). I've almost got the feeling of how folds are supposed to work. I think if I buckle down, I can get closer to getting it.

The rider herself is based on 1950s BMW motorcycle pro rider Anke-Eve Goldmann.
Pencilled on smooth Bristol. Inked with Pigma Microns. Digitally colored. I'll be using the portrait of her in her winter riding gear as one of my drapery practice photos.

Last week Sweet Enemy and I finished watching the last of the Matt Smith Doctor Who episodes available on DVD. Sad to see it end, but happy that we liked the new Doctor (sort of Tennant-y with a dash of Baker-ness). Last night we watched "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" and found it to be pretty awesome! I thought it'd be good, but it was even better than that. Tonight, we're going to a bonfire, sledding, beer-drinking party at a small, local, family-owned ski area. Woo-hoo! Thanks, SBiL

listening to while posting: "Mr. Mastadon Farm" by Cake

Saturday, January 22, 2011


So, yesterday's Animal failed. I was having an awful day and couldn't bring myself to draw. It sucked (for the record, I'm going a bit potty being alone at home looking for work, teaching myself PHP and talking to people via Facebook. I was going through meatspace contact addiction).

ANNNNYway. I did up a set of fake frames for the story that AndreZero and I are working on for Obscure Tales issue 8. The first frame is the cockpit of the Stellar PrincessStarliner seen earlier. I just wanted to do a cockpit and some aliens. The second frame is the main character of the story, a stewardess on board the Deneb Princess. The frames are a test of the style I may use for the comic and a test of the stewardess look.

That's all. It helped me out of my doldrums and I MAY do two animals tonight to make up for the lack yesterday.


listening to while posting: The annual Joke Show on Prairie Home Companion (The only PHC I can take anymore)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Animal Week 2011 # 4: Chimpanzee

I used a random number generator to figure out which page and image to use and here he is, one of humanity's closest relatives! All I can think of is a radio piece I once heard about Alpha Males in primates. The conventional wisdom is the alpha, being the toughest, passes his genes onto the females. However, many times, he's too busy defending his territory and the lesser males... er... get the jump on him, so to speak.

There you go. The hardest part of this was trying to work cross-hatch shadows on the bare skin into the hair without the shadows looking like hair. Not sure if it was a total success.

Now, I'm off to finish another drawing I'm working on. The pencils look good, let's see if I can't screw up the inks.

See you... in the Future!!!

Listening to while posting: "Love Song" by Ofra Haza (on Soma FM's Secret Agent station)