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)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Animal Week 2011 # 3: Seals

Arjan chose #5 in his comments. The fifth animal in the book is the seal and DANG that was hard. I won't claim complete failure, but it was nowhere near a success. Today's animal has two because I didn't like the first one and tried another.

It was a lot of time invested int these two little drawings. The initial drawing of the basic shapes went well and I was happy. I'll tell you, though, rendering a mottled, gradiated, subtly shaded and wet furred animal in murky water is difficult (for me at least). The white whiskers were also a pain. That's what I get for letting a Netherlander choose an animal for me ;)

Listening to while posting: "Never Gonna Happen" by Lily Allen

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Animal Week 2011 # 2: The Zebra

So, today's drawing is brought to you by Sweet Enemy. She picked it and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it was really hard. After completing this, I now know why there aren't a great deal of zebra, or zebra-based creatures in comic books. MAN, I'd hate to have to replicate a stripe pattern in panel after panel. So, if you are missing the zebra or zebra-based characters in my work, now you know why. The cool thing about the book I'm using is that when they put eighteen zebras next to each other, you can really see how individual and exquisite the stripe patterns are.

I'm re-learning how to place something in the page when drawing form life or a photo. Our old drawing teacher at MECA, Al Gardener, would joke about students starting on the left and then having to cram the rest of the figure into the right hand side of the page.

With very little more ado, here is a zebra:

Listening to while posting: "La Cosa Mas Chunga" by Modaji on Secret Agent Radio on Soma FM

Monday, January 17, 2011

Animal Week 2011 # 1: The Hippopotamus

I'm the kind of person that needs goals, tangible goals to learn. So, in an effort to improve my drawing skills, particularly in inking and shading, every day this week, I'm doing an animal from Akira Satoh and Kyoko Toda's fantastic book Animal Faces. It's out of print but, a great resource for drawing.

Each drawing will be approximately 3.5" x 3.5", drawn in red pencil and inked with a Pigma Micron. I'll post the image immediately after I finish it take any criticisms you'll dish out and any suggestions you might have; my only stipulation is that you point out one thing that does work.

There are twenty-four animals in the book (with eighteen different portraits) so, if anyone wants to throw out a number between 1 and 24 that isn't 13, that will be the animal for tomorrow.

Here's today's, the Hippopotamus:

listening to while posting: "Tokyo, I'm on My Way" by Puffy AmiYumi (I can't get enough of this song for some reason. It drives Sweet Enemy nuts and I think I'll go upstairs and sing the refrain to her right now!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Never how it looks in my head

Why is that, anyway?

I did a thumbnail of a spaceport for the upcoming Obscure Tales story that's still in writing stage. The thumbnail led to a 9" x 4" drawing that looked... pretty good. Then, I scanned it and colored it and... I'm not happy with it. I think I need to buckle down, stop making excuses and do some life drawing. Look at how light and shade and reflection play off of different objects. Once the weather turns warmer, I'm hitting B-Ton at night and do some urban landscapes, too.

Listening to while posting: "Ghostwriter" by RJD2

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Big Picutre

So, in my last post I posted a pic of a spaceliner I created, inspired by Jake Parker's Missile Mouse. I mentioned Jake's fantastic cutaways and wasn't sure I could make one. However, last night I had a cup of coffee after dinner (rare occasion) and, since coffee is a creativity fuel, I made one (click to enlarge):

The image is pretty big, but so was the original drawing (almost 11 x 14). The hardest part was reconciling the interior with the pre-designed exterior (the Millennium Falcon Problem). It went pretty well, with only a slight reduction in passenger capacity. I did have to add transferrable water ballast tanks under the passenger compartment to allow for weight and balance. This wouldn't matter if it was a space-only craft, but I wanted it to be atmospheric as well.

So, my first cutaway is, I believe, a success. I'm pretty darn happy with it, actually. What do you think?

Listening to "Zina-Maria" by Gogol Bordello

Saturday, January 1, 2011

production design

So, as I said last post, I've been inspired by Jake Parker and his fun Missile Mouse comic. For an upcoming project (guess what), I needed to make a spaceliner. Unlike the inestimable Mr. Parker, I haven't kept up with my spacecraft creation that filled my time in high school, so I had to start small. I started sketching based on a swan-styled spaceliner by the great sci-fi artist Angus McKie (dubbed the Interstellar Queen when it was featured in the great 70s sci-fi book Spacecraft 2000 to 2100AD).

The Interstellar Queen was a huge, long-range liner, but I needed a small medium-range passenger ship. So, rather than being swan-like, I went for a bit more duck-like. I also opted for a smoother, more aerodynamic profile as this would be an atmospheric as well as a spacecraft.

Mr. Parker also creates great cutaways of his great spacecraft. I thought about doing a full schematic, but after painting twenty little seats for a 1/72 plastic model of a Faiery Rotodyne VTOL passenger plane, I couldn't bring myself to draw dozens of identical seats just now. I'll absolutely have to figure out a floor plan later, but for now you will have to make due with a profile:

About the book I mentioned. If you like old-school sci-fi art, pick this book up. ABE Books has some and they start at US$10. WARNING: there is a newer version of the book published a few years ago. DO NOT BUY IT. Instead of the original artwork, the new book features CG rendering of the originals; a pointless and rather insulting thing to do. Compare their version of the Interstellar Queen with McKie's original

The other great one in the series is Spacewrech a great crammed full of really great art. These are also on ABE Books, but only a little more expensive

listening to while posting: "I'm Leaving" by Condo