Sunday, March 05, 2006

New tools.

With the help of a good friend of mine named Mike Worley, I have recently learned how to do some simple things in photoshop and I'm very pleased with the results. The page of art I am posting is the very first page of a comic I have been working on for WAY too long now. It's called "The Devil Takes to Drink", and I still have quite a bit of work to do on it. But for the first time in a long while I am excited about it again, and with just the addition of a simple gray tone, it finally looks finished to me (well, except for the word ballons). I decided after some debate that I should just stick with a simple, 30% gray tone. This conclusion was reached after talking with Mike, Jim Woodyard and Jason Caskey, who were also hanging out as Mike showed me the ropes. Part of this was based on Jim's enthusiasm for David Mazzucchelli's art. I love his work as well, and it was after paging through some of his comics I had lying around that I decided to go in this direction with my own art. Originally I wanted to do more textured, complex halftones, but ended up doing this because I just think it looks so damn sharp. Anyway, this is just the first of many pages I plan to post. Enjoy.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Time Flies.


Has it really been five months since I last posted? Boy, I would love to say that I've been busy feeding the homeless, or finding Jesus, but that's just not the case. I really don't have any excuses. Just the usual apathy and doubt that seem to dog my every move. When I started this blog, I made a conscious decision that it would just be a showcase for my art, and that I would try to keep my personal life (as unbelievably exciting as it is) out of it. Needless to say, this meant that if I wasn't POSTING any art, it's because I wasn't MAKING any art. It's that simple. I just stopped, and much of the intervening time seems to have been spent taking naps, usually curled up in a fetal postion (see, I told you that you didn't want to know about my personal life). Anyway, I finally roused myself from my perpetual slumber and got back behind the drawing board. There are certainly plenty of things I SHOULD be working on, but to get myself excited, I decided to make some drawings that seemed "fun" to me. Of course, what could be more fun than drawing the HULK!? (Don't answer that, it's a rhetorical question.)

I started with a rough drawing. Just a simple pose. After that, I moved on to the light box. Now, over the years my light box has been an invaluable tool in developing my skills, but I have to admit that it's also a bit of a crutch. For example, it's become difficult for me to do very good drawings "on the spot". In other words, if someone asks me to do a drawing for them, I find it difficult to get anything down on paper that I like very much. It's just hard for me to make a satisfying, clean sketch in front of someone. This has proved troublesome at conventions or at other get togethers, particularly if I find myself being harassed by some smartasses who may or may not be friends of mine (you know who you are!). In the end, I take solace in the fact that many of my favorite artists use a light box when doing their own work , and there is no shame in it, and maybe someday I'll get over my phobia of drawing in public. Now, on to the finished pencils...

I was happy with these pencils, and I tried to keep it loose, because I knew that I wanted to keep the inks fresh and not overly tight. At first it was just going to be the Hulk on a blank background, but I decided at the last minute that he needed some kind of space around him to give him context, so I devised the simplest of backgrounds. This however, proved to be a problem with my next piece.

I decided that it would be fun to draw Catwoman. I wanted to do an "action" pose, and chose this one. However, when I worked on the pencils, I realized, again, that I needed some kind of background for her. Damn.

After I finished this, I looked at it for awhile, and there was just something about it that wasn't working for me. Finally, I decided that her pose seemed "off" to me. It was too stiff and unnatural looking. I was determined to draw her in an "action" pose, but after a few aborted attempts I gave up. I was a little dissapointed in myself that I couldn't get it to work. Eventually, I decided to take a different approach. I knew what kind of drawing I wanted to make, so I played around until I found a pose that I liked and developed it from there. Here's how it started out.

And after a trip to the magical light box...

I was finally happy enough with how things were turning out to proceed to the inking stage. Sadly, what usually happens to me at this stage is that I become so happy with the drawing that I'm afraid to finish it because I know that I'll just screw it up badly once I start laying down ink. I had to trust myself, and so I tentatively started to work on some of the finer details (Catwoman's face, goggles, some building outlines) with a .005 Zig Millenium pen. I found out that I could get some REALLY nice feathering effects with this pen. However, it virtually ruined the tiny little pen. But by this time I was pretty happy with how some of the more delicate parts of the drawing had come out that I felt as though I had enough confidence to break out the brushes. At this point I worked very fast, and at the end only had to use a little whiteout. I also used a razorblade to get some texture and highlight effects (something I had done earlier on the Hulk illustration). I think that I will use the razorblade more often. It can really help clean up and define certain parts of a drawing that may be having problems. Now, if I can keep myself from slitting my wrists with it, I may be getting somewhere. Anyway, here's the finished piece.

Thanks for stopping by, and I promise not to be such a stranger in the future.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pencil Pushing.

This image was an attempt to loosen up my drawing style a little. The point was to make some pencil sketches that would be loose and expressive. I decided to draw some heads because I always need to practice drawing people. Once I started, it became clear to me that what this was really about was trying to get their damn eyes right. I read somewhere that when drawing a face, getting the first eye to look right is a piece of cake, it's getting that second eye down which is the problem. No matter how I would line them up or create guidelines for myself, those eyes just seemed to float around on the faces I had drawn, never seeming to land in the right place. As soon as I would finish one I would hold it up to a mirror (an invaluble trick I picked up a long time ago which allows one to clearly see just how crappy one is at drawing faces) and inevitably find myself reaching for the eraser. I'm beginning to feel hopelessly inadequate and even wonder why I'm putting myself through this. Sorry to be such a downer today. Next time I plan to be little more fun. Bah.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Two Suit Jackets.

First off, this drawing isn't about Zombies. Well, OK, there ARE two Zombies in the picture, but that wasn't my main reason for doing this drawing. This drawing is really about the suit jackets those Zombies are wearing. Quite often, I find myself wanting to draw something but needing to find a good excuse to do it. In other words, a drawing of two suit coats would seem pretty stupid and pointless in and of itself. However, I really felt as though I needed to practice drawing them. Such a dilemma! Enter, the "Zombies". Now, I definitely don't need an excuse to draw Zombies. Hell, I almost need to find an excuse to NOT draw Zombies. My second reason for doing this drawing was that I really wanted to try out my new Niji Waterbrush. This thing is pretty slick. I got to play around with one at the Chicago Comicon last month, and I really like them. You fill it up with ink (quality ink of one's own choice, mind you), squeeze it lightly to get the ink flowing down into the brush and you're off to the races. What I like is that you don't have to keep dipping the brush in a bottle of ink. Which is great if you don't like to constantly stop and start. Stopping to dip that brush in the inkwell just makes me stop to think about my inking, and that's never a good thing. I need to keep it moving or I start to overthink the damn thing. Now, my third reason for doing this drawing was to test out my new digital camera. I decided that I wanted to work from photo reference and so put the camera on a tripod and set the self-timer to 10 seconds, stepped in front of it and said, "cheese". I then converted them to black-and-white and adjusted the contrast and printed them out. Using them for reference, I was able to make the drawing pretty fast (I thought about posting those pictures but decided that it would just be too embarassing). Basically, all I had left to do was "zombify" myself. That was the easy part.

Now, this is when the trouble began. As soon as I was done with the pencil drawing I started to fuss and fret over it, as though it were the greatest thing since sliced bread. I couldn't decide how to go about finishing it. I kept going over it in my mind as though I could solve all of the inking problems beforehand, without even putting brush to paper. I stared at this stupid thing for days, frozen and unable to bring myself to finish it. Finally, this evening, I decided that it wasn't that good to begin with and just attacked it, not worrying about how it would turn out. I needed to just FINISH it and move on, for God's sake. In the end, I'm somewhat pleased with the results, but still not completely happy with how those damn suit jackets turned out. I'll just have to keep working at it, I guess. Now, I just need to find another excuse to draw them.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Too much free time.

Many years ago my friend Jason and I discussed doing a comic with a character based on the late, great actor Warren Oates. Of course, we never actually DID anything, but it was fun to think about, and I drew this character a few times. There is just something about him that has always intrigued me. He wasn't the greatest actor by any means, but he had a certain quality about him that you just don't see anymore in Hollywood. It was in that spirit that I decided to make this piece. It doesn't mean anything at all, it's just Warren Oates punching a robot. Nuff said.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Hello there.

OK. I'm not sure what came over me. First off, I'll admit that I'm addicted to visiting blogs. ESPECIALLY "sketchblogs". I think they are incredibly fascinating. I find them to be a great source of inspiration as well. Which is something I could use more of these days. Anyway, after spending so much time looking at other people's art on-line, it occured to me that even I could probably do this. Why not? What a great way to get some art out there for people to see. It's better than having it just sit in a sketchbook or filed away in a drawer. I decided to initiate this blog with a quick self-portrait I did recently. Anyway, I think it's about time I did something like this. I hope you'll come and visit from time to time. Thanks.