Q: "Do you post anymore?" A: "No, no, no... yes, yes. A bit, a bit."

First of all, there are no excuses, only explanations. So let me exc... er, explain. This is how the past few weeks have been:
- "Are we ever going to find an apartment in Park Slope that we like?"
- "Oh, yay! We have an apartment!"
- "Oh god, I hate working all weekend. At least I have a week's vacation after this."
- "Are you okay honey?"
- ".... What do you mean you walked to the emergency room?"
- "Okay, we're home... take your pills... and I'll... zzzzzzz....."
- "Oh, Massachusetts is lovely!"
- "Finally home. How relaxing that was. Now why am I so goddamn tired?"

Somewhere in the middle of that (the Massachusetts part) I actually did some sketching. So generally, the idea is that I'm still posting on here, in hopes the few people goodly enough to visit the blog will forgive me for the interruption in service. Your patronage is appreciated.

Not much, but here's what we've got:

I felt very classy having a drink in the Hilton Lounge before boarding a LimoLiner bus for the trip up. And yet somehow I managed to feel disappointed, because I was the only person in the room not wearing a suit. Disclaimer: above sketched while a little disoriented and imbibing alcohol.

What was I doing with this one? You guessed it: I was sitting in the living room of Ms. Smash's lovely childhood home, dividing my attention appropriately between the adventures of her nephew Dr. Ozbert and the adventures of Ed Norton as The Illusionist. So of course, I did studies of the lad, as well as Jessica Biel and... well, um, Paul Giamatti's nose, quite frankly.

Aha, character designs for a possible Zuda submission! Yes, this fellow is supposed to be manacing! So much so, in fact, that I accidentally gave him a mustache very reminiscent of some German fellow. I forgive myself, because I very politely penciled in my self-reproach right next to him. The bust in the corner, obviously, went a bit more as planned.

My evil friend here is so clever that, at the top of this page, he somehow grew himself a pair of Ben Franklin spectacles. I'm sure John Hodgman would have something to say about the success of Mr. Franklin's pandering - it got me. He's taking shape as a bit of an older man now (the glasses help, no?). And here, by the end of the page, we have the beginnings of our intrepid hero, who is emphatically not a Daniel Craig look-a-like. Really. I mean, he has dark hair, unlike the new James Blonde. Are you blind, or just suffering an unhealthy, homoerotic fixation on Daniel Craig? I'm not.

And the two meet. Someone gets bitch-slapped. Why? I hope you'll care enough to find out if/when this becomes a submission. Should that happen, I imagine I'll have to take these pics off my blog; but that would be a good thing, if it meant you could run over to Zuda and see the finished product there!

I won't get ahead of myself. I have some rough thumbnails of the sequence this all fits into, but I'll have to ponder whether those are worth posting here. Either way, keep your eyes peeled, because I'm not dead yet.

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Quickie - tell me what you think

Compare to the Wolverine sketch in my previous post. Is this digital ink going in the right direction?

... or am I missing something?

Why did I have to post this little scraplet? I dunno. Maybe I need attention every time I draw a nice line and teh Smashers is not here to provide it. Maybe I'm getting too addicted to twitter bursts. Maybe I'm just tired and going blind, and I'm going to hate myself when I try to go back to hand-inking and find out I don't have an "eraser tool."

Wolverine (c) 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc.


Some rough character studies

Nothing too impressive here, but I'm preparing to embark on a couple more "Comic-A-Day" entries, and some portfolio work thanks to twittered suggestions from Joe Quesada. I'm no prep-work impresario, but I like to do some pre-lims (including some expressive variety) for characters, since I fall easily into the cookie-cutter rut when working from scratch.

This one's for the Comic-A-Day. I haven't made a habit of doing studies for these, since they're meant to be bloggy (spontaneous), but the long-lost acquaintance this character is based on was so bizarre, I had to make sure I could get his look down.

I promise not to go fan-boy on you (though for the life of me, I don't know who I'm referring to when I say "you"). This right here is an awesome character, and if I'm to begin trying to do your standard trudge-about-the-con portfolio, he's my go-to guy. Admittedly, I love the designs from the Morrison/Quitely era of "New X-Men," so there goes the costume. Not sure, but I think the face was based unintentionally on the look from the PS2 "X2: Wolverine" game, with the idea of keeping him attractively ugly. Remember back in the day, when he was straight-up fugly?

Wolverine (c) 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc.

Last study for now. A bit less sure of myself here, but the Wolvie portfolio piece won't work without a convincing supporting cast. Here's my first shot at a Marine who's going to get a little too drunk and disorderly in a Manhattan bar, where all the Canuck wants to do is relax!

More to come (and with less of a wait this time).


Comic-A-Day: Candy In Action / I'll Kill You

The very latest. I started a few more layouts of fairly innocuous scenes from my day-to-day, but it got pretty boring. One extremely uninspiring day, I decided to light the fire by trying to adapt the lyrics from "I'll Kill You" (Postal feat. Matthue Roth), part of the free online soundtrack to Mr. Roth's awesome novel Candy In Action.

Posted with permission of Matthue Roth (what a nice guy!). Two bits now:

1) If you haven't read the book yet, or heard the song - take two seconds to leave me a comment about the sketch first, then go get the goods! I want to know if the narrative above makes any sense without having heard the song.

2) Check out www.matthue.com, www.candyinaction.com, buy the book, read it! It's fun, it's original, and I have to hand it to Matthue for the way he's marketed it with extras on the book's site. It's like the special features on a DVD, except, you know, fun and killer, instead of stale and expected. I also owe him props for the signed copy (he just has cool handwriting) I got at his open-mic reading at the 92 Y Tribeca. Oh yeah, and for giving Ms. Smash such a smashing introduction before she took the mic!

Okay, did you leave a comment? Good... now go buy Matthue's stuff. It's okay, just go. I won't mind. I promise you, when I actually have something to sell, I'll make sure you buy it. But we can see other creators. I'm not the jealous type.

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"Comic-A-Day" from 2 March - as promised


The idea here is to keep myself drawing one-page comics at least once a day. In reality, it's not going to be quite so punctual, as this weekend of showing up to work rather than sleeping in has proven already. I'll push myself to keep it as close as possible, though. Just consider the title "Comic-A-Day" a stated goal... or a quaint misnomer.

Below was sketched 2 March, with some finishing touches today during lunch, when I decided to climb on the roof of the building so none of the hundred-odd people in the facility this weekend would bug me. And damn it, two of them were up there eating! What the hell?

Goal here of course is not to produce perfect, tight pencils; I just want to produce legible, presentable roughs where I've focused on layout and visual narrative. That's where I'm really looking for anyone with some thoughts to direct their comments:
- Are the layout and individual panels easy to "read" visually?
- Do you understand clearly what's going on here? Who, what, when, where, and how?
- Is there anything that interrupts the normal (western) reading order of left-to-right, top-to-bottom?

Granted, these are just practice, so not all of the "stories" are going to be thrilling. Hopefully the more I do this, the better I'll get at picking and laying out snapshots of my day that work best in this format. To paraphrase someone's post on the Zuda Comics message board, I hope to begin "thinking in panels." (Sorry - whoever posted that, I'd love to credit you. You gave me this idea. Unfortunately, I have no damn clue where in the pages and pages of topics you made the suggestion.)

In the future, I may begin choosing some of these sketches to practice digital or traditional inking. For now, it's all blood and guts!

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I did something bad today...

Rather, I didn't do something good. I didn't draw anything today. I hope someone reads this soon so I can have people berate me... it gets tiring doing it to myself. And I'm feeling really lazy today.

So lazy, in fact, that I'm going to post some sketches from January, when Ms. SMASH and I started up our little Office of the Creating Stuffs in my basement apartment. There's newer stuff coming - check back soon for "Comic-A-Day" entries, in fact! Promise!

Anyhoo, here are a couple straight from the sketchbooks to Photoshop.

Mr. I-don't-know-who-you-are-but-you-seem-to-be-having-fun.
Yeah, I don't know who he is. Sketched on 13 January.

... and later used to practice digital "inking" with my new Wacom tablet, purchased on exchange after I decided that my initially very-cool HP Touchsmart desktop was taking a shit on me entirely too many times a week. (Note to HP: Much love. I traded in for ANOTHER HP, with a beautiful monitor much like the Touchsmart except, well, not spiteful.)

Also, get ready to be jealous of me again.

Original sketch, from the same day (and a page before, no less, but I wanted to leave you with something beautiful rather than a vaguely sophomoric drunk boy). This is Ms. SMASH herself, drawn for her blog, and her general amusement. Apologies for the quality, but this was taken with the webcam from atop the evil undead Touchsmart before I gots teh scanner (among many other things) in trade.

Lest you think I was talking too much smack about the PC that shall no longer be named, it was fun to draw directly on the screen - which is what I did here. A labor of love. And then of course I was hanging out at Jennie's apartment a week later and out of nowhere went, "Damn! Remind me to fix your picture... I forgot to put the little sparklie jewels on the outside of your frames."

Will someone please remind me tomorrow? I'm going to bed.

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Draw-A-Thon at the Gershwin

A few weeks ago (Feb 21st, to be exact) the good ol' girl and I went on a new adventure - and it didn't disappoint! We took in the Draw-A-Thon at the Gerswhin Hotel. Two rooms off the lobby were set aside for an absolute truckload of artists to draw (and enjoy) nude and semi-nude performance art. It was an absolutely fabulous chance to practice drawing from life - something I've never really put in the time to practice before.

I had a little trouble at first (and I've spared you the one or two pages where it really shows), but I realized quickly that when people are performing - even if for the benefit of some sketching - you definitely need to be, well, quick.

You can see a bit of my troubles here above (lovely non-face the one on the left has, no?). Luckily, "Mangina" (right) was lovely enough to sit still long enough for me to get a good impression of his awesomely unmistakable features.

And in the image to the left (yeah, shit's sideways - so, sue me) we can see where I was still struggling to keep up with the hustle-bustle of the main chamber. We retired to the back room - smaller, quieter, less models - where I started getting a better handle on nudes reclining on a piano, and someone with a mask and a feather-duster...

And below, at last, is the star of the show - at least, in my opinion. This sublimely beautiful woman made it easiest for me to study a variety of poses, whilst taking my time. She even had white makeup all over, making a perfect study of light and shadow.

Even then, though, I got a little antsy waiting for the next pose (how fickle) and snuck in a view of one of the other artists doing her thing.

Oh yeah, did I mention my girlfriend was with me the whole time, taking it in for her own nefarious purposes? And by nefarious, I mean her writing... not banking jealous quips for some distant argument. Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a healthy relationship.

Oh, but please do let me know if you have any pointers or general comments. In particular I'm interested in knowing what anyone thinks about the shading, postures, and balance of realism against simplification (erm, cartooning).

... Lataz!

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