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.

Labels: ,


"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!

Labels: ,


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.

Labels: , , ,


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!

Labels: , ,

Here goes...

If you're reading this, I'm amazed. To be honest, the only time I've tried to blog was on myspace (not exactly professional, I know), and even then, at my absolute best I churned out the occasional rant, doing my damnedest to be witty, verbose, and biting. At my worst, by the way, I churned out results from quizzes like "Which Looney Tune are you?"

That's not my purpose here. My blogger sketchbook is just that: an interweb extension of the sketchbooks I carry with me most everytime I leave home.

See, I've loved drawing since I was a kid. I started out young, drawing my favorite characters by rote imitation. Then, the magic happened: I developed my first mental toolkit for how to break out on my own, via the godsend that is How to Draw Comics the MARVEL Way. I mark that as the moment in history when I officially started teaching myself how to draw.

My commitment has been sketchy, though. I have this problem with my imagination - since childhood I've daydreamt of a million and one things I'd like to be when I grow up (I still do it). I thought my last aspiration to professional art died when I turned down my acceptance to the Kubert School (I still regret that! What a place! And to be accepted there, no less!)

Today I find myself inspired again by a wonderful, wonderful woman I had dimly hoped against hope would exist somewhere out there (you may know her as Jennie SMASH!) and her near and dear friends. From 2004 to the start of this year, I filled roughly 40 pages of a yellowing sketchbook in occasional fits and starts; since the renaissance of Miss SMASH, I've filled more than that amount in the past two months. God forbid, I had to go buy more sketchbooks!

And now I find myself hungering to do anything and everything to get into the good habits that'll make me not just a dreamer, but a producer - a creative machine. If I want to do anything with this, I've got to churn out something - ANYTHING! - on a regular basis, until it's second nature. I love to sit around daydreaming much as the next bloke, but I see Will Eisner's early start in The Dreamer, the endless pursuit to create something day in and day out and flood the drawing board until something really sticks, and I WANT THAT!

But I need something else - I need to follow up on what I've started and reach out to others, seek advice, criticism, feedback. And I need to build an audience (even - especially - a casual one!) that expects me to deliver something on the reg, even if it's not my best. I need that audience, if they'll be so kind, to leave comments on my sketches, so I can take in a broad sweep of what makes people ooh and ah, what they find clear, what they find confusing, and what they find downright unappealing. After all, I want more than just to doodle (I've been doing that for years)... I want to make things that people will consume and enjoy, and maybe even treasure.

Will you be my audience?

Labels: , ,