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Archive for April 2011


Talking Giraffe

From the current comic strip for Jewish kids on which I'm working: a talking giraffe. I start with a 3" tall thumbnail layout of the entire page, drawn small and loose right on a printed script. Once that's blocked out, I grab the template I've prepared digitally and pencil on my Cintiq screen. All the guides for this recurring comic are embedded in a separate layer, so I don't have to measure all over again or worry about getting the specs wrong. Once done, I convert all the lines to 15% cyan and have it printed out enlarged on a 11 x 17 card stock sheet with a slightly slick surface, similar then in thickness to bristol board. I can jump right in then and ink with a couple different brushes and pens/markers, drawing the old-fashioned way at my drawing table. And I've no pencils to erase or clean up. Any inking mistakes or spotted black areas can be cleaned or filled digitally once scanned. I convert the line to vector art using Live Trace in Adobe Illustrator. All the lettering has already been done using my comic font and constructed balloons in the vector file, having dropped in the layouts as a guide. Then I turn my wife loose on the color while I begin the next page. The colors above are subject to change once we know how the whole page is shaping up. I'll post a link to the story once it sees print.


TothPix: Space Mates

Tell me these aren't a great couple of panels! Interesting cropping and expressions in the first frame, nice angles and texture in this semi-close-up inside a spaceship. And in the next, outside, the ship in silhouette, framing Space Girl in the background.

I can't help it, but those two Space Mates remind of another pair...

Probably done around the same time (or decade, at least...) that sidekick sure reminds me of Space Porky! Or is it just me...?


Rule the Earth Day

My brothers and friends and I played RISK! all the time as kids. Our family would have marathon games during the holidays that went so long we had to break down the game, mark and keep track of who had what, where, so we could continue another day. All of those we played on a board my Dad bought in the '60s, the same board I still have, what with the good ol' wooden squares for armies. (Maybe it's nostalgia, but I still prefer those simple wooden blocks to the newer versions of the game with soldier pieces.) My wife has no interest in the game, but my kids are finally old enough to play. Over the last months, my daughter, Emily and I have played four one-on-one games, splitting the wins, two a piece. On a recent trip back to Chicago, she played her first game with more players, taking on me, her cousin, her uncle...and won! She sure knew what she was doing, too, rolled dice like a monster. At times she seemed to be playing emotionally, trying to take back Australia when I took it over - but she did it. Kicked my butt back out! She had a strategy, played her cards and placed her armies just right as her Pink Horde rolled over us and Ruled the World! Not that we boys were too happy about it: Way to go, Emily! Winner and RISK Champeen! Til next time, girly...


TothPix: Sugarfoot SPLASH!

TothPix is back with a SPLASH! with a quintessential comic book panel, complete with action, vibrant color, and signature Alex Toth composition, spotting of blacks, texture, shadows and interesting cropping. We get a glimpse of Tom's backside, but his face is only partially obscured. He doesn't focus on his face, but rather the main action and humor, indicated best by not only Tom's awkward position, but the lettering of "Whooooops!" and Tom's surprised expression. What fun!

For context: the lead-in panels...

In frame 1 we see the villain of the piece, the starting gun in frame 2 and the horsemen take off in frame 3 - we're right in the middle of the action. Below, and from the following page, Toth pulls the viewer back for an establishing profile, before using a close-up to see Tom's strap SNAP! which leads to his SPLASH!

As usual, Toth doesn't mess around with perfect brushwork, instead varying shots to focus on moving forward the story, showing character and action. Some may love finer rendering, but this is what does it for me. Great stuff!

Sorry for the long hiatus from this semi-regular feature, but Toth Tuesdays has returned!


Saturday Sketch-Day: Kev

I've returned from a road trip to Madison and Chicago, fresh off Sketchbook Month of March to learn of Saturday Sketch-Day, a new weekly endeavor to help keep an artist sharp. I kick off my weekly installments with a couple sketches of my nephew, Kevin which I did while on the road. Thanks to Jody Nilsen for the invitation.