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Archive for December 2011


TothPix: Happy New Year!

Okay, so I re-wrote the text from this Alex Toth comics panel. Sue me.

Best to you and yours this holiday season and for the coming New Year.


TothPix: Bikini Boom

A couple great stand-along panels/illustrations by Toth, not sure for what he did these, but they're cool, drawn solely with markers by the looks of it. Nice composition, figures, shadows, crosshatch tone, folds, cropping & characters. Super cropping on this second, too. The clothing folds boldly rendered with thick marker - no messing around. The spotted blacks/shadows create interesting shapes and patterns. As is usual, Toth varies his textures (grass, sidewalk, purse, fur, crosshatch skirts) to avoid flatness. The tiny marks and jots in the grass and on the sidewalk also lead the eye through the drawing, mirroring patterns and motifs of other elements.


TothPix: Villains & Bats

Here's a fun one!


Alphabeasts: I is for Imp

Once I'd decided to draw an Imp creature for my Alphabeast entry this week, I knew I wanted to keep it simple - no composition, no black areas, just character and goofy fun. I began with a quick blue line rough in Manga Studio. Nice and loose, but the gesture and construction is there. I was shooting for a rough look on the finished piece, so tried inking with the brush tool in MS, but didn't like the look at all (above). So I inked with the pen tool as usual. I think I lost something in the tongue and while the hands are still expressive, I wish I'd done better. I added some details as I'd intended and some that came to me while inking. I changed the swoop of the tail. Since I gave up the rough look in the inks, I decided to give the colors a rough, chalky look. Though some coloring was done flat initially, and I used the opacity flow marker tool in Photoshop, the chalk tool was used for the rest, whether darkening areas as I modeled or lightening for highlights. I colorized most of the lines but kept his eyes and hair black to pop 'em.

I wanted a general light fleshy tone, pink in particular spots, a yellowish cast to the lighter areas. The purple-blue shadow was the final touch to balance the mainly warm tones used throughout. He turned out fun! But...NSFW?

Alphabeasts is a 26-week project, a blog where artists of all types and stripes contribute a mythical beastie any old way that suits them, as long as it's a new drawing or sketch of a creature whose name begins with the letter for that week. Check out a cornucopia of crazy creatures by an amazing array of artists at the Alphabeasts archive, and be sure to check in every Monday.


Christmas Deadlines


I know - not so cheery. Just an image/idea that came to me, though I'm not particularly feeling Christmas stress this year - I can't afford to.  C'mon, even Santa has to take the edge off as the Dreaded Deadline Doom looms....

With a lot of my drawings lately I've planned them for color, but sometimes like the black & white art better. Not so with this one. It works all right, but seems way too busy to me. The dramatic, muted flat color helps simplify the piece some. It began simpler, with a very rough pencil, leaving much of the drawing again left for the inking stage. As I drew, I added detail and busy-ness - too much, as I said.


My Life According to XTC

I grabbed this from my Facebook Notes, an exercise/game using only song names from one artist/band to the answer the questions below. I chose my second favorite band to describe My Life According to XTC:


From a super-cool site, Sleeveface; this one by Wolfgang Egberts and Antonia Jenner

  • Are you a male or female: The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
  • Describe yourself: The Mayor of Simpleton
  • How do you feel: Burning With Optimism's Flames
  • Describe where you currently live: Playground
  • If you could go anywhere, where would you go?: Desert Island
  • Your favorite form of transportation: That Wave
  • Your best friend?: Brainiac's Daughter
  • You and your best friends are: Stupidly Happy
  • What's the weather like: Season Cycle
  • Favorite time of day: Ballet For A Rainy Day
  • If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Easter Theatre
  • What is life to you: We're All Light
  • Your fear: Cynical Days
  • What is the best advice you have to give: Knuckle Down
  • Thought for the Day: Don't Lose Your Temper
  • How I would like to die: In Another Life
  • My soul's present condition: Train Running Low on Soul Coal

XTC 4ever!


Two Alphabeasts: From Start to Finish

I couldn't find time to draw up my "G" Alphabeast til that week was nearly up, though it was one I'd been looking forward to for weeks. I finally drew and posted it just under the wire late Sunday night: G is for Gallu. Gallu are underworld demons from Mesopotamian mythology, beasts which haul off unfortunate victims off to the Realm of Death. Rather than drawing a single demon, the image that popped in my head immediately was a bevy of beasties below the surface in the dark, threatening the innocent above. My roughs/pencils were very loose... ...even more loose than I thought they'd be, looking back again. Yep, I inked from those squiggles, and perhaps I was able to because I did all the inks immediately and wanted to produce it quickly, saving most of the drawing for the inking stage. Which turned out like this: If I'd allowed myself more time or return to the piece to make a more finished art print, I'd vary the creatures more, change the composition slightly here or there. And what I'd envisioned as a single color for below the surface need a few spot colors added to separate and pop elements. I may darken the dirty purple, gradate from that color above to a deep, dark red below. For "H" I was able to complete on the day intended, as new Alphabeasts are technically due and best unveiled every Monday. Maybe my Babooon Monster, or Hihi is more baboon than monster, but he's pretty gnarly, I think. I used a small bit of reference, but only as a loose guide; I determined the angle and pose separately. Again, my rough is on the scant side, just enough to go on... I did most of my drawing in the inks, figuring details, shapes, approach and shadows on the fly. As much as I like the black and white line art (it stands on its own, I think), I already had a plan for the colors, which were fun to do. Double light source, cool from the left, warm from the right, a more neutral dark brown in the middle, with a bit of yellow, red, pink and magenta to pop the violent eyes and add some spice. Alphabeasts is a 26-week project, a blog where artists of all types and stripes contribute a mythical beastie any old way that suits them, as long as it's a new drawing or sketch of a creature whose name begins with the letter for that week. Check out a cornucopia of crazy creatures by an amazing array of artists at the Alphabeasts archive, and be sure to check in every Monday.


Goon Doodle

Quick sketch of a surprised/frightened goon. Took maybe a minute. Drawn with the Chisel Tip Pen in Sketchbook Pro.


TothPix: Young Samson

young Samson 'Nuff said.


Grampa Fisheye, Revisited

Having done a character sketch based on a photo, I tried a few more stabs at Grampa Fisheye without the benefit of reference, save but my initial drawing. It's a challenge to keep on model as one explores various angles and expressions. What is lost in this process? What is gained? The old coot can't always be grumpy, so a smiley profile was up next... He still kinda looks like himself. Not bad. But not so great with the arms & shoulders. How about a full figure shot? I tried to expand on the character, add personality with body language and gesture. This is the pose that first popped into my head after that initial sketch. But the details we're foggy. I wasn't sure what he was going to do with his hands, which tell a story. Somehow I ended up drawing him pulling his wallet from his pocket, perhaps suggested by him leaning forwards, finger on chin. Now I figure he may be considering a purchase at a garage sale. There's more than a little of my Mom's Uncle Bill in these two drawings above. As I set out, I just wanted to draw like myself, in my own style, but had the work of Alex Toth in the back of my mind. It didn't turn out that way at all. I see some Robert Crumb and Will Eisner influence crept into the drawing. That might have something to do with the nature of the Manga Studio pen tool? One more... For this one, I first did a quick rough, inking on another layer. I wanted him to be giving the viewer the Hairy Eyeball, but from a different angle. I was going for less harsh and crusty, but wonder if he became too round and friendly? This drawing reminds me a bit of character actor S.Z. Sakall. Hmm. Uncle Fisheye. Will he appear in a story or comic, or is this it for him? Time and the creative process will tell...