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Archive for January 2012


Gotta Dance!

A Dr. StrangeTroll by my Trollords pal and co-creator, Scott Beaderstadt brought about this sketch of the happy Jerry dancin'.

Roughs & inks were done in Manga Studio, color in Photoshop.


TothPix: Clint and Mac part 2

Continuing some favorite stuff from Alex Toth's Clint & Mac, story pages 5-8. As always, you can refer to and read in its entirety at Michael Sporn's splog.

Page 5, panel 2 - Nice cropping, depth, blocking and composition. Even if we can't see every bit of every character, we see all their expressions, even as he focuses our attention on that package. A tilt of a head, slant of a brim, and angles of the collar, book and cigarette lead the reader's eye through the back & forth through the panel.

This last panel of the same page was colored strangely, what with a bright orange on the bus and and inexplicable bright red on the side of the building - so I blew out the color to better see this 3/4 overhead. Great composition, perspective, angles, detail, shadows and reflections. The four principle characters are not centered, but offset within the drawing. Sharp stuff!

Cool action panel; the bottom tier of page 6. Besides a few action and impact lines, the action is naturalistic - Toth lets folds, shadows and flailing ties carry and convey most of the action. Mac's pose is a little static, but it's fun to see his fist in the face of that doofus. I love how Clint's own fist juts into and obscures part of his face.

Page 7, panel 1: Low POV as the brutes make their escape, silhouetted legs in the foreground.

Another character is introduced a couple panels later, distinct from all the others we've already seen. Toth mixes it up! Nice background detail and slanting shadows.

Simple panel, the last of the page. He keeps the lower half of the frame open, so the car really pops, and boy could he drew 'em! It's fairly centered in the panel for a change, yet with the exhaust, curve of the street, sidewalk and wall, it's interesting. Not much going on with  drawing here, it seems, but he conveys plenty with what he does draw - the dots and slashes for foliage, a few bricks, a simple holding line for the smoke trail and those patented dots on the street for texture.

Atop page 8, Toth leads off with these two sweet frames across the top tier. Strong verticals frame and separate the space, but it's the curves and angles he uses that link the two, lead the eye through and again highlight the important objects: the coin and the package. A hand, a hat, a head and the car obscure and crop faces and figures. The head tilt on Mr. Toby is very well drawn - completely natural. In the second panel, if we'd see more of him we wouldn't focus as much on the transfer of that package.

Here's a closer look...

And of the other...

Thank you, Mr. Toby! See you next week, folks.



I've been taking stabs at capturing actress Paulette Goddard for many, many years, and have yet to do her justice. Difficult and elusive to catch her personality, that light in her eye and sparkle in her smile...but I'll have fun continuing to try....


Wizard Monkey

Well, this one sure was fun! My client, Matt McCabe asked me to do up for his site my spin on a cross between Dr. Strange and the monkey from Family Guy and this is what I came up with. The image above shows the stages of work, from rough pencil, to ink, and color - all digital. For context, here's how Matt used the image at his SemiTechnical site. Look over rest of his stuff, too and perhaps avail yourself of his services - he's a good guy!


eMinis Sculpture: M is for Mermaid

Emily's Alphabeast this week is a sculpey Mermaid, done on her 12th birthday!

Don't forget to visit her eMinis etsy shop for turtles, doughnut earrings, aliens and Jake the Dog.

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.


TothPix: Clint and Mac part 1

I blogged last week about a favorite Toth panel, so I've caught the bug and will feature favorite panels/pages from his Clint & Mac adaptation, which you can read in its entirety at Michael Sporn's splog.

Nice opening panel to kick off the Clint & Mac story. It's a straight-on, symmetrical shot, the POV from slightly below. Great, casual body language on the characters, mid-step, each with a cock of the head. Those spotted blacks ground the frame; so solid. The shadows add to that, and fall so naturally. We should all study and observe light source and shadows as Toth obviously did.

The lower tier of page 1 (below) are easy-going and simple, introducing the characters. I like 'em. Though the frame is split down the center compositionally, the figures are Frame Right. Again with the natural posing/acting.

The long horizontal middle frame of page 2 features tons of characters and establishes the boys' surroundings. Welcome to their world!

I love this, the last frame of page 2: interesting characters and expressions; Toth smartly overlaps and crops figures and objects to create depth and planes. And they're all looking off-panel, the tortoise having been shown in the previous frame.

Page 3, top tier: The same guy with Clint 'n' Mac, in a medium shot and from behind in an open panel. Nice.

I like this old guy, too...

Page 4, 1st panel: Classic Toth! This kind of superb shot shows up many times in his work later in his career. Mysterious goings-on. The coloring ain't too great, so I blew it out to see the black-and-white. Marvelous! Solid blacks/shadows, loose brushstrokes, dashes of white within shadow, a bit of feathering and specks for texture.

Page 4, middle tier: low angle, book in foreground; a couple more interesting characters with varied body types and face shapes; spot those blacks; from behind again; smart cropping.

Last panel of page 4: Layers and planes, more cropping for depth and interest. Great stuff!

More next week!


TothPix: Clint & Mac - Close the Hatch

Years ago, sometime within the last decade, while rooting my way through the archives of scans of Alex Toth pages at the site, I was struck by one panel in particular: a shot of two arms coming up through and opening to close a hatch behind them.

It reinforced for me the idea that Toth would often make unorthodox choices in his storytelling, an approach to material unlike anyone I'd seen. Most artists would show the two boys from below, or from above - in any case we'd see an anxious face or scurrying bodies. Instead, Toth frames the hands and closing hatch through a window from inside the boat adding drama and focusing our attention not on the boys but the main action. From such a low angle, we see just enough to establish planes and depth, where the hands emerge from the opening.

This may seem unremarkable or unassuming, but to me it's daring - superb storytelling and picture-making.

Upon first viewing, I neglected to grab and download the page/story, so for a few years couldn't place where I'd seen it! I scoured his stories to find (for me) this elusive panel (story page 21, panel 6), to finally come upon it in his wonderful Clint and Mac - an adaptation of a Disney TV serial from the Mickey Mouse Club show.

I've tried my best to explain why, but it's one of my all-time favorite Toth panels. No one else would do it this way, especially in 1960. You can view/read the entire story in a couple posts at Michael Sporn's blog. In the next few weeks here I'll be analyzing some stand-out pages and panels. (I should note I took some liberties with the frame above, tweaking and cleaning for clarity.)

'Til next week -- !


eMinis Sculpture: Sunlight Spirit

My daughter, Emily decided to contribute this week to the Alphabeasts project with one of her eMinis sculptures. "L" is the letter this week, so she chose Ljósálfar, a Sun Spirit from Norse mythology.

If you like the looks of this, check out her eMinis etsy shop!

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.