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Archive for June 2012


Dead to Me

Another cartoon by an MCAD student from our class:

Heh. Actually: I liked Zombies Calling, really liked Friends With Boys, and LOVED The War at Ellsmere, by Faith Erin Hicks. ALL recommended! Apparently, Zombies Calling was to her what Dave Sim's Cerebus was to me. Cartoon by the talented Jei Gross.


Harry, Larry & Jerry Sketch

I whipped up this Trollords drawing for a fan yesterday...

My initial sketch could barely be called pencils - just a rough guide for the ink drawing, with my trusty Niji waterbrush. Took about 15-20 minutes. Every time I draw these guys now it's like going back in time. The shapes, patterns and squiggles are so familiar to me - I drew the trolls so many times - my hand and brush fall into a rhythm. In this case, even while trying to bring something new to the characters as the cartoonist I've become, drawing is a sense memory. To view this drawing at a larger size, visit the Saturday Sketch-Day blog, and check out my pals' sketches while there!


Impressions of Don Quixote

After I'd finished my drawing of Quixote, I searched for how others envisioned him. Honore Daumier did several sketches, studies and paintings. Here are some of the best...

Great rhythm, line and shadow on this one, then he flips the canvas for a vertical shot (below) -

A nice study (above) and the finished painting (below)...

Gorgeous! Interesting that he changed the color palette to nearly all warm. Superb figures, outlines and action.

Then Don & Sancho make their way thru a dark passageway...

This study looks real good to me, but...'s another take/treatment of a similar set-up -

Picasso's Quixote is very well-known, and for obvious reasons. Striking. Lotsa people have tattooed this one on the bodies...

...and some have made sculptures...

Some artists depict Quixote not in the sun on his horse, but in his study...

..but outside is the most-used and iconic. Not sure who did this one, but even in black & white wash, one can feel the heat.

And just as well in color...

© Kevin Middleton

Lotsa great stuff! Wonderful inspiration from Cervantes' lasting character.


AlphaBooks: Don Quixote

My contribution to the Alphabooks blog this week: D is for Don Quixote, in black and white and on parchment texture -
For a slightly larger view, see Alphabooks...and check all the various entries - just look at 'em all! And we're only through "D" so far...!


TothPix - CARtoons: Zig-Zag

So much of this blog over the last 2+ years has focused on Toth's late-'50s/early '60s Dell work, which, given the content (TV and movie adaptations) dictated a somewhat realistic approach. Only a few years later (1963-1967), Toth pulled out the stops on his cartoony side with a series of fun and footloose hot rod comics for a few titles, collected in the now-rare One For the Road. Just a quick flip through those pages and it's easy to see that Toth would've held his own along side the best of the best of the MAD crew: Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Mort Drucker, Will Elder and Harvey Kurtzman, among others. Toth displays such verve, versatility and vivaciousness in these comics, writing a good chunk of his CARtoons output, drawing in a variety of styles and approaches. And though having been paid the bare minimum, it's obvious he was having a blast, playing on paper in ways not seen again til perhaps the first chapter of his Bravo for Adventure. Here's a taste -

Fun display/title lettering, a kooky narrator hanging for the side of the page, and some wild, graphic skateboarding action! The dialogue is playful, nonsensical gibberish, a bit of boppin' beatnik poetry which leads us to a zig-zag path, scattered stars, silhouettes and sound effects. As the Beach Boys said, these comics are "Fun! Fun! Fun!"

A closer look:

Superb design here with that winding series of "S" curves and twisty figure. Toth nails the twisty figure of skateboarding Billy with an ease and natural flow that could've been in many artists' hands an awkward mess. I just love that stylized, flappy hand, the stretched folds in Billy's shirt, the twist, bend and balance of the legs and feet. All of which breaks the panel border at bottom left, leading us to the two bottom panels...

Just a joy! These comics sparkle with electricity and energy - dazzling!

More next week...!


Holy Rocka Rollaz button

My buddy, Mark's band, the Holy Rocka Rollaz, is picking up steam (and gigs) this Summer, so he asked me to remaster, retool and re-purpose some hot rod art I did some time back, this time for a button. He suggested we change the background color, which was a great call! Here's what I came up with...

They're playing almost every Friday night this Summer at the History Cruzer Car Show in North St. Paul. My family and I will be out there a few times this Summer for cotton candy, cheese curds, vintage cars and classic rock 'n' roll! Check the Holy Rocka Rollaz site for details and upcoming shows.