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SpongeMonkey Character Studies

I'm working on this story, see? Doing sketches of the characters in various states. Trying a different, rougher look than my last book. Here are a couple of  the SpongeMonkey in early stages of his development...

And every monkey has his boy...

The story's really coming together now. I figured out the climax last night, I think. This is gonna be fun!


Brainy Monkey

For my next story, SpongeMonkey - a study of a Monkey in his Study.


LIVE from the Web, it's bluemoontoons!

I'm hitting the ground running with my new WebComics site, bluemoontoons, updating twice-weekly pages of our first featured comic, Terror Tots! This strip will run in full color for 40-odd pages before the next new feature begins. Thanks to co-creator and my pal, Len Strazewski for the funny script of our group of unique quintuplets.

bluemoontoons comes jam-packed with a full archive of 40+ pages of comics, comprised of all the toons that had been up here at In addition, I've added a couple comics which have seen print recently: Lodged, a short story for the Bigfoot-in-a-suit comic, Proof by Alex Grecian and Riley Rossmo (Proof #16 and Proof Book 5: Blue Fairies); and Pippi Van Wrinkles, from the Fractured Fables hardcover book from Image.

Check in at bluemoontoons Thursday when a Tot first encounters their arch nemeses!


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.



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....


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.


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.


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...  


Grampa Fisheye

Drawn with Manga Studio, no pencils... from this photo... The idea of working from reference is to not copy directly, but make a few changes, add and delete. Augment, exaggerate, make it your own. Tomorrow: Taking the drawing challenge/exercise one step further....