Monday, May 14, 2012

Star Power!

Star Power is rising on Kickstarter! We're nearing our goal, but it still won't get funded until we reach the end and we've less than a week to go! All backers will soon be getting the erotic wallpaper and process book rewards....Our next incentive is at 6,000--and it's the biggest one yet! A set of Delilah Dragon paper dolls, full color! (In pdf form)

Preview of the dolls in process below, come and get some!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Progress work from my Kickstarter, Star Power! See how janky it looks before its polished!

I actually don't usually use photoshop for anything but the tone, but this was a complicated shot and I wanted to be able to move figures around more. I'll do the inks traditionally.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hand and Eye

What's this? The same pose drawn by two different artists? Two drawings by the same artist, three years apart? Nope. These drawings were both done by me, this morning, one right after the other. Both sketches from the same photograph (obviously,) both took about the same amount of time.

But the second one stands head and shoulders above the first in quality. Why?

This morning I was doing some quick sketches with's figure and gesture drawing tool (a fantastically useful device.) After filling sheet after sheet of copy paper with quick, hasty sketches, I came across a rather tricky pose—this woman sitting with her arms and legs folded awkwardly around her body. Unsurprisingly, I had a bit of trouble getting her pose down. And I realized that for the last several sketches I'd been paying more attention to the podcast I was listening to than the lines I was putting down.

When a sketch isn't going well, the best thing to do is start over, so I did. This time I spent a longer period of time just looking at the photo, without drawing. When I drew, I took more care to draw through the form and analyze the position of her body, applying a few of the things I’ve been learning about gesture drawing from Vilpu and Stanchfield's books.

The result is that the first drawing is sloppy, ugly and superficial. The second drawing has a better sense of gesture and form, was more fun to draw and even took a little less time.

So, why am I bothering to blog about this? Why am I moved to admit to all the internet that I drew that awful first image? Well, most places a person might go to learn about the craft of drawing, whether we're talking about art school, books about drawing or even tutorials online, will emphasize the importance of work and practice. Of doing drawing after drawing after drawing, not worrying about how well they’re going to turn out, just doing them. And I can’t stress this enough, this is very, very important. All these sources are right to stress the importance of practice. No one has ever developed great skill in art without hours and hours of practice.

But. That said, I'm going to let you in on a secret that every successful artist understands, but is rarely mentioned.

Practice is not enough. Not on its own. With all the (quite necessary) emphasis on "getting the reps in" and developing muscle memory, sometimes we forget how important it is to stop, think and see. This is why there are some people who never break a certain barrier in their artwork despite drawing hours upon hours every day. It's also why some people's artwork consistently improves even after years of success.

Even a very simple drawing, a character pinup or a still life or a small scene, has a hundred thousand potential problems and approaches an artist can consider. Problems of form, line, storytelling, stylization, abstraction, hard geometry, lighting, texture, rendering, perspective, expressiveness, contrast, anatomy, gesture, dynamism, composition, symbolism, acting, psychology, physicality...the list goes on and on. True masterpieces consider many of these things at once, integrating dozens of difficult-to-master skills and techniques to create a drawing or painting or print or sculpture that still holds up decades after its completion and has enough weight to be studied and revisited again and again.

This isn't to say a good artist will never sketch absently. Just as not every drawing is going to be good and not every day will be your best day, not everything you draw is going to be very considered or intelligent. But it's something important to keep in mind, especially if you feel you're hitting a wall with your craftsmanship. That's when it's time to look at those who came before you and see what you can learn from them, to try something different or consider a problem you would usually ignore.

The hand and arm are indispensable. But they are nothing without the brain and the eye.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Facebook doodles

Lately I've taken to calling out for random sketch requests on Facebook. Drawings of whatever silly shit people ask for usually done late at night under the influence of alcohol. Here's some of the results:

Monday, August 15, 2011

What I've been wasting my time on (part 1)

At HeroesCon, I attended an unusual panel. It was unusual in that everyone involved with the panel agreed up front that the panel was an inherently foolish idea. The panel was on humor.

You can probably guess where this is going. Trying to analyze humor can produce some interesting ideas and rarely produces anything remotely funny. There's a quote about killing frogs that sums up the idea, one alternately attributed to E. B. White and Mark Twain and if you haven't heard it yet I'm sure a little considered Googling will turn it up. My point is no one wants to talk about comedy, which is fine. It had Evan Dorkin and Roger Langridge talking about comics which was enough to put my ass in the seat.

Mostly it was just entertaining. But there was one bit of practical advice tossed out there that I came away with very grateful for. Dorkin (speaking obviously from experience) spoke of how a freeform humor anthology was a great format, because you could pull out any random idea you had sitting around and use it. And if it worked, great, if it didn't, it was only a page or two.

That advice was spot on, especially for someone like me who often writes in the short form and has a lot of very bad ideas. I mean, terrible ideas. Look at that Meatloaf comic. Seriously. But now it's out of my head and I can move on. And that feeling is so, so freeing.

It's working for me so far. I'd recommend it to anyone who had an interest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Architecture Journal!

I started an architecture journal as an exercise this past term, and have been combining it with my sketching in ink. It's off to a somewhat slow start but I like it...Savannah has so many weirdly different architectural styles. They often really, really don't mesh well, to be honest. But that's the fun part--seeing an attempt at art deco next to a bank with a portico next to a crumbling dutch colonial style house. All of these are bits of architecture from buildings I sketched around Savannah--yes, even the portico, like I said, it's on a bank.

For every building I drew that day there were a dozen more I saw that I vowed to sketch when I had the time. So much weird architecture in Savannah.

Ha. And here's proof I don't do underdrawing when I sketch in ink. Bet you didn't know Savannah had a church whose buttresses tilted at a 45 degree angle, huh? Sometimes going straight to ink with no underdrawing works out well, but for every image that turns out like this:

There are at least three that turn out like this:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Back from HeroesCon!

The con went well! My sales were only so-so, but it was worth it to meet so many delightful people. And the con sketches were so very fun. At first the requests were pretty straightforward, a lot of superhero cheesecake.

At one point I realized that my octopus prints:

...Were popular, so I stuck one up on the front of my booth. That was when the sketch requests got awesome. People love(craft) the tentacles, and I love con goers who tailor their sketch requests to what they think the artist might like to draw. Soon everything I drew had tentacles.

There was a lovely lady named Holly at the Top Shelf booth who was asking for sea monsters:

And a downright adorable couple who asked me to draw them as "Mister and Missus Cthulhu:"

On the non-tentacular side of things...since Pickles, Becca, Heidi and I registered as "Rascals, Rogues and Dames" a gentleman came up to us with sketchbook themed for Rogues and Rascals:

(Cue wah-wah trumpet at visual pun)

But by far the highlight of the sketches was an awesome new father who was walking around with sharpie pens and cotton onesies, asking people to do a sketch for his unborn daughter to wear once she popped out! I was thrilled. More than a little honored, frankly. After some consideration I offered this:

So cute! My only regret is there were so many sketches I failed to photograph, or whose photos turned out blurry. Ah well. I'll leave you with a shot of JokerButt.

(Let it haunt your dreams)