Monday, August 22, 2011

Wotta Dump

Huge load of life drawing. You know, because jobs.

These are all from Karl Gnass' life drawing class, which he holds through the Animation Art Institute in Burbank. He is an incredible instructor and a funny guy. For the first time I feel like I am able to get appealing drawings from live models, after years of struggling (though the struggling still hasn't stopped).

Monday, April 11, 2011


Here are some of the better drawings I've done in the past few months:

Friday, November 19, 2010

Self Portrait

This is why I draw so slow. For every two minutes I spend drawing I waste ten minutes sitting and thinking. It's ridiculous because I don't even draw moody comics. Am I wasting a valuable asset? Should I harness my brooding for better art? My next comic will have some emotional depth to it, but it will be upbeat overall. Some time down the road I must test my mighty emo powers.

Cassandra broods a lot, too, but she can draw and brood at the same time.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cloud Construction

The latest strip I did over at Little Reading featured a huge swath of clouds that cut through the whole comic. While drawing the clouds, I tried to follow the construction hierarchy method that John Kricfalusi often discusses on his blog.

First I laid out the space on the page I wanted to be taken up by the clouds. Here my goal was to use the clouds to lead the eye across the strip, while being dynamic and pleasing. On the right side I'd already begun the next phase, when I decided it might be nice to scan and post my progress on this comic.

The next step was to lay down the lines that would give the clouds shape and construction. I tried to keep the look and flow looking natural. My thoughts were of a "vortex of clouds," and so i made the clouds swirl around like a funnel.

The final step was to draw in the minor details that would give the clouds character, make them read as clouds. I also experimented with some stylistic swirls. While drawing, I worked from the left side of the strip to the right, and I feel that towards the right side I was drawing the clouds a little more confidently. The left side would have benefited from being reworked, but, well... with comics I try to keep moving forward, get it done, move onto the next.

This final drawing is the comic as it looked just before I inked. I tried to work some monsters into the background. The whole comic at this point has been fairly abstract in the background details: Holly is boxing with a vampire, Tenenbaum, and gradually the environment has become more and more monster-themed. In this comic the action has been brought up to a climax, and the monsters have come out in full force to add to the excitement.

And that's how I do it! You can find the final product here. I've learned a lot while drawing this story, which you can see by comparing today's comic to the first strip. Certain elements of cartooning can only be learned if you strap yourself to a single project for a length of time. Working on a project, limiting yourself in scope, is a good way to pick up those skills that can only be gained through rigorous practice. I hope you found this post useful!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Either I don't know the tricks for exporting video from Flash or Flash is just awful at it. How do other people handle this program?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tezuka Practice Number One

This is my copy of page 59 from the Astro Boy story "Robot Land." I tried to mimic everything as best I could, though I was a little slipshod on the lettering. The scene here is Astro punching a dragon robot to pieces, then facing off against Lord Satan and his Supernipples (which sometimes shoot lightning and sometimes shoot laser beams). The point of this exercise was to see not only how Tezuka drew but to maybe come to understand how he drew so fast. As anyone familiar with his work knows, he was incredibly prolific over his lifetime, producing 150,000 pages of comics while also juggling the needs of his animation studio.

Manga artists from the 40's, 50's, and 60's survived by drawing fast and printing cheap, a philosophy that seems lost in most mainstream American comics today. Just because a comic is drawn quickly does not mean it can't be lively and entertaining, which I tried to preserve in the copy above. Actually, that copy took me all day to draw, but that's because I'm unfamiliar with a lot of the inking techniques Tezuka used. A lot of tinkering was needed for me to finish the page.

I don't feel comfortable scanning and posting a page from a licensed comic without permission, but I highly advise anyone interested in fun, funny, and adventurous comics to go hunt down the original. (I got my copy from Amazon for less than $2) The print that I have is Dark Horses' collected Astro Boy volume #4.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nosferatu Sketches

Nosferatu looked pretty harmless at first, with his silly hat and his weak old man demeanor.

That didn't last long, though. After spending some time on the gorgeous veranda below, Jonathon (sic) went back to the castle to see the terrifying Nosferatu below. He just stood there, still as a corpse, and then walked forward with a stiff, shuffling gate. It's a walk mimicked so often in pop culture, but this first Monster Walk was by far the best.

Sorry for the small size of the drawings below. They're larger if you click on the image. This is the middle part of the movie, where Jonathon is confronting the vampire and Nina, through some mystic psychic connection, tries to go to Jonathon in her sleep. Every shot looked like a painting. Unfortunately, the youtube copy of Nosferatu I was watching had a kind of farty-sounding oboe providing the soundtrack for this part, which damaged the intense emotional pitch the visuals were creating.

Renfield's keeper had the best handlebar mustache. The best! My drawing does not approach its majesty.

Below is the first mate from the doomed ship that carried Nosferatu, and below that are some drawings of Renfield. The drawings of the first mate are a good before-and-after of when he tried to confront the vampire. This part of the film has the famous shot of Nosferatu rising through some unseen magic from his coffin. After that, we get to see Renfield behaving like a lunatic, which is always the best part of any Dracula film.

Below are the captain and first mate of the doomed ship. The captain had some crazy captain whiskers, and looked like he could sail a ship through solid rock if he needed to.

Nina (normally called Mina) had very manly features, but was nonetheless alluring. I'm not sure why this beach was covered in crosses. Could they be graves? Wouldn't the graves be uncovered by wind and water? Anyone have a good explanation? Anyways, it looked amazing.

More Nosferatu, as well as Tenenbaum. The purpose behind watching the film was to provide inspiration for the next leg of the Tenenbaum storyline, which I will try to continue tomorrow.