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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Drew a caricature of Kris Straub during last night's live cast of Tweet Me Harder.

I started working on a Malki, but the show ended before I finished. If I remember to, I'll draw David when the video is posted later. For now the drawing of Straub can just feel very important in a blog post all by himself!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Theory Sketches

Did a couple caricatures of Vladimir Nabokov and critic Lionel Trilling, recently featured in Uncle Eddie's Theory Corner.

Trilling's face (above) was drastically different depending on what angle he was facing the camera. His eyes were always kind of sunken and desperate, which I wish I had exaggerated a little more.

Nabokov's bean was round and squishy regardless of the angle, and his thick glasses often obscured his eyes from the camera, making him seem very withdrawn and mysterious. His manner of speech was also very reserved. I felt that there was a big sheet of glass preventing us from seeing Nabokov's entire personality too clearly, not just his eyes. If I were to draw him again I would choose a facial expression that better described that idea. It seems I figure out the best parts of a person after I've already finished my refined caricature of them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deep Creek

Here are a couple sketches inspired by a trip Cassandra and I took to the Mojave Desert during Memorial Day.

The area was called Deep Creek near the Bowen Ranch. The creek itself is accessible through a 2-3 mile trek through steep sandy mountainsides. All over the place were small, scraggly shrubs and piles of rocks like the one below.

The creek is famous for its hot springs, which were as hot as a jacuzzi but filled with algae. My brand-new swim trunks (I didn't bring any from South Carolina) became covered in green slime. There were a few nude bathers around, but they tended to be middle-aged, overweight men with sunburns on unfortunate places. -_-

Cassandra and I had plenty of fun exploring the area, and it's feasible we may return eventually, but there are lots of other cool hiking spots to visit in the meantime.

Oh! Here's a general list of the critters we saw on the trip:
1. Crows
2. Mini-bears (prairie dogs)
3. Small, scaly lizards
4. Rattle Snake eating a mouse
5. Mouse (being eaten by a snake)
6. Bobcat!!!!!!
7. Frog eggs
8. Either a hawk or a really big crow.
9. Quails

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Egyptian Girl and Naked Man

These were done several weeks apart. The naked man came first, and I feel I improved by the time I was drawing the Egyptian girl. I'm not sure if I should draw a comparison, though, because the top drawings look like they were maybe 2-minute sketches whereas the Egyptian girl drawings were probably done in 5.

The girl drawings have much more exaggeration, which is why I like them. My teacher for that class, Joel Fajnor, really stressed exaggeration and I think some of it stuck.

These are probably the last life drawings I'll post for a while. For my next blog post I'd like to do something a little different.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Viking Lady

I must admit that I have an easier time drawing heavy-set more than skinny models. When I draw a model with weight I have an easier time picking out major forms and shapes.

Her belt neatly divided her body into two parts that were easy to draw.

Later on we did some long poses and those weren't nearly as good. I had an easier time taking a gestural approach to this figure.

The long robe and cape were fun and created interesting design elements that I could exaggerate. Like I said before, I find costumed models far more fun to draw than nudes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Life Drawings

All of the life drawings here were of the same gentleman, whose name was John. He dressed as both the dapper industrialist and also the pirate, and later on he dressed as a cowboy but I missed that session.

Not much to say about these, really. Some of them are going into my storyboard revisionist portfolio. I have a few more of these to post, then I'll try to put up something more interesting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ballerina Sketches

I've got a bunch of life sketches that I'll be unrolling over the next few days. Why dump them all at once?

Personally, I prefer costumed models over nude. Nude models tend to give the same sorts of poses over and over, but costumed models will roleplay their poses.

Place that head right damnit! I should fix that above drawing, but I have so much other, more important drawing to do right now.

That's it for now! I have much better life drawings coming, and I'm going to another session this sunday.

I haven't done a journal post for a while, so I'll just mention really quickly what I've been up to.

My internship at Nickelodeon just wrapped up last Friday, but not everything finished then. Today I came back to the studio for an intern lunch with Butch Hartman, and this Friday I'll be attending a class on how to pitch a show to Nickelodeon. Nick is special in that anyone within the studio is capable of pitching a show, but that doesn't mean that all of the pitches will be picked up. About 2 or 3 pitches are accepted per year to be made into pilots, and they are usually done by folks who have enough connections and experience to be able to put a show together.

Since leaving Nick, I've been wrapping up some projects that have been put on hold for the past few weeks. I am working on a small book illustration project for a friend from when I was in high school, I'm still revising a script for a different friend, and my girlfriend and I have been collaborating on a comic. The comic is still in early stages and it has yet to be seen just how far it will go, but I'm optimistic that this will be a good project to grow on.

I still need to put my storyboard revisionist portfolio together, and once that's done I'll try my luck at a couple different Nick shows. If I don't catch some of the jobs open right now, there will be another chance in fall when some more pilots are picked up for their first seasons. During the internship I got along well with one of the creators, Doug Lawrence, and from what I've seen his pilot is just the kind of project I'd want to work on: silly, cartoony, and hand-drawn.

I'm signed on to a lease here in CA until January, so I'll be trying my damndest to survive until then. If nothing's happened by January, then I'll consider looking for employment in other states, probably closer to friends and family. It gets so lonely out here sometimes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Even More Gifts

Drawing for Mark Taylor, GM of Nickelodeon. He was kind enough to give a chat to all us interns, and even saw me in person a couple times. Mark's a good boss for everyone in the studio.

Andy Goodman's been a good guy to work with. He's a Production Assistant on Spongebob, and so I worked very closely with him throughout the semester.

Clint Bond has been very gracious to lend me his time and teach me the finer points of storyboard drawing. Actually, I still need to give him this drawing, so I'll go do that now!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Gift Drawings!

Armay Roque was my co-intern on Spongebob, and along with Christian Snyder we were a formidable interning trio. Ashley and Josilin are the lovely ladies who put together the intern program, and so I am greatly indebted to the both of them. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fashion Lady

I was going to clean this photo up more, but I liked the way the drawing was looking at this stage:

This is a gift to Joel Fajnor, who taught a life drawing class for us Nickterns the past semester. Joel has a background in fashion, and that knowledge really came through in the way he taught. Only two teachers ever pushed on me the non-usage of erasers, and they were both trained in the fashion business.

Thanks, Joel!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Poo Slip

I decided that I'll just use youtube for the time being. Blogger's video sharing is far too annoying for me.


Friday, May 7, 2010

The Gams

I gave this away as a parting gift to my fellow Nicktern on Spongebob, Christian Snyder. We had a really good semester together with never a sour moment. He wrote and drew a book, called I Can Get Ready For School.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do You Like To Be Frightened?

This is a life drawing I was working on for my portfolio, and I made this cool image from it by playing with curves. The drawing that was behind this drawing in the paper pad suddenly showed through; it wasn't visible before! That makes it a ghost drawing.

The Meat

Trying to draw a different body type and emotional effect with each sketch. The last one was kind of retarded/mischievous. This guy is more dumb/cruel/cocky.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Gunman

I liked this one a lot, so I decided to give it to Tuck Tucker, who's been helping me out a lot at the studio. Every day I'm pestering him for help, and even though he often has to send me away because of work he always manages to speak with me eventually. This semester we interns were fortunate enough to have had Tuck teach us how to do a rough board, starting from a premise and making a bunch of childish drawings to describe it. Today was our final day for that class. It's an honor that he took time out of his busy schedule to help us interns learn some useful production knowledge.

Anyways, thanks a lot, Tuck!