Tuesday, December 05, 2006

How about some art?

After a great Gnomon Live weekend seminar, I'm back into my sketchbook:

It's about time. I have lots and lots of catching up and learning and work to do. Iain McCaig is a very inspiring guy, as are Craig Mullins and Dan Milligan, who were also there.

So there will be more of these since I'm going to draw in my sketchbook every day, or else.

I'm working on the Hellboy sketch cards now, which will be filling up my evenings and weekends until Xmas. After that I will be able to just power thru my Eon Challenge piece, and then I can relax.

Don't worry, the comic will be up too. Draw draw draw!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Well, I Failed.

OK, so I didn't get the comic done. Between going to see the Rolling Stones, having The Parents over for Thanksgiving, spending all day Friday and Saturday at Disneyland, and yesterday being a day of total exhaustion and laying on the couch...

Well, I didn't have any drawing time. So I failed. Sorry everyone.

New comic will be up on Thursday as usual. I'm a week behind, so I'll try to add a bonus comic sometime in January, which will be the earliest I can make time. I have sketch cards and Eon project to finish, sigh.

Always too much to do, never enough hours.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

This Week's Comic

Is probably going to be a bit late, though I'm going to try to get it up on Thursday, because I got surprised with a pair of Rolling Stones tickets for my birthday, and the show is Wednesday night, which is when I usually do the comic. Since TGF's parents are coming to visit, we have a lot to do tonight (Tuesday) in preparation, so I probably can't get done by Wednesday night.

I hope you will be patient... for sure it will be up Friday, so come back then to see it. Thanks!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sketch Updates

First, here's some heads I did at the CAPS meeting last night, where our guest was Drew Struzan:

(Click to enlarge) These are sort of stemming from all the character work I did on Sopranos. I learned a huge amount about how heads and faces are constructed from doing all those photo-realistic people, but until I did these I haven't really been going after that sort of art away from work (haven't done any since finishing Sopranos at work, either), and seeing Drew's work reminded me that I'd done a lot of it, and maybe I should try some more on my own.

These two heads are done without reference, just out of my head. I liked the one on the left, but when I scanned it in I did something that I do all the time when drawing digitally that can be hard to do on paper; I flipped the image horizontally, and found this:

(Click to enlarge) Now, the older bald guy still looks pretty good, but you can clearly see the flattening distortion of the other guy's face, and his eyes are not situated properly, one is lower than the other, and the ear is at a funny angle. Actually if you cover up the top half of the guy's head, covering the eyes and higher, the lower half of the face looks good. It's nothing I wouldn't be able to fix, it's just a lot harder using traditional media.

Now, here's some quick new stuff for the Eon challenge, also done during the meeting - when else do I have time to draw??

(Click to enlarge) These are a couple of quick views of one scene that I might illustrate, just going for layout and composition.

(Click to enlarge) And this is a take on what I saw in my head for another scene, which could become a component of yet another scene I might paint. A couple of other artists are also messing with this scene though, so I would really have to nail it and feel extra confident to complete that as my final submission. I'm probably going to develop as many as five or six different ideas up to color comp stage before choosing what I'll end up finishing out.

I have a "Me Weekend" this week so along with all the other stuff I'm doing I will squeeze in some more sketching on this.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Hellboy Sketch Cards, Sopranos

I've got a new project coming up! I'm doing a set of sketch cards for the Hellboy: Sword of Storms animated film that just recently aired on Cartoon Network! Here's the announcement page with a couple of my sample cards shown on it - scroll down a bit. I'm psyched! :)

I've had to turn down quite a few outside jobs since I started here at Seven, because I've been really busy here and we did have quite a bit of crunch time up to when we finished the Sopranos game. And that's okay, but I do like doing the sketch cards, they're relatively quick and fun and a good way to keep my name out there. This particular set is a great opportunity and the logistics are very compatible with my schedule, so I jumped at the chance. I mean, come on! Mike Mignola's doing a set of these! Along with all the other great artists, it's some good company.

As always, many thanks to Tone Rodriguez for giving me the call on this.

The cards won't be out until next year, but of course I'll let you all know when they come out.

There are a couple of my sketches up on the Sopranos game site, which you can see here (may require you to enter your birthdate, but nothing else, for age verification). Mine are just the first two on the Bada Bing page. They're drawings I made when we were trying to figure out how to lay out the Bada Bing in the game, it explains that. The funny thing is, I'd already been in the "main bar" area a few dozen times, because it's a strip club called Satin Dolls on Rt. 17 in New Jersey. They don't film the inside of it there now, but the original pilot and some of the first season they did use the actual location, and they still use it for exterior shots. We had a lot of trouble figuring out some of the interior, because the set changed in some pretty fundamental ways over the first 3 seasons, so we'd be looking at shots from episodes and things would be in different places every time! So we came up with a good layout that kept everything in but still made sense and feels right in the game. And all you Jersey buddies of mine who've been there will get a kick out of seeing it and walking thru it in-game.

BTW, the Sopranos game ships tomorrow, and should be in stores either tomorrow evening or first thing Wednesday morning. Go buy it, it's fun! Assuming you're over 18, of course... it's a "Mature Audiences" only game.

I haven't been doing Eon project sketches because I'm still reading the book and taking notes. There are some really great scenes that need illustratin', but I want to get all the way thru before I choose what I'm going to do. I'd like to do a really wild environment that integrates some of the main characters, and there's no shortage of such scenes. I should be able to finish the book by this weekend, and then I'll really start cranking. It's actually quite an interesting story - I was a bit worried as it felt a bit slow at the start, but it's going along very well now and I'm enjoying it a lot. It will be fun to paint a nice piece or two for it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First sketch for CG Challenge

I was able to read a bit of the the book Eon that the CG Challenge is based on, so I can start sketching on things. This is what the Orbital Transfer Vehicle looked like in my head as I was reading (as always, click to enlarge):


I'll be doing sketches for a while, since I have to read the whole book before I figure out what exactly I'm going to illustrate. Until then I'll just be drawing different things and scenes as I read, to get ideas down and grow my visual understanding of the "world" of the book. The final image for the contest is due mid-January, thankfully, so I've got plenty of time to work through the design process.

This will be the first of many, many pieces for the project.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Yes, THAT Jack Davis. Yes... yes. Look, here's proof, dammit!

Yep, I'm gettin' fat. Yep, I'm gettin' a bit bald. But by golly, I got to meet Jack Davis on Saturday night at the CAPS Banquet, so I don't really care whether my head is shiny. Jack is really, really nice and friendly and happy, and graciously accepted all the praise and honor we gave to him. I'm still pretty wonked out about meeting him. Pretty mind-blowing... see, he's looking at one of my favorite bits of his, "World's Most Obnoxious Sports Fan" from this December 1975 issue:

Which has seen better days, but is now autographed. So now I have a nice memento of meeting one of my favorite (and one of the best) cartoonists ever. I got to tell Jack that I had gone to my first baseball game earlier that year (Mets vs. Dodgers at Shea) and this piece made me almost pass out with laughter, because I swear that guy (the Obnoxious Sports Fan) was sitting right behind us (or was it next to us?) - I thought maybe Jack had sat next to the same guy at some point, and based it on him.

Jack is so cool that not only did we cartoonists honor him, but at the banquet he received letters of recognition from former Presidents of the United States Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, both of whom he caricatured in the 1970s. Now that there is some major respect, when you can cartoon (sometimes unflatteringly) the Leaders of the Free World and they send you love and praise. Whoof!

Also, Paul Coker Jr., another most excellent Mad cartoonist, was there for the party. I didn't get a chance to talk to him, sadly. There were a lot of people there, I was lucky just to get up to say hi to Jack. Ah well...

I'm not the only one who's geeking out, by the way. :)

I hope I get to meet Mort Drucker too, that would be the Mad Magazine Trifecta, which of course includes this guy here:

I got really lucky and won this door prize, a 7-piece PVC figurine set of Sergio Aragon├ęs "Groo" characters, which Sergio was kind enough to not only sign, but draw Groo and his dog Rufferto on the box. The Girlfriend (who took these pix) won a comic book of Sergio's from 1977, published by DC, and he also signed and sketched on that. Sergio is her #1 favorite cartoonist ever, with Paul Coker Jr. following at #2. Needless to say we were both very happy with our luck! We figure that if we ever have grandkids, this piece might net them enough on eBay after we're gone (no way I'd ever sell it while I'm alive!!) to put them through college.

Regular readers know I see Sergio about every month at our CAPS meetings, so this isn't such a mind-blowing event for me, but... well, yeah, it is. Sergio is on my top 10 list of not only finest cartoonists ever, but finest human beings ever, since I've gotten to get to know him. He is just a truly impressive person, who is still just as wide-eyed and excited about his gifts and his drawing and his life as a 6-year old boy - but of course he is also a man, who has traveled the world and experienced life in all its splendor and horror, and come through shining. Everyone I know who knows him loves him, and he is unfailingly positive and wonderful to everyone to whom he speaks. If you asked me right now, "who would you most like to emulate in life," the answer, without hesitation, is Sergio Aragon├ęs.

Just to show that I've actually been drawing from time to time, here's a sketch I did at the CAPS meeting last week, a little city plaza perspective that just sort of flowed off my pen during the presentation by the Hellboy Animated guys. I might just set up a more rigorous perspective (it's not very accurate here) and attempt to paint this one...

And finally, I've joined the CGSociety CG Challenge 20, where I'll be competing with hundreds of other concept and CG artists for some nice prizes. Considering some of the incredible artists who are participating, I doubt I'll win anything, but it will be good experience and a little exposure in my field, so it will be fun. I have to post progress images as part of the contest, so I'll put them up here as well.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Official Sopranos Game Site

HBO now has an official site for our game The Sopranos: Road to Respect. There's a bunch of info about the game and a few bits of behind-the-scenes stuff to check out. You can even pre-order the game right now, which I know all you gamers out there who own PS2s will do, right?? RIGHT?? Don't make me go Jersey on your asses. You all have some nice things out there. It would be a terrible shame if something were to happen to it, wouldn't it? Cuz, y'know, stuff happens, capice?

All you Jersey-ites will recognize a lot of different stuff in the game and catch some little inside jokes here and there. There are several locations that aren't part of the TV show, which we built from scratch using photos and pulling stuff out of our brains from growing up there, since three of us artists including my boss are from NJ. I think you're gonna like it.

There's a link to the "Making of..." video which aired last Friday on HBO - I got it on my DVR, yay - so you can watch that online. The actors and David Chase, the creator of the show, seem like they're pretty psyched about the game and pleased with how it's come out. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, I think it really is a Sopranos "episode," it has the feel and it works. While a bunch of my co-workers are interviewed, I'm not in the video (which is good cuz I'm damn ugly on film), but a whole bunch of my work shows up, several concept sketches and a lot of scenes that I did the camera work for. Also, as a fun little bonus, there's a very quick shot of a guitar used as a weapon - yep, it's my Les Paul. :) The sound effect when you bash someone with it is my old blue hot-rod strat, which I have here in my cube for when I take breaks from drawing.

So, we're live and nationwide, so that's good. The game comes out November 7, according to the site, so first you go vote, then head to the game store and pick this one up.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A couple new ones

I tried to upload these before I left, but Blogger wasn't working:

This is a piece I did for the upcoming Tikis and Terrors "Pirates of the Scare-ibbean" coloring book. I call it "The Accomplice."

This one is a drawing I had penciled, which a guy at Bats Day decided he wanted and bought. I inked it for him and sent it off. The Girlfriend thinks that I'm a frustrated fashion designer because of this very complicated outfit. :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Score One for the Web Geeks!

By golly, That R. Stevens guy, who is already one of my super-heroes, has now completely exceeded that and become, yea verily, a demi-deity, as he has somehow managed to achieve that lofty and elusive goal of becoming a comic syndicated in actual newspapers. Glory be!

That rocks. I hope it makes you happy and also wealthy, R.!

Meanwhile, I finished up some leftover art from Bats Day and have one more piece to ink for a scary pirate coloring book this month. I will post the scans later as they are at my home.

At work I am drawing lots of fun droids and other evil hardware toys. Of course I can't tell you for what yet, but I guess it won't be much of a surprise when I actually do tell you.

In other weird news... Today is the 40th anniversary of Star Trek (the original series) going on the air, it started September 8, 1966. And now, they're re-releasing Original Star Trek into syndication with all-new effects shots, a la Mr. Lucas's re-workings of the first Star Wars trilogy. So, what you're gonna get is the live-action stuff will be roughly the same, with probably cooler phasers and transporter effects and better stuff on the bridge screens, but all the space shots, planet orbit shots, shooting at Romulans etc. will be all totally redone in CGI.

Knowing me, one would think that I'd be opposed to this, or at least have mixed feelings... but I'm cool with it, because I already own the entire original series on DVD - and not that new-fangled three multi-disc sets, the older 2-episodes-per-DVD, uncut, remastered exactly-as-originally aired set (here's one)! So, I'm like hey, whatever. It will be the same stories, with just modern FX shots - and no "Han Shot First" re-editing crap. I'm sure they'll be editing a bit for time, since modern TV has more commercials, but they did that for the original syndication anyway. The point is, I've got the whole thing in "pristine" condition, so I'm cool with the new version. I'm sure it will be out on DVD within 6 months, and I'm sure I'll buy it, too.

Speaking of pristine condition, the new reissued "original print" Star Wars DVDs come out on Tuesday. You bet I'll be getting them too... because HAN SHOT FIRST, DAMMIT! It's about farkin' time they put these out. And, yay bonus, Lego Star Wars II is coming out the same day... and that there is gonna be SO fun, as was (and still is) Lego Star Wars I. I'm still playing it (when I can, rarely...). I need only about 100,000 more coins to buy the "Invincibility" cheat, so I can actually beat the whole damn game and build all the models, woo!

OK back to work. What with all the vacations everyone's taking, we're shorthanded again this week and I'm up to my ears in droid drawings.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bats Day was Fun

Whoof, sorry it took me so long to post after Bats Day; I came back to work a day behind because I took Friday off and I've been drawing like a madman all week. So, hello to everyone we met at Bats Day and the pre-events!

As in San Diego, I did a lot of caricatures, so here's a bunch of them:

Vampires make easy drawin!

A whole rockin' family!

A very cute Mermaid!

It's all about the diamonds and the hat, really.

Punk Rock Mom & Daughter

Caitlin likes spiders!

A fellow Halo player!

Have energy drink, will pose for art.

Two friends

Eric's girl likes cats

Seattle RepraZENT!

She actually has this outfit, but I didn't know it at the time... weird!

Well that's a lot of caricatures, I was very busy drawing. We sold a bunch of comics and gave away a whole box full of my old Mystic For Hire #1 and #2, so now I can put my vacuum cleaner away in my closet!

I don't have time to write any more because I've got a bunch of military hardware to draw, but TGF and I had a blast at all the Bats Day events. I will post more about it over the weekend. Thanks to everyone who came by our table and to all our new friends! :)

PS you might be able to find me on MySpace... ;)

Friday, July 28, 2006

Survived Con, Life Still A Blur

OK, I'm still alive, Con didn't kill me. It was actually much less intense for me this year. Before I say anything else, I want to say hi and thanks to everyone who came by the Bloodfire booth, and huge thanks to everyone who got caricatures done or bought any of my stuff! More about that in a bit.

HBO now has a "Buzz" piece about our game, a short video which you can see here! How awesome is that? I'm not in it, but my boss Damon is, and there's a lot of my artwork shown, which gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling. :)

Back to the Con caricatures; I had my digital camera with me and it dawned on me that I oughta take some pix of my vict- uh, I mean customers, with their caricatures! I won't show the customers (I would need permission), but here's shots of their artwork:

This girl looked exactly like this! Really! She was easy to draw.

Patricia here, she is EEEVIL!

These girls were a bit too "normal" so I gothed 'em out a bit.


This one's husband wanted a sexy goth faerie look.

Turning people in t-shirts and jeans into stylish goths is fun!

This guy's girlfriend will now see him as a Mighty Warrior!

This girl said that this caricature was her favorite thing that she bought at Con. :)

NINJA-MIKE! (a different Mike)

Another sexy faerie for hubby:

And two perfectly normal people who allowed me to spice things up a bit! :)

There were more, but not all the photos came out well enough to see the caricatures. Oh well. Thanks again everyone! :)

I didn't buy much at Con, just some art books and sketchbooks. I didn't get much swag either, but I must say my favorite acquisition was an awesome hand-knit Pixel Skull iPod Cover that the mighty R. Stevens gave me. He is a hell of a guy and one of the web's best cartoonists, and one of the cattle prods behind me doing Just A Bit Off.... If you don't read him daily, you're wrong, and if you don't get it, you are taking life too seriously and you should see a doctor for relaxation therapy. Thanks, R.!

OK gotta get back to work. I have to work tomorrow too. Sigh...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New Comic is Early, Again!

The new comic is up today because tomorrow I'll be in San Diego without Internet access - actually, I probably could have access, but I really just don't want it for the next 4 days. I will be at the Bloodfire Comics booth #1623 if any of you, my tiny cadre of faithful readers, will be at the Con, so come around and find me there. I will be doing caricatures and selling the new "ashcan" printed version of the entirety of "Just A Bit Off..." so far, as well as a limited number of my "Goths, Girls and Gadgets" sketchbook.

My rough schedule for being in the booth is as follows:

Thursday: 10am-1pm, 2pm-7pm
Friday: 10am-1pm, 2pm-7pm
Saturday: 11am-1pm, 4pm-6pm
Sunday: 11am-1pm

Why not in so much on Saturday and Sunday? Well, over the last few years as the "fan demographics" of the Con have shifted from comics fans over to TV and movie fans, Saturday and Sunday, which used to be the best days for indie publishers with lots of people coming around to the booths, are now frankly lousy days. People just don't stop at the booths much, it seems. The best sales day we've had since 2002 has been, weirdly, Thursday. I guess the real comics fans who actually like to buy new comics from small pubs come early, while the more "casual" fans who only come to see Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kevin Smith or Joss Whedon show up on Saturday and really don't bother coming around to look at comics, because they don't care. So there doesn't seem to be much point in working so hard on Sat and Sun.

Of course, if things are different and there's a mob at the booth all weekend, I'll stay around. :)

OK well I'm still at work and have to do 12 hours again today. Next week is the "final push" for the beta, and it's gonna be rough. I'll make it though. I'm getting solid sleep even with the long hours. See you on Monday!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ahead of things...

I put the comic up early yesterday, because I finished it at work and then didn't remember it was Tuesday instead of Wednesday. *sigh* I probably didn't know what day it was because I'm short about 5 hours of sleep since the weekend, what with doing 12-hour days at work again for the Sopranos game crunch, and then doing Wumpskate on Monday, and then not being able to get to sleep last night until sometime after 12:30, then trying to get up to do exercise at 6:15... whoof. I'm beat.

The comic will go up early next week too because I'll be at Comic Con on Thursday, going down to SD on Wednesday night, so I'll put it up on Wednesday. Fortunately I got next week's comic done last weekend, so at least I don't have to worry about drawing it. I really need to try to get a few comics ahead somehow, but since we're on 12s the rest of the month and next weekend is all Comic Con, I can't even think about attempting that until August at least. So I'll just have to muddle through.

Happily, I've found a cool free webcomic management scripting system which I'm going to get working after the Con. This will allow automatic updating and some other great features like Search and an actual archive calendar page. I won't have to do everything by hand anymore, which will save a bit of time.

Not so happily, I'm feeling grumbly and unsatisfied with my work, all of my artwork lately. I just don't feel like I'm progressing, in fact in some ways I'm RE-gressing, and I don't like that at all. I have to find a way to get some focus back on my art. I've had too much going on and it's taking too much of my energy, or at least diverting too much from my art. How I'm gonna manage that, I have no idea at the moment.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

ARRRR!! Pirates Game Released!

Hey all, our new game Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow for the Playstation 2 is now in stores!

This is the first game released that I've worked on as concept artist. Along with the art director Miguel and my colleague Kevin, we created concept art for characters, environments and the various weapons and props you'll see in the game. As you progress through the game, some of the unlockable bonus content includes art by all of us.

It's based on the first movie, Curse of the Black Pearl, but since the story is being told by Jack himself, he exaggerates rather outrageously and you get to play his "tall tale of the sea." It's good fun, pretty easy to play, and it looks great considering it's on PS2. If you have kids, they'll definitely enjoy it, but it's good for players of all ages.

So please support our 14 months of hard work! :)

Official site
Seven Studios site

I have to find out what the policy is, whether I can show the art I've done for it in my portfolio. Oftentimes the publisher doesn't allow individual artists to show the pieces they've done - they are, after all, property of the publisher. What I do here at work is work-for-hire, I don't own any of it. Hopefully I'll be able to show you some of it. If not, I'll find out which pieces of mine are in the bonus content and let you know what you have to do to see it. :)

Meanwhile, still working hard on The Sopranos game. Life's all good, I've just been busy as usual. Getting ready for SD Comic Con, where I'm planning on having ashcans of Just A Bit Off... for sale. I might give a few away too, ya never know.

ARRR Mateys!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

To Draw, or Not...

Apparently there will be no new Kindergoth book for SD Con this year, either. Sigh. It really bothers me to say that. Kindergoth is really just too cool to let languish. I don't even care if I don't draw it, the damn thing should get produced. Sigh.

So I'm trying to figure out if and/or how I can draw the KG story that I wrote and have the whole thing finished by SD Con 2007. That's 96 pages over a year - about 2 complete pages per week. I don't know if I can do it without putting major dents in my weekends and probably straining my relationship with TGF. I don't know if it's worth it.

Maybe I can do it in three issues instead of four. That would be 72 pages... a bit less time put in and I could take more care with the art, do a better job. However that lessens the ability to make it a graphic novel.

I still don't know if it's worth it. I feel like I want to do it, but I don't know if it's a good idea. I doubt I'd see much money from it, if any.

Maybe it would be a better idea to do my own damn book, if I'm gonna spend that much time on something. At least it would be something I own! It's sooooo much work, though. That would be a lot more work than KG, especially since I'd have to write it all.

I dunno. I'll give it some thinkin' time and muddle it out.

In any event, I'm shooting for having an ashcan of Just A Bit Off. I need to get on a cover for that, don't I. So much to do, so little time...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Gotta rattle the cage a bit...

No, the event in the comic today never really happened, and that girl is entirely fictional. Even if it had I was never such a jerk that I would have called my buddies over and wrecked her place. I didn't have that many friends anyway! Besides, my exes had far sneakier ways of keeping me from playing guitar...

I'm tired and bored with doing this camera stuff we're doing at work, so I took a little time to do some recreational painting:

My portfolio really desperately needs updating, so I figured I'd start by turning some of the drawings in it into really sharp paintings. This one is based on this drawing, which is a sort of fanciful rendering of my imaginary future starship yard where I "build" my imaginary starships. I borrowed a bit from Arthur C. Clarke's 3001: Final Odyssey, and decided to put my shipyard at the top of one of his huge Towers that go from the surface of the earth all the way up to synchronous orbit, about 22,600 miles tall. Seems like a good place to build starships, huh?

So this is a huge bay at the very top of the tower, where tenants like myself own or lease sections and can fix them up as they see fit. The hole in the roof allows the ships to fly in and out, the whole interior of the bay is open to space. So at this stage, I'm just setting up the basic architectural structures and figuring out how the sunlight shines in through the open hatch and then bounces off to light other surfaces. There will be other lights in the painting, but the raw sunlight will be the brightest by far. There won't be any atmospheric haze, so the cast shadows will be very sharp, with light reflecting off the brightly lit surfaces and lighting up everything else to a lesser degree. I think it's looking okay so far.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Afternoon Painting

Had a few mins to play, so here's a quickie:

Space cave explorers, or something. Kinda cool.

The Battle Begins

Since I've been Mr. Procrastinaty the last couple weeks, I decided to get a jump on this weeks comic, and I penciled it and did the borders and lettering last night. I will finish it off tonight - though I need to nail a punch line at some point here. I have one on the rough, but it could be better. I'm also going to pencil next week's comic here at work today and get started on inking it tonight after I finish the other one. I need to do this because I'll be away for this whole weekend - I have both Monday and Tuesday off (thanks, boss Lewis!) and TGF and I are going up to NorCal for a wedding - but I really need to get a few of these in the can and get some lead time so as to avoid what happened the last couple of weeks.

I've been in a pretty low energy mode the last oh, month or more, and I'm tired of it. So I have to actively fight the dragginess. There's really no reason for me to be as tired as I've been, I've been getting enough sleep for the most part and eating pretty well. I'm short on exercise but that's fixable. I just have to be determined in my mind to not be tired, dammit! I'm going to discipline myself to getting to sleep at midnight and actually getting up when my alarm goes off at 7 AM. 7 hours is plenty of sleep for a healthy person. I did this last night and this morning, and I feel fine now.

I just have to keep myself alert and motivated. I've gotten into some bad habits of going into slow mode and being bored at work, and that's just silly. I've got plenty of things to keep me busy, and if I'm waiting for the next bit of work I can do drawing exercises or speed painting practice or pencil another JABO (my acronym for the webcomic) or something. Basically I should always be doing some sort of art when I'm at my desk. And if all else fails, I can grab my guitar and rock out for a while, it's a nice change of pace.

Fighting the Doldrums, Arrr!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Critter of Crispiness

Whoof. E3 took a lot out of me. On top of the sensory overload, you have to walk everywhere, which gets pretty tiring. And so, I am crispy and golden-brown around the edges, and had to do the comic all fast and dirty.

Here's another quick painting, from earlier this week:

Sort of impressionistic I guess. It's just going to take me a while to wrap my head around painting in this way. It's not like the more photoreal Photoshop stuff I do for work. Somehow I need to make time to do more of the photo stuff of personal ideas and stories, so I can show people what I can do now.

I have a big stack of storyboards to do, which need to get done by tonight. I don't know if I will make it... of course I can do them really rough, I guess. But I'd rather not. To work...

Friday, April 28, 2006

'Tis Friday...

I put the comic up earlier today, so my obligation for this week is discharged.

No painting today, but here's a little thing I'm doing in Sketchup, which now has a free version for download - it's really awesome.

If you remember that imaginary city I was painting yesterday, this is the beginning of a 3D model of the central plaza where the government buildings are located. The middle of it is three large circular fountains, with roads or walking paths connecting the two ends of the plaza. Most of it would be parkland with trees etc. As I build more of it I'll post progress shots.

Most likely I won't bother texturing it, instead I'll use different views of it to paint over and make realistic images of it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Late Comic, so you get a bonus...

Not one, but two! I left the artwork for today's comic at home, so here's some more quick paintings. They are very rough but they were done very fast.

Just a random spaceship. I do a lot of random spaceships.

When I was a kid, I lived in a futuristic sci-fi city that was all in my head. I did numerous drawings of it, I still have most of them. Unfortunately for me, if you've watched Star Wars Episodes I - III, you've seen what it looked like in my head, for the most part. I think my architecture was more influenced by the Jetsons. Nevertheless, this is the start of a painting of a view of my personal city. Super rough, just looking at masses and lighting.

*Sigh* I wish I hadn't been such a dumbass when I was a kid, and had gone to Art Center. I feel pretty lame when I look at stuff like this.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Quick Paint, Day 2

Why yes, I have been playing Star Wars: Battlefront! Why do you ask?


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Daily Quick Painting

I've decided that I'm going to do a quick painting every morning as a warm-up at work. I need to get my painting chops together, since pretty much the whole concept industry is just doing paintings these days. Sketches and marker renderings have given way to digital paint, and I'd better keep up if I'm going to keep my job and stay in the concept business.

So, every day when I get to work I'm gonna whip out a painting in 30 minutes or less. They are going to be pretty rough, especially at first. This one, yeah it's pretty rough. But it's okay.

I probably won't put a painting up every day here, but I'm sure I'll put at least one or two up every week. Gives me something to add, helps me get better at my job.

I decided to do this after watching some of "Icons: Prince of Persia" on G4 this morning as I ate breakfast; they showed a ton of concept art, and it was all paintings. Ubisoft is some kinda crazy art mecca, and they do amazing work there. Back when I was in the music biz, I set my bar very high; I didn't compare my work to the local bands around NJ, but against Van Halen and Ozzy and Def Leppard, the guys at the top. I have to do the same thing with my art, and try to get to that level, both for my own personal sense of achievement and to keep my employment prospects up!

I did this painting using a very cool and inexpensive program called ArtRage, which has a free version you can play with. I definitely recommend you go ahead and pay the $20 for the full version, if you're into painting. I'll be using ArtRage a lot for these paintings because it's fast and smooth and has some really cool features. Thanks to Kevin for turning me on to it!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

New comic is up. I got complaints that my eyebrows were getting too big, so I toned them down some. Geez, artistic license! It's just a cartoon...

I'm feeling some frustration with my technique this week, well recently I guess. I feel very... imprecise is probably the best word, with my handwork. Very scribbly and sketchy, which to me feels unprofessional, since I know so many really stunning artists who have these incredibly precise, exacting, delicate and detailed lines. Guys like Bill Morrison, Tone Rodriguez, Mark Dos Santos, and Trevor Goring, what they do just seems light-years ahead of me - not to mention Feng Zhu and Thang Le.

The problem is that I'm always kinda rushed doing what I do. The storyboards and environment sketches I do at work serve their proper purpose, but they look sloppy to me. Even the few environment paintings are generally a bit rough. The character paintings are the only things that I've done in a while that really look polished. I even feel like the comic could be a lot more crisp and cleanly inked.

Of course, I'm measuring myself against Feng Zhu and guys at that level, who have a lot more experience, but still I feel like I should be able to be more precise and confident with everything I do. It's been bugging me lately, but I'm not sure what I can do, since for the most part I'm working on a deadline and I just have to blast stuff out. Finding time to slow my hand down and focus on precision will be difficult.

Ah well. I'll figure something out.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Comic is up

Wherein we meet the cartoon version of The Girlfriend. Go read, then come back.

I didn't know which one of my many already-written strips I wanted to do, so I was looking thru them and not finding anything that was hitting me, until I noticed one of them had a Post-It on the back, so I turned it over. I found today's script and it cracked me up, so I had to go for it. It is actually a verbatim conversation that we had a few months ago, unrelated to recent events... and The Girlfriend points out that she delivered the punchline with far less snark (and much more smiling nudging) than the comic would lead you to believe!

Here's a bonus, my favorite sketch out of my sketchbook from last year:

I did this at The Drawing Club, kind of a life-drawing club, when we went there for our CAPS meeting, which was most excellent. The model guy is actually a retired Disney animator. I have a bunch of sketches from this session in various media; this one was done with my Japanese brush pen direct to paper, no pencil, in about 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

About time, yeah

New comic is up. I got bored with the setup continuity, so I'm just gonna start jumping around. Today's comic I wrote last week, pretty much as it happened, so it's slightly more than a six-year leap from the last one. I'll be bopping back and forth all over the timeline from here on out, so things may not seem to entirely make sense. However, each comic should be pretty self-contained, so it shouldn't be too jarring. There will be a lot of characters from various different locations, but you should be able to tell where I'm at by context and also by changes in my clothes and hairstyle!

Back to lots of pitch work this week at work. Painty painty painty...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New Sketch Cards

Here are a pair of sketch cards that I just completed for Mike in North Carolina:

I really like how these came out. I used my Japanese Pilot pens, a Pitt brush pen and Prismacolor markers to finish them. I have not really drawn either Batman or the Hulk prior to this, although I think in some ancient sketchbooks I did when I was about 8 there are a few Batman drawings.

I've actually gotten a bit of attention for the sketch cards I did for InkWorks, which has gotten me some small side commissions like this one. I should probably do like my friend Tone Rodriguez (who got me into the sketch card game) and get some custom-printed personal sketch cards to draw on. Hopefully I'll be able to do some live at San Diego Con, too. If you like sketch cards, I'm happy to do commissions!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bet you thought I'd miss it again

But I didn't! New comic is up.

What's new in art for me, hmmm... struggling with yet another new pitch here at work, for a venerable game franchise. The characters have to be just so, and it's very difficult to do them that way. We have more time than the last pitches but it's taking me forever to get them done, which means I'll probably be crunching again next week. Ah well.

I'm feeling some frustration with my artness last couple of weeks. I'm running up against some walls of technique and art approach which are bothering me, and as usual the path to overcome them is pretty murky. I need to make time to study some new stuff again and to do things that are outside my comfort zone. Not easy to do with everything that's going on around me.

I should scan in some more sketches for you, eh?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Skateboard Painting

As I posted previously, I had a project to paint a skateboard deck for a themed gallery show that starts this weekend. Well, I finished it! Here's some progress shots:

Before putting any paint on I sanded the red finish that was on the board and then applied white spray primer, just plain ol' Krylon in the rattle can.

This is the background gradient. It's upside-down in this picture. I did the artwork using acrylic paints and brushes. This gradient didn't come out as well as I would have liked, but it looks okay.

Here's the finished board. I call it "Icarus Falls." The theme of the show is "Self-Propelled," and I think that the Icarus myth is one of the earliest (and obviously longest lasting) stories about self-powered flight, so it seemed appropriate.

For the sun at the top, I used actual astronomical photos for reference... I didn't just want a bright yellow ball, that's boring. There's a trail of feathers spiraling down from the sun to the figure, from the rapidly disintegrating wing.

Acrylic paint goes on pretty thick, so the sun and the figure had quite a bit of bumpy texture to them, which I didn't want the final board to have. Also, since it's a skateboard deck and it's possible that someone might actually put some trucks on it and use it, I wanted to put on a tough overcoat finish. I used polyurethane, again from a spray can. I put on about 12 coats, pretty much the entire can, sanding and steel-wooling between each coat. As the thickness built up I sanded down the high spots, so the final finish is perfectly smooth. I wanted to get it buffed to a very glossy mirror-slick finish like lacquer, but apparently the spray polyurethane won't do that, at least not with the buffer that I have. So it's a bit more matte than I wanted, but it's still a good finish and quite attractive and tough.

Well so that was fun. It goes on display this Saturday night, I will be at the opening party in the evening, so if you're in the Valley area come say hello! It's always a good party at this gallery and many of the artists will be there.

Meanwhile, there will be a comic this week, as work has calmed back down. I got the pencil, lettering and borders done last night and will ink it tonight. The past weekend turned out to be too full to do a comic, so I apologize for missing a week. It will happen from time to time as long as I'm going week-to-week; I hope to get a bit further ahead over the next couple months.

Back to work...