Thursday, December 10, 2009

The sketches I do when I can't do work

Sorry for the slowness in keeping this up - I'd resolved to be more regular, but circumstances threw a kink in my intentions pretty quick. We had a large plumbing problem (really large, necessitating a nine-foot-deep, seventy-foot-long trench to be dug through our yard, which cost us the entirety of what I'm getting as an advance on the new book, and THEN some) that flooded our garage and storage area, meaning that everything was moved into the studio for the week it took to fix everything. Our first major issue with home-ownership, but one that will hopefully negate any major plumbing issues for the next ten years.

Anyway, while I couldn't get much done in the way of work, I DID do a lot of sketches upstairs. Here they are, somewhat annotated:

Professor Moriarty, with his rounded back and big head. After I was finished, I realized he looked a lot like Adam Schiff, the old D.A. on Law & Order, though that might be the expression of impatience with Jack McCoy's crazy courtroom antics.

A presumably early design for a character in the fourth Crogan Adventure book. In the post-Arnold age, most strongmen are depicted with strongly defined musculature, but real strongmen (think the guys who pull semi trucks) tend to be just a big mass with a low center of gravity. I like the idea of my big strongman character being somewhat shorter than most of the major characters, just because it's something you rarely if ever see.

Another character from the fourth book, the captain of the tramp steamer, as yet unnamed. The ship, not the captain. Though she doesn't have a name yet, either.

Drawing of a character for a Star Wars comic I've been kicking around - who knows if it'll ever see the light of day, but anyway... he's blue.

Anne of Green Gables - one of my wife's favorite book series, and movies. She roped me into watching it a few years ago, and I loved 'em.

Another 4x6" warmup drawing. No story to this one, just a guy on a boat.

Since my work is almost exclusively intended for pure black and white (i.e. no gray), I generally do all of my sketches and for-practice drawings in pure black and white, too. But I've been going over Guy Davis's sketchbooks a lot lately, and love how his gray marker work looks, so I've been toying with them from time to time. This drawing was done a little bigger than usual, about 10" square.
My hands are generally too big for most revolver handles, and I have an unconscious habit of extending my pinkie finger when holding one, as if I were drinking tea or something. So I drew this guy doing that.

Captain Nemo. I think in Mysterious Island he said something about his wife and kid dying in a bombardment by the British, or something - it's been a long time since I read it. I don't remember whether he was on hand or not, but I gave him a few bombardment scars, just in case.
My white ink was still packed and under loads of stuff when I drew this, otherwise I'd have drawn in some bubbles in that window.

Nemo put me on a Victorian Science Fiction kick for the rest of the evening, so I did this guy, some sort of military guy patrolling a British colony on Mars, complete with ray-gun (plus I got to draw another pith helmet)...

...plus this guy, a Martian. I think the Edgar Rice Burroughs martians had four arms and tusks, so here ya go. I dressed him kind of like a 1930s Mongolian with a metal space-vest.

That's it! The plumbing problem is fixed, and the studio is operating at about 65% efficiency (lots of stuff still packed and stacked), but I'm working on a short Crogan's story for free comic book day. I'll post some thumbs sometime over the next couple of days.


Mike Lawrence said...

Chris, I gotta say your comics are great. As someone (one of many, I presume) who is trying to break into the field, and is in town with ONI, Dark Horse, and Top Shelf...you HAVE to come to the Stumptown comics fest in Portland in April!! I promise to leave my table and ogle you from afar so that I can sponge some of your success and wring it out on top of my head, thereby giving me the strength of ten cartoonists!

Andrew Wales said...

Amaaazing sketches! Sorry to hear about the plumbing dilemma. It is always disappointing when circumstances swallow up the fruits of our hard work!

Chris Schweizer said...


Thanks for the kind words! I haven't been to Stumptown yet, but do really want to. I probably won't be able to, for a while at least, unless I'm asked to be on a panel. If I'm lecturing there's always the chance that the college will help subsidize the trip. But I LOVE Portland, and can't wait to get back, as I love my Oni family and I LOVE Powell's, the best bookstore in the world.

Ted Dawson said...

Great stuff! I love seeing work like this, blue lines and all. You have a great way of making your characters living and breathing.

John said...

Great sketches - love the strongman. Who will the free comic day Crogan be?

Chris Schweizer said...


It's going to be a older Catfoot/younger David story.

matt said...

Dude, you gotta start toning your comics- those gray ones look FANTASTIC.