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Monday, November 29, 2010

Some Building Designs

While visiting my folks for Thanksgiving I did a few pages worth of rough building designs for a book I want to do sometime down the road.  Here they are.



Click on the image for a full-sized version.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yearbook Girls

I get told that I don't draw enough girls, so I used my high school freshman yearbook to grab some faces.




Click the image for a full-sized version.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's a picture. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Zoo Drawings

I was just reminded that I never put the zoo drawings up!

Here they are.




As usual, click the image to see a full-sized version.

I'd been itching to go the zoo lately.  Shawn announced that the department will be offering the Animal Anatomy class (which I took as a grad student) this Spring under the tutelage of Doug Dabbs.  That, paired up my reading lots of animation books lately, has had me chomping at the zoo-going bit so that I could do some animal drawings.

My daughter Penny, who just turned one, is also finally old enough to go, so when my parents and sister (and her one-and-a-half-year-old daughter) were in town last week we decided to take a trip.

Penny loved it.  She loved looking at the animals, especially the naked mole rats.  She and her cousin had a great time, the adults all had a great time, and zoos are pretty much awesome.  Also, thanks to our membership, we may get free admission elsewhere, including Greenville, which is right by where my parents live.  So, huzzah!  Hopefully these will be the first of many animal pics.

Oh, and the Komodo dragon is shedding his skin, not injured.  And that gorilla was sleek and muscular, and did not like us being so close to him.  He repeatedly secreted a sharp, acrid musk that had our nostrils burning.

Cowboy Silhouettes

I met Jimmy Palmiotti this weekend in Miami, and we were talking about historical accuracy, research etc. I knew he did Jonah Hex, but I didn't know that it was historically plausible, nor was I aware that each issue was a stand-alone story.

This got me really excited. The reason that I don't read 99.5 percent of the big two floppies are because I don't want one segment of some long soap opera. When I read, I want a story. Now, I understand why DC doesn't advertise Jonah Hex this way - it'll turn off the majority of floppy buyers who DO want the long soap opera - but I'd have picked it up a long time ago had I known. There's an artist employed at least once whose work I just can't stand (I didn't pick up one of the trades as a result of his inclusion), but there's consistently amazing work by Jordi Bernet and the occasional story by Darwyn Cooke. There are a lot of artists whose work doesn't necessarily jump out at me, but it doesn't detract from the stories, either. Anyway, if you haven't given it a look, do so. It's a revolving line of artists, so if you don't see one that you like, try another.

I picked up a couple and they put me in a cowboy mood, so I did a bunch of silhouettes on the plane.  I may use them to do some designs later.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, and the Miami Book Fair

I went to Miami for the Miami Book Fair International, which is an international book fair held in Miami. It's actually an amazing event, with tons and tons of people, loads of kids, and I had a great time. I was lucky enough to be invited down as an author this year, which meant that I was on a number of panels and got to enjoy the fancy author treatment, including free cheese. 

Although there were, I don't know, a hundred other invited authors there, for some reason the cartoonists, many of whom had never met, all seemed to find each other and hang out in the same places.  We were trying to figure out why this was - the initial assumption was that "real" authors go out to eat, and we comic folk flock to the free cheese.  But as more and more cartoonists ended up being the only people in the rooms designed for everyone, it became weird and uncanny. 

I did a lot of sketching during the weekend - some of it character designs, some compositional exercises - but I also did a lot of from-life observation quickies.  Here are a few of them.





The image with the couches and chairs is one of the author hospitality suites, where I met a lot of other comic folk (and some great prose writers, too).  The the fella on the right of the couch is Charles Kochman, editor at Abrams, which puts out some great comic arts books, as well as a lot of great kids books through their Amulet imprint.  One of those is by Barry Deutsch, who I had the pleasure of hanging around with a lot this evening, and another is by Amy Ignatow, who was more or less our ringleader the whole time.  The only reason I didn't draw a picture of Amy is that anytime she was in the room we were having too much fun to remember to sketch.


Here's a girl I saw at a sandwich stop, and a presenter at one of the panels.

Again, I had a truly great time.  I did sketches for probably a hundred and fifty kids over Friday and Saturday, I did workshops and hopefully taught 'em some fun stuff.  I got to meet (usually briefly) a lot of folks whose work I admire, including Dave Barry, Linda Barry (no relation, as far as I know), Jaime Hernandez, Chip Kidd, and Dean Haspiel.  All in all, I had a great time.  I'll be posting more sketches over the next few days, though I think that's all I'll show from the observation end.

One more cheese note - There was one evening where there were three very good cheeses - a wax rind one and two soft-ripened goats - where most everyone was already full from lunch, and the room hostess, Roberta, proclaimed that she didn't want there to be any cheese left when we were gone.  So I ate all of the cheese in order to see her wishes met. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Star Wars Guys

More Star Wars guys.  No good reason.  Trying to keep up with my posting-every-weekday rule.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guy with a flag

Another warlord soldier.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quadrangle House Courtyard Scene

Liz and I took Penny to the zoo for the first time today, going with my parents, my sister, and my niece.  I did some sketches; I'll post 'em here in a few days (probably won't post anything tomorrow or Sunday).

in the meantime, here's a test panel from the next Crogan book, Crogan's Escape, based on a loose scene.  Just trying to see how the characters look in relation to each other and the environment. 



Click the image for a full-sized version.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Art Forum Sketches

Here are some sketches I did during our annual art forum at SCAD-Atlanta.



Check out the work of the folks pictured:

Stan
Domo
Skottie
Canete
Audrey
Edgardo
Julie
Matt
Falynn

'Cause we're all artists up in here

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Star Wars Guys

Did some sketches of some Star Wars characters.  Not real star wars characters; characters I would make if I were doing a Star Wars thing. 


I think that the prequels killed the design sense of the Star Wars projects.  Everything is either surface (Darth Maul, the girl from clone wars, etc) or animation-oriented (those waspy guys from episode 2), and one of the things that made Star Wars so fun is that the aliens all looked like they could be guys in suits with big heads or long arms or what have you. 

Plus, the Jedi all look the same, with the robes and stuff.  No fun.  If I did star wars stuff, I'd want to push the wonderful 70s aesthetic in regards to hair, clothes, etc.  Anyway, a few quick ones.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Old guy, Kung Fu guy

Some more drawings.




Though it may have changed somewhat, the plot of Crogan's Escape originally involved a good deal of Kung Fu.  This is a sketch to try and capture some of the movement of that.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sketching from Life in Kentucky

My daughter Penny had her first birthday (if you don't count the birth) on Saturday, and we drove up to Kentucky for a brief visit and party with my in-laws. While there I did sketches any time I went out.

I tried to do them as quickly as possible, trying the Walt Stanchfield method of getting a first impression and grabbing it, glancing as you go for cursory details. Most of these drawings were done in under fifteen seconds or so, not counting the dropped-in black; that probably added another fifteen to each. I also like Stanchfield's insistence that each drawing tell a story, tell you something about the person you're drawing. That's something I'm not great about - a lot of times I use my sketchbook simply to grab faces, etc that I can use for reference later. I feel pretty good about 'em this time around.


Liz's grandmother at her rest home


Ordered tacos, waiting for them to come to the counter.  I wish I'd captured how furtively the guy in the upper right leaned over his drink rather than pulling it towards him; I don't think I got it.


We stop at Cracker Barrel whenever Penny needs changing because the changing tables are always clean and there's a lot for her to look at. Here are some folks in the store part.  Apparently Cracker Barrel on a Sunday afternoon is THE place to go if I ever need to sketch old folks.


Penny eating - one of the first times I felt like I "got" her. I can never draw my own family to my liking.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another warlord soldier



We're on our way back from Kentucky, where I did quite a few quick glance sketches any time we were out.  I'll post 'em up tomorrow.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Chinese Guy

Another costume study:



Click image for full-sized version.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Costume Studies

One of the things I do a lot when prepping for a book or project is costume studies. When I'm doing these I'm not especially worried about the character design, matching the style to the book... what I'm concentrating on is the individual parts of a costume. How they work, what the textures are, how the material overlaps.

I do a bunch, mixing and matching details, usually from museum sketches or Osprey military history books (great references) or library borrows. Once I have a hefty amount under my belt, I'll use them as reference for what background (and some main) characters should be wearing, and can concentrate entirely on storytelling, not having to stop and labor over research and technique.

Anyway, I figured I'd post some over the next couple of weeks. These are costume studies for soldiers in a 1920s Chinese warlord army. They'll be playing a large role in the fourth Crogan book, Crogan's Escape.

One guy, ostensibly part of the "Big Sword Brigade":


Click image for full-size version.