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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: The Napoleon of Crime

A drawing of Professor James Moriarty, the Napoleon of Crime, from the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This is the last one in the series, but don't fret... I'll have news about the paper figure collection this upcoming week!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Colonel Moran

A Drawing of Colonel Sebastian Moran from the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The 2nd most dangerous man in London!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wizarding Wednesdays: Is that a FANG, Professor?

A drawing of Remus Lupin from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Mycroft Holmes

A drawing of Mycroft Holmes from the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Athur Conan Doyle

If one pays attention to little details, one finds all sorts of amazing connections. I'm terrible about this in real-life, but decent enough when it comes to books. Case in point: back when I was planning on becoming an Episcopal priest, I sought out a number of works by noted Anglicans pertaining to the church's view on aspects of the supernatural, and found one book of particular interest: The Book of Were-Wolves by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould. Shortly before this, I'd played the role of Major-General Stanley in probably my very favorite operetta, Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance" (no surprise as a favorite, I expect). This is a role I'd like to reprise someday, because I played it the same way everyone does, and I'd like to approach it with more of a blustery C. Aubrey Smith type of delivery the next go 'round.

ANYWAY, in Mississippi I attended a church where the music was not all that spectacular, and as a result we ended up singing that famous martial hymn "Onward Christian Soldiers." Reading the credits(?) at the bottom, I found that the hymn was a collaboration of the Werewolf scholar Baring-Gould and composer Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert and Sullivan)!

Some time later, while becoming a more enthusiastic Sherlockian, I found that many of the best essays and annotations were by a William S. Baring-Gould. Upon examination, I found that this was Sabine's grandson! The world of letters is a small one indeed. This series of connections is probably EXTREMELY boring to all but myself.

I include this little whatchadoo here because Mycroft Holmes, pictured here in all his ambitionless brilliance (likely on route to the Diogenes club), is most probably NOT Sherlock Holmes' only brother, though he is the only one expressly mentioned in the canonical Arthur Conan Doyle stories. This deduction was arrived at by William S. Baring Gould based on a line in "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches," in which Holmes says that his ancestors were country squires. As the oldest son of a squire would most certainly have stayed home to take charge of the estates, Mycroft could not have filled this role AND his government duties in tandem. And, as younger sons of the gentry often went into government in the Victorian era, it is logical to assume that Mycroft is, in fact, the MIDDLE brother, and Sherlock the youngest. This assumption has since come to be more or less agreed upon amongst Holmes fans, and the name of the oldest brother is bandied about as Sherrinford, which was the original name given to Sherlock by Conan Doyle before the publication of A Study in Scarlet.

Learning!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Lestrade

Inspector Lestrade from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Lestrade gets a lot of grief. He brings it on himself, but even so, this "sallow, rat-faced man" has the good sense to outsource.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Wiggins

It's a Christmas miracle! Well, not really, but I am posting twice today! Presenting the fourth in the Sherlock Holmes character series: Wiggins!

Wiggins of the Baker Street Irregulars from the Sherlock Holmes stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Wiggins is the head of Holmes' urchin intelligence squad, and I picked him for today because he's so adorably Dickensian.

Also, it looks like I've found a way to print these and make them available as a "Paper Figures" set by mid-January!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! And God bless us, every one.

Sherlock Holmes: Mrs. Hudson

A drawing of Mrs. Hudson, from Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Often described as "long-suffering," Mrs. Hudson is Holmes' landlady and housekeeper, and puts up with her tenant shooting patterns into her walls as he sits idle and bored.

My landlord when I was in college, a psychiatrist whose name I can't recall, put up with similar antics from me with far less fluster than did the great detective's. I had a habit of sitting on my couch on the opposite end of a very wide room and shooting from the hip with a Red Ryder bb gun at a full paper towel roll that sat on my entertainment center whenever I was watching tv. As a general rule, I was a decent shot, and would usually hit the roll, send it spinning (its weight was such that it would usually remain upright after), and try and hit it again before it stopped its tilt. I wasn't infallible, though, and the wall behind it was peppered with small holes. The wallpaper was so thick, having been covered and recovered for decades, that it would have a slight give if you leaned on it, and the bbs would embed themselves deep.

I'm pretty sure that the landlord had written off the place as a lost cause long before I'd moved in, so the leeway I was afforded was likely not a reflection of any personal magnetism.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Watson

A Drawing of Dr. John H. Watson, from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The second in the set of Sherlock Holmes characters, today's Baker Streetian is Dr. Watson. Back whenever I gave up doing theater out of a distaste for the amount of rehearsal time most organizations take (when I was growing up, we learned our lines and showed up for blocking - the whole months plus thing is not my bag), I still held a hope for four roles that, should the opportunity present itself in my future for me to play any of them, I'd do my best to make it happen. One of these was Dr. Watson, mostly because I thought he hadn't be played right, and I was of a mind to rectify it.

Then, in the past few years, Watson has undergone a serious p.r. overhaul. Is this due to Kate Beaton's comic showcasing the discrepancies between book Watson and movie Watson? I like to think so.

Whatever the cause, the two most high-profile Holmes stuff in recent years - the Robert Downey Jr movie and the BBC show - have given Watson his due. Granted, the movies don't get the dynamic right (Watson should be in awe of Holmes), but even so. It's truly Watson's decade. And, so, I can scratch Watson off my list of roles I want to do someday, as it's been done proper. Also, I ain't got time for acting!

Sherlock Holmes: The World's Only Consulting Detective

A drawing of Sherlock Holmes, from the stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
For years, I've been meaning to do an indefinite series of small paper stand-up figures, akin to a collection featuring circus illustrations that was in a local museum that I visited often as a kid in Kentucky. I always liked the idea of a shelf-full of literary characters, and after doing the True Grit drawings figured that I'd lighted on a drawing style suitable for the undertaking. I'm not sure at all how best to go about producing these - attempting to print them myself eats through ink, and I'm wary of using most commercial printers, as one rarely has the capacity to oversee color correction and paper handling - and so it won't be until I figure out how to print a batch on matte card stock that I'll make these available (in the Holmes series, there are eight).

Once I do, though, I hope it's something that I keep with for a very long time. As I said, having an army of these paper figures has been a fancy since I was a kid. So here's the start! One of my favorite series, which I never tire of rereading (after going through True Grit four times in a month, I definitely needed a change, so now I'm hopping back and forth between Holmes, a book about T. Roosevelt's days as Police Commissioner of New York, and a collection of Kipling stories), Holmes has a wealth of characters from which to draw, and I picked out a few of the more shining stars of the canon (and warning in advance - Irene Adler ain't in there, so no hate mail when they're all done, please).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wizarding Wednesdays: The Boy Who Lived

A drawing of Harry Potter from the books by J.K. Rowling
This time is the eponymous hero himself, Harry Potter. Yeah, he's whiny, but he's a teenager. Teenagers are whiny. Plus his parents got murdered. Cut him some slack, why don't you?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TRUE GRIT #7: There were more men in the country at that time who looked like Cleveland than did not

The last o' the bunch! Perhaps I ought to have included Colonel Stonehill, or the Original Greaser Bob, but there's only so much time in the day. And so, I conclude with everybody's favorite character, the one-eyed fat man himself, Rooster Cogburn.

A drawing of Rooster Cogburn from TRUE GRIT by Charles Portis

This pic has some mild language in it, so I've cropped it for the sake of the little'uns and other sensitive eyes. If you wanna see the whole thing, you can click it!

TRUE GRIT #6: A methodist and a son of a b****

Drawings of Moon Garret and Emmett Quincy from TRUE GRIT by Charles Portis
Well, this wasn't the one I'd planned to post today, seeing as tomorrow is another WIZARDING WEDNESDAY, but I had a few minutes while running copies of the new Crogan Adventure Society newsletter and whipped these fellas up in the sketchbook. It was not until I was finished that I reckoned they looked near enough to Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant that I think I'd make to cast them in the roles. Can you see it?

Monday, December 19, 2011

True Grit Drawing #5: A saucy manner does not go down with me

The Texas Ranger Laboeuf from the novel True Grit by Charles Portis

Liz and I watched the new Coen Brothers version last night. I got it for my birthday, and hadn't seen it since its opening weekend at the theater.
Though I had the actors present in mind while reading the book, I was not prepared for how strikingly different the film version of the characters would be from my interpretation of them, at least in delivery and mannerisms.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

TRUE GRIT #4: It is a waste of time and none of my business

Captain Boots Finch of the Choctaw Light Horse from True Grit by Charles Portis

Boots didn't make it into the new movie - and it's been so long since I've seen the old one that I can't remember if he made it into that one, either - but he was a fun little aside in the book, and I thought him worth including in this set of pics.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TRUE GRIT #3: I intend to kill Tom Chaney with it if the law fails to do so

an illustration of Mattie Ross from Ture Grit by Charles Portis

Friday, December 16, 2011

TRUE GRIT #2: "Lucky" Ned Pepper

"Lucky" Ned Pepper from True Grit by Charles Portis

Thursday, December 15, 2011

TRUE GRIT #1: Everything is Against Me

This week: TRUE GRIT! Also, probably, Sherlock Holmes. I did a bunch of Sherlock Holmes drawings, and as I'll be seeing the new movie tonight with a batch of comic folk I may be in a Sherlocky mood.

But I've just read Charles Portis' TRUE GRIT, then reread it as an audiobook (wonderfully narrated by Donna Tart), and am on road to reading it again, between rereading my Annotated Sherlock Holmes. TRUE GRIT is a darn fine book, and I'm not ashamed to say that it was the Coen Brothers' excellent adaptation that finally got me around to reading it. It's becoming a favorite, and my first pick as a gift for any preteen girl relatives who like reading (I just gave up one copy, and ordered a couple more in reserve).

Tom Chaney from True Grit by Charles Portis

Anyway, I did a batch of pictures of some of the characters, based as close as I could to the descriptions offered in the prose, and figured on posting them up.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wizarding Wednesdays: Hagrid (a 20-Minute Color Sketch)

a 20-Minute Drawing of Rubeus Hagrid, the groundskeeper from Harry Potter

As part of my (kind of) new 20-minute color sketch challenge, I'm gonna be posting a Harry Potter character every wednesday for the forseeable future. So why am I posting it on Monday? Because I'm visiting family and haven't taken the time to do anything BUT Harry Potter characters, and I didn't want to leave the blog undone. I'm gonna post this'n, and maybe something else Wednesday, and then by Thursday or Friday I'll be back on a regular schedule.

Also, I went to a great charter school in North Carolina this morning and had a lot of fun talking to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

Friday, December 9, 2011

20-Minute Color Sketches: Teen Boxer T.R.

Today's sketch is one of my very favorite historical figures!

Teen Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt from when he was a boxer as a young man

Thursday, December 8, 2011

20-Minute Color Sketches: Sherlock

Drawing of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in the BBC series Sherlock

If you're not watching the new(ish) BBC series Sherlock, you should be. I wouldn't have expected a modern Sherlock Holmes series to be true to the subject matter (of which I've been a huge fan since reading an abridged version of Hound of the Baskervilles in first grade), but the series is, along with the first season of the Jeremy Brett Granada TV series, the most faithful to the Doyle stories, and easily the most fun. It's on Netflix Instant, so there's no reason NOT to watch it. You folks who enjoy TV Mysteries or procedurals, I GUARANTEE you'll like this one.

Promise me you'll watch it if you haven't already.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

20-Minute Color Sketches: Santa



Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

20-Minute Color Sketch: Jenkins 352

While finishing up the art for Crogan's Loyalty, I listened to quite a few audiobooks, and as an upcoming Crogan story takes place during the Zulu Wars I thought it appropriate to try and find some books set during that conflict.  My favorite of these was the first book in John Wilcox's Simon Fonthill series.  I've listened to the first two (I had the first in print, but hadn't gotten around to reading it manually) and am now moving through the third.

Jenkins 352, from the Simon Fonthill Series by John Wilcox

As is probably clear from the genre in which I generally work, I'm a sucker for good historical adventure.  My favorite character in the Fonthill series (and I'm sure I'm not particularly original in this regard) is Fonthill's batman and brother-in-arms Jenkins 352 (referred to by the last three digits of his serial number because his unit had fifteen fellas named Jenkins), and it's clear that Wilcox loves writing him as much as I love reading him.

It's all but impossible for me to not draw prose characters when in the thralls of good fiction, so it was natural for me to light on Jenkins for today's 20-Minute Color Sketch.

Also, some folks in the comments section asked a few days back about the release date for Crogan's Loyalty... it's June 6th.  I'll be doing a small book tour that week, I think, including Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and possibly Ohio.  I'll be sure to post details as I have them.

Monday, December 5, 2011

20-Minute Color Sketches: Mudman

Today's 20-minute color sketch took 23 minutes. Sorry. I gotta get back on the ball, and quit being so ambitious with the compositions.

Today's sketch is of MUDMAN, Paul Grist's new comic series. It's fun so far, and I have high hopes for the series. Grist has two other projects with which I'm familiar - Jack Staff and the oh-so-very-very-good police drama Kane - and they're both top notch, leading me to always want to check out what he's working on. He also did a great story in that Anniversary issue of Captain America last year.

Paul Grist's MUDMAN
Click image for a slightly bigger version

Anyway, I don't know if Mudman has the power to thrust his arm into the mud and make a giant mud hand come out and grab people, but I sure hope so.

Also, as some folks asked for it, here's a group shot of the ewoks from last week.


Click it for a high-res version. Don't sell it or anything, but otherwise do whatever you want with it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ewok Week: LOGRAY

The Ewok medicine man!


That's it for the Ewoks! Happy Ewok Week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

CRAZY, CRAZY HOLIDAY SALE!

Though I've always turned up my nose at the TV sales ads where people are going CRAZY slashing prices, that's exactly how I felt when I was doing the prices for this sale. CRAZY! Laughing with glee and incredulity at my own prices!  Have I gone Crazy?  MAYBE!

CLICK HERE FOR CRAZY PRICES!!!

For the next 9 days, all of the original art for sale on my website is marked WAY, WAY DOWN! This is the first time I've ever done this (I'm usually not a fan of this sort of thing, because I feel like it's kinda rotten to the folks who payed full price for stuff, AND I don't want people to think "well, I should wait until he has a sale." But the people who paid full price got one-of-a-kind items that they hopefully really wanted that likely wouldn't still be available to them now, and as for another sale? This isn't gonna be a regular Christmas thing or anything. As far as my plans go, barring any horrific unforeseen financial disaster that requires shortsighted penny-counting, this is the one and only sale like this I'll have for the next few years. We certainly could stand to fill our family holiday coffers, and also I want to make sure that I have plenty of room for the original art for Crogan's Loyalty when it comes out.

The prices are CRAZY!  The original drawings and pinups are marked down anywhere from like 80 percent of the original price to something around like 30 or 40 percent (I'm bad at math!  I don't know!  Like I said, these prices are CRAZY)!

Original Crogan Adventure pages are a staggering FIFTY PERCENT OFF!  That's right.  Instead of $100, they're only $50!  If I knew how to make flashing 90s' internet text, this is where I'd do it.  THESE PRICES ARE CRAZY!  If I had the time, I'd make a commercial.

If you have ever wanted to start collecting original comic art, or if you know someone who likes the Crogan Adventures and want to give them THE VERY BEST GIFT EVER, Now's the time!

The sale goes from now until 11:59PM, Eastern Standard Time, On Sunday, December 11th.  I'll mail all packages out on December 12th!  Have 'em by Christmas!

Here's where you get the original Crogan Adventures Pages

Here's where you get original drawings and pinups


Just a reminder - these are ONE-OF-A-KIND items.  That means that someone may beat you to the piece that you want.  Whoever's payment comes through first gets it, and anyone else will get a refund.  If you want things personalized, please leave me a note or shoot me an e-mail!

Ewok Week: WICKET

Today's Ewok is the lil'est one of all - Wicket!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ADULT BARTENDER KANEDA FOREVER

Ewok Week: PAPLOO

Ewok Week #3: PAPLOO!

Paploo the Ewok

He's the one who steals the speeder bike and grabs the vine, if you recall.