Monday, January 29, 2007

So, uh, well...I'm consistently posting faces anyway. No surprise that this is easiest for me. I've always had more fun drawing faces than anything else. Especially fat, ugly faces with unpleasant expressions like this fellow here. This, clearly is just a quick doodle with a hard pencil that got darkened up in photoshop. I used this curly, graceful line (at least somewhat) that I really admire in artists like Paul Pope, Al Columbia, Charles Vess, and dudes like that. I know they actually use a flexible pen/brush to achieve it, but so what? You're gonna tell me what I can and can't use to imitate people? If I want to do it the difficult, stupid way you'll just have to respect my decision. Anyway, I'm hoping to use this as an object with which to teach myself the pen tool in PS. It's time I learned to vector! I hope to post preliminary results of that little experiment tonight.

(He probably still should have been more complete though.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Straight Outta Moleskine

Is it an update? Technically, yes. Is it half-assed? Technically, maybe not even that much. Anyway, in some sense this post is much like the previous, in that I was a-scribbling while I was watching TV. Some older boxing match on HBO On Demand in this case. A rather exciting superlightweight matchup between the veteran Juan Luis Castillo and talented newcomer Herman Njoudga (or something similar) who came in heavily favored to lose and ended up forcing a thrilling split decision against the former champ. Uh, anyway, I made two pages of quick gesturey pugs while checking out the bout, and here they are.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Well, the posts do trickle in, don't they? Far behind schedule, but better than nothing, which is what I posted here for most of last year. Let's say I'm gearing up, just breaking a sweat in preparation for the real workout that's still coming. Yeah, that doesn't sound like a rationalization at all. Anyway, here's couple of doodles I made last night while watching my stories. What they have in common is a high-contrast dramatic lighting scheme. What they don't have in common is a medium, subject or style. You got soft pencil and ink pen, you got oldish man and youngish woman. You got fairly naturalistic and fairly cartoony. You got Battlestar Galactica and Rome. These were scanned in, the only photoshopping done was adjustment of levels and reduction. There's some good and bad in each of them, I figure.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Well, a little extra shading on the eye has improved things considerably, I think, but the face is still pretty assymetrical around the peepers. At least the lighting isn't a disaster anymore. Step by step - inch by inch...

So much for no blown deadlines. Still, I do have last Wednesday's drawing about half done and will try to finish it tonight to post tomorrow. I uh, I started it on Saturday morning. But tonight I spent an hour drawing yesterday's face entry while watching a kind of okay TV political military thriller. Anyway, this isn't based on any one face I saw while watching the tube, but bits and pieces of at least three. Which is why it's a little goofy. This was roughed out with a staedler f pencil, then toned in with a 6b.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Boy, this is half-assed, but it mostly got the stuff I wanted to get in it, so I'm posting it anyway. Also, I'm so tired that working on it any more is going to make it worse instead of better, and I'm not missing any deadlines over piddly little considerations like quality.

Anyway, I chose to draw Batman today because of a conversation in Seebelow and Ludickid's ljabout Batman that started in depth, and proceded from there to contentious and even a little divisive. But Batman's a character like that: he's so thoroughly embedded in our culture that everyone has an opinion of some kind about him, and some of them are pretty passionate.

Anyway, this version of Batman is based on the idea that he's essentially weaponized every part of himself as much as possible while still maintaining the masquerade of life as a millionaire playboy. Batman may have a deathwish, but he's in severe denial or at least defiance of it. He wants to make the world safe. Ironically, since he sees threats everywhere as a result of his childhood trauma, and because of his iron will and obsessive personality he cannot help but try to fight these omnipresent threats into extinction, he becomes a kind of fighting machine. This redesigned costume reflects a 'realistic' approach that someone might take to achieve that goal. Although I didn't want to reject the most important signifiers of batmanhood (ears, chest emblem, scalloped cape, cowl, utility belt) I did want to portray them as plausibly as I could. There's no skintight spandex armor, instead there's kevlar body armor worn under a loose black boilersuit to combine mobility and protection. The cowl is an armored, shock-absorbing helmet with a chinstrap holding it in place. The utility belt doesn't have pockets that will take precious seconds to open and extract the contents, but breakaway mini-canisters. The boots become high ribbed 'legbreaker' shin-guards. The cape, although totally impractical is the one thing I kept in pretty much the same form as traditional. Batman without his cape isn't batman anymore. The silhouette is THE most important thing.

Anyway, it's rough and ugly and unfinished, but it's about as realistic as a Batman can be, at least as a piece of concept art.

I'll probably do a much more polished and indepth version of this for the wildcard friday or color saturday postings.

Monday, January 08, 2007


I don't think I did a very good job of scanning this. Oh well, every aspect the entire enterprise will improve with practice. This was drawn in about 2 hours without reference on a Canson 9x12 sketch pad with Prismacolor cool greyscale markers over 3h pencils. I'd say the pencils were knocked out in a half an hour, with the rest of the time spent on tone. There's absolutely no PhotoShop tweaking, a little of which might have gone a ways toward restoring some of the more subtle gradations of pigment. The actual drawing of the face has no pure white in it, for example. I am pretty pleased with the specificity of the features and the ambivalence of the expression. One thing I hate that I see way too many of (mostly in comics) are generic, expressionless faces. I think that for the rest of the week, I'll continue in this way - drawing without reference, in the same size, same media (except for color on Saturday), and no PS gimmickry.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

So The Ludic Kid announced that he'd return to updating the Ludic Log next week on a daily basis and made it a little easier on his own bad self by working out a schedule of when he'd be posting what kind of writing. Good on him, and I wish him the best at it, as always.

I've always been a filthy lazy bum with nothin' but potential, though, so I saw his announcement and thought "hey, there's an idea I can steal!" Which is what this post is all about. Every year I resolve to draw more, paint more, work more, finish what I start more and just generally go from a filthy lazy bum to a spic-n-span workaholic millionaire. And yet, here I am, so you know how well that's turned out. So, maybe if I set a schedule for myself, too, and can be the rollicking success story that Leonard is. Yeah, he might disagree with that assessment, but you gotta figure in where I am in relation to him. So, here's my version of his how-to-bust-assamajig:

Mondays: Portrait/caricature day. I will post one (1) (at least) drawn or otherwise hand-created image of a face, human or animal. Available styles will range from photorealism to ghastly distortion and simplification, but the image will be finished if single, or a series of studies if multiple.

Tuesdays: Figure drawing day. I will post one (1) (at least) drawn or otherwise hand-created image of a body, human or animal. Available styles as before.

Wednesdays: Setting/object day. I will post one (1) (at least) drawn or otherwise hand-created image of a place or thing. Available styles as before.

Thursdays: Narrative day. I will post one (1) (at least) drawn or otherwise hand-created strip or comic page. This being more ambitious that the three previous (in some senses it is to be a synthesis of all three previous exerciises) I will be somewhat more charitable in my definition of 'finished' in this case.

Fridays: Doowhutchyalike. I will listen to Digital Underground's sound advice and indulge myself in either experimentation or retreat to my comfort zone.

Saturdays: Color day. While the majority of entries will be monochrome, since I favor the media of graphite and ink, on Saturday I will knuckle down and either use photoshop to add color to a previous work or use traditional media to create an original color work.

Sunday: And on the seventh day he rested. Whattaya expect? I've never kept a schedule even remotely this tough before without an overseer cracking the whip. I've gotta cut myself a little slack.

Wish me luck, visit often, please encourage me when I'm doing well and bitch me out when I'm shitting myself back into bad old habits.

Starting Monday, January 8 2007!