Saturday, July 25, 2009

Live and Die with your Mask on.

This is part of page one of WRESTLER ZERO. I'd love to have one of those oversize scanners that can accomodate 11 by 17 originals. This was pencilled with blue pencil and a B pencil and inked with a Pitt brush pen, a hunt 108 and with Dr. Martin's Bombay black ink. The rain was accomplished with a white gel pen. I'm currently pencilling an eight page WRESTLER ZERO story. I'm having a lot of fun with it and I hope it shows.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The magic key.

First and foremost I want to wish everyone reading this a HAPPY 4TH OF JULY.

I had the privelege of seeing some of the world during my Navy days and it made me appreciate our country all the more.

One of the many pitfalls of being a self taught artist is the amount of time I've spent going down blind alleys. It's like exploring a new world without a map or a guide who's familiar with the lay of the land. I've read just about every "how to draw" book I could find, read interviews with artists, scanned blogs, watched videos and I've spent countless hours studying the work of artists whose work both inspires and humbles me. I was searching for some sort of a magic key that would unlock the mysteries of drawing. As time went on I found that I began to lose my fascination with certain artists and began to study the work of men that I'd ignored when I was younger. As I've gotten older I don't have all the answers but I think my questions are much better than they were. All of the time I invested in searching for that magic key wasn't in vain. I learned some valuable things along the way. But the biggest lesson of all is this: There is no magic key to be found anywhere. If you want to unlock the mysteries of drawing you have to draw, draw and draw some more. Frustration is your enemy, procrastination is your killer.

Like many an amateur I've fallen under the sway of certain artistic trends. For a time I worshipped at the altar of heavy rendering. I spent a lot of time trying to be cartoony and for a very long period everything I drew was a stylistic emulation of a certain artist's "how to" books. I'm still trying to unlearn a lot of bad habits. The drawings accompanying this entry were all done while watching movies at home.

If you're an amateur (or aspiring if you prefer) comic book artist I'd like to recommend the following books:

The Figure by Walt Reed, Anatomy for the artist by Sarah Simblet, How to draw the Human Figure by the Famous Artists School, Posefile Reference by Antartic Press, Perspective for comic book artists by David Chelsea, People and Poses, Women and Girls and Men and Boys by Impact Books, Facial Expressions by Mark Simon, The Human Figure in Motion by Eadward Muybridge, International Gymnast Magazine and Drawing magazine.

I almost forgot to include Comic Book Artist number 11, the Alex Toth issue. It's available from and Mr. Toth's insights on the craft of comics make it a must read. Until next time stay encouraged and keep drawing.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Scrap paper influences

I do most of my sketching on scrap paper. I also have standard sketchbooks but sometimes that really nice paper can be a bit intimidating. The above drawing is a "scrap paper special". I think it shows a Wally Wood influence in the shading and in the shape/masses of the figure. It goes without saying that Wally Wood undoubtedly erased better drawings than I could ever produce, but I love his work nonetheless. If you're an aspiring artist or just someone who loves the best of comic book art, you owe yourself a close look at Wally Wood's artwork.

Pencil before Ink.

The above is a detail from a page of my comic book WRESTLER ZERO. In the never ending (and sanity challenging) attempt to improve my drawing I've decided that I have to focus on my pencilling and put off inking my work for the forseeable future. Inking is an artform but the best inks in the world are useless if the pencils are no good. Because this is my passion I want to be productive and publish new material as often as I can. . However, because I'm painfully aware of how flawed my work is I put a lot of pressure on myself and all too often I've jumped to the inking before making sure that the layout, composition and drawing was as good as it should've been. The result is a stack of unusable pages with an occasional panel that offers the hope that I may, if I work hard enough, someday grow into a passable artist. I've made some very small progress and each new step forward makes me hungrier for the next. So it's back to the books, the drawing board and the pencil shapener for me. As Steve Rude once said : " Hey, what else do you have to do with your life?".