France and a werewolf brave

On very short notice, I am leaving for France tomorrow night. Amongst other things, I will be attending 'Salon International de la Bande Dessinée de Valenciennes', a festival of sequential illustration on Nov 4th and 5th. For more information, here is a link to their site.

Afterwards, I will spend some time in Paris to meet some folks and to hold a signing at Album, which I understand is a very fine retailer. I am certain I will bring back luggage heavy with books.

I enjoy a lot of old mythology, and Native American legends seem to be somewhat overlooked when it comes to magic and monsters. Perhaps they are too close to home. I was thinking about skinwalkers, portrayed at times as something of a Native American werewolf, and wound up with the above sketch. It is Halloween, and if anyone could see what they've done to the once mythic, ancient event in West Hollywood, like me you'd wish this wolf-beast would come forth from the desert and rip your head off.

Au revoir




The Hana headshot was drawn as another reminder of how I used to draw her, or in this case, her facial proportions. When you draw in a fairly cartoony or open style, it is critical to understand where everything fits. Actually, it is critical regardless of style, but without an excess of rendering to hide behind, any flaws in the geometry will be especially obvious. The lower half of the image has Hana standing with some goblins, although they look like ugly monkeys.

Speaking of goblins, the headshots were part of a week-long goblin kick I was on. I was trying to keep them fun and cartoony, and was borrowing from a couple of different artists- A couple of them look a lot like Mignola's Faerie king, seen hanging around in trees occasionally in the pages of Hellboy. I'll have to tread carefully there.

There is also what could be a goblin queen in her throne drawn up from the earth. It seemed like a nice idea. I do like putting horns on people.

The nightmare drawing was done weeks ago when I felt an obligation to sketch something for this blog. It wasn't genuinely motivated, so I left it. I forgive it now that enough time has passed.



Ghoul and Guy

The creepy guy was done in a hotel room while attending MegaCon in Florida last February. It was drawn mainly to experiment with spotting blacks as opposed to leaving everything open for color. It is fun to mix it up sometimes as you never know what might click stylistically. The unfinished color comps on the bottom were done at a later date. I needed something to test a few color techniques on and the ghoul sketch was on hand.

The other guy was done on my laptop in Japan while demonstrating digital painting for some friends. It's just a throwaway sketch, but I hadn't thrown it away so I thought I would share it. Now I can throw it away.




I've just returned from Pennsylvania where I was attending my sister Rachel's wedding, a lovely affair under falling leaves in crisp air by a babbling brook. While back at home, I also steered the rental car up to East Stroudsburg to pay a visit to the Frank Frazetta Museum with my brother, Gabriel. Needless to say, it was fantastic and inspiring. I was struck by the excellent contrast and palette of his paintings. Clearly, none of the countless reproductions have done them justice.

Almost as important as the museum was the second leg of the journey to Grotto Pizza in Wilkes-Barre. A staple on the Delaware boardwalk, there are naturally a couple of locations in Pennsylvania, as the state always provides an abundance of wonders for all who visit. I am happy to report that Grotto Pizza remains The Legendary Taste.

Here is the 3-page short I did for Vertigo Comics' Fables a while back. It is tragically under-drawn since it was completed entirely in Painter over very basic layouts. I hadn't intended to complete it that way, but screwed around so much that it was too late to turn back. But there you have it.



Hana and the Wolf

Hana is a lead character in my Sky between Branches project, which has slowly been taking form for the last several years. The three-stage sketch here was done a while back primarily as a reminder of her character.

The wolf I drew as a warm-up last night while working on another concept and flipping through some National Geographic magazines, a fantastic publication, needless to say. If the concept can get off the ground, I'll post more about it.




These guys have been hanging around for a while. I remember drawing them one evening as a challenge to push further stylistically.

Oddly enough, they came out looking somewhat like the drawings I did before I really knew what I was doing, which was a somewhat frustrating but important reminder:

It is essential to know the rules, to study anatomy, light, composition, and so forth, but only so you can break those rules with reckless, creative abandon and capture something bigger than life.

I've been taking the long way home, but now that I am rounding the bend, the view seems better than I had remembered.


Digital doodling

Well, I am just as tired of looking at that stupid kid in the previous post as you are, but I have been busy with some new projects, and though I have been enjoying the work, I can't really share the drawings just yet. I almost posted some rough drawings of DC covers and the like, but it just felt wrong to put that stuff here.

So, I decided to shuffle through my folders and see if there was anything lurking around that might be worth sharing. When I stumbled onto these experiments, I thought they might be of some interest.

What I have here are a handful of completely digital sketches. Mostly, these are learning exercises, and are usually abandoned as soon as I feel I have gained some knowledge or have lost interest. Occasionally, I end up with a few doodles I find hard to throw out, so I stick them in a folder and forget about them, at least until this blog gave me an excuse to drag them out into the light.

Pulled from the archives (conveniently located next to the trash can), here are a few more oddballs. If only I could remember what exactly I learned.