Thursday, July 12, 2012

This past June, my family and I went camping in the mountains of Tennessee with some friends of ours. In addition to watercolors, I got to do some light painting/drawing. I'm not great at it, but my friend Albert ( directed me every step of the way to some cool pictures! The top two are drawings of crawdads (as if you didn't know) and my boys were only too happy to assist with the bottom two.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My 3rd graders make masks towards the end of the year. This is the demo mask that I made for them and I am happy to say that many of them found it inspiring.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Here it is; my magnum opus of construction paper. With the exception of the "comics code authority" stamp and the four heads in the Marvel Comics header, everything here is cut paper. I only gave in on those two things because I simply don't have the tools or ability to cut that small. (The colors in this reproduction are a little off; the colors are closer to the original below.)

I have now spent more time on this than Jack Kirby spent drawing this thing in the first place! It became sort of an obsession for me as the layers of complexity opened themselves up to my intense gaze. My wife for one is glad that I can stop spending time on my "craft project" and get back to paying work, or at least good watercolors.

In doing this, I came to appreciate the design inherent in the comic book cover and just how the limited colors are used to grab the viewer and how they are subtilely repeated throughout the composition to give rhythm and visual flow.

These are some shots of the piece in progress (and I think the color is a little better).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sometimes - okay, all the time - I save cast off bits and pieces of things for future use: linocuts, fragments of interesting drawings, etc. Occasionally I gather them all together and make a collage. Sometimes they really work well together. And sometimes I have to live with them for a while before I can appreciate the jammed together glory that is collage.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

After taking my kids to the comic shop and being bitterly disappointed by the lack of desirable comics for us to buy, I decided to break out my stash and do a project with said kids. We looked through a ton of old Legends of the Dark Knight (which, I must confess, I love). We chose two covers that both my daughter and I liked and thought would make good paper cuts. I chose LotDK #29, part 2 of Faces by Matt Wagner. I've always really liked the covers in this series.

My 10 year old daughter chose LotDK #11, part 1 of Prey by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy. She felt that a strict adherence to the black and red color scheme of the original was unnecessary.

Being a printmaker by training and inclination, I think of things in terms of color blocks and how I can produce an image in a woodcut or linocut.  The planning for making paper cuts is almost identical to that of making a multi-block relief print. I plan on doing some projects based on this in my art classes next year. I thought about giving the students comic covers in black and white and having them come up with a color scheme of their own. But I'm not sure now. I have begun a reproduction of a Fantastic Four cover that has proven far cooler but far more difficult than I thought it would be. I'll have to strike a happy balance for my students.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It seems as if the 2-page spread is sort of a theme these days, so I'll continue. As in the previous two posts, the man on the left is real. I spied him on the sly while he was, indeed, listening to the homily.

The robot woman, however, is my invention completely. I really like robot drawings that are done well; I suppose I'd like to do one myself someday. She will never be a real woman. I love good S/F stories. The best of them almost always ask what it is to be human from Blade Runner, AI, I Robot, Star Trek (take your pick),  and a million others. Normally this is done by making a robot so human as to be indistinguishable from real humans except for the physical material they are made of. And the actual humans that are contrasted with the robots are typically less than human in some way. We are made to believe that it's what's on the inside that makes us human, not what we are made of. But I think that the non-gnostic position is that it's what's on the inside and what we are made of that makes us human. We are composite beings - flesh and spirit.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Here are a couple more drawings out of my new drawing book (which is still unnamed).

This old codger was at the same conference as the female minotaur below. He appeared not to be bored at all as he was smiling and laughing to himself through almost all of the sessions I was in with him (which was quite a few - it was a rather small conference). I have no idea why no one else at the conference was bothered by the presence of an aging minotaur. And also, he had a neck beard.

The character on the other page, which shares a common background with the minotaur, is a sort of terranaut, I suppose. The color blue is the only thing they have in common.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

As I mentioned earlier, I have begun a new drawing book. I made rules for my last book - I only drew things that I could observe from life. So far, it looks like I am rebelling against that rule in this book. I have drawn a lot of monsters so far. The woman on the left is real - I saw her at a conference and drew her while she was listening to an unbelievably boring session on something or another. A true confession, I have always loved minotaurs. I do not have any idea why. But here she is, a middle aged minotauress as she sits in quiet contemplation.

On the other side is a man contemplating Rembrandt. So I suppose these two are joined in the act of thinking. This head is made from the leftovers from a collage I did years ago. (I almost never throw things away.) Rembrandt comes from a demo piece for relief printmaking I did for school. There's no real reason to make a print of Rembrandt besides the fact that I love him even more than I do minotaurs.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The thing I love about camping is all the nothing that needs to be done during the day. Especially while the baby is napping and someone has to stay around camp until he wakes up. I made these watercolors over a few days while up in the mountains of east Tennessee earlier this month.

As I look at these on the screen, they seem to be a bit washed out. Maybe I should spring for a new scanner?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

So this is what happens when you don't really listen to your art director all that closely. He says that he needs a simple line drawing of a Chinese dragon. I hear "Chinese dragon, line drawing". It's hard to hold back on something like this. But I thought I was holding back - it's just lines, right? But he said that it was great and would look good in one of my drawing books, but that it isn't what he needed. So I had to do it again. I made a time lapse of the smaller drawing that he actually wanted (below). By the way, go ahead and print out the big dragon as a coloring page - it'll be fun.

Here's a better look at the watercolor that I did in the time lapse that I posted yesterday.

This, by the way, is in a "new" drawing book (that I started 6 months ago).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Here are a couple of time lapse videos I made with a very cool free app for my iPhone - iMotion HD. One I did for a very simple illustration project and the other is a page in one of my drawing books. I wanted to show how I go about painting one of my drawings. Incidentally, the little boy with the sword is a copy of a Frank Miller drawing for Lone Wolf and Cub.