Sunday, February 23, 2014

Illustration Friday: SPACE

Illustration Friday: Every Friday a word is given on the website, Artists and illustrators then submit an image that represents that word all during the week.
This week's word: SPACE

SPOILER ALERT: The big climatic ending to my first children's book: Bobby's Biggest Bubble
Thought Process:
A no-brainer this week.

Space makes me think of the space scene I drew for the climatic ending of my first children's book: Bobby's Biggest Bubble. Of all the terrific comments and kind emails I have received about the book -- this 2-page spread was usually the fan favorite, especially for boys.

I like to think it's the coloring that made this page "pop" . . .
Knowing the amount of pink bubblegum coloring the pages would have, I boosted the night sky's blues and even made the meteor a brighter blue to counter the pink; balancing the warm coloring on the left with the cool coloring on the right. 

This page was the greatest challenge I had when making the book. It was the part of the story I worried about the most. Even though this 2-page spread was near the end of the book, other then the cover, it was the first page I completed with full color.
Once I had this part of the story behind me, the rest of the book fell into place.

You can see more about this comic strip at this link here and more recently here.

Home of the Brave: Knock Knock

Back in the early 90's, a good friend of our family started a health newspaper which was circulated all over the state at health spas and gyms. She approached me looking for a comic strip to fill their entertainment section. I mentioned I had already had a comic strip printed in a nationwide fanzine for over two years . . . she could reprint those strips at no cost. She was very interested, but questioned if it was related to health or sports in anyway. It wasn't . . . 
An example of Home of the Brave as it appeared in "The Spa Times"
So I revamped the comic strip; changed the story so that Ollie wanted to be a Super Health Officer instead of a Super Crime Fighter. But I still used many of the old images, sketches and jokes, adjusting them to work better with a general health theme. The strip became more polished looking and I got away from using too much black in every panel. 

To see other posts about this comic strip, click the keyword "Comic Strip" below in the labels sections.

Daily Quick Sketch: Rex-9

This was a test sketch, where I'm trying to develop more robotic features.

The inspiration for this character would have to be based on Alan Moore's Halo Jones series, which ran in England's "2000 AD" comic and was illustrated by Ian Gibson. In the story, there is a K-9 robot companion to Halo named, Toby. Somewhere down the line, this friendly robot dog turns out to be a derange murdering killing machine.

A gritty digital coloring of the Rex-9 pencil sketch

While I have no intentions to use this robot dog as a killer in a story, the character Toby kept popping in my mind and influenced the final look. The difference here is that Rex-9 is not really a trusting looking robot . . . I would never trust this puppy bot the way Toby was trusted in the Halo Jones story.

Pencil sketch of robot dog, Rex-9

I need to focus more on actually constructing the parts of a robot. Those who draw robots well, show the working anatomy of robotics in a way that is easily understood. While I'm sure this image can be recognized as a robot dog -- I still have a way to go with developing better robotic features and components.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Home of the Brave: Vigilance strip found

This weekend, my office is getting a much needed cleaning. Since we have outgrown our home, it is nearly impossible to organize where to place items. So I have my work, sketches and documents everywhere. It's time to purge! But that's not easy since I don't want to throw out anything "valuable" without checking first. 

The strip shown below is a good example that I need to check everything before I throw stuff away.I was ready to toss out a box filled with of old work paycheck stubs, documents and other various paperwork, but decided to go through it -- just in case. Good thing too, for this was one of my earliest comic strips from "Home of the Brave."
Some very old artwork of my comic strip "Home of the Brave" that was lost . . . but now found.

Not sure what number strip this was in the series; the pencil markings of the strip # and date on the back are completely worn off. But based on my memory of the story, this should be somewhere around the 10th, 11th or 12th strip made for the "Home of the Brave" series.

You can see more about this comic strip at this link here.

Interesting side-note:
At the time of this strip, the late 80's, the word "Super Hero" was legally owned by DC and Marvel comics. Here's a quote from Wiki:
"While the word "superhero" itself dates to at least 1917, the term "Super Heroes" is a typography-independent 'descriptive' USA trademark which is co-owned by DC Comics and Marvel Characters, Inc."
I believe this is still true and active today. I also find it troubling that both companies can do this, claiming ownership to a popular phrase that neither companies created.
Yet, because they made the most popular super heroes, they are given TM ownership of the term "Super Heroes".

Because of this, I had to change my family of dysfunctional "super heroes" into "crime fighting heroes". The words crime-fighting and crime-fighter were frequently used in my strip . . . reluctantly. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Hellboy (Update)

Very busy week, so there wasn't much time for sketching. I did squeeze in this Hellboy pencil sketch before heading to bed. I did this character as a part of the Google+ grouping CBC Artists' Alley - where the theme of the week was the BPRD group (of which Hellboy is a member.) 

UPDATE: Added colored version see below

Digitally under color of the pencil line sketch of Hellboy

When I get the time I'd like to do a wacky action scene with Hellboy fighting a giant subway tunnel creature . . . (on my long todo list!)

Original pencil sketch of Hellboy, 2b pencil on Sketchbook paper

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Illustration Friday: TWISTED

Illustration Friday: Every Friday a word is given on the website, Artists and illustrators then submit an image that represents that word all during the week.
This week's word: TWISTED

Extra background with a photo of the game Twister was added for Illustration Friday

Thought Process:
This was a busy week. I squeezed in this last day submission for Illustration Friday (which started last Friday.) The word Twisted instantly made me think of an Octopus and it's twisting tentacles. 
I also thought of Chubby Checker with his famous Twisting songs. I could have the octopus dancing the twist, but that is a very dated reference that not many younger generations would relate to. So I drew a cartoon of an Octopus with his twisted tentacles. But it didn't seem to be enough.

Colored version of the Octopus drawn on marker paper using alcohol markers and black tip marker

So, I thought of the popular game, Twister. I could add some humor by placing the octopus on a Twister map. I originally thought to add a pink squid playing against the octopus -- really get their tentacles tangled . . . but that would've taken more time to complete than I had to spare.

The original pencil sketch of the octopus

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Camel-Horse

Since I was a child, I always enjoyed drawing animals. I would even make my own comics with anthropomorphic superheroes, often starring my pets as the key stars.  But now, I still enjoy drawing wacky creatures the most.
They're more fun to draw. They can be surreal, bizarre or whimsical; and drawing them can really lets one's imagination go wild.
One thing I have always enjoyed is combining different animals to re-create a new look. By combining traits of a camel with a horse, I came up with this sketch. 
A color pencil sketch of a Camel-Horse, coming traits of the two species into one
I don't feel this is a great character -- it needs work. It lacks a personality; its too simplistic and dull . But with a few tweaks this creature could develop into a good supporting character for a story. (Say . . . as a desert mount for some crazy or exotic sand trader.) I will revisit this character, build on its design, but for now I will just let this character sit in the image archives. After some time passes, I'll look at this character with new eyes and hopefully see some new potential to better this design into something more.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Batman Valentine

This little quick sketch goes out to my lovely wife, Carla. We're going on our 5th year together. One of the things we share is the dislike of Valentine's Day . . . it's far too commercial and often annoying to celebrate.
Little personally made Valentine toon for my sweetie . . . Luv ya, Babe!

That said, my wife did send me a old Valentine card via Facebook. It was a vintage Batgirl with artwork that looked to be around circa 1970 when we were just kids.
So in retaliation, I drew this pudgy Batman circa the Batman Show of the late 60's . . . right back atcha, Boopie!

Placed the image on a transparent background and tweeked the line tone and saturation a bit in Photoshop.
The original color pencil sketch

Monday, February 10, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Shark Waiter

This is an image I sketched during a weekend cruise.
This was a thank you sketch for our table's waiter, Plamen.

The image was signed by each of my friends, just before I handed the sketch to our waiter, Plamen.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Daily Quick Sketch: Carl of the Walking Dead

Today quick sketch was a small tribute to the comic and TV show Walking Dead. This was a part of this week Fan Art Friday at Google+ CBC Artists' Alley.

Quick colored version of the sketch of The Walking Dead's Carl Grimes

Carl is my favorite character of both series. I feel the story is written from Carl's point of view, even though the lead character is his father, Rick. At some point, I think Rick will need to die - leaving Carl to be the future leader.

The original pencil sketch for G+'s comic Book Community Artists' Alley

To me, Carl is the only character that would devastate me if he died in the story. And that's a scary thing . . . because Robert Kirkman would be "that" writer who would do that. (KIRKMANNNNNnnnnnnn!!!)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Character Designs for a Game: Part Four, The Minotaur

Here's the final design of the four characters I made for Steve Radabaugh's game, Dungeon Marauders: The Minotaur.
The final colored design of the Minotaur submitted for Dungeon Marauders
Of the four designs, the Minotaur was the one that needed the most changes. When I first did rough sketches, I was looking for the Minotaur to be different than the typical version we all know. So I made it's face more beastly; like the main character from "Beauty and the Beast". And again, like the Ogre, I wanted to play around with a very top heavy character with tiny legs. I sent the roughs to Steve for comments.

Quick concept pencil rough sketches of the Minotaur -- Trying to get a new look

This is where an outside critique really helps. As the designer who is constantly looking at the work, you sometimes lose focus and the perception of how others see your work. I didn't see what was wrong until Steve pointed it out. 

Tightened pencil sketch of the Minotaur which was off target . . . 

Steve felt that the sketch was off, especially around the face. While I was trying to be different, I was subconsciously omitting one of the most important feature of a Mintotaur . . . it's bull-like facial features.

 . . . The final pencil sketch with greatly improved Minotaur bull head features!

Once the face was altered to be more bull-like . . . it seemed to all come together instantly. There was no question this was now a Minotaur!

The Minotaur design seen with a drop shadow on a dark background
As Steve continues to develop his game, I hope to share his progress here with future posts about Dungeon Marauders.
Those interested can view the game's progress from his blog at:
or look him up on Google+ at: