Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Got, Got, Got, Got No Time...

With a tired body and mountains of homework threatening to bury me, I retreated into a nap for an hour and a half. I was determined to return with a vengeance but decided to check my Blogger account first.


At least I have stuff to share, although I barely have time to create. I've been scanning recent creations like a madman, building up an archive in case all the other, better artwork in the world is destroyed (see 2012 -- or perhaps don't) and the aliens that discover our remains have to settle for my crap. How noble of me! Besides, if that doesn't get me, the oncoming extinction of the sweet banana will.

The leftmost drawing of this chic chick was done with a nib pen and colored in PS afterwards. Regarding nib pens, I've done a bunch of Steadmanesque pieces for my Character Design class that I'm dying to show you all, but one of them needs a slight adjustment before it's worth putting up. Another one needs a dramatic overhaul, which the other classes make difficult. Neither can be done tonight.

He's a stoner and he'll never be any good. Not that those are mutually exclusive, mind -- Stanley Kubrick was clearly high as a kite when he made 2001.

Most of these sketches are coming off of my current scribble phase. As I've said before, I'm constantly reevaluating why my art lacks and what I can do to fix it. There are a couple of soft-spoken guys at school who intimidate me with their funny drawings and extreme pose quality, which has ultimately compelled me to improve. My most recent solution is, rather than lightening my heavy hand, feeling through the forms at high velocity. Pens are great for this, but it only works when I really think about it. Otherwise I just make a hairy jumble of lines over flat shapes, and... well, screw that.

Revision for the "mod dog" I posted pics of a while back. The pose was nice and loose, so I took tracing paper and a Col-Erase to it. The scanner gave me hell for it, of course, so I settled on having some visual ambience (meaning urban grime) surround her.

I posted her already, but now she's in color, thanks to the Fake Marker Tool in Sketchbook Pro. Booyah!

Or just bewilderment?

By the way, there are three cigarettes in this post, and one of them is stuffed with pot. I guess we're rated R now.

In a future post: The morbidly intriguing, sometimes well-drawn dissolution of my long-running creative slump.

Monday, October 12, 2009

He's no Jesus, he's no Elvis...

Behold the Incubus.

I designed this lusty lump of lard for a project currently being developed by John J. Perez, doing multiple passes to increase the size of his wings. Watch them magically grow!

At the Zoo

Today we draw from the cartoon animal kingdom!

Except what the heck are these things?

That one is about a month old. Poor dog's got no self-control.

I can't help giggling at this one. He's just so happy, he triggers it.

Outfit on the right courtesy of Annie Hall.

One of these days, I'm going to bring more of these kinds of drawings to a finish, and color them with a little more zestiness than the ol' Photoshop wash. But not now. In the immediate now, it's really late. In the general now, school keeps me busy enough.

Hope these look good, anyway.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Sprinkling of Girls

Q: How do I juggle a buttload of animation classes, draw for pleasure, and maintain a blog all at once?

A: I don't.

This was a pic I did last week, drawn from the typically nonsensical title of a glam-era Brian Eno song.

Bursts of inspiration like that are rare. More than that, though, the poses for drawings with less inspired subject matter just aren't that good. I've had a billion theories about why I draw better or worse at any given time, but these theories evaporate once I try and fail to push myself in the opposite direction. Yet here comes another!

It occurred to me last night that my desire to embrace simple shapes and flat design earlier in the year had come before I even knew what I was doing with fuller, rounder forms. If this was true (and I'm sure a lot more than that is true), it was gimping the fun in my drawings.

If you think that's fun, compare it to the one below.

I ogled the work of Kyle A. Carrozza (alias TV's Kyle) for at least an hour and a half before his gorgeous brand of exaggeration was effectively embedded in my head. Then I drew that picture and the next several. Even his relatively flat stuff is loaded with form and consistency of form. Obviously, he knows what he's doing and I would do well to learn from him.

Unfortunately, I still don't know how to block in drawings quickly and simply, like Kyle's blog shows he can. Once my "soft" lines are down, they're hard enough that the more tied-down lines have to be etched in ludicrously hard to stand out. From there, I unconsciously barrel into Cleanupville before the whole pose is even laid out. I've had enough training that I can spot really bad drawings and fix them, but it takes so much time it's not worth it. Anyway, I'm sure I'll look at these drawings next year and think they're atrocious.

I've drawn this Anita/Perdita-type character at her typewriter before, but this pic's better. Trust me. Unless you get some momentum through your pencil, your drawings of timid characters will just look like timid drawings.

Just adorable, dammit. This was done while I was still exercising some control over the weight of my hand, so it came out quickly.

More soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movin' Out?

The funny thing about a blog is you need readers.

I've had trouble reconciling my shyness, fear of theft, and desire for exposure when deciding on a format for laying my 'toons out. I'm thinking of switching to DeviantArt, because I know a friend or two there and it's a good way to meet like-minded artists, even if you have to wade through a lot of opposite-minded artists.

Whoever's been paying attention thus far, thanks a bunch, and we'll see what I end up doing.  If you have any protests, suggestions, or bad omens about my relocating, speak 'em below.

Designs for a villain who would be more "flawed" than "wad of pure evil." Also happens to be a dog.
Adventures in color. Trying to capture the aesthetic of 1950s Technicolor films -- bright hues, but strong contrast.
When I realized that the dog above was not so much a hippie as a "mod chick," this dumb cartoon came to me.
Those of you who've heard "Benny the Bouncer," the goofy ragtime piece by Emerson, Lake & Palmer, may appreciate these sketches of Benny...
...and of Savage Sid. Apologies to Sierra Lewis if Vlad somehow managed to slip in.

A sort of cross between Foulfellow and Ed Bighead.  Noticed only after scanning the poor chap that he's missing a right armpit.  Could have fixed that, but I've got a busy day ahead, so I'll let him suffer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I had just started a rant column called "Mouthing Off," but quickly shot it down and evaporated the first entry in the series. Maybe I'll revive it someday in the midst of blind misery. I hope not. It was gonna be about all the odds 'n' ends of art that drive me nuts in the worst way possible.

Perhaps I'm assuming too much by thinking that people, especially those that it would help me to know better, embrace that kind of edginess. But most people, whether they know it or not, tend to prefer sincerely-implemented warm fuzzies to anything else. That's why films like Up succeed at the box office, and why even crotchety creatures such as myself read blogs like Will Finn's (on yonder sidebar).

I keep forgetting that mass-media artists are a lot constantly under pressure and that they're capable of producing greater or more personal work under the proper circumstances. Even if animation, live-action movies, music, video games, and all those things that inspire me are in need of greater innovation at large, there's a way where there's a will. There are stylistic highs and budgetary lows that can be explored in all manner of formats, and retail-bound stuff comprises an increasingly piddling fragment of those formats.

I've long entertained the idea of the cineplex as the final frontier of "reaching an audience," but a theater is only as full as the number of people in it. You gather enough people in a room to watch a Droopy cartoon on DVD, and you'll get a lot of noise and merriment.

Call this post a prayer for attitude adjustment on my part. I'll get back to you soon with factory-fresh cartoons.

For now, enjoy the piece of whimsy above -- in which the drawings date back to December '08 and the gags date back to second grade. Ah, to be young and eating boogers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Surge of Creativity!!!: Deeper In

First of all, who reads this blog?

…That’s what I thought. Okay, who knows that this blog exists?

…Who cares?

Well, there’s a reason for that. I’ve been very cyberspace-shy with my art until I saw a couple of random friends posting their cool stuff and finally decided to bare my cartoons before the world.

Besides that, though, my output of the past month has been generally crappy, and when I stopped drawing almost completely in June, my draftsmanship took a hit and it required a huge physical effort to make my lines not look like they were eating each other alive.

With enough practice, the draftsmanship got better, but I still had to find my muse. Sunday night, it came in an unexpected place. I was psyched up to see a concert that I was ultimately unable to attend, and I listened to the music that would be playing there. Cartoons sprang forth from the manic energy of the lead singer and cellist.

Yes, cellist. Give a big hand to Rushad Eggleston!

And if I haven’t pestered you about his seismically awesome band Tornado Rider already, go look at their MySpace page now and stream a song or two into your ears. It’s an awful habit of mine to plug things, because then I fear people will think I’m an advertiser (like when Universal execs used to post Apple Trailers links on message boards), but I’m personally poor as snot, so I do it from the bottom of my heart.

The drawing below is based on Rushad’s seemingly improvised epilogue to an old, old recording of the distinctive Tornado Rider anthem “Bison Land.”  They have a CD and digital album out now with production and stuff, and I don’t know if that little bit made the cut.  Buy it anyway.

I hope he likes these if he sees ’um!

It was impossible not to gain some momentum after letting a largely inaccurate caricature of Rushad wrassle its way from my pencil to the bond paper, which is silky-smooth for drawing but responsible for the substandard scans before you. In hindsight, I would have scanned the pictures, warts and all, and not monkeyed with them based on my near-worthless knowledge of Photoshop -- but hindsight is 20/20, and 20 is neither here nor there. I only have 8 scans to put up in this post and hopefully another non sequitur or two just like this one, which makes 10 tops. Let’s get on with it.

Stylistically, I think I’ve splayed in all directions since Sunday night, which is delightful. But just to make sure what I was drawing was funny and squashy-stretchy, I drew Elmer Fudd from memory.

The Fudd is © Warner Bros., natch.

I pity this mouse what’s got his eyes all fused together. He didn’t used to be like that. What in the name of Jehovah’s jellybeans is his vision like? As if to pile on his trauma, this scan is grindhouse-quality, mainly because a lot of detail would have been lost if I’d used my known methods of tweaking any further.

This pussycat is more overtly elated than in many previous drawings of her.

Just to break up the cartoon animal monotony, this is a doodle I did a night or two before the Variations on Rushad, when I sucked slightly more. I’m interested now and then in trying dramatic acting on cartoon figures, even if their exaggeration threatens to invalidate it. Oh, and again, lousy scan -- lo siento.

Alas, these are slow, less spontaneous poses, but the angular design and subdued but graphic expressions were a direct result of my adventures in style.

Hope you enjoyed this unusually long post, and I hope to keep being inspired and active on this blog from now on. I also hope to start employing COLOR! (Wheeeeee!)

’Course, with another busy semester at LCAD on the horizon, I can’t guarantee any of that…

Surge of Creativity!!!

After trying out new paper, new pens, new pencils, the old tablet, silly music, all kinds of material fluff, I realized that -- indeed -- it's not the wand, it's the magician.  But it sure took long enough to get inspired and to get my draftsmanship back in good health (more or less).

I'll tell you the story of how I got inspired later -- either tonight or tomorrow.  Because it's a true story, I confess it's not very transcendent or helpful.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Transcendental Experience of Eating a Goddamn Bowl of Reese's Puffs

Never mind how they cram all that graham into Golden Grahams.  How did they shove all that contrived metaphor into those old cereal commercials?

Pikachu is Copyright Nintendo/Creatures/Game Freak. do I know that?

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Sketch of Luke 'n' Darth

"C'mon, Georgie pal, you can weasel this into the script!  Comic relief's gotta be compatible with the power of myth."
--Bob Clampett, pitching a draft of The Empire Strikes Back that would be, within seconds, banished to the Lucasfilm archives and written off as a rumor forever

Luke Skywalker & Darth Vader copyright Lucasfilm Ltd.

Let's start from the beginning...

The blueprint for this strip was done when I was 9 years old, when I didn't know it was a blueprint.  That's why the punchline lacks.

You like?