Squirrel Woman

January 28, 2011

One of my editors in London asked that I do a sketch for her mother’s Birthday, so of course I couldn’t say no; that would be an affront to moms everywhere! We went back and forth on the theme and eventually decided to do an image about how she’s always fighting squirrels in her yard. Since her mother lives in Scotland, and I’m an uneducated colonial, I wanted to dress her up in all the clichés I think of when Scotland comes to mind. Drawing her mom like this, however, would have been inappropriate.

Instead, we went with the classic super hero, so out were my suggestions of an M-60 assault rifle, or even the Elmer Fudd hat and gun. Of course I was in the middle of a deadline on G.I. Joe, so I had to quickly crank out the pencils for approval.Originally I had a classic “S” on her torso, for Squirrel Woman, but we changed it to a “D” considering this mom’s name starts with one.

I only had the weekend to do this, so I slapped on some ink.

You may ask, why I didn’t fill in “space” with a solid wash of black ink? I wanted the image to remain fairly light, and full ink (although pretty in printed form) wouldn’t look as nice in the original. Since this was a gift, I wanted it to be a little more upbeat than the look solid ink would provide. Deep cool grays, they have a similar nature of space, but without the downer factor. I also thought the wash of the gray gave it an etherial look, which I liked.

But now the biggest problem– what colors should I use for her costume? I already had blue in the earth, and the cool grays always have a bluish nature to them (as noted last post). If you read this blog, you know that red is the one color that all markers tend to oversaturate, so what to do? I know it’s not the most popular color combo among heroes, but I took a chance. I wanted the costume to POP off the page, still feel feminine, but be a nice color combo. Hope it worked.

Plop in a few stars, some highlights, a little touch up on outlines and wham-o, done.

Happy Birthday. 🙂

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Hitting stands this week is issue 162, continuing the classic run of G.I. Joe by Larry Hama, with inks by Gary Erskine. Here are the first few pages, I hope it sparks your interest and you’ll grab a copy.

Enjoy.

Cover by Herb Trimpe

Cover by Rod Whigham

Larry Hama sketch cover

More Christmas cheer-

January 17, 2011

One of my dearest, and oldest friends, asked me for one thing this Christmas- a Robin vs Kato sketch. He’s not a Bruce Lee fan or anything, but he loves the old shows. He wanted an image that reflected the episode where Kato and Robin fight, but he didn’t want there to appear to be any clear winner. I know a bunch of you will start screaming about Bruce Lee and how he could have busted ole Burt Ward a good one, but we’re not talking about them, we’re talking about the fictional personas of Robin and Kato. So deal.

Here are the pencils for the image.

Pencil pages, pencil pages...

And here are the inks. I left out the star burst because I wanted it to be screened back, so it only got a marker treatment and not a harsh outline.

Slap a little black in there!

I’m starting to finally see what it is that Adam Hughes does with his various gray washes that imply color. The cool grays, warm, neutral, etc… that I always known have certain properties of color, actually have enough of a tint to give the viewer the feel of a full color range without weighing down the image in a complete spectrum. Additionally, doing things this way, doesn’t require massive amounts of effort that a full color image would need. You can see how not giving the star burst a hard outline makes the figures pop a bit more. Here’s the final marker version.

Paint the mutha pink!

I thought I was being so clever with the tagline, partly talking about their roles on the series, but also because Kato is throwing a kick (granted it’s a reverse roundhouse).  It wasn’t until the last couple of days that I realized I accidentally stole the line from the upcoming Young Justice series on Cartoon Network. Since Robin is in that show anyway, I don’t feel so bad.

I have the power!

January 7, 2011

There’s a great blog called Topless Robot that I visit daily. It’s full of gossip, news, trivia, what-have-you, and all of it focused on geek stuff. Recently, I found out that the main guy behind the site lives in my area, so on a whim I emailed him. I said … “Hey, in a totally plutonic way, want to meet up for a drink and geek out?”. I figured I’d never hear back from the guy (lets be honest, it did sound a bit “forward”), but out of the blue he responded and set a time to meet for beers. I dragged the wife along to show I had honorable intentions, and four hours later, with a buzz, a belly full of Star Wars references, and a bored wife, we called it. Since then he and I have hung out and bantered on email, and thru that I found out he’s a huge He-Man nerd. As a gift for my new found friend, just before Christmas, I sketched up his favorite hero in my best Shakespeare (or Ghost- if you prefer) referenced pose.

Alas poor Skeletor, I knew him well.