Old watercolor set

found in a drawer

I tried to use them

need to practice more




FYI-These were done on a postcard watercolor block, @ 4″ x 6″

Real men, draw men

February 27, 2014

Das right! I said it!

It’s always amusing to me to walk into a life drawing session, see a male model, and then watch the procession of sour faced male artists slowly sneak out of the room; this is especially true with older male models. Why? WTF? You’re there to practice drawing from life, correct? What sort of fantasy world do you make art in that you only need to depict attractive, young women? Oh wait… never mind.

Hell I draw comics… let me say that again… C-O-M-I-C-S, and we’re vilified over the idea that all we draw are big breasted women (although they never mention how all the men are bodybuilder muscular types who are desexed— but that’s another rant); yet even we have to draw other people in our books. Next to babies, who better for a hero to save than an old man or woman?

I look forward to drawing all sorts of people. Mom always said the male body wasn’t the most pleasant thing to look at, so I love rendering out the gentle curve of a beautiful woman’s body. But it’s also a fun challenge to sketch someone who is past their prime, put on a few too many pounds, or just has a unique shape.

That said, the other night was a great challenge, as an older man was the model. He was barrel chested, had a face like a NY cabbie, with chicken legs. Know what? He was fantastic! This guy held poses with the best of em that are half his age. He brought props, from umbrellas, hats, golf clubs, an oar, even a cigar! He was a riot. He took up poses most dancers wouldn’t try to hold.


He did some standards, like sitting in a chair… 10min


Or sitting on the ground… 20 min.


He earned this sitting pose after the one he did seen in the drawing at bottom of the page… 30min




The last sketch is of a pose he did with a golf club, and he held it for 30 minutes; this guy earned every buck. He was priceless, and I learned a lot drawing him. From how the body changes, to the way it maintains balance with additional weight.



So next time you walk into a session, and the model isn’t the hope you had in mind when you went; shut up, sit down, and learn something.

Shut up and sketch!

November 13, 2013

I’ve been so busy with GI Joe work lately, that I haven’t had time to do what I keep telling other aspiring artists to do… sketch. For the past few weeks I’ve felt like my figure work has started to get a little formulaic, so to give my work a much needed shot in the arm, I forced myself to go to a session last night to dust off the artistic cobwebs. Too many metaphors? Anyway— the model was decent, although she was a bit fidgety and apparently tired, as she kept yawning, but that’s part of the process so you go with it. One thing I haven’t missed from sessions are people like the guy behind me that, aside from milking the remnants of his 45 year old english accent in a pathetic attempt to woo the young attendant of the gallery, would not stop tapping his foot along with the radio playing, or stop belting out the few lines of the one Eric Clapton song he knew. Despite all that, it was fairly enjoyable, so here you go.

20 min—


25 Min—


30 min—


35 min—


And I’d also like to give my condolences to the family of Nick Cardy (1920-2013) who recently passed away. I never got to speak with the man, but he always seemed good natured at the comic cons we were both at. Most famous for his work on Aquaman, he showed a skill, and a range of styles, that are the envy of myself and anyone who saw it. Rest well.

It’s a “con” job—

December 3, 2012

I’m working on my con sketches, this isn’t like those “cons” on the sidewalk where you guess what cup the ball is under, but money will (hopefully) still change hands. The thing is, at TampaCon I was sitting next to Cary Nord (Conan/X-O Man of War) and his sketches were kicking my arse. Now I’m trying to focus more on excitement than just a finished image. Cary was cranking these things out and they were gorgeous, loose, and full of energy; mine (to paraphrase the Christmas Story) laid there like a slug, it was their only defense. He recommended I do some prints to sell at my table because my sketchbooks weren’t moving. He had a great “Superman vs the Hulk” print (you can see it here on his blog), and I thought I’d give that theme a shot. His had the big two slugging it out in the air like a kung fu movie, so I kept mine on the ground just to switch it up a bit. The other thing I did was adjust their size, as I’ve never been a fan of Superman looking like a lineman from the Vikings. He’s described as “mild mannered”, but you’re not very mild at 6’4″/350 lbs. I like my Supes, leaner and less attention grabbing. The nice thing is, when you do that, you instantly have a David and Goliath scenario.

My first attempt needed more movement, granted there was something I liked about Supes, but not the Hulk. Plus, as a rule in comics, you gotta avoid any groin issues— here it almost looked like S was giving H a nice one with a knee. Not to mention the Hulk is just standing there, passive, dull, and lumbering like a zombie.

Then I thought I’d have Supes in a bear hug, being tossed about like a rag doll. Now you couldn’t see enough of them, especially the Hulk, and you have to see the “S” as far as I’m concerned, so this failed immediately.

Why not spread out the action? I decided to go widescreen, which I love doing in my pages. But I think con sketches should be the equivalent to a cover image, in that it would work as a cover too. Unless this was a wraparound, you couldn’t do widescreen, and even then I don’t know if it works. Also, I have a suspicion that more people would prefer a print set up in a vertical format. Can anyone tell me if vertical prints sell better than landscape? Anyone?

So I decided to go back to the vertical format with a few intentions— keeping the level of action in Superman, showing more of the Hulk, but also pushing the size differential more.

My first attempt was nice, but I wanted green boy to be more imposing, and about to strike. Right now he just looks like he’s trying to scare Superman, with no real intent. I also wanted Supes to look more like he was in the “pregnant moment” about to release the energy of his punch.

The other thing I’ve been playing with recently is my use of shadows. I’m trying to bring in more of the Alex Toth approach, something you can see influencing guys like Lark and Aja, and was kicked off (as a revival of sorts) by Mazzucchelli years ago on Batman:Year One. It’s really hard for me to let go of that feathering I grew so fond of, but it’s necessary for the style. Eh- it’s a work in progress.

Of course, the problem is, when you’re sitting at a table at a con, you don’t have five hours to do multiple versions of sketches, before settling on the final. That’s something I need to work on, but I think most of those obstacles are mental- as it always is with art. At least I’m getting a better sense of what I want, and the more focused I can be in those decisions, the faster I’ll get at these. So if Cary’s not around, come by the table, I’ll see if I can get you a sketch (in a reasonable amount of time) that lives up to his standard.

Bugs Bunny fun-

March 15, 2012

People argue over which director of animation is/was the best, and every opinion is valid; after all it comes down to your personal preference. I for one, am on Team Jones, and these videos of Chuck Jones sketching out classic characters makes me giddy with excitement. I love this stuff, and watching a master whip out images I’d give my big toe to own the originals of, is awe inspiring.

I didn’t “find” these so I’ll give credit where I can. The Chuck Jones stuff, my wife found via Gizmodo so I can’t take credit for the hunting and gathering at all.

Bugs Bunny

Daffy Duck

Porky Pig

My mom’s favorite- Pepe Le Pew

And my father-in-law’s faves- Coyote and Road Runner

Since I’m borrowing from other peoples efforts, the following is from one of my favorite sites Living Lines. They found this version of the classic “Hair-Raising Hare” (with the  first appearance of Gossamer) but the fun is, they’ve inserted the original storyboards where available. In it, you get to see the creative process in action, plus the subtle changes in the dialogue that were made for the final film. If you love the process of art, this is a real treat.