Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Anna and the Dragon

Hello, earnest Reader,

here is a drawing that I finished a couple of days ago:

pencil, faber castell pitt artist pens (S and F) and watercolor on bristol

This pair was inspired by a friend's enthusiastic discovery of the animated movie, "How to Train Your Dragon."  I revisited some of the art from the cartoon, which got me excited about a more snub-nosed reptilian head.  Drawing this reminded me of the awesome mystical human-faced deerlike creature in Hayao Miyazaki's, "Princess Mononoke."  I urge everyone (perhaps especially myself) to revisit that movie.  

I'm trying to steer away from some of the anatomical copouts that I've lazed through in the past, and spend a little more time with source material and drawing from life.  Here I decided that drawing the mechanism of the base of a wing as a couple of shapeless pipes looked unnatural and ill-informed, and that for many animals, a wing is really just an arm with a different skin situation and some longer bones arranged differently at the extremity (ask any real biologist, and they'll tell you the same thing).  From there I designed the wing as an extra arm protruding behind the shoulder, complete with a little deltoid, biceps, elbow, ulna and radius.  I was satisfied with that for this drawing, but I'd like to hang out with some bats and birds and get a better sense of things.

Coming soon: prints of this and other new and older drawings in my etsy shop!

Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Zombie Craze

And the months tic by...

I drew this card for a friend on the occasion of her birthday.  Somehow fantastical self-defending violence against the undead doesn't feel like violence against the living.  Maybe I'm off base.  In the shadow of the escalation of violence in the Middle East this week, it seems almost reckless to delight in exploring a medium/genre that rely so heavily on violence for entertainment value.  I suppose that for me, violence in art can be a safe exploration of intense mental and emotional content, and its flippant depiction is in no way a reflection of my stance on real physical/emotional/etc violence/abuse.  In any case, this was incredibly fun to draw, and provided a great warm-up for a commission I was working on.  Names have been erased to protect the innocent from an onslaught of google searches by my faithful fans...

pencil and pens on bristol



Sunday, August 5, 2012

a little catch up

Hello, Gentle Reader.

I've been MIA while I'm doing some physical therapy for the arm/neck issue that I've been griping about since day one of this blog.  I haven't drawn anything in three weeks, except for a little popsicle man consisting of maybe three lines and a couple of dots.  It's weird not drawing at all.  I think I'm going to have to get back to making pictures with my feet.

Here are a couple of commissions that flew across (and perhaps lingered upon) my desk over the past several months.  The first is a two panel comic in the form of a diptic, commissioned by an old friend who came to me with the concept.  We worked together over the course of a couple of conversations and decided that the most complete way to tell the story was with two images.  He provided me with some very theatrical self-portraits and an archival photo capturing his early years as a shaggy-haired schoolboy.  I researched a bunch of different desert scenes and images of '67 Cadillac El Dorados to construct their torrid world and unholy conveyance...


pencil, microns, and ink (via brush) on bristol

And here is a t-shirt illustration I designed for the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center's "Eastie Walks" neighborhoods walk back in April.  I was unable to attend the event, but my friends working in EBNHC's "Let's Get Movin'" program had a great time.


adobe illustrator and photoshop

That's all for now.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters

One problem with dumping your brush water all over your laptop is that it makes it harder to keep your blog updated.  I write from an undisclosed university library where the scanning is free and computers are plentiful and unpopulated. 

Here are a few facsimiles of Great Master sketches I made from the reproductions in Philip Beverly Hale's book, Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters.  I like this book a lot, and hope to spend much more time with it. 



Every time I draw from life or from photographs or others' drawings, I learn a huge amount.  It's difficult to tear myself away from working from my imagination, but these exercises are invaluable for advancing my work.  When one of my goals is to be able to draw human bodies accurately and fluidly in any position from any perspective without any reference material, it's only fair to assume that I will have to first draw these bodies and positions and perspectives with the use of visual reference.  Stubbornly working exclusively from my imagination, I may occasionally stumble upon better ways of drawing humans that more accurately reflect their real-life forms, but this belabored and frustrating path to facility is far longer than that of the disciplined, humble student, content to learn from those who came before, and from the proliferation of perfection in the natural world around her. 

The library is closing.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Brattle St rock and some interior sketches

Apparently this guy has been out here playing in Brattle Square in Cambridge for the past 40 years or so...  I drew him on my lunch break:

pencil on paper

A couple of sketches of my relatives' home in Maine drawn during Easter weekend:


(smudgy) pencil on paper

practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Batman, NO!!!

I got sick a few weeks ago and stayed in my apartment for a solid 60 hours.  Here's a drawing that I made at the end of that stretch...  Batman is a little out of it.

pencil, ink, and watercolor on sketch paper

Unfortunately, the scanner I'm working with washes out the lighter values.  His umbrella is actually a lovely purplish pink.  Anyone out there with a quality large format scanner that they feel like unloading on the cheap???



Friday, April 6, 2012

Central Square and a dancing pair!

With the purchase of a new sketchbook I am resolved to do more drawing from direct observation.  I cashed in during the warm spell two weeks ago when all of the flowers and humans bloomed into Spring, blissfully misbelieving that we could shed our cocoons and frigid frowns and spread our Summer smiles and bare arms in the balmy brickbuildinged streets for another season of forgetting the ever-impending cryogenic kiss of Winter.  But some very March-like weather returned, and we the residents of the Massachusetts Bay Area are back to ignoring each other with snarls on the sidewalks as our stiff winter legs propel these elevated shoulders and lowered heads and solemn hearts mercilessly to the next thankless destination...

Flashback to page one of my fancy new sketchbook on an abnormally warm and sunny March day:

Central Square... pencil on paper


A little further back, and this one from imagination:

dancers, or, faux tango...  pencil and ink on paper

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Birthday Bonfire!

Another from the Card bin.  Hadn't drawn animals for a while...this was fun!  Again, away from a scanner and had to take a quick photo:

pencil, micron and gouache on bristol

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hulk Friday

Is this a thing?  Maybe it should become a thing.  Not The Thing.  No morphing into arch-nemeses, please.  Here's a Hulk sketch from a few weeks ago during an ink wash craze.

ink and water on sketch paper

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tintin in trouble!

My civilian alter-ego works at an eclectic gift store that's famous for (among many other things) its squid/octopus logo, Tintin products, and Weck canning jars.  By their powers combined, here is a belated Christmas Thank You that I drew the other day for my employer, the store's owner:


Herge's Tintin is fun to draw.  So are flowy octopi.  Pencil (later erased), microns and ink washes on sketch paper.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peter Parker Birthday Marker

Here's a drawing that I made yesterday for my good friend's 31st.  Nothing beats a good excuse to spend a few hours on a superhero pinup.  Color version to come...


Monday, January 2, 2012

Big Barda!

Here's my rendition of Big Barda, one of The New Gods that Jack Kirby created while working for DC Comics in the the early 1970s.  This drawing is part of an ongoing (I hope!) trade with one of my comic art pals.  He received the original, which is hand-colored, and without a proper scan.  So here's the digitally colored version that I used as a birthday card for a friend a couple months back.  I also rendered digitally the "Kirby Krackle," a series of black dots that represent cosmic energy or cosmic dust or general space-age awesomeness.  In this case, they contain a secret birthday message...

pencil (preliminary), nib pen, brush, ink and photoshop