Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Furnace Monster!

A haiku for the punctuation situation:

You exclaim again
You're out of adrenaline
It's time for a nap

And a drawing:

graphite pencil, micron, and colored pencil on bristol

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ask Jeeves...

Here's a drawing for my friend, a devoted Steven Fry fan.  I'd never seen the 1990s series, Jeeves and Wooster, so it was fun to watch the first episode and get a sense of these very contrasting characters before setting out to draw them.  If you've never seen it, the show is hilarious and worth a watch.

I used a combination of reference photos culled from the internet to get the expressions, costuming, and body positions I wanted.  I learned that very subtle changes in value and line placement can make or break a likeness...  

pencil, micron, and ink wash on bristol

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cats in Space!

A recent birthday card for my arty coworking pal and fellow Star Wars (and feline!) fan, Erin A. Ellis.  Check out her beautifully rendered naturalistic animals featured in an array of amusing scenarios.

pencil and micron on bristol

Forgive the word balloon flow here; going top left to low middle is not quite intuitive for the seasoned (or even brand new, perhaps) comics reader.  The dialogue emerged when I realized I had a bunch of empty spaces and kind of a wonky composition.  Filling the gaps with balloons seemed right, and provided a goofy tie-in with the Birthday Jedi.  I had a lot of fun drawing cat instead of human faces, and was particularly excited about this version of Han Solo.  If George Lucas really is trying to destroy Star Wars, this could be one of his stops along the way to oblivion.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A wrench in your cosmology?

This commission started as an inside joke between my sister and her science teacher.  I don't know the whole story, but someone uttered the words, "Beast of Gravity," and they decided that would make a pretty sweet band name.  Sis commissioned me to draw up an image of that idea so that she could make a print for her teacher.  Anybody who comes to me with an idea for a monster drawing is a welcome customer.

ink and brush with photoshop color

pencil stage

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Process: Archers Poster

As promised, here's a window into my process for creating the poster in my previous post.

Please, proceed:

In order to enter the world of this band, I listened to their two recorded songs on repeat for two or three hours while I drew.  This was a great approach for me, partly because I really like their music, and also because drawing with their voices in my studio felt like I was working as their collaborator, visually riffing off of their imagery and transmitting as best I could the rich emotional experiences that their songs elicit for me.

Initial pencils with a tree branches lettering idea:

Next pencil phase with what would become the final lettering:

At this point I spent some time looking at the image backwards (flipped horizontally) and realized that the composition felt pretty imbalanced.  It seemed like moving the well farther to right was one way to help.  I also increased the size of the cave on the right, creating a weightier, rounder black space to counterbalance all of the details and blacks in the left and bottom of the drawing:

I liked where I'd gotten so far with the pencil drawing, and was afraid that adding ink might ruin the subtle tonal shifts.  In order to procrastinate and in a somewhat desperate attempt to forgo inking, I experimented with dodging (lightening) and burning (darkening) various parts of the image in photoshop, and added some white highlights to the foreground figure and color to the lettering.  I liked this look, which reminded me of "variant" comic book covers that showcase the artist's pencils sans ink and color.  

After all of that photoshop finagling, I still knew that the poster needed to capture people's attention (probably with color) and be clearly legible, so I dunked my little brush in the ink jar and got to work.  I experimented with textures and using parallel strokes side by side instead of filling in with solid black the darker areas of the foreground, which I think helped me preserve some of the tonal quality mentioned above.  Here are the finished inks:

When I started coloring with layers in photoshop, I lay down a "flat" (a layer of solid color) in the background and kept the inks layer in multiply mode, which allows the color to show through from behind.  I erased the flat behind the figures and the well, unifying and drawing attention to all of them.  This stage reminded me of chine colle, a collage technique in lithography (and other types of printmaking?) that simultaneously adheres and prints on a small piece of cut paper added to your print.  Please see anywhere else on the internet for a better explanation of chine colle.  Anyway, I wanted to preserve that quality in the final image, and returned again and again to this look during the many different color trials I went through to get to the final poster.  Here's one early permutation, showing the flat with whitened figures, yellow lettering, and a red strip at the bottom for handwritten show info:

And once again, here are the final colors.  I kept the white for the figure triad in the fore and mid grounds, and connected the archers to the well with their blue hue.  I find limiting my palette keeps my image from a state of complete disunity, and also reminds me of the simplified colors of old comic books, which I love, and enjoy emulating whenever possible.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 3, 2013



Here is a poster I made for my housemate's band, Archers, an awesome guitar and accordion folk duo with great lyrics and beautiful harmonies.  I had a lot of fun working on this project.  So often I begin a picture with figures and try to figure out some kind of background/environment later.  This time I started with the environment and slowly worked in the figures, and the result, I think, is a more convincing scene.  Process post to come...

Ink and brush with photoshop color

Thursday, March 28, 2013

the shadow speaks

another drawing from lately.  5"x7"

graphite, india ink and gouache on bristol

lonesome barbarian

here's a drawing of a lonesome barbarian emerging from a swirl of scribbles.

graphite and india ink on bristol

Monday, February 18, 2013

Holiday Portraits 2012

Having finally delivered the last of these portraits, I can post this picture now.  It's a recent tradition that I stay up way too late Christmas Eve creating little drawings for my family members.  This past year I was on the other side of the country, but managed to get a jump on these so they'd make it out West by Christmas.

pencil, fc art pens/brush pen, and watercolor/gouache on bristol

Starting Over

pencil, ink and brush on brown paper

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Flower Tower

Great news!  I now own a scanner!  Thus, this blog will be more active again.

Here's a drawing I just made this evening.  
pencil and charles schultz dipping pen
 with blick black cat ink on bristol