Monday, 29 May 2017

Sorting Stuff Out

Maybe you know I'm packing some boxes, moving a few (thousand) kilometers to a different province. This cartoon comes from my experience of finding a box of letters that I initially thought I'd just move, but then I opened it. You can see what happened next.

Believe it or not, this one is a bit of a triumph for me because I was able to start and complete it so fast; about an hour to do the rough (done on one piece of 11 x 17 paper, and another small piece to add an additional panel (more on that later). Then I took out my last piece of transparent drafting paper and inked it in about an hour. The only things I did in Photoshop was arranging the panels and adding the borders. 

Previously I've drawn panels on various pieces of paper - in case I make a mistake and screw up a panel, then I don't screw up the whole page - and then combine them at the end, but that doesn't work so well for me. By doing most of the panels on one piece of paper helped me see how it would all come together. Obvious for you perhaps, but it was a stroke of genius for me!

The middle panel where the fellow is reading the letter and the woman is seated and gesturing in front of him was tough. Initially it was as tall as the panel to its left. I was going to have something above the man and woman to describe the contents of the letter/discussion but couldn't settle on anything. I took a few minutes and thought that I needed to get across the idea that he realizes he is "looking back", perhaps at bygone things, so I drew the panel just below where he is looking at the books and "Golden Oldies" record. By adding this panel, I was able to communicate his realization, and by not drawing something above the couple, I thought the viewer could imagine what's in the letter, and what he's feeling/thinking.

I like the inking. Nice and rough, but still clear and clean enough. I like the character design; his funny blocky feet and she turned out really well. Nice clear, sharp, flowing lines - my hand was working really well there, no shakes! I like the jokey quality - that he's going to "sort" the boxes with a shovel, and then how that metaphor continues with the hole he's dug into all the boxes. The box of letter's he's reading is meant to look a bit like a casket. It was hard to suggest that without making it obvious.  Perhaps some clever lighting would have helped. I also like how the border drops away on the second last panel. I did that because I thought it would better communicate the link that the old stuff and the woman are related.

I think it reads clearly and there is some heart there. I don't think it is trite nor sentimental, but let me know if you think it is. My feeling when shredding those letters was complicated. I wasn't happy, a bit sad, but felt I was saying goodbye. I knew if I kept the letters, if I sat and read them, I'd just be staying back with old stuff and didn't think that would be good at all. I needed and need to move forward. I hope some of that comes across. If you have an idea how that could have been communicated better, the comments box is listening!


Friday, 28 April 2017

Shooting for the...

Guns. Huge, freakin' massive guns. Maybe built into a mountain or perched high up a hill, maybe even partially dug into the hill iteslf and fires missles, giant molten balls of metal, or maybe just energy blasts of hyper charged plasma on some far city.

That's what I imagined. I've probably been listening to too much news about North Korea, but anyway, that was the inspiration.


I knew as I was drawing that I would not be able to get it quite as I wanted to. I didn't have a ruler (was using a spare pencil as a straight edge), I knew the perspective would probably be a bit off and also that I wanted people in it, perhaps soldiers or a top General and his attendant standing very close to the camera, looking off into the distance with stern expressions. I thought they would be done best drawn on a different layer, and I wasn't in front of my light table, so I couldn't easily manage that right then. Also, I was under a bit of time pressure. This one took about 50 minutes.

I guess I was imagining this could be a propaganda poster of sorts, complete with a flag background behind the guns, the human element (people visible somewhere), and maybe some interesting lettering in a foriegn language and bold font saying who knows what.

So now that I look at it and think about what I intended, I'm wondering if I should give it a go, try to finish it as I initailly imagined it.

Having said all that, it worked out pretty well. The inking is quite good. I did my best to get clean, non sketchy lines, but also allowed them to be rough-ish, and it works. I like the sooty ends of the gun barrels. I like the design of the place, though I know it needs more stairways, more observation platforms and enclosed command towers. It could use some other vehicles like tanks or jeeps or cranes around. I do like the lift on the bottom right with it's cockpit that is a bit like one on a crane. I also like the ammo cartridges on the bottom left. You can see how they might get loaded into the thing. I'm pleased that I've been able to draw it in such a way that you can feel how it might be to really be there.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Devil May Care

When one of these compilation works out, it works out really well. I like drawing demons/devils and here I did a bunch and some of the other minions or denizens of hell.

I find the trick of drawing one of these pages is three part:

  • Try not to care what they look like
  • Draw them close together
  • Fill the page
Check out the one just below the winged one on the top left.  He's got a really odd mouth and his eyes are black with white pupils.  SCAAARY!!!  I liked the long fingers with long nails. Starting it all off with a good one, not a great one, but an interesting one really helps to get the whole thing going because I have a place to go with it. I didn't "say" all I wanted to with that one, so I did the one to it's immediate right with spindly arms and odd fingers - fingers are not so obvious because he's holding a stick.

Every ring of hell needs a huge muscly demon in a bondage type harness, ram's horns and no pants. Extra scary. So that's why I did the one in the bondage harness. I think doing that one freed me up to just go for it and draw whatever, which is why I drew the bird type things with the single eye. Hell... carion, carion with one eye that sees everything. It's an easy logic step!

When I was sufficiently freed up, I had a yen to draw the one on the bottom center... yes, he's "making a pile" as it were. I wasn't going to draw him actually deficating, but by this point I felt I was drawing what isn't usually allowed and that was fun, especially with demons. It was probably at that point that I decided the devil in the bondage harness needed a wee wee, and so he got a very wee wee wee.

There are two others that are particularly interesting.  The bull-headed one and the griffin like creature shown below

I thought they were pretty cool because I didn't think they fit the grouping. They do because of the line style and use of dark accents, but they are actually quite beautiful, not ugly or repulsive like the others, which is an interesting idea. Are there devils that are beautiful and amazing, not hideous or repellent?

Who knows? When I go to hell, I'll let you know what I find!


Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Long View



Sometimes I start drawing something like what you see above and stop. Stop and erase! This kind of thing in my sketchbook doesn't really work, because the scope is a bit too big, and it takes too long to draw, and I feel I need to spend more time getting the perspective right - for a few reasons I avoid doing it in the sketchbook.

But actually, this is just the sort of thing I should be "exploring" in a sketchbook - those crazy nutbar, super ambitious drawings that may never get anywhere - put 'em in the sketchbook, mess around with them, play with them, go wild, if it doesn't work, well... how many people are going to look at your sketchbook and say "Hmm.... perspective's off and that one guy looks too big. SUBSTANDARD, not interested, moving on." Nobody. Well, very few people.

What I like about this one is the scope, the view, the sheer size of the vision. I can see for (at least) a mile. I might go back and add more heavy black lines to define the depth a bit more, but I think it works as is. I also like how the light sources are just indistinct balls of circles. I love the bridges (would really like to walk across them, find some bodega or some place, sit, have a drink... getting off track) and as my lovely Christine said, the mix of old (perhaps primitive) and new is really neat. I also like how even though very little of it is shaded, you still get an idea of the light.

Not bad, Mr. Wood. Let's see more of that.  

Friday, 18 November 2016

What, me worry?!


Yesterday I saw a caricature a colleague did of himself. I've been working on learning some Photoshop techniques, so I thought, "that looks like fun, I'll do one of myself".

Ok, this is my second attempt at doing digital painting in a serious (ahem... concerted) way, and before you pop my balloon, Mr. Ghost, I think it turned out pretty gerflichin' well!

Ok, so the colour is a bit saturated (about the glowing ears... mine glow!), and the area between the lower lip and chin crease needs a bit of work.  It might be funnier if the nose were more red, and perhaps the hair needs to have more depth.  But I like it.  I think the proportions have been pushed in a funny while retaining a likeness (no, if you don't know what I look like, I'm not going to put a photo of me up for comparison!).

I did it mostly with a brush that had shape dynamics texture that made it look a bit like a pastel and then used the mixer brush a whole lot to blend the tones as you might do with an oil painting. Love that technique. 

The thing that cracks me up though, is how much this looks (to me) like it could have been in Mad Magazine. I feel like I caught the style. I haven't looked at a Mad Magazine in ages, but somehow that style is in my head. I think that's pretty cool and interesting.