Monday, March 28, 2011

How NOT to paint a comic book cover.

Here's a cover Tim Kelly penciled, and I inked & colored for the Heros Initiative, (which helps out aging comic artists , or just comic artists going through a rough patch.)

Here's Tim's way-cool pencil drawing..

My goal, try NOT to let the original drawing's charm get lost in over-rendering.

rough in come color with water soluble pencils to start..

Ad some inks... these blacks will lose contrast once water color and acrylic paint goes over it, so i'll have to go back in to add more blacks after the color.

Here's some teal watercolor added, so will go back in so he's bluer. Added some texture to his dace but the face is drifting away from Tim's original though.. which i really liked.

But it's to late now, I'm stuck. Since it's being auctioned off, no digital 'net' to fix mistakes of fuss with after the fact.

So thats it, warts and all. It's totally over-worked and lost most of Tim's quirkiness. (Which I *tried* to preserve), but hell.... what are you gonna do? So,  *learn* from my mistakes, know when to quit while your behind. But if someone likes it and helps out charity, my being satisfied doesn't come into it. If it's for a good cause, that's all that matters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cheezy Trout Icons

Icons are pretty much everywhere, and i know you could pretty much make these yourselves if you want, but just throwing them up for fun. (At least one of them is an colorized version you won't find in the comic!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

....little bit of both?

This is either a 'collage in progress' ...

or a buncha crap I threw together,

you decide. : )

Sorry this is so brief; up to my ass once again in deadlines (which is a 'good problem' actually, considering how tough times are out there). Try to take care of yourself if you're one of TONS of people struggling right now. Heck, do something fun. Something stupid. Something.... for yourself... or someone ELSE you care about this week. I promise I will too.  Life is too friggin' short.

End of rant.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Of Mothers, Moths & Idealized Women

Wanted to risk pretentious pontificatation on a couple of things, then I'll go back to my dopey semi-unpretentious self, next blog. One of the few things that keep me from being depressed by all the work piled up, is other projects I create, like the 'MOTHer' musical I'm working on between comic gigs. It's about Mommies, Moths, Fashion and Enmeshment.  (Musical-wise, I'm a HUGE Sondheim freak, and also love perverse little musicals like Urinetown & Hedwig.)

So, in the process of drawing sketches for my Fashion-Moth musical, I was researching 1900 costumes for it, and re-discovered this stunning model from 'way back named Evelyn Nesbit.  I love how soft her face seems, cute little baby fat on her cheeks. Lazy half closed, almost sensual eyes. Pretty in a vintage way that's now considered slightly 'chubby' by today's standards. 

So, back in the day... an artist named Charles Dana Gibson, who specialized in glamorous illustrations, used Nesbit, among others, to create an iconic Gibson Girl which was all the rage ... and here's one of the more famous versions of her profile by Charles Gibson: 

It's so iconic by now—the Gibson Girl 'question mark' hair shape even appeared in a poster for the movie Ragtime: 

Anyway... I came across this web page by some guy I don't know, nicknamed "King Pigeon", who 
compared a Nesbit photo to the famous Gibson girl picture.  I never put this profile of Evelyn Nesbit together with Gibson's profile drawing for some reason, but it does seem pretty clear Gibson was inspired but it—I'll leave the whole issues of tracing/grid drawing and if this is 'cheating' for another post—but my point here is: with a few tweaks, note how Gibson glamorized Nesbit's features even more— weaker chin, softer lips—in his version of her face. Omitting subtle features to idealize her. Here's a link  to it comparing the two: 

So why am I'm talking about all this?  Every male artist who draws a woman faces what every woman faces who paints her OWN face with make-up does—Addition vs. subtraction. What's 'pretty'? To cover or downplay perceived flaws?  Or emphasize what's currently considered attractive, possibly at the expense of what may be what are her best natural assets? What SOME may adore, she considers a  boney nose or baggy eyes? I often love qualities in a woman's face and body that many consider ugly or unappealing: flabby tummies, skin under the arm, body hair, etc. But I can't stand these in myself!  I admit I also admire what falls under the category of 'idealized' feminine beauty. Like everyone else, my taste darts effortlessly in and out of the quilted patchwork of feminism vs. sexism, objectification vs. empathy. 

Every superhero artist does this with men, too; in every heroic panel he draws, he's distorting reality. Hides mens' flaws. It's easy to cast Gibson as a sexist cad, but scores of woman back then embraced this idealized image, the S-shaped corset, hobble skirt, and tons of other confining, let alone downright painful, trappings of 1800-1900s fashion fads. 

In my musical, I face the same problem every time my pencil hugs across a woman's face. To glamorize? Or to embrace her so-called flaws? Reveal how her eyes DON'T match? Nostrils flair?  Eyelids droop? Double chins? Dave Stevens once told me you make or break a woman's face by what you leave out. Less is more. So the opposite of Glamour is what you leave IN. Or decide not to Edit out. Leaving in what's human. Lines I use when I draw my wife's portrait only make her wince. But I view these same lines I see with affection. Maybe neither of us see her clearly. 

So idiots who draw always risk failing to capture the real spirit of the model. One artist I deeply respect, Mike Dringenberg, once told me he gets bored drawing from a photo, said he gets something unpredictable from drawing from a flesh-and-blood model in the room. How many portrait painters are told by their subjects to 'just make me look nice'?  It's the same quandary in my goofy-assed musical or doodles I make.

Celebrating how fashion changed through out history, while avoiding real moral problems about how fashion treats bodies who don't fit the narrow confines of the catwalk. What they call fat (aka: anyone bigger than a friggin' size 4 or 5) is a profound, ugly denial of what MOST of us really look like. 

While it's easy to say 'celebrating the the beauty of flaws and flab is what art's all about', and we all like the idea of that, we still all want to look different, prettier, thinner, sexier, whatever  the current defenition of that means. Or the cost. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crap lying on my studio floor

Knee-deep in Vamps. Trying to finish off the last issue of a "30 Days" series...

Here's the same page hopelessly overworked... sometimes in my case it's about knowing WHEN to quit.

Meanwhile all this OTHER creator-owned stuff keeps overflowing... it seems to feed off the work-for- hire stuff.

Distorted painting, doodles, cartoons and random ideas...

...all poured into these recyclable brown sketchbooks, which pile up in nooks and crannies of my studio. Probably like tons of other artists. It's compulsive, I guess. The Gibson Girls are the latest, drawn by artist Charles Gibson. More on this next blog.

Meanwhile I keep finding all these old vintage Trout ads from the 1900s on wooden antiques. They keep piling up too. The real-life inspiration for my Dana keeps passing them along to me too.

I have such a jones for the 1800-1900s. Below is how I try to keep it all straight..  Kinda cruel that it doesn't perfectly line up like it's supposed too, eh? I wasn't being cute either; I really had to write it down like this for my own sake, just to keep it clear.

In Other News: I did an multi-part interview with a really cool guy names Josh Jones over at ComicAttack. It's not out yet, but when it is I'll throw up a link to it. This should come out next month or so, in several parts. It's all Josh's fault for asking too many interesting questions, and of course... my inability to shut the hell up. As usual. : )

Now I'd better finish off these friggin' vampires. They're piling up like crazy.