Friday, December 5, 2008

Shaky and Slow

Just for kicks, a turtle on a whim. It's fun (while simultaneously frustrating) to go back to older programs and see what can be accomplished. How spoiled we are with all our new programs and digital painting palettes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thumbnail for new book

I'm working on a book that will feature several characters I've been developing for about three years. After finally deciding the format they will appear in, I've started doing thumbnail sketches and layouts to put the book together. "Thumbnail" is an appropriate term: this sketch of the first two pages is the size of two postage stamps placed side-by-side. Avoiding detail too early in the process allows an artist to experiment with all the possibilities before committing to the final artwork on expensive paper.
I've really had to study and learn from other books in the marketplace to get an idea of the potential visual impact this kind of book can have. Merging several mediums and formats presents a challenge, but it also opens new possibilities. I'm excited to see this project starting to develop into something more than endless character sketches and poses! I hope to post more artwork as it progresses, and I think it will be interesting to see how the final work matches up to these early sketches.

Old School

A roller mouse and MS Paint (old school) equals a very shaky drawing. So I made this guy old school, too, with his 7o's hair and mustache. What do you think of when you see him?
a) Car salesman
b) Insurance salesman
c) Con man
d) All of the above
I'll be back to the ArtRage program soon, and regain my control.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Artworking with Limited Resources

I am posting from a secret location where I have no art programs, digital drawing tools, etc. But I still wanted to post a picture and give it some variety. This is a sketch that I uploaded and colored using Microsoft Office Picture Manager! By adjusting the hue and saturation of my original sketch, I added some variety (which I hear is the spice of life) and created a tile drawing. It only took a few minutes, and all I used was a pencil, MS Picture Manager, and MS Word.

I usually hesitate to post things until I can get them exactly as I want them, which now leads to months between posts. I'd rather produce something on a more regular basis even if it's limited in its scope.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Slightly Irritated Scientist

You know, you hear about mad scientists all the time. But the lesser-known, slightly irritated scientists of the world sometimes get pushed to the back burner. These underappreciated laborers deserve attention, too. Where are the movies about them? Where are the novels and comic books that herald their achievements? They have complaints and issues, too. In fact, they relate to us more than the mad scientists. How many times have you been mad, really mad this week? Now, how many times have you been slightly irritated? Chances are it takes you all ten fingers to count the slight irritations. And that's just today! Think about that the next time you watch a movie about mad scientists and their insane creations, and take a moment to honor those who live life outside the spotlight. Thanks!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

IF: Fierce!

This started out as a drawing of a tire. From there, I decided to fill the whole page as quickly as possible. Using sketchy line work, I covered the entire page with this scene of mousy plotting and planning. Do you ever wonder what's going on in their world as you mow "your" yard. Maybe I'll use this as my excuse not to mow. I know my neighbor won't fall for it, though. She's a hater :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I like to do a warm-up sketch some mornings to get me thinking creatively before I get bogged down in the daily work load. It's nice to do a drawing that's not linked to a project or assignment. I'm not creating for a marketing piece; just letting my mind wonder and seeing what I come up with off the top of my head. It starts as a very loose scribble because I have no goals or prerequisites demanding that I know where I'm going. It reminds me of being a kid and drawing what I loved because I loved to draw, not creating within someone else's box in order to pay the bills.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer Summer Time!

It was 94 degrees yesterday (around here, anyway). Although the calendar says the first official day of summer is not here yet, when warm weather sets in and I am reminded that my truck AC doesn't work, it is officially summer for me. Plus, we went swimming over the weekend, so that helps set the tone.
If I had someone to take care of a pool for me, I would seriously consider turning my entire backyard into a swimming pool so I could snorkel more!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Three A.M. Do You Know Where Your Art Is?

There is a very disturbing bit of legislation being reviewed by Congress that should bother every artist and creative type. The Orphan Works Act is going to make it much easier for people to use someone else's artwork, illustrations, etc. from online sources without paying the artist. Illustrator Tom Richmond does a great job of explaining the dangers of this law and what it will cost artists if it's passed. Check out his website for more information: Not to oversimplify the legislation, but basically if someone has made a "reasonable effort" to find the creator and isn't successful, the work is considered orphaned and is FREE to use in the public domain. That "reasonable effort" is open to interpretation, though, and could take on many different definitions based on how lazy or cheap the researcher is. Tom Richmond contemplates what would happen if the principle of the Orphan Works Act was applied to cars and other personal property. And he makes an excellent point. For more information on how creators are fighting this check out the Illustrator's Partnership website

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Sister is a Skrull

I just had a dark revelation in my personal life: My big sister is a Skrull. At last weekend's New York Comic Con the truth came out. Now I have to look back over my life with her, maybe even as far back as our childhood, and try to decide when the Skrull invaded. Was this a recent occurence? Or has the sinister plan been in the works for years? Who do you trust? No one is safe. No one is immune. The Secret Invasion is revealed, and if my big sister is part of it, perhaps the loved ones in your life are too! Go read Brian Bendis and Lenil Yu's Secret Invasion for more details.

Friday, April 11, 2008

When Art Majors FAIL a Test

My submission for the Illustration theme of the week: "Fail." How does an artist respond to all those miserable red x's on a failed test? By dressing up the canvas a little bit with doodles! In elementary school this hopefully would keep the parents from discerning just how wrong your wrong answers were. In college, it was a way to shroud the marks of failure so you could sleep guilt-free!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Fists of the Sloth, Feet of the Swine

"You must let the energy flow through you," said the Grand Master.

"Flow through me?" said Carl. "How is that possible, master? For I am a solid object."

The Grand Master pointed to a box of fresh, glazed donuts on the nearby table. Summoning one of the donuts into his outstretched hand, the kindly master pointed at the hole piercing the delectable center of the pastry. "The donut maintains its solidity, yet this hole allows the chi energy of the universe to flow through it. You must become the donut, Carl. Do you understand?"

A strange sound was the only reply.


The Grand Master turned to see Carl devouring the remaining donuts in the box.

"You are what you eat," said Carl, through a mouthful of sugary goodness.

Author's Notes: I have no idea how my mind went this direction from the simple drawing of a slightly portly guy in a karate outfit. It's Monday and I'm tired :P

Friday, March 28, 2008

Homage_Illustration Friday

Today's topic from is "Homage." This is the first image that came to mind and I was going for a quick, populated scene reminiscent of Sergio Aragones. As I sketched this out I could see the influence of Patrick McDonnell also. No time to ink or color today; I decided to just stick with the thumbnail sketch version. I think it still gets the theme across. Happy Friday! Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Eggs?

Only time for a quick pic today. Happy Easter! Here's the reason:

"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him..." Matthew 28:1-9

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Just enough time for a quick sketch, but I couldn't put something on here without a little green added. So here's my speed colored leprechaun. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 14, 2008


My entry into the Illustration mix, this Wild West sheriff has both hands full. This week's IF topic was "Heavy." I dusted off an older sketch (apparently I was on a cowboy kick for a day or two) and had fun coloring. Inking still needs work and line variance. I have got to upgrade my artist toolbox :)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Blueprint for Sound...The Art of Music

My original rough sketch reminded me of a blueprint so I decided to go that direction when I colored and inked it. It turned out looking a little more finished than what I had in mind, but I think overall it has the look I was hoping to achieve. Blue paper, white pencil, and my limited personal knowledge of guitar. Had to put Dm on there. I love that chord!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tree Lovers Unite!

Trying out a different medium. I think I would enjoy painting more if I had the patience for it. In some ways, Art Rage takes away the need for patience. No more waiting for paint to dry ( layers are our friends). And the paint eraser is a wonderful tool. Along with it, this was all done with paintbrushes and a palette knife. I really enjoyed painting this simple scene, I like the colors, and I think it ended up having some nice dimension to it. I'm considering using it as a backdrop for some characters in a children's book. If you're having nice weather where you are, go out and enjoy some real tree scenery today. Take your sketchbook with you!

Monday, March 3, 2008

War is in the Details

A drawing of a warrior that took me much longer than I intended. Art instruction for Goliath came in an old art book I have in my collection. The books from that era were great: over sized with color inserts, more like giant art poster-books. This particular warrior had much more detail than I usually draw. It was a good exercise, but I'm not sure I would have the patience to do these drawings on a regular basis. After finishing the pencils, I had no desire to ink or color this :)

Friday, February 29, 2008

After Ringo - Comics Legend

I can spot a Mike Wieringo drawing from a mile away. Something about the lines of his artwork and the hair and the shoes that his characters wear and the shape of noses and the list goes on and on. The thing is: I'm not even sure these characteristics are what really make the art stand out to me. Maybe it's all these little bits of perfection put into one big picture. Whatever it is, Wieringo's art made a huge impression on me. I've wondered for a long time if I could capture a similar look. Just for practice I drew the sketch pictured here with Mike Wieringo's self-portrait as a reference. The four or five areas with bolder lines and the hair really seem to be Ringo-ish. Some people apparently complained about Mike's artwork being too cartoonish (he mentioned this in an interview before he passed away) but that look really appeals to me. I don't think artists should lift another's style or work too hard to make theirs match someone else's; but I hope that as I continue drawing, the influence of Mike Wieringo's artwork shows through in some of my art.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Comics in Perspective

This illustration was done after reading an article on perspective in comic books. The article was well-written and helped explain and demonstrate some great angles for art. I didn't get it perfect in this example, but I learned during the process and it helped me put an interesting spin on the "camera" view of the page. I really enjoyed drawing the blank-faced warrior with the battle axe. His pose gives an idea of the character and his personality, even though you can't see any details yet.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting Ready (Monday Art Day)

Another weekday art submission blog ( gave this week's topic: "Getting Ready." My submission is a cartoon rendition of getting ready for a tie-required event. The guy displays the finalists to his wife and lets her make the final choice. I do this to my wife on occasion, although I pride myself on needing less help in the matching department than the average husband :) I also love ties, which most people think is extremely weird. They're right of course, but I keep building my tie collection nonetheless!

Friday, February 22, 2008


This week's submission for Illustration is for the topic: Multiple. This is a cartoon I drew about seven years ago(How can it possibly be that long ago!?) but never inked. I touched it up and inked it digitally as quickly as possible for my submission. Multiple, as in multiple children. How many parents would love to buy a box of Instant Patience if they could? How much could the manufacturer charge for such an incredible product? I especially like the fact that the "sweet little girl" is reaching for the sugar and spice! It was a detail I didn't even remember until I started inking the drawing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Character Design: Leon...the Lion?

Character design and initial concepts for Leon, an abandoned housecat who thinks he's a lion. Leon is part of the supporting cast of the children's book series I'm working on, and his story might become a separate book in the series. I'm really proud of each character; their tales could each merit a book, or a series of their own, and I think bringing this strong group together into the same setting is what is going to make the series successful. Think Ocean's Eleven in a children's book, minus the criminal element :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Conveying Personality with Simple Lines

I was going to relegate this sketch to the piles of unshared art I've done through the years. The cat is just a quick drawing done with digital ballpoint pen and I wasn't sure about including it in the Skunk Works blog. But after looking it over a few times I actually like the simplicity and colors, and the fact that you get an idea of the cat's personality even though there isn't much detail. I'm no master of line illustration, but I've seen some masters convey so much with so few lines it's amazing. Check out the art of Sergio Aragones (Groo, Mad Margins, and more) and the caricatures of Al Hirschfeld for perfect examples.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Art That Inspires

I don't have time to post an illustration today, so I wanted to take another chance to promote the artwork and illustrations of the late Mike Wieringo. Mike was my favorite artist; my introduction to his work was during his ground-breaking run on Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four title. He worked on that and many other titles including Spider-man and Flash for D.C. I can't rave enough about his illustrative and story-telling style. He was considered a master in his field and I've never read a bad comment about him from those who knew, met, or worked with him.

Please take time to check out his work. He had a creator-owned series called Tellos that he was especially affectionate towards, in addition to his run on some of the mainstream comic titles. He also did freelance illustration work. It was a sad and tragic day when he died at such a young age, but his art is still admired and appreciated, and friends are still building memorials to his legacy (see the recent Spider-man Family title by Mark Waid, Todd Dezago, Karl Kesel). Mike Wieringo's art was inspiring!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Albert Einstein stars in my submission for "Theory," Illustration's topic of the week. I thought this would be the hardest topic so far, but it wasn't really. Einstein lends himself well to cartoony art! I think I enjoyed drawing the chalkboard as much as anything. Those are actual equations from Einstein's notes, which I memorized to enhance my art :) Can art and math coexist in one brain? In this particular case, I guess so. I don't plan to make a habit of it, though.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Whatever Was Handy

This squirrel was drawn awhile back with a random marker laying around (sharpie?) and shows the difference between the Brush Pen (see below) and other markers. The lack of control and line variance is annoying now that I realize what's possibile with the Brush Pen. I like the drawing, but I'd like to do it again to really give it a better look.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Brush Pen

Here's a quick drawing I did so I could ink with a new Brush Pen I bought. I love this pen. I don't have to use a brush or nib and inkwell, and I'm starting to get some variances in line thickness and size. With it, you have great control, and can range anywhere from a fine line (the hairs on his head and ears) to a broader line (around his mouth). I think I finally found a pen I can stick with for a few years!

Friday, February 8, 2008


This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Choose." Here's my submission; the image that immediately came to mind. Thanks to everyone at for the fun!

I'm learning more about the capabilities of my new digital art program and I'm really enjoying the coloring process. The level of control is great, even using the mouse.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bear with Depth

Something about this simple drawing of a Bear and Toybox (created in MSPaint) really made me put some time into coloring it, although I had no particular project to attach to it. I think it's the depth of the bear; the angle and the pudgy white stomach makes him look like he could get up and walk away at any moment.

The Skunk in Skunk Works?

The main character in a series of Children's Books I'm working on, this is the skunk that started my journey back into illustration. More on him later...

Evolution of an Idea

This started as a quick sketch until the shape of the guy's head reminded me of a lightbulb (the incandescent, soon-to-be-banned variety). From there I got carried away re-penciling and coloring the drawing in a digital art program. My control was limited (I was using a mouse instead of a pen and tablet), so I need to clean up my lines and improve my coloring. But it's a start, and not bad for a random sketch. I think it's interesting to see how these things lead down a path we never imagined...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Warming Up

This is just a quick warm-up sketch I did to start my day. Comic-book style rendering of a conversation I haven't yet created. After a long hiatus from art, I'm trying to get something posted here daily and get back to drawing something - anything - each day. Thanks to Illustration Friday for helping to provide the inspiration and the forum.

Illustration Friday, Blanket

Here's my first entry into the Illustration Friday forum, and my first attempt at digital painting. Blanket is this week's topic. My version started as a sketch with a hotel pen on recycled paper, then I tried my hand at digital painting to provide the color. It was a fun, learning experience. Makes me want to learn more about the process.