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.