Sunday, June 29, 2008

David Small Over Breakfast

Check out the 7 Imp's "Seven Questions Over Breakfast with David Small."

Be sure to take a look at David's studio photos. Just incredible!

Hat tip to Kelly at the wonderful Big A little a blog.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Just messing around with ArtRage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Sketching digitally.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lane Smith and Molly Leach

Here's a video, via Barnes & Noble, of the dynamic duo of Lane Smith and Molly Leach.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mystic Woods

I am attempting to create some comic books that are for beginner readers, but who are older than the age for which most early reader books are made. There are millions of kids and teens who are

The Princess of the Woods and her best friend, Boo.

at a low reading level, for various reasons. Comic books can be a great resource, and finally we are seeing some folks out there making comics for kids again... Great cartoonists like Scott Sava (The Dreamland Chronicles), Andy Runton (Owly), Art Baltazar (Patrick the Wolf Boy), and others.

My intention is also to adapt these books for children with autism. People with autism can have difficulty with the way words are grouped into word balloons, and I plan to address that issue in these books.

Here is a sketch of the characters from one of the books.
If anyone knows Ernie Colon, Sid Couchey, Sid Jacobson or any of the Harvey crew,

could you please ask them if "Irona" is pronounced I-RONE-UH or I-URN-UH? My kids and I really would like to know. Thanks.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Faun Sketch

Pencil, ink and watercolor on 140 lb. Aqvarelle Arches, hot pressed paper, 9" x 12"

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Charity projects

How many of you ever get asked to do a drawing(s) by family members or friends?

I've been asked several times and, of course, it's hard to say no, no matter how busy I am.
It's even harder to say know when it's a drawing for a t-shirt for a charity run, drawings for a Vacation Bible School, a drawing for a charity auction ... or anything that's for a charitable cause. And of course, I never charge a family member for one of these favors. Some day, I'll need a big ol' heavy couch or drawing table moved up thirty flights of stairs and then I'll call in all these favors I've done over the years.

I most always say yes to such projects and then immediately feel like pounding myself in the head with a hammer. The project ends up taking twice as long as I thought or a paying job immediately comes in or in the case of last week, I said yes to doing around 30 drawings for my sister-in-law's church's Vacation Bible School and the very next day I got sick with a miserable cold.

The drawings were black & white simple drawings (see the warrior above) and are meant to be colored by the kids at VBS. I suffered through the cold and got the drawings finished up and quite honestly, I enjoyed doing drawings that were much simpler than my usual cross-hatched brush work.

All in all, I'm pleased with the results and am excited to know someone besides me will be coloring them.

Top Three Benefits of Doing Art Favors for Friends and Family:
1. You're almost never going to get into Work-for-Hire or Spec Work pissing matches.
2. It feels good to "give back" and help someone.
3. You get a "Get Out of Jail Free" card ... sometimes literally.

What are your experiences with doing artwork for friends & family?
Let us know in the Comments area.

The Hulk, Spidey and Iron Man

I will tell you now, this little clip is better than the Incredible Hulk motion picture.

THIS is the Hulk. The movie isn't.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Faded Funky

This is what happens when you draw on cheap acid paper with a felt tip pen!
This is a 1977 Funky Winkerbean original I saw on ebay.

Coloring Daily Comic Strips

Lots of differing opinions among cartoonists about whether daily comic strips should be colored.

The cartoonist gets paid no more for the extra work. If they want any control over how their work looks, they take on the extra work anyway.

Reed-Brennan, the main proponent of colored dailies, used to advertise that color sells more papers... until Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues) called them on it and they had no evidence for the claim. R-B does charge newspapers extra for colorized dailies, though... a hundred dollars a page or so.

But here's a pretty good argument against the practice:

I only allowed one paper to color Spooner, in Ft. Worth, Texas. They only ran strips in color on Wednesdays, so I compromised. I recently saw this on someone's T-bird website. State of the art printing technology!


Once in a while I run across an illustrator who makes great cheesecake. I can never quite get it right myself.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grubbs #2 Cover

I'm not quite sure about this one. Something is not working, but I'm not sure what it is.

How to: Cheesy Promo Shot

As I recently had to provide a photo of myself for a newspaper article, I thought I would share some tips for creating perhaps the most dreaded piece of self-promotional material an illustrator is ever asked to provide.

First off, don't bother to get a haircut. It will do nothing about the real problem: your face. Just wash your face and your hair so they aren't too greasy and reflective.

Find a fairly large drawing to pretend you're painting or inking. Tape it to your drawing board to create a sense of authenticity.

If you have a window in your working space, include it in the background. This will provide natural backlighting so you don't have to take a flash photograph.

Use the flash anyway because the lighting from the window will make your face too dark. Be sure to get some amateur-looking flash shadows in your image.

Do not get anyone to help you take the photo. One, they will get bored before taking the necessary 100 images required to get one decent one. Two, they know what you really look like and will be happy with any result.

Take the photos yourself, but be sure to not use a tripod. This will result in too clear of a photograph. Blurriness is preferred. Using a tripod also will require constantly breaking your pose and create unnecessary exercise, going back and forth to set the timer & press the shutter release. Using a tripod also will result in natural foreshortening, to be avoided at all costs. Instead, hold the camera (facing you) at arms length with your non-drawing hand.

Experiment with several different angles. The best angle will show your face, drawing hand and your drawing in an unrealistic, and preferably physically impossible, manner.

Take several hundred photos using your digital camera. Choose the one that has the best lighting, composition, color and looks the least like you. You want a photo that will not enable the average reader to recognize you if they saw you walking down the street.

Now the fun part: Photoshop. Take the image into everyone's favorite photo retouching program and make the following adjustments: Remove any facial blemishes that your dermatologist or plastic surgeon has been unable to correct, using the "ugly-healing brush." Whiten teeth and whites of the eyes with the "dodge" tool. Remove goiters and multiple chins with the "clone" brush. Add hair with the "grass" brush.

Add a sparkle to your smile, a gleam to your eye, and there you have it. You've created a person just as ugly as you, but one whom no one can prove is really you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Bigfoot Bounty

Bigfoot and lake monsters, beware: There's a price on your heads.

Binocular manufacturer Bushnell, along with Field & Stream magazine, have teamed up to offer $1 million to anyone who can "provide an unaltered photograph/video, verified and substantiated by a panel of scientific experts [including a zoologist and biologist], the evidence required to prove a Sasquatch/Bigfoot/Yeti exists." The contest started a few days ago and ends Dec. 15, but before heading out to claim your million, note that the rules' fine print states that they are not liable for any injury incurred during a Bigfoot attack. A good quality Bigfoot image would make history; most photos are of such consistently poor quality that within the Bigfoot research community there's even a name for a typical blurry "Bigfoot" image: blobsquatch.

Designing BLiTZ

Developing a character is difficult - He needs to be distinguishable by silhouette alone. Have the features broken down, simplified, exaggerated. He needs to be graphic, well-designed. Look familiar but unique and distinguishable. I used to think this happens by accident, but now I believe it's done with creatively contrived determination. I still have a ways to go.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Roy Crane

Roy Crane was perhaps the best action strip Cartoonist. Small wonder, since the genre originated with him when he introduced Captain Easy into his Wash Tubbs comic strip. He continued perfecting the medium through Buz Sawyer.

Nowadays, there's barely enough room to set up a gag properly, let alone tell a story. If the comics aren't what they used to be -- and they aren't -- it's not the cartoonist's fault. Give me a little room and no daily gag requirements, and I just might be able to do something amazing.

Thomas Nast

Thomas Nast was not only, still today, one of the best editorial cartoonists and children's illustrators, but produced amazing woodcuts. Some of his work can be seen here.

Update - Orphan Works Act


JUNE 2, 2008 An Orphan Works Update

Backers of the House version of the Orphan Works bill are now asking artists and photographers to oppose the Senate bill unless it’s amended to contain at least the “minimum provisions” that appear in the House version.

Although they don’t say so, opposing the Senate bill in this manner is a vote FOR the House bill. We’ve been asked to explain why:

The Senate bill is similar to the bill we opposed in 2006. The House bill (H.R. 5889) is the result of a year and a half of closed door negotiations between Congress and representatives and lobbyists for special interest groups. These groups have agreed to either endorse the House bill or remain neutral to ensure its passage.

The House bill endorses the concept of coerced “voluntary” registration with commercial databases and seeks to make these databases infringer-friendly.

– It would require infringers to file a simple “notice of use” before they infringe.

– It calls for an archive of the notices to be maintained by the Copyright Office or an approved third party.

Why do backers of the House bill want these databases to be infringer-friendly?
Because to thrive, commercial databases (registries) will have to do a robust business in rights-clearing and orphan certification. That means encouraging infringers to infringe.

How will these registries work? No details have been given, but experience with image banks suggests the following:

For unregistered work: infringers will use the registries to identify pictures that aren’t registered. Infringers will probably pay the registry a search fee, then use or market the “orphans” like royalty-free art.

For registered work: the registries will act as a kind of stock house: Users will go to them for one-stop shopping to clear rights to your pictures. The registry will probably charge you a commission when they do.

In other words, urging Congress to pass the House bill makes very little sense to us unless your business or organization expects to become a commercial registry. We believe the only way to oppose these bills is to oppose them both.

If you agree, now’s the time to write Congress or write again. You can urge Congress to oppose these bills by linking here to a special letter. Tell Your Senators and Representatives to Oppose the Orphan Works Act at:

Don't Let Congress Orphan Your Work!

Monday, June 2, 2008


Yet another project "In Development." Pocket brush pen & Photoshoppe.


If I never draw a grasshopper again it will be too soon. 

Spooner Comics Back Online

Spooner comic strips are again running on the Web. I'm still tweaking the site, but you can now read "classic" Spooner comics daily here.