Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I was mentioning how i liked the tilt in one of Stacy's drawings and I thought I'd try one myself. I think it made what was a straightforward scene a bit better.



  1. Wow! Yeah, this makes it much more dynamic.

  2. Yeah, really nice, Wes.

  3. Wes, I was curious...how much do you rely on models and reference for your illustrations, or do you create mostly from memory? Actually, I'm curious about the same thing with Ted and Stacy.

  4. About 20% of the time I use reference. I use Google and Yahoo images mostly, and i occasionally take pictures. I steal a lot too, from cartoonists like yourself. (not a lie, I've already confessed this to Bucky) If I'm stuck, it's nice to see how another pro did it.

    One thing I do at times if I have a tricky pose, act it out with my digital camera and look at it on the LCD in the back. These will also come in handy once my family decides to blackmail me.


  5. Everyone has a visual vocabulary. Anyone can draw a basic tree, a funny dog, etc. but if I have to draw a covered wagon, for instance, I'll go to Google, grab my picture dictionary or walk over to the library because it's just not something I draw regularly.

    I don't really have an opportunity to use human models. I spend most of the day alone in my studio.

    For a picture book I'm working on that requires quite a bit of buildings in the background, I went to my hometown and took digital pictures of the downtown area. I'm designing the backgrounds in my book around my hometown.

  6. I don't use references nearly enough. If I did, I'd be a much better artist. My way of working has been, if I can't draw it without looking at something, I just won't draw it.

    When I was doing Spooner, I used references a few times for things I just couldn't draw otherwise, like a pirate ship or a T-Bird.

    I've begun using references much more this past year for the children's illustration work I do. With this type of work, kids need to be able to identify what something is easily so I need to make sure I get the details right. This has made me a better artist.

    I was talking to Wes about a technique, for lack of a better word, that I've picked up this past year. As a cartoonist, oftentimes we just need to get the right "feel" for something, and don't need a reference per se. So if I need to draw, say, a gazelle, I'll google up two or three pics. I'll do some loose sketches of them. Then I feel like the animal is kind of programmed into me, and I can sketch it as I please, and still get the basic anatomical feel. I've done the same with faces, to figure out the subtleties that make the differences between ethnicities. (And they are indeed subtle.)

    One reason I don't like using references is that I tend to follow them too closely. As a so-called Creative type, I don't like this result. And of course, I also want to respect the copyright of the photographer (or, unfortunately, the Corporation to whom the photographic rights have been transfered.)

    The realistic stuff on my website obviously utilized direct photo references. Nothing I've posted (yet) on this blog has incorporated any kind of reference.

    I am embarrassed at most of the work I've done in the past (say, starting yesterday) and wish I'd put more work into getting certain things right.

    I have an historical story I'm working on telling, and I'm trying to find the right balance between putting in just enough historically-accurate depictions and having enough freedom to just draw and tell the story. I admire what Stacy is doing with using his hometown as reference, and think it's a totally cool idea... and I need to do something similar in order to tell this story, yet the thought just makes me want to go eat m&m's and watch the My Name is Earl DVD.

  7. Wes, Ted and Stacy, your responses were more than I asked for but just what I was hoping for. Thank you so much for your honesty and candor on the subject.___ I feel better about the way I work finding that I am not that far off from you guys.___Thanks again for sharing your work and how you work. Great stuff.