Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The thrill of the struggle, the agony of naps

I am unsure how many folks reading this have kids. Unless of course the only people that are reading this are the folks that I personally know, in which case I know exactly how many have kids.

Anyway, my daughter just got back from a getaway with her mother and usually when infants and napping toddlers travel they do a little thing we as parents like to call "getting off schedule". Which is the formal way of saying "my kid doesn't think think that they need to go to sleep when they're in dire need of it". A parent's impulse is to shield their little ones from anything that causes them pain but, if taken too far, it rapidly becomes coddling and hinders the child's ability to grow up. My daughter caught on quick to settling herself down to sleep but since getting off schedule over her vacation she has had real issues with it. This is where you have to have a "hard heart" as a parent. Running in and picking your child up out of their crib when they're old enough to comfort themselves is a real no-no. It only delays getting back "on schedule" that much more and spoils your kid in the long run to boot. Consequently, you have to be prepared to listen to many wails of anguish and much gnashing of teeth until your little one settles down. Good times.

The irony of course is that your child will probably reach a point when they really can't often make time for naps but would love to sneak one in... but I digress.

Still hashing out that comic to the best of my ability so images for today include a couple more quickie brush pen sketches-

my daughter from last Halloween...

and my wife.

The third Moreau/hyena image I did.
The next installment of Herry Poops.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

FACA4, fish and figure drawing

I had originally intended to do a daily blog when I started this but it quickly became apparent that it would be better for me if I didn't. I have a tendency to get a little wordy when I type these (I can't seem to shut it off) and that cuts into my art time. While I could show many older pieces to fill the gaps, I don't want to get to the point in which that is all can do because I am spending too much time doing this and not producing new work. I'll just have to see if I can find some sort of happy medium and go from there.

As mentioned in the previous post, FACA4 is going on right now. I won't be in the tournament. I did however submit an arena girl, Sting Rhea. Since it isn't an anonymous post, I'll show it here .

To continue with the aquatic theme, I have a sketchbook piece based on a dream I had. It's just barely old enough to have made the last website update but it didn't make the cut. I decided to post it tonight.

I really love drawing the figure and I miss figure drawing. Living outside a city means you're often teased with the possibility of being able to attend figure drawing sessions but weighing the time and gas you'll expend into the mix makes it seem less appealing. The closest session I'm aware of is about 35 or 40 minutes from the house (if traffic plays nice) it really is pretty cheap for a session but I can't fully convince myself it's worth it. Drawing people in public places can be fun but isn't really feasible when you're watching kids in the day and trying to churn out art at night. Maybe I'll try to shoot for visiting the figure drawing sessions every once in a great while. In the meantime, I use photos for practice and warm ups. Below are a couple I did with the Pentel brush pen that two lofty talents, Sam Hiti and Craig Thompson, have been touting.

My grandmother...

and my daughter wrestling with a stuffed elephant.

Finally, for the fam, Cookie Monster joins the fray that is Herry's potty struggle.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More endeavors

Have you heard of the F.A.C.A.? No? I suggest you follow the link to the right and see just what exactly you're missing. It's the brainchild of comics talent, Sam Hiti. Essentially a knock down, drag out between various artist's gladiators made specifically for the tournament. There is a slew of talent over there and they have all managed to come up with some really amazing characters. I simply skulked about the boards as a cowardly non participant for the first tournament. I only threw my proverbial hat into the ring for the following two. Here are my entries.

FACA2 was a black and white tag team match. I talked my multi talented wife into being my partner for it. She was quite a bit intimidated by the notion of doing it because, even though we met in college as drawing majors, she always felt her strongest suit was photography and was unsure about coming up with a character. She came through like she always does. Below is our team, Safety Hazard. On the left is a rendering, done by my wife, of our daughter in one of her less content moods. Lisa billed her "The Tantrum Tot". On the right is my piece. A man eating primate billed as "Organ Grinder". The notion was that the meat grinder would take the place of the typical musical grinder but might even still play music while making lunch for our friend and serving as a handy instrument for pummeling. The meat cleaver is self explanatory. I thought Lisa did a great job and I felt that while my piece might not be in it for the long haul could possibly carry its end of the bargain. Tragically, we fell in the first round. O.G. was returned to the Polish salt mines where he was originally discovered. He now spends long days waiting for night to fall so that he may wistfully gaze upon the stars and deepen the stains of nicotine on his hands. Work has slowed at the mines as of late due to a rash of unexplained disappearances.

FACA3 was a solo color event. I had tried my hand at a slight bit of humor the first go round and was eclipsed in that aspect by many of the entries. It seems to me that the greatest entries are the ones that have elements of humor mixed with clever design. The individual who seems to most consistently pull this off to date in my opinion is Joel Priddy. That guy has made some super nice designs. Even his rejects are intimidating. Don't believe me? Look again to the right my friend and dig up his FACA sketches. Good stuff. I was feeling pretty humorless this go round and knew I could not come up with something on the level of the God of Scissors (Priddy's tag team entry) or Flaming Granny (they both must be seen to be believed) so I tried to make a sleek killing machine. Trash talk sessions were also a big part of FACA3 and below is my character, Harrier of Souls, and his zen styled trash talk.

I received some incredibly flattering comments on this design. However, HoS again fell in the first round to a character with a more clever character design. I don't feel so bad about it though. At least three of the talents to the right that I greatly admire fell in the first round as well. FACA4 starts very soon. I won't be participating this go round because it required teams of three but I may pop up in an arena girl contest.We'll see.

The next page in the Herry saga...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Keeping it short

A few more images for the bundle. Below is an attempt to catch some eyes for an Amon Tobin t-shirt contest. It sounded like fun and I could have accumulated all the rest of his albums that I didn't have. Unfortunately, due to the other commitments I had to push right up to the deadline. Normally this would be just good clean nose to the grindstone fun. However, they wanted the image laid out in Illustrator. I know rudimentary Photoshop and thought I might be able to fake it. How wrong I was. Especially in the day's time frame I did it. Still fairly happy with the image.

A couple of images of a sculpture of the mighty Scott Morse's character, Southpaw, that I did for kicks.

Herry continues the struggle and I'm posting it. You love it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Tech

Once again my love of computers deepens and blossoms. The esteemed Mr. Joel Trussell did in fact confirm that my previous posts' links had lost their will to live and grow when clicked upon. The methods I was using to arrange my images were absolutely slaughtering the code. Frankly, I'm surprised the posts looked as good as they did. Took a minute to correct but we're good now. Despite the fact that Joel does truly excellent computer animation (if you don't believe me go check out the link to your left), I still don't think he is fully prepared to label himself a computer tech at the moment. Yet, he still has helped me with a few website kinks in the past. Tip of the hat to you, Mr. Trussell.

Down to business. I think we'll start off with another sketchbook piece that has not made an appearance on my antiquated site. Similar in thinking to the Society of Illustrators piece in the previous post. I had been under the impression that it was more recent than the SoI piece because I sketchbook hop and work on larger scale pieces outside of them as well and that was just the way I remembered it. I should have realized otherwise because of the absence of our daughter in the image. I like to blame moments of senility like this on the kids. It's easier to cope that way.

This piece was created for a Vtes card for White Wolf publishing. It was the only one that I did for this set but I was happy enough with it. The author concept was a crippled uber hip vampire that binds his legs with belts while he levitates using a blood/shadow entity of his creation.

For those of you solely returning for the Herry continuation, your prayers have been answered.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why the blog title?

I just like it. I'm not a particularly brainy fellow (no more so than the average Jane or Joe) and I don't think I could pull off pretending that I am. The notion simply ties into a great deal of what I'm working on at the moment. Which mostly involves prepping a promotional comic for SPX this year. Below is another sketchbook piece I did last month made of the last scraps of paint from a previous piece and ballpoint with some more paint.

Yes, I also realize that the right hand side of the brain is said to be responsible for creativity. No, it is not a nod to my political affiliations. It mostly evolved from the notion that, if you're left handed, you're right brain dominant and, if you're right handed, you're left brain dominant. Perhaps I could've avoided confusion by calling it right hand emissaries but I didn't (see above comment about not being particularly brainy). If you're so inclined, shout "Fly my pretties! Fly!" in your best wicked witch voice as you gaze upon the emissaries.

As mentioned in the previous post, we have a lot of catching up to do starting with right where the site ends. After receiving complimentary words from one of the editors of Vertigo I thought I might be able to convince them I was capable of handling fully painted sequential art with little sequential experience. This is an excerpt from a third attempt to catch their attention that I took to one of their "we love you or we won't speak to you" conventions. It was a panel breakdown of Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc". My wife became Joan and Leonard makes his appearance here. I thought that my different approach as far as source material goes might grab their attention and still be relevant to them. I had already done one take on a few tried and true characters. At the con they stressed the importance of recognizable characters. Never heard a word.

I approached the 2006 con with a short tale involving some familiar Vertigo characters. Below is an excerpt containing the Corinthian, Constantine and Matthew. No response. Fortunately, I've received some feedback from two talented industry giants, Greg Ruth and Bob Schreck. They helped with positive feedback and to reassure myself that I wasn't totally wasting my time. Thanks fellas.

Above is a piece from the end of 2006 as well. An entry for the Society of Illustrators competition. I was pretty happy with it. Rejected. Finally, as promised, the saga of Herry continues below.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And so it begins...

I have a friend that had a period of time while I worked along side of him who would find himself seeing the same number repeatedly when he looked at the time during a particular hour. The number bore some significance to him (I'll not disclose details- that's his story, not mine) and it would get under his skin. I used to think it was pretty funny. However, for some time now I have been doing the exact same thing. Now, self fulfilling or not, seeing 9:11 on the clock several days out of the week can hook you if you allow it especially when given all of the things it brings to mind. I kept wondering if I was receiving some subconscious warning. Knowing that I'll never know, I'm going to use it as a start date for this thing and see if I can't make it a positive deal. Although with my sloth like typing skills combined with a late start and a lot of tinkering, I may miss 9/11 but it's the thought that counts.

Having always considered myself a "friendly acquaintance" with computers I have always been slow to jump on the web for promotional purposes. I really find computers too distracting from making art for me personally. I love them to use for email and viewing other folks' work but that's about the extent of it. As a result, I know little of the latest (or even the greatly dated) "it" things as far as technology goes. I read a 700+ page book (I had forgotten how truly long it was) to scrape the code together for my site and now it stands as an eyesore that hasn't seen an update since November ... of 2005.

Soooooo does this mean nothing has happened since? Absolutely not. For one, my beautiful wife gave birth to our lovely daughter last year adding a second child to the equation. What a little firecracker! Whats that? Did I produce any art in that time? Oh yes my friend. Much. A lot. Have you seen it? Probably not. That's why we're here.As of right now it makes more sense for me to do than to revamp my site. Let's get started.

A rough little sketchbook piece I did a few months back of our daughter. I was using a lot of these colors for pieces that sprung from Wells' Dr. Moreau and I wanted to turn things around and use them for a pretty subject.

One of the Moreau inspired sketchbook pieces. I kept depicting the hyena in the pieces. The most menacing of Moreau's creations. I get told that my pieces are often pretty somber in mood and that may be a reflection of me using art as a way of coping with things that trouble me. That leads us to my most serious piece to date and what could, in fact, be my crowning achievement. The none too subtly titled "Herry Poops".

Any parent knows how serious the whole potty training thing is. There comes a point in which you're practically begging for it to happen if you have a stubborn kid. Our little man is such a child so I wrote and drew this little book in two days starring his favorite character from Sesame Street, Herry (I have no idea why they spell it that way) Monster. The continuing ten page epic in all its hastily rendered Crayola, poorly punctuated glory will make a nice end cap to my next few posts. Stay tuned with baited breath.