Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I draw Supergirl a lot.

As a young reader of comics books, Superman’s younger, less experienced cousin was just a natural part of the whole “super” theme. Superman and his stories, of course, needed villains and disasters, but it was Supergirl, Krypto, the Fortress of Solitude and the Bottled city of Kandor all enriched the whole Superman mythos.

Now, I can look at those things and see the argument of how those things are more part of marketing the character either to other demographics (like girls), or to make it a more attractive licensing property (toys!). However, since those things are part of MY Superman conception, they suit me just fine.

I draw Supergirl a lot.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cover Me

I spent some time backing up my downloaded music files and I had to put together some cover art (pictured) for the discs - I’m wired that way.

Without strong themes to inform the artwork, I fell back on a standard advertising idea: use a pretty girl. The photos are from various mailers and newspaper inserts like J. C. Penny and Kohls.

I was once encouraged to put together a “How to Draw Pretty Girls” book. I may not ever do that book since I think there are plenty of such books out there. Flipping through a few, I've failed to find where the authors actually define what a “pretty girl” is. Beauty, they say, is subjective. True.

Leading me to my small contribution to the curriculum: use the anonymous models in weekly mailers and newspaper inserts as a reference for what defines a pretty girl.

Contemporary standards of beauty are being defined a redefined constantly, yearly, seasonally, some times by the week.

Celebrities are a misleading gauge of those standards, because some are the canvas for an ever changing line-up of stylists, some would sacrifice beauty to stand out, but mostly because it's so difficult to separate the personality from the image.

1) Department store advertisements are by nature, aimed at a mass audience, and portray an attainable standard of beauty.

2) The ads are up to date.

3) The ads are cheap, usually free.

4) The ads are mutli-racial, more true now than even five years ago.

And if you can’t find a pretty girl in those ads, then I would posit that you are drawing for a different audience, and I, unfortunately, have no further advice for you.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Beach Patrol

Tuff-Girl and Tuff-Mutt patrolling the sunny Malibu shores.

Here presented are the rough, tight pencil and final ink of the piece. There isn't a lot to be learned from these in the way of the decisions made at each stage.

Tuff-Girl adventures are illustrated in a style inspired by the art of Milt Caniff (Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon).

Here, the Tuff team are depicted in an even more cartoony style. It's actually a more fun style to draw. It's based on Blondie (Chic Young), but because of the characters' adventurous leanings, is takes on a dramatically different look than the domestic doings of Blondie and Dagwood.

Tuff-Mutt (a.k.a. Wichita), has undergone a number of re-designs. Initially , she had a body style more like Blondie's pup, Daisy or like Pluto, with big, pillowy paws and a brow ridge stepped up from the snout which allowed for drawing both eyes in most front views. Pushing her design to more caricature the features of a wire-hair terrier, her legs are more like those of some cartoon sheep and her head has a block-shaped profile.

Monday, May 7, 2007

TAGS Dec. 17 & 18 1992

The employment of anthropomorphic animals for the TAGS cast is entirely due to the fact that the strip/series followed my two other series and not wanting to create an entirely new, separate cast, and wholly in the tradition set by Mickey Mouse cartoons and comics where Mickey and Minnie are four-foot mice who are actually the people of that reality rather than true mice.

The two preceding series were titled "BackStage" and Stagelights", and shared anthropomorphic caricatures (which I would later coin as "critticatures" of differing spellings) of my co-workers (a.k.a. Disneyland Cast-Members). Disneyland culture uses stage and motion picture terminology where ever it fits. The "backstage" areas, for example, are the places where customers (guests) are forbidden.

The TAGS cast would consist of about three dozen of these critticatures with personalities amalgamated from different Cast-Members and shaped as the stories required. Despite the new character designs and names, most of my friends would continue to perceive the characters as their caricatures.

Monster, a Charlie Brown archetype, main character, is my alter-ego.

So far the series has also introduced the following players:
Bill (turtle), Vern (horse), Murray (cheetah), Tom (griffin, above), and Checkov (dragon).

These are the last of the exposition strips which attempt to establish the premise - that these characters work in a theme-park restaurant. I should have made the series more clearly communicate that - at the very least the restaurant aspect of it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

TAGS Nov. 23 & 24, 1992

With all exposition aside (which I am now of the mind to think should not be necessary for an accessible comic strip), it's time to go into some stories - or situation based funny.

It's a restaurant, and the main character, Monster, is bussing tables.

Hmmn, had I not introduced the main character up to this point? Tsk, tsk tsk. such sloppy work. His name would officially be introduced two strips later.

Up, Up and a Birthday

I had a birthday recently.

Here's a little bit of math for you...

( 20.07 - 19.66 ) x 100 = 41

Jim Valeri did the illustration here. It's a play on my last name. The list is nearly endless, you know BatMon, AquaMon, LeMon, YeahMon, FireMon, etc.

And 3 points of articulation!

Thanks, Jim.