Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spins a Web, Any Size

Multi-color ball point pen on paper.
22.86 cm x 30.48 cm (9.00 in. x 12.00 in.)

Super hero stuff from one of my sketchbooks.

I've never been good about keeping a sketchbook, but I try. I must average filling a 150 page book every couple of years.

The book structure, I suppose, is intended to make space for jotting down doodles and ideas within easy reach. The formality of of an object that I can identify as "this is my sketchbook" makes me want to edit my ideas to the ones I might want to keep for posterity. I usually feel more comfortable just drawing on what ever loose sheet that are handy at the time. I also prefer to draw of letter-size sheets of typing paper that I file away neatly.

"Spider-Woman" TM Marvel comics.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TAGS January 03 & 04, 1994

01/03: Deco. the halls.

01/04: All it needs is a little love.

January 03: The rough publishing schedule of the newsletter "monotony" didn't make it necessary that the dates on the TAGS comics be timely, so I could happily extend Christmas themed story lines well into the new year. Here, Jeannie (swan) makes her first, yet unidentified, appearance to kick off a four-strip Christmas tree decorating contest line. As a warning, it abruptly ends unresolved.

The Christmas tree decorating contest storyline is based on a similar such contest held for the cast-members at Disneyland, with the exception of it being decorating doors. In 1991, the year that Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" premiered, I design an elaborate multi-paneled B&B stained-glass "window" made of paper and cardboard to be hung on the door to the department's scheduling office. It was back lit with a string of Christmas lights. The panels were designed to be removable to make replacing burnt out lights viable. In January, I had planned to change out the image with a new one, but that didn't end up working.

January 04: The first thing you need for a tree decorating contest is a tree, and Murray (cheetah) and Monster eagerly embark on the search. The general locale of TAGS is southern California whose winter doesn't require a full gear of parkas and mitts, but the props helps sell the idea of the season with traditional American iconography. True, So. Cal. does get seasonal snowfall in the mountains, but all the strip needs to communicate is "winter."

Panel 1 should be an obvious homage to the classic television special "A Charlie Brown Christmas." The panel 3 joke may have been funnier with a talking tree, instead of a guy in a cardboard tree costume.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

With Little Tin Horns and Little Toy Drums

Here are some detail shots from "Christmas Gifts" or "Rip Wrapped."

6.78 cm x 10.16 cm (2.67 in. x 4.00 in.)

6.78 cm x 10.16 cm (2.67 in. x 4.00 in.)

Bag of gifts
10.16 cm x 6.78 cm (4.00 in. x 2.67 in.)

10.16 cm x 6.78 cm (4.00 in. x 2.67 in.)

Rip Tyler
6.78 cm x 10.16 cm (2.67 in. x 4.00 in.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Christmas Is Coming

"Christmas Gift"
Acrylic on illustration board
32.38 cm x 22.86 cm (12.75 in. x 9.00 in.)

I don't paint very much, not outside of little water color sketches done in life drawing workshops. This is probably only the second painting I've done in eight years.

In all my student and professional life as an artist, I've fought the whole painting process for not being more like drawing. The big issue is one of time. Wet media dries, so on the canvas I rush to push and drag it around before it sets. On the palette, I have to tend to pots of color so they keep flowing and mixable.

I have issues with color mixing, because the color on the palette looks different than the same on the canvas next to other colors. I have issues with acrylic waste, because invariably the amount of color mixed exceeds the amount applied to the canvas. Although the unused portions may be fractions of teaspoons at a time, if you add it up, it's purchased mud going into the trash.

By contrast, on a technical/ process level, I like how it covers a lot of area quickly. Of course, ultimately, I like the way a painted illustration can look; an affinity gained with the Golden story books read in my youth, and as I began to seek art to emulate, '40s and '50s era cartoon characters on cereal boxes, backgrounds from classic animated features, and soda pop advertising.

Lastly, to head off the well intentioned why-don't-you's, there has to be, I think, some struggle, effort, or plain dogged work put into a thing for any good to result. The artistic product is the culmination of choices and decisions and actions; it is a record of those things. Maybe I complain too much about my spars with paint, but maybe that's the way I like it.

The illustration is the third Christmas greeting I've design to feature Tuff-Girl. On the front of the folded card is Tuff-Girl in a winter outfit passing out gifts to a group of kids. She holds high a Wichita plush.

In the planning, the kids were orphans and there was to be forty or so of them. The remaining five kids are a multi-ethnic bunch, as if randomly pulled from the "it's a small world" attraction. The African-American boy started out to be a red-haired, freckle-face kid. The Asian kid in front is based on a design used in my autobiographical comic, "Drawing Conclusions."

On the card's reverse, extends the second half featuring sweater-wearing Wichita looking for a holiday treat out of Tuff-Girl's bag, and a dispatched Rip Tyler temporarily stowed behind the Christmas tree.

The angels circling Rip's head are based on a design doodled on grade school notepaper. Each hold a different instrument: lyre, banjo, saxophone, harp and horn. I imagine a sixth angle has timpani drums.

Hanging out of the sack is a holiday link of sausage, requisite for Wichita's mischief. Although a chronological anomaly for the late '60s based Tuff-Girl stories, the space shuttle toy is there because it's cool. I mean ASTRONAUTS! The orange raccoon plush is a poor stand-in for Benjamin Raccoon from TAGS, the genius behind Happiland.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mighty Meet

"Supergirl Meets Wonder Woman"
Red and blue Col-Erase pencil and black roller-ball ink on paper.
13.97 cm x 21.59 cm (5.50 in. x 8.50 in.)

In this sketch, there shows a bit of how it is important to me that Wonder Woman and Supergirl have different body types, and not merely overlay different hair and clothes on the same girl. Also Wonder Woman's posture is suppose to convey a maturity of her mentor status, contrasting Supergirl, the learned apprentice.

Plus, having fun with costume design.

characters TM and © DC comics.