Monday, August 30, 2010

Where have I been?

I've spent the last couple of months with, for the most part, very little internet access and almost no scanner access (like a fool I updated to Windows 7, which was not compatible with my scanner, so I need to get a new one). Somewhere in there I moved twice-- once to my new roommate's old apartment, and then to a totally new apartment. I now have two jobs (one of them is a paid internship at a toy company, which is cool). I am thinking of quitting my weekend joe job so that I can practice and pursue my own projects again-- the days in which I have my internship I am up at 6AM and home at around 7 PM (sometimes later), so it's kind of impossible to do much and still be in high spirits for my actual commitment. I'd rather be deeper in poverty than unable to keep myself sharp, frankly.

Hopefully I'll be back by the end of September. I sorely miss updating this thing, it was really my baby and I found it very helpful!

P.S. Does anyone out in cartoon land know what the deal is with the Wacom Cintiq 21ux? After like 5 years of pining and saving, I finally have enough to buy one, and they have been on backorder since April. Why?! Do they hate making money or something?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two new Fagan poses

I decided to extend upon this panel, because it'd be easiest to work with this scenery (and the pose is so broad that I was hoping it'd get me thinking broadly.

So, Fagan kicks the dog down the well. What does he do next? Like any cartoon jerk, he listens for that whistle and plop:

I feel like I am getting a better knack for line of action. It takes... planning. It's kind of counterintuitive to me for effortless poses to have a lot of messy attempts before you get it right. Maybe that'll go away with time. Or maybe I've just been overestimating the human capacity of good cartoonists, I don't know.
That left foot doesn't look right... I think I may have made his legs too short, because the detail of the pant cuff messes up the silhouette that I had come to like.
The details on the pants were bad ideas, they lose the form underneath. However, I did come to like the hand on the right.

Anyway, so, next, Fagan runs away, breaking the fourth wall, like good cartoons do.

I don't think the closest hand jibes with the line of action. It seems almost broken-wristed. I was trying to emulate the way Eisenberg does Fagan's (and I think I recognize it from some Tom's) hands held up in a cute, paw-like way. I think if I were to redo it I'd rotate the hand about -45ยบ. In fact, I just might.

Anyway, for context...

Here's panel 1, the copy and jumping point:

Here are my two poses edited in:

Hmm... I drew them out of scale, and the shrinkage does it no justice! Woops... maybe I should have done the lines thicker to match.

EDIT: I played around in Photoshop to reduce some of the problems.

It's better, the forms make more sense now, but it's a bit pinchy on that leg to the left still. Anyone got any tips?Complete with less-broken wrist.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Polite Porky Lamp

Gonna study another one of these sometime. It's kind of hard capturing the nuances of a toy with lines, but fun. I'm working mostly from black-and-white prints, so I noticed that on the bow tie I went by the curve, not where the red ends.

Like I said, I was pretty unsure on the nose. Maybe on the next angle, I'll try a different, more detailed way of capturing it.

Ahh, I totally didn't make the vest dimensional enough on the right.

Last of this page

The dog's face is framed by the door to the coop. Within that, the carefully-placed highlight also hugs the face. Fagan's framed by the coop's wall. Nice details like the tree and the sack also embellish but frame the interaction between these two.

The characters are making eye contact. The dog's line of action is straighter than Fagan's, and it's related to it, but they aren't parallel. They almost form a "D".

The boards on the left, back side of the coop are totally mismatched from the closer side. It breaks the shape down into something more organic (much like the shingles on the well from a few posts ago). I had to resist the temptation to line them up. I think it's funny this way-- this coop was built by hand. I should bear this in mind when I do my own backgrounds. Man-made stuff can be misaligned and asymmetrical (organic!) just like natural stuff. Especially if it's made of wood, and probably by somebody's grandpa.

The board that is atop the coop's door that stretches all the way across was messed up in my final lines. I made it way too small on the far side, so it sort of clips awkwardly. I need to be more careful about preserving shapes like that.

I accidentally made Fagan squeeze himself too much-- to the point where I skinnied up his abdomen! ;)

I think the hardest part about studying Eisenberg is his treatment of eyes. They're so tiny that they're very easy to mess up-- even a few specks of poorly-considered graphite change the directionality.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Some last Fagans

I was called into my job just a few moments ago, so I'm short on time.

Did I ever post this whole page? Even if I did, here it is again.

Here's my go at the 4th, silhouette panel. It wasn't a bad copy but the line quality turned out really badly so I'm not posting a version that isn't simply overlayed for comparison. You can see my errors.

Here's my start on panel 3. Sorry the scans like this are such a mess. I'm using very light col-erases. I love these useful pencils, but they're my only col-erases. I could use some other colors (regular blue, mostly). Here's what the scan looks like normally.
Squinty squint.

The dog's cranium dividing line is off.

Friday, May 28, 2010

More cute Porkys

Now that I've uploaded this, I see a huge problem with this second one: the bottom right foot. I made it a stump! I totally missed that defining line on the inside of the leg. He's supposed to be slightly pidgeon-toed, and instead I made him have a deformed half-foot thing. Yikes!!

Man, the meds they put me on for my tooth really packed a whallop. I tried to go into work yesterday and wound up getting so sick I upchucked. Which kind of sucks, because I really need the hours.

Speaking of capitalism, if you're awesome, there's a shiny orange button to your right, now!

Speaking of shiny orange buttons, my birthday is in a mere 3 days (May 31). ;)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

cute porky

ugh, i feel really awful! (i forgot to mention, painkillers also make me nauseous). lots of mistakes. oh well. good night!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

i didn't see no fox

today I got that tooth pulled. I am either really feelin' a gigantic bloody crater in my mouth or drowsy off of painkillers. I did this study during a sort of in-between moment this evening:

I might do a drawing or two before bed since my sleep is all messed up from today, but I also just might crash. It's hard to tell.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just a minute bub!

Old cartoonists can pull off improper English in the best ways. No one else has license to language like these guys.

I did this in someone else's basement tonight, and I feel like I'm committing a faux pas if I stay on here for too long. I took a few little liberties in this one though, especially on Fagan's hands. Not sure if it worked out or not. The dog's arm/hand aren't perfect, looks sort of squished and wimpy. I also evened out some of that lovely asymmetry on the cheeks. No bueno. I feel like the face is clearer than in yesterday's panel, though.

Tomorrow I get a tooth pulled!

Monday, May 24, 2010


I love this page of Eisenberg's. This is actually the last panel of the page (you will see more as I study them) but I loved it so well that I had to draw it first.


The detail is handled masterfully and reigned in by sensible hierarchy. The shingles and wood grain on the well are controlled by keeping them wrapping the form, but are full of life because they're asymmetrical, organic. They are not in equal rows; notice the extra shingle on the bottom left! I wonder if he drew the shingle to the right of it too small and needed to fill a space. Either way, it's great and works just fine. The wood is also organic, and has some lovely little details, but it's never distracting.

Things made of brick and stone are usually intimidating, but Eisenberg handles it like a pro-- not every stone needs to be drawn. They're the smooth, well-worn, old, and organic types of rocks people used to build things instead of ugly fake bricks. It looks worn and fun to touch. They hug the outside, and of course wrap around the form.

The bucket is a nice touch, and works as part of the well's overall form. It really contrasts nicely with the delicate tree that frames the left side and adds interest. The tree's in silhouette, too, so white it's very delicate, it's nowhere even resembling distracting.

Fagan himself is a beautiful pose! I was attracted to it immediately. I love how he sits in the middle of that perfect circle of a motion line. It's a pose you're not terribly prone to seeing in newer cartoons. It's so round and exaggerated. No one ever kicks back that far. You can tell exactly what has just occurred.

Even Eisenberg's speech bubbles are great. I love how they're cloudy, just for the sake of fluorish. It's also nice since it's in the sky, it almost doubles as a cloud at first blush. The composition has a lot of yummy places for your eye to travel to.
I wound up rounding out some of Foxy. His hand is the most noticeable. His upper body also seems evened out, puffed a bit, even. I dug the details in too far, mostly because I had to erase them a few times when I was struggling with the face. At first I missed the angle of his brow. I rounded out some of the contrasts, and ate up some of the space. Hopefully I can focus more on that in the closer compositions of the page in the future.

I just noticed, too, that the right side of the well tapers off in the wrong way. It should have more mass leaning to the upper right.

ALSO: I discovered a 5B pencil. I'm used to working with harder ones. Anyway, it's fun and you don't need to press as hard (something I need to force myself out of doing). I'm gonna look into getting even softer pencils, soon, if I can scrape together the cash.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Star Fell with a Crash

A very nice coloring book page! I have no idea who the artist was, though. If any of you experts out there could tell me, I'd be grateful. Anyway, so I had a print of this image, and decided to take it on. I'm out of practice, but it was fun to balance all of the elements. I decided to use this page to practice for some more Eisenberg drawings I want to do-- Eisenberg's backgrounds are wonderful, and I wanted to feel more confident before taking them on.

I like studying these coloring pages and comic covers because they're so clear, big, and appealing. I imagine that the originals were larger than their actual prints, as I do for a lot of comic drawings, which makes detailed areas tend to get murked up in my copies-- places like faces, in particular. Bugs' face here is a little distorted, but I had to eventually just settle for some decreased contrast and shifted angle (namely the cheek on the right side) because eventually it just gets too muddy to keep erasing/redrawing.

When I really get into these, I get very obsessive... and by the end I'm too tired to talk about them much, without a bit of distance!

I forgot to draw Porky's shadow, woops! It was a nice detail, because it grounded him (which is relevant for the image's narrative).

It's interesting to see where the artist breaks/distorts perspective. Note also that the vertical fenceposts are askew, adding some good ol' wabi-sabi to the image, preventing it from being deadened by perspective.

Perspective is interesting. It's beautiful, adds solidity and structure, but taking thoughtful license to it can really make an image feel more organic, cartoony, fun. If that gate to the left had all been in perfect perspective, it would look much more... well, wooden.

I de-fluffed Bugs' tail. I also drew myself into a bit of a corner with Porky's hand that is touching the star, possibly because, in retrospect, I too greatly exaggerated portion of the star that frames it. The artist did exaggerate perspective a bit on the bottom of the star, but I let it get a little out of control.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tom running

I was attracted to this image because of its line of action. I printed it to copy at some point, and just studied it tonight.

The line of action was a little bit muddled. I attempted to exaggerate it by making his head a little lower, but I think that threw off the proportions a little (note the foot and... musketeer-poncho-thing). It also resulted in a less flowy pose. I want to grasp lines of action better, mine always seem to get lost.

I reduced his chin, and his eye makes no sense, really. I also ballooned out the top of his musketeer-poncho-thing.

I want to do more drawings tonight, and then after my optometrist's appointment tomorrow. I need to learn how to structure my days off, now, so that they are full of disciplined study.

Preston Blair sailor bulldog man

I feel as if the pelvis is too high-up, and I softened the angles on the feet so that they aren't as firmly planted. I reduced the contrast by enlarging his bottom quadrant, I think.

Goal: Do a bunch of studies. ASAP.

Friday, May 7, 2010


Hey friends,

My graduation ceremony is tomorrow. I didn't really want to do the ceremony thing, but it's important to my mom, and she's a good lady. Anyway, just posting to say I will be busy for the next several days, visiting my grandmother in Virginia.

Then, when I get back, I have no idea what's goin' on. I want to devote myself to slavishly practicing, while keeping my part-time job and hopefully digging for freelance work.

I've decided to start practicing and portfolio-building for Disney's talent development program. I figure, why not? My stylistic interests aren't really very well suited for contemporary Disney, but after three years of work I will certainly be good enough for something. It's a goal, and it's a goal that doesn't require me to go to school any more (yuck). Besides, I can't start changing the industry unless I weasel my way inside of it (right?)

I also would really like to set up a nice, devoted workspace. I'm saving for a Cintiq, which would really make animation practice a heck of a lot easier. If you want to help me reach this lofty goal, feel free to get in touch for any work you might have for me. Commissions are fun.

Anyway, I want to be back in a week, and then get on the ball with this again. No dopey school to get in the way, this time.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I wanted to get more specific about Shan's eyes. I also more clearly made the jaw and cranium two separate forms:

Again, trying to make Shaniqua's eyes less rounded-out, and trying to adjust her mouth/cheek area to be more loyal to the original.

I think I could have made the hands more solid, and I think there was some loss incurred in Shaniqua's facial region. It looks to me like her cranium got a little mushy. I think I should have placed Shaniqua just a bit more to the left so that Roxie's hair didn't come quite so close to her sleeve.

Also, helloooo allergy season in Northwest Ohio! It has been hard to look at my computer screen as a result.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I tried to think about that Shan needs to be behind Roxie. I wanted a little bit of perspective. I wanted to make sure it was clear that Shan was looking at Roxie (though I think Roxie, in my drawing, is not convincingly enough looking straight, right past poor Shan). I wanted to put a bit more space between the hair and the cheek. I feel like I watered down the lines of action.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Roxie angry 2

Why didn't I have this posted forever ago? Ugh... Anyway, I don't like the closest foot too much. I didn't get the right shape on the rim of the moccasin. I also think that in general it could be more contrasty.

Oh, I'm doing some paid work right now, by the way. Hooray!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Roxie angry 1

John K rough
My start

I moved the arm to the right out a bit, so that the negative space between her body and her arm was more clear. However, I pulled the top of the body shape too much to the right/made it too thick. Will fix tomorrow.

The legs don't feel right; they aren't solid enough. since this scan I've rounded off her knees more, but the perspective on the feet and the leg to the right seem weird.

More soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poodle again

John's original drawing

My study. I feel a little weird about the left foot in particular.