Thursday, November 29, 2007

Toon Weekly/ Harry Potter Challenge

Here's my second entry into the character design challenge I've been talking about. It was a "Harry Potter" theme this time. I'm not really into the Potter stuff (too much magic and, I don't want to debate it), but I can respect many elements of the stories and the characters. It was actually a lot of fun to do this one of Harry. I approached it as if the Potter people decided to do a Cartoon Network version of the books, but I still wanted to keep it a little darker colored, with some shadows.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A few buds of mine from the NCN, Justin Cook and Mike Giblin, recently started a character design challenge. I asked them if they minded if I crashed the party, and, to my pleasure, they welcomed me aboard. I think this is gonna be a cool thing...they're both really talented, great guys. I think doing this regularly will push us to develop our skills, and who knows, maybe even get some nice portfolio pieces for us.

I'm about two challenges behind them, I think, but I'm gonna try to catch up when time permits. IF time permits. Anyway, here's my version of the first challenge, Frankenstein. Check out both of their versions on their blogs, listed on my links to the side.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Baby!

FOURTEEN years ago today, I made the best decision I've ever made, and married the girl of my dreams. Anyone who knows her knows that she is beautiful, inside and out (my toon here doesn't begin to do her justice). She's taught me what real love is, and I continue daily to strive to be a better man...just to try to deserve her.

"Behind every good man is a better woman", I've heard it said. It couldn't be truer than in this case.

Barbie, I love you. Always.

Happy Anniversary, Baby.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!

I'll be spending time with the family this weekend, eating way too much food, and will probably not have a lot of time to post. So, till I get back here, have a BLESSED and Happy Thanksgiving. We've got a lot to be thankful for! God bless you and yours!

Recent Gig Pix

Here's some drawings from a live gig a few weeks ago.

I was thinking "Cartoon Network" here.
Here I was thinking more flowing, connecting lines. Ala Hirschfeld, a bit. And a few others from the 1930s and 40s who are lesser known than him.
Finally, what I call my animation character design caricature style these days. Geez, I gotta get a shorter term for it. Anyway, these are three of the styles I worked in that day. I also did one or two that were abstract, I believe, and at least one pretty exaggerated one.

It's fun on gigs to go back and forth between styles. I figure, every face is different, why shouldn't every drawing be? Why, as artists, do we have to stick to one style? I rarely have people say "But I wanted THAT other style I saw you draw in". Instead, they seem to get into it, and wonder how I'm going to depict THEM. It ups the "surprise" factor, I find. Plus, it keeps me artistically fresher, less bored, and less generic with my work.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Busy, busy

Geez, I've been busy. The Christmas season is already upon us, it seems. By the end of October, I start getting Christmas card commissions, and this year has been the busiest one yet. So busy, that I have, yes, let my bloggin slack a bit. Sorry about that! I'll try to do better now that I have my head above water. I really need a version of my buddy Tom Richmond's "Dreaded Deadline Demon", I guess, to post when I'm busy. Hmmm...I'll have to think about that.

Anyway, not only have I been busy, but so has my much better half, Barbie. Here's a recent pic of her working for Coca Cola at a convention. Ain't she pretty? Really, the job just entails looking gorgeous (easy for her), and serving Coke with a smile to attendees at these private conventions. She likes it cause it gets her out of the office, and the pay ain't bad.

Maybe later this week I'll get to post some artwork....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ben 10!!

Ben 10 is my favorite cartoon on the air right now, with Legion of SuperHeroes quickly becoming a close second (and, with the Justice League making appearances, the new Batman toons are pretty cool, too). I recently bought the new DVDs of Ben10 seasons one and two for my daughter Brady for Christmas (shhh! Don't tell her!). The thing about this show is that they've taken lots of old concepts, like "Dial H for Hero", Shazam!, the Phantom Zone, and many, many others and kind of mashed them all together, coming up with a new twist on all of them.

But, really, just the simple concept alone is great.... a kid gets a high tech watch from space that allows him to turn into superpowered aliens. All while traveling the country with his grandfather and cousin in an old RV. Oh, and Grandpa isn't quite as helpless as you first think. Neither is the cousin.

How cool is that? I highly recommend it!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Lord of the Jungle

Growing up back in the 70s, when I wasn't reading comic books, I read the original Tarzan novels. He's always been one of my favorite characters, so I thought I'd take a cartoony swing at him in my sketchbook tonight:
The "real" Tarzan was quite different from the Hollywood versions of him, of course. In Burroughs' books, you really got the feel that he was barely controlling the "animal" side of himself. I put the scar over his eye, since I seem to remember that from the books...the scar would appear whenever he'd go into an "animal rage". The closest Hollywood ever got to him, in my opinion, was "Greystoke" (parts of that were dead-on), and, strangely enough, Disney's Tarzan (minus all of the talking, SINGING animals).

In the comics, I never liked Kubert's take, nor Buscema's, really. But there was a series about ten years ago, that was drawn by Mark Wheatley (don't remember the writer), that had a lot of the true spirit of the ape man.

Oh yeah, and since I'm a child of the 70s, I remember faithfully watching both the reruns of the goldenboy Tarzan of Ron Ely, and the Filmation cartoons. The latter, looking back, were awful. But, I spent a lot of my childhood playing in the yard, reciting the opening, "I am Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle. This is my domain, and I protect those who come here. AHHHOOOAHHHHHH-ahhhh-uhhh-ahhh-ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"

Long live the King of the Jungle!!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Superman Doomsday

Saturday night, while Mommy was out of town visiting family, Brady and I got to watch a movie in our home theater. I work so much, I rarely get to do that. But, we had a blast. I bought a copy of the new Superman:Doomsday movie out on DVD. Don't read past this, unless you've already seen it. SPOILER ALERT! Spoiler Alert!

Overall, we both really enjoyed this movie. There was lots of action, lots of drama (some pretty heavy scenes for an adult, much less a nine year old). And, despite the convoluted original story in the comics that this is adapted from, they made a decent story of the whole "Death of Superman". That was the good.

Then, there was the bad:
1. The art-Luthor was too skinny. Superman has really weird lines in his face. Cheekbones? Brady said they were wrinkles. Where are Jimmy's freckles? Only Lois looked good...and she looked REALLY good.
2. It was too adult....come on, Superman and Lois getting it on at the Fortress of Solitude, then back at her apartment? In the comics they were married by the time of this story. Having them not married, kissing, and walking around in their ROBES, wasn't cool. Brady said "So, they're living together now?"
3. The story. Yeah, I know I said they made a decent storyline out of it...but the original was AWFUL. This one, as much better as it was, still has huge, gaping holes in it.

All in all...I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. Regardless, we really enjoyed it, and that's what counts.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What the????

From my nine year old daughter's blog, at " ":

This past Summer, Brady finally got to take the Cartooning class she's been waiting to be old enough for, at the Orlando Museum of Art (They actually called for me to teach it, but I was too busy). On the final day, when I went to pick her up, she had this big poster board in hand with her project from the last few days. Their assignment was to come up with a story, and draw a comic page of it...
The story, she told me, is that a girl finds a lsot dog (Brady REALLY wants a dog these days), and the dog is sad. The girl takes the dog to the mall, buys him a collar, and then they leave the mall, and live happily ever after.

I knew something was "different" when I looked at this page, but couldn't determine what, exactly. I knew that it was odd that she'd made an unconventional panel arrangement that was still readable. But then, she pointed out to me, she'd made the story IN THE SHAPE OF A DOG.

I was speechless. I have scanned in and highlighted the page here to the best of my ability (although it doesn't do the original justice). Making unconventional pages, in the shape of the thing you're talking about? Geez! I didn't even know about this until college, when I read Will Eisner's books on storytelling. How on earth did she know about it?

I still don't know. And, I even, her teacher never said to do anything like this. She just "came up with it". I guess all that comic book reading we've been doing rubbed off, somehow.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Abstract from recent gig

Here's a pic I did on a recent gig. People who know me often ask if I do abstracts "live", in a couple of minutes like my "normal" caricatures. Here's proof that I do. Actually, I probably do this quicker, as I kind of see every face like this, basically first, then add more stuff in, if I'm drawing "normal".

Are any caricatures normal, though, now that I think of it?