Some Preparatory Sketches

...I'm beginning work on a short sci-fi comic, probably about 7 to 10 pages. I'm doing it because my interest in comics, and my interest in making comics, has perked up. I've been inspired by recent back-issue purchases and re-readings of comics I bought in the 80's-- some of those I've not looked at since I stuffed them into shoe boxes before 1990 rolled around.
...A particularly inspiring read is Moebius' "Airtight Garage" – the 1987 Epic edition. It's one of my bedside books and I've been looking at it regularly for the past few years. It's a very strange piece – the art is light and airy, and the story feels loose and improvisational. My impression is Moebius may not have known what was to happen in any given panel until he started drawing it. The story ambles around with a desultory grace, looking for a plot, with no urgency to find a logical end. It's different and lovely.
...Also, I am a fan of the colors in "The Airtight Garage." I hate modern comic coloring-- hate it-- especially as practiced by the mainstream, which has spread like a gradient-tinged fungus to nearly all comics-- even reprints of old comics.
(I can go on for many long paragraphs about my dislike, and I just did; but I deleted all of it, leaving only this short aside. Over a decade of comic art absolutely ruined! So much lovely art defaced and vandalized by a trend in "style" that ... well, there I go again. I'll stop.)
...There are distinct and pleasantly peculiar color choices in "Airtight Garage," giving it a soft pastel flavor. It looks different from other comics of its time and is serenely elegant compared to contemporary efforts.
...These two studies are samples of my explorations and experiments as I start this project. I'm keeping the "Airtight Garage" in mind as I color; I'm also thinking about Elaine Lee and Kaluta's "Starstruck"-- another mid-80's book that expanded my expectations of comics.

The End.

The Green Guide

...The Contra Costa Times is running a special tabloid chock full of stories and articles about "green living."
...So, I did the cover. This is as cute as I can get without batting my eyelashes and breaking out my dimpled grin.

The End.


I'm going though old files today and I found a stray digital painting:

It was in a folder with a few screenshots from "The Bride of Frankenstein." I don't remember doing this at all.

Best movie trilogy of all time: "Frankenstein," "Bride of Frankenstein" and "Son of Frankenstein" – bar none. (Although it gets even better if you toss in "Young Frankenstein" for dessert.)

The End

Work in Progress

A quick, informal post. I'm trying to work up some positive energy after a bout with a nasty cold and a brutal flurry of frustration at work. Ahhh-- this should do the trick!

Characters excerpted from an illustration I'm working up for my job. I feel better already...

The End

Play Ball! Again!

...Work has been extremely busy of late. I created this image with much haste and I sent it to the page designers as a placeholder. Once they had an idea of what kind design changes they needed to accommodate text, I was going to snazz it up and incorporate the team logos somehow.

...Other projects took up my time and I didn't get around to inquiring about the status of the illustration until deadline day. "How's that illustration going to work out?" I asked. "It was fine," they replied. I still had this notion of taking at least an hour or two to polish it up, and just as I was about to mention my plans they said something along the lines of "We sent it to press yesterday. Looked great!"

I bought a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots toy a couple of years ago. I saw it in a store and I had this weird reaction-- almost a spasm of gleeful nostalgia-- and I know why.
...Imagine a time when there were no video games, no cartoons of any satisfying level of violence, and then you, a ten-year old boy, get this toy. Suddenly, you are in an arena against a friend, against your sister, against your father and, with a bit of coordination and dexterous thumbs, you "knock their block off!"
...A ferocious punch is delivered to the jaw, the head pops up and there is a distinctive mechanical whirring sound-- a recognizable clarion call that meant a gladiator had claimed victory. Take that, Dad! Whew. What a terrific outlet that was.
...The new toy just isn't the same. It's different. It's smaller, the robots are made out of thicker, stiffer plastic and the sound of the heads popping up is nothing like it used to be. Sadly, my disappointment may have something to do with my age-- I'm older now than my father was when we met as fierce rivals in that big yellow ring-- and I'm disappointed because my wife (otherwise a fine woman) was less than impressed with it and will not spar with me.

During a brainstorming session at work the Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots were mentioned as a possible concept to illustrate the baseball special section cover. The topic was the rivalry between the A's and Giants-- apparently there is a history of off-the-field gamesmanship and hi-jinx between the two clubs-- and at the end of the meeting I had finally found a use for that impulse buy.
...I wasn't going to get the time to do a complex illustration so I simplified my ambitions and set my heart on doing a fight poster. As I drew the robots, and became lost in the strange wanderings that the brain takes when I draw, I wondered if they were too obscure. They were huge childhood icons for me, but would anyone else even remember them?
...One quick look around the web let me know that they had become a well-known and possibly even over-used motif. I didn't see any Rock 'Em Sock 'Em fight posters, but they have gotten around. Well, I was too busy and it was too late to try to come up with something else.

Last year's baseball special section cover was better, I think...

The End.