Monday, December 27, 2010

Marvel Holiday Short!


So I've been hard at work and mum as to what that work was. Well, no more! Here's a link to my recent Holiday short I did for Marvel (as well as a little B&W). If you're a Marvel junkie or a digital comics junkie, stop on by and check it out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Blueberry.


I debated heavily in my head over whether to add some wash tones to this, but it just seemed sacrilege on a Moebius themed piece of art. Classic western stuff from one of the greats. Period.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Magnus, Robot Fighter!


I've had this idea kicking around in my head for a while, but never seemed to nail down a thumb that I liked. Had some spare time as well, and thought I'd go back to doing a bit of wash to loosen up my linework again. Neat trick, you all should try it once in a while when you feel yourself over thinking.

I confess, I was never a big Magnus reader partly because my local shops didn't carry much Valiant, but I always thought the concept was neat. In hindsight, I don't think he was the type of character to small all too often, but it seemed to me like he should have a bit of fun in my piece. Hey, its my art and I'll make him smile if I damn well please.

Anyway, enjoy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Back to Basics.



Lately I'm feeling my art being pulled back towards a slightly more graphic approach, something I used to use much more readily than any line work. Not that my stuff has become filled with a tiresome amount of bloody crosshatching, but I'm feeling cluttered and claustrophobic in my own artistic skin lately.

Instead of staring at stacks of David Mazuchelli and Alex Toth masterpieces, though fun in their own right, I've been obsessing lately over artists like Degas and, one of my all-time favorite artists, Gutav Klimt. I admit I can't remember where or exactly when I heard of this little exercise, but it helps me boil off the unnecessary art chatter that sometimes clogs up my brain and keeps me from hearing my own common sense.

I couldn't find a large, clear scan of the piece I thought would illustrate my point perfectly (Serpents), so you'll all have to settle for one of his other masterworks, Hygieia. I think you'd find that most great paintings; new, old or ancient, would be graphically viable when desaturated and turned into a two-tone piece of art. Its a simple, unsophisticated technique that sometimes helps me shake off some superfluous bits of my own technique.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Christmas Tree is better than yours.


Thanks to an abundance of work this month, which I'm not complaining about for a moment, I'm a bit late in unleashing the awesomest of Christmas trees, that I haven't found a single reason to stop putting up each year.

Yes, that is Yoda on top and yes, that is Sponge Bob on the right. Besmirch either and you will offend either myself or a very important, very dangerous seven year old. I'm not saying which would offend which, but there you have it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

King Solomon.


One of the more fun characters from Alan Moore's great ABC stuff, King Solomon. This was mostly a self-indulgence, as I like drawing gorillas. Particularly when they're wearing clothes and reading tiny books.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Tale of Two (out of Three) Sandmen.



The Morpheus sketch is a bit old, I grant you, but I prefer it to my own version of Marvel's Spidey-baddie (though the whole living sand thing is a gas to draw).

Still, I had some fun with this doodle in between other things. One of these days, I will draw the Wesley Dodd's Sandman, who has a killer costume. I just never know what the hell to do with him.

Playing Matchmaker.

Albeit blindly, on this occasion.

You all know me, I like to spread the love around and help out if I can.

So, fine readers, if there are any up and coming artists looking for a ground level project with a new writer (a science fiction/horror/comedy), please contact: tbrianp@yahoo.com for more details.

I hereby bless this union.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Merry Krampus Part III


The logical conclusion of any situation in which Hellboy found himself face to face with a mythical eastern European creature designed to terrify children into behaving properly.

I feel I may have channeled a bit of Neal Adams here, but I can't be sure how or why.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Merry Krampus, Part II


In which Hellboy hears something on the roof...

Smuggling Spirits on Comixology!



Its been a few years, though it might seem like a million to me, since I finished work on "Smuggling Spirits" with Ben Fisher. Nevertheless, its still really exciting to see it pop up once in while, as its just now done on Comixology! There are some copies of the book still floating around out there, but the hardcover edition is out of print for the moment. Our on again/off again flirtation with the film adaptation may change that eventually but in the meantime, Voracious Reader, digital salvation awaits!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Merry Krampus!


To dispel any rumors that I did in fact snuff it, here's a blog sketch!

Leave it to the Germans (or the Catholics) to come up with an element of torture and sadism to darken up Christmas. I suppose there's a chance I might color this, but its a slim one!

Regardless, a fun little holiday jaunt which is, incidentally, on sale ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Panels: An Addendum.

I debated making this post, as I thought it may sound very much like a tutorial or a criticism (which I am probably not qualified to do either of). I hope that it comes across as more of an observation, one that I hope might help someone out there when they're thinking about how to set up a page, and with a bit of knowledge that is by no means originally mine (see last paragraph).

I noticed this trend, on the heels of my last post, while flipping through a large stack of comics (some of the classics, some of the not-so-classics) and various websites of current artists work.

What I noticed more and more, was a tendency to use large panels to showcase the "coolest" part of the narrative or the shot that was the most fun or complicated to draw, ignoring the story beats that are the driving force of panel to panel storytelling. I'll say it in the shortest possible terms rather than trying to argue a number of small points: The size of the panel is determined by the story beat. The amount of time you want the reader to linger on said panel. The emotional impact of the content inside the box.

There. That ought to do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My thoughts on Panel Grids.

This post could've been short enough to classify as one of Jerry Springer's "Final Thoughts", though I hope it is at least somewhat less inane and helpful.

At some point in the 1990's, comics developed a peculiar aversion to grids in favor of slanted, broken, speed line filled panels. I'm not saying it was completely across the board, but it was certainly a heavy trend well in the middle of this past decade and, in some areas, persists even now.

I'm not taking a stance that there aren't viable alternatives to grids that tell your story just as well (see anything Mike Mignola has ever, ever, ever done), but it sort of boggles the mind why artists with detail oriented styles would be opposed to using a storytelling tool that unclutters everything! Its Comics 101 for an artist struggling to pace a page, issue or an entire arc, whether its his script or someone else's.

Its clear that there are established artists who scoff at grids and that's fine, so long as I can tell what's happening panel to panel and, by and large, I can. On the other side of the coin, it can be dangerous for new artists if all they see are rows of panels cocked at 35 degrees to emphasize action. Because clearly it can be done without.

My closing argument? Grids were good enough for Jack Kirby. Grids were good enough for Alex Toth. Grids are good enough for me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Picking apart storytelling.

I rarely make any non-art related posts, but when I do they tend to be centered on storytelling of some kind, and today is no different.

I'm currently on the fence with AMC's "The Walking Dead". With the exception of "Rubicon", I've learned not to doubt the quality of AMC's programming and production values, and this series seems to be no different. I am enjoying it so far, but I'm not loving it and I hope that changes.

My concern from the very first episode was how closely it would follow the Robert Kirkman's Image series, especially in the pace of the overall story arc. I hate to say it, and I'm well aware of just how in the minority I am on this, but the comic bored me quite quickly. This shouldn't be taken in any way as a reflection of Kirkman's writing ability, because I've read other works of his that have been stellar. My boredom stemmed from the repeated equation any post-apocalyptic storyline has to follow which is, in a nutshell: Run, hide, find friends, stay safe, surprise attack, one friend dies, run to safety, rinse and repeat. I'm not ashamed to say that two hours and fifteen minutes of any zombie film is all I need. I love 28 Days Later, but if it went on for 12 hours I'd be hoping for an actual zombie attack just to keep things exciting.

All that aside, the problems I had with the first two episodes, primarily clunky exposition and some forced dialog, seem to have disappeared. And finally, because I'm not Captain Negativity I'll give you the shows saving grace. I am happy -no- thrilled to have a late night television hero who has gone four (count 'em FOUR) episodes without cheating on his wife. Its sad that we've come to a point when a boy scout character with Superman caliber morals is the refreshing one. Coincidentally, this may also be why I love Superman so much.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Abe Sapien.


This is about as tight as my pencils ever get, and a very rare example of something I doodled out in pencil but didn't care to ink. Still, it was an entertaining little jaunt during that eye droopingly boring Miami/Chicago game last night.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Superman!


Despite being my favoritest of favorite superheroes, I never find myself drawing the Big S very often. Maybe its because I never get the curly cue haircut right. Maybe its because I never find the right balance of Christopher Reevish, oak tree lean and Ed McGinnis barrel chested-ness.

Leaving that aside for a moment, the best (or at least my favorite) comics have always revolved around the every-man's perspective of the hero and their awe for even the most mundane things the hero might do. In the grand scheme, saving a falling crane and its operator from a 70 story drop might seem pretty vanilla in comparison to battling off Darkseid's hordes. But its nonetheless something that would impress a kid seeing it out his window and its certainly what invested me in Superman at a young age.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Character Sheet.


Though I'm not complaining about why, there's a very real chance I won't get to put much time into this project of mine for a while. At least not in any steady, consistent way. So, before my schedule undergoes some serious changes, I wanted to get as much of it on paper as possible. The arc is mapped out far better than I could've hoped for at this stage, especially considering its my first crack at it. I've been jockeying back and forth between writing and designing it without any real plan and have been surprised how well its ironed itself out. That said, I still don't know when I'll get round to making it all a reality, but I hope its something I chip away at.

This is a quick design sheet for a character from that story that I've decided to simply call; The Mad Turk. Turkish readers, please do not send angry letters. This is a madman who simply happens to be Turkish.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

TETSUOOOOOO!


If you can keep from yelling that every time someone even utters the word AKIRA, its a distinct possibility that you are a robot. Because I was doing it the whole time I was drawing this.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Rocketeer.


I believe the criteria for this sketch was: Draw the Rocketeer flying and/or carrying something heavy. Since I imagine the jetpack isn't a twin Rolls Royce Phantom engine, "dragging" is probably the most the man could do with anything over whatever Jennifer Connolly weighs. What a ride that would be though, right?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tis' but a scratch!


Haven't exactly blog-sketched in a while, though I have been posting other bits and pieces. Unfortunately, my scanner has a peculiar (code for shitty) way of scanning black and white art when there's only one color element in it. Thus, this scan is not up to par. Bah.

Thought I'd be a little less than serious tonight. Have at you!

Etsy.

I've had some inquiries recently into buying some of my originals which, apart from commissions, I hadn't been doing. They were mostly sketches, or little bits and pieces I did for fun. But, as the world goes, some unpleasantness has me thinking about setting up an Etsy shop to unload (at least part of) the baby elephant sized stack of stuff that has been piling up.

Before I do that, I wanted to give a chance to anyone who had asked earlier (or hadn't asked at all) about certain pieces to drop me a line again, so they get first dibs and I don't sell them from under your noses. If anyone has seen something they liked, please feel free to give me a shout. Prices may seem arbitrary but I assure you they're all based on size, medium and complexity (ie one character v two, background vs blank and so on).

I'll probably set up the Etsy shop with a few pieces to start out, hopefully by the weekend. Cheers, all.

-M.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pre-Project Design Part III


I once read "The trick to period fiction is to set it so far in the past that no one would even know if you fucked it up." A sentiment I find myself comforted by, though not willing to follow to the letter. In the meantime, a few horrendously scanned bits of design and reference. I leave nothing to chance this time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pre-project Design Part II.


A quick brush and ink sketch from last night.

I'm perhaps getting a little too wrapped up in this stuff but, as I said yesterday, having to reference your content panel to panel is a frustrating way to work and, at least in my case, slows down my productivity immensely. So, chalk up a few weeks of reference, designs, sketches and so forth before you even start, and you shave off that much time when actually working.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pre-project design.



There's something terribly exciting and, at the very same time, terribly dull about prepping for a new project. Even one you're not in a frantic rush to finish. Frankly, I'm not even in a frantic rush to start it, though there is something frustrating to me about getting through a work day without an actual comic page getting done. Still, design is fun, especially when you have no one in particular to answer to but yourself and architecture can be even more fun. Specifically, non-western architecture (zzzzz...).

I feel, justifiably, like I've spent more time reading and poring over reference than I have doing any actual drawing. As an artist, this poses a conundrum. The solution? Trudge through text and photo/art reference during the day (around actual work, of course) do the satisfying artsy stuff in the evening. That way I can sleep soundly knowing I satisfied the requirements of the title "artist".

Anyway, here's a bit of the plodding and yet entirely enjoyable stuff I've been wading through.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Architectural Studies.



I'm loathe to start any new project, long or short term, without drawing the settings, costumes and characters until I could do it in my sleep. I have, admittedly, done this before. Chalk some of it up to arrogance and some up to a need to get cracking immediately. Neither excuse is acceptable and, unless I'm being drowned in money for the effort, one I'm not likely to use again.

I've always found architecture comes to me fairly naturally, and I have a habit of never ruling anything out, other than a rough idea of my perspective. Architecture is as much an art as sculpture, painting or the comic itself. It should be felt, not just stared at, and is a large portion of my problem with the extensive use of photoreferencing in comics today. If I wanted to look at a photograph of a building in my background I'd make a collage or, better yet, stare at the building itself. I could go on and on, but rants about subjects like these are best in small doses, as I know I would like them.

But for any of you archi-files (Greek majors hit me up with the proper term) out there, enjoy a small sampling of brush sketches for a project in the earliest of early stages.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Gear...

I'm planning on selling my old Macbook very soon, in favor of some newer portable gear. As most readers of my blog would already know, I scarcely do any of my work digitally, outside of scanning, the occasional zipatone and the obligatory corrections and double page spread stitching. My iMac being my main workhorse, I'm in the market for something easy to carry, to use mainly for on-the-go reference, music and possibly limited Photoshop work (though mainly the first two). That said, I'm in quandary over whether to pick up an iPad, a Macbook Air or spend the money for a Macbook Pro, which I know can do all three.

I have a reasonable amount of readership here, so if any fellow pros have said equipment, or are knowledgeable about their respective capabilities for these kinds of applications, feedback is not only absolutely welcome, but greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Mummy.


We come back full circle back to the King of Creepy himself, Boris Karloff! Who, no matter how sinister or evil he was supposed to portray, you still loved him.

I'm not much for spot on likenesses in my art, and I'm certainly not a portrait artist. I like to let people's imagination fill in the blanks and, frankly, if you didn't know this was Boris Karloff, you're off your rocker. But I still love you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friday the 13th.


Haven't posted a Halloween sketch in a few days, as I've been busy with other work, but now we take a brief visit to Camp Crystal lake to visit its most popular attraction.

Friday, October 22, 2010

London After Midnight!



A nod to possibly one of the creepiest actors ever to grace the screen, a man that can be mentioned in the same breath as Boris Karloff and Max Schreck, here we have the Man of 1000 Faces himself, Lon Chaney. London After Midnight was another brilliant horror/suspense film of the silent era, that can still give me the willies.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Wolf Man.



I tried coming up with a version of this some time back, but it just never came out right. I've yet to see the new version, citing a complete lack of interest and having read a few awful reviews, so I don't know if the Wolf Man actually runs like a canine, but I always felt he should. Not that the original film wasn't pretty terrific, because it was.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bride of Frankenstein!


Halloween blog sketching rolls on with Mrs. The Frankenstein Monster. She looks a little annoyed her husband left the toilet seat up, but the hair products lying around the castle appear to work great.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Understanding Fabric.

The silent, understated and, most importantly, understudied element of making comics. Comprehending how different types of clothing are constructed and how they fit the human body are the unseen 4th dimension of comics and, in my opinion, can make the difference between eye-poppingly believable art (no matter how cartoony) and yawn inducing art more reminiscent of fingerpainting than comics. I'm not making a case against simple styles, its certainly just as easy to convey your understanding of how fabric works with 5 lines instead of 500.

I will admit, this is one area of my own artwork that I will obsess over. If the folds of a jacket or shirt don't look right to me, I'm in for a long night. I find myself staring at curtains sometimes, figuring out how I would ink that just as I saw it. Sometimes I actually do ink it (on paper, not the curtains).

Fortunately, it does come fairly easy to me most times, but that wasn't always the case.

This wasn't a particularly informative blog post, but if it makes someone think twice about that fold of jeans in the back of their main characters leg, or makes you stare at a curtain just a little longer, count me satisfied.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Edward Scissorhands.


For all the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton fans out there, its a classic. This one sort of toes the line between a Halloween and a Christmas sketch, but I can live with it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Headless Horseman. With color!


Adam Guzowski took a well-deserved crack at coloring my recent Headless Horseman sketch, adding some much needed color to my rather dark and dreary Halloween sketch series. I love it!

Head on over to Adam's blog to see what other goodies he's got.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quoth the....?


I couldn't tell you why this particular idea popped into my head, apart from it being Halloween and all, but it seemed more fun than a simple, posturing one-off of a scary monster. Tonight, anyway.

I like to think that raven flying in the window of his spooky Baltimore home while he was penning that particular masterpiece would've freaked him right the hell out. Or, possibly, he was stuck at the beginning of the tale and it gave him the impetus to write it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Headless Horseman.


Sleepy Hollow was on television the other night, which sparked the inspiration for tonight's Halloween themed blog sketch. Nothing too involved, just the fun bits. For whatever reason, I can only draw a horse when I have no specific pose in mind. Ask me to draw a horse coming forward left at a three-quarter angle and it'll take me two weeks. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Zombies!


Had a Walking Dead suggestion for my Halloween themed October sketches. In hindsight, this probably could be Walking Dead, but just as easily could be 28 Days Later, Jesus Hates Zombies or any of the others flooding the market. Still zombies are fun to draw, though they can get tedious. I do find it requires a slightly higher knowledge of anatomy than drawing whole humans though... thank goodness for my fitness certifications!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mystery Eraser.


Help! I'd like to say I've been using this eraser for 25 years (it says 1985 on the back) and that it is more than meets the eye, but that would be a lie. Truth is, I've never found another one of these and I'd really like to know if it was a part of a set, or something I found in a dollar store. Regardless, I can't remember that far back and Google has been no help. I know there are Transformers fans out there. Unite!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Leatherface.


I'm from the camp of people who think Rob Zombie should stick to music instead of making crappy horror movies with even crappier dialog, but the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a scary-ass flick, no bones about it. I'm not sure why I thought of this, but here it is.

Scanning in color for some reason wreaked havoc with certain bits of linework, but I'm confident that the image is small enough that no one will notice if I don't point it out.

Enjoy being carved up.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nosferatu.




With my Halloween kick going into over-drive, I picked one of my absolute favorite Halloween movie characters, Nosferatu! I know Bela Legosi's Dracula is the main, but Max Schreck's performance in the original silent German film still gives me shivers. I had a racing heart watching Willem Defoe's portrayal of Max Schreck playing the Vampyre!!! Then again, that may have been for a different reason.

Still, I originally had this concept as a gouache painting, which I would've loved to do but just don't have the time. SO, a rarity for me, I messed around in Photoshop. I do, however, remain a willing luddite, so don't get used to this fancy digital crap from me. Still, it was tons of fun and only sucked an hour of my life away!

Update: 1 Oct; Added my (as always) super detailed pencils, for all the work-in-progress junkies out there. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ghost Rider.


Doodled this out while watching one of my favorite Halloween flicks, Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein".

Never had much use for GR, but the visual appeal of the character is pretty undeniable. I will say nothing about the Nicolas Cage movie. But then again, I really shouldn't have to, should I?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Freddy.


My Halloween kick continues, though no in full-fledged blog sketchy glory. Rather, in sloppy ink on copy paper form. I toyed with the idea of blowing this 5x5 doodle up and making it a proper piece of art, before realizing it was no less a piece of art for being unpolished.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Boba Fett? Boba Fett? Where?!?!


Aside from the fact that this turned out looking a lot like an intergalactic Stetson Blue commercial, it was a fun way to kill 20 minutes. And before anyone jumps on my ass for accuracy issues, I did this without reference. So politely shut it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Medusa


Very simple, very quick blog sketch of one of those neat characters who never got a great, mind-blowing costume or really powerful storyline. Still, a lot of awesome visual cues to emphasize and more than enough lines to utilize. The only thing I could think of while drawing this was: How much cooler would Alfonse Mucha's version of this character have been?

Also, I seem to be back into that Marvel vein. Hrmmm...

Etrigan Pencils...


I rarely post any pencils or process stuff, mostly because its never intelligible to anyone but me. But this one happened to be pretty tight, so there you have it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Etrigan.


Chalk it up to my recent and unexplained enthusiasm for Halloween, but I switched gears from my recent Marvel trend in favor of a DC fave. Admittedly, I don't know much about Etrigan aside from what I saw in the recent JLA cartoons and, of course, his brief appearance in Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Still, he's a pretty neat supporting character!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Juggernaut.


In between other stuff, I blog sketched the unstoppable Juggernaut! Enjoy.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Invincible Iron Man.


I know there were a lot of great designs later on in Iron Man continuity, but the red and yellow scheme never made all that much sense to me. As clunky as this first incarnation was, it was still cool. Though, to this day, I've never figured out why Tony Stark thought the friggin' trench coat and hat would conceal the fact that he was in a 600 lb suit of armor. Ah, creative license, how I love you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Galactus Pencils...


Thought I'd post my super tight pencils from last nights Galactus blog sketch, in case anyone is into that sort of thing...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Galactus!


If you ever want the confidence boost of feeling like the fastest artist on the planet, try doing nothing but inkwash for a few months and then sit down and do a sketch the old-fashioned way. ZOOM!

Now don't get me wrong here, Galactus is a lot of fun to draw, but I think I know why he only appears for big events and cosmic disasters: Artists don't want to draw that goddamned costume on every panel! Whew, what a ball-buster.