Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some words about a friend

In 2006 I became friends with John. We met through our now ex-girlfriends, who were both roller derby bad-asses at the time. Although those relationships ended, John and I remained friends. We share many interests; old bikes, comic books, music, movies and art. John, aside from being an excellent bartender, is also a great illustrator in traditional media. His website, showcases not only his illustrative talent, but his humor.

Regarding comics, John is a big fan of the Mike Mignola created universe of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (the BPRD). The likes of Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Johann Krauss populate this world and are all truly unique. An ancillary character in the Mignola-verse is Lobster Johnson.
I've become a fan of Lobster and he has been given treatment in several of my sketches (see November 10 blog entry). As Mike Mignola has a very unique and stylized technique, I thought I would try to draw the vigilante "realistically". He looks a little tired and beat-up, but he probably was.

John is a big reason I got back into drawing after a 15-year hiatus. We've often discussed technique and I have picked his brain for how-to information regarding pencilling, inking and some digital work. As much of an inspiration, he's also been a big supporter and advocate. I believe I would have hung up the non-photo blue pencil already if not for John's words of advice and encouragement.

This Lobster's for you, Johnny. Thanks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mike Mignola night - Nov 9 Drink n' Draw

Kyle challenged us to "draw like Mignola" tonight. Mike Mignola is the creator of comic icons Hellboy and the BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). He has a unique style and incorporates many historical and occult elements. I did a portrait of Hellboy and a sketch of Lobster Johnson tackling many Mignola-verse elements. Fun times.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


October 5 Drink n' Draw: Had a really fun night. The weather was crazy warm for this time of year, so I rode my bike the 5 miles to Latitude. Got some fun sketches done and am beginning to trust myself a little more. Nothing is irreparable. That is why we sketch - to lay out a general idea and refine it as we go. The skull is a character I'm thinking of working into a web-comic that I'm planning. The simian creature was my take on a troll after listening to Tom Stilwell and Dave Pascuito talk about their impressions of what a troll should look like. I started with the face and then kind of ran out of imagination in terms of the head and body, so I cheated and covered him in fur. He winds up looking more ape-like than troll-like. The other guy was another attempt at a lumbering type of character, but just a quick sketch.

I spent the past few weeks catching up on the Bendis and Brubaker runs on Daredevil, hence Bullseye and the Owl. The Owl looks a little too much like Logan/Wolverine. Probably need to work on drawing "old people".

I also spent some time sketching ideas for this year's Christmas card, but they are not yet scan-worthy.


Monday, October 3, 2011


Audrey Conners, loyal friend of Dan Conners, passed away on September 21st. She was a unique dog, as quirky as she was amazing. I had the good fortune to house/pet-sit for Dan several times over the years and it was less a chore and more a welcome, calming respite from my everyday life. Audrey was loving, empathetic and curious. She was an obedient dog, but also loved people food and would stare tirelessly at you until you relented. She'll be missed.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Short and Sweet

Last week I churned out quite a few sketches at Drink n' Draw. This week, I wanted to attend a show at Martyr's so I showed up early. We had a good crowd again, with easily 20 people by 8:30. I got a chance to chat with Tom Stillwell , Kyle Bice and Mike Norton before things got too crazy.

I managed only two drawings. I did a self-portrait on the iPad and a traditional sketch of the Creeper. He's a Steve Ditko created character who is definitely a B-lister in the DC universe, but he has something of a cult following. I wanted to draw him because I knew it would be difficult, with his curly hair and furry tendril cape thingy. He's also one of these characters, like Daredevil, who is always in motion and very acrobatic. This characteristic lends itself to challenging oneself to draw the human form in odd or contorted poses. Several of my characters over the last weeks have been in action, which challenges me as an artist with things like perspective, i.e. truncation of limbs and situations where the shoulders and chest are not squared with the head. I'm not in love with this piece (the eyes are a little messed up), but all-in-all I'm happy with the contortion of the body.

I'm discovering that drawing on the iPad doesn't work well in a social environment, at least for me. I'm too self-conscious and that leads to impatience. I end up rushing things, which you really can't do when working with layers. I'm also, perhaps needlessly, aware that I am about the only person in the room who doesn't "do art" for a living. I am constantly playing catch-up, having had no formal training since high school. I feel like the guys looking over my shoulder are thinking "god, this guy sucks." That being said, most guys are pretty encouraging, one even asking me if the Daredevil I was drawing a few weeks ago was for a Marvel cover. "No, but if you think so, thanks!" I'm making my peace with my lack of experience, though, and am realizing the only way to catch up is to practice my sweet patootie off.

Really looking forward to visiting some of these guys at the 24 hour comic book marathon at Challengers this weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


September 21st Drink n' Draw: I was thinking all week about drawing a Mister Miracle. I collected the 1989 series by Jim Dematteis and Ian Gibson. I remembered liking the whimsy with which the series progressed and the relationship between Miracle (Scott Free) and his wife, Big Barda. Here is a not so kind review of the series . Tom Kelly, a hugely talented artist, looked over my shoulder at what I was drawing and thus began a half-hour discussion of Jack Kirby and his somewhat anachronistic concept of technology, i.e. Mother Boxes, Horse tanks, and Orion's curious cosmic sled, which I'm pretty sure Dave Pascuito (again, fantastic illustrator), renamed the Cosmic Segway. I finished the preliminary Miracle, a practice of perspective of which I'm rather proud, and started on a few other Kirby creations, including one of Superman's Nemeses, Darkseid. I rushed the sketch a bit, but liked the angle at which he is drawn, as bottom-up can be very challenging.
I began a sketch of Red Tornado, another character of whom I've become rather fond lately. Tornado is not a Jack Kirby creation, but it's not hard to imagine him being one, what with his overly busy costume, a Kirby trademark. Anyway, I think I rushed this a bit, and his elongated face makes him look somewhat sinister, though his character most certainly isn't.
Anyway, I had a much better "drawing night" than I did a few weeks ago, where nothing that flowed forth from either my stylus or pencil was worth a damn. I constantly reminded that drawing well takes lots of practice, and time is something of which I am woefully bereft right now.

Cheers. have a good weekend. And check out the hyperlinks to Tom's and Dave's artist pages.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


August 10th Drink n Draw. I finally caught up and read Mark Millar's The Ultimates last year. If you don't know, the Ultimates is essentially non-canonical Avengers - grittier, and in many ways, more "plausible". Captain America is a knee-jerk patriot, Ant-Man/Giant-Man is a physically abusive alcoholic spouse, Wasp is a cheater, Thor might be having insane delusions of grandeur and Nick Fury is, well, Samuel L. Jackson. Hawkeye was the character who most appealed to me, and continues to fascinate me. He begrudgingly works for Fury and is easily the least powerful Ultimate, yet the writers seem to have amped up his abilities to the point where he truly is the world's greatest marksman. He literally killed his captors by flicking his own fingernails into their throats, while still bound to an interrogation chair.

Consequently, I've also been reading the canonical Avengers, starting with the Heroic Age reboot drawn by John Romita Jr. Currently, the overarching storyline is called Fear Itself, yada yada. The series is interspersing interviews with the various Avengers into the action storyline. The interviews are fascinating. A cautious romance has been struck between Hawkeye and Spider-Woman and I'm very curious to see how it will play out.

In the LOTR series, I've been a fan of Boromir since the first book. I see him as a flawed character, but ultimately he is a hero at heart. I feel the same way about a Jedi named Ganner Rhysode in the New Jedi Order series. He's a brash but inwardly insecure character with many flaws, but, in the end, he summons incredible heroics to save those closest to him, namely Jacen Solo. I feel the same way about Hawkeye. He's always been a poor man's Captain America, but he is truly just as heroic and inwardly strives to be Cap. He has, on occasion, channeled Cap and assumed the mantle of leadership in critical situations.

Long story short (too late), I've a new found fascination with Hawkeye. He is one of the B-list characters in the Marvel Universe, but his "human" attributes make him one of the most compelling.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


The other night we had another sideways rain thunderstorm. I laid in bed, timing the seconds between the lightning flashes and the sound of thunder. Each second is supposed to equal a mile, right? Anyway, the thought crossed my mind that people used to say that thunder was just God bowling. Then I laughed and thought, "what if it was the THUNDER god bowling." Ladies and gentlemen - Thor bowling.

Afterward, maybe he'll try his luck at the Claw and finally snag that elusive lobster harmonica.

Monday, August 1, 2011


This is a scan of a drawing I did for a pig-roast invitation. The font is Bold Copperplate Gothic.

I started making linocut prints again, after, oh, about a 15 year hiatus. These two strapping lads were my first attempts at 2-color lino prints. I did runs of 12 for each design.

This was the image from a card I drew for my buddy John's birthday. It's really just a copy of a Mike Mignola drawing. I edited the text, as we were meeting to drinky drink at the Long Room in Chicago.

Johnny-Come-Lately's bandwagon

I'm creating this blog to collect musings, artwork, writing, etc. so that I can easily review it. If you find anything interesting or thought-provoking, feel free to comment.