Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sketchbook : Chapala

Click image to enlarge.

View from my parents' porch in Chapala, Mexico.

Trying to do more "sitting and drawing" what I see.
It's been a long time since I've done that sort of thing.
(Marker and pen.)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekly Reader : Nov 2009

Here are two illustrations from a regular gig I do. Current Health 1* is a Weekly Reader magazine. Kids write letters, and I accompany them with my drawings.

Click for larger.

Sometimes it is a challenge to figure out how to draw "gross" topics in a kid magazine friendly way. Take for instance... "ralphing." It makes me queasy just thinking about it.

Click for larger.
This one was easier... chapped lips.

* The editorial staff is great fun to work with.
** These just came out, but we are working four months ahead on the deadline. These illustrations were finished in July.

Quick Sketch : Cafe Racer

Littlefield Fountain : Unfinished

Click to enlarge

Ever since I was little, one of my favorite places in Austin has been the Littlefield Fountain  on the UT campus. This is the unfinished comp sketch I did of the fountain. It's an imaginary situation. The little boy would be me (kinda) and I am totally riding on the back of those merhorses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This Week in the Sketchbook : Character Design

Wrapping up the finals on the second Rockh... wait. Did we announce there's gonna be...? Urgh. Um...

Wrapping up the finals on some project and moving into September. September is "get proposals knocked out for publishers month." I have... four... books I am putting together.

I don't normally post works in progresses, especially before someone's called dibs on them, but since this is just a a character and you know nothing about him or what he's doing, I thought I'd show him to you.

No guarantees he's going to end up like this at all, but here's his journey so far.

(My big money scanner is not calibrated and I am having probs getting the blue out.)


Click image for larger

Why is it these first pencil thumbnail sketches are some of my favorites? My most favorite of Rock from Animal Band is just a quick collection of lines. Can't even see much about him. But there's an energy, and, somehow the soul of the character's there. If that makes any sense.

Tightening up

Click image for larger

He's looking a bit like Christopher Robin here. Maybe it's the short pants.


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Just warming the pencil up here. Playing with some elements. Mostly his clothes. Very stiff drawing. (I often notate as I am drawing along.)

Pushing the abstract.

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Playing with more simplified shapes. He's too old here... needs to be softened to be a kid's book. (Hieroglyphic feet!)

More there-er

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Softer. More realistic. (TOO realistic?) Ok.

Looking for a balance. Looking for who this kid is. Not sure, yet. The story is brand new and developing. Missing some of the pieces. But it's coming together.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Pimpin'

Larger : Click Image Tone Sketch

I know. There have been pimp bots. It's been done.

This is not ANY pimp bot. This is Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet, king of all 50's robots—and in my book—top of the heap of all robots.

He was in my sketchbook this week because of an AWOL Forbidden Planet poster.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

This Week In the Sketchbook

From a personal project. Not even close to right.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rockhead : Character Development

Here's some of the steps the The Incredible Rockhead (previous entry) went through on their way to final.

Here's Chip and Spencer. Their first drawing.

The boys here are a couple of years younger than they ended up being in the book. According to the art director, Chip wasn't "awkward pre-teeny enough." They wanted him to be a little more... that.

Troy is the bully.

This is the sort of who guy picked on me a couple of times when I was in junior high.

Here's how Rockhead came to be himself.

He's a skinny kid, but his head is this gigantic hunk of rock.

The Incredible Rockhead!!!

Most of what I do is wrapped up in NDA's.*

It means I don't get to tell anyone what I am working on.

"What are you doing?"

"Illustrating a graphic novel."

"Oh yeah?"

"I can't tell you about it."**

The newest has hit (online stores), so now I get to share.

Little ditty called "The Incredible Rockhead."

It's for Stone Arch Books, which falls under Capstone Publishing.

Like I said, it's a graphic novel. If you don't know what a graphic novel is, it's a long comic book. This one is written for the grade school set (grades 1-3).

I drew this one, didn't write it. The writing was done by the brilliant Scott Nickel. Bob Lentz—the art director—designed the book and it is out of this world (I wish I'd had such cool stuff to look at when I was a kid). He worked to dial in an old school, Golden Age kind of look. Also, it's available in hard cover (paperback is on the way, I've been told.)

Enough talk. Time for drawings.

Here's the character line up:

Here's my favorite panel from the book:

And here's the cover as a teensy-tiny image (it's the biggest size I can find):

I had a great time on the book. Learned a lot. We're already rolling on the second. (It's even better.)

*Non Disclosure Agreement
**All together now—"I'd have to kill you."

Read more about the characters here.

You should buy the book. Go here.

Stone Arch Book's page on the book here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blog Was Down Last Week

Because of a bonehead move on my part—formatting the new blog code from the "view source" code instead of the actual HTML code in the Template—I futzed up the Draw Blog.

I think we're back on track.

New stuff coming this week.

With Apologies to Enrico Casarosa

Below is the final piece from Comic Con.

It's a travelogue in the style of Enrico Casarosa's book—hence the title—which is mentioned in the entry (with a link to Amazon below).

Click Image to Enlarge.

Buy The Venice Chronicles.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

'61 Mitsubishi 500

I included the previous link showing some cars I thought were amazing.

When it came time to draw a car for the new (self published) Super Rufus book, I knew the one I wanted.

'61 Mitsubishi 500 || Click to Image Enlarge

And my translation of the car. It's a little off proportion.

Source for the cars.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Like cartoon cars but only real!*

As a kid I never drew cars. If I had seen these I would have.

* Coolest cars ever and I am too tall for every one.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Carry Water the Way Man was Meant to: In Metal!

Plastic bottles are killing the earth.


15 penguins die a day because of our drinking from plastic bottles.*

But now you can carry water like a soldier in WWII.

And with this handy unit, I can carry everything I need—my iPhone and life sustaining water.

(Personally, I think this is brilliant.)

* Completely unfounded research. We don't know that plastic bottle use doesn't kill 15 penguins a day.

Still Kickin'

Tired of big strong men kicking sand in your face and taking your girlfriend?

No more, my friend! What you need is Dynamic-Tension!

That's the comic out of the back of comic books back in the day. Turns out, the program is still around, making mighty men out of weaklings.

What is it? "The program includes both physical exercises, nutritional information plus FIVE FREE gifts including techniques and skills in Boxing, Wrestling, Jujitsu and Karate, Hand Balancing and Feats of Strength." (From the website.)

From an article in the Smithsonian this month, I learned that this program is not based on weight training, but on muscle training using your own body to transform itself.

Charles Atlas was a self-made strong man, and credited with bringing fitness awareness to a higher level. According to Smithsonian, none other that Ghandi himself wrote in to learn more about Atlas's program.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Big Boy Jedi

Click to Enlarge.

What's more awesome than a Big Boy Jedi Knight?

Nothing, my friends.


* The guy with the hamburger is me.

SDCC 2009 : Monkey Ninja Drawing

Click Image to Enlarge.

People can come up to you and say, "Hey. Will you draw this for me?"

And you can say, "Yes. I will. Give me some money."

And if they say, "I will give you some money."

You can draw it for them.

It's called a "commission."

So. Here's a monkey ninja drawing I did for someone. (I also did an elephant for the same couple, but I didn't get a picture of it.)

SDCC 2009 Sketch Dump

|| Click Images to Enlarge ||

...the last of the sketches from San Diego Comic Con 2009.

Thanks to Jason for scanning in the race car cat sketch he bought from me.

This guy was supposed to be steampunky, but then he just ended up looking kind of piloty. So, he's a steampunk pilot with no fresh craft to fly.

This is a lobster escaping his death by riding a pizza cutter. You see, they don't move very fast (outside of their natural environs) and need a little assistance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SDCC 2009 : For Scale

So some people may have seen my table when I posted it on Facebook.

Click Image for Larger

Here's a shot my buddy, Kennon found of me and my itsy bitsy table at Comic Con.

Don't be fooled. This is probably a 10th of the size of the con.

(I don't know where he got it yet. But I will post photo credits as soon as I do.)

SDCC Sketchbook Spread

Click image for bigger size

Most of these folks are amalgamations of people who walked by my table.*

I didn't draw any straight up caricatures because I did not want someone to go, "Hey you're drawing me!" and then end up with a whole line of those people wanting me to draw them. I mean, I could do that, but I don't want to be "That Guy."

More Con Drawn' coming.

* 'Cept for the cat. He's a race car cat. I drew him in a race car... and I.... hey Jason. Can you send me a scan of that?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

1 down, 15 to go

I finished my book for Comic Con last night and sent it to the printer.

Here's the cover:

Here's a sample page:

I got an ISBN for it so if it's a flop at the con it can be a flop on Amazon too.

Rest up on the weekend and then back on to con stuff and the second graphic novel for Stone Arch books.

No rest for the wicked, they say. I must be very evil.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Comic Conning

I've been given a Small Press table at Comic Con. To be honest, I didn't want one. I wanted Artist Alley. In Artist Alley I could round up some stuff I've already got and sell that. I've been to several cons. I got that. That's easy.

No. The folks at Comic Con wanted me in Small Press. Insistent, they were.

So what do you do? You say, "Ok."

"Ok" means a WHOLE lot more work. "Ok" means something new.

And sometimes something new is something old.

I drug out proposals and stacks of old drawings, some of them going back 16 years. And while I threw most of it away, there was a set of characters I really wanted to spend more time with.

Picking the drawings from back in the day I most felt captured who they were, I put those through the filter of today.

Dave, 2002

Dave, 2009
In time you will know who this is, if you don't. (Meaning, I am going to tell you, not that he's going to be super famous... though that would be okay with me.)

It is so much fun spending time with this group of characters again. Whenever I create a character, they become almost a real person. I know who they are, why they do what they do, how they do it. Have the characters defined, and the story writes itself.

It is good to be in their company again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Health Illustrations

I did these for Current Health 1 magazine, one of Weekly Reader's titles. It was for an article on taste buds. In a last minute mix-up, I didn't know which rough I was supposed to complete. So, I finished them both out. The second one was in the magazine. The one on top is a CS Jennings Draw Blog semi-exclusive.

Run, Bottles! Run!

Illustration for last week's Austin Chronicle.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


If you were my niece named McKenzie, this was your Christmas present this year. It is her two dogs, Otto and Maddie, done in what I am calling my "Italian Vaudeville" style. According to the free translation website I used, this means "The Dogs of Comedy." Originally titled, "The baby thinks the dogs are funny," that was waaaay too long in Italian. || Click image for larger

From my sketchbook. Little girl in a spacesuit with an umbrella. I like the idea that she lives way in the future, but cherishes this beat up old umbrella, which is essentially useless to a little girl all snug in her cozy spacesuit. I also like that her tiny hands are in giant clunky gloves.* (I love drawing with this red pencil.) || Click image for larger

* She's got some proportion problems that are driving me nuts. But that's why she's a "sketch."