A Little Bit of Peace and Quiet

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Nov 242010

Yeah, it’s been a bit quiet here at the blog. Nothing significant, we’ve just had a few house-guests, a con (Steamcon), a bout of snow and record lows and a studio that’s actually a little too cold to comfortably work in no mater what I do to heat it.

I’ll be back with some more stuff soon, but in the meantime for those of you that observe the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 132010

Currently, I’m working my way through Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Good harrowing zombie steampunk fun.

I really enjoy steampunk. Its aesthetic is immediately inviting, balancing the fashions and architecture of an amazingly elegant (IMHO) period with a technology that is both more wondrous and more graspable (physically and mentally) than the modern day real world. Indeed, the continuing miniaturization of gadgetry makes imagining a realistic – but visually pleasing – future increasingly difficult. What does a cyberpunk world hold and how can an artist make it both believable (at the current pace of technology) and somehow convey what it’s like to exist in a nano-tech controlled world where so much of what makes life fantastical by today’s standards would be invisible to the naked eye?

Even though I’ve been aware of steampunk since before it made the leap from a concept to a subculture, I’ve never actually drawn anything steampunk. Sure, some of Magic’s self-described ‘mage-punk’ comes close but that’s still a fantasy world of wizards and goblins. How much fun to jump back to a world of stiff collars and even stiffer upper lips!

And one slice of (admittedly far flung fantastical) steampunk I avidly follow is the wonderful Girl Genius comic book by Phil & Kaja Foglio, two of the original Magic artists (with exceptional coloring by Cheyenne Wright).

Okay, back to reading and recuperating.

Nov 102010

While searching through a drawer of old sketches I found this oddity on a piece of tracing paper (a common method of transferring a sketch to art board). The image is odd because it’s substantially more of the figure than was seen in the final card image.

Vulshok Berserker Sketch

I suspect this is because I drew the whole figure and then placed the image within the boundaries of the card image, repositioning it until I got a balance of dynamism and seeing as much of the figure as possible.

Well, that’s my guess anyway. It was painted eight years ago so things aren’t exactly crystal clear…

I can’t help but hear “HULK SMASH!” when I see it.

Sketch Time: It’s All In The Eyes

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Nov 082010

So, I just got back from vacation where I managed to wrench my back (and had 4 chiropractic visits in 4 days!) and my wife caught a flu bug. Yeah, go us!

Anyway, as I try to get back into the swing of things, let me throw a little sketch your way. Here I was playing with starting two drawings with approximately the same eyes and eyebrows and seeing what wildly different creatures could be attached to them.

Same eyes, but very different sketches

Creature doodling can be such fun.

If you’re still hungry for more creatures, I found an amazing blog called Creature Spot. It’s heavy on the bandwidth but a real feast for the eyes.

Nov 022010

After the last entry the Joker seems like the appropriate follow-up.

One of my sketch pads has four Joker sketches in quick succession. The first Joker was drawn from memory and was lacking, being timid in both its application and the Joker’s ‘normally’ exaggerated proportions. For the second I nabbed a few Joker-related comics for reference which helped get me on the right track but the image was a little distorted. The third wore a crazed expression, but lacked any of the Joker’s personality.

But this one, the fourth, was immediately my favorite. The linework is loose in just the right way, informative but not restrictive. The Joker’s expression is not as fierce as you might expect; it’s playful and mischievous, as if he’s just bursting to tell you something, maybe to monologue his grand new plan to a captive audience.

The Gleeful Joker

Or maybe he’s just looking at Harley.

Either way, he makes me smile too.