Thursday, May 29, 2008

Last cartoon of the week

Hitting the road for family stuff tomorrow, so this is it for the week. This cartoon was drawn completely on the computer, with no sketch or anything. Just idea, straight to tablet. I'm starting to like the "freshness" of these. Noting to get in the way of the immediacy of the idea.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quickie sketch for my syndicate

These drawings directly into the computer on the Wacom tablet are getting much easier and much quicker for me now. I like the immediacy; nothing is lost in the transfer to paper. It's like applying the original sketch every time. Part of it is definitely a mindset. Convincing yourself that your hand can do it.

Anyway, here it is:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hot off the easel - Sunday sketch class

We had the voluptuous model again today. I really enjoy drawing her. The weight makes for very powerful drawings, and (for me at least) sets up challenges of weight shift and
proportion that you don't get with a skinny figure. We started with the 30 second gestures, moved to 3 minute poses and finished up with (2) 3o minute, and (1) one hour pose. All-in-all a GREAT session I think.
This next one is my favorite of the gesture studies. I usually know that when I'm doing interesting gestures, the longer poses are going to be fun as well.

This was the last gesture. You can really see the weight shift in the hips, as well as the power.

Starting into the longer poses now. I decided to sit on the floor and look up at the model for this one. I think it's my favorite of the day.

Here's the second 30 minute pose.

And, finally, the hour long pose. Comments, and posts are always welcome. It's my sincere hope that SOMEONE is getting something out of these.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crist with a "twist"

Amendment One, Florida's infamous property tax amendment has struck again. This time in Flagler County where they are considering limiting school days to (4) a week. Yes, you read that right.

Just when I think Charlie Crist's baby can't cause any more problems, it gets worse.

A McCain cartoon for my syndicate

I know I'm going to catch hell, both for using a movie reference in a cartoon, and for another "oh, McCain is so old" cartoon, but I don't care. The imagery and idea was just too strong a pull. And besides, the cartoon idea was sparked by actual conversations I've had with seasoned citizens over the last few weeks, So I think it's a legit observation about the mood of the country. And if my wife laughs at it, it's probably OK.
This one was also drawn straight into the computer. I seem to be getting better at that.

Hope it's good for at least a chuckle.

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Johnny Mac

John McCain is not an easy caricature, but this is getting closer to how I'd like to draw him. This quick little sketch, which turned into a color rendering, gave me a lot of important information about his face. One thing that I'm noticing is that there always seems to be some anger simmering just below the surface. Even when he's smiling, I still can sense that anger. I'm not sure were it comes from. Maybe his experience in Vietnam. At any rate, it's an important thing to remember when you're drawing him.
I also think that his caricature should be a minimalist one. By that I mean you don't have to draw "everything." It's actually better to really simplify his face; using the fewest brush marks to say as much as possible. I actually took quite a few marks out of this in Photoshop before I colored it.
There's a lot going on below his chin - skin folds, flaps, indentations, etc. The scar running down the right side of his face is also a marker of his caricature. His face is kinda plain at first glance, but then you start to see the experience there. Pay particularly close attention to his eyes. These tell quite a bit about his personality.

Local cartoon

Well, it seems that the Jacksonville Port Authority has taken sides in the ongoing Mayport cruise terminal debate. They're siding with big business (cruise ships). Big surprise. The first shot came when they yanked an official off the Mayport Board and re-assigned him. That leaves the Mayport Board as just a kind of home-owners association with no clout what-so-ever. Sucks.

Interesting story behind this cartoon. This may be the first cartoon I've ever done just straight into the computer without a physical sketch first. I have to tell you, the only thing more intimidating than a blank white piece of paper is a blank white computer screen.

SKELETON UPDATE! It looks like "skinny" is finally on his way. He'll be traveling first class in a UPS jet from North Carolina. He should arrive Friday, just in time for some quick sketches before Sunday drawing class. Stay tooned!

Here's what he looks like in case you're interested.

Bridgman models

One of the exercises in my new George Bridgman book is to construct a little figure out of metal lath and bailing wire. My first attempt came out "OK." I'm still not sure I have the proportions perfect, but I will say that after a while this started to look (to me at least) like a little guy standing on my desk. The main reason for this exercise is to work out the proportions and placement of the three main volumes of the figure - head/chest/hips. Or, more specifically, skull/ribcage/pelvis. You've got to be careful though, because that lath will tear your fingers up while you're trying to bend it. A pair of tin snips & needle-nose pliers works best. I'll probably do some sketches from these in the days to come, but my skeleton is on it's way, so I may just wait for that MUCH larger, exact model to arrive. I'll give him a name (suggestions welcome) and post photos of "Skinny" when I get him. And it is a "him." For some reason male skeletons are much cheaper than female skeletons.

The wire running down the back of my little wire frame model represents the spine. This allows you to twist & tilt the major volumes just as your hips and shoulders twist and tilt. Pretty cool. I may do another one of these because I'm not 100% sold on these proportions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sunday Sketch Class

You know the drill - gestures first, then longer poses and finally I finished up with some skeletal studies and a figure "in the round." I've just purchased George Bridgman's book on figurative anatomy. What a

wonderful read (Google him for more). It's interesting that none of my professors even mentioned Bridgman in my two years of graduate art studies. He was with the Art Students League in New York, and trained some of the most famous artists in modern American Art. He developed a style of breaking the figure down into it's basic elements, that remains a doctrine today. It's observational vs. analytical figure drawing, and the study of the skeleton is at it's "core."

I'll probably purchase my skeleton this week, and I'm very excited. Sketch class this week was GREAT, and my re-emergence into art seems to be progressing nicely.

Here's a skeletal study in which I eliminated the table she was leaning on. I think it's kind of cool that your eye can fill that in for you.

And finally another "figure in the round." I only had time to sketch (4) full poses. People probably think I'm crazy scooting around the studio floor in my rolling chair.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Consoler

I don't know about you, but Bush's admission that he'd given up golf to show solidarity with soldier's mothers, fathers, husbands, and wives didn't give me the "warm & fuzzies." Actually it turned my stomach. This guy hasn't had to give anything up in his life.

As usual, I save my best and most biting for the end of the week. I'm gonna have to start getting pissed off on Mondays.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More Photoshop practice

I'm still stylizing these heads I'm sketching. It gives me practice between figure drawing sessions and helps to sharpen my Photoshop coloring skills. Now that I see this one posted, I think it may be the best one I've done yet. Most of these are drawn from women in fashion magazines. These seem to have the best portraiture/pose variations - 3/4 views, etc.
All of the lines are actually pencil marks manipulated in Photoshop to look like ink. Tricky, tricky.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Critters gone wild

Every week it seems like there's a surplus of some animal running around a subdivision. Chickens, Vietnamese pigs, feral cats, etc. This week it's Peacocks. You heard that right. Screeching, pooping, super-breeding peacocks. What's next?

No rough for this one. I worked straight on the Wacom tablet in Photoshop.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Straight down the tank

Four years ago we came VERY close to buying a lot and building a house out in Baker County. The land was cheap, and at the time, the commute seemed OK. Well, it ain't OK anymore. People are hating it, and A LOT of people that live in Baker County commute to Jacksonville. I feel like we really dodged a bullet on this one. My wife's commute is 7 minutes. Mine still remains 20 seconds. :-)

I'll post the rough this time:

So Long Charlie Mae
I lost my Aunt today. Aunt "Sis" or "Sister" as everyone referred to her was an old school, uniquely Southern, and very giving person. She knew how to make me laugh, and never wasted the opportunity for a good joke, or a wonderfully dry quip. She helped my Dad (her Brother) put me through college, so I might not be doing this now if it wasn't for her. She never told me she was helping out either. Just like her. So, God speed ol' gal. I'll always try to be a "smart feller." She loved to call me that.

Another stylized figure drawing

I like the retro feel of this one. I'm starting to add some more graphic elements to these now. I'd like to do a kind of "pulp dime store novel" with the next one, replete with a smoking gun and a buff detective.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Final syndicate cartoon of the week

Here it is. This is an idea that just popped into my head yesterday. I saw that Bush will be "giving away" Jenna tomorrow, and I thought the timing was good, so I did it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Photoshop practice

I've picked up a few more nifty tricks that I had no idea Photoshop could do. One is called "Liquefy." This basically allows you to take a drawing and move/punch/nudge contour lines in and out on your sketch without having to erase or redraw. It's really cool. I've also tried to beef up my line work by making sure that it gets really black. The lines you see here were all originally done in pencil on paper. After scanning it into Photoshop there are a lot of different things you can do to modify the line work and make it look like inked lines; expanding and contracting lines, smoothing, and erasing all the little bits and pieces left behind by penciling - stray pixels. I've got one more national cartoon to do this week. I'll try to have that posted tonight or in the morning.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Last leg..?

Looks like she's come up lame after Tuesday's primaries. She's trying to put a brave face on things, but I dunno. For the sake of the party, the DNC may have to ask her to step aside. The numbers just don't add up in her favor; mathematically there's really no way she can win now, unless Barack goes back to his pastor and begs for forgiveness. Maybe if she'd won NC, she would still have a fighting chance, but her prospects look pretty bleak.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Stylized color from a gesture drawing

I wanted to take one of my gesture drawings from last week's figure drawing class and slap some color on it - kind of "graphic" it up a bit to see what I'd come up with. I had to guess at the structure of the hand in the foreground, as I hadn't completed it in the original sketch, but, other than that I'm pretty happy with the results. Scroll down on this page to see if you can find the quick 30 second sketch it was taken from.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Love letter

Shooting Range Welcome
Dear Editor:
Your editorial cartoon in the April 10 edition put a large burr under my saddle.
I am a former resident of Baker County and a 1966 graduate of Baker High. My family has hunted all over Baker County and south Georgia for the last 160-plus years. My grandfather was one of the first game wardens in the state of Florida and his sons and son-in-law and my two uncles were all active hunters. I also have done a lot of hunting and shooting in Baker County. Marksmanship was one of the two merit badges I earned in the Boy Scouts.
I now live in southeastern Wisconsin near a park with both trap and skeet shooting facilities; there are also all-weather ranges where police train and all have NRA-trained safety officers, instructors and gunsmiths on site.
Does any of this ring a bell?
There are perhaps hundreds or thousands of Florida citizens who would love to have a place in Baker County where they could master their weapons. Florida allows licensed carrying of concealed weapons and it would be advantageous if these folks had a place to learn and practice safe weapons handling,
There are many reasons why folks would like to have a shooting range in Baker County. It is a legal sport and I’ll bet none of them has a scar on their face (as did the person in the cartoon).

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Figure Drawing

Here's what I came up with in figure drawing class this weekend. I wasn't in a very good mood on Sunday. That may show.

It's actually kind of odd when I like my gesture drawings more than my finished work, but I think that's what's happening here. I was pretty pissed off, so I guess the energy came through in the gestural work. I like these next two a lot. The poses are very fluid and the line of action is obvious through the figures.

I don't know how Blogger decides which images are clickable to see the larger versions, but most of these should be.

The only real "finished" drawing I did during this session, I decided to sit on the floor and look up at the model. I like to challenge myself with the perspective and foreshortening. Here's that one.

I finished up the day by studying the skeleton again. For some reason this seemed to calm me down, and I was finally able to concentrate. Keep in mind that the final "skeleton series" drawing was not done from a seated skeleton, but from a model. I imagined where the skeletal structure was as I moved around the room. There was a skeleton close by that I could glance at occasionally to make sure I was getting the bones right.