Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Biden my time...

I'm taking my time with my Joe Biden caricature. When I first heard he was the Veep pick, my first thought was "Oh great, another white-haired, white-bread, white guy to struggle with." But as I started to draw him (as usual) I started to find things in his face that I liked, and began to discover a road map across the contours that told a story. A cartoonist I know once gave me some very sage advice in terms of caricature. He said, "You'll know you've got it when the caricature starts to talk back to you." That probably sounds weird, but it's true. Here are my first, and latest attempts at Biden. I told myself that I was going to post every sketch, no matter how lame. So here they are - warts and all. I'm not there yet, but I think a couple of these are starting to talk to me.
I've made some notes to myself in the margins. This helps me to go back and reference thoughts I have about his face as I'm drawing him. I also need to draw him while he's talking on TV. This helps to get a more "full" or 3-D vision of his head shape and mannerisms.

All smiles...

Here's a generic Back To School cartoon I did for one of my local papers. I thought the idea was a slightly different take on a subject I've probably broached a hundred times in my career.
Hope it makes you smile. LOL

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday Sketch Class

Well, we made it through the storms without any major damage to ourselves or our home, and Sunday actually turned out to be a really sunny day. We had our regularly scheduled sketch class with one of our favorite models. This model is quite shapely, with a classic Rubenesque figure. This makes seeing the structure a little more difficult and challenging, but when it comes to drawing, a challenge is what I always like. I'm beginning to use more compressed charcoal now for the various skin tones; pushing the values, and trying to show the figure more within it's value space.

As usual, we started with several quick gesture drawings, moved into a few 25 minute poses, and finished with a long 45 minute reclining pose. Now that I've posted these, I think my favorite is the reclining pose. It's very difficult to get the tone of dark skin with charcoal, but I think I may have nailed it in this drawing. All in all, a good day of drawing. Enjoy, and let me hear from you! Cheers - Ed

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Storm sketches

Well, the power went out for a couple of hours during Tropical Storm Fay, and instead of sitting on the couch staring at a blank TV screen, I decided to sketch. It also took my mind off of the 50mph+ winds whipping around outside.
As an aside, I'm gonna stand behind my pre-Fay cartoon (see August 20 - Sky Is Falling post). I STILL think the local media tries to whip us all into a lather, and I hate it.

Anyway, I just started drawing the first things that popped into my head. Just random doodles of various characters, martian women, and super hero stances. They're probably only interesting to me, but I thought I'd post 'em anyway. I went back into a few of them in Photoshop to add some color & punch. I always wondered why "The Hulk" wasn't red, so I decided to see how that would look.

We've got figure drawing class on Sunday with another one of my favorite models, so look for a post from that on Monday. Happy Weekend!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More skeletal proportion studies

Man, I'm posting a lot today. That's a good thing - "idle mind" and all that jazz. Anyhoo, whenever I find an interesting article in one of my design periodicals, I try to recreate the exercise in my sketchbook to strengthen my figure drawing skills. Lately I've been doing these directly on the Wacom tablet in Photoshop. It cuts out the step of having to scan and I can just upload these directly to the blog. This drawing illustrates a few more of the proportional relationships that exist across the skeleton. As I've said here before, if you can draw the skeleton, you can draw the figure. It's a vessel, and the scaffolding that everything hangs on and sits in. It certainly doesn't hurt that I have a life-sized one right next to me in my studio.


Our local news media seems to revel in freaking out our seasoned citizens (and Northern transplants). I've had several that I know already calling me up, asking me what to do. "Should we board up?" "Should we leave town?" "The news guy said it was coming RIGHT FOR US!!!" A hurricane could be in the Pacific, and there is this one local meteorologist that will show it eventually making landfall in Jacksonville. It makes me sick. And you know that those "field reporters" are just chasing death. They want to record destruction. Anything less would mean the viewer clicked over to the competition. It makes me sick - did I mention that already??

Anyway, here's my take on all of that. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go return 60 cans of beans, and 10 packs of double AA batteries.

Local cartoon

There is a proposed ordinance out at the beach that would restrict boats from being parked in residential neighborhood yards. I, for one, think that this is a great idea. As someone who has had their view of the street blocked by a 50 foot offshore rig with dual Mercury outboards, I can totally relate. If you make the commitment to own such a large vessel, you should be prepared to dock or store it elsewhere.
This one might get letters.

Thumbnail for yesterday's cartoon

Typically, I won't do any thumbnail sketches in preparation for a full-sized cartoon. But yesterday, I wanted to be sure of the positioning of the figures within the composition, so I did a few. As you can see, by studying the one I decided to go with, it didn't change very much from the original thumbnail. Once I have a picture in my mind as to how I want the elements arranged within the picture plane, I usually don't stray from it too much. Thumbnailing is a great way to weed out all of the bad decisions you don't want to be making as you ink.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Early cartoon for my syndicate

I decided to get a head start on my syndicate cartoons this week. I knew that I wanted to do something on the start of the 2008 football season (my favorite time of year BTW), and as I was watching the Olympics last night, this image just popped into my head. Enjoy.

Sunday's Figure Drawings

We had a GREAT drawing class yesterday. It's been about 2 1/2 weeks since we were able to draw from the figure, so it was good to get back. Also, it was our favorite model, so that helped. We started out with 30 second gestures, moved to 3 minute poses, graduated to 25 minute drawings, and finished with (1) long seated pose (I drew the skeleton that floats around the classroom as a warm up to get the figurative proportions of head/chest/hips in my mind before starting in on the figure).

I decided to work back into one of these a bit in Photoshop with the dodge and burn tools. This was an interesting experiment, and I may do some more of this in the future.

Looks like these are all clickable this time, so click away for a larger view!

And, for those of you peeking in on this blog, be sure to tell your friends about me, and leave a quick note if you are so inclined. I look forward to hearing from you. Sometimes when I get little to no response here, I wonder if I'm wasting my time. -Ed

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New Study for Sci-Fi Illustration

I found this really cool "shedded" shell of an insect stuck to the side of my house. I thought that it would make a cool illustration if this bug was like as tall as a building and had some man made elements on his body. This is just the first sketch before I really dive into this drawing, but I thought it was interesting, so I'm posting it.

Here's the bug.

And the first sketch.

And a posterized version done in Photoshop. I'll work back into this drawing much more before I decide if this is the final pose I want. Looks like he'll have mechanical legs and some type of explosive device strapped to his belly. Stay tooned.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Proportion Studies

I finished all of my cartoons early this week, so I decided to do a couple of exercises from my Manga book. We've got figure drawing class on Sunday, so, these are really good warm-up exercises. They help me to stay sharp in terms of figurative proportions. I've mentioned this here before, but it's important to understand the geometry of the figure. It can be scientifically broken down into segments (approx. 8 heads high). Manga is really good at exploiting these proportions, so this exercise works for me. I think it would be good for any kind of artist to study the Manga technique. I fought it for a long time because I thought it was too "kiddie." But once I saw what they were trying to do, it actually ended up helping my figure drawings from life. I'll post my drawings from class here on Sunday night or Monday morning. Thanks for peeking in, and BTW, I've got a cool little Chat box now on this page. Scroll down to the bottom right column and leave me a "shout."

Happy weekend!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Local toon - with a dog...

I haven't posted much of my local stuff lately, so I'll put one up today. Seems there's a rate increase on the horizon for Clay County utility customers. I figured with all the talk about people going green these days that this was befitting to the situation. My buddy Clay Jones once told me that if you put a dog in your cartoon, you're golden. I don't know if he counted on a Golden Retriever being used as a source for hydro-electric power. Anyway Clay, if you're "Google Alerting" yourself (and I know that you are) - CLAY JONES! That should get him over here. Beats a high-pitched whistle any day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A funny thing happened on my way to the drawing board

I remembered that there is a major oil pipeline that runs through Southern Georgia. I'm glad I went with this idea too; first off because no one else has picked up on it, and secondly because if you just draw a bear eating Georgians, it's a little "thin" in terms of getting to the reasons behind the invasion. As with the US, it's all about dwindling oil supplies, and I'm sure Putin saw this as a golden opportunity. That's right, I said Putin. Don't ever doubt that he's still running things.

Monday, August 11, 2008

No Sunday sketch this week...

Our Sunday figure drawing class was cancelled this week. Something about the studio floor needing refinishing? So, I spent Sunday night doodling in the sketchbook. And it wasn't a total waste either. I got a couple of pretty cool characters out of it, along with a panda illustration for my syndicate. My wife LOVES pandas, so I know she's gonna get a total kick out of this one as well. Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

We did it to ourselves

America's lust for stuff on the cheap has put us in a bit of a bind. We built up China; fed the machine for the last decade, and now we find ourselves the exporters of nothing more than big, discounted automobiles, a failed capitalist ideology, and crappy hip-hop music. We're no longer the spend-happy consumers we once were. As our belts have tightened, the Chinese have loosened theirs, and there ain't a thing we can do about it.
One more thing: This weekend, as you watch the Olympics, keep in mind that it's being hosted by a Government that seized land, kicked the homeowners off their property, and then bulldozed the homes to make room for that lovely building those athletes are competing in. Communism and Capitalism - what a lovely mix!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Man, I wish I was in the scooter business right about now. Evidently you can't buy a Vespa; they're flying off the showroom floors so fast. Anyway, we ran a story last here week about scooter stores at the beach running out of inventory, and then, this morning, I noticed this story in USA Today reflecting the exact same trend all over the country.

Here's the cartoon.

More Bridgman stuff

A while back, I was doing some exercises from George Bridgman's classic book on life drawing. In going back through my sketchbook, I found a couple of these that had never been posted. And since I'm focusing again on caricature, I thought it might be helpful to post them here now. Bridgman basically breaks the skull and head down into distinguishable shapes and cylinders that can easily be drawn in many different poses and perspectives. You can see how a head starts to form from these shapes in the lower-left drawing.
More on this later, as I work up an Obama and McCain caricature for my syndicate this week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ed's new mystery software...

I'm not gonna tell you which program I just bought, but suffice it to say, I like it. Here's a quick (20 minute) down-and-dirty pirate concept drawing I just did with it, and then finished up in Photoshop. The thing I like most about this program is that it so closely mimics the hand drawn "feeling." The pen drags on the Wacom tablet in much the same way a pencil, or eraser, or brush does. I know this sounds weird, but it really does feel like you're drawing on paper. And, most importantly, it allows you to get your ideas down quickly. This is a very liberating experience for a digital tool.