Saturday, January 31, 2009

More fun with freeze-frame aerobics

We attended an AIGA function last night here in Jacksonville, and it was very inspiring. I met a lot of really cool professionals, and it was nice to chat with people that actually have my same interests. One of the guys there took down my blog address and stopped by last night for a peek. He said that he really liked what I was doing with these, so here's a couple more. Thanks Joey! Anyway, I'm thinking about getting involved in this association. It's closer to home, there seem to be some really talented people at the events, and evidently they schedule a lot of really cool events throughout the year. Oh yeah, and there was beer. That might ice it for me! Thanks to everyone who took the time to talk with me; I really enjoyed meeting you all.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Push ups with a pencil...

That's what Glen Fabry calls it anyway.

Here are a couple more aerobic DVD freeze-frame sketches. I decided to throw a little color onto these, just to see how they'd look. We've got one of my favorite models posing for us this Sunday, so look for some interesting drawings come Monday. I think I'll continue to draw directly into the computer on my Wacom tablet during the life drawing class. I've got some idea now as to where I want those headed as well.

Also, look for an update on my new cartooning gig Monday. Hopefully it'll be good news!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fresh off the Wacom Tablet

A new Illustration for today, done from a freeze-frame sketch. I'm pretty happy with this one. Let's just hope some of the galleries I'm sending these to feel the same. Anybody out there who knows of a gallery that might be interested in these types of works, PLEASE let me know.

Thanks in advance!


More Aerobics Sketches & some vague news...

I discovered that one of my Aerobics DVDs sucks. There's not much jumping or gyrating posing it; just a lot of boring stretches. Not good for dynamic poses. I'm going to return that one this weekend for some Tybo Tapes or DVDs. That should get the 'ol pencil dancing!

Anyway, here's a couple more freeze-frame sketches from the good DVD.
I've also got several big projects underway right now. No too much I can say about them yet. Two of them are art projects - one here in Jax. and another in Atlanta. I'll post more about these as we get closer to March. It also looks like I may have picked up a new weekly cartooning gig here in Jax. I'll post more about that, and my first cartoon for the paper next week, but suffice it to say, I'm happy to have found at least one publication to make up for the (4) I lost in December.
Stay tooned!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Followers, faces & fitness

First, let me welcome Pavel Jakubec as a follower of this blog - a really talented caricature artist from Slovakia. This guy has got chops so you should go check out his blog. I'm going to post an old Putin cartoon of mine here in his honor. Two days ago I got another follower from Uruguay, so the Halltoons Weblog is getting quite the international following. Go check out all of these blogs, listed at the bottom of this page - just click on the follower's icons. All welcome here!

Yesterday I mentioned how sometimes a simple sketch will give me an idea for a more complicated illustration. That happened this morning after only two cups of coffee. This sketch is inspiring me to do a comic art Medusa, so stay tooned for that.

I also did another quick study from my aerobics fitness DVD. I'll post that one as well.

Let me hear from you, and don't forget to sign up!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another syndicate cartoon

Obama didn't exactly get a warm welcome over on Capitol Hill today. Looks like he's going to have to work harder than he thought to placate some Republicans. The media has made such a big deal out of his use of his BlackBerry, and how only a select few can be his BFF.
Maybe he can toss it at a couple of them. Doink them on the head.


My brother is probably the only one who will think that this is funny (other than me of course!) This video is done pretty well. Real simple animation and sound. Props to the Reverend Dave Johnson and his crew. I might rip off their technique for an animation of my own one day soon!

A local issue felt Nationally

Our education system is a mess. Along with the rest of the Country, schools have gotten caught up in the financial upheaval. Our teachers, and therefore our students are suffering. I think I know a little bit about teachers; having been one for several years in the late nineties. The good ones teach for the sheer love of the profession, and for the joy of bringing knowledge to young minds. They'd do it for the supplies if they had to. So once again I'm asking that you look for ways to help teachers out. You can start by just calling your local elementary school to find out about drop off days for supplies. Teachers can go to the Staples Teachers Reward button at the Staples web site for great deals, or go to the previously mentioned for free donated materials. I'll keep doing cartoons about the great job they do, and their struggles, but we all need to help out now. It's for the kids.

More Fabry inspired sketching

Here are a few more sketches from freeze-frames on my aerobics DVD. I'm liking the way this allows you to "freeze" any selected pose and study very closely the proportional relationships of the figure in motion. Sure beats the heck out of paying a model.

I can usually get about three of these done in 45 minutes, before I drift off to sleep.

I wanted to take a second to thank my newest follower; although, I wouldn't call Craig "new" to this blog. He comments all the time (hint, hint). He also has a really cool blog dedicated exclusively to Sly Stallone. To call this guy a "Stallonaphile" would be an understatement. You should go check it out. Here's a link to this interesting and recently updated site.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A quick note on posting

I would once again like to invite people to sign on as followers of this blog. I sound like a broken record, don't I? It's so easy to do, and you will be notified whenever I update. You can also leave quick notes on my mini-forum Shout Box in the right-hand column (scroll down and check it out, it's pretty cool). I promise to get right back with you. So visit, view, participate, and enjoy! I look forward to hearing from you.

Developing an idea

I'm often asked the question, "where do you get your ideas?", so I thought I might give a stab at explaining that a little bit. Many times an idea for an illustration will come directly from a figure drawing. I'll sketch until something inspires me, or I see a foot or leg positioned in an intriguing way, or the tilt of a head "says" something to me. I don't always know what direction I'm headed when I start, but something usually clicks and I end up following my muse. I also find it useful to do thumbnail sketches. I keep pads of post-it notes hanging around the house. I find these useful for thumbnails in that they are about the right size and proportion.I'll post the figure drawing here that is slowly developing into an idea in my head. I know she is going to be standing in water (probably a swamp). This was directly related to the initial drawing and her pose (worm's eye view looking up at her). I'm starting to think that she will be threatened by some type of monster, but I'm not sure how he will look yet. I've come to the conclusion that her pose will probably change now because she doesn't look startled enough, and I also think that I want her to be holding a net full of tiny versions of the larger animal. This will create a nice connection between what she's hunting for and Papa Monster, and give him a reason for being pissed off, and her a weird issue about eating baby swamp monsters. In the page of thumbnails posted here, I'm just trying to get the beginning compositional elements arranged within the picture plane. I'll work out the details later, but I'm always trying to think ahead as to where the drawing might be headed.

Sunday sketch, other figure drawings, & misc.

I've been sketching quite a bit from the figure lately. Some of these are drawn from life, some are drawn from photos, and some are freeze-framed from aerobic videos.

This is a nice little trick for learning to draw the figure in motion. I stole this technique from comic artist Glenn Fabry - his excellent book, Muscles in Motion is a must have for anyone interested in bettering their figure drawing skills. It was actually one of the things that inspired me to get back into figure drawing after a long hiatus - buy it). I'm going to post these in no particular order. At least one of these is currently being used to create a larger, more elaborate illustration; but I thought that it might be interesting for you to see the sketches that some of these come from.

In the coming months look for info on more published works, and some gallery projects I've got in the hopper. In the meantime, if you are a comic art fan, and you know of any venues for large figurative works, please let me know the names of those galleries.



Today's syndicate cartoon

Here's today's cartoon for my syndicate. I keep hearing the Democrats talk about all of these jobs that are "shovel ready." Looks like the only job that's shovel ready right now is THIS one. The ironic thing is, shortly after I inked and sent this cartoon I got a bit of good news on the job front. More on that later.
I've also got some sketches from Sunday's drawing class and a few roughs for some future illustrations to post. I'm working on a big project right now, and I haven't had a moment to upload them. Look for these shortly.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Halltoons in the news

The cartoon at the left ran in The Washington Post this week. This tiny piece of history reflecting the new Presidency will forever be saved in print. I think that's cool.
Also this week, I was interviewed by the Hartford Courant for a piece they did on drawing our new President. That was kinda neat too - the only thing is, they only featured the quote, and NOT one of my cartoons - hrumph! Oh well, better to be quoted than ignored all together. Here's the article.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A correction

I've been told that Judge Roberts was the one who actually screwed up the swearing in. Obama was just stunned that he got it wrong I guess. What a dolt. You've got 35 words (some of the most important in the Constitution) to remember, and you botch it. Oh well, another Bush appointee carries on.

Later dude

Here's a scene I'd liked to have seen. Oh well, Obama's a lot more gracious than I would have been. It's been fun drawing and blogging this. I've got a couple more sketches I'll post shortly.

Say that again...

He sure picked a weird time to run out of words. Anyway, who among us hasn't found ourselves in this exact moment? So far the benediction has been my favorite part.

Semi-live blogging

I'll post these drawings as I complete them during the inauguration. We'll see how many I get out. Here's the first.


Monday, January 19, 2009

This is kinda cool

Along with the euphoria of my beloved Gators winning another National Championship, I found out last week that my Tebow cartoon made the Oped page of The LA Times. I think that's pretty cool. Not just that they ran a Gator cartoon on the day after the big game, and that it was mine, but that it was a sports cartoon. I'm pretty sure that this is a rarity for The Times. Haven't seen many sports cartoons grace the oped page before. My only regret is that it couldn't have run in color (see inset image). I'm not really sure if they ever run color on that page. Anyway, I'm stoked it got in.


Digital Sunday Sketch

Well, I hauled my laptop into class yesterday, and overall I'm pretty happy with the results. We started as usual with some 3 minute gestures, moved on to a few 25 minute poses, and then finished up with an hour long pose. It was a VERY crowded class. I had to share my table with someone who was sketching flat on the desktop with a pad and charcoal, so if some of my marks look shaky, you'll understand why. I didn't let it bother me too much though.

This class is starting to get very popular. I'm hoping the crowds will taper off as we get into the spring. We'll see.

Here are the rest of the gestures. I'm starting to get a bit more acclimated to working on the Wacom tablet in class, but I almost have to work twice as hard at the beginning to let myself "go" and just make marks, but I think it's starting to work. You don't have too many opportunities to make digital changes on the fly with the gestures, but I'm starting to learn little tricks that allow some.

Now, onto the 25 minute poses.

This is probably my favorite drawing of the day. It doesn't feel rushed or labored over, and I like that. I was able to concentrate on the muscle structure around the chest and back, and the way the light falls on the figure.

Finally, here's the hour long pose. I worry sometimes that these can get a little "worked over," so I tend to save different versions as I work. That way, I can go back to the one before if I do some thing totally screwed up. It's a good thing too, because I darkened this one WAY too much and ended up going back to a former (better) version.

Look for more editorial and comic illustration posts in the next few days, and let me hear from you!


Friday, January 16, 2009

A Blago caricature to round out the week

I figured with this guy in the news so much, I'd better go ahead and do a caricature for my syndicate. I'm going to try to do a lot more caricatures in the coming months. I think it may be a way for me to supplement my income stream. Having lost 4 local newspapers in the span of a month is hurting more than I had imagined. So, if you need some caricature work done (any caricature work - even pets), please feel free to contact me via email:

I promise I won't make Snowball look like Rod Blagojevich.

Cheers & Happy Weekend!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Drawing on cardboard

Every once in a while, I decide to draw on some found cardboard, or on the back of a used up sketchbook. I thought I might post a couple of these, and comment on why. First off, when you work on cardboard, you've immediately got a mid-range skin tone color to start with. This can make establishing your color and value range in the drawing a little easier. By pushing the darks and pulling out the light with a lighter conte crayon or some white chalk, you can get a fantastic range of value. Try it sometime; you'll be amazed at the results.

Here's a male figure I did many years ago. I found this drawing buried in a portfolio this morning.

This second one was from drawing class last week. It's interesting to compare the two from so many years apart. While I think my way of making marks hasn't changed substantially, there are some subtle differences.
Tell me what you think. Do these look like they were drawn by the same person?

Developing an idea from a quick Manga sketch

This illustration idea kind of grew out of a quick sketch that I did in my journal the other night. I am really beginning to like the way that Manga allows you to quickly build a rough figure drawing; which you can then take back into Photoshop and build upon (if you look closely, you can see the lightly-drawn, Manga, wire-frame structure in this sketch). Utilizing the "seven and a half heads high" model allows for a really quick interpretation, and easy posing of the model. I wanted to post both the original rough and the finished drawing here, so that you can see where it started, and where I finally ended up going with the final piece. I'm pretty happy with it. Enjoy.
BTW, if you are in the field of comic art, or have a brother-in-law who is in the field, please feel free to contact me about doing some work. I am currently looking for work pencilling, inking, laying out pages, or illustrating covers. My turn around time is quick, and I'm available immediately.
PS - While you're here, why not become a follower of this blog? Just go to the bottom of this page and sign up. Then, when I post new stuff, you'll always be the first to know!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday Sketch

Well, we're back on our regular Sunday sketch class schedule now, and I must say I've missed it over the holidays. After knocking the rust off, I think I got a couple of decent drawings yesterday. Here they are in no particular order. I've worked back into several of them in Photoshop. Let me know what you think.

Sometimes I fail to leave myself enough room on the page for all of the elements I'd like to include in my composition. Because I know I'll be able to "fix it" later in Photoshop, I sometimes draw the missing element off to the side as I've done in this sketch. Her left hand bled off the page, so I sketched it above her.
I'll save my favorite one for last. I used the camera angle when I photographed it to push the "worm's eye view" feel even further. With images becoming more and more digitally produced and manipulated, this is just one more little trick that you can use to exaggerate your figure drawings and make them more dramatic.