Friday, April 30, 2010

Death of Sardonopolis

Same day as below. I'm copying more of Delacroix, this time from a study he made from his Death of Sardonopolis. My friend Wes Lyles, a genius, spent much of our college years trying to update this legendary painting. Please note the varying cup sizes.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bon Apetit

Sometime in the '80s I was visiting a pal in Denver and when we weren't falling off of climbing routes, we dropped into the "Tattered Cover" book store. It was one of the first Barnes n' Noble-type bookstores I'd ever been in. I bought "Romanticism" by Jean Clay, an over-sized book bristling with 19th century Romantic art. Over the decades, I wore the book out. Above, I was picking on one of Delacroix's watercolors. I've always loved his lions- they tend to look like shaggy, over-sized house cats.

This actually looks a lot like our cat if I invade his half of the couch.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knight takes a Powder

Arbitrary knights from this winter. I was stealing armour styles from Duncan Fegredo. He did the art chores on recent issues of Hellboy, and I have to say I think I enjoyed his work more than Mike Mignola's.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cold Wind to Valhalla

I spent the bulk of January and a good slug of February drawing knights and Valkyrie. Here's an early example. Eventually, I decided to abandon the waif look and go with a more robust type who could hold her own in a mead-drinking contest. The shin-guard is a direct swipe from Jack Kirby.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dapper Dan

One day in January, I accidentally drew Noel Coward with immodest lapels. Well, Noel Coward maybe after a 4 day gin-bout .... with the quiet, centered composure that comes after having slept in a bathtub.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Knights in Blue Pencil

I picked up a copy of Barry Windsor-Smith's Freebooters this Winter. Coincidentally, I was drawing lots of knights with David Gilmour hair. The book collects the Freebooters storyline originally published in his Storyteller series of the '90s (one of the few worthwhile things to come out of that decade). Windsor-Smith reveals some of the false starts to the series, including a scene where Axus (the hero of sorts) is found sleeping so soundly and swarming with flies, he's mistaken for a corpse. I found this so appealing I had to give it a try.

Note: this is an extremely tedious endeavor that I cannot recommend! It's hard to draw masses of flies that wind up looking like flies! On a side note, I have to say, any realistic depiction of the Middle Ages should include lots and lots of flies, gnats, fleas, maggots, locusts, etc.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Hyborian Age

Barbarians- a love story. By the time I began drawing in the early-mid '70s, the Sword n' Sorcery craze had splashed into the mainstream. If I wasn't drawing Spider-man or Tarzan, it was Conan or Kull who held my attention. Frazetta posters covered my room and I wore out comics stealing from Barry Smith and John Buscema. I wonder what my parents thought about that.
I came home from school one day to find my dad had spent his day making me a helmet with horns on it. It had mock jewels and Frazetta-like designs- I loved it! We lived in the country, so I grabbed a machete, put on the helmet and roamed around the woods. I was 13 or 14 at the time. Imagine being a farmer in Mid-Missouri glancing up to see a pimply teenager striding through the woods with a viking helmet, and machete lookin' for trouble. Good Lord!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's clobberin' time!

Sometime after Christmas. We bought our son the Marvel Encyclopedia and I was struck by how lame the Thing was depicted on the cover! He's a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe for Jack's sake! So I took the same pose and tried to make it awesomer. Which I did.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Looking the Part

A while ago, I was trying to design a villain. So what's more villainous than facial tattoos and a crown roast necklace? Well, a series of nipples on one's head, obviously!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cute Car

On a recent lunch break, scanning a local parking lot for things to draw. Probably February from the look of the long shadows. I was trying to push it's cuteness as I remember. Oddly enough, I have trouble drawing eyes level, and I notice the headlights are a little crooked. I strive to be consistent!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


December or January. The typical female ninja assassin bookkeeping type I obsess over for a while then quit. I wish I'd seen the big Samurai armour exhibit at the Met earlier this year. My son's title.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Formal Attire

Someday I'll have a bunch of 18th and 19th century costumes made up for me. I was always stunned by the photos of the Wyeth family romping about in seemingly accurate Revolutionary War era costumes. I honestly don't know how people get access to these things. Some time ago, my brother-in-law took me to visit his friend Jim Brothers' sculpture studio in Kansas. His work for the D-Day Museum and monument in Normandy, allowed him access to piles of vintage WWII equipment. I drooled.
I have access to what a badly dressed male would've worn in the 1990's and bits and pieces of Boy Scout uniforms from the 1970's. It's a start, I guess!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Faces

Whenever I get stuck and need something to draw, I tend to make up faces. It's a bad habit, since I draw faces the most, I should pick something I don't often draw like feet or pickles. Maybe I should draw animal faces for a change.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

e pluribus unum

Today's easel. I broke out the oils today and spent a beautiful spring day in the basement in front of the easel. We'll see what she looks like when its finished.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Boxer

What happened after I re-imagined my son as a boxer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Big trouble last night. My son asked me to draw a picture of Pikachu for his "Pokemon files". He became violent when I gave him this. Eventually, his mother drew him a proper picture of Pikachu. Some people just don't tease about Pokemon, I guess!
I recall an exercise at the Kubert School to demonstrate how hard it is to recall details of well-known characters. 2 students would stand side-by-side at the chalkboard and attempt to draw the most accurate version of a given character. Mine was Donald Duck. Within a few strokes, I realized I had no clue how to draw Donald Duck, so I finished out my "duck" with a Hitler mustache, swastika armband and corn-cob pipe. I didn't win.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Planes and Spheres

I have no excuse for this one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Fashionable Vest

I think I'd just re-watched the Assassination of Jesse James etc., for the 12th time around the holidays (many more since then). I was also sniffing around Sergio Toppi's work. A true master. He's dangerous though, a bit like teaching yourself how to write by reading James Joyce; it's easy to get in over your head! I think I did this in bed right before I drifted off.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Noblest Art

A sketch from November, I think. My son studies Suzuki violin. I've learned the importance of proper posture.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Hand Period

This is from '03 or '04, Acrylic on Paper 24 X 36". I did this as a preliminary to a larger painting. I arranged a couple of panels together so that I'd have an area 30 X 88". Something didn't work right about it, I'm not sure what, but it was a case where the preliminary was stronger than the final version. Someday I'll figure out how to mount this'un.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Natural Look

Last November-ish. Please don't judge my proportions too harshly!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Beard

Back to Prismacolor Black, my current pencil of choice. My advice: buy 5 at a time and keep a sharpener handy. The guy with the beard is from my head, the fellow with the mustache is from the newspaper, probably.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fancy Pumpkin

I must have done a dozen of these, I was toying with the idea of using it as my avatar here. The pages of my sketchbook got pretty soggy with cross-hatching. Give me a monocle and a tuxedo and a pumpkin for a head and I'd look just like this. My son contributed the title.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Ink

More inking exercises from a few months ago. I remember swiping the pose from a photo of a French actress featured in Parade Magazine or some such piffle.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

oui, et non

Sketching with the television on. I think I was watching the latest re-make of "The Man in the Iron Mask". It doesn't matter, I don't need an excuse to draw a good 19th century nautical hat.

Monday, April 5, 2010

From October, I think. It's an inking assignment I gave myself that I never got around to inking. I was probably obsessing over Barry Windsor-Smith again. It's funny, I still think in terms of school assignments ....

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Third-Greatest Generation

Every once in a while, a newspaper photo grabs me and I need to draw it. Granted, usually its a photo of a local misdemeanor or Wal-Martian. This is from October, when I was breaking in some new pen nibs. I think I was attracted to the strange '60s style of the clothes and hairstyle in the photo. She would've been right at home on "Star Trek" or "The Avengers".
Early imprinting still makes me respond to a bouffant, false eyelashes and a mini-skirt as the height of feminine beauty.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I'd bought a bunch of new pen nibs and various brands of drawing ink a few months ago. I spent some time getting my sea legs back.

Friday, April 2, 2010