Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cassie Hack

Just found out that this image appeared as a pin-up at the back of Hack/Slash - My First Maniac #4....also found out that the pages were printed out of order for this issue so my pin-up comes at a strange point in the comic and it's caused a lot of confusion among readers.  Anyway, for you H/S fans out there, I'm doing another cover featuring Cassie, and this time it's for the Zombies VS Cheerleaders one-shot from 5Finity.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beware the Daleks!

A quick and dirty render for fun.  One of the first things I built with Maya was the TARDIS (hence the awful texture job - I had no idea what I was doing) so tonight I decided to have some fun with it and do a quick render of it alongside the Dalek (which I made after having considerably more experience using Maya)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pin Up Tutorial - Chapter 1

Chapter 1.  So You Wanna Make It In Comics...
The Magnum Opus of comic tutorials this will be. A complete guide to life, the universe and everything.  Well, maybe not, but you will have to forgive me if I start going on about things that seem like complete common-sense. Back when I was first starting out, it was hard to find a lot of decent tutorials that spoke directly to the comic artist noob, so I want to share anything and everything that I've managed to pick up through trial and error. I also want this to be a completely honest document, and by that, I mean I'm not going to be afraid to share my artistic shortcomings, self-doubts and general silliness. How is this helpful to you? I want you to know that art is always a learning one has all the answers and no one is an expert. We're all novices because the moment we think we know everything, we stop learning. When kids ask me how to draw comic characters, I tell them to get some tracing paper and trace everything. That's how I started out, and I was amazed to find out that I wasn't the only one who got their foundation like this. As a child, you obviously don't realize it at the time, but constantly tracing stuff builds up muscle memory and you start to subconsciously get a correct sense of proportions, perspective, and layouts. I used to go through my issues of DC's Whos Who and look for images of characters with fairly basic, skin-tight costumes and then I would trace over the outlines so that I could draw my own costumes and faces on them.  After months of doing this, I didn't need to trace the comics anymore and I could draw them from memory. But if you're going to try this yourself, or suggest this to a child, make sure you use the work of great technical artists such as George Perez, John Byrne or John Romita Sr. to trace from! These guys really know their anatomy and dynamic poses...on the flipside, try to stay away from some of the artists from the 90's! You know what I'm talking about...
At this point, I should also mention that these tutorials are mainly focused towards working on covers or pin-ups...if you try and use my coloring style for the interior of a comic book, then may your applicable deity have mercy on your soul because IT WILL TAKE YOU FOREVER to color a page. To make any kind of money as a colorist, you need to be able to do 2-3 pages a day, because starting out, you will probably be making roughly $40 per page. Then, if you multiply that by 22 (there are typically 22 pages in a comic), your total income for that month will be...uh (checking calculator)...$880. And that's before the Taxman and Paypal take a healthy chunk of it. You should also be prepared for the fact that you probably won't get paid right away so be sure that you'll be able to live comfortably for a month or so with no income. Some companies require you to invoice them for each job once the entire work for that month has been completed, and even when that goes through the proper channels, it will still take a couple of weeks for the cheque to arrive. However, if you live outside the States, add another 10 to 15 days while your bank's computers refuse to acknowledge the existence of the internet and apparently still use carrier pigeons to converse with their financial counterpart in the land of the free. Anyway, as I was saying before I got sidetracked, if you are going to be working on the interior pages of a comic, then your best bet would be to use the 'cuts' method of digital coloring. This method dates back to the early 90's when many of you were still creating scratch and sniff artwork in your's also a great way to digitally color if you don't have a Wacom or any other brand of digital input apparatus.  I started out using this method, but it's been so long since I tried it that it would probably do more harm than good if I were to try and teach it here. Click here for a good tutorial on 'Cuts' coloring
Ok,  it might seem like things got off to a negative start back there, but to be truthful, Digital Colorists have the best opportunity to make more money starting out because we can do more pages a month than pencilers (who are lucky to make $60 per page in the beginning, and can rarely do more than 22 pages a month), and it's also a great way to get your foot in the door, because let's be's the least glamorous part of the industry so the competition is sparse. Forget those few remaining glorified tracers out there, if you really want to have friends and family members look upon you with confusion, bewilderment, and a hint of pity, then tell them you color comic books for a living. Watch for the blank stare as they imagine you lying on the floor with a pack of crayons and a $2 Whitman coloring book.  No fancy terms like Photoshop Creative Suite, Wacom Intuos 4 or Workstation PC/Mac is going to disguise the  fact that, in their eyes, you color other peoples pictures for a living. If you are able to deal with being the bassplayer in the Guitar Hero world of illustration, then congratulations and move on to the next step.
Again, it might seem like I'm putting down the coloring profession, but as any colorist will attest to, they're actually the backbone of the comic industry. If you were to strip away the colors from many comics, the resulting pages would look like the bathroom floor of an abattoir (in particular, that little area behind the toilet where no one really ever cleans properly). Yeah, I went there! And even though I made a little dig at inkers earlier, they are actually your best friend, because the first time that you get an un-inked page to color, which is entirely likely to be the first page you ever get to color nowadays, you will yearn for the pristine, razor sharp, penmanship of the master draftsman who was mercilessly mocked in 'Chasing Amy.' Think I'm exaggerating? Find a comic page with a forest that hasn't been inked and try coloring it.  You can find the razorblades in the bathroom...make sure you leave a note.  Fortunately, pencilers are becoming more aware of the technical process these days and a lot of them are tightening up their lineart so that the lack of inks are not so apparent.  And this is a great jumping off point for the first technical part of this the next section, I'll go over the initial stage of creating your first cover/pin-up.

Animation Test #14 - Flour Sack

Animation Test #16 - Laser

Animation Test #17 - The Walk Cycle

Animation Test #11 - Stickman Jump

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mercy Character Design

This is a design I did recently for a character that I plan to model with ZBrush/Maya in the near future.  Her name is Mercy, and the inspiration for her comes from Harley Quinn and Pris from Blade Runner.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hack/Slash Sketch Cards

The third set of sketch cards I did for 5Finity were based on Tim Seeley's wonderfully entertaining comics, 'Hack/Slash.' I love this comic, so it was a thrill to massacre Cassie and Vlad in my style. And yet again, I was more comfortable with the medium and I discovered these magically little things called Copic markers...

P'ups Trading Cards

This was the second set of cards I did for 5Finity and this time, the concept was Pin Ups and puppies. I was a bit more comfortable with drawing at that size this time, so these turned out a bit better than the Mandy ones, in my opinion. And yes, that is indeed the lovely Drakaina making another appearance in my work, on the top right corner.


This is the artwork that I did for Hal-Con. The fiery red-head is the lovely Drakaina, who was the inspiration for this piece. If you would like find out more about her (and see LOTS more), head on over to her website for some wonderful eye-candy.


The first, and hopefully annual, Hal-con is now over and needless to say, I had a great time. This was actually my first time attending a Con, and it was such a bizarre, nerve-racking, wonderful experience. The lovely Drakaina (the world's number 2 fantasy art model according to and I shared an autograph table and we were fortunate enough to be placed next to Walter Koenig (Chekov from Star Trek) and Denise Crosby (Tasha Yar from Star Trek:TNG and Dexter). They were both incredibly nice and gracious to their fans. Again, I hope this becomes an annual event, because I'm really looking forward to going again next year. In the meantime though, I have the Halifax Gothic Christmas convention coming up in December where once again, I'll be joining the lovely Drakaina for some more autograph signing.
Chekov in the foreground, Drakaina and I in the background

This time,we're next to Denise 'Tasha Yar' Crosby

Drakaina, me and Amy Kerr

Mandy Sketch Cards

A little while back, I was asked by 5Finity to contribute some sketch cards for the 'Mandy' set of collectible trading cards. For those of you who don't know, Mandy is wonderful character created by Dean Yeagle and is the subject of many of his cartoons for Playboy Magazine. I'm lucky enough to count Dean as a friend so I jumped at the chance to honor him and his creation. Unfortunately, I don't do a whole lot of work with colored pencils and the results are obvious. Some turned out ok, others didn't. Dean has the baseball one, so I'm glad he got to keep the best card.
Ps. They actually didn't look THIS bad, but I used a crappy scanner to make a digital copy of them and a lot of the shading has gone missing here.


It's been posted for a while on my main website and DeviantArt page, but I thought I'd pass along the info here as well. I contributed a pin-up to the Dan DeCarlo 'Jetta of the 21st Century' collection recently and it's now available to order from Amazon with the following blurb:

"Dan DeCarlo's futuristic, curvy teenage girl, Jetta, zoomed through the future a full decade before Judy Jetson. In the 1950s, the fan-favorite artist, beloved for his portrayals of Betty and Veronica, Josie, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, delineated the madcap adventures of Jetta, "Teen-Age Sweetheart of the 21st Century," with obvious delight. The comics, collected for the first time in their entirety and in living color will be accompanied by a revealing introduction by Craig Yoe who interviewed DeCarlo about these timeless treasures. There's also a bevy of rare, unpublished, original art and photographs, plus Jetta pin-ups by top comic book artists and Hollywood animators. "

You can order this wonderful collection of art for the low, low price of $14.95 here .

Stuff from the Vault

A little while ago, someone on my DeviantArt page asked why I chose to color everything realistically, but my drawing style was so cartoony? The simple answer is, I wasn't having any fun when I drew in a typical, Top Cow comic style. I used to draw like that for years, but I was always unhappy with the end result looking too stiff (which it will always be when you draw in that style). Then I came across the work of Dean Yeagle and Bruce Timm and they opened my eyes to a drawing style that was both fun, and naturalistic. So here's a couple of old school pics I did for Top Cow, and I hated every minute of drawing them.