Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Just Yooouuu and Meee, Punk Rock Girrrrrl

Tuesday night was awesome. We had a big group, including Ryan, Tom, Jon, Derek, Rachel, and two awesome artists from work: Virginia and Brent Critchfield. Lots of drawings, and good enough times that we spaced late night sushi and had to scramble for later-night pizza and beer, instead. Woo!

So the first page was warmup, as usual. Ryan had declared he was going to spend the evening drawing women, so I decided I would join in. The gal in the upper-left was first. I just wanted a cute, spritely, tom-boyish type. The next girl was the one in the upper-right, and I was aiming for someone with a bit more of a nose and longer face. I was thinking about it because I put myself up on an online dating thing and there was a girl on their with the strangest, longest face I have ever seen. It's so easy to forget when doing the same ol' face you instinctively keep doodling out of your head that human heads can have such wild proportions. (Now I'm thinking of that rubber-faced guy from Delicatessen and City of Lost Children.) The last gal was done when Ryan mentioned drawing an enraged woman, and after finishing up the doodle I gave her something to say to justify her anger. But seriously, if she doesn't chill out, she will wind up being a dark jedi.

Then true to recent form, Ryan and I traded some poses (his experience on his site). I might have screwed up with the right arm, which seemed close to her head to me, so I wanted to do something with it. For lack of things to grab, I decided her own head would work, and so she became stretchy-headed. This sort of twisted, messed up body stuff reminds me of things Ottley and (drawing night OG) Mike May like doing, and it was fun to do something that made that connection in my head.

But why always draw attractive younger women and not attractive older ones? I started drawing grandma before Ryan handed me the above pose, and decided to finish it here. I liked thinking of flabbier skin and had a good time with her. But when she was done, I wanted to make another body interacting with her. I had the vague image of a sharp, skinnier girl launching off of her body with her fist in the air, but the rough pose looked kind of like she could hold a mic, and she became punk rock girl. I liked doing the skinnier body, unkept pubes, crazy hairdo and makeup; it was a lot of fun. But I felt obligated to make her yell out some wannabe punk lyrics that would drive her sweet, naked grandmother crazy. What a waste of youth.

I love it when Ryan gives me superhero poses because I'm usually imagining the really awkward (as opposed to powerful) extremes that happen when someone catches you in an action photo and your body and face is all twisted in some fashion you never thought possible. And nude didn't seem right, so I gave her a quick costume and added some fancy sound effects ("onomatopoeia" is such an awkward word).

I noticed I hadn't gotten any brush time in, so I begged Ryan for another pose. He gave me this great loose sketch of a girl leaning on some weird midget thing and I was really excited to try doing ink work over it. Some of the lines were decent but I think I really botched her head and breasts, and the little fella seems like he should have way more texture in him. Ryan was saying that he will brush upwards to get rid of some of the jitters and stay in control, but it really felt unnatural to me. Baby steps, I guess.

Wanting to practice more with the brush pen, I just started doodling the next guy. I liked how he turned out, but it really feels only semi-useful when you aren't drawing over something. The reason is because just about any line, even fucked up can be turned into a happy accident. I think that's why a lot of the ink-only drawings I do (I think) have wonky stylistic proportion choices; somewhere I hork the line and I just cover it with black and make thick hairy bits or I just embrace the weirdness in the doodle. But it looks nice enough... I think, anyway.

The night was winding down but I was feeling a groove, so I wanted to belt out one last quicky. And that's that. Peace out.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Butt Dinks and WTF Hair

This first drawing was done during a meeting at work last Friday on the back of one of those daily desk calendar papers. I have this horrible pen that I hate that only spews ink about half the time I write with it in a notebook that Disney gave me, and I tried testing it on another piece of paper. I thought the almond eyes on the right fella looked nice, but the cartoons chasing each other on the shirt of the other guy make me so happy. I have since tried three other pens on the Disney notebook and decided that it is a demon notebook that rejects all ink. Bleh!

On Tuesday night it was just Scholes and Ottley joining me, the studs. I thought my "warmup page" turned out nicer than usual but I guess nothing fancy was going on. The first guy (top-mid) was fun because it led to a word for those lines around his head: "dinks." I think that should be a word-word because dinks make drawings so much more interesting. When I doodled the hand near the lady's nose, I imagined that it was the upper-right guy's, but liked that I couldn't tell for sure whose it was. But my favorite thing on the page was the guy with the secret message in his hair.

Ryan asked if there was a theme for the night, so I suggested we do another pose-swap, this time where we provide a pose that the other would ink so I could get in more brush-pen time. The brush pen is still real novel for me -- I'm having fun with those blacks -- but I hate inking my own stuff since I like the sketches, so inking Ryan's pose with no regard to his style was a fun workaround. (Maybe I need some of that transparency paper stuff, but I bet it'd be kinda hard to see things with the mediocre lighting of the cafe (something I worry about if I get a web cam set up).) Anyway, it's interesting to evaluate my lines; they're very thick and black, and remind me of my childhood pal Joe Abraham's first inks. I need to figure out smaller strokes. The other thing I notice is that my lines are really wobbly. If you look at the back edge of the knife it's really obvious. I need to ask Ryan if there's some trick for getting the wobblies out. Maybe I'm too old for this shit! If you're curious about the pose I did for Ryan, he posted it on his site. That guy knows what he's doing with a brush pen.

There were no dinks on the last page, but I got back to them here. I was looking around the cafe -- maybe stretching my neck -- and saw a guy on the second floor balcony with glasses who was balding but had this really uppity hairstyle. I tried to capture it, but his hair was a lot more wiry than my drawing suggests. I can't say it's a good likeness -- I didn't really get a good look at his face -- but it was fun to do. And I have no idea what's up with the hair and the gal. It's just nuts.

So Ryan was doing another Silver Surfer. He was trying to get the legs looking right and I failed when I tried to help. It inspired me to ask Ryan for another pose, this time asking for him to intentionally try to kick my ass with perspective. (You can see what I drew for him on his site.) I kinda thought he threw me a softball, so I tried going straight to inks. It looks screwy in places but it was fun. I wanted to add more to the page, so I tried to make more figures integrated in perspective with the fella I first inked. Not much respect went out to composition, so the one guy's head is completely missing. I think Tom felt bad that Ryan and I got to sign each other's pages, so he got to sign this one as a witness. Dinks may be powerful, but not as powerful as a signature from Tom.

The last drawing just started looking real... effeminate? It was fun to doodle, and seemed like the only drawing of the night worthy of the name "Supermisterawesomefancylad." But my drawings always get jealous, and I think the other supermisterawesomefancy lad begrudged the original's title. Note the ultimate dinkage in use: butt dinks.

I never really make much mention of what Tom is doing so please indulge me: he does thumbnail after thumbnail of these awesome, awesome backgrounds. I don't know if he'll post them, but definitely check out his site to see how phenomenal his work is. It just rarely overlaps with all the figure crap Ottley and I are usually up to.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hellboytaur

Tuesday's attendees were the fabulous Mr. Diesta, the incontinent Dr. Scholes, M.D., and the affable SeƱor Ottley. Page one was warmup. I started trying to imagine a dog boy, and while doodling onward, Ryan told me about how he always has a hard time drawing the Silver Surfer. Naturally, this made me want to try, and for the love of god, I can't remember the weird rules of comic book reflections. (I should try again later ignoring the rules and just doing what makes sense to me.) Comics have some weird rules, like the "dark costume" black blotches most comic artists put on Spiderman's pants or on Captain America's forehead, behind the "A." By the time I got to the surfboard, I was too lazy to really mess with it.

Page two was a follow-the-nose effort. I kept mushing lines around until I ended up with that Hellboyish, centaurish thing. I don't really know what I was aiming for but didn't really like him in the end, and what could cheer me up more than a flying little girl in a leotard? Why, trying and failing to connect the two drawings with the whip of the Hellboytaur's tail (of course).

Page three was a work-related pile of poop and I can't share it without Mickey arriving (naked) from the future to destroy me.

Page four was more brush pen madness. I begged Ottley for it so I could play around s'more. It's just fun to speed up the process with it and try to figure out how to get good line quality. After doodling the head and right hand, the gal from a couple weeks ago dropped by to say hello. She said she could only draw stick figures, and I tried to explain that that's all she needs, and made up a story she could draw about the Stick Men of Earth being invaded by the Saturnese Circle People (because Saturn has lots of circles around it). The Stick Men go to the moon because its craters are pencil sharpeners, and sharpen their heads so when the circle people try to roll over them, they get popped. The only thing capable of stopping that kind of madness is a Spanish-speaking diplomat with a minor in peace and conflict studies, don't you think? Oh yeah! So I finished the drawing with a tortured stick man (it matched the right hand) and Ryan let me keep the brush pen! He is my hero.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fat Diesta and the Brush Pen

The Tuesday night attendees were Tom Scholes, Jon Diesta, and Derek & Rachel Hunter. Ryan was out due to sitting duties. The night started (and ended) as all do, with a lot of random stuff. I can't really think of much noteworthy in the first page to share; I always find it interesting to draw more muscley types because it isn't really my nature. I'm certainly not a muscley type myself and I tend to enjoy more lithe forms. The gal in the upper-right was fun, but probably just because I love bare-naked ladies.

The next page was a little more interesting. I think Tom asked for another Tacocat, so I tried to oblige from the top of my head. I am truly horrible with animals. Well "truly" might not be fair; I think they look relaxed and natural enough, for the most part, but they never look like the animal I am trying to draw. An alternate universe cat, perhaps. It might be fun to grab some reference one of these days and see if I can embarrass myself without "off the top of my head" as a weak defense. There are so many things I wish I could draw better. Next up was the guy with the gloves and the flower-penis. How I survived last week without drawing a ding-dong, I will never know. Tom promised to paint the guy (before he saw the finished product), so feel free to harass him about it; I'm not sure I have the heart to. Finally, on the upper-right, I tried to do a fat version of my roommate in a muumuu. Not the most flattering or accurate rendition, so a public apology is only fair. Sorry, man.

Sometimes the comic types (Ryan and Derek) will tote along a brush pen (at least I think that's what they're called), and I will beg to futz around with it. I have nearly no experience with them, but they're always fun to play with, just because I can't make mistakes (or at least have to figure out a way to hide them), and they just make the drawings more official. Besides, I like feeling like I'm acquiring a new skill. I doodled the guy with the Wolverine-do in the upper-left, first. Then came Human Bert. I swear I have one or two more renditions of a human Bert; I have no idea why the prospect is so fascinating to me.

The next page was inspired by Rachel's striped sweater. I really like stripes, and enjoyed trying to do something female and clean while minimizing mistakes.

Non-sequitur: Feist's Brandy Alexander is playing on the iTunes, and it's blowing my mind with how beautiful it is. Her latest album, The Reminder, helped me through a broken heart. Here's a link to what looks like a (good) unofficial video.

The last page was a couple doodles I got off before we hit sushi and sake. The female figure seemed a little awkward but I went with it. I still like looking at it since it always looks intriguingly screwy to me. It's hard when you get close to a drawing to dissect things that later look ridiculously bad, and I wonder if this one fits in that category. (Don't tell me, It'll ruin the fun.)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Site Plans

I thought it would be a good idea to share my plans for the site, as a way of making them a bit more concrete for me, and a way of making things more intriguing for you. Of course, there is always the execution phase, but let's start with la-la land for now. Some things on my mind that I would like to do for the site:
  • Scan & post art from 2004-2008 - I wasn't as active during this period, but there is probably a good 150 pages that I can start peppering with my other updates.
  • Bring a web cam to drawing nights - I at least wanted to experiment with this and see if there was a way to get it working. I thought it would be fun for people to see not just the doodles but how they are put together.
  • Move art from beeba.net to picasa - no sense in paying the monthly fee for hosting when free works just as well, but I'd like to do this right. This means not just getting them there, but transferring comments I made over the years on beeba with them.
  • Re-scan old art - A big pain in the ass project so I can have higher-rez versions of my current scans. I only kept 100 dpi versions thus far, and it would give me a new chance to better archive them (naming convention, etc.) and prepare them to...
  • Make a big book of my doodles - for myself if no one else. I'm not much of a pack rat, so it would be nice to get rid of the pile of paper and have a neat book of drawings made through some online publishing something or other. I have no idea what outside interest there would be in a sketchbook from yours meekly, or what would be in it, but feel free to share your opinion.
  • Share some how-to's using the webcam - long ago on beeba.net there was a lot of interest in tutorial-type stuff. If there is still interest, I thought this would be the way to do it. I've pretty much resigned myself to the idea that written tutorials would just take forever and never seem small enough to get to, but turning on a camera, doodling, and babbling about what I'm thinking seems in the realm of reality.
So I have no idea what the pipe-dream to reality ratio here is, but there ya go; some stuff to bug me about getting done. ;-)