Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Eight


Who better to celebrate the holiday with than three of the biggest 'names' in Hollywood horror: the Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, and Dracula! Three of my favorite movie characters, to be sure. I hope you like this latest addition to my Halloween lineup.

This picture has been the most difficult of every one I've worked on. Not the drawing itself, but to bring it from the sketch initially done to what you see above. It took me about 6 hours to get it to this point. And that, kids, is why I'm inking my drawings from now on. But don't get me wrong- I loved putting the picture together, especially since I could put the old Universal Studios logo in the background. Oh- as to why they don't look so much like the movie characters? Eh- I just wanted to have some fun with them.

I hope everyone has a wonderfully haunted Halloween, and come on back tomorrow (yes, tomorrow!) for some extra Halloween images. Why?


(I mean, seriously, if 'The Simpsons' can run their treehouse of horror episode on November 4th, i can post more Halloween pictures.)

Music: "The Monster Mash" - Bobby 'Boris' Pickett

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Seven

Costumes you probably won't see on kids this year...
From left to right: Jason Voorhees, Kid Cthulhu, and Hannibal Lechter. Okay, you might see Jason, but probably not so cute-looking.

This basically came out of an idea I had of 'really bad costume ideas for kids'. Jason ended up in there because he was so cute. I know the stroller looks nothing like a real stroller, but if I were to go after reference photos like I usually do, this sketch would've stopped being fun and turned into work. Not that I have a problem with reference photos (I have books of them) but going to that much trouble for something that's supposed to be a quick sketch defeats the purpose. So, there you go. Also- if you're wondering why the pictures suddenly look a lot smoother, it's because this one, and Pinhead before it, were actually inked. Makes photoshop a whole lot easier to work with sometimes. You'll see why tomorrow.

Anyway, off to the dreamlands!
Also- I had to fix the poll over at the right- please place your vote again, those of you who did the first time (thanks!). Remember, 'vote early, vote often'.

Music: "Ride of the Valkyrie" - Richard Wagner

Monday, October 29, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Six (six six)

"We have such sights to show you..."

I decided to show some affection for a newer generation of horror movie with this outing. This is Pinhead, one of the Cenobites from Clive Barker's movie Hellraiser, which I believe is based on his short story "The Hell-bound Heart", though I could be wrong. Pinhead's one of the newer 'name' monsters out there, alongside Jason, Freddy, and Michael Myers. In many ways, he's actually a lot more of a 'mature' monster than the others. Whereas they are mostly just about killing and killing, the Cenobites are about pain, and the... let's say darker aspects of human nature. The true terror of the Cenobites is that there's some small part of their victims who don't mind being the victims... or something along those lines. It's been easily a decade since I've seen the movies, and longer still since I've read the stories. Still, it goes to show they have some lasting power, if I'm still this familiar with them after all this time. I remember the movies being fun, but freaky. Perhaps unsurprisingly. Though the Hellraiser movies also led to one of the funniest images ever, but it's really something you needed to be there to appreciate.

Anyway, this was meant to be a quick post of a sketch, but once I decided to lay down a background, it was all over. This was actually a pretty quick run through Photoshop- mostly a matter of layering and finding an appropriate image of the box (the Lament Configuration or LeMarchand's box, to those in the know) to put in. The drawing itself also went along pretty quickly, once I found decent reference for his costume. I'm pretty pleased with the outcome, considering it didn't take a great deal of time.

That's all for today, but I'll have something to post again tomorrow, and again on Wednesday. Woo Hoo! Oh, there's also a new poll up- the last Halloween-themed one.


Music: "In Your Room" - Depeche Mode

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Five

This is Frankenstein Superstar. Or, if you like, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Though the street is actually Rodeo Drive. I've had this idea in my head for months now, long before I got it into my head to do Halloween posts. As you may or may not know, I'm a huge fan of the Universal Monsters, so they were long on my "to do" list of things to draw. For whatever reason, 'Frankenstein Superstar' popped into my head, though I had no idea of what it would look like,other than a vague Andy Warhol homage. Cut to a few weeks ago, when I laid out the original sketch for what might or might not lead to FS. It turned out very well, especially given that it really was just a sketch. It managed to hit just the right notes for the look I wanted. About then I figured out approximately what I wanted to do with the overall picture. What you see above is more or less that, minus the supermodels and paparazzi standing behind him... maybe next time. I'll most like post the original sketch later on down the line, as I like it a lot. I like this one too- something different, and fun. I tried to stick to my original idea of the color being more representational than actually trying to color it "realistically", but as I look at it, it does a pretty good job of looking like shading. For kicks, I might try to recolor it as a straight-up picture, like the others before it.

I have three or four further Halloween pictures, so there will most likely be an additional post Tuesday.

That's it for this week. Hope everyone has a good weekend- anyone going to Halloween parties this weekend make sure to have a good time, and think twice before necking with any vampires.

Yeah, I said it.

Music: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" - Edvard Grieg

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Four

Well, once again, things are not going according to plan. But that's okay, I always keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.

Today I've posted a sketch of one of the most recognized faces in cinema history. This is Dracula, as portrayed by Bela Lugosi in a career-defining (and career-destroying) performance. Everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE, when asked to describe Dracula, will almost immediately say something along the lines of "I vant to suck your blood". why? Lugosi. Every actor who's ever performed as the count has had to measure up against Lugosi's portrayal. And honestly, it's not the acting so much as it is his presence. We're still talking about his role today, 76 years later, so there must be something to it.

I did this sketch a little over a year ago, in a sketchbook that was a gift from my brother. The idea had been to make it a cool sketchbook, and then exchange them so we could see what havoc the other had wrought. I started out with some "important" sketches, but I couldn't stay away from one of my great loves, and so I had to draw something monster-related. Dracula seemed a natural choice. Or unnatural, as the case may be. The drawing was done based off a small statue I have, and so I tried to give it more depth than what one of my drawings would normally have. I think it worked well, and holds up pretty well still. Hope you like it.

In other news, I went to a Halloween parade tonight with my friends Jason and April. A good time was had by all, though it seems as though the paraders are reluctant to throw candy to adults. Also, Michael Jackson music was very popular amongst the parade people. Mixed messages, I tell you. Additionally, I discovered there is such a thing as Library Cart Drill Teams. If only I had known...

Lastly, there's a very good chance that I will be posting more than thrice next week, and maybe even over this weekend coming. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough Halloween sketches, but it now appears that I might have too many. Which is a good thing. But we'll see.

Go now. Y'all come back and visit, ya hear?

Music: "Swan Lake" - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Three

Sorry, you're not getting much of a Halloween post today. My original plans for some slick-looking Halloween-type goodness fell by the wayside this weekend. I got some more drawings done, but I'd like to take some time and work more with the ones I've got in the pipeline, to make them look extra-sweet. Plus, Dave's going to give me some Photoshop pointers, so I don't have to try to figure out everything on my own. It's all about the shoulders of giants, my friends...

So anyway, this here is my idea of ass-kicking Auror Alistor "Mad Eye" Moody, one of the many great supporting characters of the often-spoken-of Harry Potter series. Moody was a fan-favorite from the start- which is impressive, considering the whole first book in which we meet him, he's not really him. (you needed to be there, I guess). I know he's quite the favorite of a number of fans, so I hope they like what I've done. This is pretty much how I imagined him looking, with his big freaking electric blue eye and the missing chunk from his nose. I like how this came out- pretty grizzled looking, like he spent years catching bludgers with his face. I'll probably/hopefully return to this picture to give it a good working over with Photoshop- I wanna see that blue eye!

Alrighty, enough for now. I have nothing else of interest to contribute, other than if you're looking for a fun and off-kilter movie, I recommend renting "A Series of Unfortunate Events". Very fun, and an amazingly unique-looking movie. It's worth watching just for the production design. Oh, and Jim Carrey did not suck in it.
Oh- looks like the voting is in, and it's a tie between Frankie and Fang-face. Unsurprising, given the pervasiveness of their images throughout the world of pop culture. sigh... if only everyone knew and loved the Thing From Another World... Thanks to everyone for voting. New poll is as always, to the right.


Music: "O Fortuna" - Carl Orff

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Posts of Halloween, Two

"Pardon me, but has anyone witnessed an ectoplasmic entity?"

Meet Egon Spengler, circa 1890.

Steampunk is "a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power" (thanks,!). It's also a style of art, a role-playing game, and a way of life. Additionally, it's one of those things that strikes my fancy- probably the elaborateness of the machinery, coupled with the... properness... of the Victorian-era settings (whether it takes place in the past or the distant future, they all seem to wear Victorian-era clothing, of a sort).

==Overly-Elaborate Explanation Follows. Proceed at Your Own Risk==

Fans of Steampunk will often take current genre staples (Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, etc.) and re-imagine them in a Victorian setting. Since that's world-building, and a style I really like, that's what I did here. I took the basic concept of Ghostbusters (guys with crazy backpacks and guns who trap ghosts) and tried to imagine what they would like back in the 19th century, Steampunk-style. One of the hallmarks of Steampunk materials is craftsmanship- every piece of equipment very much looks like a piece of art. I tried to get that across a little bit by making the gun more elaborate, and using wood- trying to make it look more like a rifle. I also had some fun with the backpacks. The idea is the vacuum tubes are originally flat out, like the spokes of a wagon wheel. As the pack powers up, the wheel begins spinning and the tubes begin to pivot upward until they hit a 45 or 55 degree angle. This would make a nice visual effect, if nothing else. The ghost trap is kind of a reverse of the disappearing bird trick (seen in 'The Prestige'). It lies flat on the ground until the ghost is overhead. The switch is thrown, and it springs up around the ghost.

==Overly-Elaborate Explanation Ends.==

Oh, don't forget the goggles.

For more steampunk fun, please take a look at 'Brass Goggles', listed to the right under the Links o' Doom.

That's it for now. See you Friday.

Music: "Also Sprach Zarathustra" - Richard Strauss

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Posts of Halloween, One

Since Halloween is coming up quickly, and it's one of my favorite holidays, I thought I'd start posting some Halloween-themed pictures.

This one is a quick sketch of Ray, a character from one of my favorite movies, Ghostbusters. This movie is one of the most quotable movies ever- I've long argued that it's possible to hold an entire conversation using only quotes from the movie (admittedly though, I've never tried). It's hardly an accurate picture, but everyone can look at it and get the idea of who the character is supposed to be. As I said, it's a quick sketch, but one that turned into about an hour's worth of tinkering in Photoshop. I'm pleased with it, especially considering its roots.

Next- more Halloween goodness!

Music: "Ghostbusters" - Ray Parker, Jr. (duh...)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I'm not up for writing a lot tonight- I'm feeling a bit under the weather. So, in lieu of more scribblings and ramblings, I thought I'd take a minute to post some real-world stuff. These are two pictures of sunsets at Chincoteague this year. These were taken off the deck of the rented house. I pretty much walked outside, held up the camera, and pressed the button. All the rest of the work was not done by me.

Hopefully I'll have something else to post later on, otherwise you're stuck with whatever pictures I can find on my camera or my phone. Or god forbid, more writing.

Oh- new poll to the right.

Music: "Lakeside Park" - Rush

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wolfman's got... you know...

Continuing the Monster Squad revival, here's Patrick, otherwise known as The Main Character's Best Friend. The idea here, as with Rudy, was to modernize the character, to make him look like an actual modern-day teenager as opposed to the super-clean looking 80's kids from the original. I think he worked pretty well here overall- given what little there was to go with from the original to today. I mean let's face it, the characters in the movie don't have much 'character' to draw on, really. There's Main Character, Best Friend of Said, Cool Kid, Fat Kid, Little Boy, and Little Girl. Watching the movie again, I decided that Patrick was the slightly cooler of the two friends (based on his sweet shades and Miami Vice-inspired outfits), so I tried to make him look accordingly 'cool'. Were I to go any further in thinking on the topic of a modern Monster Squad movie, I'd really have to address the fact that the characters are so thinly-written. I'm not saying I'm shooting for Steinbeck or something, but I'd like the characters to at least have some semblance of personality. And maybe some plot to work with.

The one fact of possible interest to this picture? The original sketch has a much-shorter Patrick. In actuality, he was proportionately correct- for real life. Which doesn't always work so well in the exaggerated world of comic books (and let's face it, that's how I draw). So, judicious application of Photoshop, and we have a corrected Patrick.

Well, it's Friday, so that means another shortened posting. Which is probably good for you guys. I'm not sure what's to come next week, though you can expect me to be getting increasingly into the Halloween spirit (so to speak) and I think I'll have a Thing or two for posting accordingly.

Anyway, have a good weekend, wherever you end up. With luck, I'll be attending the Small Press Expo- it's a comic book convention for folks who write and draw comics that aren't all about weird-looking monsters and overly-musclebound guys in spandex. It's a good way to build my indy cred... or not.


Music: "Wings of a Butterfly" - HIM

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Revisionist Pop Culture

Allow me to let you in on a secret: the more a geek picks apart a movie, chances are the more he likes it. If he complains about the minutiae of 'errors' he's seen in a movie (like the color of a helmet is wrong, for example), the more he loved the rest of it. We geeks live in the realm of imagination- and really, can anything compare to our imaginations? So often, what reality presents us is often far inferior to that which our imaginations prepared us for. But, if the only thing we can complain about is the most minor of details, then we love beyond reason the item as a whole (be it movie, book, TV series, etc.), and consider it sacred.

But, here's the rub: no matter how much we love some genre gem, no matter how often we sing its praises, no matter how fiercely we defend it against its many critics and detractors, I think we all secretly know how to make it better. Filmmakers, writers, and artists have all opened our eyes to these new realms; our own passions for them have taken them into our hearts; our own egos have made us believe we understand them better than everyone else. If you look around the internet, you will find thousands of websites dedicated to TV shows, movies, books, and so on. A great many of these sites will often contain what's known as 'fanfic'- fan-created fiction starring the characters and settings of these well-known movies and books and TV shows. (And lest you think this is limited to geek-friendly stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek, think of a favorite TV show. Pick two characters on it you think should be a couple. If you've ever imagined what that episode would look like, you've just 'written' fanfic. See, we're all geeks in our own way.) The best of these stories will feel like they fit seamlessly into the 'official' reality. But, they're no more valid than your average Yankee fan's daydreams of another World Series win. However, that doesn't mean they aren't valid. It's one way to give fans a deeper connection to the things they love- it makes them feel like they've contributed to their beloved movie (or book, or whatever) and in a way, given them a kind of ownership over some small part of that fictional reality.

This whole idea goes back towards my earlier posts about world-building. In this case, though, it's building upon the works of others. Or to put it simply, it's playing in someone else's sandbox. Sure, you can use their toys, and maybe make some fun stuff with them, but at the end of the day, it's still their sandbox. The beauty of this type of playing is that there's an instant common ground for you and anyone else familiar with the subject. You can use a shorthand to describe the circumstances of your story, because your audience is already familiar with the groundwork. This makes your stories/art/whatever that much easier to approach as well, since you didn't have to create everything in it from whole cloth. It's kinda like creativity for lazy people. Which I'm okay with.

WHICH, in a big roundabout way of approaching it, intros this picture. See, back in the later part of the 80's, this awesome little movie came out called The Monster Squad. It was a group of kids versus the Universal Monsters- what's not to love? It instantly endeared itself to me, making me smile and laugh every time I saw it- it even had a prime piece of real estate on a videotape, right next to Big Trouble in Little China and Buckaroo Banzai. Not to mention quotability (a true barometer of a film's geek cred- how many quotes can you get from a movie?)- many lines from this movie are still heard today... when I'm speaking, at least. The film itself went out of print years ago, but I remember it fondly, and often thought how cool it would be to see it again. Recently it came out on DVD and I had the chance to watch it again. It hardly had the same appeal for me as it did back in the day (though it's still plenty fun in its way), but there was plenty there to get my mental gears moving again. I thought to myself, 'hey, this would be great to remake this movie- but here's a bunch of stuff I'd change! You know why I'd change it? Because I know how to make it better.' Sure, it was fun back then, but boy, it would be awesome now!... I think you get the picture.

Basically, the idea to reimagine The Monster Squad would be to bring it current- use kids who behaved like kids in today's world (no Fonzie-looking punk kids looking bad-ass on a bicycle, sorry) and to make the plot a little more logical. Or at least as logical as a bunch of monsters getting together to smash a magical amulet and taking over the world. Hey, it's not my world, I just spend time in it.

This picture is of Rudy, the ex-Fonzie-looking punk. I'm not sure where this idea for this new look came from, other than it was fully-formed when it came to mind. It would probably look kinda nice if it were colored; maybe next time around. My original thought for this fictional remake was to make the kids older teenagers. But, since teens these days are a lot more savvy to the ways of the world, I don't really see a need to do that. Rudy'd probably be about 16 though.

Okay, seriously, that was a hell of a lot of writing for one sketch.

Still no list of influences though. Sorry.

I'm almost out of already-scanned sketches, which means I've got a lot of work to do- but all good work, especially as I'm getting more proficient with Photoshop. It's getting harder to NOT post something that's been colored and messed-with. That's good, though.

That's all for now. Speak at you later!

Music: "Stronger" - Kanye West

... Or I Could Post This and Go to Sleep

Greetings, after your hopefully extra-long weekend. Mine, as you know, was especially-extra-long. A great wedding, and a great chance to see friends again (some thought lost), but I'm happy to be back sleeping in my own bed again.

This was originally going to be a post talking about some artists whose work I've come to admire (along with some other ramblings, I'm sure), but that got completely derailed when I saw the time. I really wish I knew why my body decided to reset it's clock to keep me up late, but oh well. If' I'm to be awake, I might as well do something creative. However, as I'm actually tired now, I'll make this relatively brief.

So, what we have here is a take off of the poster for Smokin' Aces, an early 2007 movie cast in the mold of a Quentin Tarantino movie. I was really psyched to see it when it was first released in the theaters. I remember walking out having enjoyed it, but still being vaguely disappointed in it. It wasn't enough of any one thing; in trying to be all types of movies, it succeeded in being none of them.

Cut to August 2007ish- having a few hours to kill, my roommate Dave and I sat re-watching the movie in the luxury of our own place. Having let go of any expectations for it this time around, I found myself enjoying it a bit more. Mostly enjoying it for the performances of the actors rather than the plot necessarily. And as these things will happen, we were watching one of the scenes in the movie involving a rabbit costume head, and either Dave or I said something about it being funnier if the Easter Bunny were involved. From there it was a short trip to the picture you see above. Something along the lines of Pulp Fiction by way of Hallmark Cards, with a healthy dose of poor taste, most likely. The original image was used very heavily to promote the film, and is very striking visually (like Lord of War, I think the poster was more successful than the movie itself). You can see the original poster here.

Though I'm posting this now, this was my first attempt at large-scale image manipulation using Photoshop. Hence the drawings dropping off the page (or not making it to the end of the page), along with the shaky coloring. Also, I can't draw a rectangle to save my freakin' life. All trapezoids, that's me.

So, there you go. Lessons learned here will hopefully be applied to projects further down the road.

That's about it for now. I'll be back Wednesday with some more movie goodness. Or at least, my idea of movie goodness. And maybe that bit about the artists. Or not.

Music: "Paralyzer" - Finger Eleven

Thursday, October 4, 2007

We're Coming to Get You, Barbara!

Yes, it's one of the most famous lines in Zombie Theater (okay, you probably can't name any other famous lines in zombie theater, but you know what I mean). But it's also a line in that most wonderful of romzomcoms, Shaun of the Dead. And it's uttered by this fellow, Ed. Um, of the dead.

Ed's the result of the 5-minute sketch- in fact, he's the original sketch, which I believe I did immediately after the original 'Bradstreet' drawing. The drawing was pretty much a snap- and it was totally inspired by my roommate Dave yawning. That look on Ed's face? Totally Dave. The rest of the drawing comes from the gang's attempts to infiltrate the zombie hordes by imitating them. I'm pleased by the picture overall, as it was pretty much exactly what I was thinking of initially. I again went through it with Photoshop, correcting some of the lines, and coloring it, obviously.

Alright, that's enough. I'm freakin' tired, and I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow morning.


The ghost returns next Monday night...

Music: "When in Rome" - Nickel Creek

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What I Did on my Fall Vacation

So, here's where I went over the past weekend. Chincoteague Island, VA, land of the ponies, and Misty of Chincoteague, and about a billion mosquitoes. It's a pretty nice place in the off-season, giving us all the chance to sit back and relax and enjoy the weekend, and each other's company.

Not to mention the sunsets.

This shot was taken Saturday off the back deck of the house we rented. You know how I spotted this sunset? I looked out the huge freakin' windows in the living room. Talk about a gorgeous view! It was pretty easy to just stare out the windows and watch the sun set. I have an easy dozen photos of two nights' worth of sunsets, and could have taken a hundred more. Sunsets were quite popular with the photographers amongst us. This photo was color-corrected slightly to bring out the sky, one of those things where I might be the only one to notice.

And yeah, we got shows like that every night.

This is April, one of the 'Chincoteague Ten'. Hanging out on the edge of the dock that came with the house. No alterations to the picture.

We also celebrated a big event for one of our friends. We had cake and balloons. It was a nice little party, though today is his proper birthday- Happy Birthday Thaddeus Maximus! I'd post pictures of the cake and card, but blogger has apparently had enough of me for tonight.

That's about it for today's non-drawing post. I should be back tomorrow with the second half of Tuesday's double feature, time willing.

Music: "Two Step" - Dave Matthews Band

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Zed Word

Hi everyone, and welcome back. I'm back from my mini-vacation, the annual trip to Chincoteague Island, VA. This makes our 9th(?) trip down- always a good time, always relaxing, and always making me want more vacations. Somewhere down the line, I might post some pictures from the trip- some of them turned out surprisingly well. Others... not so much.

Regardless, I'm back. This week is going to be an abbreviated one as well- I'm only in town for two days before I'm off again- this time, back to the home territories to attend my friends' wedding. I'll try to post tomorrow and Wednesday night, but no promises.

Anyway, to the good stuff. Above is the title character of one of my favorite movies of recent memory- Shaun, as in "...of the Dead". Shaun of the Dead is a fantastic movie on a number of levels: it is a hilariously funny comedy, a genuinely scary zombie movie, a clever satire of... oh, let's say modern society, and a glorious (and gory) homage to probably a dozen different movies. And, it's also an immensely enjoyable movie in its own right. Go check out for more. But Shaun here, as I said, is the main character.

This sketch is actually the second sketch I've done for this movie, and also my second effort at a "5-minute drawing". But, chaos being the order of the day, this gets posted first. Essentially, these 5-minute drawings were meant as palette cleansers, so to speak, after I spent a long time working on particularly detailed sketches. Instead of taking a long time to agonize over every pencil line (easily done), I decided to take less than a minute to sketch out the figure, then a couple minutes more to flesh out the drawing, hopefully coming out with a finished picture in about 5 minutes. This forces me to 1) be decisive, 2)not second-guess and 3)commit to what I'm doing. And I'm just talking about drawings- if you think these are rules for living, you're crazy. So- the main advantage to drawing like this is the spontaneity- the pictures almost always look more "lively" if I don't spend a lot of time on trying to massage the lines into a more technically correct look. Also, this gives me a chance to work on a less "sketchy" look and use more solid lines. My natural instinct is to use many short lines to finish a drawing, rather than long flowing lines. For a master of the flowing lines, see Adam Hughes. Also by using fewer lines, it gives me a chance to work on conveying likenesses and expressions with less work- which, really, is what I'm all about.

Then, once I had the picture scanned in, I decided to go in and attempt to give it some color. In keeping with the cartoony nature of the picture, I opted for basic coloring (also because I'm still learning how to use the program). The coloring was NOT done in 5 minutes...

So, there's Shaun. Were you a fan, you might guess what's coming next. Whether or not it's colored depends on how lazy I am tomorrow. Place your bets now.

I'll be back on Wednesday.

Music: "Pet Sematary" - The Ramones