Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the Crypt v.2, Item 5: SooperDooper

April 22, 1993- Earth Day, apparently. (You can tell I was a college student then, since I made note of such things)

Nothing special to say about this one, other than 'hey, it was a phase I was going through'. Actually, as I look at the re-designed costume, that's very much a relic of the 90's as well. That style of costume- no-underpants, panels running the length of the body- was pretty popular back then. Hell, that was the only style Rob Liefeld seemed to draw back then. But really, the over-muscled thing? Yeesh. And not even accurate muscles! Looking ahead a bit, I think the pictures veer away from that back into the realms of normally over-developed musclebound freaks we call superheroes.

As an FYI, if I'm doing my math right, I'll not be posting this Friday, but will have something up for Monday (fingers crossed). As a hint (if you care)- it's something old, done as something new, and look at the 'Double Agent'. Surely that's too obscure, even for me. Oh, and I blame Joe for the idea in the first place.

Music: 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown' - Jim Croce (think about it...)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From the Crypt v.2, Item 4: Mutant Mods

March 28, 1993.

The first question that came to mind when I looked at this before scanning it was, "why does a mutant whose power is healing from any injury need a suit of armor?" That's the kind of thing you only think of with age... or perhaps with common sense. I can offer no excuse, other than hell, it was the 90's and people dug that sort of thing. Everyone was getting armored up back then, in the comics. Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Spider-Man... it was only natural to do the same to everyone's favorite mutant. Though I don't think he ever showed up with armor in the comics.

As far as the picture itself, I can't make much by way of comments on it- I don't recall what made me put it together the way I did, but two things do come to mind. One, I remember struggling with what to do with those stupid boot he used to wear- they looked like full-sized versions of his mask- but on his calves. Not sure how he walked, and I don't think he was very stealthy with those things on. Two, I liked the idea of his face being completely hidden- I think it made his mask look more frightening. Don't think that would fly with Hugh Jackman in the role, though.

Alrighty- enough for now, I'm bone-tired. More Wednesday, with luck.

Music: "Mr. Roboto" - Styx

Thursday, September 24, 2009

From the Crypt v.2, Item 3: Ripped (Off)

March 5, 1993. Seems like it was a pretty productive time for me, artistically. I really can't think back that far to what might've been going on, but at the very least I was drawing.

And what a drawing it was. sigh. See, this is everything that was good and bad about comics in the 90's (stop me if you've heard this one before). The 90's brought a real and lasting change in how comics were seen and perceived. This is when books stopped being about the characters and (frequently) became about the creators of the books- the comic book equivalent of the end of the studio movie system and the rise of the 'movie star', in my opinion. Sure, there were always very famous and popular artists (let's face it- people are pick up comics for the art initially) out there, but it became a whole other animal back in the 90's.

If there could be said to be a unifying style to this art, it was 'dynamic'. The artists themselves varied pretty wildly in the details of their art, but overall it had a real sense of action and vibrancy in it. Lots of useless detail lines helped. Also, over-rendering the people into something that looked more like an anatomical model of muscles rather than a 'normal' human being was a big difference. Super heroes always looked stronger than mere mortals; now you could see how each muscle was better. Hell, I remember there was actually an artistic trend in comics to draw the guys with bulging arm veins! Yep, true. One could ponder the meaning, symbolism, and effect it had on the average comic reader back then, but I'll spare you (for now).

Anyway, as you can see, I feel for this trend hook, (crosshatched) line, and sinker. The main culprit of this art style you see above was a guy named Bart Sears. I don't remember him always drawing like this, but there are some artists out there who can change their style to reflect current trends, and I guess he was one of them. Of course he pulled it off much better than I ever managed. My problems with this are like all my problems with drawing: I didn't have enough background to really understand what I was drawing. These weren't copied from anyone else's work, so I was left to figure out how the muscles were put together on my own, and figure out where the lines would go. I did okay, I guess, but really? that's just ridiculous. I never had the knack to really pull off these super-muscled people. So, when you see something I've done of late, just think: I could still be trying to draw just like this.

Back then, though, I recall being pretty proud of it- it was reasonably dynamic, and God knows I put enough lines in there. Bits and pieces I'm still pretty proud of, really. But jeez, how did these people digest food, with waists like that?

Music: "Them Bones" - Alice In Chains

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From the Crypt v.2, Item 2: Please Don't Go Out On Me

March 4, 1993.

(Okay, so "Go" is actually off their second album, Vs., which came out in Late '93, but sue me- the title's good)

Speaking of overserious... Pearl Jam's frontman, Eddie Vedder. Couldn't tell you where I found the reference for it, but it was one of my better attempts at drawing a 'real' person. Hell, it's better than half the stuff I try drawing now.

Pearl Jam was THE band for me back then. They were the ones who really opened up my ears, musically, to all the different types of music out there, going beyond my limited interest in music back then (limited to B94- a top40/pop station). Through them, I found my way to all different types of music, and as so many teens do, started charting my own course in terms of musical tastes and, to an extent, helping me find my own way socially, as well.

The funny thing was, I'd gotten the Nirvana tape, not the Pearl Jam. I mean, I'd just started hearing PJ, but Nirvana was awesome. Then one day Joey came over with his Pearl Jam tape (sorry folks, this predates our owning CDs) and we listened to both tapes. By the end of the night, I'd decided Pearl Jam was more to my liking, and Joey ended up a bigger fan of Nirvana. Both were amazing, of course. I imagine every generation of kids comes of age with a particular group or type of music, one that really helps influence their formative years, or serves as a touchstone for them as they look back and remember. For me, and probably for a lot of my friends, it was bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana.

Wow- God help the kids who grew up in the early 2000's...

And yes, I wore the flannels, the ripped jeans with thermals underneath, and the kickers. It was the thing to do.

Music: "Release" - Pearl Jam

Sunday, September 20, 2009

From the Crypt, Series 2: Lost and Dreaming


It has been a while, hasn't it?

Sorry about that, really. It's just... you know... Life. And things. Everything's going fine, or as fine as it seems to go, and then next thing... it's like... what happened? When did I stop? Sure, there've been some pretty good reasons for not being here, but really- this was one of those things I'd done, those commitments I'd made, that I thought would be easy to stick with, to see through. Until I realized that I'd started looking at this blog as one more weight on me, one more pressure. Hell, it's just a scanned picture and some rambling- don't even get me started on actually trying to draw anything...

So, to come back here, like this... well, I'm going to give it a go as I had before- I'm going to post some stuff from the past, and comment on it, and make it look like I'm doing something. Let's call it- slow-motion catharsis. I'll be posting some 'new' art soon enough, honest- I'm just not ready to yet.

If you're willing to stick around and look back 17 years or so into my past, then I hope to be somewhat illumination and not make it a waste of your time. Failing illumination, perhaps at least some amusement.


Okay then.

So, this is the first drawing of my second 'big boy' sketchbook- the ones where I started taking the drawing (too) seriously, instead of scribbles and whatnot. The subject is another recurring character, Neil Gaiman's Morpheus. In this one, he's not really patterned after Kelley Jones' take on the Dream Lord so much as a more goth/proto-emo take of my own. He does have that freakishly elongated physiognomy that I like to think I did intentionally... This drawing bears all the hallmarks of my early 90's art influences- way too much detail in the muscles, over-rendered (and incorrectly draped) clothing, and a vague 'ostentatious without being pretentious' look about it. Oh, just you wait...

As usual, I'm left with a mix of pride, abashedness, and wistfulness when I look back at these drawings. I think I did pretty well back then, for no formal training, no anatomy knowledge to speak of... and I also feel kind of silly for looking at the overseriousness with which I approached just about everything back then. But, having just spent some time at my niece's high school, watching and listening to large groups of teens interact, I'm pretty sure that overseriousness wasn't just me. And a touch of wistfulness, because I drew the hell out of things, then. Day after day. And I had the patience to keep at it- I think the longest I might've gone without putting pencil to paper back then was maybe a week... and I bet if you checked my school notebooks you would've found something in them that wasn't notes.

So there you go. That's today's post. I'll be back with something else 'fore too long. I think there's an anniversary of some sort coming up.

Music: "New Divide" - Linkin Park