Saturday, January 31, 2009

Black Canary

I know I said Supergirl and the Super Pets would be making an appearance today, but Black Canary snuck onto my drawing board and refused to leave. Even after I had an ink mishap after I was finished with her the first time, she stayed until I completed redrew and inked her again. I would have protested, but hey, fishnets! Do I need to say more?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Supergirl & the Super Pets - Rough

Happy Friday!!!

This is an idea I am going to play with today. I sketched this out in my sketchbook during my morning coffee. Well, the first cup of my morning coffee. I actually hear the coffee maker beeping at me right now that the latest pot is ready. :) Supergirl, Streaky, and Krypto riding pieces of ice that have broken free of a "Comet". See how I worked in "Comet"? (Comet the Super-Horse). More with this tomorrow.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars - Complete

Just finished inking this piece. Mostly with a brush. Some Micron pen work on the background. 11" x 17" Strathmore 500 Series Bristol Board.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars - Process

Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog knows I like drawing Dejah Thoris. And today I revisit my favorite Princess of Mars. I also thought I would share the process, as short as it is.

Below is the sketch I worked out on a piece of 11" x 17" copy paper. I am drawing with a Vermillion Col-Erase pencil. I like to sketch with a color because something about a regular lead feels permanent. With a color pencil I just get loose with the drawing. With graphite, I start worrying about every line. So the lounging Dejah is here with her sleeping pet Fluffy.
The next step was to transfer the sketch to a piece of Strathmore Bristol Board, which I did on my light table. For the most part she is ready to ink. I will probably add little doodads to her as I ink. And that will be done for tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Black Widow - Ebay

Played around with a inked piece today. This is on 11" x 17" Strathmore 500 series bristol board. I am putting this up on eBay tonight for those that might be interested. :) Below is a photo of the piece in progress. I did the sketch on a piece of copy paper and then light tabled the line art in pencil, and then inked with a Winsor & Newton #2 Series 7 brush.

Here is the auction link.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Frosty Fairy

Just a little sketch today folks. Still drawing little fairies and I am not even sure if I am spelling it right. :) This is from my sketchbook today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Yes, I know it is still the dead of Winter (in some parts) and Spring is still 50 or so days away, but I was inspired.

This fairy started out as a pencil sketch in my sketchbook yesterday. I scanned the pencils in so I could enlarge it, print it, and light table it on to another board for inking and/or painting. But once the sketch was digitized, I decided to do the entire piece in Adobe Illustrator CS3. I really had no idea where I was going except for drawing and coloring the fairy. Once she was done I tried to come up with a background color and from that grew the whole "Spring" theme.

The entire piece was done in about 1.5 hours. About 30 minutes devoted to figuring out what to do with the background. You never know when the muse will strike or where she will take you. I'm just glad she drops by here every so often. :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Color Sketching

I spent a good part of the day inking two pages of Perils On Planet X, that I decided to play for about an hour and just sketch. But then decided to do a color sketch. So with a piece of 12" x 18" watercolor paper, a pencil and some fluid acrylics I did this. Just a bunch of trial and errors tied up in one piece. It was fun to just let loose after all that precision inking. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Phantom Lady: Wet & Wild - Complete

Here is the final image. More water added to her body, bits of balloons at her feet and a round graphic element that looks more yellow here than it does on the original. This was a fun piece to do. And thanks again to Kevin for letting me share the process with everyone. No takers on more painted pieces so I will be posting sketchbook pieces for a while. :)

In the meantime, I'm gonna go celebrate my birthday. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Phantom Lady: Wet & Wild - Progress

I didn't get much farther today with the piece. A little bit of work on the puddle, the lettering, the water balloon and some water trails across her arm. (See below) Mostly I worked on adding the goggles and her wrist weapon on this piece and the one before. Luckily it could be done without an impact on the piece.
Above is a close up of her arm to show what I will be doing across her whole body. I will be adding colorful bits and pieces of water balloons on the ground and the puddle tomorrow. Then a complementary color in the circle behind her and I should be done. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Phantom Lady: Wet & Wild - Ink & Paint

Today I took time out to finish the inks and started painting. I am using Golden Fluid Acrylics in transparent layers. Working from light to dark in order to build up to the final color I want. No area is completed yet, everything is still a work in progress, but I think it is coming along nicely. This will be done by the weekend.

If anyone else would like a painted commission, just contact me through email with your request.

(And sorry for the digital photo here. I know it might look a little distorted. The paint was wet and I didn't want to take a chance putting it on the scanner.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Phantom Lady: Wet & Wild - Inking

Here is the finished pencils on a sheet of 11" x 17"  Crescent Hot Press Watercolor Board. I projected the line art from my sketchbook on to the board and traced my lines. The darker lines are where I have started inking. As you may notice there was a slight change in her legs in that I made them a bit longer and moved them apart. She was looking too ditzy the way I had her legs before. She needed to have a stance of being confused, frustrated and disgusted, but her body language was saying "ditzy". So a bit of a change and there you go. At this point with the inks I am paying special attention to where the drops of water are gathering on her skin and dripping off. I want the outline of her body and the water on her to make the contours. When I go to the color stage it will make more sense. I will finish the inks tomorrow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Phantom Lady: Wet & Wild - Roughs

Today I am sharing the first roughs for a new commission piece featuring Phantom Lady. Kevin has commissioned another painting and has also allowed the process to be shared with everyone once again. Let's hear it for Kevin!

In an email, Kevin explained the concept and I thought it was great fun. I did the two sketches on the left for him to review. While the far left sketch has a dramatic angle, it does take away from showing Phantom Lady's curves and short-shorts legs. We both decided a variation of the straight on approach (the middle sketch) mixed with more body expression would be better. The sketch on the right is closer to what the final line art will look like. Which I will share tomorrow.

All the sketches were done in my sketchbook using Col-Erase pencils and graphite pencils.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hula Baby!

Just a little sketch from the sketchbook today. My internet connection was down since early this morning which was a real bummer. I live on the internet! I called my internet provider and they managed to get someone out here this afternoon. Fixed the modem and I am screaming along the web again. Today's sketch was done this morning using a vermillion Col-Erase pencil.

I might be sharing the process on a new commission piece this Monday. More later! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Supergirl - Convention Print

It's time to start thinking about convention season and with that comes the work of coloring a lot of art for prints. So here we have the first one for 2009. This piece was created as one of the sketch auction pieces. Now with a splash of color in Photoshop, it will be in my print folder for a future show.

Also today, I finally put up the new design for my website, If you check it out you might notice that all the pin-up art is gone. I am separating my pin-up work from my main business site. No one has objected to my pin-ups but I think it's better to be proactive. I have registered a new domain name for the pinup work but I haven't built the site yet. Hopefully I will find some time soon. In the meantime I will try to keep my CAF page up to date.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process final

I had planned to show the process of painting this and spreading it over two days, but once I got started I didn't want to stop. When the muse arrives, don't kick her out. The color was done with Golden Fluid Acrylics. I have been experimenting on several boards trying to find "the one". The board I liked the best was Crescent Hot Press Watercolor board. The inks look good on it and I love the way the paints lay on this board. There is a satiny look to it. Phantom Lady's cape and the bad guys suit are good examples of that smooth, satin look. This was a really fun piece to do and to share. Thanks again to Kevin for the commission and for allowing me to share it here as it progressed. I hope everyone enjoyed it.

Last thing for the night, I have a opening in my schedule right now that will probably last a couple of weeks. If anyone is interested in getting a painted commission, send me an email of what you have in mind.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process 5

Quick post today. Finished the inks for this piece. The background on the other side of the paddy wagon were left in pencil (they are not showing up very well in this scan) because I will just use color to define the edges of the buildings. This is ready to start painting tomorrow.
Strathmore has produced Artist Trading Cards and on my last trip to the art store I picked some different packages up for fun. I got a pack of watercolor, bristol and acrylic linen canvas. These are just cut down versions (2.5 " x 3.5") of some of their popular boards at a premium cost. But Dakota and I thought it would be fun to try some. This my first piece, Supergirl in her 1970s costume, of course. This was done with ink and fluid acrylics on the bristol board card.
After posting todays images I have to shut down and set up my new Drobo back-up system. Gone with be my two old external hard drives that have been the work horses of my business, and in will be my Drobo with two 1TB hard drives, with two bays for two more drives. I figured 2TB was a good starting point. This little data robot came with a high recommendation from people whose opinions I trust so I am really looking forward to getting it set up and taking the worry out of my back up regimen. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process 4

Today it was all about the inks. I usually use a brush to ink my comic work. Anyone who has seen me at a convention has probably seen me inking sketches with a brush. Every so often I get frustrated with the poor quality of brushes being made today and I use Micron Pens, but I love the look of brush work so much more. Below is a picture of my set up today.
The line art has been transfered to the final board, a 15" x 20" sheet of Cresent Hot Press Watercolor board. Sturdy enough to take a lot of water without bending and bowing. I have my blue tupperware cup of clean water for my brushes and my upside down sake cup for my ink well. The main brush I will use here is a Windsor & Newton #2 Sable Series 7. This is the last of my W&N brushes. And this one is holding up well. But I will not be going back to them again. Most of the brushes in the last batch I bought were terrible. And not cheap. I have been trying a lot of cheap brushes lately, some with good spring but not exactly what I want. I did just found out about a place in the UK that is a small shop that still makes Kolinsky Sable brushes by hand at a great price and great guarantee so I will be ordering some of those this week. 
I decided to have a few pictures taken so show the inking in progress. I will use the brush as much as I can on the "organic" items in the image. Inorganic things like the paddy wagon will be done with a pen. 
Here I am inking Phantom Lady's "Bettie Page" bangs by dragging the brush down, putting more pressure on the brush as I do. I end up with a series of thin to thick lines that give that illusion of light bouncing off the highest point of her bangs. Cheap brushes don't give you this kind of control. To produce razor sharp points, then thick, then sharp and thin again in one stroke calls for a quality brush. Luckily this W&N is behaving as it should. 
Here I have moved on to the bad guy and the cops. I am following my pencil lines but not really tracing them, and I am adjusting the line art as I go. The pencils are a guide for the inks to embellish.

More tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process 3

I hope no one is getting board with the step by step of this piece. Hang in there if you are. :)

I like to do a digital color composition of the art before I paint. It gives me a chance to see what I am doing before I screw it up on the art board. In the old days, I would make photocopies of the pencil art and block in color on that in order to get a sense of what I want the final artwork to look like. Digital makes it so much easier. The goal with this piece is to really emphasize the difference between Phantom Lady (both her body and color) and her surroundings. She with her bright colors and everything around her is done in blues and browns.

I am in the process of transferring my finished line art to a 15" x 20" piece of watercolor board. So, more tomorrow. 

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process 2

Here is the composition for the commission. This is still a rough and will need refinement, but the basics are there. This was done using violet Col-Erase pencil in my sketchbook.

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Odyri, Princess of Empyr

Today's subject is Princess Odyri from Perils On Planet X. I'm playing with the new paints again but on a different surface. The same paints can be completely different depending on the surface. This time I used a 12" x 18" sheet of Strathmore 400 Series 140lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper. I will be adding some kind of background to this image, where it be a graphic element or a scene. Next I will try the paints on a piece of illustration board that I will use for the Phantom Lady commission.

Convention News: I was late to register for MegaCon. But I am on a waiting list for space. Hopefully I will know something soon and I will post it here. Also, I just got my registration info for the Pittsburgh Con. It has been moved to September and I am planning on attending. I am still on for HeroesCon in June as well.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Phantom Lady - commission process 1

I am starting a new painted commission featuring Phantom Lady. Kevin Hare approached me with a gag comic panel featuring Phantom Lady and how her appearance can affect both cop and criminal alike. I have done several commissions for Kevin over the years and he always manages to come up with ideas that are full of fun and sexiness. This one is no exception. He has also been a sport by allowing me to share the work in progress.

The commission will be set in the 1940s. So I started looking at some comic covers from that time period in order to get the costume right. Though the final piece will feature the yellow and green costume, I used the blue and red color scheme here for fun.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dawnstar - Finished

I decided to play around with some paints I picked up recently but hadn't opened. I generally work in watercolor or gouache but have wanted to try fluid acrylics. They can be treated just like watercolor because of their transparency. Meaning I can build up the color glazing one color over another, starting light and working to dark. I really like working this way and these paints fit that process. I will be doing more this these paints in the future.

This piece was done in Golden Liquid Acrylics on  a sheet of 12" x 16" Winsor  & Newton 200lb watercolor paper.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


More Planet X goodness! I've been inking all day and will continue for another few hours. I am working on a full page splash of our heroes escaping the floating city. It will take at least another day of inking the city. Since I haven't drawn anything else, I'm hoping no one will mind if I just share a panel from the page I did finish inking today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I spent the day inking Perils On Planet X, so as promised, or warned depending on your perspective, another day, another sketchy rough. Today is Dawnstar, Legionnaire. This sketch is a good example as to why you work out the idea on something other than the board the final art will be done on. Since I cannot decide which way to go with her legs, I would have torn up the board with my erasing and redrawing. This was done in Col-Erase pencil on 11" x 17" copy paper.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Claw The Unconquered

Today I present my take on Claw, a DC sword and sorcery series from the 70s. They have brought him back on a few occasions including a team-up with Red Sonja. I think I read the first few issues of the series when it came out. I remember the basics about his demon hand, but that's about it. I found it very funny to see the demon he switch hands with. Imagine a very vile, big, nasty critter with a small human hand on one wrist and maybe you might chuckle too. This was done in pencil in my sketchbook and then a whole lot of Photoshop thrown at it.

Today I was inking a page from Perils On Planet X. I plan to do the same tomorrow so we will be having mostly sketches for the next day or two. But, I will have a commission starting by the end of the week and I will see if I can get permission to share as I create.

Tidbit of art illustration history...Commissioner Gordon was brought up in the comments the other day. (Actually Royce brought up Chief O'Hara but that's just picking nits) The actor that played Gordon on the Batman TV series in the 1960s was Neil Hamilton. Little known fact that Hamilton was a model for J.C. Leyendecker. If you don't know who Leyendecker is, just do a quick Google on the name and I will be surprised if you have never seen his work. Hamilton posed for this image, Thanksgiving 1918. Leyendecker gave him the painting later and in the recent book about Leyendecker by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler, there is a cool photo from the 1920s of Hamilton looking at the original hanging over his mantle. Just thought I would share. :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Space Ghost! - Finish

Here is the final image. As you can see a lot of depth has been added from the image I posted yesterday. This would be considered a mixed media piece in that I have used watercolor, a bit of acrylic, pencil, color pencil, and ink. The ink was watered down to a medium gray and I used that for the line art before painting. The board is 15" x 20: Cresent Cold Press Illustration board. The final image area 13" x 18".

As for the painters tape. Here is a digital camera shot of the tape being removed. I don't really like painting to the edges of a board, so you can see that the tape provides a nice clean edge framing the art.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Space Ghost! - Progress Report

Just a quick post today. Spent most of the day working on the Space Ghost commission that has been sitting in a drawer waiting for me to get back to it. It's starting to come along nicely. I am hoping to finish it tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

The image is done on 15" x 20" Strathmore illustration board. Watercolor and some ink. The blue border is just painters tape. Just to give the final piece a nice clean edge. Hopefully more of this piece tomorrow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Digital Sketching

I felt like sketching using my tablet today. And decided to work in Painter X. I have a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around Painter and it's layers system. I almost always get frustrated and switch to Photoshop. And that was the case here. I need to set aside some time and really teach myself the ins and outs of the program instead of just poking around. Painter has such great natural brushes. You can simulate almost any traditional media with the tools in Painter. Really must learn it. Ah well, in the mean time here is the sketch for today. I am going back to traditional paints and brushes on the Space Ghost piece I am working on today. :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's Eve. Things were quiet and relaxed here last night. Watched one of our favorite holiday movies, "Love Actually" and just chilled.

This is just a little piece I did this morning in my sketchbook using a violet Col-Erase pencil and some color in Photoshop. I'm sure there are a few out there that can relate to this scene after New Year's Eve. :)