Wednesday, October 24, 2012

W.O.W DAY, 2012 Style!!

So I was so busy getting ready for NYCC that I'd forgotten that the Women of Wonder Day Charity Auction was almost upon me once again!  I was able to throw down a couple of pieces, and get them off to Andy Mangels just in the nick of time.

Inspired yet again by my fellow art hooligan DJ Jackson's ridiculously awesome drawing of Cheetara (of Thundercats fame) in my sketchbook, I decided to show a little love to the other two Thunder-chicas, Pumyra and Wilykit.

Started off with a couple of roughs:


From there, I fleshed the ideas out to semi-tight blueline pencils:

And from there to tight, clean pencil lines:


At this point, I started with colors.  (I'm still on training wheels as far as non-digital coloring goes, so every new piece is a sort of experiment for me.  I used Prismacolor Pencil on the skin, and Prismacolor marker on everything else):



A couple different hues for depth, lightbox-doodle the TC logo in the background, and Voila!!!


I'm never able to follow the live auctions, so I always wonder how well the pieces do.  Not that it matters, because it's all for a good cause!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

SDCC Re-cap! (Braaaaiinssss...)

I had a BLAST at Comic-Con this year!!  Reminisced with my old friends, met with some new ones (shout-out to Jeracl C. and Lee Davis... welcome to the fold!)  Talked shop with some industry folk, picked up a knicknack or two (free markers from the Sakura folks!)  And tried my damndest to wrangle a job (Thanks for the praise, Cartoon Network.  If you guys were hiring, I'd be in Heaven right now!)

I even hung out with the Walking Dead...!

 (See that expression on my face? The chick with the sword just told me she's into necrophilia.  SHAZAM!)

All jokes aside, It was one of the better Cons for me and my mob out of the 13-odd years we've been going.  It gave us a bit more energy to carry on into this Fall, and 2013 beyond.  Next stop: NYCC shenanigans with Tom Kelly!!

GRAMPS Model Sheet

This is part of the latest set of model sheets that I've done.  (It's actually one of my older characters, one I've been using in storyboard samples for years.  I've just never done an actual model sheet of good ol' Gramps until now!)

I think I'll delve a little further into Gramps' universe.  Maybe another set of Model sheets, and a new set of boards.  Hell, even an animatic if I can swing it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Next Stop: SDCC 2012...!!!!

Okay, sports fans.  In two days I'll be headed yet again to San Diego for the Comic-Con, where I'll no doubt spend countless hours sitting Portfolio Review, and countless braincells drinking at the Marriott Bar later that night!!! 

Think I'll do a new business card this year.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Hey Y'all...!!!

I'll be hanging out at HEROES CON in Charlotte, NC next weekend, Jun 22nd-24th!  If any of you guys make it out, I'll be in the "INDIE ISLAND" section of Artists' Alley, helping my good friend JAY POTTS at the WORLD OF HURT table, section AA-539. 

(Who knows? I may be doing a sketch or seven!!)

Drop by and say Hi! Or even better...BUY SOMETHING!!!!

Monday, June 4, 2012


Ten days ago, we lost a family member. Our akita Nomo (who I always thought of as "My Little Brother") came to us as a pup 11 years ago, and grew into a brawling 150-lb. ball of Man's Best Friend.

The great comedian George Carlin once said that because you know you're going to outlive your pet, buying a dog was like "purchasing a small tragedy."  After a week's reflection, I prefer to think of it differently.  Buying a dog is like purchasing a brief pocket of unconditional love and loyalty.  That was Nomo. We adults spoiled him like he was one of our children, and in return he protected the children in our family as if they were his own cubs.  (Woe to the person who knocked on the front door when any of my nieces or nephews were playing in the house; Nomo's roar-like warning bark could be heard from outside.  But if you were a friend or family member, he'd be happily waiting to knock you off of your feet as soon as you opened the door!)
They say that our pets don't have souls, and thus don't go to heaven.  I can't and won't believe that. If there's indeed a paradise waiting for the good and just when we leave this existence, then Nomo is there waiting for me, the newest addition to the honored pack that has served as the beloved protectors of the Howard Family. Thanks for everything, Little Brother.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


The continuing chronicle of my grand experiment to reveal what happens to the artistic side of the brain when you soak it in Lite Beer and Jameson's Irish Whiskey...

A business discussion between an entrepreneur and his top earner, and a rat.  With a drink.

A bit of "Last Call" while sipping at the ol' Pub.  (I haven't given up on it yet...)


Doodle Dump DOS!!!

I LOOOOVE my moleskin sketchbooks!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Women of Wonder Day, 2011 (It's back, and better than ever!!)

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that contrary to what my friend DJ and I had heard, the Wonder Woman Museum was NOT cancelling its annual charity event.  Instead, it was hereafter referred to as WOMEN OF WONDER DAY.  The basics were the same: a charity auction of original art by professional artists, the proceeds of which would go to benefit shelters which aid battered women.  The one major change was the subject matter.  In the past, donated pieces were limited to renditions of Wonder Woman, and nothing else. 
 Now that was expanded to heroic women of all stripes, not only from comics, but film, literature, and animation as well.  This gave us artists a chance to spread our wings a bit, and it gave me a chance to try a couple of characters I hadn't tried before.  Moreover, I also decided to go with a different set of materials this time.  Instead of drawing out the piece then going to Photoshop to add the colors in, I'd stay away from the digital this time, and use markers to add every drop of color!  

This Marvel Girl pic is one of the few pieces I've done which ended up exactly the way I'd planned it to!

...But this seems to be everyone's favorite.  (Mine, too, if I must confess.  It's only my second real attempt at a colored Harry Potter piece, and I have a thing about characters from books of which I'm a fan; I always like to think that one day the author might see my work, and he/she would smile if I did them justice.)

Nonetheless, I do think my donations for the 2011 event were my best yet.  Even though I have no idea what they went for at auction, I'm again honored to contribute to a decent cause, and especially happy that the event is still going.  If the Art Gods are willing and the creek don't rise, count me in for next year!!

Just A-DRINKIN' and A-DRAWIN'...!!!!

Now, as an aside to my regular entriesof warm-up sketches, I've decided to include a little subset.  These will collect a type of sketch I've done more times over the last decade or so than I can ever remember:

The Bar Sketch.  The one you draw when you really shouldn't be trying to do anything that requires mental focus.  The one you look at later on while thinking, "I may need help," or "Wow, I hope no one saw that," or "Who are you...And where are my clothes?"  Here we shall examine the results of the dreaded crime of DWI...Drawing While Intoxicated.

Now don't go thinking it's all bad.  Drawing while down at the ol' watering hole can have its perks.  Y'know what's cool about sketching at the bar? It's a great way for a customer to get in good with his/ her favorite bartender...unless you ARE the bartender. ( Then it's a great way to beef up your tips!)

Another Bar Sketch. So I'm explaining the difference between a Vodka Stinger and a Green Hornet to someone, and just got to Thinking...

Three beers, couple shots o' Jameson, and BAM... Solomon Grundy bar sketch all up in here...!!!

Since I've hearby sworn to keep track of the random doodles I've been known to draw when I'm out at a bar or pub, I figured I might as well start fresh. So I stopped at a bookstore and picked up a couple of Moleskine Journals in which to keep the aforementioned doodles. I'm pretty sure I was thinking about Steve Ditko, which made for the overall theme of the sketches.

(I was also drinking Jameson's Whisky, which is why...ah never mind!!!)

See this is a perfect example of how things can go downhill when combining alcohol and a sketchbook. This started out as me seriously trying to draw something decent. I stopped for a sec to step outside and make a phone call, and when I get back in, there's a fresh beer and a round of shots in front of me.

Next thing you know, I've got Batman & Robin doin' the "Dougie!..."

There will be more of these to come.  Washington DC is one of the most booze-laden cities in the U.S., after all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Takin' a DOODLE-DUMP...!!!

So throughout the last 22-odd years of formal art training and 10-odd years of actually getting paid to draw the occasional piece this never occurred to me.

Warm-up before you start some serious work.

 I've never done it regularly before now, not as an artist.  And what's worse, it's something I've taught other people to do!  For two years I taught high school Art, and never began a class without a warm-up activity.  Hell, I've been coaching wrestling for almost a decade, and I've lost count of how many times I've emphasized warming up before you do any activity.  And only just recently did I say to myself, "How come you aren't doing some warm-up sketches before you get to work?"
 I should be smacked.  Not because of the fact that I've never gotten into the practice of mentally gearing myself up before going to work, but because it makes me guilty of not practicing what I preach.

So from now on I solemnly swear to regularly post my warm-ups.  And by that I also mean that I solemnly swear to regularly do warm-ups.  When and where I can, I shall post them in bunches.  Behold... the doodle dumps!!

 These pictures will comprise my first three dumps.  Why?  Because maybe rich guys shouldn't cavort around rooftops with underaged boys in tights, no matter how high the crime rate is...

 ...Because the TV show "Psych" is one of my guiltiest pleasures...

...and because I cannot turn away from the first half-hour of Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket."


SDCC Star Wars Pin-up: AGAIN with the Process!!

July, 2011 and it's Comic-Con time!  Time once again to spend endless hours in Portfolio Review, waiting amongst the (literally) unwashed masses to pitch yourself to the talent scout of your choice.This year, along with the usual suspects in my portfolio (storyboards, pencilc, model sheets) I decided to do a pin-up or two.  One of them, of course, is SW-related; as I said in an earlier blog, no matter how much they claim to be unbiased, ALWAYS include work focused on the company with whom you're interviewing.

So, I decided to beef up a  sketchbook idea I'd been working back and forth for a while.  The basic concept was Han Solo and Chewbacca arguing while doing repairs.  I decided that I hadn't done enough large-scale pieces, so I decided to work at 11 x 17-inches.  I also decided to work on the background and foreground elements separately.  So first, I pencilled and inked the two figures: 

Next, I worked on the background, which I decided would be one of the struts of their spaceship.  (Now I hate drawing machinery, so this became the real "grunt-work" portion of the piece.  That being said, I was satisfied with the results:
Once I had the two drawings inked, I simply colored each one individually, then copy-pasted the figures onto the background.  When I was happy with the positioning and color, I added the effects (the fog, the torch's flare,) and VOILA!  The finished product:

I don't know what to make of the reaction to the piece.  Some of the reviewers didn't comment, some made a note of it.  One actually luaghed, and alerted his friend to it.

In the end, along with it being a solid  finished piece, it helped me to answer a question about coloring technique and my digital illos; from here on out, if I have a piece with a complex BG, I'll definitely consider taking this option.                          

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

HEROES CON 2011...!!!

Let's jump ahead to Summer 2011.  In the midst of me grinding my gears to get ready for SDCC, I remembered that I'd also made preparations to help my "Good Doppelganger" Jay Potts run his table at Heroes Con down in Charlotte, NC.  (For those who don't know, Jay is the creator of the ground-breaking WORLD OF HURT, the internet's #1 Blaxploitation Webcomic.  Check it out here:  I met up with Mr. Potts and Jeremy Sumey, the younger brother of our schoolmate Anthony.
  I had a ball; it was a totally new experience to be on the seller's side of the table.  I spent the weekend perched between Jay and kick-ass penciller Mike Norton, telling jokes, and selling stuff.  I even learned the ins and outs of pushing Con sketches to the public.  While I elected not to sell any artwork, I did knock out a few pencil-to-marker pieces:
This Saturn Girl sketch came from a coaster I'd done at Dan Panosian's SDCC Drink-and-Draw a year or two earlier.  It was just my way of warming up.

Which really got me into just having some fun.  My next sketch was of the Wrecker, from the old Thor comics.  I'll say it again and again: there is no greater magical weapon than an ENCHANTED CROWBAR!

After the Wrecker sketch, I was in a full-out Old School mood (probably aided by the fact that X-Men: First Class was opening that night, and we were going to see it after the Con.)  So My next piece was the classic Mastermind from the 60's X-men Comics.

I only had time for one sketch on the very last day, so I chose a personal favorite from my comics-heavy childhood: Sam Guthrie, aka Cannonball from the New Mutants.  (It also led to one of the funniest moments for me, when Mike, who hadn't made a sound while I was drawing, said in a plaintive voice, "But Sam looks so SAD...!)

  Again, I had fun.  The Con was packed to the gills with SCAD students, faculty, and alumni, so I saw tons of old friends and peers.  I surprised my friend Dave Wheeler, who wasn't expecting me there, and ran into my good bud John Larison as well.  There were quite a few established pros there, also; I showed Frank Cho a copy of a Washington Post Magazine feature he had done, and he autographed it.
  Needless to say, I'll be back to table with Jay this year.  I may even sell a sketch or three, provided there's a market for 'em!


Yeah, I know.  It's been more than a year since I updated this blog.  I've done artwork since then, and I just totally forgot about the old blog, and I really need my ass kicked...I know.  (But hey, at least I eventually came back, right?...RIGHT?)  I swear I'll do my level best to catalog everything I do from here on out.  Just take me back, Ana-May...!

Okay.  Let me try to undo months of laziness by backtracking as far as I think I can remember:

Er, let's say, Spring 2011.  (Now we all know that there's no way in the world I dragged my heels for that long before I drew something, but that's about the best I can do!)  I got caught up watching kung fu movies, and started thing about how much I DON'T use the design markers my boy DJ gave me.  The result?  Kung fu sketch...this time, it's personal!!

(hey, like I said...I'll try to account for EVERY noteworthy thing I've done up until now, okay?)