December 8, 2009

Team Eaglespeaker

The last of the Super NDN pics, I was asked to put together a group photo combining all the characters. It looks a little busy, but it's a lot of fun, and was a nice way to cap off the project.

Speaking of, guess it's time to get my ass back in gear so that I've got some more work to post next week!


I had a couple different versions of storm going, but in the end Jason asked I go with the first draft. Initially there was an attempt at some wind effects, to the point of a vague suggestion of a tornado. Unfortunately that became confusing when trying to combine this piece with the rest for a "team photo" style image, and so it was cut.

I feel like Storms costume could be significantly more dramatic/dynamic, but at the same time, I really enjoy the way the simple details work here.

Trapper Girl

I think there are several problems in this piece, most of which surround the gun. These issues could have been solved with just a bit more time, but I was trying to hurry through this piece to get to some of the others, and I think that cost me.


Dan mentioned that the first nations peoples used geometric shapes (especially triangles) often. That turned out to be pretty much the only inspiration I had on this guy. I think taking it to color would allow me to push him further from the classic Spiderman look, but even without, there's a definite shift provided by the angular symbol.

Super NDN

I really like the pose, and the way the drawing turned out, but the character design feels like it's missing something. Maybe some tassels coming off his wrists, or an alteration to the cape...

Super Elder

This one was tough. I started with just the name, and then got a pic of a DC character that I had never heard of. The pic helped a lot, and from there I was able to pull this together.

Liberty Lady

This piece suffers from the same issues as Harpoon Girl. Nothing to go on past a name (and a couple pics that I found on the net). There was a last minute suggestion of taking her in a Cowgirl direction (hence the boots), but we decided pretty quickly that that would end up just getting confusing if we made it too prominent.

Harpoon Girl

So Harpoon Girl isn't actually a comic character. All I had to go on for this design was the name, and a couple reference pics from the net. It's an alright design, not great, but gets the idea across... could be pushed a bit further in terms of looking like a super hero though.

What d'ya think?


Can't leave something like Bionic Woman sitting at the top of my blog, so I'll post this today too. I'm really loving the way the coat turned out on this one. I've got to give a shout out to Dan for his fantastic advice on the design, he really helped me out here, and on a few others.

Bionic Woman

Following my favorite is this... piece. I think there's a lot wrong here, but with a little time it could be easily pulled together. My one real issue with it is her legs/posture. I can confidently say, whatever I thought I was doing, this was not the result I was after.


This one I'm quite pleased with. Both the design and the actual drawing turned out very well... probably my fave of the whole batch.


A mix between old school Adam West style Batgirl, and Powwow garments. I think a bit of color would really bring this one home. Without it, it kinda looks like regular Batgirl.

Hulked out

Sadly there's not a lot that you can do with the Hulk, especially when you're working in black and white. He's pretty much just a giant guy in torn pants. The original design suggestion was to have Native Hulk sporting a braid too which would have pushed things farther, but in the end that wasn't an option (the board member who got to "be" Hulk has short hair). This is the last one I did, added on after I had gone through and finished all the others. Maybe that effects the look, because I can see a few parts that could use some more work (leg anatomy!), but I think at this point I wanted to be done (deadlines can have that effect on you).

Actually, at this point I thought I was done...

Super NDN's!

Alright, after a long hiatus I'm back! Apologies for the down time, but end of semester was calling my name, and it's never good practice to choose blogging over deadlines.

Anyways, here we go with a batch of new work.

This was a project that X asked me to do in the last half of November. It consisted of me revamping (and sometimes creating) costumed super heroes so as to make them look Native American. Further, I was to include on each character the face of one the board members from Y.

This is the first design I came up with, and it's one I'm pretty happy with. There is of course more that I could have done, but I think this retains it's original look and feel while adding a nice spin to it.

November 17, 2009


"I try to make 1 panel on every page stand out. That way when a potential buyer is flipping through one of my books they'll always land on a page with something interesting."

-Mike Mignola

(this may not be the exact quote, but you get the idea)

November 13, 2009

Tenth Comic - The Darkness

I love the first panel on both of these pages. The rest of the panels are pretty hit or miss though in the end I would have to say that I like the second page a lot more.

I'm especially pleased with the way the tear from the eye takes the viewer to the next panel.

Less pleased with this sunset, it needs a bit of work.

Ninth Comic - Don't Worry

Went for a much more simplified look with this one. Not sure I really like it (there's definitely a couple things that I would love to go back and change). Maybe we can do a collected edition at some point, that'd be great motivation to go back into each of these and tidy them up a bit.

Comic # 8, 8.5 - The Survivors, Sophisticated Indians

The addition of a touch of color really pushes this piece forward. I love the way that last panel turned out.

The drawings themselves could do with another round of touch ups, but all in all this one looks ok. I will say though, that it's high time I started freakin' drawing hands with fingers!

Also, I don't know what it is, but I love the panel of the young man closing the box (pg 2, pan 4). That one just resonates for me.

And then we go with 2 colors and some grey, look at all that variation! More importantly though is what the colors symbolize. They come from the medicine wheel, and apparently each represents a different people. It's nice and simple, but still holds a lot of depth. Very cool stuff.

I remember working on that first panel and feeling really jazzed about this piece. I don't know if it holds up to time, but a lot of what I did here felt like it was more successful than most of the previous work. Part of that, I think, is that each panel has a bit more room. Looking at it now, I think the only real meaningful change I would make (aside from editing some anatomy and such) would be to add colored shirts to the folks in the last panel. Really push the idea that X attracts people from all walks instead of implying it's just the "white shirts".

Seventh Comic - Livin' For the City

Another new process. I was trying to get closer to the style X was after, and so began drawing white on black in the hopes of getting a more noir feel. I don't know how well it worked, but it was a decent experiment, and something that I continued on for a few more months.

Looking at this, I'm not sure what was going on, but I think I was using the new style as an excuse to be lazy. Some of these panels have a great feel to them, but others have serious issues...

On the upside the layout feels pretty successful (aside from the giant foot... Good idea, baaaad execution).

Sixth Comic - The Rebirth

I think at this point X was dealing with legal issues from his previous employer and wanted to make a comic about the B.S. he was going through. It's a vast change from the first couple comics I did for him. Now we're looking at 3 and 1/2 pages, tons of panels, and a decent chunk of black.

You lucky devils! I've been avoiding adding the schedule in as it's not my work, but separating it from the last page seemed like it would be a pain, not to mention would end up looking odd. As such, I've left it in. Have a look and see what Y is all about.

Looking at it I see that my use of black was still off. Some panels have a lot of deep shadows, others are just linework, no spotted blacks at all. I think this goes back to my fear of black, which in turn has lead to a poor understanding of it. A few months ago I picked up a book called How to Draw Noir Comics. I haven't had a chance to go through it all, but from what I saw it's got some good info (it also comes very highly recommended from ppl in the biz so I'd trust it as a decent purchase). One day I'll sit down and pour through that sucker, then we'll see how I do spotting blacks!

Comic # 5 - Napi and the Bullberries

Ah Napi. This comic was really exciting to work on. At the time there was a suggestion that it would be a series that would eventually get turned into a graphic novel. Sadly time has passed and I'm not sure that that project is on the table any more.

This is where X really started pushing me to use black, which is something that I've had problems with in the past. Being able to work digitally made me a lot more comfortable with laying down blacks though, and I started to make some progress here. Sadly I think the tonal balance only worked out on the first page. The second one just has too much white in it still.

Rumor has it that I may be diving back into a Napi story soon. Here's hoping!

Fourth Comic - Santa and His Old Lady

This was our xmas comic for the December schedule. In my mind this is where our work really started to grow. I was able to expand the size to 2 pages (or one whole 8.5x11 page, depending on how you look at it) and play with the panel sizes and layout. This really freed me to make some interesting choices regarding storytelling. I recall this piece being a challenge, but I think I met it head on and came out the better for it. I learned a lot in here, and in the end came out with something I'm pretty proud of.

Being able to go in with grayscale really changed the feel of the work. I think this is my favorite of the early works I did. My only caveat is that I think I could have handled the gray space on page 2 (the one with the 3 panels) much better.

I will say though, I was a little disappointed by the amount of text that showed up on the page after it was lettered. I think that's largely just my pride over the images, but it does feel a little cramped on the first page. Second one breathes a lot easier and in my mind is pretty much ideal.

What do you think?

Third Comic - The Arrival

This was the third piece I did for X. I don't know if I was thrown by the amount of work (9 whole panels, look out!) or if I was struggling with the format or style or maybe it was crunch time at school or something, but this piece really feels like a failure. There are a few fun panels, but for the most part I think it's pretty weak work.

As such, I am now going to go right into the fourth comic so that this doesn't sit at the top of the blog...

Second Comic

Right after I hooked up with X things fell apart for him and the association he was dealing with. As such, the next work he asked for was meant as a way of expressing the changes that were occuring, and challenges that he was dealing with (and overcoming).

Look at this, only 3 panels!

This was back when I was trying to figure out what kind of style to work in. I also needed some serious training in Indian culture. Who knew it would take me damn near a year to figure out how to draw braids in a way that didn't look like ass? I think X actually wrote me about this comic to give me a little culturization. Indians = tight braids. Loose braids = negative implications. Totally my bad, hopefully better now.

Also, in posting this I noticed that X did a lot more writing to fill space back then. 

First Work - The Buffalo Jump

Over the next couple of days I'll post all of the work that I've done for X over at Y. Ideally I recommend you check out his site here to see these pieces in context, and along with the schedules and other related materials. I'm not involved in any of that work though, so I don't want to be claiming it on this site.

To start I'll post the very first work I did for him.

This was the only time I had the chance to do a cover to go along with the comic. Back then things were much simpler, 7 panels, 1/2 a page, nice and easy. I was actually pretty pleased with this piece when I turned it in. Looking back at it now I feel like I could pull of something a lot more impressive, but it was a good start.

November 11, 2009

Outta Sight

Checked in with X over at Y and he ok'd my posting the comic work I do for him here. These pieces are usually month long collaborations that start with X sending me a script. I take the script and turn it into a rough outline/layout of what I have planned (panel layouts, page layouts etc). Once that's ok'd I dive into the art, penciling/sketching it to begin with, and then finishing it in Corel Painter. X finishes things off by lettering the piece and then posting it on his site.

In the future I'll try to round up copies of all the work that I've done for him, but I'll start with
the most recent (it also happens to be one of my favs).


Another quick bit of sketching. I think the idea is pretty obvious.

Spindians! (Space Indians rock)

Ripped this off for Jason for the cover of this months comic. Hopefully he can figure out a way to make use of it (Apparently there are some space issues).

Started this as a sketch in the midst of my Cultural Anthro class. Brought it home and finished if off in Corel.

Might go back in to fix up the shoulder, but otherwise I'm pretty pleased with it.

October 25, 2009


Ok, super quick post here.

A fellow student at ACAD mentioned Bobby Chiu last week in reference to learning digital painting. I looked him up, and it turns out he's got a ton of stuff out on the net. Not a lot in the way of actual tutorials, but still some great vids.

Anyways, he does some challenges, and one of the ones that came up was Frankenstein. I started doing quick sketches as warm ups for my day, and figured it would be fun to share.


There ya go. Enjoy!

October 14, 2009


Ok, so my good friend Sho hit my last post with a comment on/critique of the work I posted. At first I found it to be a bit harsh, but in the end I thought it would be worthwhile to put some more work into the piece he took issue with.

Sadly a lot of what he saw as wrong in the piece were things that I also thought were off, but thought I could get away with. I find that this can be a tough thing to juggle in terms of art making, as you never know who's looking at your work. Given the amount of time an artist spends looking at their work, it makes sense that we see issues that most people wouldn't notice at a glance. And when it's going to take several hours to repair a problem that most people won't pick up on, you're stuck wondering if it's really worth it.

It is.

In the end , if someone knows what they're doing, they'll see all the flaws right off the bat, and then they'll have a hard time seeing what's good about the piece. You don't want that. So if you can see problem areas in a work that you want to shine, take the extra time to fix them. Instead of cringing at the idea of reworking something from scratch, see if you can figure out a way to edit it without having to redraw it. That way you will have learned a new skill (or polished up on one you use often) and it will still feel like you're moving forward on the piece, instead of scrapping something you liked so that you can draw on top if it.

Here's the corrected version of the Suited Indian illustration I did up for Y.

What do you think, and improvement, or a waste of time?

I'd like to throw a thanks out to Sho for being one of the only people to really take a hard look at my work. As nice as it is to get compliments about a piece, a well thought out critique is a lot more valuable.

October 1, 2009


So I just took a look at the date stamp on my last post and it tells me that it's been almost 2 months since last I posted anything.


Given that I'm back in school, and there lots going on in my life (my gal and I just bought a house!) I can come up with lots of excuses. In the end though, 2 months without posting kinda sucks, and I'm going to make an effort to keep on top of it for the rest of this semester. Look forward to at least 1 post a week!

Anyways, the reason I actually came on today was to post a couple pieces that I just completed for a gentleman named X. Xruns a not for profit organization called Y and a little over a year ago I hooked up with him to make a monthly comic. I handle the art and he does the rest. Last week he contacted me looking for a couple illustrations, and I just managed to finish them.

X's request was for an Uncle Sam style pic of himself, and then a pic of him in a suit. I'm pretty happy with the sketch of Uncle X. The inking, however, doesn't appeal to me all that much. I may have to go back in to rework the shadows, specifically on his face.

The suit pic was a bit trickier as I wasn't entirely sure what X was after to begin with. Once I had the first image done I sent it to him and he came back asking for some feet. Since I had pretty much filled the page when I drew the original I had to add the lower body digitally. Then I took some time to throw some quick tones in, and voila! I'll admit I'm tempted to go back into it and give it some gradation in the values... some softer shadows and highlights say, but I like the clean look it has at the moment, so I'm going to leave it for now. Maybe I'll break go back into it later ;)

That's it for now, later folks!