Saturday, July 4

Flex Mentallo Again

Working through the second season of Doom Patrol on HBOMax.

I read the Morrison/Case comics as single issues back in the early '90s and loved its perpetual apocalypse. There was no melodrama of angry exes rallying a gang to show up the new girlfriend. No backyard baseball games or gossip by the pool. All the kinds of downtime moments you'd find in Avengers or X-Men or Teen Titans. This book was an endless stream of cosmic masculine menace; two baddies named Mister something is saying something about comics. The title was already in its fifth gear when Vertigo started, and I happily followed Morrison to Invisibles.

And then the Flex Mentallo mini came out, and it became one of my favorite comic stories ever, and the best of the subgenre wherein the good guys recoup from the villain's conquest of the world. I wrote about it for the late, great PopImage website and was blurbed for the back cover of the Flex trade, so he and I are linked forever. If my one claim to almost-fame in the comics is my blah-blah stamped next to Quitely art, that is a glorious destiny based on unabashed love.


They nailed that character in the HBOMax series. His earnest, inherent decency is charming and right. He is kind. He is confident. He wants to help. He's a genuine throwback superhero dressed as a circus strongman, and it makes my comic heart soar.

When I get the urge to draw Doom Patrol, I default to Flex.




Here's my previous Doom Patrol fan art. 

I like to see the progress. 

 

Tuesday, June 30

Dazzler

I need to level up my coloring skills, and specifically, I need to get better at brush options to for textures.


I drew Dazzler after sketching up some poses, then I scanned in the pencils instead of inking on the page. I did all the finishing in Photoshop.


I normally digital ink and color in Illustrator, so this was a big learning curve. They both allow layers which is essential for color control, but I find the line control better in Illustrator.

I went through a number of Kyle T. Webster brushes in Photoshop to work up the lighting effects. I wanted lots of blues and yellows to reflect her 1980s outfit.


Saturday, June 27

Marrying Is Half the Battle

For Mother's Day, my wife, The Countess, wanted a pole chain saw to prune with. OK, I said. This is not a surprise to me or anyone who knows her. She's a tomboy, a term that's faded alongside our limited notions of skill sets and expectations. The world spins a little slower since March, so we have lots of time to beat back the treeline.

Based on a photo of her posing proudly with her new gagdet, I worked up a classic '80s GI Joe card for her. I decided to try to paint it, if you'll pardon the term, in Photoshop.





Monday, June 1

Zorii Bliss

Love that costume and helmet. Hope we can see more of her in future Star Wars shows.

This was done with PITT pens, Sharpies, and Spectrum Noir markers.

Saturday, May 30

Cooking With Kurt, An X-Men Fan Short

Met a guy on Twitter last year, GreekHeat, who asked if I would be interested in drawing up an X-Men comic -- something just for fun as we're both big fans of Nightcrawler. Sure, I said. That sounds cool.

It would also be good exercise for me. When I write my own stuff, I tend to write in my comfort zone on backgrounds and situations. Rooftop hero conversations and the like. When I've had the chance to draw other folks' scripts, they make me branch out and level up.

Also, when someone asks if you want to draw anything X-related, the answer is yes. Always yes.

Earlier this month, I again posted my enduring love for Nightcrawler, and I quickly got a DM saying, "oh, hey, I got the script I mentioned last year." I was all for it. I am currently on page 56 of an original 100-page graphic novel, and I could use the break for all the above-mentioned reasons, but also because I am sick of drawing these people.

He sent a three-pager starring Nightcrawler and Colossus, and it takes place in the mansion, and it includes a mob of mutant kids and a surly Logan. Yes, of course I would draw this. I'm posting the behind-the-scenes art after the story, but let's just jump to the good stuff.





Nice, right? That's fun stuff.

And here's how I did it.

GreekHeat sent me the script via Google Docs, and I started simple page layouts. He had everything broken down by panel and page, making my job 50 percent easier. I sent him the sketches for his OK.



I then got to work on page two, because that one terrified me. Interior perspective? Angled birds-eye view? Gah.



When I felt like I had a splash that included all the script asked for, I moved to tight pencils.




After getting GreekHeat's OK on these, I moved to inks. Amateur Tip: Talk to your writers. Show them your work. That way they know you're making progress, and they can adjust things before you move to inks. Maybe you didn't leave enough room for the word balloons. They can catch stuff like that. Make things easy on yourself. Communicate.

I lightboxed the pencils onto new comic boards and used markers and PITT pens for the inks. After getting the OK on those, I lettered them. GreekHeat had a small change in the dialogue, and I was able to fix that and send it back for the OK. Then we released it into the wild. 

I highly recommend this to flex some art muscles and bond with your fellow fans, whatever that fandom is. I can go back to my hack GN with a refreshed eye for camera angles and body language and composition. This has made me, yes, a better artist, and for that I thank GreekHeat.

Also, I learned how I prefer to depict BAMFs. When I tried to copy those of other artists, they all looked flat. I like my BAMFs. 

Friday, April 24

Empowered

Drew Adam Warren’s Empowered after binging the most recent two volumes. It’s the only (kinda?) manga I read because I don’t know enough about the medium. But this is energetic comics with surprisingly deep emotional moments. This was done with a new range of markers I hope to get comfortable with.


Sunday, April 19

Viva la Pepper

I was reminded this week of the biggest mistake in the MCU: Pepper losing her powers at the end of Iron Man 3. A legit origin story with no connection to an infinity stone wasted.


Friday, April 17

Six Fan Arts

I got into the social media trend and asked for drawing requests. I got a lot. 40 of them.


Here's what I made. This was fun, and it was a nice break from my graphic novel work.







Tuesday, March 17

New Prints for 2020!

Might as well redecorate while we're at home.

I made two and a half new prints for the 2020 con season, which will still happen. We just have to be patient. But since we're all home staring at the walls, why not put something new up to stare at? You can buy each or all of the below prints at my online store, Robot Wonderboy, and there is a discount if you buy 4 prints!


First up The Adventure Zone. This is my first time drawing the Wet Bandits/Tres Horny Boys after years of listening to the McElroy podcasts. I based the image on the classic Mark Seliger Beastie Boys cover. I made that connection in the live TAZ episode that features the boys back in high school playing in PE.




The second new print is Ben Solo, the redeemed Kylo.



And the third is an updated print of Wonder Woman as WWE champion. The Universal belt was tweaked recently, and I made hers match it.


We're gonna see each other at the next available con. It'll happen. It'll be a good time.


Wednesday, February 19

Convention Commissions

Con season starts very soon, and customized artwork will be waiting for you when you get yourself a commission through my online store, Robot Wonderboy.



Not going to a show? You can order yourself some artwork that will ship right to your door. Order now, please and thank you.

Friday, February 7

Naomi

I'm a lifelong wrestling fan, and I have a son who is becoming heavily invested in wrestling, either on TV or in video games, and we watch the shows together. It's fun. We talk about storytelling and theatre and skill and trust -- all the stuff that makes for a great spectacle -- and we also lose our minds over the big emotional moments.

We lost our minds completely over the returning Naomi during the Royal Rumble. The entrance, the outfit, the athletics, the energy. Just lost every part of our minds.

You can read about her and Bianca Belair and Ember Moon in this article from Essence. They are each fantastic performers.

So I had to work up a sketch, and that look demands color markers.