Profound apologies to Frosty the Snowman… but last month I had this idea for a Christmas mash-up… inspired by true events, ripped from the headlines as they say. 🙂 I wanted to get this one up before the holiday weekend and in honor of today being the day the Electoral College casts votes for the presidency.
The little things please me the most. I like how the magic twinkle effect around Donny is bringing him to life after the magical toupee is placed upon his head… and I like how disturbed that little girl truly looks. Her look in particular was referenced from the actual proper cartoon where she is cold and shivering while Frosty is seeking to save her from the cold at his own peril. I though that expression worked well here in this context. Meanwhile, Donny’s dialog is a riff on how Frosty always exclaimed, “Happy Birthday” every time he was brought to life. Donny says something far more tragic every time he comes to life. 🙂
Please let me know what you think and remember, if you’d like an original commission by me or would like to hire me as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
One more Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon inspired drawing this month… This time it’s that family of the future, the Jetsons! Meet George Jetson, his boy Elroy, Jane his wife, and daughter Judy all in their future car going somewhere… Sorry no Astro or Rosie, but the spaceship was getting crowded!
Once again I went with a mix of old-school and new-school to complete this illustration. Beginning with the pencil sketch to get everybody, and everything, in place… then scanned, inked, and colored digitally. If you compare the finished piece above with my pencil sketch below, you can see a few tweaks here and there, especially in the faces… but for the most part I had a solid sketch to help me create the final drawing.
It’s a little ironic to me, to be looking back in time at a classic cartoon set in the future! Think about that for a minute without your brain exploding… then let me know what you think of this one. Remember, if you are interested in requesting my services as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
Speed Buggy isn’t the only classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon that I remember fondly from my childhood. I also loved Captain Caaaavemaaaaaan! His battle cry, his enigmatic Popeye-esque mumbling, and strange sense of misunderstanding were fun things as a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons.
For this one it was back to the literal drawing board as I wanted a more organic feel to the illustration… So, I used my hybrid process and roughed out the initial sketch by hand with pencil. You will see some things in the pencil sketch below that I fixed or changed completely in the final digital rendering above.
I like using this process because I get to interject a little more of my own style into the pencil sketch, but then finishing digitally on the computer lets me have cleaner lines and tweak the size and shapes much easier to get the final drawing to look just like how I want it to look. I also end up with a piece of unfinished art (the sketch) that exists as a real thing, which is something I don’t have when I create something entirely in the computer realm.
By the by… you’ll note that I actually drew this back in July. I’ve just had other things to work on and draw that kept me from blogging about this one until today. Please let me know what you think, especially if you are a fan of Cavey! Hmm… I wonder how he attained the rank of Captain anyway? Oh well, always remember… Unga Bunga! 🙂
Remember, if you are interested in requesting my services as an Illustrator, please use the Contact page and let me know as much as you can about your request.
Because next to nobody demanded it… i.e. Sequential… Journal… Visual… is on Facebook! Actually, I launched about a week ago, and figured it was time to spread the word here. Of course if you are reading this from Facebook, then you already know I’m on Facebook… Facebook!
If you read my blog posts and comic strips, nothing is changing… they will continue to be posted here as usual. They will also be pushed to Facebook, and have been since Saturday before last. The advantage to being on Facebook, besides hoping to reach a larger audience… is some shorter spur-of-the-moment things seem to fit being posted there more so than here.
Also, I might make snarky comments on Facebook about a cartoon or comic strip… and I might post “coming soon” type announcements there. So, if you are on Facebook please come and find and Like me there so that you can be sure not to miss a thing.
Thanks, and… be sure to Facebook!
I have random thoughts that go through my mind all the time, and as I always say… write ideas down or make quick sketches before you lose something that you can’t remember later! Given the time of the year, it should be no surprise that my mind has wandered into monstrous territory. The core of this idea was the tusks. It all started from there, and everything else evolved around that one thought.
This illustration is still a work-in-progress, but I think it is mostly where I want it to be and if I wait until it is perfect in my eyes, it would be way past Halloween before anyone ever saw it! So here’s a peek inside my brain and perhaps an early look at something you might see again if it evolves into something more.
Here’s the final version of the initial Fringe Kisses comic strip. You can see I tweaked a little from the original teaser the other day and I decided it was actually funnier with the Moon giving a thumbs-down rather than speaking.
Whether it is because someone asks me for a sketch or I just want to add something to my portfolio, it comes up from time to time that I want to draw a character that I didn’t create. I always want to do my best work, but I don’t want to directly copy another artist’s style. Generally, I want the final illustration to be recognizable but my own interpretation. Over time I have evolved a fairly straightforward process to accomplish this on a reliable basis.
Step 1. Find good source material to use as reference.
Source can come from magazines, comic books, or more frequently, results from an Internet search. I try to find a character pose as close to the one I want to create, though sometimes it might require a composite from multiple images.
Step 2. Make an intentionally bad sketch of the source material.
Since I don’t want to directly copy or trace artwork created by someone else, this step is essential to my process. I want to inject my own style, but I want to make sure I capture some components that make this character who he (or she) is. So, the key is to make a quick and dirty sketch with some intentional problems, ensuring that I isolate some aspects of the character’s original design while allowing lots of room for my own flair later.
Step 3. Create a good sketch using my bad sketch as reference.
At this point I no longer want to have the original source material in front of me. I do not want any undue influence of the original artist on my final illustration. Here is where I add my own flair to the design and, using my intentionally bad sketch as reference, create my interpretation of the character.
Step 4. Finish the hand-drawn work.
Currently I have a few different ways that I am finishing my artwork. One method would be to ink over the pencils to create a clean final hand-drawn illustration. Another that I’ve been doing more of lately is using colored pencils (and no inks at all) to finish the final hand-drawn illustration. Of course I could color an inked illustration or I could paint it or any number of other methods, but these are the two primary ways I am currently finishing my hand-drawn illustrations.
Step 5. Scan the hand-drawn artwork and, optionally, recreate using the computer.
I’m always going to scan in my finished hand-drawn illustrations for archival purposes even if I do nothing else from that point. I might sell or give away an original hand-drawn creation, but would like a history for my portfolio if nothing else. After a high-resolution scan, this could be the end of the process.
In many cases, however, I would also like a clean vector-rendered version of the illustration. I might want to do something else with the artwork later, and having a vector version has all kinds of upside that is a topic for another discussion. Essentially, I redraw the illustration completely in the computer, using my scanned original artwork as reference. I do not use any built-in tracing features. Because it is hard to ever consider any illustration done, I also typically end up making minor changes and corrections in this new vector-drawn version.
And there you have it… a repeatable and reliable process where I can create my interpretation of characters created by someone else to add to my portfolio, for use in a parody or satire, or as an instructional tool like this post.
So, you have an idea that has been bouncing around in your head and you aren’t quite sure what to do with it. Or maybe you know what you want to do with it but don’t know how, or where to start. I thought it might be good to take you through a quick process tour of a cartoon I created about 10 years ago. It was an idea that had been in my head for a while until I finally put it to good use.
First a little backstory… I was born in 1970. Back in 1971, a band called Climax had a song named “Precious and Few.” I’ll leave it up to you to look it up and give it a listen if you are unfamiliar. There was a particular lyric that kept hitting my brain in an odd way:
Precious and few are the moments we two can share…
Sometimes I would swear I could hear toucan… and for years that was stuck in my head until I finally decided to do something with it. The butchered lyric was funny, but without a visual didn’t have much oomph. The first decision I had to make was, cartoony or realistic? I decided to go with the Leslie Nielsen delivery. You can look him up if you aren’t familiar with the actor and his work, but suffice it to say serious delivery of a funny line is sometimes funnier than silly delivery of a funny line.
Opting for realism, the next step was to find reference art for my toucans. I had an image in my mind of a couple of toucans perched on a branch having a casual conversation. A quick aside here, many artists use reference photographs to refine their work. I’m not talking about tracing, I’m talking about looking at how things exist and flow in real-life in order to capture the parts you want in your drawing. The Internet is a great tool for finding reference photographs if you don’t have the means or expertise to take your own.
After a lot of searching, I found exactly what I wanted in the ones below. Two separate photographs, but each perched on a stick the way I wanted. Even better, the second one has his mouth open as if caught in mid-sentence!
The next decision I had to make was how to create the art. Since I wanted to eventually compose the final work on my computer, I had essentially three options: Draw everything on paper and scan it in, Draw everything on the computer with the software tools, Use my Wacom tablet for a combination of the first two options.
Each option has their merits. Drawing exclusively on the computer, however, I feared might look too mechanical and not get the realism I wanted for the final look. I also kind of wanted to play with the new Wacom tablet I had at the time, so I opted for the third method. Wacom, or similar, tablets are a nice way to draw with a natural feel but capture lines and curves in a way that you can more easily manipulate later as vector art if you so desire. For this cartoon, the only manipulation after drawing was the use of the fill feature to blacken in the parts I wanted solid. All that was left was to box the cartoon for the traditional single-panel look, and add the caption below it.
So, there you have it… an idea from concept to final cartoon in a snapshot of the process. A special thank you to Jerry of Emerald Forest Bird Gardens for granting me permission to use the toucan photos from their Web site. They have a lot of information about toucans, so I recommend you visit the link and take a look around.