Just found out early last week that I’m going to be a guest at the upcoming Raleigh Comic Book Show, next Sunday! As always, I am looking forward to seeing show runner Lyn Anderson and all the great dealers and convention regulars who attend these shows. Other planned guests at this show are Buddy Prince, who is a solid artist, good guy, and another Raleigh show regular… and Dan Johnson, whom I have not yet met but am looking forward to seeing for the first time!
I will again have original art and sketch cards for sale, including a bunch of new sketch cards from last Inktober that I drew after my last convention appearance. I’ll also have lots of glossy prints of a bunch of illustrations that I’ve drawn over the last few years. Time permitting, I might even be able to do some commission sketch cards or head/bust sketches during the show too. I’m getting ready for the show this week, so I could even surprise myself with new things I don’t yet know I’ll be bringing!
I hope to see lots of Facebook and blog followers at the show… and I promise to try and warp your brain with my nonsense while you’re there. 🙂 If you’re anywhere near Raleigh, NC next week you really ought to stop by the show… you will not be disappointed! For those who can’t attend, I will be blogging about the experience sometime next Sunday night as I normally do after these shows.
Convention sketches are like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get! 🙂 With my humble apologies to Forrest Gump, begins the tale of a convention sketch from last weekend at the Raleigh Comic Book Show.
Once I was settled in and had said my hellos to fellow guests and the show organizer, I decided to begin a convention sketch on a blank 7×10 comic backing board. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to draw when I began, but since I had drawn a Spider-Man last December I was at least not going to do that. So, pencil to paper and at some point I decided I wanted to draw Batman.
Had I decided to draw Batman sooner, it would have started out looking less like Orion from the New Gods! I realized I had a little bit of work to do to bring it back to being a Batman drawing and not Orion. Nothing against Orion, incidentally, and I probably should draw him too… but I was going for a more immediately recognizable character for this unsolicited sketch and I figured more people would recognize Batman.
I think I managed to save it… but you can be the judge! Oh, and in case you wonder… I found myself without proper flesh-coloring markers so I improvised with a few different colors and going for the patchwork illusion of skin tone through color overload! It just didn’t look right leaving his face white once I had colored everything else. So, my least favorite part of this one is the faux flesh tone result here, even though the illusion works from a distance… it just doesn’t hold up quite as well to up-close scrutiny.
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.
It’s the end of a long day, that while the day has ended (in terms of it being night and also the next calendar day already) I have not yet gone to sleep, so it hasn’t entirely ended for me yet! I’m still unwinding after a long but fun day at the Raleigh Comic Book Show. I enjoyed seeing many old friends again, making a few new ones, and even a big surprise.
I was there with fellow guests Michael Eury and Buddy Prince. This was my third time appearing at a show with Buddy Prince, but the first time I was not sitting directly beside him. Sandwiched between us was Michael Eury. While I was familiar with some of his work (writer/editor for Comico, DC, Dark Horse, and Back-Issue Magazine) I had not met him until today. In between mingling with convention attendees, I got to spend a bunch of time talking with Mr Eury. He is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and happens to enjoy many things that I too enjoy… such as old EC comics, like MAD, or the Batman 1960s TV show!
I had a bunch of new prints for sale that I didn’t have for my last convention appearance, and lots of new art that was not a part of my portfolio last December. I also engaged a lot of new comic fans, kids and adults, that I hope to have turned on to my ‘Sects comic strip as I told them about it and handed out more of the promotional character cards I had made for my last convention appearance.
Had it not been for a surprise in the afternoon, getting to meet and talk with Michael Eury would have been the highlight of the day. Meeting new and interesting people is usually the highlight of any convention appearance! But today that was trumped by an unexpected surprise…
I play quite a bit of Words with Friends on my phone. Every once in a while someone asks me about my avatar there and I’ll explain that I drew it and that I have a blog. I try not to be too preachy because I don’t want people to think I’m only playing the game to sneak in self-promotion! But every now and then I connect with someone and we play a lot and they develop a sincere interest in my blog too.
So, imagine my surprise when one such friend surprised me today by driving up with his wife from South Carolina just because he knew I was going to be a guest at the show today! It’s a pretty cool spontaneous thing for someone to do, especially since it marks the first time he and I have actually met outside of the game, though we have been playing for so long now that I’ve lost track of everything except how soundly and often he has been beating me lately! 🙂
Long story short… I met a friend for the first time today, who went out of his way just to come meet me AND he bought a couple of prints from me! I met Michael Eury and he bought a print from me! I connected with a lot of new people who I hope will become regular readers of the blog and my comic strip… and now I am VERY tired and need to sleep because I have a lot of errands to run on Monday.
Thank you to Lyn Anderson for inviting me… thank you to all the comic book fans who came out today… and thank you, in advance, for everyone new to my blog who I hope to see start following me real soon!
Here we are, nearly a year since my last appearance at the Raleigh Comic Book Show and I am once again an invited guest this Sunday! I’m looking forward to seeing show runner Lyn Anderson and lots of other friendly dealers and convention regulars.
I’m definitely bringing some original art and sketch cards to sell. I will also have lots of glossy prints of a bunch of different illustrations I have created over the last couple of years. Time permitting, I might even be able to do some commission sketch cards or head/bust sketches during the show as well. I’m still preparing everything for the show, so I could come up with some surprises. You never know!
I hope to see lots of current Facebook and blog followers, and I hope to turn lots of new people over to the dark side as well during the show.. 🙂 For those who cannot attend, I’ll be blogging after the experience on Sunday to let you know what you missed. I hope to see lots of ‘Sects fans there!
Yesterday was the big day! As expected, I did not get a lot of sleep in advance of the convention. I never do. It’s not even about being unprepared, I was more prepared for this show than any I’ve ever been to before… I just never end up sleeping much or well before any big thing.
I had a bunch of original art with me, and some sketches and prints for sale. I loaded up the truck and actually got to the show early! The new venue was nice. It was a good looking hotel and the layout of the comic showroom was nice. I found my spot, checked the WiFi access, and setup my table for the day.
For a post-Christmas show, you never know what to expect. Are people tired from celebrating the holidays? OR are they ready to get out of the house for a bit? Did they spend all of their money already on Christmas? OR will all the people who received money as a gift show up ready to spend? It seemed like the show got a pretty good turnout, but I literally only sold one of my prints.
I’m still new to the guest artist gig, so I don’t know how much my lack of sales had to do with me being new versus people just not looking to spend money. I did have a lot of people looking through my stuff, and got a lot of positive comments… so I’m figuring it was a mix of me still being new and people being choosy how they spend their money. Being honest, going into the show I wanted to have stuff for sale and hoped to sell some things but I was mostly there to spread the word, advertise myself, and promote my blog and ‘Sects comic strip.
Specifically for this show, I made eight promotional ‘Sects character cards (Buzz, Red, Bob, Blue, Buzzarro, Dez, Nell, and Al). These were 2.5 in. x 2 in. cards with a brief blurb about the character and a link to my blog. During the show I handed them out to everyone who stopped at my table, and tried to flag down people as they walked by to let them know they were free for the taking. After the show I also went around to all the dealers who hadn’t stopped by my table already to bring them into the fold as well. I’m hoping my blog will see some new visitors and fans as a result!
Fellow guests at the show were Chris Kemple and Buddy Prince. Buddy was at the first show I did, back in 2014, and I hadn’t seen him since that time. Chris and I talked a bit and each thought the other looked familiar, and we mutually concluded that we probably already knew each other because we used to shop at the same comic book store (Capitol Comics) and I actually worked there many years ago. Buddy and Chris are both good guys, and good artists, and they seemed to have a lot of interaction at their tables too.
During the show, I was able to draw some ‘Sects sketch cards and a Batgirl sketch card. I also drew a nice larger Spider-Man sketch. I posted these last night on the blog after returning from the show, but I was too tired to post this summary until tonight! 🙂 It was nice to be able to prove to myself that I could finish sketches while talking to people at the same time. Sometimes multitasking can be challenging, so it was good practice.
All in all, it was a good experience. It was a much better experience than my first show too. I was much more prepared going in, and I had a stronger comic strip to promote this time around. Next time I’ll have more art to sell and more comics to promote too… it’s a growing process. It was good to see some old friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, and make a few new ones. If anyone reading this met me for the first time yesterday, and has now come to check out my blog as a result, thank you for coming to the show and thank you for visiting my blog. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to more shows in 2016!
For my guest appearance at the Raleigh Comic Book Show tomorrow, I’m preparing to bring many things… I also have been spending time this week creating some sketch cards for the show. I may be able to draw some more at the show, but wanted to have some done in advance. I’ll be making a series of posts today to show off some of the ones I’ve already made. Hope to see some of you at the convention!
I’ve been invited once again to appear as a guest artist at the Raleigh Comic Book Show. Lyn Anderson is a long-time friend and always puts on a good show. There are also a bunch of friendly dealers with a wide variety of comic books and collectibles. There are usually some good guests too, so hopefully I don’t mess that up too much! 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones. I’ll also be bringing some freebies and perhaps some original art for sale, and I hope to gain some new followers to the blog and my Facebook page. If you’re a fan of anything you’ve seen from me, please come by and say hello!
For those who cannot attend, I’ll be blogging after the experience next Sunday to let you know what you missed. I hope to see lots of ‘Sects fans there!
So, I was participating in a discussion about tracing this weekend on a Web forum. This comes up from time to time, it’s just the first time I’ve been active in such a discussion online. I’m not even going to get into the penciller vs inker debate, that is a tangent discussion. For the purposes of this blog post, I’m strictly talking about tracing photographs. The usual camps formed:
- Tracing is evil and wrong and you are evil and wrong for tracing!
- Tracing is okay for practice, but real artists don’t need to trace.
- Tracing is an acceptable art form.
I’m firmly in the #3 camp with a caveat that I will get to in a minute. For beginners, I think tracing is good practice. When you’re initially studying art, and anatomy in particular, you will waste a lot of time drawing a lot of wrong things if you don’t trace a little to get yourself used to where things go. Part of learning how to draw is learning how to compose a complex illustration from simple strokes on the page. If you start by tracing you will simultaneously enhance your brain’s ability to see the composition in smaller parts, and your hand and arm will get used to the motions so that it feels natural to you.
Think of a golfer learning to swing. You can go in there and pick a club and just start swinging… but you can’t really see what you are doing and you will waste a lot of time tiring yourself out swinging incorrectly before you accidentally do it right a few times. Most golfers will watch other people swing and try to emulate that at first. You can even have your swing analyzed by a computer or hire a personal trainer. It will still take a lot of practice to get good at golf, but you cut the initial learning time dramatically by using all the available helper tools that you can.
So, now let’s say you are a good artist and don’t need to trace anymore. Why would you do it? Well, now that you know how to draw and you can do it… tracing is still useful. You can do the work much faster by tracing even if you don’t need to do it. Can you draw a straight line without a ruler? Can you draw that same straight line a lot faster, and probably cleaner as well, with a ruler? Would you refuse to use a ruler just to keep purity in your art?
I was at the Raleigh Comic-Con last year as a guest, and I was doing small sketches during the show. At one point I was going to draw Captain America’s shield. The artist next to me said, matter-of-factly, that he wouldn’t dare draw a circle freehand and that I was brave to try. I was sketching my circles on a quadrant so I really was only drawing four connected arcs to make my circles. This allowed me to be pretty fast at sketching and create reasonably good circles. Truth be told, though, he was absolutely right. I could have drawn the same circles much faster and cleaner with the right tools. I know how to draw circles and I can draw them with a little patience… but there’s nothing to be gained from refusing to use the right tool for the job.
And now comes the caveat. In my opinion there are only two unacceptable practices in tracing. First, I believe you should not try to pass off your work as if you didn’t trace. Own the practice, own your creation! If you traced some photographs to make it better or finish it faster, embrace it and don’t run from it. Second, make sure you are using photographs in the public domain or ones that you take yourself or otherwise have obtained the rights to use in your art.
If you embrace it, have permission to do it, and it makes your art better… I say trace all you want. Embrace the trace!
Meanwhile, as part of that discussion thread… people started posting their version of a trace of Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool from a movie still photograph. I didn’t want to feel left out, so I took a stab at tracing the photograph myself and am posting it here on my blog. I colored the clothing and accessories, but stopped there as the purpose of the exercise had been served at that point for me.
What was interesting, and perhaps surprising to some in the discussion, every person’s trace of the exact same photograph came out looking differently… which means even when we trace, our personal style is coming through in the final product.
This is not the blog post you are looking for…
So, I was out yesterday running errands. I noticed many people, admittedly mostly women since that’s how I’m wired, with long hair and tight pants. It got me to thinking. Are the pants comfortable? Is the hair worth the maintenance?
I’m admittedly not in optimal physical condition right now. That honestly stated, I have never been a fan of form-fitting clothing, regardless of my condition. I remember the last time I was in really good shape and many people didn’t notice just how much I had toned myself because I was still wearing much of the same clothing. Some people asked why I didn’t get clothes that fit me better. I ultimately did get some new clothes, but I still wore clothing that was loose rather than form-fitting.
Now I’m not saying some people don’t look good in the clothes… but for me it was always restrictive and made me feel uncomfortable. At the end of the day, I primarily dress for two reasons:
- Not to be naked.
- For comfort.
Yes, I dress up for the situations that require it… I’m not that much of a rebel! But generally speaking, those are my two criteria and in that order. If I’m not comfortable then I’m miserable. Loose-fitting clothing all the way for me!
I have worn my hair long and short, and a beard sometimes to match. Right now both are a little longer than I would like but it suits the creative/artistic/eccentric me. However, soon I will resemble my other self and not the one people saw recently at my comic book convention appearance with the longer hair and beard.
The longer my hair gets (with or without the companion beard) the tougher it is to maintain. Washing it takes longer… combing it takes longer… and though I’m not an every-hair-in-place guy, it still takes increasingly more time to care for and maintain longer hair than it does shorter hair. Eventually I reach that breaking point where my laziness at cutting my hair is beaten by my annoyance at maintaining the length to which it has grown.
I look different with longer hair than I do with shorter hair. That cannot be denied. I can’t judge better or worse in such things… just different. I’m still me… and unlike the story of Samson & Delilah, I do not gain or lose strength with the length of my hair.
The internet and fans of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” witnessed head-explosions when the new season started and actress Kaley Cuoco showed up with really short hair. I found myself amazed at the depth of the reactions. Some claimed it ruined the show… others claimed it ruined the actress! Think for a second… her hair is likely to grow back… and even if not, she’s ruined with a haircut? Really?
You can’t help but notice, obviously… but she looks and sounds like the same person to me. I wasn’t freaked out. I wasn’t even surprised. I am a guy who notices such things. I’m not the guy who sees a girl with a different hairstyle and is oblivious to why she looks different. I just don’t care. I see the same person with different hair. The earth didn’t open up and release the Kraken because a girl gets a short haircut, but you wouldn’t know it from how a lot of people reacted!
You might not think about it, but your signature can be a logo too. You can simply sign your name of course, and you should on legal documents… but many artists have a stylized form of their signature that they use to sign their finished works. If you have been following my blog since I appeared at the Raleigh Comic Convention back in August, you have seen scans of my sketches that include my signature logo.
For years I had been practicing variations on things that I liked. For a time I thought I might use a stylized version of my initials (SJV) in a design similar to the old Van Halen logo. It looked ok, and I was a fan of the band, but that didn’t really yield a signature that represented anything of myself. As I have said before, your logo represents you and at that point my concept did not adequately represent me.
I was always a good math and science student and was an Electrical Engineering major at NC State University, so in some ways it is odd that it took me as long as it did to come up with this design. It is simple and quite by accident very functional in communicating additional information beyond just who drew the picture.
The integral symbol represents my first initial, the root symbol represents my last initial, and the J fits snugly in there as a variable to the root function. As I settled upon this design and grew to like it, I discovered a happy accident… I could use the lower and upper limits for the integral symbol to represent the month and year, respectively.
So I ended up with a neat little signature logo that identifies me as well as when I completed the work. It also represents the analytical side of me as much as it represents the artistic side.
Do you have your own stylized signature logo design?