Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Even Zombies Have Gestures

Alec Stevens, one of my instructors at the Joe Kubert School, use to stress the importance of gesture drawings. Capturing the essence of the pose in its most simple form. At the time, I was a perfectionist, holding my pencil in a death grip and drawing every line with a concentrated purpose. I did very little sketching, and even when I did, I would never ever show these "imperfect" drawings to anyone without a lot of internal pain & embarrassment. As much as I tried, I could just never loosen up to do some decent gestures. Not even in life drawing class. Thanks to Alec pushing me, his lessons stuck with me over the years, even today. I'm a much different artist now than I was then. Gesture drawings are the beginning of every great pose I've ever done. And cartoon zombies are no exception! I'm working on a project for a friend that I can't discuss at this point. But I can tell you that I'm drawing cartoon zombies. As I'm fleshing out some of the zombies, I wanted to share a couple of gesture drawings with you. Why? Because I rarely show anyone these early-stage sketches, and because I wanted to say THANK YOU, ALEC STEVENS.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sug-ARRRRR Me Timbers!

I know it's taken a bit longer than expected to unveil the winners of the "Design Your Own Breakfast Monkey Villain" contest. But now that it's finally almost time, I thought I'd lead into it by showing you a few BMonkey villains that you haven't seen yet. Beginning with CAP'N ROTTENMOUTH. Cap'n Rottenmouth happened when a girl I was dating did the WORST pirate impression I'd ever heard. It came out sounding more like half pirate/half leprechaun. It made me and Gerard laugh so hard that it became a running joke between us, and we decided that he needed to be a BMonkey character. But the question was, what do we do with a leprechaun pirate? Well, we know that Crazy Boy is addicted to sugary cereal, and the sugary-est cereal we could think of Cap'n Crunch, who's kind of a pirate-like character. So the leprechaun pirate became our Cap'n Crunch. He'd be the mascot of Crazy Boy's favorite cereal, "sailing the seas of cavities" as he rotted the teeth and minds of not just Crazy Boy, but of cereal-loving children everywhere. So here's my updated design of that character. What we have is a bearded red-headed midget with messed-up teeth, wearing a green pirate outfit and carrying a shillelagh. The hat is an obvious nod to Cap'n Crunch. As always, here's the color rough and the uncolored blue line clean-up.
COMING UP NEXT: The Breakfast Monkey's  arch-nemesis, COLONEL SUPPER! Stayed tuned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hard Boyle'd Halloween, Part 1

It's a little-known fact that I am a humongous fan of masks. All kinds of masks. But I especially love vintage Ben Cooper-style Halloween masks. I just love the bold and simplistic pop-art look of them.

(The second one from the top I actually remember wearing in first grade.)
I'm also a big fan of vintage Halloween crafts, or Halloween crafts made to look vintage. A lot of which are made with paper mache. I was looking at one of my favorite contemporary crafters, Retro Rudolph's, and I was inspired to put my love of masks and paper mache crafts together. So I've decided to design and make paper mache Halloween masks, done in retro Ben Cooper style. I sketched out a few thumbnails at work the other day, and here they are:
I don't know if I'll actually use any of these, but it's definitely the direction I want to go with them. A majority of them will probably end up being devil masks, just because those are my favorite. I don't know how many I'll do. This is my first time using paper mache since like third grade. So I'll either love it and churn out mask after mask, or I'll hate it and do just one or two and will have gotten this creative bug out of system. I'm hoping I'll love it and have a bunch of them to sell online. And maybe keep a few for myself. I'll put up a new post after I finish my first mask...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Bubble of Solace

 In 1999, I took a left turn in my art career and left DC Comics to pursue a career in animation. This Summer, I made my return to the world of comics. Well, sorta. My actor friend Melissa Roth told me that she was going to be in Piper McKenzie's new play in the Comic Book Theater Festival titled "The Bubble of Solace", and that they were looking for artists for some comic book segments. First of all, I am a big big fan of Piper McKenzie. Their plays strike a very specific chord with the nerd in me. So already I was excited about the idea of working with them. Secondly, I'd get to draw comic book stuff again, which I'd been itching to do. So I contacted writer/director Jeff Lewonczk, sent him some rough character sketches, and I was in. I was super-excited about the "Bertie" segment, an Archie comics parody. I'd get to draw my version of Josie and the Pussycats? Um, yes please! I think mainly because of my enthusiasm for that alone, Jeff decided that "Bertie" would be the segment I'd work on. Here's one of my favorite panels, brilliantly colored by Jeff to look like old 4-color comic book printing.

 I saw the play last week, and let me tell ya, seeing my work up on a huge screen with the cast doing voices (backstage) in lieu of word balloons, and actor Roger Nasser hilariously interacting with the panels, I loved every second of it! Because of the interactive nature of it, I treated the panels a lot like an animatic. When it's all put together on screen, some panels are almost animated, like when Professor Finkleblatt is lecturing (Roger's character) AJ and telling him that he has the power to change the story. With colors again by Jeff.

 Or when AJ confronts Melvin about his plans to kiss Bertie.

And here's a photo of AJ interacting with Finkleblatt. The panels obviously got flopped for staging. (photo courtesy of Jim R. Moore):

 The following end sequence is possibly my most favorite of anything I've done in my career so far. In this scene, AJ is rejected by Bertie and chastised by Melvin. AJ loses it and starts tearing up the pages of the comic book, effectively massacring the entire Bertie crew. (I'm posting these panels without the 4-color f/x.)
 And in the end, Professor Finkleblatt transforms into The Nightmarer, a ghoulish character similar to EC Comics' Cryptkeeper. In the final panel where we close up on The Nightmarer, I got to switch gears and did a dark, gritty dry-brush horror comics style. So much fun!

Jeff even made a mock comic book cover, the one AJ picks up for the audience to see before we get transported inside the pages. Have I mentioned the man is brilliant?

Humongous thanks to Jeff and Melissa, Piper McKenzie and to the entire cast & crew of "The Bubble of Solace". It was an absolute pleasure to work with all of you!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Winners of the "Design Your Own Breakfast Monkey Villain" contest!

Last month I announced my very first contest, to design your very own Breakfast Monkey villain. We got an overwhelming response, and I even recruited special guest judge NISA CONTRERAS, Production Manager of Cartoon Network's VENTURE BROS and ROBOTOMY. It was tough decision, but here are the winners:

Grand Prize: AMELIA SALT for her character Cap'n Bedsheet!
Two runners-up: MADDY for her character Aryne Alchemist and Kate (MusicRox16) for her character Mr. Toastinator!

CONGRATULATIONS GUYS! And big big thank you's to everyone who entered! And to Nisa Contreras for her help and invaluable insight. You guys rock!! I will post drawings of the winning entries next Saturday, July 25th on my Youtube page. Don't miss it!

Pancakes & cream,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mikey the wolfboy

This little guy is from a project that I've been wanting to do for years, a pitch for a little kids' show called "Witchamazoo". The premise is kind of "Strawberry Shortcake" meets "Groovie Ghoulies". I don't want to give too much away about the show just yet, but Mikey the little werewolf boy is my favorite character. And possibly my favorite of all my character designs so far.
I've recently joined Patch Together, where I hope to get started on having some of my designs made into toys. My first submission is The Breakfast Monkey. I really want him made into a plush toy. If you do too (and honestly, how could you not) PLEASE join Patch Together and vote for him and leave a comment about how much you want a Breakfast Monkey plushie. The more positive feedback I get, the better my chances are of getting BMonkey toys made. I'm submitting Mikey next. He'll be up in a few days from now. I really want to make soft vinyl Mikey toys, so make sure you vote on him too! (UPDATE: Mikey is now up and available for voting: HERE)
Here are my blue-line and color roughs. In the color version, I've added Mikey's best friend, a tiny blue flea that Mikey has simply named "Bug".

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vampires Will Never Hurt You (but hide your donuts!)

It's been a while since my last post. I've been super-busy moving this month, and I've had no time for work. And I'm still not fully moved in yet! But I finally had some time to make a new Breakfast Monkey Youtube video, and to tell you about a new BM villain, MAGIC DRACULA! Magic Drac is our tribute to actor/comedian Rip Taylor. As you know by now, I'm a pretty big Sid & Marty Krofft fan. Rip played the genie Sheldon on the show "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters", which I always thought was freakin' hilarious. Just the idea that these teenage boys were friends with this super-gay confetti-throwing sea-genie wearing a cape and boxers...so damn funny. And I thought, how funny would it be to have that same personality in a vampire character? The result is Magic Dracula, a flamboyant, glittery pastry-vampire. No, he doesn't suck blood, but he just lovvves the insides of jelly donuts and chocolate eclairs, ruining Breakfast for donut-lovers everywhere. Obviously, this puts him on the Breakfast Monkey's shit list.
As always, here's the blue line sketch and the color rough:
Which brings us to my next topic: I'M HAVING MY FIRST CONTEST! The contest is "Design Your Own Breakfast Monkey Villain". Your baddie can be anything you want. He doesn't have to have anything to do with food, but he does have to make our little breakfast imp's mornings pretty miserable. I want everyone to be able to enter, so don't be intimidated if you can't draw very well. I can get a pretty good idea from just a rough little sketch. Parents & friends are allowed to help! And if you can't draw at all, that's okay too. Just send me a written description of your character, and I'll do the rest! Send all of your entries to me at joeboylenyc@gmail.com by May 31, 2011. The grand prize will be a drawing of your character by me, which I'll sign and send to you, and your character will appear in a future episode of "The Breakfast Monkey", AND you get an exclusive Breakfast Monkey t-shirt! This t-shirt won't be available anywhere else, so you'll be the only lucky duck in the world who owns it! Pretty sweet, right? And runners-up will get a signed drawing of their character! Okay? Okay! So get to it, Monkey fans!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Breakfast Monkey Gets Colored

Color rough I did for the lovely people at The Breakfast Monkey's Facebook page. I promise I'll get you guys a nice cleaned-up version soon. The blue-line art is in my very first post.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Gerard Way!

Just a little sketch wishing a very happy birthday to my buddy Gerard from me and the Breakfast Monkey!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rescue Racer Crew

I did mention that it was an unhealthy obsession, right? So after posting my Pufnstuf sketch, my girlfriend suggested drawing his little deputies (I think they were also his nephews?), Cling & Clang. That was really all the incentive I needed to want to draw them. Well, that and another slow day at work with time for doodling, and voilà! They were fairly simple to do, there's not much to them. It's all about expression with these guys. But now that I'm looking at them, I think I could've pushed them a little more. Since they are little dragons, maybe add an indication of a tail? Maybe they can have cute little rounded fangs growing in? Food for thought when I actually have the time to do the whole Pufnstuf crew.
For now, here are my blue-line and color roughs. Let me know what you think...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Who's Your Friend When Things Get Ruff?

This started as a doodle that I did at work yesterday. I was totally inspired this weekend by Todd Kauffman's Pufnstuf blog, and out of boredom, I started drawing Puf. I drew him completely from memory, and I was surprised to find that it came out pretty accurate when I checked later online. Which probably means that I have an unhealthy obsession with the show. H.R. Pufnstuf was my favorite tv show when I was a kid, and I still love it today.
I've always wanted to do something with an animated version, and to be honest I was super-jealous when I saw Todd had not only already beaten me to the punch, but he had an entire website devoted to it! Great stuff, Todd! So, this is my take on Pufnstuf. I gave him little fangs, an indication of some scales, and a little wisp of fire coming out of his mouth, because he IS a dragon after all. I thought in animated form we could make him a little more dragon-like but still stay true to the Krofft's original design, and keep him cute and cuddly and kid-friendly. Eventually, I'd like to take a stab at some of the other characters, especially Witchiepoo, but that will have to wait til I have a little more free time. I'm already being completely irresponsible by spending my morning on this. But I really love it and wanted to share it with you. Let me know what you think.
Here's the blue line sketch and the color rough, and just so you can see the progression, here's the doodle that it came from. I wish I could do a finished color version so you can see the FULL progression, but that will also have to wait. Not enough hours in the day...

*UPDATE 4/15/2013: I've added the final digitally-colored version to show the full design progression. For a better look at the final design, visit this POST.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lunch-adores and a Nervous Goldfish

In this post, I'm wrapping up the last of my redesigns of the Breakfast Monkey characters that you've seen in the animatic. Here's my redesign of Lucha Lunche, the world-famous Mexican wrestler with a passion for grilled cheese. This new version takes Lucha in the curvy direction that I originally wanted to go with him, as opposed to the sharper Bruce Timm-like version that we used in the animatic, which I was never really happy with. AND I've added a little bonus: Lucha's ex-tag team wrestling partner, Señor Sloppy Moustache. For the full story on Lucha & Sloppy's partnership-turned-rivalry, and to find out where these ridiculous names came from, watch this week's YouTube video
Here's the blue line sketch and the color rough:
 And finally, as promised in my first post, here's the redesign of Tinklefish. He's just a little more stylized, not as much a drastic difference as Lucha. I wanted his head to kind of have a Krofft puppet quality, like H.R. Pufnstuf. And I got rid of his goofy buck teeth, which never made sense to me.
Again, here's the blue line sketch and the color rough:

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, and suggestions!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Breakfast Monkey Gots a Brother??

Yes, the Breakfast Monkey has a brother. In fact, he has about fifty siblings. They all live together in a tiny house in Northern Wafflonia. Of course, there's always one rotten one in the bunch, and his brother Spanks is it. He's rude, obnoxious, and an all around pain-in-the-ass. And he likes pie. He's also my favorite BM character. This is an updated design for me, but most if not all of you are seeing him for the first time. Let me know if you want to see more of Spanks. I know I do! And again, if you want more info on BM's crowded house, I'll be putting new video up early next week.
Here is the blue line sketch and the color rough:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hard Boyle'd Christmas Minion

This is a character study for a personal project that I've been working on for a while now. For those of you not familiar with Gruss Vom Krampus: in some European countries he is Saint Nick's demonic little helper. He's the one who doles out the punishment for all the bad children at Christmas time, poking them with his pitchfork, whipping them with a switch of hay, locking them up in chains, and stuffing them in a basket to take them down to Hell. AND he steals their presents and replaces them with potatoes. (Those European parents really want to instill pure fear into the hearts of little kids!) I find this mythology completely fascinating, and I'm incorporating him into an animated story that I'm doing. Usually he looks like your typical Halloween devil. But in one old postcard that I came across, he was wearing a blazer and short trousers, and I like the idea of a somewhat sophisticated Krampus as opposed to just an evil goblin. So that's the way I went with him. And I needed to make him a little more kid friendly, so he ended up looking like a cross between Nightcrawler from the X-Men, The Count from Sesame Street, and Malificent from Sleeping Beauty. I'm pretty happy with this design, and I'm pretty sure what I use for my story will be close to this, if not this exact design.
Here is the blue line sketch and the color rough:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Hard Boyle'd Imperfection

Another DC character that's high on my list of favorites is Bizarro. He seems to be pretty open to individual artists' interpretations these days. Eric Powell draws him like a mindless zombie, Ed McGuinness draws him like a beefy, chalky version of Supes. Honestly, I love seeing all the different variations of the big lug. But when it comes down to it, I prefer Curt Swan's classic vision of him, looking like he's chiseled out of stone and sporting some crazy bed-head. And that's what I was going for here. I'm pretty happy with how this sketch came out, though when I do a final full-body piece, I think I'll go a little more nuts with his hair...
Here's the blue line sketch:
And the color rough:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hard Boyle'd Witch Boy

I've been a little obsessed with Klarion the Witch Boy lately. Oddly, I never paid too much attention to him until Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers series that he did for DC a few years back. And I've been a big fan ever since. He was recently in a really cute Valentine's Day issue of Batgirl, and in last week's episode of Young Justice. Then I looked up some of his original appearances in Jack Kirby's The Demon series. After all that, I just had to do a sketch of him. It's just a head shot, but now I'm dying to do a full-body illo with him and his cat Teekl. Hopefully soon...
Here's the blue line sketch and the color rough:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hard Boyle'd Interdimensional Imp

I guess I have a thing for imps. Bat-Mite is kinda like a cross between The Breakfast Monkey and Batman. He's such a fun character, and I've always wanted to do my take on the lil' fella. So here he is. Again, I'm posting the blue line cleanup and the color rough. I can't wait to do the final version. I'm thinking some kind of pop art-ish background might look cool...

Hard Boyle'd Self Portrait

So I was looking at my little photo icon, and I thought what kind of cartoonist has a photo icon?? So I did a quick sketch of cartoon  me. It was fairly easy to do, since I'd recently drawn a toon version of my son Griffin. Since we have the same shape face, I already had a head shape to work with, and Voilà! Here is the blue line cleanup of my sketch and the color rough:
I'll do a nice clean final version of this as soon as I catch up on my freelance work, but this will do for now. Oh -- Here's the sketch and color rough of Griff with his friend Zoe:

I'll be posting some finished art on here soon, but I only have time for sketches and color roughs right now. Personally, I love seeing the process and evolution of a sketch to the final product. Don't you?