Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hard Boyle'd Halloween, Part 2

 So a little over a year ago, I was talking about an idea I had for making paper mache Halloween masks in the style of vintage Ben Cooper masks. And posted a few thumbnail ideas. (In case you missed it, you can read it here.) I finally found the time to do a few of them, and I am officially addicted.

 I kept the sculpting to a minimum on the first one and chose to focus on the painting style. What I found was that as much as I tried to keep a "pop-art" sensibility, I couldn't help but bring my cartoony style to it. The result was more like my 2-dimensional cartoon designs in 3-dimensional form. Not exactly what I envisioned,  but I'm in love with it.

 I got a little more sculpty with the second one, really building up the nose & chin, and opened the mouth up. 

 For the next one, I branched off from the devil masks and mad a Christmas devil, the Krampus. This time, I got super-sculpty, and I added some fur accents. It's a hell of a lot more work, but the end result is worth it. Here's the face fully painted:
And here's the finished mask with fur and ears added:

I plan to make a few variations of Krampus masks for the Christmas holiday, along with some other creatures. I'll be posting more masks over the next few weeks. If anyone is interested in buying them, they're up for sale in my Etsy store.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mister Mxyzptlk

 I've said it before, I seem to have a thing for offbeat interdimensional characters. You've already seen me draw two of my favorites from DC Comics, Bizarro & Bat-Mite. Another one of my favorite DC troublemakers is Mister Mxyzptlk (pronounced mix-yez-pittle-ick). He's had a few different incarnations/interpretations over the years, so the first question was, which version to go with. There's the original "Earth-Two" version, who's a little bulbous-headed imp-ish smart alec in a purple suit. Then there's the more modern version who looks part Looney Tunes/part Willy Wonka, with wild white hair and a Jetsons space suit. 
 I couldn't decide, so I went with BOTH. I started with my favorite elements.I like the white hair, and I really like what Bruce Timm's crew did with him in the 1990s Superman animated series. It's a cartoonier version of the Earth-Two design. He just looks like a funny little guy who's up to no good. As opposed to the modern comic book version, who looks like a creepy little old man from outer space. So I went somewhere in-between. I kept the white hair, but tried not to make him look too much like an old man. I gave him a bowling pin-shaped body and weird head shape that's almost that makes him look alien-like. I wanted him to look like he's from the same world as my version of Bat-Mite. (For those who don't know, Mxy & Bat-Mite are both from the same dimension). One thing that both new & versions of Mxy share is the little purple bowler, so I kept it. Kameron Gates did this creepy version of Mxy that had his hat floating over his head, and I really like that idea, so I used it here (thank you, Kameron!). And I like him smoking a cigar. Why a magical creature from another dimension would be interested in smoking a stogie, I have no idea. but I like it. So finally, this is what I came up with:
 In the clean-up version, I extended his name in the smoke so that it arced over his head a little better:
 And finally, the color version. All-in-all I'm pretty happy with him, though I'm aching to learn how to ink & color these digitally. Hopefully soon. But for now, voilĂ !
 Feel free to comment, critique, or make suggestions for my next character. Actually, looking now at my old drawing of Bat-Mite, it looks amateur-ish and not as polished as this drawing of Mxy. (The perfectionist in me has a tendency to think that about ALL my old drawings). So I might take another stab at the lil' bat guy...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Saturday Morning Redux, Part 3: The Groovie Goolies

 It didn't take more than a simple request from a friend on Facebook to get me to draw these guys. Like Fangface & The Impossibles, The Groovie Goolies were one of my very favorite cartoons when I was a kid. Firstly, they were the monster relatives of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, who was my first cartoon crush. That and the fact that they were cartoony versions of Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, & the Wolfman made me instantly love them.
 The problem is, when I really sat and took a look at the original designs, my first thought was that they were pretty perfect as is. There isn't much that I would change. Then I reached into my 5-year-old brain and thought of the things that I didn't like about them when I was a kid. For starters, it bothered me that Wolfie just looked like a bearded hippie. Yeah, I get that they were supposed to be groovy, but aside from the fact that he had a funky howl, I remember thinking that there wasn't much that was very wolf-like about his design. If he resembled any kind of animal at all, he looked more like an orangutan. So I wolfed him out. I tried to still keep the hippie-factor, but made his facial hair look less like a beard and got rid of those two big dopey hair-antennae, which I never liked. And I gave him wolf teeth.
NOTE TO ARTISTS DRAWING MONSTERS: Vampires have fangs, werewolves have a sharp underbite! Get it right already, jeeez!
So this is how he turned out (with the original on the left for comparison):
 Next it was on to Drac. Drac was tough, because I really like this design. The only thing that bothered me about him when I was a kid was that he seemed to much like a crabby old man. And again, I get that it's probably what they were going for, but I think you can achieve the same personality while making him a bit younger and a bit more cool. After all, the whole concept was that these were cool modern monsters of the 1970's right? To be honest, if I was REALLY going to redesign him, I'd probably put him in an Austin Powers type of suit, but I didn't want to stray too much from the original. This is how he turned out (again, with the original design on the left for comparison):
 Lastly, there was Frankie. Again, there wasn't much I'd change here. His face is really great and I love his posture. The only thing I wanted to really change was to make him a little less skinny & frail. His design looked like he was the Frankenstein monster's grandpa. So I made him a little more thick & weighty with big meaty hands, because I like the top-heavy aspect of the original design. He's just a great big oaf. But I still wanted to keep the gentle nature to his face, and that great curl of hair in front of his ear. Why? I don't really know, but I love it! Here's how he turned out (yes, with the original on the left again for comparison):
And finally, here's the gang all together:
And the black line art, so you can see what was going on before I added color. Up until recently, I've been holding off on doing any finished line art, because I haven't learned how to ink on a Wacom yet (and everyone's already moved on to cintiqs!). So what you're looking at is simple micron pens, scanned and colored in Photoshop. Which is cleaner than pencil roughs, and will have to do for now until I fully join the digital world.
 Hope you guys like them as much as I do! Feel free to leave comments, critiques, suggestions, and offers of jobs with lots & lots of money. ;-)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Face Off Unlimited

The boys from Face Off Unlimited asked me to draw an image of them for their upcoming podcast (which launches this Friday, June 15). This image will be up on their site and each week we'll add images & props to the room that correspond with that show. So eventually it'll be a big cluttered mess, and I'm kinda looking forward to that. Here's the room bare bones, with the boys just chillin' on the couch. The gorgeous colors are by my friend VJ Comando, one of the best colorists in the animation biz here in NYC! I worked with him on PBS' "Maya & Miguel", and he makes my work look AMAZING. Check it out:

Note the bad-ass poster in the righthand corner. ;-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Marceline the Vampire Queen

Recently I've become a pretty big fan of  "Adventure Time" on Cartoon Network. And of course my favorite character is the vampire queen, Marceline. Since I've been slightly obsessed with these Hanna-Barbera redesigns (I have so many more coming that are now in the sketch/thumbnail stage), I thought I'd try my hand at the Adventure Time crew, starting with Marceline. This time I did some inking for a change. Not in Illustrator, and not anything fancy, just with micron pens. I've been swamped in freelance work and can't afford to spend the time on really good quality inks. But I thought I'd post something a little more finished than the usual pencil roughs. I will however share my thumbnail sketch, which was pretty much just done from memory.
Then I looked online for a more accurate representation of her, and surprisngly found tons & tons of actual model sheets from the show. Pretty handy!
Then I did a cleaner drawing and added my personal flair to her while still trying to maintain a nod to the original design, which I love. Then I inked it up with microns and colored it in photoshop. Since my son Griff is a pretty huge fan of the show (and my toughest critic), and I want this design to be appealing to Adventure Time fans, I had him over my shoulder as my art consultant. It's still a bit grainy, but much more finished looking than my usual roughs. All in all, I'm pretty happy with her and can't wait to start on Jake & Finn. Hope you guys like it!

Here's the black micron outline:

And the finished color design:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Saturday Morning Redux, Part 2: The Impossibles

 Another one of my favorite Saturday Morning tv shows was a trio of superheroes called The Impossibles. These guys were rock n roll heartthrobs who also happened to secretly be super-powered crime-fighters. So life was pretty much just awesome for them 24/7. They were the coolest.
 So, as I started taking a really good look at these designs, I realized that they must've spent all of five minutes on these costumes. They're painfully generic. Being that they're 1960's rock stars, they should have been super-cool & mod, but apparently their stylist wasn't available when they chose their costumes. And a lot of it doesn't even make sense. Why does Coil Man have a shark fin on his head? If anyone, Fluid Man should have a shark fin. Coil man is bouncy, there's nothing shark-like about him. I don't get it. And why the hell is Multi Man wearing pointy elf boots?? Did he used to work at the North Pole? So as I started sketching out ideas for these guys, I made a few costume changes while still trying to remain faithful to the feel of original designs. Multi Man's elf boots were the first to go. I kept the rest of him pretty much the same, just made his gloves make more sense with the rest of his costume. And I played up his shaggy ginger awkwardness. I made Fluid Man a little cooler, got rid of his beer belly & slimmed him up a bit, and gave him and actual superhero costume as opposed to just a boring olive green wetsuit with an big F on it. And Coil Man...okayyy, I reluctantly kept the fin and just rounded it out a little. In fact I rounded him out overall, so he looks like a chubby guy in tights would look like, while still managing to be heroic. Here's the finished product, hope you guys like them as much as I do.

The blueline sketch:
And the color rough:

One of these days I swear I'll have time to post some actual finished art...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Saturday Morning Redux, Part 1: Fangface

Inspired by Paigey's recent roller-derby X-Men, and Gris Grimly's "grimlified" cartoons, I've decided to try my hand at re-designing the old Saturday morning cartoon characters that I grew up with and loved as a kid. First up is Fangface. I've always had a thing for monsters, especially werewolves. (Still do!) A Saturday morning cartoon starring a goofy-looking kid (I could relate) who turns into a werewolf that fights monsters and solves mysteries, that was pretty much as good as it gets for 10-year-old me.

I even had this board game (check out that car!):

So Fangface seems like the best place to start. I just streamlined him a bit and put a little bit of my personal style into him. I gave him 2 little bottom fangs, like any respectable werewolf should have, and really pushed his mouth and made it this big silly slobbery thing. And I got rid of those Groucho Marx Eyebrows, but still tried to keep him ferocious-yet-silly. Overall, I'm really happy with him and can't wait to do the next one (I'm totally open to suggestions, by the way!). Hope you guys like it!

Here's my blueline sketch:

And here's the big furry guy in color:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Larry Potter

Here's the story: My girlfriend and I were watching The Deathly Hallows, Part 2, and during a conversation she slipped & called Harry LARRY POTTER by mistake. And since I have the sense of humor of a 10-year-old, I find slips-of-the-tongue like that hilarious. And so this spawned a lot of jokes speculating about who Larry Potter is, anyway? We decided he's Harry's ne'er-do-well younger brother, who's always screwing things up for Harry and didn't quite make the grade at Hogwart's. So just for laughs, I did this quick sketch of him, and thought I'd share it with you guys:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Zombie Pirate Pete

So, I've been posting lots of character designs on this blog, but something I haven't really posted yet are facial expressions. So let's start with Zombie Pirate Pete. ZPP is one of the adult characters from my animated show idea that I've been talking about, "Witchamazoo". He lives in a cave off the shore that's filled with piles & piles of "treasure" of virtually anything imaginable. So he's the guy the kids in Witchamazoo come to when they need any kind of bangle, bauble, or trinket. The trouble is, he has no short-term memory. So every time the kids visit ZPP they have to remind him that they're his friends and they're not there to steal his treasure. They only have a few seconds after they convince him before his memory fades and they have to start all over again. (Imagine if "Memento" was a comedy.) So as his memory & mood shifts so do his facial expressions. So I roughed out a few that would happen during the course of an average conversation.

Here are some blue line sketches of a few facial expressions from our befuddled buccaneer:
Cleaned-up black line roughs:
Color roughs:
And color roughs with color line art:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Who's Who in Witchamazoo

 About this time last year I introduced you to Mikey the Wolfboy, one of the characters from a pitch I'm developing (with my Producer friend Barb Nash) for a children's animated tv show called "Witchamazoo". What is "Witchamazoo"? Well, if you took "Strawberry Shortcake", Lauren Faust's "My Little Pony", and Disney's "Recess", and mixed them all together and poured it into a land inhabited by friendly monsters, that gives you an idea of what the show is all about. But this post isn't about the show itself, it's about the designs.

 This is the main cast of characters from the show. (from left to right: Marrina (a gossipy gyspy girl), Ermagard (an earthy witch girl), Tad (an athletic fish boy), Alex (a vegetarian vampire boy), Mikey (an adorable werewolf boy), and Basil (an awkward man-made boy).
Here they are in blue line cleanups:
Converted into black line art, feet lined up, prepped for coloring:
Color roughs:
Color roughs with color line art:
  As you can see, Mikey underwent some minor design changes since last year's post, as did the rest of the cast. More on that, and the evolution of Witchamazoo, in my next post...