I don't usually post doodles here, because they're not very constructive and they often make me look like an insane pervert. However, a good habit I've picked up from Andrew Loomis is the practice of sketching out little rectangular vignettes just to play around with composition. These are fun, since I often do not know what I'm drawing even as I'm drawing it. For some one with such a normally control-freak, Type A personality, it's really relaxing! I'm particularly proud of the sun-drenched library at lower right.
When I visited my parents in New Orleans last weekend, mom was asking me about the 1913 premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, which famously ended in a small riot and mass exodus from the theater by the scandalized audience. This kind of reception has since become something of a modernist badge of honor - if only my work could provoke that kind of reaction! Well, all I can say is, Stravinsky ain't got nothin' on the premiere of "Symphony Number Six." Here are some scandalous panels:
Here's a panel from page 16 of Symphony Number Six. I'm extremely pleased with how the page turned out, and I debated posting the entire thing here - but I think it would give away too much about the story, and I want you all to be surprised.
My friend Paul Guinan recently suggested something interesting to me: while 90s darling Rob Liefeld is now roundly mocked by basically everybody for his totally bogus drawings, Frank Miller, perhaps guilty of much of the same erroneous anatomical construction, is still praised sycophantically. (I would agree with Paul's assessment of Miller's draftsmanship - it's particularly noticeable on his women characters). The difference, according to Paul, is that Liefeld made his own errors more visible by filling them up with flashy crosshatching, while Miller covers his up with atmospheric pools of black. "But one thing Miller has going for him," Paul conceded, "is a great sense of design."
And this sense of design, I'm learning, covers a multitude of sins. My rendering on these last few pages of SN6 is as loose as it's been since I first started cartooning again about four years ago. But as long as I'm confident that I've:
Laid out the panels, and the elements within each panel, in a narratively sound way that conveys the action of the story and the mental or emotional states of the characters, and is also attractive.
Penciled the elements in the panel with some solidity and structural accuracy, and gotten the facial expressions right.
... then it really doesn't matter how tightly I hold my brush! (One of the people I've kinda picked this up from is Fabio Moon.)
Here's a recently finished, moody panel from my upcoming comic "Symphony Number Six":
(click for larger version)
Boy, did that take a long time. Even though I saved myself some work by plunging parts of the image into blackness, I could always have gone further. I need to take a lesson from Marcos Mateu-Mestre, author of the excellent Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers, which I have managed to read three times without learning its lessons.
I am a cartoonist from New Orleans, LA living in Portland, OR. I'm just finished drawing my big graphic novel, Savage Nobles in the Land of Enchantment, which you can purchase, download, or read online for free. I'm always working on several other smaller projects. The title of this blog is a reference to the strip I drew for the Columbia Spectator from 2003-2006.
Anything you see on this page can be purchased in its original form (unless it is a purely digital creation) by contacting me. However, all the best stuff is at my Etsy Store.