Thursday, May 29, 2008

Doctor Fate meets Doctor Strange

Ok, I drew this for a commission that was really, really late. I was asked to draw Doctor Fate, and threw in Doctor Strange as well, 'cause I thought they'd make a cool combo. I grew up reading those Ditko Dr Strange comics (and need I say I loved them?), but I never really read anything with Doctor Fate until about a year ago when my buddy, Steve Manale, pointed out the original golden age stories featuring the bell-headed guy. Steve is rarely wrong about his comic recommendations and he was certainly on the money in this case. The original Doctor Fate stories from the 1940's by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman are pure gold.

Fox was apparently just a teen when he wrote them, and hadn't yet descended into the lower circles of demented hackery he'd hit by the time he got to the silver age DC heroes in the 1960's (I swear, that man's later work is unreadable). He filled those early stories with a kind of schoolboy-meets-lovecraft vibe that's really charming in its primitivism. And Howard Sherman's art was my kind of crazy -- bizarre and yet possessing a strange logic and accidental beauty all its own. The stuff just crackles with the raw energy found in the best golden-age comics.

Anyway, for those interested, you can check out the Doctor Fate Archives hardcover collection from DC and see for yourself. And if you want to check out my rough pencil sketch for this drawing, you can do so by pointing your eyes just a little lower.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Last Son of Krypton

Here's another superhero themed drawing, this one of the first (and most famous) superhero: Superman!

I drew this one up as my contribution to the upcoming "Visions of an Icon" art exhibition, which will feature tons of drawings of Kal-El (that's his Kryptonian name -- I know this because I'm geeky) by canadian illustrators and comic artists. All the drawings in the show, including mine, will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Shuster Awards -- the canadian comic creator awards named after Superman co-creator Joe Shuster.

I have to admit this one was pretty quick and fun to draw -- I drew the thumbnail sketch shown below really quickly, like in 20 minutes or so, and did only the most minor tweaks to it on the way to the final art. The biggest change was that I went with green as my tone-colour -- mainly because my wife noted that green fit the krypton/kryptonite connection.

Mind you, I do have a tendency to go with green anyway...

Incidentally, I got the inspiration for the composition of this drawing from a non-superman related source. There's a very famous Will Eisner Spirit story called, I think, "the Visitor" or something like that, with a great splash page featuring a portrait of the Spirit framed inside a planet. I remember seeing that page when I was about 14 or 15 years old and staring at it for a long time, just absorbed in the beauty and mood of that piece. I was thinking again of that splash page and the kind of atmosphere it evoked when I came up with the thumbnail.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Papercut: "Waiting." (part 3)

Part 3 of my story "waiting" is now online at my webcomic Papercut. As frequent visitors to my blog might know, Papercut is part of the Transmission-X group of webcomics, all created and owned by a talented group of Toronto based cartoonists. Well, except Karl Kershl's Abominable Charles Christopher -- Karl moved away to Montreal a few months back, and we sorely miss him.

Anyway, I hope you'll check out the site and read the story for yourselves. For those interested, and in keeping with my regular posting trend, you can examine the process from thumbnail to finished art for the page below:

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Incredible Hulk (and Rick Jones)

I drew this up for a toronto comic-con, and the assigned theme was (duh!) the Incredible Hulk.  A few of us Toronto comic artists were doing Hulk images for it, kinda like a "Hulk thru the years" thing, and I chose to draw original Jack Kirby designed Hulk.  The final artwork is meant to fit on a badge, so it'll be printed really really small, like 2" x 2" or so.  And of course, my usual green-toned drawing style was a natural fit for the subject.

Now, for something that's so small, I actually went through a bit of a process coming up with the final art.  A failed thumbnail, a couple of revisions and a helpful critique from fellow artist Ron Salas were all part of the journey to the finished piece.  But even though it might look like it was labour intensive, the whole thing took probably about 3 or 4 hours in total.  If you're interested in the process, you can check out my various sketches below:

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Taddle Creek magazine cover

Taddle Creek is a local literary magazine which was kind enough to run one of my comics years ago as their very first comic feature.  Since then, I've drawn a few other comics for them, and have always enjoyed the experience.  A couple of months ago the editor, Conan Tobias, approached me with the idea of having me do a cover for them which was very flattering.  I always like the freedom Conan gives me to do whatever I want, and this case was no different.  So, of course, I had a great time working on this image.  

The concept was easy enough, and came to me in an inspired moment, and I knocked out a sketch and colour rough over the course of a couple hours.  The final itself also came together nicely, without any real problems.   I usually prefer to work on drawings with this kind of vibe really late at night, while listening to music on my headphones.  I like it when my whole downtown neighbourhood is quiet and I can just lose track of time while drawing. 

For those who are interested, you can check out some steps of my process toward the final below.  I actually did a really quick marker drawing before the thumbnail pencil, but it was so dodgy I decided to not even scan it.  The colour rough was what made the whole thing work for me.  Once I drew that one, I knew the final piece would work out fine.