Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Goodbye 2020


I think we can all agree that 2020 can go down as one of the worst years in recent history—mostly because of COVID-19. Lots of people have died and will die during this pandemic. Our world economy has been crippled, lots of companies went under, and many people have lost jobs. I won't even bring up the horrible events that brought us to the protests for the Black Lives Matter movement. We just have to never forget that they do. 

I also wanted to point out that some good has come out of this year. We've shown our resilience to adversity and kept moving forward. We've rediscovered the heroism of the healthcare workers on the frontline as well as those who stand up to fight for equal rights. For a while, roads had fewer cars and our air was a bit cleaner. We've stopped consuming so much and enjoying what we already have. In spite of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we've discovered new ways to connected with people. And towards the end, a record number of people spoke with their vote to get arrogance, narcissism, ignorance and hatred out of office. 

The lists can go on about the positives and negatives of the year. However, the one thing that I want to take away from 2020 is I hope that we can learn to appreciate the life that we take for granted and be more mindful of the people around us. 

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The End of 2020 and Inktober Burnout

With 2020 winding down, I couldn't wish for a year to end as much as this one. I did manage to get some good sketch time in. I really enjoyed my progress with this year's Inktober and playing around with some different media, including digital.

I got a little burned out during Inktober. In fact, I didn't make much art during November. Here are the few things that I got to work on to get myself back into it.

I saw this lady on the train—earlier this year, before COVID19 hit. Passengers on my commute have always been an inspiration for my art, so I try to keep them deposited in my creative bank account.

In desperation to break out of my post Inktober 2020 slump, I decided to throw down some robots onto the page. No narrative. No concept. Just getting my lines back. 

The not-so classic scifi movie Flash Gordon remake, from the 1980s, was on the other day. Frankly the Queen song is the only good thing that came from it. I am a fan of Diesel Punk or Retro Futurism rocket design and they did honor some of that aesthetic.

I started to think that another reboot is in order. This time with modern film techniques, a better narrative and more timeless production—while still holding on to the design language of the 1930s retro futuristic style. Also, still keep the Queen song.

As I was imagining a reboot, I thought that maybe they should rethink the character of Flash. Instead of the “idealistic" male of the 1930s, why not pick somebody else? In this sketch, I’m envisioning Flash as a strong, maybe black, woman who is more rugged than beautiful—a true savior of the universe. Apologies for the caricature nature of my drawing style. 

I am now the owner of a new Sketch Wallet. I plan to have this with me at all times, so that when inspiration strikes, I can get it on paper, before I lose it.

When breaking in a new Sketch Wallet you have to do a robot.

Finally, as I’m winding down the year, I wanted finish out my 2020 sketchbook. I’ve also been wanting to do some fan art of Jake Parker‘s Skull Chaser - in my style. So here he is, playing his own video game and getting the high score.

Of course, what do you do when the red marker from your previous drawing bleeds through to the next page? Perhaps a sketch of ol’ Saint Nick. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 2, 2020

Inktober 2020 Finished

This year, I decided to participate in another Inktober, an online drawing challenge conceived by Jake Parker. Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. The goal of the challenge is to improve your inking skills.

My goals for this challenge are simple: all analog ink art, with no marker or ink wash shading. Just line art and solid inking.

Here is this year's prompt list:

Here are my submissions:

Day 01, FISH:
This guy forgot about putting his little buddy in the coffee carafe while cleaning out their tank the previous night.

Day 02, WISP:
This one was a bit difficult to figure out. I finally settled on the little bit of smoke from a blown out match.

Day 03, BULKY:
I can’t believe it took me three days to introduce my first #robot for this challenge. This time I wanted to play with scale. Is the robot really small or the baby really big? Either way, this is a bulky load for this ‘bot. 

Day 04, RADIO:
For this prompt, I wanted to do an installment in my Misfit Robot series, where I give a little nod to old technology that has run it’s course. This one pays tribute to terrestrial “Radio”, which is still around, but most folks are getting their audio entertainment from other, on-demand services—from streaming music to podcasts. Being ol’school, I still love listening to broadcast radio. Scroll down, or click on #misfitrobots to see some of the other Misfits that I’ve made. 

Day 05, BLADE:
I couldn’t decide what to do for this one—my wife suggested that I do ice skates. I wanted to see an ice skater juggling, so I added a few more “Blades” to the scenery. 

Day 06, RODENT:
Since this is the Year of the Rat, I decided to use that as my subject for this prompt. I also wanted to play around with scale, so I thought it would be fun to create a “Rodent” Rodeo, using a cowboy riding a bucking rat.

Day 07, FANCY:
For this prompt, I thought I would continue with my tribute series to Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, the king of #RatFink. Instead of cars, I started to ‘fink’ out the different bike tribes. I call this my “Bike Fink” series. The 8th version is a “Fancy” high-wheel (penny farthing) cyclist. If that isn’t “Fancy” enough, I went ahead and gave him a monocle, handlebar mustache and he’s drinking tea with his pinky out. It doesn’t get any fancier than this. 

Day 08, TEETH:
For this prompt, I decided to make a miniature dental robot, working hard on clearing out some plaque. 

Day 09, THROW:
I wanted to have some fun with this prompt and do an interesting take on a “Throw” Pillow. That evolved into a pillow fight, which then became something a bit more hard core. If you’re going to be in a battle of the bedtime bolsters, you'll need to deploy your pillow catapult mech. 

Day 10, HOPE:
This was another difficult prompt. How do you visually articulate “Hope”? Of course, being a huge fanboy of the Star Wars universe, I decided to pay tribute to an amazing scene in episode 4, A New Hope, where R2-D2 plays Princess Leia Organa’s full message of hope to Obi-wan Kenobi. I’m hoping this scene is well-known enough, to make up for my difficulty rendering ‘real’ faces and holographic projections.

This was another difficult prompt because I wanted to have something “Disgusting” but didn’t want to draw anything grotesque. I asked my family and friends for suggestions, and some came back with ‘political’ disgust, while others came up with foods or insects that repulsed them. Turns out, this prompt was very subjective. 

I decided to do a person smoking cigarettes and an ashtray filled with cigarette butts. I came from a generation, where that was everywhere—even during meals—so I’ve experienced what it’s like to have somebody pull out a smoke in the middle of a meal. It truly is a disgusting habit. My son gave me a great idea, which was to add the chain, to complete the idea of a ‘chain smoker.'

Instead of showing a robot slipping, I thought it would be more fun for it to be the cause of a “Slippery" situation.

Day 13, DUNE:
As far as I can tell, Herbie the Love Bug, has never been converted into a “Dune” buggy. Maybe it’s time for another sequel: Herbie Does Dakar. 

Day 14, ARMOR:
With a suit of “Armor” forged from a little bit of leftover cardboard, some masking tape and a great imagination, anybody can slay dragons. 

This is one of my favorites from this year’s challenge. 

Day 15, OUTPOST:
This “Outpost” is so remote, that you can only access it by air boat. 

Day 16, ROCKET:
Full speed ahead! Once a “Rocket” pilot, always a rocket pilot—no matter how big you get. 

Day 17, STORM:
I wanted to do some fan art for this prompt. I just couldn’t decide between a ’Storm’trooper from Star Wars or the famous Gene Kelly, dancing in the ‘storm’ scene in the classic musical ’Singin’ in the Rain’. So, I decided to just do both. 

Day 18, TRAP:
It wasn’t my intention to do fan art, two days in a row. However, when I was thinking about this prompt, my wife—who isn’t a Star Wars fan—said, It’s a “Trap”, making reference to the movie. It just added one more thing to the many reasons I love her so much. Of course, I had to draw him in a Venus Fly Trap. 

Day 19, DIZZY:
When I finally got around to reading Isaac Asimov’s ‘iRobot’, I was inspired to do a sketch of Robbie and Gloria. Even though Gloria rode on Robbie’s shoulders, during playtime, I imagined all sorts of adventures that they could have come up with. Spinning in flight until they were both ‘dizzy’ was one of them.

Day 20, CORAL:
When I started thinking about this prompt, I imagined a deep sea diver, hiding behind some “Coral” from a giant barracuda. 

Day 21, SLEEP:
One of my objectives for this year’s Inktober was to play more with scale—to create unexpected size relationships in my drawings. From large babies to tiny dental bots, I’m having fun creating these compositions. Here, I created a space traveler about to wake a giant robot from its ’Sleep’. 

Day 22, CHEF:
Sometimes you just have to draw something silly. If I had more time, tints or colors, you might be able to tell that is ‘Chef’ didn’t do such a great job flipping his pancake in the air. 

Day 23, RIP:
This prompt could be interpreted in so many different ways. Here I’ve created a robot making a pretty huge ‘rip’ into this piƱata. I can’t wait to see what others have done. 

Day 24, DIG:
This poor dog can’t remember where he buried his bone. He’s going to have to ‘dig’ holes all night long. 

Day 25, BUDDY:
Inspired by Matt Groening’s Futurama, I thought it would be fun to bring back “Buddy” Holly with my interpretation of the Head Jar. In my version, prospective scientists will be able to clone Buddy’s head from a strand of hair caught in an old pair of his glasses. Future generations will be able to enjoy mid-50s rock and roll, the way it was meant to be heard, with synthetic titanium lungs and a digital, high-definition, 88.2 kHz/24-bit, electronic voice box. 

Day 26, HIDE:
Never trust a robot to find a good hideout during a game of ‘Hide” and seek. 

Day 27, MUSIC:
When I started thinking about great narrative “music” icons, the first thing that came to mind was the Blues Brothers. Elwood: "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses". Jake: "Hit it."

Day 28, FLOAT:
I wanted to play around with perspective and foreshortening, since I really struggle with both. Not sure if I accomplished this, but I had fun creating this person, being the last to hang on to this parade ‘Float’. Looks like they might have gotten carried away with their duties. 

Day 29, SHOES:
I got married in these “Shoes”—24 years ago. Although a little tight, I still wear them from time to time. They’ve gotten re-soled once, and lots of new laces but they’re still in great condition. I suppose one day—when I’m gone—somebody can toss them up on a wire, or just pass them on to someone else. I don’t think they’d be too hard to fill. 

Day 30, OMINOUS:
This is actually the second drawing that I did for this prompt. I wasn’t happy with the first—trying to do too much, the idea wasn’t well executed. This time, I kept it simple, teasing the idea of an ‘Ominous’ creature. 

Day 31, CRAWL:
I had an idea for a movie. The audience follows an alien race, as they prepare for colonizing a new planet. The point-of-view is aways first person, and tight in as we see our heroes climb into their ships and vehicles. We stay in that perspective until way into the story. Eventually, it’s revealed that the aliens are extremely tiny and their ships and vehicles are actually what we, as humans, perceive as insects. The planet that’s being colonized is really Earth.

Here we see a small team of aliens preparing their Ant Mech, to join the squadron, as they “crawl’ their way to the new settlement — in your front yard. 

Here's a quick scan of all the work:

Friday, September 11, 2020


On a few of my previous post, I mentioned that when we sign office birthday cards, I’ve tried to add a little sketch about the person being celebrated. Since COVID-19 and working from home, I haven’t been able to do that. So I decided to bring it back—virtually. 

This time we celebrate my friend, Megan Lucy James Neal, Account Supervisor badass at Launch AgencyNot only is she an awesome account person and mom, but she also stays busy keeping bees at her house. That’s why I made her into a robot bee, or “BeeBot”. Happy Birthday Megan Lucy!! 

All of my drawings always start out as a rough, thumbnail sketch. I do as many as I need, from 1 to 10 to get the right composition. That's not to say that I don't change it along the way. The original sketch had the antenna curved back, and the Beebot holding a beehive and honey dipper, dripping honey. After looking at more bee reference shots, I noticed their antenna go forward. Since Megan Lucy is a beekeeper, I decided to have her work with a bee box.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Dewey From Silent Running

I’ve been doing random posts for Inktober52. When Prompt 29—“Garden”—came up, I thought about doing a tribute to Dewey from the 1972 scifi classic Silent Running. Dewey, or Drone 01—a maintenance robot on the Valley Forge—was reprogrammed and taught to care for the last surviving forest from Earth. When I saw this movie as a kid, I fell in love with these drones, and worried about Dewey’s fait as he drifted off into space, still tending to his garden.

Even when I make art on my iPad with Procreate, I always like to make the thumbnails and initial pencil sketch on paper. Here you can see how I changed the composition a bit, switching the watering can to go the other direction.