Thursday, January 31, 2013

OilCan Drive

The latest story from OilCan Drive launched yesterday on the OilCan Drive webcomic site. The cover is up now and the story will be updated with three pages each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

This is the last complete book I finished and it was featured both for Free Comic Book Day and the Denver Comic Con last year.

If you look through the different books I have done for OilCan Drive over the last few years you can see how I got to the final look and feel of the books I'll be doing for future stories on the site. I started with a regular sized comic book in full color. Then I did a regular sized comic book in black and white with gray tones. This led me to doing full color books but in a square, 7" record, format. I then tried my hand at writing a movie script and the look of the pages changed to a regular comic book size with a zip-a-tone style of tones. Finally, with this book and the stories I am working on now, you'll see the square format but with a black and white toned book done in an old school zip-a-tone style.

It's interesting to see how the stories progressed and how the ideas of the books changed over the years. It was the whole point of showing off all of those old stories and books. I really enjoyed seeing the progress from book to book and how I ended up where I am now.

It will be interesting to see what changes may happen in the future.

But, for now, head on over to the OilCan Drive site and I hope you enjoy the new story.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sports Illustrated Kids - What's The Call - October

 The newest round of illustrations for SIK's "What's The Call" article have just been assigned to me so I thought I'd get a head start and show off a few more illustrations from the past few months.

The funny thing is that when I check my stats for web hits on my blog there always seem to be people from around the world looking into relay racing with the baton being passed off. So, hopefully they aren't disappointed with this newest illustration. I'm sure they were getting tired of looking at the old one anyways.

As always, it's a major sporting event and something questionable happens on the field. It's up to you as the official to figure out what's going on and make things right. It's up to you. What's the call?

Tyrone Donaldson and Tommy Williams are playing a tennis match under USTA rules. The temperature on the court is a scorching 100 degrees and the players are tied 4-4 in the second set. Just before Donaldson is set to serve, he wipes the sweat above his brow with the tennis ball. Williams complains to the chair umpire that Donaldson shouldn't be allowed to serve because there is sweat on the ball. Is Williams, right?

On a rainy afternoon, Charles Ferguson of the Wilmington Warriors blocks a punt, sending the football rolling to the five-yard line. After a brief scramble for the ball Ferguson attempts to pick up the ball but accidentally kicks it into the end zone where his teammate slides and falls on it. You’re the referee. Should the accidental kick count as a touchdown?

McKayla Martinez is sprinting toward the anchor leg on her team in an NCAA women’s 4x100 relay race.  As she reaches teammate Susan Henderson for the baton pass, Martinez trips and falls with the stick in hand. Still within the 20-meter baton-passing zone, Martinez tosses the baton to Henderson while laying on the track. Henderson catches it and takes off for a first place finish. You are the race official. Should the team be disqualified for the botched baton pass?

What's the call?

Have a great day!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Griggs Finish

I got a little free time these past few days and decided to finish up the new OilCan Drive piece of Griggs and lay some color on him. I couldn't wait until Friday to show him off as the new blog header for February so I decided to roll him out today.

I really like the way this piece came out since it has the look and feel of a piece no client would ever actually pay me to do. It's a bit darker than some more of the fun stuff I do but I think it really paints a picture of who the character is and what he's gone through.

The only thing I really cheated on with this piece is with my signature. It's very rare on any client work that I actually get to sign my art so I totally forgot to sign this piece of Griggs. When I did realize my signature was missing I simply pulled an old signature off another piece of art and popped it into the piece. Of course, the problem is that it's now dated 2012. Ah well, this will definitely mess me up in five years when I try and figure out when I actually did this piece but, for now, I'm not too worried about.

And, once I finished this piece and had all the color on it, I realized that in an OilCan Drive movie Griggs could be played by Dominic Monaghan (of Lord of the Rings and Lost fame.) He could definitely go from a fresh faced officer in the military to a strung out and bitter soldier in the field. Maybe it's because his new show on the BBC (Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan) was on while I was drawing this. Who knows?

But, I hope you enjoy the new piece. It will be up as the blog header at the end of the week.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Inking Away

I found some time yesterday to get the inking on the Griggs character done. I scanned him into the computer and now he is ready for some color. I may need to wait a few days to get to him while I finish up a few things but I've put myself in a good position to get him done before the start of the month.

He is definitely looking a little worn out and beat down. It might not be the best piece to use as a header for my blog but I am really having a fun time drawing a character that looks so different from the usual cast of happy characters I create.

Plus, since he's being used for February it means his grim mug won't be sticking around for too long. So, don't get too scared.

OK, back to work. Have a great day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Blog Header Sketch

It's nearing the end of the month so I figured it was about time I did a new sketch for next month's blog header. I wanted to keep in the theme of the OilCan Drive characters without simply going back to the main members of the band. So, in January I did a new character named Brick. And, this month I decided to work on another new character named Griggs.

Griggs is a character that actually came alive to me as I was working on the first few pages of the new OilCan Drive book. Originally I just needed a background character to fill some space and relay some information but, as I drew him, I saw where his character might go in the story.

The sketch here is where Griggs may end up as the story progresses. He starts out a clean cut officer in the military and, because of events in the OilCan Drive story, becomes a bitter, dangerous, and slightly obsessed man on a mission.

I love how spooky he looks in the sketch and I can't wait to ink and paint him. One things is for sure, I never got to draw characters like this when I was doing the kids books.

I also found some time to actually build the elements of the cover page in the computer that I sketched out and showed off yesterday. So now I have a template to pop the cover illustrations into so I can keep everything consistent from issue to issue.

As always, it's not there yet, but it's getting there.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

OilCan Drive Cover Sketch

Last week I started messing around with cover ideas for the new OilCan Drive book. Because this time around I'm doing a series of issues and not a one off story I decided I needed to come up with a design for the cover and logo elements that I'll be able to use over and over again as I do new books.

So, I sat down at lunch last Friday and came up with a simple design that uses the OCD logo, the Plastic Spoon Press logo, a by line for myself, and a spot on the cover for the issue number.

And, because I had some extra time, I started sketching out the band on the cover and couldn't stop. I'm not sure if this idea will ever make it to the final stages of any actual cover but I thought it would be cool to show off some sketching and how I work out some of my ideas.

It's not much right now, but it's a start.

Enjoy and have a great one!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

And The Last

Here are the last two test panels I colored for the newest OilCan Drive book.

As you can see by these two pieces and the ones I colored yesterday I really love drawing and painting the faces of characters. It's actually one of my favorite things to do. So, when it came to doing a few colored panels for the project, coloring the main characters' head shots was a no-brainer for me.

The interesting thing now is taking the black and white illustrations I had originally intended for color and re-purposing them for a toned black and white book. I need to go back now and add a few details in the art here and there to fill in some of the spaces I intended to deal with in the color stages. I'm hoping once I get past these few pages and get the art corrected I can once again get a good roll with some new pages.

It is interesting how much things change when you are drawing for a strictly black and white book as opposed to a color book. You'd think drawing would be drawing and it would all look the same but there are different decisions you make in the art when you are doing one or the other. I never really knew how much until I was faced with using the original art I intended for color for the black and white pieces.

But, I'll figure it all out and hopefully, once it's all done, you won't even notice the difference.

I also found out yesterday that another of the instructors from my Kubert School days passed away the day after last Christmas.

John Troy was my teacher through all three years of my time at the school. He taught a humor class and initially I thought all John could do was draw funny cartoons. But, the man could do so much more. During my second year I would often ask John his opinion on work I was doing for other classes and by my third year I was talking to him about everything from perspective, to human anatomy, to the philosophy of art.

There are still quotes that ring in my ears all these years later. My favorite of his is, "every line you put down on the paper is the truth." I still haven't quite figured out what that one means yet but I really love it.

I kept in touch with John over the years and he and I would frequently send letters to each other. I found out too late that he had been living in Colorado for a while but by the time I learned this he and his wife had moved to Florida. I would have loved to have seen him when he was closer.

In the last few years I was sharing the work I was doing on OilCan Drive with John. I sent him a package with both the art and a CD of the music I was messing around with. John, with his typical dry humor, wrote back, "The music was great and it really made me move...quickly to the stereo so I could turn off that racket!"

I still have a few of the hardback books John sent to me recently. He wrote to me on the inside front cover and told me he was proud of me and the work I was doing. It really saddens me that he is gone now and the world is a much grayer place without him.

And, if you're interested, you can read his obituary HERE. It's hard to read in a few paragraphs the total of one man's life when so much seems to be left out.

Thank you John Troy for all you did for me over all the years, inside and outside of school. I might have met better men in my life but right now I can't remember when.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Few More

Here are a few more test pieces I painted for the upcoming OilCan Drive web comic.

I really loved the way these were coming out and really wished I had the time to paint the whole book this way. In the end though, I decided the story was the most important thing so doing pages as quickly as possible, even if they were only in black and white, seemed to be the best way to go.

The good news is that the pages I have been doing so far this year have been turning out great and I'm really loving the way they look. I can't wait until the end of April comes and I can finally show them off and we can get this new story going.

But, for now, enjoy a few more test panels that I did in color. It would have been great if every page could have all looked like this but what can you do? Hopefully you'll like the black and white pages just as well.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Could Have Been

 When I started the newest OilCan Drive book I planned to do every page as a fully painted piece. After doing a few tests and looking at how long it took me to get each panel done I decided it was taking too long.

In the end I decided the story was the most important thing and that I'd rather get a black and white toned page done each week than a fully painted page done each month. I can still fully paint the covers so I am thinking that will be enough to scratch the full color itch I get when doing these pieces.

So, while the finished interior story pages will be black and white here is a look behind the scenes at the full colored pieces and how the book might have looked if I had more time and maybe a little bit of help. Who knows, maybe in the future the book can be fully colored but while I am the only one working on it I'll have to keep it simple for now.

Have a great day. There are a few more color pieces to show off tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sports Illustrated Kids What's The Call September

 I've started working on the finishes for the newest round of the Sports Illustrated Kids "What's The Call" illustrations so I thought it would be a great time to look back on a few more of the past illustrations I've done. 

In each article there are three scenarios described that happen during sporting events. As the official on the field it's up to you to make the correct call. Good luck!
-During a baseball game there is a runner on third base. A foul ball is hit and caught by first baseman, but he falls into the dugout making the catch. The runner tags up and scores. Does the run count?

 -During a football game a team has twelve men in their huddle with the play clock running. Quarterback Chet Hurley realizes there are too many people and sends wide receiver Bobby Gossage running to the sidelines. Can the Toads continue their play?

-In a hockey game Alberta Isotopes left wing Arron Graves turns his body to face Calgary Bobcats goalie Mark Brodie. Graves puts  right hand in the air to block Brodie’s vision. While his hand is covering Brodie’s face the Isotopes shoot and score. Does the goal count?

So, it's up to you, what's the call? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

OilCan Drive, The Movie Script

Today the newest round of demos from the OilCan Drive project starts on the OilCan Drive webcomic site. This round is from 2008 and, even though the art for the 2008 year only amounts to seven images, these are important to me more for what you won't be seeing on the site.

In late 2007 I had an idea for a new OilCan Drive story. Instead of starting the art with a bare bones sketch of a story or just making it up as I went along I decided to take a different approach. I'd worked with other writers before and I'd found one of my favorite ways to work with a writer is when they write a movie type script.

So, I decided I'd write an OilCan Drive movie script of my own.

In late 2007 and 2008 I wrote a full 120 page movie script for OilCan Drive. Part of me just wanted to see if I could do it. I did it, I revised it, and I really enjoyed the hell out of telling a story this way.

The problem came when I sat down to do the art for the story. I had already told the story to myself so many times over by writing the script that nothing felt new and exciting and I quickly abandoned  the art for the project.

But, I still love the story and I wonder, now that the art is going out into the world on the OilCan Drive webcomic site, if I should give a link to a downloadable and readable version of the script itself.

What do you think? Is this something you would want to download and read? Or should I keep it to myself and not share it with the world. I am really on the fence about this and I go back and forth on it every time I think about it.

But, if the script goes out into the world or if it's never seen by anyone but me, I hope you enjoy the next few weeks of pages and wonder, along with me, what might have been.

Have a great day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

And Finished!

Here is the finished black and white inked piece for the newest OilCan Drive page. I'll scan it into the computer now and add both some gray tones and toothbrush spatter over the whole piece as well as add the lettering.

I am loving this page a week schedule I've started and have been able to stay on. It really works well and fits right in with my client work without stressing me out too much. I know it's not nearly quick enough to do any kind of monthly or even bi-monthly comic book but, since it's all a web comic now, I am happy to follow my own schedule. And the one page a week means at least things are moving forward and new OilCan Drive stories are on the way.

And, best of all, this means I can do longer form OilCan Drive stories instead of doing short stories that I can get done only once every year or two. This means I can explore more of the world and the characters and see where the journey takes them.

I, for one, am super excited.

Have a great day and I'll talk to you all tomorrow!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Almost There

The initial inks for the newest Oilcan Drive page are done. Now I just need to erase all the pencil lines, fill in a few black areas, and clean up any mistakes on the page with some white-out.

Then it's off to scan the piece into the computer, add some tones, add some lettering, and calling this latest page done.

I'm really enjoying doing a page each week of the book. It takes some of the pressure off and I don't feel like I have to worry about a complete book all the time, I simply have to worry about each individual page each week. Of course, each page can drive me a little nuts but within a week it's done and put to bed and I can worry about the next page. Plus, only worrying about one page a week seems to fit in well with the rest of life and the client work I need to get done as well.

Step by step, little by little, this is how a complete book will get done.

I'll take a few shots of this piece all filled in and cleaned up for tomorrow's blog.

For now, have a great day!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Taking The Stage

Along with all the client work I've been doing that I can't really show off yet on the blog I've also been spending a lot of my free time doing new comic book pages for the new OilCan Drive web-comic.

I've gone back and forth on whether I should show off any of this work before I debut it on the web-comic site later this year but, in the end, if I can't show off any client work and I won't show off any of the web-comic work, I've found this blog seems to get really quiet really quickly.

So, I've decided to show off a few photos of some of the OilCan Drive pages in progress to give you a little behind the scenes look of what I'm working on. Just promise me you'll act surprised when the page itself debuts in April.

And, what better page to show off than one of the whole band running out the back of a club shortly after the start of one of their gigs? You'll just have to keep reading and tune in at the end of April to see what's going on.

Inks on this one are coming soon. I just need to finish some of this client work first!

Have a great one!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Year In Review

I've been meaning to get to this post for the past week but this bout with the flu really knocked me on my ass and it's only now that I'm finally feeling healthy enough to tackle anything new. Unfortunately, because I've been so sick, I've fallen behind on a few client projects. I'm hoping I can really catch up this week and get everything back on schedule.

I like to look back every January at the last year and see how things have gone. A fun thing to do is to look at all the blog headers I've done in the past year and see how many times I was able to put original work up on the blog. Most years I end up putting a few client pieces on the blog headers because I always seem to run out of time at the end of this month. But this past year I've been really trying to find the time to do original pieces for the blog and I hope it shows.

Of the twelve pieces here, ten of them are from OilCan Drive which is really great. It shows I've finally been spending some more time on my own projects. One is a pin-up piece I did for a friend and one, January, is the only client piece I used for the blog. The funny thing is that I still get hits on the robot girl showing how popular she has become. Hmmm, with that much interest I may need to do some more female robot pieces soon. We'll see what I can come up with for February.

I'm still healing but I am feeling much better today than I did all last week. I just hope I keep getting better from here.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

 I've been feeling really sick today so I'm going to keep this short.

Here is Januray's blog header featuring the newest OilCan Drive character, Brick. I know I have his basic look down but he may be tweaked a little before he makes his first appearance in the web-comic.

And here is the finished illustration before I stuck him into the blog header.

I hope you're all having a great New Year and I hope you're all feeling a lot healthier than me.

Have a great year!