Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

A bit of a belated posted but this was kind of a rushed job. In the past I've drawn homemade cards for birthdays and other such occasions that I've posted previously. The tricky part is the amount of care and detail that I want to put into these as far as being personalized for the receiver as well as needing to be done on time. Case in point, this is an idea that popped into my head late Thursday night, and with Father's Day on Sunday, I did pretty much nothing else but work on this card so that it would be ready.

So here is a scene from my childhood with my Dad reading a bedtime story to me and my brother and his words cause the moon and star pattern on the bedsheets to rise up and morph into a knight charging at a dragon. 

If I had more time I would have liked to have shown the gradual transformation from moon to dragon and star to knight, but what can you do?

My Dad liked the card but remarked that  he had hair at this time, which I certainly don't remember. hahah.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crown Jewel: Empress of Awesome!

Wanted a chance to pipe up in between my posts celebrating professional and historical illustrations, to talk briefly about a project of my own I've been scratching across three sketchbooks over the past two and a half months. You see I love comics in all forms and ever since graduation over a year ago I have been trying to come up with my own ideas and characters in hopes of creating sample pages to showcase at conventions and wherever else I can.

I'm not well known for my confidence in my own work, so I thought I'd implusively spring for talking about some of my ideas on perhaps my readers (now in the double digits!) would be kind enough to share their thoughts.

This is my first drawing of "Crown Jewel", a comic book superheroine I've been developing since around April. This is a rather simple design conveying her royal and bejeweled theme with a simple tiara, crown shaped breastplate and belt buckle along with a diamond shaped skirt with large studded gems which could open to reveal weapons or tools like her Scepter Deflector.

But alas, I could never stay satisfied with something so simple, wanting to give her a more distinct look.

This version replaced the breastplate with a large glowing jewel over her heart and several smaller gems leading down to her belt which formed a "CJ" kind of shape.


Her breastplate and boots became more ornate and complex.

Most pages were cluttered like this, I've just been giving you the highlights thus far.
This is were my peristance pays off, as the upper right corner reveals, I developed a shape that looked like a series of three pointed crowns interlocking around the letters "C" and "J" with an octagonal gem in the center. This would be a permanent fixture in every design afterward.

I also experimented with giving her a mask to break the silhouette as well as make her a bit unique as very few heroines wear masks. Least their faces no longer be pretty or something like that.

I thought I had all the pieces together when I did this page, only to step back and saw an odd juxapostion of a doe eyed face with the broad body of a female wrestler, to say nothing a very complicated set of boot buckles.  I decided some action poses would help loosen thing up and give Jewel some more life.

I continued to experiment with torso designs before moving on to her eponymous crown.

Here I hit about the idea of abandoning the skirt for two colored bars on either side of her hips with a elongated chestpiece and loincloth, so as to form a crown shape across her body and to allow for negative space through darker colors.

I also briefly replaced her hair with crackling energy. 

I refined the design, adding golden shoulder pads to make her look stronger and more balanced. This design helped to guide the eye down, but had the unfortunate side effect of splitting textures on her breasts, which made her torso look angry.

Further refinement with a new breastplate

New breastplate fits firmly, with jewels on over her heart and both shoulders. Darker areas crackle with shimmering sparks of energy just beneath her skin like a living engine. Her crown and face are now one in the same.

Finally, Color! Lots of gold, particularly around the torso, she turned out to be brighter than I imagined, and combined with the flaming red hair I think she resembles Frankie Raye from the Fantastic Four a bit too much I think and fully golden breastplate reduces the amount of purple lines to guide the eye down to the rest of the figure, so there may still be some more tweaking to do yet. 

Distant Friends

Some time ago I thought of composing a series of illustrations based on the humorous ancedotes from my college years and the people I knew there. Wanting to keep the memories of such unique people still fresh in my head, even a year after I had last seen any of them, I used photos taken my myself and ones exchanged on Facebook to recall the look of the shapes, walks and smiles of those I was privileged to know and call my friends. The project itself was rather nebulous and grew rather taxing, so I let it lie.

I drew many pages, but these are the few which I considered most sparing of any embarrassment.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

In my take of this classic chiller Dr. Jekyll is broad, boorish, bloated, and balding. Self obsessed with tiny squinted eyes and displaying his high status and wealth through tailored clothes and a very tall hat. Caring little for his suffering patients, spending more time developing his potion that will expand his capabilities beyond the limitations and morals of mere men.

Unexpectedly, the formula removes Jekyll's oafish exterior leaving him a thin skeletal whisk of a man with a long face, a sharp pointed nose and flowing black hair. This new man, Hyde is nothing of the sort his name suggests. He is liberated and spry, often prone to bird like energy and Gene Kelly style acrobatics and spontaneous dance but most importantly he nows possesses love and compassion for his fellow man, bounding from Jekyll's claustrophobic study into the wider world, bringing life and hope to the drunkards, urchins and lowlifes he finds, even discovering romance with a soot coated street girl.

But Hyde's stirring up the riffraff causes trouble and a simple accident leads to his pursuit by the police plus the publications and propaganda printed by his rich and influential alter ego (the story we have today) brands Hyde as a monster. Hyde runs until he can run no more. His final words being "Goodbye... Good", before being condemned to life as Jekyll forever. Or is it?

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