Thursday, December 27, 2018

Dark and Light

Almost a year ago I did this little study on darkness and light.  Seemed like an interesting subject for this time of year as well.

Literally and metaphorically, I guess we all have a lot of darkness and light in our lives.    Are they always made more beautiful by their juxtaposition with each other?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Favorite Sketches of Christmas Past

In honor of the Christmas holiday, I thought I'd share some of my favorite sketches from Christmases past...

From 2013:

From 2014:

It's fun to watch my style and my experiments change...

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Dogs, the Woods, Mid Century Modern, and Me

I had some fun combining my drawing interests of the last few weeks into a little sketch of me and the dogs who star in my graphic memoir, but in mid century modern style.

I've been scribbling a lot lately with depicting myself and my dogs in the woods, since we are there during so much of my graphic memoir.

And over Thanksgiving I spent some time playing with another on-going interest, my love of mid-century modern style cartoons.  Is there anything better than Gerald McBoing Boing?  NO!!

Anyhow, I spent some more time looking at mid century modern illustrations of people and dogs, and  of wooded areas and then, inspired by those,  did a little sketch on my iPad pro of myself and my dogs.  Highly stylized of course.

One piece of inspiration I found on the web:

My own take on it:

This would be an example of me learning by "stealing like an artist."  Copying, making it my own, learning and learning how to do it.

And I also practiced rough textures, half tones, and offsetting the layers of line, color, and shade to get what seems to be elements of that mid century modern look.

What I love most about this little sketch is the dogs.  I think they are terrific.  I might do more with my dogs and cats in this style.

And I wish I were that tall and skinny.  Whoo!  

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Playing with Procreate and Turkeys

Around the American Thanksgiving holiday I took a few days off of work on my graphic memoir to play with my favorite iPad drawing app, Procreate.

I am interested in mid-century modern illustration styles, so I thought I'd play with some of those design ideas and draw a few turkeys.

The elements I played with included:

  • rough texture,
  • duller colors,
  • large simple shapes,
  • line and color work offset (not perfectly matched),
  • some halftone shading, also offset,
  • exaggeration.

 Messy sketches, sure, and even really very pretty, but I learned a ton doing them!   I practiced manipulating layers and opacity.  I tried new brushes I'd purchased but never used.  I chose colors from a mid-century palette that are not colors I would ever normally work with.

It was a great few hours of playing and learning.

Maybe I'll do the same for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

More on Walking in the Woods When Frightened

My graphic memoir in progress focuses on something very scary that happened to me while I was walking my dogs in the woods one morning.

So I've been experimenting a lot of the last year or so with how the woods look to me normally, versus how they looked when I was terrified.

The classic example of this, in my mind, is the scene from Disney's Snow White when she flees the murderer through the forest.

I didn't experience the trees, the woods, as my enemy in this way.  I experienced them more as the container of evil.

Anyhow, I don't know how I'm ultimately going to depict this, but I thought I'd share a sketch or two in the next few weeks of me working these ideas out.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ways of Drawing Walks in the Woods...and Terror

In the graphic memoir I'm working on, I have to draw myself and my dogs walking (or running, or standing frozen in shock) in the woods.  A lot.

So I've been looking at other comics artists who have drawn people moving through the woods, and copying them, learning from them.

I've already posted some of the work I did learning how to draw "Watterson trees" from Calvin and Hobbes strips.

Here's a sketch I did inspired by Jeff Lemire's work in Roughneck.  A wonderful book, by the way.  Full of astonishing visual complexity.

It's that interesting perspective, that sense of conveying a vast space but a narrow focus that I really admire and want to use.  The sort of tunnel vision of the terrified...

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Favorite Author's New Title: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

If you asked me to name my favorite graphic novel, I'd have a hard time picking just one.

Fun Home?  Blankets?  Rosalie Lightning?  The Dark Knight Returns?  A Soldier's Heart?  Calling Dr. Laura?  and soooooooo many others...

But if you asked me about my favorite series, or the ones I wish I had written, or the most delightful, I'd name, without hesitation, the Lunchlady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka.

There are a dozen of these terrific, funny, smart book in this series and I've read them all over and over.  I've copied the drawings to learn how he does simple yet impactful drawings.  I just love these things.

I've also loved the one volume of his Platypus Police Squad that I've been able to find in my library.  They are on my "to read list" for 2019.  Can't wait!

Anyhow, in 2018, Krosoczka came out with a more serious story, a graphic memoir about his family and growing up with some hard truths.

This book has been named a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

I finally ordered my copy and while I wait, I've checked out some reviews and interviews I thought I'd share.

NPR Interview here.

His blog post on the NBA celebrations here.

School Library Journal here.

If you haven't read any of  Krosoczka's work.... what are you waiting for!?