Sunday, 29 July 2007

I've been obsessing over art nouveau lately... especially Aubrey Beardsley. I'm formulating a lot of ideas about it. I can't reveal them here, because they aren't fully baked. Suffice it to say I'm excited!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

More Door

I cropped this and lowered the resolution. One reason is to prevent pirating and the other is to keep the story obfuscated. Cool word, huh?

Friday, 27 July 2007

Before They Close the Door

So I was going to make business cards to promote this site... but then I thought, "Why promote art with something lawyers use?" So I decided to do a mini-comic instead! Way cooler and harder to lose.

So here's the deal. This is the cover. I'm going to do a page a day, maybe posting parts here and there... then I'm going to give a select few away for free at select sites around New York. I'm not going to say where! If you're crafty, you'll find out! After that I'm going to sell them.

I'll let you know when the game is afoot. Until then, check back here every day!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Register Tape Art

So today was collaboration day here at Toppled Idols. The artists are (in order) Chad, Andrew, Me and Sequoya. The spray looks really purple-gray, but when you scan it it's golden brown. Anyway... I tried to find a picture of Andrew but my internet detective skills aren't up to snuff. I'll find it. Or just draw the damn thing...

Monday, 23 July 2007

Stop and Smell.... The Giant Squid!

So I've learned that drawing with nib pens on cheap paper causes bleeding that rubs against the back of the page and makes a mess. I cleaned it up a little and he turned out alright.

(P.S. Today is national "Tell a Friend about this site" day. I'm drawing new pictures for you every day... it's the least you can do!)

Sunday, 22 July 2007

I Still Love my Pilot V5

How else would I be able to draw on the train?

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Friday, 20 July 2007

Nib Pens, Sable Brushes and Lions. Oh my!

Somebody got new pens... I should say pens and brushes. Scott McCloud, on p 194 of Making Comics, has a little comparison between brush, fountain and fixed-width pen artists (weird how he puts computer-based on another page). This was an epiphany to me (I'm slow, okay?) but I realized that all the artists I love or who really impact me are using brushes and nib (fountain) pens. What am I doing with my micron and my markers? Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to bust out my ink bottle on the subway, but you can't chip away at marble and make claymation.

Needless to say, the above are the result. The girl on the right is a Sable nylon brush, the girl on the left is a B2, and filling in the hair, dress and the birdcage in the middle was the old fashioned nib pen (I can't remember the name... email me if you're SUPER curious). It all felt so right... and so new. Bicycle to motorcycle time!

Below is what I was doing before. I don't know, I think the inky brushes and pens seem more permanent and free up my hand. It's now or never. But maybe I'm delusional and avoiding buyer's remorse. What do you think?

Cartoon Style vs. Comics Style

So before I draw another picture, I'd like to talk to you about character design. Right now I'm dealing with it on two fronts: animation and comics. Comics have a rich history and are undergoing a quiet renaissance right now. There are so many styles and types of storytelling, a lot moving away from the trappings of aping film and the gen-x plotless scribbling that overshadowed the black and white boom.

This is due, in part, to comic artists doing magazine illustrations, Maus winning the Pulitzer, or other works gaining litererary attention and controversy on both sides of the Atlantic.

Cartoons have a very specific style and really are homogenized. I've been thinking about this recently thanks to John K. (inventor of Ren and Stimpy and other such works of genius). Cartoons are an industry, animation is bigger than ever (what was the last big movie you saw without CGI?) and Flash has made it easier than ever for kids to put together something funny, whether it be on Adult Swim or youtube. Lack of talent is covered up by trying (and failing) at being weird.

But most amateur animators get excited when they make things move (myself included) and end up with the industry side overshadowing the creative side. In a nutshell; boring style.

Comics, on the other hand, are really going for it right now. Caveat emptor, because a lot of independent comics are trying to be too serious and "heavy" to try and be art. But we're talking design here, and there's still a ton of great artists with their own style. Dan Clowes, Julie Doucet, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (their new stuff is INCREDIBLE, btw), etc. etc.

What I'm trying to get at is animation is boring and derivative when it comes to style, whereas comics are more daring and interesting than ever. This is a huge factor in why The Simpsons became so popular when it came out. We don't think about it today, because it's just become part of our culture, but The Simpsons were based on a comic strip (Matt Groening still does Life is Hell {now called Life is Swell}). It was a totally new style. But now it's emulated by a slew of cartoons that have followed. Namely The Family Guy, which is the most derivative. And see above.

What looked like this before 1991? What looks like it now?

Character design in cartoons means sketching, literally sketching, to bring out traits in their design. And to bring out traits that work against who they are.

Design design design!!! It's not easy.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

I really need to loosen up my drawing style! Everything I draw is so tight... Maybe if I try drawing larger pictures...
Anyway, below is a little trial for my animation. Not stylistically, but material-wise. I thought I could use crayons and watercolors... but it looks like I'm going to have to find other materials. Look how horrible this looks! This was the crayola egg-shaped wells in a snap-case that you might have used when you were a kid, but since I don't know how to paint, the results are disastrous. I really need to loosen up my shapes, too. That squirrel looks kind of sickly...

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Brains Before Brawn!

A friend asked me to design a tattoo for them. I won't put it up since people steal ideas all the time... but to get me in the mood I did this. Not anything close to what she wants... but if somebody gets this, I'll do something awesome for them. Serious!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Hey, I just realized that nobody could post comments except me... although I love being a control freak, that's just excessive. So I think you can do it now. Somebody try it to let me know...

Boobs are probably my favorite thing to draw. I really can't explain it.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

I love the busy work.
So, since this is a blog, I suppose I should bitch or rave about some such thing going on in the world. Well, I don't have headphones for the time being and I hate reading standing up, so yesterday morning on the train I had the misfortune to stare at this monstrosity of design and "artwork:"

Now besides the fact that this movie seems like cultural appropriation and even worse, a shitty multimillion dollar blockbuster, the design of this poster is atrocious.

Artists work on posing, expression, and the flow of the basic elements composing the frame. Notice how the hair is whipping around in the background, while the photoshop added drool falls in perfect 90 degree angles? The poorly photoshopped teeth don't match up: the top canines have the perspective set from above and the bottom from below, making it look like her mouth is weirdly two-dimensional. The white background and font make it look like a medical TV show and the logline is shit out loud funny.

The photo is pretty good, but the elements added to it are scary... not the way they were intending to be. People work years to draw these things correctly, studying basic human forms just to pervert them into monsters. Somebody with an expensive computer thinks they can bypass all that and make something awesome with a cut and paste feature. I can't wait until computers start stringing together plots and writing novels.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Will Dan Clowes do a new Eightball anytime soon?

So I got to work an hour early... what better time to draw and drink coffee? AND the exciting news of today is that I found a bible-sized biography on Milt Caniff at FORBIDDEN PLANET's bargain shelf!!! So many illustrations, pictures, interviews, facts and ephemera!!! 952 pages! Holy haberdashery, Batman.

Tomorrow I'm going to talk a little about the poor design elements in a movie poster I had the displeasure of staring at this morning on the train... Until then, enjoy this suggestive picture and the remainder of your day!

Friday, 13 July 2007

I was gonna' do more eyes, but I had to take a break. Can you tell why this picture looks so weird? I can!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The Eyes of Caniff and Co.

So here is my study of Milt Caniff's eyes (not his real eyes, the eyes he draws). I would like to put the original drawings up, but I don't want to get in trouble for copyright infringement. You can google him or something and see what he does. WARNING: His drawings are racist. I imagine a lot of comics and cartoons from that era were, but they've been lost or censored. For something really racist, read How to Spot a Jap, an instructional comic that he did for a book distributed to the army in 1942. How come that's not in your history text books? ANYWAY... here's my study:

But wait! They aren't all based on Caniff's Steve Canyon strips. I wanted to compare something contemporary. Here's how Phil Jimenez's eyes look (well, kind of);

He always tries to do these looks of terror. Don't get me wrong, he's a great artist, but his faces always look like they've got some kind of botox that prevents them from showing too much emotion. But drawing Caniff eyes made me think of;

Gilbert and Jaime. They use the Caniff trick of hiding the pupils and giving the area around the eye the weight of the emotion. And this was from Love and Rockets 13. Early! They get better and better. I wish I could draw like them... But this is what I learned from doing this. It's not they eye itself, but the area around it that makes it emotional. I mean, it makes sense... the inward slant of anger, the outward slant of sadness, but even without pupils it still works!

Above is my attempt at a Crumb eye. The cross hatching around the eye, again, makes his faces so intense while still being super cartoony. His drawings are beautiful and repulsive to me.


You can see the lip under her eyelid! So intense!

Again, no pupil. But the emotion (I hope in my copy) is there.

Taking this out of context, it almost looks like abstract art. I think he used a paintbrush to do most of his inking... maybe I should try it. His work is so mind-blowing to me. Claustrophobic, well-lit, intense panels.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

So I've been reading Scott McCloud's Making Comics and John K's All Kinds of Stuff and realizing I need to analyze my drawings and drawings I like much much more. So I copied a panel from Steve Canyon by Milt Caniff... probably the greatest comic artist ever? It came out looking like this. I'm still trying to figure out how he draws women's eyes. Steve's head is really flat and wide, but her face is squashed and looks older and more stern than it should. The underlying shapes just aren't there and this looks too amateurish. Part of my excuse is that I only have a marker, not my pens (r.i.p.) and I'm tired. Post comments on areas of improvement, please!

But I think I'll try some more tomorrow... maybe show a panel of my comic book, too. Anyways... good night or good morning, wherever you are.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

A jellyfish holding a narwhal. I remember xeroxing pencil drawings and they came out all f*ed up, but scanning them looks pretty cool. Done on the J train, 4 train and break room at my work.

Monday, 9 July 2007

This looks like Williamsburgh puked. I'm really sorry. To make it up to you, here's a cute subway rat with your metrocard!;

Sunday, 8 July 2007

My pen ran out of ink. Because of the heat? Maybe...

In art class in high school, they wanted us to draw pictures of anatomy. I thought it was really boring. I wanted to draw fun stuff. Well... now I'm back-tracking. But what's better than drawing skulls on magazine models? Nothing.

I have more but I have to get up at 3 a.m. for work... uh... yeah.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

A quick study of Cyrus the Great, one of the greatest, if not the greatest leader in the world. Among other things, he wrote the first charter on human rights. He died in 530 BC.

Friday, 6 July 2007

At Goodbye Blue Monday. The greatest place in New York city.

I tried to make it impossible to read. Which it is.

Logo design for Orchestruction

This was going to be a picture of Nicole Richie. The only problem is she's changed so much... her nose, pose and facial structure is completely different, not to mention she's 20 pounds. This one took 12 minutes.

Ozzy cares. 14 minutes.

This was the first one. I was talking to my room-mate and lost track of how long it took.

I want to get better at speed drawing. So I did these. The time includes pencilling, inking and painting. But not drying.

These are based on celebrities, but I'm not really a caricaturist (?). So if you guess right, I'll be excited!

Thanks for checking it out!

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