Character Design Challenge!

I’m doing these monthly design challenges with a Facebook group for kicks. You’re supposed to do one 2D character design based around a theme every month for all of 2015. A decent enough project to fill in the empty space between my own projects whenever I have the time.

So first up for January is PIRATES! argh!

argh, indeed!

Here are a few thumbnails I cobbled together while watching tv with the fam. Feel free to explore the hell out these guys and share them with me! I’d love to see what other people do with some of these.skethc01

and here’s a little exploration of one of the designs (Admiral Spaghetti Pants, to you!) which then became the unintentionally Ahab-ish/Baron Von Munchausen-esque weirdo above. sketch02

Enjoy with your eye holes!

INKtober day four and uncanny visual recall


A quick little sketch to satisfy the INKtober challenge as the lady and I watched Ernest and Celestine on iTunes this evening. Between all the Boardwalk Empires, Breaking Bads, Walking Deads and The Leftovers you kinda need a palette cleanser. Ernest and Celestine is definitely worth the rental (even a buy if you’re so inclined). Adorable!

This INKtober challenge has been fun but not a thing with which I’m particularly comfortable. Sort of just coming up with stuff and putting pen to paper and letting it go.   Today I got a chance to watch someone who doesn’t have that kind of hang up. Kim Jung Gi is an illustrator and educator from South Korea and he’s been traveling the world doing these live drawing demos. No sketching, all in ink. It’s bananas to watch…

In person its intimidating and comparison is the death of joy (I think that’s how that goes), but holy hell if you’re lucky enough to watch him work and don’t feel like you gotta step your game up then kudos to you.

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I, on the other hand, need to keep cranking away. Day four isn’t a bad start.


TETSUOOOOO!I watched AKIRA fairly recently with the kid for the first time and he was delightfully blown away. It was an influential movie for me and, to be honest, I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up. It had been ages since I watched it and it was the kid’s first time so I wondered if the 22 years since it unspooled in front of my eyes colored my opinion of it.

Turns out it did.

It’s still great and there’s moments that are undeniably cool – FLYING PLATFORMS! – but it is dour and there isn’t any levity and/or joy to be had in there. After a steady diet of evolving pop culture and the guiding narrative hands of Whedon, Pixar, Sorkin and Breaking Bad’s Vince Gilligan shows that there’s always room for humor. The juxtaposition of levity against tragedy. I imagine the drama masks are always in full view of Joss Whedon when he joyously scribbles down yet ANOTHER death of a beloved character

(that poor dino. why do you do that to me Joss, WHHHHHYYY!?!?!).

My grousing of the movie adaptation aside, AKIRA the manga is 100%, unfiltered perfection. The bike gang, i.e. CHILDREN, are just bratty, lunatic children. The government officials are slippery and stony and the espers are lost and broken, shifting pieces on a board. Otomo does a great job of building a living, breathing, complex world and characters and then he stuffs it all into a meat grinder and tosses the meat grinder into a paint shaker… then out of a moving car. What I’m saying is shit gets (un)real.

If you haven’t read it do yourself a favor and pick up the the collected black and white editions up here (or preferably at your local comic book shop) and get your nerd on. As of July 16th it’s been 26 years since the anime was released in Japan, it’s high time you read what started it all.


Marvels and Monsters part 2

so THAT happened. the MARVELS AND MONSTERS show debuted at MOCA last Thursday and it was a great turnout. the space is gorgeous and the people in attendance were excited and genuinely interested. i got to see SVA pals, Jerry Ma and Ken Knudtsen, and say thanks in person to Jeff Yang for giving me a shot at not one, but two stories in the new anthology. that book will be coming out in early November, but if you’re at NYCC then swing by the Epic Props booth and pick up a copy there.  from what i understand it’s 216 pages of funny book goodness.

but back to the show.

i got a chance to walk around with the fam and see some great artwork and brush up on the less glossy side of comics. we kinda live in a geek world with a very shiny, happy and safe face to comics, but like a lot of things that reaches back in to american history there’s a sad, twisted and mean through line. it’s just what it is, and despite the sometimes regretful underpinnings to the medium i’m quite happy with this little warts-and-all celebration.

specifically, the spotlight on Larry Hama. while all the artists and writers showcased are worth their weight in gold, Larry has had a profound geeky influence in my life. this is the guy who created the GI Joe line up from the 80’s. storm shadow, snake eyes, the baroness, the little bio cards that you’d cut out of the toy packaging, all Larry. as a child of the 80’s that cartoon had carved out a niche in my after school schedule. small fallen branches were laser rifles and nobody could vault over the neighbors’ shrubs into a tight tuck and roll better than me and my friends because we spent hours storming COBRA strongholds. we begged our folks for the five bucks for a new figure and we’d display them carefully when not burying them in some perilous scene in my mom’s garden.

jeez, shows like that created by people like him are responsible for nerds like me and the other contributors in SHATTERED and MARVELS AND MONSTERS. i’m gonna let that sink in for a bit. meanwhile, get to the show if you can. it’s up until February 24th.

after 20-something years it must be gratifying to know your characters are cool as hell to new generations.


Marvels and Monsters

so the fine folks responsible for the Secret Identities anthologies are putting on a show with MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in America, highlighting the relationship of Asian American in comics. the show runs from September 27th to February 24th and if you’re interested head on down and take a peek. a couple of my in-process comic pages from Secret Identities: SHATTERED will be in the show along with original art from other contributors to the book.

but don’t take my word for it. here’s a fancy thing with which to tell the world…


Doctor Who

i’m not helping my street cred (i have street cred???) by posting about Doctor Who, but damn it I’m excited about Doctor Who coming back on BBC America! i caught up on the series over a few months thanks to Netflix and the fellas at Nerdist who kept blah, blah, blabbing about it. i finally caved to the curiosity and i’m hooked. i was bummed when David Eccleston left but David Tennent took over and he was instantly brilliant. i was devastated, yes devastated, when Tennent left but was quickly endeared to Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. so in my anticipation of the seventh series premiering tomorrow here’s a Doctor illustration for kicks.

i did another with the same back ground but just wasn’t feeling the look of the Doctor. here it is anyway…


and here’s some Doctor Who related stuff and zombies for a project that i’ll be showing off here when it’s done…


and to make certain so you know, that i know, i never had, nor will i ever have street cred.

OH! and if you want to see some more Doctor Who illustrations please go to Lydia Butz’s deviantart page. another artist I don’t know, but she’s a phenomenal illustrator and deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.