Tuesday, 18 December 2007


I've been obsessing over the first issue of Northlanders from Vertigo. This Viking comic has all savagery and three times the wit you'd expect of a Norse tale. It feels like some of Robert E. Howard's historical fiction, but with a more modern slant on the dialogue. You know what, I think it's essentially crime pulp set in the Viking era.
Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice really outdid themselves here. Pick this book up!
It inspired me to to the drawing up there -- it's screaming at me to colour it. If I have the time, I will.

Thursday, 13 December 2007


I don't think I've ever drawn Spider-Man outside of convention sketches before -- those are so chaotic and rushed I'm usually more worried about getting the costume right and making a drawing that won't get me a sad fan face in response that I don't get to think about what I'm drawing.
Drawing this I kept thinking about how much a genius Ditko is. Just the treatment of the fingers alone is brilliant costume design, but the mask and way the red sections wrap the form make for truly interesting shapes.
I always thought of this costume as annoying before really getting a chance to sit and take a few hours on it, but I actually enjoyed it.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Smile Time

Drew the above while my students were doing the assigned work in the last class of Comic Book Layout and Composition for this semester.
You could say I like drawing The Joker.
You could also say that a Joker project would be a dream gig at DC.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Week 13

The Fall semester is over.
I thought I was ready for how hard the 5-days-a-week teaching schedule was going to be, which I was, but what caught me by surprise was how heavy the administrative and student adviser aspects were going to be upon taking the Director of Illustration for Sequential Arts role. It'll be much easier next semester as my schedule drops to 3 days a week. It'll also be easier next year when I really will be ready for the load.
I should note that Ty Templeton made my job a hell of a lot easier by how much experience he brought to the table and how he essentially overtaught his class.
Hmm, I'm thinking that Director of Narrative Illustration is a more appropriate title since I'm also overseeing book illustration and the courses overlapping into Concept Art.
Anyhow -- I was kinda expecting to be working on some sort of fill-in over the break, but that seems to have fallen into corporate scheduling cracks. I'll be able to fill the time with a number of things anyway: Last Man Standing over at ConceptArt.org, a nice 7 page story for a big top secret anthology coming out next summer, house projects and developing course materials for next semester.
Enough about me. Here's some doodles:

It's a rhino of some sort -- some students started dropping the name of some TMNT character upon seeing it.

The students were concocting some sort of Batman thing, each taking turns drawing an old, emaciated Dark Night Decrepit (heh). They asked me to do this one -- apparently mine's not old or zombified enough.
It does look like how I feel today, though. I seem to have caught a cold from another commuter on the trip home from Toronto Friday night.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Recent stuff

School has really been beating me up art-wise. Lots of quick gesture drawing and what amounts to doodles. Nothing as finished as I usually like to post here.
This is from the most recent Dr. Sketchy's:

The model, Priscilla Pussycat, was a blast. Dressed as Poison Ivy, we were asked to hide Batman somewhere in the picture for the prize of a mystery drink. Audience voting won me the quadruple crantini. Yay.

Other super-hero-ey drawings include a few things like these:

Lots of preliminary doodle stuff, but very little actual drawing. Grumble.
With Last Man Standing 3 underway and a few comics projects starting I think I'll have more interesting things to post soon-ish.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


A couple of people asked to see the sketch that got burried under the digital paint. . .
Dunno which one I look older and more tired in.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

International self-portrait day

Saw this thread about International Self-Portrait Day at ConceptArt.org.

And, even though I'm swamped with all sorts of art-instructor stuff in addition to getting a speach ready about MtM's Concept Art program for the Northern Digital Expo this weekend, I just had to take a couple of hours and do this.
Yeah -- I actually feel as tired as I look there -- probably moreso since that was how I looked while drawing it.
Wow -- whole month since I posted anything. Sorry -- it's been that sort of month -- I do have tons of sketches, but my studio move has finally been progressing so nothing is being scanned.
Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, 29 September 2007


I'm off to see Eastern Promises tonight. It's been getting good-to-incredible reviews ever since it opened during the Toronto International Film Festival a few weeks ago. Pictures of Viggo started popping up everywhere -- I saw a photo of him in a free daily commuter paper with this odd 'stache and overgrown soul-patch with a goofy smile on his face !

Viggo smiling like that? What the hell did Cronenberg do to him in this film?

Had to draw it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Dr. Sketchy's

Monday Night I went to The Cameron House on Queen West for Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School Toronto.
I warmed up with a drawing of this huge pink teddy bear. . .

After a few weeks teaching back in the (correctly) structured environment of Beginning Life Drawing 1 at Max the Mutt, it was fun to draw with a beer in reach, an eclectic range of music pumping out of the overhead speakers (Blondie and Corey Hart were a pleasant surprise for this dinosaur amongst the pierced) and a model, Lena Love, in better shape than any other I've ever drawn.

I swear, I think she could have broken every man in the room with ease -- not that a gathering of artists in Downtown TO would be likely to attract the kind of guys that'd give her a challenge, but I meander. . .
You really don't wanna know what she did to the teddy bear --I ended up giving her that drawing, so you're out of luck if you do want to know.

The blacklight drawing was interesting. . . .
I'm certainly hoping to attend the next one in about two weeks.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Kilowog, ya Poozers!

Always liked this character -- I think I first saw him during the Englehart/Staton run on Green Lantern/The Green Lantern Corps back in the mid 80s.

As much as I'd like to draw Hal Jordan (the GL I first encountered) for being the most archetypical science fiction hero in comics, or Guy Gardner for being a nifty tough-guy jerk, I think Kilowog would be an absolute blast to draw for a solo adventure or mini series.*

I do have some affection for the weird Popeye style arms he used to have, but I do like to draw massive arms, so the current Ethan Van Sciver designed iteration is more to my drawing tastes.

Decided to take a few moments to get the hand on Kilowog's weird hippo-face:

Like the Pitt sketches I posted earlier -- you can see the awkwardness in the first doodle, I'm getting a feel for how I wanna see this going in the second, but it's still gawdawful, the alst twoo are okay --I think I have a feel for how I want his face-stumps to work and how his head is shaped.

The next page, I think I'm on the right track. The open-mouth shot doesn't do it for me -- EVS did a cool shot into Kilowog's mouth in an early GL issue (latest series), I might dig it out since I seem to recall it being really hippo-ish.

Kilowog's Popeye arms could be (sorta) brought back by just making his three-fingered hands and forearms slightly disproportionately larger and more powerful looking.

*Yeah - if Garth Ennis, or similarly twisted writer, were to write a zombie Ch'p story, I'd draw that, too.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


Started doodling a character I hadn't drawn in far too long: Dale Keown's Pitt:

Gah! Ugh -- you can see the rust in that drawing. . . .

So I quickly did a few more doodles to warm up to the character again:

. . .a little bit better. I think my hands were starting to get the feel of the character again. Pitt was always fun to draw - -I'll see if I can find some time to do something more finished before too long.

Dale's still working on Darkness/Pitt, so you're gonna have to wait on that, but the Pitt action figure came out this past August . It's some sort of incentive item where you buy one toy and you get a piece of the Pitt toy -- it sure as hell looks worth it!


Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Back to school!

School started at Max the Mutt last week with orientation week. Looks like a fine bunch of art students coming into the program's first year and I'm quite happy with the group returning for Illustration and Sequential Art.
I took my "comics gang" to Union Station on Friday to draw. They did some wonderful work and look to be warming up for a really good year.

I managed to get a little sketching in while keeping an eye on what the group was up to. . .

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Toronto Comic FanExpo this weekend

I've cut n' pasted this from a reminder e-mail I received about the convention this weekend:
The 13th Annual FAN EXPO CANADA is this weekend, August 24-26, 2007. The main events will be held in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, SOUTH BUILDING, 222 Bremner Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The shows operation hours are:

Friday 4pm to 9pm
Saturday 10am to 7pm
Sunday 11am to 6pm

I'll be splitting my time between artists alley and the Max the Mutt booth.

* * *
The Chicago convention was a blast -- spent the entire weekend in the company of Ethan van Sciver and Moose Bauman. At Ethan's urging I did a few comics pages to show around, since it seems like forever since I did new comics pages.

I got to meet with some very enthusiastic folks at DC and Top Cow who seemed disappointed that I actually didn't have the time to do anything since school's starting so soon. Oh, well, there's next summer to look forward to.
* * *
My flight back from Chicago was the Monday afternoon following the con, so I got the news of Mike Wieringo's death almost as a wake-up call in my hotel room. Todd DeZago called Ethan van Sciver, who called me.
I knew Mike dating back to just before he started drawing The Flash for DC -- he was a studio mate of Richard Case at Artamus, who I met less than a year previous. From almost that point forward Mike and I started talking every couple of weeks for the next 15 years. We got to hang out occasionaly at cons we were both attending, even sharing rooms a time or two. We were both looking forward to seeing each other in person again for the first time in years at the Heroes Con in Charlotte until my stupidity over my passport (thought I had another year on it, but it had expired in February and I couldn't get a new one in time) stopped me from flying into the US. Mike wasn't attending Chicago that year -- so I'd have to see him the next year in Charlotte. . .
The last phone call I had with Mike was about a week or two after Heroes, his back was still bothering him, he was (rightly, in my opinion) feeling taken for granted by Marvel and overshadowed by other of the Marvel artists (which was just his humility). Despite that, we joked around as always, talked about random shit from comics to politics to football. I told him I'd give him a con report Tuesday morning after I got back from Chicago and we said goodbye.
The wave of shock grief that rolled across the comics end of the internet with the news was understandible: Mike and his work had affected people so profoundly. It did make it difficult to go online for a bit, seeing people who only knew him through his work go on at length about their feelings of loss in messages or blogs when I didn't even know how to begin articulating my grief. I thought, maybe, I'd draw something, but that doesn't feel right, either. Maybe later I'll be able to wrap my head around drawing something. . .
The hardest thing of it, for me, is that I'm feeling completely disconnected from this. I've known the man for over 15 years, but I never knew his brother other than through Mike's anecdotes of through his online Mafus posts. I think I talked to Mike's wife during their brief marriage once, maybe twice, but only in the briefest of "Hi, is Mike there?" way. Over the years I lost contact with Richard Case (as we both moved away from comics) other than Mike's updates (Richard and I both have son's named Brendan -- the Case/Pace thing was always a laugh). It's part of the nature of being a comics freelancer, I guess; you'll have friends from across the continent, if not the world, who can be your best friends, but you'll only be connected to them as long as they can pick up the phone.
The family requested that all those interested donate to heroinitiative.org, which I think is a fine choice. They'll be keeping Mike's Blog up (linked to the left) as a tribute, which I also think is a fine choice.

Monday, 30 July 2007


Talkin' 'bout Kane, baby!
Not Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane, no. He's cool - -see my earlier sketch for comments on that guy.
Nope --talking about Karl Edward Wagner's Kane. 300 pounds of sorcerous left-handed, sword-swinging, god-killing, immortal badness. Kane is decidedly an anti-hero, often made protagonist only by the fact that his worst enemies are often Lovecraftian aliens lingering in the forgotten shadows of his barbaric world.
I think I've read my Kane books even more often than my REH Berkley Conan books -- which were edited by the late Mr. Wagner and were the reason I sought his S&S tales. Seeing the amazing Frank Frazetta covers would have made me buy them anyway, but things didn't happen in that order.
I long fantasized about adapting Kane to comics -- always thinking that the books would have to carry the Frazetta paintings in some way if one wanted to do them right. So, I'm a little conflicted on the news that at least one of the Frazetta Kane covers is being used for something else. I'm always happy to see more S&S comics and Frazetta get the respect he deserves, but. . .
. . .Damn it! That's a Kane cover!
Oh, well, maybe I'll still get to a Kane comic someday. Doesn't look like any of the guys doing the Image Frazetta comics chose to spin off of Bloodstone or Darkness Weaves yet!


Friday, 27 July 2007

Marvel Sketchcards!

Mark Irwin at Upper Deck sent out an open call for artists to do sketch cards for an upcoming Marvel card release. I thought it sounded like fun and grabbed 50 with the idea that I'd do one or two every day before starting my other work. Here's a sampling:

Sorry about being absent so far this summer -- been busy with both work and family and the majority of my sketching has been academic rather than imaginative.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007


I think I did this because I did more than a few Jokers and even more Harley Quinns this past FCBD (which was great fun - -I was doing sketches of comic characters, Darth Vader and Storm Troopers all day!) that I felt the need to do something with one of them for my blog. I always love drawing the Joker. Come up to me at a store or con signing and I'll happily do one no matter how tiured I may be.
Speaking of which. . .
I've booked my flight to Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC (June 15-17). It's the first con outside of Toronto I've done in years. I'm certainly looking forward to it.

Thursday, 3 May 2007


Latest Remake/Remodel from Warren Ellis's The Engine -- there's some fabulous stuff up for this character (as with the previous remake/remodels) this week. Some people dug deep into their imaginations and completely reconceived her.
I decided to go more toward the idea of a teen-aged girl in the Superman mold. If Supes is the big blue Boy scout, then this here's the little blue girl scout. She has fun, friends and adventures - -like a super-powered Nancy Drew.
You better pay for those cookies, mister!
PS -- this Saturday I'm doing Free Comic Book Day!
The place is Worlds Collide in Oshawa, Ontario.
More stuff can be gleaned from:
Free comics, Stormtroopers and me!
How can you not go?!

Sunday, 29 April 2007

It isn't Easy Being Green Lama

Well, decided to end April on a lighter note. Here's the second version of The Green Lama for Warren Ellis' remake/remodel thread; Kermit dressed as the Dalai Lama.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

The Green Lama

Another pulp character remodel suggested by Warren Ellis at his The Engine. The Green Lama was an American who gained mystic powers after spending ten years in Tibet. He also drinks a potion of radioactive salts to give him lightning powers. I thought a cancer-ridden, 110 year old mystic would be the logical result of that.
Didn't have time to do anything with this until today (I think he started this one on Monday), but I was sick as a dog today and started playing with this instead of doing more serious work. This is still essentially a sketch since there's piles of errors and sloppy work, so I think it's fair game for the sketch-blog. That's the Emaciated Bhudda in the background - -thought it was an appropriate element for my take on this character.
Still sick, so I'm off to bed!

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Thursday Nude

I belong to a yahoogroup, pinup_heaven, and every Thursday is Sketch day. I get to see quite a lot of really nice art.
The above is what I did for today's sketch day.


Did the above as a sample for Boom Studio's upcoming Warhammer comics series. I decided not to do any more on this for various situational reasons, but thought it'd be nice to share it. This was pencilled for reproduction, so it's way, way darker than I'd draw for an inker. This isn't even actually finished, since this would be a licensed project and revisions could be expected I didn't do some of the finishing elements like rain falling in the foreground and splashing off the armour. For that I would have gotten busy with my electric eraser much in the same way I would have used white paint over a traditionally inked comics page.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Miss Masque

Latest redesign prompt from The Engine (http://www.the-engine.net/forum/messages.php?webtag=ENGINE&msg=8147.1 for the full info).

I essentially ended up with Catwoman Red here. The original character had a weird sideways MM motif on her costume, so i decided to pop them on her sleeves and on the (unseen) fasteners along the front of her. . .um, pants?. Nice side benefit: when she gives somebody the finger her sleeve Ms become Ws -- latex fetish Wonder Woman!


Monday, 16 April 2007


Another thing from my sketchbook:

Graphite (fancy artist-speak fer pencil) and black watercolour pencil crayon. I guess it could be labelled a Fafhrd drawing, but I wasn't really thinking of any specific character when doing this.
I had a meeting with the lovely and talented Goran Delic ( http://delatoon.blogspot.com/ ) last week about some Max the Mutt business and we touched on using watercolour pencil crayons during a digression. I hadn't used them in years, even though I actually have a few sets laying around the studio. Started drawing this on Saturday in the book, realised I wanted to play with the black pencil crayon I packed up with my sketching gear. After scribbling a bit more I realised I didn't pack a brush.
So I swooshed the colour around with a napkin dipped in water. Was fun, but I dunno if I can recommend the technique!
Red Sonja auction update:
I got a few off-ebay questions, but the offers made that way had to be declined -- sorry! There's just over a day left before it's over! Remember, you're not just getting a nice drawing out of this, but you're helping to alleviate my overwhelming desire to own every art tool I see!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Sketch Dump 1

Been doing a pile of drawing that's client-based, so the more time-consuming sketches I've done previously haven't coming out of my hands as much as before, but I have been hitting my sketchbook as hard. If you evet meet one of my students, you can ask them how important I think keeping a sketchbook is.
Here's a few things I decided to scan from the book:

This was actually a quick sketch during my Beginning Life Drawing class at Max the Mutt. The students were about to spend two hours over two classes doing one study, so we'd need more than just the student's work to make sure that the model could take the same pose, so I did a few really quick doodles of her, focusing on her placement on the stage.
Of course, I've also spent some time on my recent Red Sonja addiction:
I did the above while thinking about what I'd want to do with a more finished piece of RS art -- I ended up with the Red Sonja/Lizardmen drawing posted a little while back.

This are little more than warm-up doodles - -I do things like this every day before starting work -- more often than not they are on scrap paper from around my drawing table and end up in the recycle bin. My sketch book was at hand that morning, so I actually have a few to share.

Hulk -- it's fun to draw the big guys. I should probably do a Pitt again -- THAT was a fun character to draw.
I got the new collection of Chaykin and Mignola's adaptations of Lieber's Fafhrd and Grey Mouser stories from Dark Horse -- I really loved those comics when they came out so I'm really happy to have them in a new book. The only original artwork by someone else hanging in my studio is a Mignola page from the first issue of that series.
Random creepy sorcerer.
Drew this from a newspaper photo of a mine rescuer in Russia, the look on the man's worn face was just something I had to try to capture -- the doodle below was a quick sketch at turning the head in space from the photo.
Hope you all liked the peek into the broader range of what I do in my sketchbook.

Thursday, 12 April 2007


This week, Warren called for a new model Sherlock Holmes.
I ended up with a near-future version: here he's either directly stimulating his brain's pleasure centers or some VR-supported detective work. I decided Watson would be a biomechanical construct within Holmes to maintain his health and sanity -- kinda like a real imaginary friend.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Scanning for Red!

I saw a new scanner the other day -- a nice 11x17" Mustek.

I've always wanted an 11x17" scanner, since using my 8.5x11" scanner is a pain to use when trying to input oversized art to my computer. Comics pages are 11x17", so you can see the immediate gratification to be had by swapping for one of this bigger puppies.

I almost made it an impulse buy; it's reasonably priced and the place is more than willing to ship to Canada, but, I really don't need an 11x17" scanner at this particular moment.

That doesn't stop me from still wanting it now!

So, instead of trying to justify the expense I thought I'd try to do something directly related to paying for this new scanner. I thought about just doing an open call for commissions, but there are some characters I'd rather not draw or are actually too much effort to add on top of my current workload. SO I decided to do this:

This is a sketch of another Red Sonja piece I was planning to do reasonably soon. I've decided to do an auction for the finished version of this drawing. It'll be completed on 11x17" 2-ply bristol board (see , I tied that plus-size scanner measurement into this!)

Here's the Ebay listing:

(Auction is over, so I deleted the link)

More details on payment and shipping and scheduling can be found at that link. If this works out, I'll make this weekly thing -- so feel free to make suggestions for other sketch-to-final art auctions.
And - -just for the heck of it, here's a quick funky colour version of the sketch:

The Sonora Kid

Damon Sasser asked me to do a Sonora Kid sketch for an upcoming issue of one of his REH fanzines (look at http://www.rehtwogunraconteur.com/).
Now, I read one of the REH collections that had Sonora Kid stories in it years ago, but wasn't able to find it, so Damon kindly passed along the tale Knife, Bullet and Noose. It's a typical Howard yarn; smart, tough guy in the wrong sort of situation -- a real good read, but it didn't really give me a hook into the character. So I ended up doing a bunch of other things to get inspired: watched Once Upon a Time in the West again, flipped through my Frank Schoonover and Time/Life Old West books.
At the end, I realised that I had to play towards what I didn't feel with the character. Hence the heavy shadows, vague features and fluttering duster.
Hope y'all like it despite my limitations. . . .

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Black and White and Red

More Red Sonja.
What's not to love about a bikini made out of quarters? I wanted to do something more elaborate with Sonja since my last coloured sketch of her, so this is a tighter drawing on 11x17" plate bristol (DC Comics paper), done as if it were a cover by leaving room for logo, trade dress and credits. I've been doing non-comics stuff for so long it felt great doing something along these lines again. I'll prolly colour it when I get a spare few hours.
Next up will probably be another Howard character I've been fiddling with for a little while.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007


I know it doesn't look like it, but I've been drawing like mad, but none of it either allowable to show yet or blog-worthy (that's a concept, isn't it?).
Did get inspired to divert my attentions to something else by a thread on redoing (as opposed to re-imagining, I guess) other characters. Warren Ellis started this at his forum, The Engine http://www.the-engine.net/forum/index.php?webtag=ENGINE&msg=7803.1 .
This is my attempt -- thought her armour and weapons would essentially be the same thing -- all blades - -and they would erupt to varying sizes as needed. I started sketching in wings, but decided that it was starting to become too much like work.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Out of Commission

Did this as a comission a while back, had to hold off posting until I actually heard that the client liked it. It was really fun to do - -a break from my other, more serious work.
I used to do tons of comissions back in the 90s, but then I had a series of them go really bad on me: some were damaged in transit despite very secure packaging, one never arrived (as far as I can tell), and another was essentially stolen. I did a three-page wide Hulk/Pitt/Thing/Abomination/couple-other-big-guys-I-forget for a what was supposed to be a considerable amount of money. I got the advance very fast, did the piece and sent it out (via a trackable shipping method). The piece went missing after it was delivered. He claimed he wasn't the one who signed for the package.
Sigh. . .
A few months later it shows up on eBay and the contact info tracks back to him. EBay pulled the auction immediately after I complained, but it never was resolved to my satisfaction. That kinda soured me on comissions.
Now I do them digitally and get paid all in advance. Nothing gets lost in the mail.

Sunday, 11 March 2007


Don't know where this one came from.
Maybe the China Mieville stuff I've been reading has dredged up some Lovecraftian imagery.
. . . Or maybe I just like drawing tentacles.

Saturday, 10 March 2007


Been a while -- sorry! Was waiting for a response from a person I did a piece for to post it here, and time kinda got away from me and I still haven't heard back.

So -- here's something from the sketchbook:

It's inspired China Mieville's New Crobuzon books; Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council. In these books, criminals -- both political and otherwise -- are punished by being remade in the punishment factories. These poor sods have bits from other creatures, people or even machines grafted into or onto their bodies, creating a permanent slave class.

The guy above is probably not a good example of the sort of remade you'd typically see in the books, but just shows where my mind wandered to after reading these most excellent books.

I read the above three books and his short story collection, Looking for Jake, in quite a short period of time. These fantasy books are overflowing with imagination owing far more to Lovecraft and Steinbeck than Tolkien. The short story, The Tain, is a remarkable modern fantasy-post-apocalyptic tale and probably my favourite thing the guy's written.