Saturday 31 July 2010

Nosferatu page 26

Second last page -- who knew all that fighting and falling was just a few yards from a busy street that looks a little like the Danforth area of Toronto.

Friday 30 July 2010

Nosferatu double-spread pp24-25

The first double-spread splash I did is a borderline swipe of Frank Miller's RONIN and predicts the advent of Pornface!

Well, not really, but it was fun typing that!

The problem with being allowed to finish off the series was figuring out how to finish off the series when the original writer told me he really hadn't thought it through when he handed it over. After the series established they couldn't kill each other, I went for the obvious answer and decided that they could only die at the same time. I know I could come up with a number of better and more interesting solutions today.

I do like some of the brushwork I got into on this spread.

Two more pages before this is all done!

Thursday 29 July 2010

Bad Planet

I dunno if I mentioned I was pretty whacked out by pain killers and, well, pain last week and weekend -- if I didn't, guess what?

Anyway, I tried to work through it and produced a bunch of nonsensical layouts that I ended up being unable to use in any fashion. I also tried to read my minty-fresh and gorgeous trade collection of Bad Planet from the fine folks at RAW Studios. I was pretty dopey and the 3-D bits were too much for handle at the time, so I put it aside.

Today, I took a break from the page I was penciling and decided to sift through all the drawings I did while doped up and came across the above sketch. I don't recall doing it very well, but it's nice to have something more recent than the 20-year old Nosferatu pages while I'm scribbling away on two projects bound by NDAs.

Nosferatu page 23

Who saw the statue of the Angel with the sword on the first page and not see this coming?

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Nosferatu page 22

Always with the choking and the rolling in the burning rubble. . . .

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Nosferatu pages 20& 21

Got swamped making up for last week's dental pain issues and managed to forget to post yesterday's page, so here's two of them!
I think i hit a serious groove here on in -- my drawing limitations were just that, but I think I was learning and producing while producing on these pages.
Gotta love that injury-to-the-eye motif! That's, like, three in this issue alone!


Ghost Rider hasn't been forgotten, but the second installment has turned into something quite large and has grown into something about choosing shapes and physical types. I think I might end up letting it run in that direction and use my Ghost Rider redevelopment be the example rather than the whole point.

Saturday 24 July 2010

Nosferatu page 19

Decided I really liked drawing thick gloves by this point since they were so much easier to get "right" than bare hands for me at the time. This is another page where my execution was well below my layout abilities -- not that my layout ability was that great, it was just better developed at the time.

Thursday 22 July 2010

Here's a two-page sequence from Pitt: In the Blood:
I extrapolated a bit from what had already occurred in the comic and gave Pitt a psychic power of a sort -- or at least a really aggressive psychic defense.

I'm still a little proud at how clear the nine-panel page reads while still having a flashy big-ish panel.

Nosferatu page 17

Minions are flammable -- they should come with those stickers.

I feel like popping in a word balloon for the rat in the bottom right corner saying "Well, that's something you don't see every day."

Wednesday 21 July 2010

Nosferatu page 16

Boy, today flew by.

Almost forgot to post another page from this old. . . gem?

I actually had a strong memory of laying down the frisket and cutting out the letters to splatter ink with a toothbrush for the "AAAAH!" there.

Anyway -- only 11 more days of this.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Nosferatu page 15

At some point dream logic took over this story; she climbs up the wall and enters through a hole in a wall (what happened to the stairs?) and enters through the door of the room she fell through the floor of a few pages earlier with no new minions popping out.

Few things I'm actually liking here, though; the lighting as she climbs through the hole, how much action is revealed in the area of the dead minion in panel 3, and the perspective on the spear through Longsword's back.

Monday 19 July 2010

Nosferatu page 14

The bad guy knows he's in trouble when the rats get pissy and start biting him.

Just over half-way though this issue. I think I was only asked to do 22-24 pages, but got approval to go to 27. Can't recall if I was paid for the extra pages or if I was stupid enough to do them gratis because the story needed ' em.

Sunday 18 July 2010

Nosferatu page 13

Buffy never called a minion " asshole".

At least not on camera.

Saturday 17 July 2010

Nosferatu page 12

This page should serve as a lesson to homeless people who become evil minions of an ancient vampire; if a girl falls hard enough to smash through two 18"-thick beams and survives enough to catch onto a third and it looks like she's still ready to go for more you should leave her for the boss to deal with.

Friday 16 July 2010

Nosferatu page 11

I laughed out loud when I flipped to this page. I've no idea why I thought decorative pillars would be doing that high up in a Tim Burton-style church or why they'd have so many small and ineffectual nails on their bases.

I now know how beams and supports for something like this would look like -- and it's nothing like this. This was in the days before the internet and image searches and you had to have access to a good library or have a very well developed morgue. Today I have a few books on hand with architectural reference, the internet and years of experience drawing crumbling buildings.

I do kinda like how the woman manages to smash through two 18"thick beams and land on another and have any bones in her upper body intact. Maybe she's related to Luke Cage?

Thursday 15 July 2010

More Starman

There was an extended talking head sequence near the end of the issue between the Will payton Starman and the two baddies, Brian and Stine Bodine, holding a waitress named Gladys hostage.

James made a point of asking for close-ups -- perhaps by way of compensating for two 9-panel pages which usually set contemporary artists into seizures of stress -- but there really wans't a sense of the place this was happening in and I really didn't want to ruin the flow of what James was intending with the character repartee by pulling back to show how desolate Turk County is.
Making the panels smaller, more claustrophobic and intimate allowed me to essentially draw a wasteland landscape across both pages behind the talking heads.

Wade von Grawbadger really made me look good here, too.

Another thing I did, though I made sure it wasn't integral to the story, was make sure the background for both pages would read as a single image if I was lucky enough to have them facing each other.

There are rules for double-spreads and they're usually frowned on by editorial as the ad pages can change right up until printing and make it difficult to get the pages to flow in a decent manner. So I just drew them as regular bleed pages (whihc is why the art doesn't match up exactly - -I never got to talk to Wade and let him know what I was doing) and crossed my fingers.

I can't recall if they ended up facing each other in the issue, but they aren't in Starman Omnibus 3.

Yeah, it's more older work, but it's a little more recent than the ancient Nosferatu pages.

Nosferatu page 10

I kinda like this one.

Apart from the really bad drawing happening in the second panel I think I was hitting over my level at the time. It was probably luck more than planning, but with a few small layout changes, it wouldn't be a page I'd be upset about producing nineteen years later.

I better scan and post something more recent just to get out of 1991's pool of work.


Wednesday 14 July 2010

Nosferatu page 9

This page is kinda full of stupid.
Panel one: His hair is stupid and her foot poking out from behind panel three is quite stupid, too.
Panel two: His shoulders got stupidly narrow, his club stupidly small and I stupidly cropped his stupid left hand.
Panel three: I was pretty stupid at drawing faces here.
Panel four: the bat shouldn't be touching the stupid panel border.
Panel five: The guy's thumb is stupidly small and flat.
Bonus stupidity: The bat from panel one is sticking out from behind panel five.

Hopefully there's something educational is this page; don't make the same stupid mistakes I made!

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Nosferatu page 8

Another page I like the basic layout of in spite of how poorly executed everything other than the cross bursting out of the silhouetted building is.

Ghost Rider heads-up -- had a few approvals to go ahead on an assignment run late and I was completely wiped out yesterday by a migraine so I'm playing catch-up for the next two-three days. The GR redesign project will pick up Friday barring any other things popping up.

Monday 12 July 2010

Nosferatu page 7

I kinda like Nosferatu's gestures in the first and third panel, but not much else.

Sunday 11 July 2010


Found a photocopy of the pencils for this -- no idea if it was ever inked, colored or published.

I was showing the pencils I did on Pitt: In the Blood around at either a New York or Chicago comic convention and I had the pleasure of meeting Erik Larsen, who liked my work enough to offer me a She-Dragon mini-series.

At this point in my career I didn't really know how to say no to work -- so every job that came along while I was writing this series ended up getting put in front of it since they had deadlines and this mini-series didn't. Eventually, Erik couldn't wait for this series as he had plans for the character and we let this drop.

In hindsight, had a deadline been set from the start, even if I ended up dragging my ass and been late meeting it, it would have been finished instead of sitting on the to-do eventually pile until it died. Erik's highly self-motivated -- I mean, just look at his work at Image -- so it must have been hard for him to be continually working with artists who needed the crack of the whip to move forward.

While I believe I'm considerably more self-motivated than I was way back then, I still prefer to work towards an established deadline.

Nosferatu page 6

I still like the idea behind the layout for this page even if the execution is hampered by my being so overwhelmingly inept in 1991. The deadline must have already been pressing on my thoughts at this point since I used such a weak dry-brush technique to handle the walls.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Another Pitt page

Pitt getting blasted by tons of giant mechs and guys in powered battlesuits. Was a fun page to draw even though I ended up completely covering up Pitt with impact bursts.

Nosferatu page 5

With the previous page I seem to be developing a real injury-to-the-eye thing here.

No Ghost Rider stuff today or tomorrow, some sketches got approval after some delays and I'm going to be playing catch-up over the weekend.

I'll probably dig out some more art from ages past when I take breaks, though.

Friday 9 July 2010

Ghost Rider Overhaul, pt2

Thought I should give another view of the worst version of Ghost Rider in case anyone wasn't sure based on the image I shared before:
And here's a Ghost Rider villain, which is really just the base Rider with bigger spikes and teeth. Shown for completeness and to consider as I move a little in this direction.

So, disregarding the original cowboy Ghost Rider, we have a few versions to look at; Johnny Blaze with his red hair and sideburns-to-die-for, his kid brother Danny Ketch with his darker and brooding look and. . .
. . .the movie version.

I think we can ignore that one here.

Actually, I think I'm going to ignore all of them. There origins are some of the worst parts of the characters --especially with the added medallion stuff pasted on later which I'm not going to get into at all.

Here's why their origins are bad: both of them essentially made deals with the devil for other people and then got screwed. Any moron knows that the devil doesn't play fair so the writers already decided Blaze and Ketch were morons from page one. They were written better later on, but I prefer to write smart characters who are capable of doing smart things and being able to out-think their enemies.

Now, I really like the Hulk, but you know he usually operates in one mode.

So, I want a Ghost Rider host who's smart - -which immediately means jettisoning the established GR methodology to getting a good guy to work for Mephisto. The answer is already there and I'm more than stunned that it hasn't been mined already. He starts out as an outlaw biker.

The host for this revamp isn't a good guy working for the Devil, but an evil bastard who should end up in hell and being host for the spirit of vengeance is his chance to avoid all that infernal poking and prodding.

A criminal nomad. An outlaw in the old west cowboy sense. Young enough to be physically capable, but hard as the road and the heart of a snake.
I want him weathered and worn with hard edges, but handsome enough to know he could clean up nice. The sketches above took a few minutes each to start getting the idea of want I want. They aren't what I want yet, but they're moving in that direction, I'll be doing another dozen or so, retaining the bits from the previous versions that I like, but I don't want this blog entry to be nothing but developmental head sketches.

Especially when there's a few larger issues to play around with.
The one on my mind at the moment is the Ghost Rider anatomy. Or, really, what the heel is he when he transforms? He fills out the jacket and pants as if he had flesh. His skull scowls as if it were made up of a more flexible material.

Now, I like the scowling skull, but I want to play with a more thought-out character, so things are going to be played with a great deal.

Next time.

Nosferatu page 4

Staging of this scene is pretty bad with the action in panel three going right to left. I think I only found out well after drawing this scene that the woman was barefoot in the previous issues.

Apart from the generally horrible draftsmanship, I think the stairs aren't badly drawn as much as more appropriate for a patio than a crumbling church.

Thursday 8 July 2010

Ghost Rider Overhaul, pt1

I wasn’t around for the first version of the Ghost Rider, but thinks he looked swell on this cover.

I’ve been a fan of the more contemporary Ghost Rider since I was a kid in the mid-to-late 70s. Something about the character just jump-started the neat-o-meter in my head and stuck there; flaming skull, flaming motorcycle, complex hero – all gold. Even though what I thought was cool changed as I hit my teens and again in my 20s, Ghost Rider had that nostalgia bump to keep it going.

Marvel gave the character another shot in the 90s, sprucing up his look but keeping the core elements while giving him a more hardcore (for comics) edge with the spikes and such. The writing was pretty lousy for the most part, but he still looked cool, especially when Ron Garney or the Kubert’s took a turn at drawing him.

Sales sagged and, I would assume either panic or madness fueled the next fashion update for ghost Rider. I understand the intent even as I know just how wrong-headed it was. I suspect it was either an editorial or the writer’s decision to move the character in this horrible visual direction. If this change was artist driven, I’d argue that the artist surrender his pencils. I’m all for new costumes as long as they don’t look stupid at the time. This one looked stupid before it was even published.

Nic Cage got his superhero vehicle with Ghost Rider and it was a mish-mash of the 70s and 90s versions of the character (ignoring the orange version) and Marvel relaunched Ghost Rider with a return to the 90s model. I was actually a little disappointed with how traditional the movie and marvel’s return to the character was.

Eventually Jason Aaron took the reigns of the book and steered the book through some weird 70s-style goofiness partnered with some gutsy (I’m assuming European) artwork. The dozens of new Ghost Riders showing up was crazy-fun and the plot was opening things up to go in interesting new places with the characters, but, then, it just wrapped up.

A few days back the most excellent Tom Raney popped this up on his blog and at his deviantART page.

Tom’s drawing set me to thinking; I don’t think Ghost Rider’s visual development has gone far enough. I think it’s time to approach it as a conceptual art development process. To do that we have to break down what is essential to the character.

You have to start with the biker-guy.

A devil – mainly as a source of power.

And a flaming skull.

No. Not that sort, more a combo of these two:

Probably quite a bit of the fire, too.

I'm probably going to quite a bit of reconceptualizing the character from the ground up as I go, so we'll probably end up with something having little to do with what Marvel is using - -or even would want to use.

More later. . . .

Nosferatu page 3

Quite a bit of bad drawing going on here -- hard to believe the guy's head in panel one is actually a patched in correction!

Wednesday 7 July 2010

The Vampire Cassandra

I've described the aborted Vampirella mini-series before, but I just found this piece in that stack of old art. After reconstructing the cyborg vampires from the future idea I'd written for Blade at Marvel (which got cancelled) into the cyborg vampires from the future for Vampirella at Harris (which got cancelled) I was left with a large pile of story and plot elements dealing with cyborg vampires from the future.

Considering that the only thing in common between the two stories were time travel, vampires and hover-cycles, I had quite a bit of developed material to play with and I considered yet another new story, but this time spinning out of a few plot elements and one of the characters, Cassandra, I developed for the Vampi series. I did a few sketches, the above drawing, did a little writing and then got really busy doing something else.

I just realised this makes yet another instance of a vampire project I put some effort into.

I don't mind the costume so much, but the arms and hairstyle would certainly have to go if I ever dusted this off and the drawing itself shows my limitations at the time. The scan is from a photocopy -- if I find the original I'd probably makes some changes before posting.