Saturday, February 27, 2010

O hai!

I suppose I should make it official. If you haven't figured it out via the posts below, I'm taking a break from the blog until I get home from DC. (Late next week.) It's been a nice break so far, where I could focus more on the family (and relaxing) than sketching. Comic production is still going strong! Don't worry, everyone! I'll be back sharing sketches and art before you know it!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Extreme inking

See my light table? See my brother's cat? In dc, I ink on my light table. See all the cat hairs being shed? Neither did I until I started inking! Aaaaaaaarrgghhh!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The wrath of snowmageddon

I'm back in DC, and I forgot my darn card reader. iPhone, fix my problem!

Snowmageddon hit this place pretty hard. Aside from the nightmarish icicles, the snow took down SEVERAL trees here. Just like the last storm. Man, this house has a yard or fragile trees! I'm so tired of snow, and the clearing in DC is far worse than Winchester. That's just pathetic. It is my goal to convince grandma to order in. A lot. I don't want to hit the road again until I leave.

Word of warning: This blog might suffer while I'm here. The situation is not great, and that affects my productivity. For those who don't know, my Alzheimer's-and-cancer-ridden grandfather is on hospice care and he's been going downhill. There's no telling how long he'll last, and he did look better today. He's still eating, so that's a good sign.

To be honest, I'm toying with the idea of putting Precocious on a filler material break while I'm here - although I doubt I will. For one, producing filler material will probably take the same time as producing a new comic, so why do it? Also, we're right in the middle of a long storyline, so the timing sucks. Also also, I have yet to miss an update and I don't want to start now. I want a Bill Holbrookian streak of 15 years with no missed updates! (Of course, Bill Holbrook also gets PAID for what he does...)

I just wish I had come into here with more scripts. Once again, I get into a situation with only a loose idea of where I'm going for the next week or two. (Once I get by it, I have a *much* better idea of what I'm doing. Don't panic too much.) I'm hoping to knock out a few comics tomorrow and get my scripts in order, but family obligations might get in the way.

Basically, I *should* be able to keep things going normally - but don't be surprised if Sunday's strip suddenly changes to an Olympic sketch or something.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The devil in the details

More from the painting commission! I am trying to add some details to Dionne's gown. This is my *second* attempt at it, and I hope it's more acceptable. I went with the ruffled look, mostly because I had no idea what else to do. :-(

Three guesses...

Take a look at my most recent sketchbook page. So which character will I be drawing as I make some comics today? ;-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Everybody panic!

I was doing so well! I was so far ahead! Then I got hooked on video games, and away went productivity!

Ok, so all that means is my buffer is gone and things are back to normal. That's no problem unless I fail to start working again. (Hmm...) I just drew a cute panicked Bud and I needed a story to go with the image. I *can* freak out a bit, however, as I'm days behind in email. I'll get to 'em soon, I promise!

Anyway, calm can resume for today. Tomorrow, I must work... so *then* we can PANIC!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hey, look, another Olympic sketch! I think we can all agree that Jacob would be our extreme snowboarding type, right? Right? Oh, whatever, he totally would. (And then he'd crash.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Do a little dance

As promised, and - er- forgotten, here is yet another painting post - with the painting looking very similar to the last version... but more finishedish! It's not totally done yet, but it's very close. Yes, it should be done, but - heh - I just noticed I forgot to paint the bottom border! That's minor, but it means no signature yet. (Glad I caught that now...)

I can't believe I still have the painting around here. I blame the snow. Ever since snowmageddon hit, I've been on a perpetual snow day - even though it barely impacted my normal life. I live like a shut in! My bedroom is my studio! I had no place to go! But, still, it felt like time off, and KNOWING I couldn't leave led to the required stir crazy feelings. Now that the snow is finally clearing, I emerge blinking and confused, wondering where the last 10 days went.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The absent-minded gamer

Oh, man. I've been warning about a painting post. I prepped the painting for the post. I mentally composed that post. That's all I need, right? Oh yeah, I FORGOT TO MAKE THE POST! Whoops. Oh well, maybe tomorrow? *hangs head in shame*

Today I wish to talk about something else, something that is murdering my productivity and keeping my brain distracted enough to make errors such as NOT BLOGGING: Video games.

As you may know, I'm one of many who have been trapped due to all those massive DC snowstorms. During the height of stir crazy, I needed something to keep my brain from eating itself. And, no, productivity is useless in those brain-eating times. I need to burn off some stupid so that I may then be productive. In desperation, I turned to and ordered a video game I've had my eyes on: Disgaea DS.

I was hesitant to get this game because I've seen it on PS2, and I know it can be addictive. It's one of those games that gives back the energy you put into it, so you KEEP PUTTING ENERGY INTO IT. Gah! Sure enough, I've addicted myself horribly, to the point of massive distraction. It's well beyond the burning off of energy - we're into soul-consuming mode!

Thank goodness I'm mostly done with the inking for this week. Tomorrow I really should finish that up, though, so I can get the Sunday off to Matthew for coloring. (Plug: Have you visited Sometime Alone today?) I have fallen behind in email too (video games > other people?) so if you wrote me recently and are among the honored few who read this blog, I'M SORRY! I'll try to get replies out tomorrow. I have a lot to do tomorrow. Crap, that's gonna eat into my game time...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic spirit!

As you may know, I'm the rare pretentious artist that is also a sports fanatic - and not a hipster "rugby/lacrosse/curling is the only sport worth watching" kind of fan either! I enjoy a great deal of sports, and tolerate many more! This means that I am glued to the TV come Olympics time! Yay, embodiment of sportsmanship! Well, in theory - but let's ignore cold reality for now and get into the spirit of things!

Another bonus of the Olympics? IT'S GREAT FOR ART! I work best with something in the background to distract the flighty side of my brain, and casual sport "watching" is perfect for that. Granted, I'm easily sucked into the sports, but that's not a bad thing. Besides, I can work through the HOURS UPON HOURS of craptacular NBC fluff coverage.

So now I swell with pride for USA! USA! USA! and get sucked into the bizarre nationalism. Also, go Denmark! Viking pride!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Lost in the zone

Sorry for missing yesterday's update. I was working on comics and didn't look up until around 1am. I consider that the good kind of failure.

It better be, because the same preoccupation is happening today. I've been comicking like mad, and I am dangerously close to being a full week ahead again. It's kinda sad that one week has to be my goal. Remember when I used to be a month ahead? Ahh, those were the days.

I did the best I could to avoid the copout "here's what I've been working on" post, but obviously I had to give in for today. Tomorrow you'll probably get the final Dionne/Max painting post. After that, I simply must go back to being interesting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gimmie some space!

It's very interesting to look back on early Precocious and see how things have changed. What's on my mind at the moment is not the ever-changing character proportions or little details that come and go - it's SIZE. My characters have gotten BIG! Not fat. Not tall. Not stretched. Just drawn bigger.

I look back and I used to easily crap three characters into a tiny three-inch space. Nowadays I have to use tricks to fit more than one in there! I'm working on this Sunday's strip, and I have to fit two characters into a larger panel than normal. (Three panels per page verses four.) Add in some dynamic poses and suddenly I NEED MORE ROOM!

The more comfortable I become in drawing the characters, the larger I draw them in the sketchbook - and that sketchbook size becomes the comfort zone. There was a time I used to use sketchbook pages for tracing when I ran into complex panels. Nowadays, one sketchbook character would take up a full panel. They look great, but this practice is really throwing my comicking off. The solution? Re-learn how to draw smaller?

The thing about sketchbooks is that it's far too easy to only draw in the comfort zone. I've been working on repetition and accuracy in drawing characters - getting the details down, rather than exploring new territory - and that can hurt me. The sketchbook focus needs to change to uncomfortable things! I need to draw celebrities to practice portraits. I need to draw actions poses. I need to draw smaller! Man, this is WORK!

Edit: Yes, another solution is to buy a tablet, draw digitally in my comfort range and resize as needed, BUT I RESIST THE CALL OF TECHNOLOGY! I want to hold my nice inked originals in my hand. They will be collector's items down the road!

Monday, February 8, 2010

It remains whim time!

Today was recovery from the Super Bowl day, so not much bonus, bloggable progress was to be made - until I returned to whimsy and painted some more FOR THE PEOPLE! It may be chaotic. It may not be going anywhere good. It might accidentally trigger the downfall of humanity. WHO CARES! It's bloggable progress, and it beats having to show you a shot of my desk as I work on this week's Precocious and Copper Road strips. (I am indeed doing that today.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It's whim time!

I didn't want to show you a barely-changed painting or a shot of my desk with in-progress comics, so I started a new painting JUST FOR YOU!

As is my way, I squirted one color (this time burgundy) and some white onto the palette and went wherever my hands took me. Did it work? I dunno, but it was fun to improv a bit.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snowpocalypse 2.0!

Since the plan for today is to knock out some comics, which is not a bloggable thing, I choose to distract you with a snowy picture!

Another boatload of snow has crushed Winchester, and I'm not remotely thrilled with it. This amount is well beyond the manageable stage and into the "oops, there goes your power" area. All I want is a warm stretch and some heavy plowing. Free me!

The worst part of this is that I'm snowed in with the worthless damn dogs. I hate dogs. I really hate dogs. I look down on dog people, as if they are fundamentally flawed. Dogs are stinky, stupid need machines, and the two in this house are some of the worst.

My normal routine when stuck with the dogs is to throw them outside and let them enjoy the yard. I can't do that with TEN THOUSAND FEET OF SNOW OUTSIDE! Today, I had to shovel them a path so they could wander around and do their disgusting things. But the dogs are not content with going out the side door. It's snowy out the side door. Why can't they go in the backyard, where it MUST be sunny and warm! Every time I go upstairs, they clamor to the back door and look at me with hope. This is where I point out that the back doors are GLASS, and anyone with a brain can see the snow has piled up so much that the drift is taller than the dogs! In their small brains, there's some HOPE that it's nice out back!

So I finally gave them what they wanted. I opened the back door and they bounded out - smacking face-first into the wall of snow! They stumbled backwards in complete disbelief. You mean that snow drift that was visible outside is ACTUALLY THERE? Idiots.

So I'm hoping making comics will improve my mood, but I'm sure the situation will get worse before it gets better. That's the cue for our power to go out.

(Please don't go out, power.)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Finishing touches on unfinished touches

Work on the dance commission continues, and it's time to hammer out the final details before the finishing layer. This is always the two steps forward, one step back part of painting, as each new touch requires a new touch-up to fix.

Starting with Dionne, her dress now has texture, a proper nose and lighter hair. I'm not sure I like the dress effects yet, so I may knock 'em all out and try again. The rest looks good and should only need some finishing. For Max, I did as promised and changed the pants to brown. I think it's a good base, but it needs another coat. His tie will be more red in the final, so worry not. I just threw in some burgundy while I had it out to serve as a placeholder.

Once the paint has a chance to dry, and I finish watching this Caps game, I'll return to the good fight and touch-up some more. This painting should be finished this weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another day, another sketchbook page

I think the title says it all. Nothing snazzy to show from today, but that's not a bad thing. I need to do more of this daily sketching thing - this is sketch blog after all - but all that productivity stuff can get in the way! Eh, look at it this way: No matter what, I'm doing something awesome! THESE SKETCHES ARE AWESOME!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Formal fashion

Work on the Dionne/Max commission continues! Look at Max's surprisingly awful suit! Yeah, gotta fix that. I'm thinking changing the pants to brown would do wonders. Dionne is sporting mauve, which looks better on the painting than in this picture, but still needs some accents. (Burgundy?)

Fashion choices aside, things are progressing nicely. The background should be set, which is nice. Lots of places need touching up - some need a couple paint attacks to make right - but it's looking good!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sexy sexy SCIENCE!

Got my new Precocious shirts in today! Conclusion: Mixed success! Neither came out as nicely was the Exceedingly Cute shirt, but the SCIENCE! one is quite acceptable. I'll have to create a new SCIENCE! design with non-white letters so I can attach it to different shirt types. The Unrestrained Creativity shirt, however, was lackluster. It didn't print very clean and, like with Zazzle, it printed too high on the shirt. I'm starting to think "center" means "top center" in those shirt makers. It makes no sense, as all horizontal designs would be screwed up, but there you go! Whatever. It is now banished from the store! Man, I hope you people like the Exceedingly Cute look...

I have other shirt ideas, but no time to work on them in the present. You know that long laundry list I've been talking about. Still there. Still scary. Tonight the goal is finishing comics and painting. Tomorrow it's writing. Thursday is probably finishing that writing because I procrastinated. Such is life.

You know, it looks like I have boobs in that photo. I assure you, I was just puffing the shirt out so the design would show. Really. I'm not that fat yet. Yet. *sob*

Monday, February 1, 2010

Forecast: 50% Gray

Aww, I missed the midnight deadline. AGAIN. I tried to make it, but I had to move at the pace of paint. (You can still the light glinting off wet paint in the pic.) Oh well, productivity happened and that's what matters.

This painting is aaaallllmmmooosssst done! Just a few touches of white and we're set! As you see. I went with the 50% gray for the background. Good or bad, that's my choice. In an oddity, the painting actually looks much better in person than in the pic, so take my word that it's awesome.

Today was a 50% gray day. Snow kept me from frolicking in the outdoors. Writers block kept me from doing all the important stuff. My wonky sleep schedule caught up to me. Gray. Day. (I did get some comics done, though, but I obviously can't share them here.) Solution: GO TO BED EARLY! Hit the reset button and start anew!