Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm a Tool! No really!!!

Well this week I thought I'd discuss the tools of my trade which is much better than tricks of the trade. A couple of people were talking/writing on podcasts and forums about what type of pencil, pen, paper etc. they use, then a daughter of a friend who follows my blog also asked to talk about my tools. How could I turn Emma down!?!

My disclaimer is that this is what I use at the moment of writing. I may change my tools as I go along finding something "better" or something "as good" but less expensive...

As for availability, this is another consideration. I tend to but at least 2 of everything. This saves me from running out before I have to order again. I am not a professional and tend to spend less time at the drawing board so you may want to pick up more than 2 of each.

What Tools?

In fact if I'm not a tool, at best I'm a tool user! Now like many of us I enjoy new stuff. I also enjoy going to my local art store(s) and seeing what is new and exciting in the illustration department. What this means to me is pencils, markers, inks, brushes, paper, rulers, tables, chairs, software, computers, paint, and whatever else I missed errr storage containers and so on... I told ya. I love tools!


OK. I don't spend a huge time at the art store looking at pencils. I have "flitted" from wood and lead art pencils by any company (including many sets bought as gifts by friends) to Mars Staedler drafting pencils (where you purchase the led separately and sharpen in the special rotary sharpener). One problem with the "old school" technical pencil was you had to take the bulky sharpener everywhere. Now they have an attachment that does the trick for you.

9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F HB B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B
Hardest Medium Softest

Lately I have gravitated towards the cheaper technical pencils from any company as my wife and father in law use em and I have an endless supply of pencil leads. As for the softness I tend to stick to HB (hard black) unless I am strictly doing a pencil sketch (no inking). In a pencil sketch I may move from H (hard) F (fine) to B (black) or 2B. I find that I smudge too much if I wander too far down the B's and I have to press too hard if I go too high up the H's...


I use any kind of paper for my sketch ideas. When I was younger I was hung up on getting those black covered sketch books from art stores. I guess I like the idea of standardization so they could sit all neat and cool and in order when they were on my shelf... HA! Not really. They were an inexpensive option.Many art stores had them made and branded for them using fairly low quality sketch paper. The thing is, since the advent of the computer age and the relative inexpensive "fax-scanner-copier-printers" a lot of times I just use standard "8 1/2 by 11" printer paper for my ideas and then scan em into the puter. I use a clipboard from the dollar store when I am TV watching/listening and yes I still have moleskins and hard cover sketch books from the local art store...

Enough for Now:

Whew who knew I could talk so much about pencils and paper? I haven't even reached the different paper grades or markers or brushes or ink. Sigh. Sorry Emma, not that interesting I know! Go! Right now and grab an HB pencil, some paper from the printer and draw!!!

Don't waste time learning the "tricks of the trade." Instead, learn the trade. ~Attributed to both James Charlton and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

My Art Week:

Put down the "how to" books and read some Jeffrey Brown. Great stuff!

Did some work on my own stuff including starting an auto biographical sketch book (I think I'll call it As the Puck Strikes Me and other Hockey Stories)

Oh. Here is a quick sketch for Halloween!

I hope I get time to ink and or colour it!

Keep Creating!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Inspiration leads to Perspiration!

I'm gonna make you Sweat!

So where do you get your inspiration from? It can strike me anytime and any place. It can be the look of a person, animal or anything I see at my day gig (human or otherwise).
Inspiration can come from a song or pod cast on my mp3 player, or even part of a phrase or discussion! The question is how do I grow these seeds of "inspiration" into the root of an idea?

Well the seeds "usually" start in a pocket size moleskine notebook I carry with with me everywhere. I jot down ideas or even little sketches of things. I write the time and date because I like to know when I am my most creative. I can be at my day gig or visiting someone socially when I am struck by a moment of "brilliance". OK. It may seem like brilliance at the time but many times this "brilliant" idea won't make it past the inspiration stage. And that's where perspiration comes in.

On weekends I pull out the moleskine and see what I have been inspired by the this week. Most ideas lay there on the page but when one feels good enough to move on. I may scan it into my puter (if it's a drawing) or transfer the notes to another bigger notebook I have by my computer. I know this transferring from one place to another may seem like extra work to some people but for me it is kind of a litmus test. If it keeps getting transferred nearer to where I do my work then it usually means I like it and it has inspired me to perspire and meditate some more...

Where do you get your ideas? Do you use a notebook or data phone? Tape recorder or napkin?

Let me know!

My Art Week:

Due to a lot of real life stuff, I have little to add to my art week. Some scribbles and such and I am working on that Art Challenge my art buddies had complete a couple of months ago!

Keep creating!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Criticism! Who needs it?

Let's Get Critical! Critical. I Wanna Get Critical! (Sung to the tune of Olivia Newton John's "Physical")

Inspired by the latest podcast episode 152 of Art and Story The Big Critique

OK. Now I have put that song into your head, I may have taken you to a place where you don't want to go!

Now I'm going to take you to another place you may not want to go! It starts with the dreaded "C" word and some of you may not like it. Most don't. CRITIQUES! There I said it! Many say "critiques are necessary," but are they? I think they are.

I think they are useful when they come from peers and instructors.

I think they are useful when delivered with clear concise language.

I think they are useful to artistic and emotional growth because living in an "art vacuum" can be self defeating, self indulgent and cause one to stagnate!

What do you think?

My Art Week:

Sketching. I filled a bunch of pages of my sketchbook and re-did some thumb nails for my Underbelly comic... I went through some more DVD tutorials for Toonboom Animation Studio. I will do a review of the DVD when I have finished it...

Some sketches I am still working on for a fantasy comic book/idea I have and inking practice...


I'm reading Marvel Masterpiece #1 The Amazing Spider-Man. I love Steve Ditko and his art and plots. You can learn a lot from his character design and panel layouts. I am watching Babylon 5 The writer creator is J. Michael Straczynski who has worked in comics and television for years but I feel this is his strongest work. It is rare that a creator writes most/all of the episodes of a TV series but this allowed him to do some excellent storytelling...


Raul Aguirre Jr.'s foray into teaching animation Intro to Animation is now out!

I will review it here once I have had a chance to watch it! Congrats Raul!

Have a great week and keep creating!


Sunday, October 3, 2010


The "Just Do it" segment

"I can tell you that you won't get better by not doing. In fact logic dictates that the only thing I can tell you is that if you stop, you will fail!"

I attribute the above quote to a comic writer I heard on a podcast months ago. I can't remember his name so if you know who said it, I'd love to give him credit. This writer said that he had many friends who started in the comic book industry and out of all those friends who he started out with, he was the only one still working.

When asked what the secret to his success was he replied. "I didn't quit." Each time he heard someone had quit he thought to himself "I am succeeding because I'm still doing it. I am still here."

We all succeed by the act of doing it. We all succeed because we are still here!

Now the other question (or is it the answer?) How much should we take on?

Well this goes to a discussion I had with one of my Art and Story "mentors" Kevin W. Cross. I had said that I was losing steam in many of the projects that I was working on. He questioned the amount and size of my projects and that I "probably" needed to pare them down... This doesn't mean eliminating them. Just taking on smaller "chunks. It had been mentioned to me by Jerzy Drozd (another Art and Story mentor) and is not the first time artisits have talked about it. Especially when the projects are "personal" and not your "bread and butter"...

So I am parring down and "hopefully" with Kevin's advice and guidance (thank you Obi-Wan) you will see something done real soon!

My Art Week

So it has been a busy week as I have been doing a tutorial in "Toon Boom Studio" nothing worth posting here yet. I have done some inking and work on my Monsters Are Go tribute sketch/strip and I had an office hour (or two) with one of my mentors.

Reading Don Bluth's The Art of Animation Drawing

Bluth is one of the "masters" and he talks about his process. I can't give it a recommend yet as I am just getting into it...

I did some ink and basic colour work on a drawing of a cos play Black Canary from San Diego Comic Con. Here are they are:

24 Hour Comic Day!

It has passed and props go out to all of you who took part! You are all amazing! Check out Rob Stenzinger's 24 hour book!

Keep Creating!