Thursday, May 15, 2008

Will Elder -- R.I.P.

Sad news today. Will Elder, possibly one of the greatest artists ever to grace the comic book page, has passed away.

Will was blessed with a staggering ability for jamming a million little gags into his pages ("Chicken Fat", as he called it), most notably in his collaborations with fellow indelible legend Harvey Kurtzman, on their comics Goodman Beaver and Little Annie Fanny. He was greatly responsible for the very language of modern humor comics, thanks particularly to his contributions to Mad, Trump, Help!, and other great humor comics of the 1950s and 1960s.

He was among a dying breed of comics creators, as well -- he was trained for commercial and fine art at a time which predated so many of the "cheats" that artists now use, from Zip-A-Tone and Letraset to modern markers and mechanical devices, to Photoshop and Illustrator. Elder did it all the old-fashioned way, and it outshines damn near everything on the comics racks today.

Will was not only a spectacular comics creator and innovator, he was also an accomplished painter with a breathtaking facility for a certain glowing realism that must be seen to be believed. His humor often still bubbled up in his paintings, but it never diminished the power of his work, it only enhanced it.

Rest in peace, Mr. Elder.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Finally! Something!

Managed to drag myself out to San Francisco last week for SketchCrawl, and also managed not to meet anyone, or participate in the 'Crawl in any way, except with regard to sketching things. Next time. In any case, here are a couple of watercolor sketches from that cold, blustery Saturday -- one of Aquatic Park, and one of -- duh -- Alcatraz.




Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wow, that worked well...

Okay, so it's been MONTHS since I started this blog, and I've managed to post nothing at all. Yeesh. There are many reasons for this colossal failure -- sudden trips to France, soul-crushingly heavy deadlines on various projects, a break-up, blah-blah-blah -- but the main reason is that I've just managed to neglect the blog, plain and simple. Am I making guarantees from here on out, and turning over a new leaf? Nope. Too much is in the air right now, and I'm very much hoping to be extremely busy working on at least one of the "big maybe" projects in the very near future; failing that, I suspect I'll be very busy working a day job of some sort soon. If I was of the sort who chewed their nails, I'd have nothing left to chew right now. All that aside, I'm optimistic -- the odds that I'll be drawing a well-known superhero character for a major corporation in the coming months are pretty good, plus the Super Scary Monster Show TV program still has a good chance of happening (just not soon enough for me!). Anyway, I'll try and do a little better than posting ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, but I guess we'll see how that goes...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Eagle Has Finally Posted Something.

So here it is: Some artwork that I drew today, fortified with nine essential vitamins and iron. Hope I can keep up with this breakneck pace... posting my drawings an average of once every nine days? Oy. Once I get some scanner time I'll post more art, so that this blog can look a little more impressive. Beefy, even. But hey -- at least I've got something up, huh? Imagine how it'll look when there are twice as many pieces of art here! Wow!

In any case, this is a picture I'm really pleased with, and it's pretty much precisely what I pictured in my head before I drew it (for once!). I'd been working most of today on a Super Scary Monster Show t-shirt design, but when I was finished with that, I had a strong urge to work on this one. This is a design that's been knocking around in the back of my brain for awhile now, so it's nice to get it out and on paper where it belongs.

Speaking of paper, the media involved in this piece are as follows: Micron tech pens, Sharpie marker, cheap 8.5" x 11" laser printer paper. Not-so-coincidentally, these are the supplies I use when drawing comics (I know, I know. I'm breaking all the rules, and I'm a bad person for it). Perhaps I'll start using brushes, nib pens and india ink on art board in the future, but for now I sorta like the fact that most of my supplies can be bought at my local Staples.

I might post a color version of this later, we'll see. Oh, and as soon as the five separate pieces of art I drew for the Super Scary Monster Show shirt are assembled into a single image, I'll get that posted here as well. Can't keep your public waiting, you know.


On a separate note, I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the untimely death of Mike Wieringo earlier this week. I never knew him I'm sad to say, and to the best of my recollection, I never so much as met him ~ but his work was an inspiration to me, and a welcome respite from the flashier, overwrought superhero art other members of his generation were turning in. His work was FUN (all caps) in an era where dark, "grim & gritty" art was de rigeur. For that, and for his beautiful linework, he'll always be someone for whom I have great respect.

No one should go so young, but it is perhaps the greatest achievement one can make to have so many strangers lamenting your passing, heaping praise upon your work. I hereby join in that praise for Mike Wieringo.


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Eagle Has Landed.

First post on the new blog... one for the ages, no doubt. No photos yet, and no art either -- I'll have to start scanning some stuff in before I can indulge in that particular function at

Anyway, the mission statement:

This blog will serve as a reason to keep drawing (mostly) non-comics-related artwork, so that I can feel like a "real" artist who is productive (prolific?), inspired and excited by art. It will also serve as a challenge to constantly aspire to do extracurricular work that pleases me; that pleasure based entirely on aesthetics and the employment of my "skills", rather than on storytelling and/or communication. It's a place for me to indulge in my yen for fancypants Art (capital "A"), lowbrow art (lower case "a"), and everything in-between, so long as it ain't comics. I'll allow myself the occasional superhero drawing, of course -- just no sequentials.

Not that there's anything wrong with sequential art, mind you -- I heart me some comics. It's just that I draw so many of them that it's become less art and more work for me. I hope that this blog will help me to marry the two (art and work) once more, and that I can really find that muse again. I've made a good start, I do believe.

Suddenly, I'm seeing artists all over whose work really speaks to me; I'll be linking to many of their blogs here (assuming they're okay with that), partially in an effort to organize a comprehensive list for myself that I can reference now and again to see their work and get that inspirational shot in the arm that I need. It was finding these blogs that really shoved me back into art again, so much so that I've started keeping a serious sketchbook for the fist time in many years, and I've even delved into painting (!). Thanks, all you amazing artists I don't know (or only know very peripherally)! You've brought me back from the dead.

Now, let's see how long it takes me to get some art posted here, and if I can keep up something resembling a schedule when it comes to updating this thing. Wish me luck...