Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Lost Thumbnails: Practice Page Designs from c. 2002

Here is a marker rough I drew on a sheet of 14' x 17" layout paper, probably circa 2002, of a series of pages featuring Jenny from Border Worlds. There doesn't seem to be any clear storyline; rather, these are simply page-design studies. Some scenes evoke material from the original series; others are new moments that fill in some gap in the narrative. No doubt I was pretending to be Ralph McQuarrie (production designer of the original Star Wars), or at least Howard Chaykin. I may have been practicing with markers before attempting other sketches that are a more coherent retelling of the Border Worlds story that I am still developing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

"Appropriating" Stephen D. Sullivan: Anatomy of a Swipe!

Here is a Uni-Ball sketch I made on canary yellow tracing paper from a print out of a figure from the cover of Steve Sullivan's Zombie Shark. The author and illustrator uses part of the image on his Google profile, and I fell in love with the pose (or "gesture," as they say in fine arts, or "motive" if you are Sir Kenneth Clark). In any event, it suggested a pose for Jenny Woodlore, so I traced a print out, and this is what I got. I'm going to blow it up again and trace it some more, something like what I imagine to have been Gil Kane's method of developing figure drawings, until I have something that will almost be original! If all goes according to plan, Steve will never find out...!

Sketch, approximately 8 1/2" x 11".
Sketch next to black and white printout; actual detail.
I must say that usually when I swipe (or "study," as I prefer to say), I simply copy the figure, that is to say, I just look at the original and eyeball it, drawing it freehand on paper, with the print or online source in view. Most such studies remain in my sketchbook, although some can lend themselves to repurposing. I never used to swipe in my early comics, if only because when I copied a photographic source of some sort it always stuck out like a sore thumb. Now I am able to make changes as I did here (reducing the bust and augmenting her calcaneus (heel bone). Tracing usually doesn't yield very useful results, and in this case she is a bit too "butty" in the way her torso is twisted, that I may address if I develop this further.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Early Jenny Sketches Unearthed!

Here are some very early sketches of Jenny Woodlore, protagonist of Border Worlds, from the sketchbooks of Kika Kane, made in the wee hours of some long-lost San Diego Comicon night in 1985! Denis Kitchen took me to this gathering of underground cognoscenti at the Hotel San Diego, a charmingly seedy once-grand hotel which later served as a setting for parts of the seedy 2000 film Traffic (Miguel Ferrer is held in custody there but meets his end when his room service is poisoned). These soirées included the like of Don Donahue, R.L. Crabb, the late and beloved Dori Seda, S. Clay Wilson, Dan O'Neill, Spain Rodriguez, Jim Valentino, Larry Marder, Gary Groth, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Trina  Robbins, and a host of other figures on the cusp between the underground and alternative generation of comics creators.

Over the subsequent dozen or so years, I attended several of Kate's (as I knew her then) salon des bandes desinées, always lagging behind due to the 3-hour time difference between the midwest and California, and usually exhausted from days of conventioneering. Inhibited introvert that I was, I also generally had more than trace amounts of alcohol, tobacco, and THC in my bloodstream, indulgences that almost only took place by hanging out with the wrong kind of people! These factors contributed (but by no means excused) the fact that over the years I polluted Kate/Kika's sketchbook with every manner of sordid Anton Drek sketch, all in some kind of misguided neurotic effort to outdo the "bad boys," most of which I cannot show here without going "adults only."

One of the problems I had in drawing Megaton Man and especially in the transition to Border Worlds was in approaching realistically-proportioned characters, something I only began to solve as the eighties came to a close. Here that struggle is on display, at about the time I was beginning work on the first Border Worlds back-up feature for Megaton Man #6 (October 1985).


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The sketch below is from 1989, and already shows an interest in greater similitude (the sketch of Nicole Panter from memory being a case in point). Trying to be all "stream of consciousness" like R. Crumb! (The blatantly erotic elements should give you some idea of the raunchy tenor of the other sketches I did in Kate's three sketchbooks.)

My thanks to Kika Kane for allowing me to snap photos of these forgotten images at her home in Marin County in June 2014! Below is probably the most accomplished of my sketches, from 1991.