you've all heard that the best way to get good at something is to do it. and do it again. but it's not simply a question of hours and labor. if you want to draw comics, then don't draw spider-man headshots over and over.
draw ACTUAL COMIC PAGES: don't just draw a glory shot of wolverine punching aquaman (you know you were thinking it), because about 2% of comics pages involve stuff like that. pick up an existing comic script, or movie script or even a play/book and draw all the stupid stuff they have to draw: people shopping for groceries, a science lab, kids riding on a bus, kids riding on a bus that is smashed by a giant cyborg lizard (ok, sometimes you do get to draw the fun stuff, i mean it IS comics).
kissing: if you can draw 2 people kissing in your style, and make it both physically and emotionally believable, then congratulations! you are a goddam genius. everyone else, GET ON THAT.
different body types: sometimes women are young and hot and dress like ninja hookers. sometimes they look like actual women. it you can't manage to do both, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. if you draw a team of superheroes and their silhouettes are indistinguishable, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. (unless you're bruce timm. you can do whatever the hell you want, because bruce timm.)
cars and stuff: do you plan to draw every story in a cosmic void? are you independently wealthy? i hope so, because no one else is going to pay for that crap. figure out how to draw cars and trees and buildings. if you live in a desert where there are no cars or trees or buildings, look into something called the internet. if you can't get everything you need from real life or the internet, then you have bigger problems than drawing comics.
structure: did you draw a really cool shot of luke cage? can you do 20 more panels of luke from different angles? smiling? shouting? pooping? hey, i don't know, people always talk about "realism" and realistically, everyone poops. there's a book and everything. but i'll give you a pass on that one. all the non-pooping stuff? DRAW IT.
reference: pick up a goddam history book. yeah, you. you may or may not have to draw a samurai riding a sabre-tooth tiger's back one day. i mean seriously, isn't that EXACTLY why we all got into this? so why not be ready for it?
anyway, i'm too tired to go on, but that's enough to start with.nobody's perfect (except rodolphe guenoden), but if you're not working on these things, just stop drawing right now. because there are a lot of other people out there who are!
have to say, i enjoyed the hobbit much more than expected (i hated the LOTR films), and i'm cautiously optimistic about the next one! (i mean, jackson still has some serious problems with telling a decent story, but i enjoyed it in spite of the lazy junk he always resorts to.)
i'll be honest, she's not my favorite character... i guess at the time there were just a lot of asian ninja lingerie models running around comics, so she didn't make much of an impression on me. but it looked ridiculous when i tried to draw wolverine in the outfit, so...
can't remember when or why i restarted the doodles from zero, but apparently i did, and this is the nineteenth since then! anyway, i really missed doing these -- i've been drawing plenty, just not much i can post. hopefully this will continue tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow (in a petty pace, no doubt).
anyway, always loved the 80's x-men, really weird and not as cool as they later became. anytime you have a new-wave dixie flirt, a shy jewish teen with a pet dragon, and a mohawked punk from africa, good things are going to happen.
hope i'll see some of you at new york comic con, i'll be at table D6!
its that time of year again, when a young man's fancy turns to cons! and once again i'll be at the NYCC artist alley -- table d6, if you really need to know. and yes, you really do need to know! i'll have the usual swag: all all seven (yes, seven) sketchbooks and the misfits manual color book, tons of original pages from batman beyond, big barda, the classics and dare, plus some prints.
as always, i am open to commissions; as always, it's best to hit me up ahead of time, since i'm keeping a fairly limited number of spots open.
hopefully i'll be posting more soon -- i certainly have a lot to talk about -- but i've got lots to do today and my good-for-nothing infant can barely letter. and mrs ben c won't let me fire him, because apparently rampant nepotism is a-ok in the caldwell household.
been a while for this blog, to be honest i can just keep up with tweeting, but between work and domestic stuff there hasn't been a lot of down time. hopefully i'll make some time to post some notes to recent projects etc soon.
in the meantime, i have 3 new(ish) books available to order!
1) all the misfit manual preorders are done, so anyone who missed out on the kickstarter can order the book directly from me! it's hardcover, full color, 60pp of art and notes on the world's most defective detectives, their friends and foes, and more!
$25 + shipping
2) there is also the first volume of my daily doodles, 80pp b/w softcover!
$15 + shipping
3) and finally, i reprinted the uberfolio. this is a compendium of the first 4 dare sketchbooks (3, 5, 7, & 9) rescanned, resized and with bonus pages. 126pp b/w softcover. this book supplements a lot of the background and history in the misfits manual! i didn't print up a ton of these, so i don't know how long they'll last.
as always, email me firstname.lastname@example.org to order any books, commissions, etc. i accept checks or paypal; checks are slower, paypal will include a small fee. other book and ordering info is in this post.
also, i won't be at any cons this year except maybe NYCC, so if you want any of the books, online is the most direct way to get them. ok, breaking into my house is the most direct way, but that didn't work last time, DID IT CHAD? so ordering from me online is the reasonable alternative!
this was a commission for a tattoo sleeve of everyone's favorite anachronistic indo-iranian monarchist, wonder woman!
no anarcho-syndicalist communes here!
this was a lot of fun and i'm pretty happy with the results, although i think i might have to shrink the head down a smudge. finishing up one other big commission tonight, i'll post that if i can fit it into my scanner...
i have some more daily doodles to post, but first... when i posted/tweeted the "sangster" picture, i said it needed work, and someone asked why. which is an excellent and very important question. one of the fundamental jobs of any artist is to look at what they've done critically, and decide what worked and what could be improved.
in the case of the "sangster" picture, there wasn't anything wrong, it just isn't as strong as it could be. the main reason is that it's supposed to be a action-filled pose, but it has too many breaks in it.
the way i draw, the sweeping lines of my high-energy drawings (even if it's just a face) are the same as racing on a road -- the more breaks there are, the more stopping and starting there is. that kills the action. and that is what i want to fix in the "sangster" pic.
pictured: thicker lines! that must be important!
so a more fluid and energetic pose might look like this.
but there is never one solution for anything, so another option that has the same sweeping lines could be:
crazy few weeks, and blabby blah blah. here are my recent doodles...
feeling impatient for summer...
still feeling impatient for summer. also been reading a lot of manga lately, including "umi no misaki", not to mention working on the new (tropical) dare, so here is sarah kincaid on the beach. i feel that my recent art has lost some of its fluidity, possibly because i was doing some comics work where "cartooniness" was something to be avoided.
hoping to get it back!
under the influence of "bakuman" (i told you i was reading a lot of manga) i decided to do some speed tests, in this case seeing how fast i could pencil a page in this particular style. the answer is 39 minutes. having said that, the backgrounds are nothing to write home about, and there isn't anything extremely challenging about these particular poses or expressions, so i'll have to push myself harder the for the next test!
testing to get looser.
definitely need to get better!
threw open my daily doodles to suggestions, then jammed 3 of them (dracula, marty mcfly, and monkey a la "journey to the west") together. i think it could have been hilarious, this picture is... okay.
just wanted to do a high-octane pose. this is maria dare, undercover in the fictional punk band "sangster". originally her skirt was going to fly around more, but that didn't look... right. this is another one where i like the overall concept and pose, just think it could use some work.