I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics.

  • Maestros – 4
  • Southern Bastards – 19
  • Manifest Destiny – 33
  • Dept. H – 22
  • Empowered and Sistah Spooky’s High School Hell – 2 (of 6)
  • Monstress – 13
  • Check them all out here:

    Today I’m going to take a look at one of my large marker drawings named “Obvious Gunner.” It’s 22×30 inches and is sitting on my easel at the moment. It’s from back in September of 2014 and I finished and signed it on the ninth. I’m not sure if I got it all done in one day. I could have but sometimes these big drawings took two days.

    All of my large marker drawings start out as small drawings. It’s the same process that I always use. I find a small thumbnail drawing in my inkbook, blow it up to about 5×7 or 9×12 inches and then I redraw it. I don’t usually draw it much bigger than that for these large drawings because I’m just going for the bare bones. Changing the scale of a drawing can change a lot about that drawing so I keep it simple and then draw more once I’ve got it scaled up.

    I use graphite paper to scale it up. First I scan in my small drawing and then I blow it up and print it out. I don’t have a 22×30 inch printer so print it in pieces on multiple pieces of paper. I tape the different sheets of paper together and then tape that in place on top of my large sheet of paper. After that I slip a piece of graphite paper in between the printout and the drawing paper.

    Graphite paper is a thin sheet of paper with graphite (the “lead” in a lead pencil) applied to the back of it. Put it graphite side down on a clean piece of paper and then put your drawing on top of the graphite paper. Trace on top of your drawing and the pressure of the pencil transfers the graphite onto the clean paper leaving a line drawing. This is a messy process so try and keep things neat. Also the tracing won’t be perfect so you’ll have to redraw after this step but at least a lot of guide lines will be there.

    After the pencil drawing has been transferred to the large paper is where the real drawing begins. Some of it in pencil and some of it in ink. Mostly ink. As you can see in the “Obvious Gunner” drawing there are lots of little details like the spiked edges of the black shape on his head and the stripes in his facial hair. None of these detail were in the small pencil stage. I add then in as I draw in ink.

    I use my Copic or Shin Han markers to make these big drawings. I also use a lot of French curves, a ship’s curve, circle templates, and my Half hatching machine to keep the ink lines neat and precise. I use mostly the chisel tip and fine tip of the markers and not my usual brush point. I work on it standing up with the paper on the easel but when I make all those parallel lines with the Half machine I lay the drawing board down on the couch or floor. It has to be flat to use the hatching machine.

    In looking at “Obvious Gunner” the first thing I notice is how much of the drawing has to do with graphic design. It’s about black and white and the patterns they make. A lot of my drawings have to do with graphic design but the ones in this large drawing series the most so. That’s the part I add to the drawing when it’s big. Most of the black shapes like the clouds and the various boxes are done right in ink at this stage.

    Years ago I had a teacher remark that my paintings could be a little unsettling because it seemed they were looking at the viewer harder than the viewer was looking at the painting. I think that’s been a theme in my work that’s still with me all these years later. This drawing is looking out as us pretty intensely with two sets of eyes. The eyes on his face are dark with glints of white shining through but the eyes on his chest are large, bright, and looking at us even more intensely than the eyes on his face. They also both have some crazy graphic design eyebrows that disappear into the overall design.

    One of the defining features of this drawing is its asymmetrical symmetry. It sure does look perfectly symmetrical at first glance but upon further review the left and right sides are not reflections of each other. This face has different markings on either side, the collar isn’t centered, one shoulder is sloped more than the other, and all the markings on the chest are similar but not the same. None of the circles on the left side of the chest match the ones on the right. I often find symmetry to be bad but balance to be good. I think I achieved a nice balance here.

    The parallel lines are key to the look of this drawing. They give the illusion of grey among the blacks and whites and add a little bit of an Op Art element to the drawing. The Haff hatching machine I use to help make this lines is a ruler attached to an perpendicular metal rod. There is a little lever on the metal rod that I push down and the ruler moves down the metal arm anywhere from an adjustable one to five millimeters. I draw a line against the ruler, hit the lever, draw the next line, hit the lever again, and so on. It’s easy to use but the key is getting just the right distance between the lines.

    The mountains in the background of this piece are made up of tight parallel lines. The white is about the same thickness as the black so it’s hard for the eye to tell which is the background and which is the foreground. This is the Op Art effect. Compare that to the short parallel lines near the top. With these lines the white is dominant so it clearly looks like black lines on a white background. Not as much Op Art here.

    Graphic design, black and white, Op Art, staring eyes, and lots of lines and shapes. These are the hall marks of this and most of my other large marker drawings. I’m going to have to make some more.

    I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics.

  • Copperhead – 18
  • Kill or Be Killed – 15
  • Cerebus: The Dark Knight Returns – 1
  • Mage – 5
  • Check them all out here:

    How did I get nothing done again today? I’ve had some sort of sinus infection. That’s how. I could feel it starting on Friday. You know that felling. The feeling of being a bit run down but nothing too bad. Sometimes that feeling goes away with a good night’s sleep but often it doesn’t. Usually that feeling means there is some sickness creeping up on me. I tried to rest on Friday to make myself better so I didn’t get anything done that day. Then I woke up on Saturday feeling even worse. So I rested most of the Saturday and watched some playoff football.

    My symptoms weren’t that terrible. Sinus pressure, a stuffed head, weakness of body, and a general lack of focus. They made it tough to think. I took a nasal decongestant and that made me more comfortable but I still had no energy. It was better than having a flu though. That can really knock a person out. I had one of those a few years ago and was down for the count for a week. Couldn’t even get off the couch for more than an hour at a time.

    Sunday I did get something done. I made five of my “Four Talking Boxes” strips. I make five of those every week and I’ve been doing three of them on Sunday and two of them on Monday for the last year or so (the days have varied over the years) but on last Sunday I decided to get all five of them done. It took about three times as long to do them as it normally takes me but I was glad to be doing something. Finishing them is also more of a technical process than a creative one so that was a bit easier on me. I didn’t have to think.

    After getting all five strips done I had some more energy so I started another technical thing in the afternoon. I started recreating the Marvel Comics “Machine Man” logo as a vector graphic so that a friend of mine could use it in a cover recreation. I do this sometimes for friends and myself. I make a vector graphic in Adobe Illustrator out of an old comic book logo. It takes concentration rather than thinking or creativity so it’s something I can do when I’m not 100%. I didn’t finish it though. I ran out of energy eventually and rested the rest of Sunday.

    On a side note I don’t do that well with either DayQuil or NyQuil. I gave up on DayQuil years ago because it makes be feel worse than the sinus infection. On Friday night I decided to try some NyQuil to help me sleep since I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night. Waking up on Saturday morning it felt like I was hit by a bus. I was weak and shaking from about 5AM until I got out of bed at 6:30 AM. I was happy when the effects wore off later in the morning and then I only felt bad from the sinus infection.

    Monday rolled around and I was still not well. I got a little something done though. I finished the logo, trade dress, and template for “Machine Man.” It wasn’t a whole lot, not nearly as much as I got done on Sunday, but was something. I like to get things done. It gives me a good feeling. Getting nothing done isn’t how I like to spend my time. But I was still sick so I sat in a chair most of the day trying to rest. That’s what active people have the hardest time with when they are sick. Resting. Just sitting there when I want to be doing something. But resting has to be done.

    On Tuesday I was feeling better but not well. I wanted to get stuff done but only managed to start my new sketchbook/inkbook for the year. I grabbed my small dictionary and randomly chose a word from it to name my sketchbook. It’s now called “Sidelong” as in “A sidelong glance.” I write that title on the cover and then write the definition on the inside front cover. It’s a habit of mine so that I can distinguish one sketchbook from another. I also managed to draw a page in it. Nine little ink drawings. Normally that would take me an hour but it took me twice that. Then it was back to the chair.

    That brings us to today. Wednesday. I was feeling pretty good this morning. I’d say I was almost better. I drew another page in my ink book, went out to the store, and started working on an art card. I really thought I could get back to normal today and get some stuff done. Except I ran out of energy. That one little 2.5×3.5 inch art card took me way too long to draw. I kept having to sit down and rest and then get up to draw a bit of it. It was really frustrating. After I finished it I tried to get something else done but I couldn’t. No focus or concentration left.
    It’s a snazzy little art card. It’s a person with a weird haircut and flowered robe on. It’s not the greatest thing ever but I like it. It looks a little more precise than usual. I think because it took me more energy than usual to concentrate I really made the shapes distinct.

    So now I’m better but not quite better. I haven’t taken any medicine since Tuesday when I only took one does of nasal decongestant so my sinuses aren’t killing me anymore but they’re still slowing me down. Since I usually stand and work I’m really tired of sitting. But even if I couldn’t stand and draw for a while I thought I could get a little something done while sitting so I decided to write. So here I am now. I’m not going to tell you I’m better but I couldn’t have written this on Saturday.

    I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got three new comics.

  • Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses – 31
  • Eternal Empire – 6
  • Dejah Thoris – 0
  • Check them all out here: