I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got four new comics (and three old ones).

  • Deadly Class – 34
  • Love and Rockets: Volume 4 – 5
  • Manifest Destiny – 35
  • The Prisoner – 2
  • Crime SuspenStories (reprint) – 25
  • The Haunt of Fear (reprint) – 12
  • Shock SuspenStories (reprint) – 6
  • Check them all out here:

    Sometimes I am without motivation to make any artwork. I didn’t use the word inspiration right there because I think that’s a totally different thing. Inspiration is rare. It’s light a lightbulb going off in your head as if you were in a cartoon. It’s an idea that sets a process into motion. But if you’re waiting on inspiration then you might be in for a long wait. It’s a pleasant experience when it happens but most of the time you just have to buckle down and get things done. That’s where motivation come into play.

    Motivation is the ability to look into the future, even if only a few minutes into the future, and see the place you want to be and decide to go there. It could be that the future is two hours later with a finished drawing. Or it could be a week later with a finished painting. It’s a tricky thing. Lately I’ve not been able to see a week into the future and therefore haven’t been doing any painting. Life can be like that.

    Today I couldn’t even see a hour into the future. No motivation. In order to cure this malaise I decided to look through my drawer of dead end drawings. Underneath my drawing board I attached two drawers for storing drawings. The one on the left is for recently finished drawings. Ones that I moved onto the ink or color stage of. Since they’re working drawings and I’ve gone onto the next stage of work I don’t need them anymore. But if something goes wrong I need them handy so I don’t tuck them away in an out of the way place. That comes later.

    The drawer on the right is full of dead end drawings. I often do drawings in batches. I’ll work up four or five six by nine inch pencil drawings to be used as the basis for prints, paintings, or faux comic book covers. Not all of those drawings become something. Often one or two of them don’t hold my interest after I finish them. Sometimes I burn out on whatever plan I had for them. So into the drawer they go. They’re not bad but they no longer motivate me.

    I don’t think I’ve opened the dead end drawer in months. I guess I’ve been motivated but today that motivation came to an end. So I opened the drawer to look through the drawings to try and find something to do. It’s odd but I had forgotten how many drawings were in there. There was at least fifty of them in various sizes. Some have been there for years. They were interesting to look through and a bunch of them caught my eye but what I settled on was four drawings.

    My “On The Rough” series is a bunch of drawings that I make on five by seven inch watercolor paper. The name comes from the fact that the paper is so rough as to be almost unusable. I bought a bunch of the paper ages ago and then it sat around for a year until I figured out I could make ink drawings on it with my busted brush technique. First I draw in black ink and then add some color inks on top of that.

    I make my “On The Rough” drawings in batches. That way I can keep working as I wait for the color inks (or watercolor) to dry. As the ink dries I grab another. That’s why there were four unfinished OTRs. Each one had the black ink drawing done but no color. I can’t remember when I made these or why I didn’t finish them. Besides these ones I don’t think I’ve ever left any of these unfinished for very long.

    It was slow going finishing the color on the four drawings. In the long run I don’t think it took very long but I had to take a bunch of breaks as I as working. It took me a while to find my groove. In the end I even added some more black ink to the drawings. They came out fine. After I finish them the last thing I have to do is sign and date them on the back. That and number them. I usually name my stuff but sometimes with a series of drawings the name is the name of the series and a number.

    I have places that I keep things in. For my art it’s mostly in boxes and on shelves so I went over to where my “On The Rough” drawings are kept to pull them out. Then I got distracted by how messy things were. I had piled stuff on top of the box and half of it could be thrown out and half of it moved to its own spot. That lead me to clean up even more stuff around that one box. Then I cleaned a closet to find a place to put a bit of the stuff I was moving. An hour and a half later I finally pulled out the box to see what number I should use on the drawings.

    The number was a hundred and nineteen. That’s a lot of drawings. I don’t always reach such a high number for an art series but here I did. Still that number wasn’t the part that caught my attention. That honor belonged to the date of the last drawing. It was in March of 2016. Has it really been two years since I finished any drawings like this? Yes, it had been and I hadn’t really noticed.

    I have a vague memory of not finishing these drawings because I was kind of bored of the process. I don’t know if that’s a real memory or not but it sounds like what must have happened. I was looking for motivation one day and decided to do some OTR drawings. I pulled out the paper and made four ink drawings. Then I lost my motivation. I could see no reason to finish them. They probably sat on my drawing table for months before I finally put them in the dead end drawer and forgot about them. And now, all this time later, the motivation finally came. Better late than never.

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

  • Encounter – 3
  • Usagi Yojimbo – 168
  • The Wicked + The Divine – 36
  • Check them all out here:

    As an artist I’m not particularly skilled at likenesses. What’s a likeness you ask? That’s when an artist draws a specific person so it looks like that person. If someone draws a picture of John Wayne it is immediately recognizable as John Wayne. That’s a skill that artists posses in varying degrees. Some have a natural talent for it but in the end it takes practice and it’s not a skill I practice much.

    There are two ways to capture a likeness. One is by looking at the person as you draw. The person poses for you. This is the classic artistic method that goes back to the beginning of drawing. You see the person and you draw the person. Sure there are various tips and tricks in drawing a person but in the end it’s drawing from life. The second way is to draw from a photograph of the person. This is by far the more common way these days as photographs are easy to find or to make. It’s a lot easier to find a photo than to find a live model.

    Drawing from a photo can be further broken down into two methods of working. One is to just look at the photo and draw from what you see (using a grid over the photo would be a variation on this) and the other is to drop a piece of paper on top of the photo and draw right over the top of it. Though you have to make sure you draw. Don’t trace. There is a difference. Tracing leads to an amateur job. This drawing method can also be done digitally.

    I bring this subject up because I was working on some likenesses this week. I decided I wanted to make some cartoon art cards of the cast of the TV show “Friends.” Cartoon art cards are the art cards on which I draw a character’s face and a word balloon and then write and letter something for the word balloon. I usually make up the faces or sometimes draw known super heroes but this time I wanted something different. I wanted some likenesses.

    This isn’t even the first time I tried to draw the cast of “Friends” as cartoon art cards. Last year I attempted the same thing and failed. I picked an episode of “Friends” and took screen shots of the various characters to draw from. It was season seven episode five. I tried the drawing right on top of the photo method and failed miserably. Nothing came out right. It all looked terrible and I abandoned the cards. That’s never fun.

    This time I decided to give it a try but not draw over the photos. I’d look at the photo and then draw. I’d try to capture a caricature or likeness without copying the photo. This method can be even harder but I gave it a try. Keep in mind the drawing is also very small. An art card is only 2.5×3.5 inches and there is a word balloon on top. That means the face is only about an inch and a half tall. That is a really small face in which to capture a likeness. Especially of such well known faces.

    I remember being told in my early 20s that I had a talent for simplicity. I didn’t like that idea very much. Complexity is much more praised in the world of drawing and it took me a long time to embrace my talent for simplicity. Simple is also very hard. When drawing something with very few lines there is not any room for error. If I were to define a face with a thousand lines I could be off with fifty of them and no one would ever know. They blend right in. But if I try to draw a face with thirty lines I can’t be off with any of them. They all count. If one or two are wrong they stand out. There is no place for them to hide. So attempting to do likenesses with simple drawings is a tough gig. That’s why I failed the first time.

    Of the six cards I drew I think Phoebe came out the best. I think that might be because her hair in this episode was so distinctive. I captured her face shape fairly well and her eyes are good but her nose and mouth are pretty generic. There is no way they really can be anything else. They are so small.

    I think Monica is also okay but only because of her hair. She has long, straight, jet black hair in this episode and it’s pretty distinctive. I only did okay in capturing the shape of her face and I missed a bit with her eyes. But they’re only a sixteenth of an inch high so I did what I could.

    Rachel’s hair is also okay but her face is generic. I didn’t manage to capture the quality of her jawline or her eyes and nose but it’s still an okay little drawing. In context I know it’s Rachel but if I saw it as an individual drawing I might not get who she is. I like the drawing though.

    Chandler came out the most like a caricature. Maybe it’s the glasses but he looks like a cartoon version of Chandler more than the others do. He might be able to guest star on an episode of Scooby-Doo. I’m not sure if I want them all to go in this direction or not but I like this Chandler.

    Ross is solid. His sticking up hair is close but just misses by a little bit. I think I captured something with his eyes though. Like Rachel he works in context but maybe not on his own. Room for improvement here.

    Joey was the most trouble. I couldn’t get him at all through three tries. The one I show here works but I had to do it by the “Draw over a picture” method. No matter how matter how much I tried I couldn’t capture his look. I like the way his hair came out here but previously I couldn’t capture it at all. My first three Joeys looked nothing like him. Even in context he didn’t read as Joey. It was really frustrating and I gave up twice before switching methods. I’m much happier with this one.

    Overall these likenesses, except for the first three Joeys, went pretty well. I’m putting them up for sale on my Etsy page and maybe someone will buy them. If they do I might do some more from another episode. We’ll see.

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

  • Highest House – 4
  • Maestros – 6
  • Monstress – 16
  • Outcast – 35
  • Southern Bastards – 20
  • Love and Aardvarks – 1
  • Check them all out here: