Sunday, July 30, 2006

Simon Brizdale

Over the years, drawing stuff all day, I have come up with a lot of ideas. Most of them get a page or two of notes in a sketchbook and then get logged away, mostly to be forgotten. Every once in awhile, however, I come up with an idea that I feel has real potential. One of those is Simon Brizdale. Over the past three years or so I have been writing constant notes about the character and his life and times. The actual name for the comics I would like to do is "The Chronicles of Simon Brizdale". At this point I've got most of his life fleshed out in a pretty detailed fashion.

I've got about 10 or so short stories ready to be drawn, plus several longer stories that would take 3 to 6 issues of a typical comic book to tell. Then there's the epic scale story that brings his whole life jouney to an amazing conclusion.

Right now? It's just a bunch of ideas, a heaping mass of potential. The goal? Do something with it. So some of this blog will be given over to sharing the process of creating these stories and building up a collection of them. I don't know how quickly it will go, but every little bit is something.

I have drawn one short story for Simon, and eight page story that was in an anthology published by It was a decent attempt to get the basic concept of the character down on paper, but he has evolved since then. I hope to retell that first tale after getting a few short stories done.

Anyway, after all of this yada yada yada, here are a few sketches done recently as part of my attempt to redesign the characters and figure out how I want to handle the art for this monstrosity of an idea.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Merry ol' Merlin

More designs for the animation project I'm working on.

Usually when I have to design a character I get an initial image in my head about what that character would look like. I tend to follow my instincts and get that initial mental image down on paper. Sometimes it's fairly accurate and sometimes it's not, but it's always a good starting point.

Merlin has been done a thousand times and I felt that there was no need in this case to stray too far from the basic idea that people have come to accept for Merlin. So the sketching begins and the process here went something like this (in my head):

1 - too "Gandalf"

2 - too "Merlin" from Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" (a film I always liked)

3 - too... oh, I dunno, too stern maybe

4 - again with the stern

5 - too "Santa Claus"

6 - too "Ming the Merciless"

And then, finally, I got him. Then I do a few more sketches to make sure I can repeat the performance to my own satisfaction, and add the body. That part will get more attention later, but for now I think I really like him.

He started out rather skinny but went to plumpville as the designs went along. I figured: he uses magic all the time to do all the little chores around the castle, so really all he has to do is sit around, sip lemonade, and practice his spells. That, to me, says pleasantly plump. Having never really seen a more massive Merlin also helps because maybe it will bring a bit of freshness to the character. That's the idea anyways. Here's to hoping...

He's got a few funny things about him that I'm keeping secret for now - don't want anyone stealing the ideas. ;-) They really add to his character though, so hopefully at some point I'll be able to share that stuff.

Happy drawing!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Meow, Meow, Sultry Sultry

More sketches. Getting a few more sooper type peoples done while I'm in the comic book vein, specifically women type sooper dooper peoples. I've always had a difficult time drawing sexy women (and my wife is my toughest critic when it comes to this matter), so practice is good. And fun. :-)

The first piece is a more successful attempt at a more cartoony style, so I'm happy with that one except for the big feet. Then there's a couple of quick poses with two of the women from Nextwave (funny comic book with art by one of my favorites: Stuart Immonen) and then a few of Catwoman - she's always concidered a sulty, sexy one, so she makes for good subject matter. And bringing up the rear, just to get a little gender variety going on, is Captain Jack, or a rather poor approximation thereof. But I only spent a couple of minutes on him and it was fun, so there you go.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sooper Gender Bending

While I'm on the topic of things Sooper, here are a few sketches of Soopergirl. I never really liked the idea of Sooperman having any relatives, or there being anyone else from Krypton, but despite that the character had a costume in the not so distant past that I kinda dug. What'r'ya gonna do?

The second image shows a sort of progression, starting with a torso that I thought could be better, then showing the first redo, then the second, and finally a version that is a bit more cartoony in proportions, which I like, but in the end the one before it has a much stronger feel, so I need to do another that combines the last two. At some point I'd like to do more finished versions of some sketches being posted here. I have no idea when "some point" might be, but still, at some point. :-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Sooperman Returns

I'm not afraid to admit it: I was sooo excited for the Return of Superman, and I wasn't disappointed. I've seen it twice. I don't see half of the movies in the theater that I'd like to these days, so seeing one twice is a big deal for me now. I personally loved how it paid homage to the Richard Donner/Christopher Reeves film(s), picking up where they left off.

Anyway, I'll be seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie tomorrow so I figured I better get the Superman bug out of my system. I've always found it quite difficult to draw Superman. He has so much presence as a character that it's quite difficult to capture properly for me in a drawing. Some artists were born to draw Superman - I was not one of them. I will continue to try, however. Every once in awhile, no matter what else is going on, I just have to draw the Man of Steel. The new movie, of course, is the perfect excuse.

I drew these a couple of days ago and already I'm not happy with them, so if I don't post them now they'll never get posted. I like the head shot but even that is missing some intangible something in my humble opinion. I'll just have to keep trying...

Happy drawing, matey. Aaarrggh.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Calling Dr. Venture, your back end is sticking out of the boob tube!

Here are a few super quick sketches of Dr. Venture and Brock Sampson from the Venture Brothers cartoon series that airs on Cartoon Network. I hadn't seen the show until a co-worker of mine recently brought in the DVD set for season 1. I think it's hysterical. It seems to follow the creative mantra of most things created by folks in my generation (or younger), which is to poke fun at everything and anything that moves, especially the things we cherished as kids.

This show is loosely based on the old Johnny Quest cartoon, which had a big impact on me as a kid. Not as big as Star Wars, but big enough. The fact that the Venture Brothers pokes loving fun at every show or movie that influenced me as a kid makes it a natural fit. Season 2 just started up and I sketched these while watching the show. I think it would be fun to do some storyboards for the show. Maybe I'll do some more sketches of them later...

Let the sketches begin...

Here's the thing: the more I work on the live action movie and the animation project the more I realize that I can't share most of it. So instead I'm going to start focusing on sharing sketches most of the time and then other goodies when they happen. I've found myself able to sketch with more frequency lately, which I am very happy about, so here they come.

Last post I mentioned Tyler's Grandpa. Yeah yeah, I know I just said I can't share most of the project material I'm working on, but this is OK, me thinks. Anyway, we sort of knew what we wanted as far as Grandpa goes, so we didn't need too many variations on him. In a nutshell he's a cross between Sean Connery and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown from the Back to the Future movies).

The first sketch (in the first posted set of sketches) is my old fashioned anal "realistic" drawing, which I'm trying to get away from. This whole "animation" style of drawing is new for me, but I'm working on it as hard as I can. I love it.

So the next little head shot (in the first set) is more cartoony and it gets more so as we go along. By the third set of sketches you can see that we decided to try a heftier version, but we ended up making a different character hefty, so Grandpa went back to being thin. The last set of sketches are the only set I'm really happy with - it's all a matter of getting used to drawing in the more cartoony style. Slowly but surely I think I'm getting the hang of it. Of course I might be completely deluding myself...

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Kool Kidz

Two posts in one day!

While working on the movie (the live action one that I've been posting previz art from) I'm also working on an animation project. It's the primary focus of the company I'm now a part of: Just Imagine It Productions. The Kool Kidz are a group of multi-ethnic kids who find themselves getting into all kinds of adventures thanks to a magical doorknob. I know, right? Magical doorknob??? Just bear with it - it's cooler than it sounds.

The kids consist of Tyler (the leader of the gang), Gabby, Mac, Sam (short of Samantha), Jesse, and Nora. There will be two more eventually: Wendy (who is wheelchair bound) and Ammar.

The doorknob creates magical doors which takes them to all manner of places: throughout time, both historical and fictional, to other dimensions, etc... There's really no limits.

Tyler's grandfather is a zanny character that helps Tyler to understand the doorknob but winds up getting into trouble as much as the kids do. Remember Doc Brown from the Back to the Future movies? He's sorta like that.

I could go on and on about the kidz, but I think it's better to save as much as possible for once there's actually some animation to see. Anyway, here they are posted in the same order as mentioned above, plus all of them together for a group shot.

More art, finally

So here's more character design work from the movie I'm working on. Not much, but it's better than nothin'. :-)

Happy 4th of July to everyone stateside.