Anime isn’t really my thing, but I did enjoy Cowboy Bebop. It had cool music, and great characters that are still fun to draw!
Since there is a little bit more involved here than my usual, I thought it might be kinda cool to show you guys how this particular comic was generated… It started with an idea I had about how Christmas seems to have intruded into our Thanksgiving holiday in recent years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Christmas season, but with all it’s bright lights, toys, loud commercialization, annoying pop remakes of classic carols being played on the radio the day after Halloween, and the retail nightmare known as Black Friday, Thanksgiving just seems somehow diminished. So I started with a small sketch of Santa barging in on my family’s Thanksgiving dinner…
Then I did a rough sketch of the entire comic, trying to work out the dialogue next…
then tightened up the pencils a bit…
and finally adding color to finish it off…
The only plan I had with the coloring was to use all fall/autumn colors except for Santa. I thought maybe he would look even more intrusive that way, busting in the door with his bright red jacket amidst all the orange, brown, and gold.
So, there you go! Hope you enjoyed the comic and have a happy Thanksgiving!
3. What tools of the trade do you use? I don’t really have a lot of fancy art supplies. I can make a comic with a plain old #2 school pencil and copy paper if I have to. Having expensive tools doesn’t make you a cartoonist, drawing cartoons does.
4. Any beginning artist tips? If you want to get good at something, you have to do it all the time. There is no way of getting around this. So draw as often as you can. And study facial expression and body language. It is invaluable when you are trying to tell a story through the visual medium of comics.
5. What was the biggest professional influence on your work? I would have to say DC Comics because I grew up reading them, and their comics are what inspired me to draw in the first place.
6. Any advice for a young artist you wish someone had told you? Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t obsess over trying to make your first comic the next Watchmen. That kind of thinking only leads to disappointment and frustration. I know artists who obsess over wanting to be perfect, and because of that they never feel like their work is good enough and ultimately never produce anything. So if you really want to make comics, do it! So maybe they won’t all be winners in the beginning, but hey, Michael Jordan missed over 9000 shots and lost almost 300 games in his career, and I’d say he still did alright for himself, wouldn’t you? So get over yourself, have fun and go make your comic! I love reading new comics, and I hope one day I can read yours…
7. How often do you draw? Every chance I get!
8. What have you done to get your work noticed? I post my comics on facebook and my own website https://mindcircuscomics.com/ I make copies of my comics at Kinkos, or on my printer at home and book them together myself. I sell my comics at local events, art shows, conventions and things like that. Also, I have been fortunate enough to have some of my comics published in Velocity and LEO, even the newsletter at work! I’m grateful for every opportunity I can get!
9. What inspires you most? I love movies, music, books, comics, a good TV series… I get inspired by all that stuff. But most of my inspiration comes from my friends, family, and all the super-talented artists in the Louisville Cartoonist Society. They fuel my desire to be creative and inspire me to be a better artist.
10. Who is your favorite comic character to draw? Honestly, I like drawing my friends and people that I know and turning them into cartoon characters more than anything. But I also enjoy the challenge of drawing popular comic characters and bringing my own personal style to them as well.
11. Why did you want to become a comic artist? To me, comics are the perfect medium to tell stories. You get to be the writer, the artist, the director, the costume designer, the set designer, the cast, the cinematographer and the editor! You can do everything you want, your only limitation is your own imagination.
12. What are your plans for the future? Keep drawing, keep writing, and keep making comics!
I LOVE doing Family Night comics, but lets face it, there are jokes and gags and stuff that I just can’t do in that strip. So once I had Family Night going full steam, I decided to create a new comic where I could be a bit more free in the subject matter, and get more wild with the humor. I wanted to go extreme with the comedy. So basically, I needed a comic where I could say and do all the things that I couldn’t in Family Night. And so Artistic License Revoked was born.
Artistic License Revoked is about two struggling writers trying to catch their first big break. Between 2007-2010 I had co-written two books with my good friend Mark Hothi, and when it came time to come up with a concept for ALR I really didn’t need to look much further than our crazy friendship and our foray into the literary world. I had a blast writing two books with him, mostly because we work so well together and we laugh a lot, and I was confident that element of our friendship would translate well into a comic strip.
When it came time to design Mark’s character for the comic, one thing I knew I wanted to do was give him a beard like he has in real life. Only bad thing about cartoon characters and beards? They tend to hide the bottom half of the face, which can lead to limitations in the character’s facial expression. So to compensate, I knew I would have to show almost all of the character’s expression through his eyes. But I think it worked out nicely because I wanted to draw his eyes rather large anyway to embellish some of his more predominate facial features.
At the time when I designed my character for Family Night, I was influenced by comic artist Humberto Ramos and I think it shows a little in my character. Specifically, the eyes. What I didn’t realize at the time was that while drawing eyes without any white part looked visually interesting, it also made it challenging to express emotion through them. Similar to Mark and the beard problem, I was going to need to come up with a way to compensate for that loss of expression, and exaggerating my character’s eyebrows was a perfect solution. In fact, most of my character’s “acting” is done with the eyebrows!
Originally, because my character is in both of my comics, I wanted to do something a little different visually in ALR to distinguish the two. I really wanted to give him a heavy “5 o’clock shadow” to convey the slightly rougher edges of the character but unfortunately the idea never really materialized and he (I) ended up looking pretty much the same in both comics.
It’s really a toss up who is the more sane of the two characters, Mark and I are both pretty far out there! But I have a lot of fun making this comic, and I hope you guys enjoy them too! Thanks for reading!
For anyone interested in my drawing process (probably no-one, but I’m showin’ ya anyway) here is a recent sketch I did of a steampunk girl (inspired by Lady Mechanika and SteampunkCouture.com) in it’s own 3-step process of creation.
Step 1: I do a bit of planning in my head first of what I want to draw… (for this particular sketch I was thinking of a character similar to Lady Mechanika, only a little more light-hearted and playful) …then I sketch it out on paper until somewhere inside the mess I think I’ve got what i want…
…as you can see, they don’t always start out as a masterpiece ready to be displayed in the Smithsonian.
Step 2: I use my lightbox to trace the lines from my initial sketch that I want to use and clean it all up…
She’s looking a little better, yeah? You can take the beer goggles off now… but you might wanna keep your steampunk goggles close by ‘cuz this drawing is not quite finished just yet…in fact, I asked a friend of mine for a critique and she pointed out a critical problem! Check out this poor girl’s leg on the left…it looks broken down by her shin! ugh. Sometimes these things just slip by you no matter how hard you stare at your work.
Step 3: After performing a little re-constructive surgery on her leg, and adding a touch of detail work to her costume, I think I’ve got this steampunk girl just the way I want her to look…
…and there you have it, folks! Hope you like my sketch, and hope you have enjoyed seeing a little into the process of how I work. Thanks for reading!