Currently browsing Posts Published February 2013

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I’m the Hi-De-Ho Pope That’s Me

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Am I the only one who noticed that the Pope was wearing a Cab Calloway style zoot suit during his final audience?

Fun fact: During the first year of my life, there were 3 different Popes!

Cheap Shearer

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Back to digital (using Frenden’s “Big Tex” brush for Manga studio). I’d be lying if I said the scribbly lack of detail outside Norma Shearer’s face was an aesthetic choice–it was just my typical laziness–but I kinda like it anyway.


Bohemian Slapdashery

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Back to real ink today, using a disposable fountain pen and brush pen. Playing around with how to apply Gibsonesque qualities to my usual cartoony style.

One potential labor-saving grace for this comic: fashion back then was really really boring and simple (especially among people like the characters in this story).

Gibson Señorita

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Still obsessed with Gibson; unlike my previous drawing, this one is digital, and it’s a *gasp* tracing of a photo. Right now my focus is getting a handle on that wonderful turn-of-the-century inking style. I’ve always been enamored of the way draughtsmen of those days could churn out drawings that looked precise and loose at the same time, with all gray tones rendered using well-placed chicken scratches.

I think the trick is in getting the balance right. Shading with lines is dicey; If they’re too thick or tightly spaced, they can make a young girl look old or manly–or maybe even hairy. Even when you’re not worried about portraying youth, you might step back from your novice crosshatching and discover that, at arm’s length, what you thought was a light shadow is darker and muddier than you intended.

I think by making shadowed edges and clumps of hair nice and dark and thick, deft hatching will, in contrast, look less like lines and more like shading, as was intended. I’m not saying I got it right here, but by studying old drawings I’m getting closer than I’ve been before.

I think what I’m really missing is the confidence that produces a looser feel, but that, like everything else, takes practice.

Here’s another Gibson for you to admire:


If Charles Dana Gibson Was a Chimpanzee

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Since I’m gearing up to draw a comic book about turn-of-the-century gals, I thought I’d try my hand at drawing a “Gibson Girl.” My poor man’s attempt was exacerbated by my latest attempt at drawing with a dip pen. It’s uniquely frustrating, but seeing as it’s a skill many comic artists swear by to this day, I feel like I should make every effort to get the hang of it.


In Case of Brain Freeze Break Glass

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

I’m showing you this pointlessly photoshopped pair of pages (composed of 2 screenshots from my iPad, naturally) to illustrate the beginning of my next project, which is sort of the writer’s block version of the fiscal cliff. I didn’t give myself any particular deadline, but a while back I decided that if I couldn’t think of anything original to do, I’d bust out another adaptation of one of my favorite O. Henry stories.

Although my previous graphic novel, for a class, was also based on O. Henry, this one will be a more faithful retelling, taking place in Greenwich Village at the turn of the 20th Century. It’s a short, simple story, so I think the real challenge will be in stretching my cartooning abilities to evoke the strong imagery in the original story.

At the top of a squatty, three-story brick Sue and Johnsy had their studio. “Johnsy” was familiar for Joanna. One was from Maine; the other from California. They had met at the table d’hôte of an Eighth Street “Delmonico’s,” and found their tastes in art, chicory salad and bishop sleeves so congenial that the joint studio resulted.

I think this is a challenge faced by screenwriters as well. O. Henry tells the backstory of these characters in a very economical paragraph; turning it into a “flashback” scene might take up a few pages in a comic book. Ideally, I’ll find my own efficient way of imparting who these characters are, what makes them tick. But if all else fails, “O.” can step in and provide some narration.

Tonight, I went through and highlighted the basic imagery, plot points and dialogue that I thought were essential to the story. Tomorrow I’ll begin scripting, and hopefully figuring out some of the layout.

Back to the “Well!”

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Forgive my Benny kick; I just reread Irving Fein’s biography of him. This time I thought I’d turn him into a cartoon character, and attempt to capture one of his typical awkward, slightly effeminate poses.


Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


I sketched this at work after (re-)editing an interview with author Salman Rushdie.