Thursday, March 29, 2007

"Oh, there's something wrong with what my Stacy says..."

Posted early, again! I'm tired and I don't wanna stay up until midnight. Waaaahhh!!!

A gold star to anyone who knows where I got the title to this post. Hint: it's from a long-running TV show.

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Anyone call for a webslinger? This sketch was done completely in Photoshop (2-3 hours). Spidey's fingers are too chunky, and it looks like he's doing jazz-hands... but for a quickie, I'm happy with it. In case you can't tell, the green background is supposed to be an abstract representation of his Spidey-Sense.

Oh, and if you missed it, I also put up a bonus post and review. Scroll down for more, sucka!

BONUS POST + REVIEW: Michelangelo is a Party-Dude!

In honor of TMNT, which I saw last night with Gavin, Marlene, and Hammers, a bonus post followed by a review:

This is an older illustration, from early 2005. These are pencils, scanned and colored in Photoshop--one of the first un-inked pieces that I ever colored, and for those who have not seen anything in the more anal-retentive style that I have mentioned previously, here ya go. As you can see, unlike most of the stuff that I've posted, this is a fully realized illustration with multiple characters and a background. The drawback of course, is that this thing took me forever, as opposed to the sketches i post regularly, which usually take a couple of hours of actual work.

The piece has some problems (particularly in the color department--almost no variation in value), but overall, I'm still fairly satisfied with it. I don't often do complete illustrations like this, with a background and all. I need to start doing more! I do have plans to eventually follow this with similar illustrations of each of the turtles.

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Clearly, between the orange headband and Michelangelo's opponents, this pic is inspired more by the cartoon than the comic, which I guess might be considered pretty sacreligious by some. But I needed an excuse to draw Bebop and Rocksteady, so there you have it. In my head I've sort of re-wardrobed each of the turtles into different outfits, and the results for Michelangelo are seen here. Oh, and for anyone who cares, Mikey is wearing a Lance Armstrong bracelet + buddhist beads on one wrist, and a G-Shock wristwatch on the other. It all seemed appropriate for his personality.

* * *

TMNT (In theaters now... and in case you're, like, totally not with it, TMNT stands for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

A fresh re-introduction to everyone's favorite teenage mutant ninja franchise, TMNT delivers what it needs to, with plenty of style--cool ninja fights, crazy monsters, ancient warriors, and good characterization and interaction between the core characters. The character models and animation are fitting and well executed, and the direction and camera movement are very dynamic. There are a couple of minor plot holes, some expositiony dialogue, and some cheesy humor for younger viewers, but nothing too off-putting. As an added bonus, there are a few subtle nods to continuity, and an obvious set-up for a sequel.

Verdict: Awesome. I paid for full-priced evening admission, and I didn't feel ripped off--these days, that's sayin' something! Your mileage may, of course, vary, but I think just about anyone who's nerdy enough to be reading this would be happy with paying for a matinee of TMNT. My only significant complaint: Donatello didn't get to do anything cool!

For More Misfits Fighting Evil In The Shadows of New York: You owe it yourself to try out Gargoyles, which was, in many ways, the superior spiritual successor of the Ninja Turtles in the mid-90's. In terms of mood and plot, watching the Turtles' most recent foray into the silver screen was very much like watching a couple of strong Gargoyles episodes, albeit with excellent computer animation. The first two collections of Gargoyles are available on DVD now!

Drawings, Doodles, Sketches

Here's a page of doodles I did a little while ago. Splashed some tones on there this morning and figured I'd post it. Usually if I have a hard time getting down to work, I'd start sketching mindlessly just to get the juices flowing. Sometimes these doodles go a little overboard and I spend more time then I should on them but hey as long as I had fun right?

And here's some links!
Nate Wragg
Uwe Heidschoetter
Spline Doctors
Ashley Wood


Monday, March 26, 2007

Not the Candy...

(Posting a little bit early for the usual reasons.)

Re-design challenge at the fan-art forums for the second half of March--my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here. I managed to land first place!

The subject is Starburst She-Ra, an action figure variation of He-Man's twin sister She-Ra. However, my version has a bit of a twist to it:

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As you can see, rather than drawing a variation on She-Ra, I tweaked the design so that she's a different character entirely. I'm happy with how the sword and star field turned out, but other than that I feel pretty lukwarm about this one. Only one thing can save this--an elaborate and nerdy background for the character, written by yours truly!

* * *

PROFILE: Stoic and pragmatic, STARBURST is a woman of few words, as a result of her extended isolation in deep space. In spite of her reticent manner and her reluctance to trust others, Starburst is nonetheless a powerful ally to the heroes of both Etheria and Eternia. Her mystical cloak endows her with a number of powers, including super-natural strength and stamina (in the same league as He-Man and She-Ra), as well as flight, and the ability to traverse the cosmos freely. Her sword has a blade cut from a rare type of Etherian gem, and is charged with cosmic energy. The powers of the cloak have also slowed her aging.

HISTORY: Over a century ago, Etheria existed in an age of peace, and Starburst was Light Hope's champion, watching over the planet, and maintaining the delicate blance of justice. A Cosmic Enforcer came to the planet, seeking Starburst's aide in battling a marauding space fleet known only as "The Horde." At Starburst's request, Light Hope permitted her to leave Etheria, hoping that with her aid, the Horde fleet could be stopped before they reached Etheria.

However, the Cosmic Enforcer was in a fact a rogue who had betrayed his order, and he teleported Starburst lightyears away, behind enemy lines. Without Starburst to lead the forces of Etheria, the Horde was able to invade and gain a significant foothold. Light Hope was greatly weakened (a large portion of his power still imbued in Starburst) and could do little to help.

For one hundred years, Starburst has been fighting her way through Horde forces with little or no help, trying to get back to her home planet. In her journeys she has clashed with the legitimate Cosmic Enforcers, and later allied with them, after it was revealed that the Enforcer who betrayed her was a rogue.

Finally, she has returned, and none too soon--with the disappearance of He-Man, and the Horde invasion of Eternia, She-Ra has been desperately needed by Eternia and the Sorceress of Grayskull. With Starburst holding the Etherian front against the Horde, She-Ra has returned to Eternia for the time being. Accustomed to working alone, Starburst is finding it somewhat difficult to adapt to her position as one of the leaders of the Etherian Rebels. Her dedication however, is unquestionable.

* * *

Starburst is just the first in a series of "original" fan-characters based on existing He-Man/She-Ra toys. Look for more in the coming weeks.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Toronto Subway Sketches

Just a reminder that Toronto Subway Sketch Group is back on so come out if you can! Thanks to all those that came out this Sunday. It was great to see everyone again and the new people as well.

Here's some links!
Linton Joseph
Steve Lambe
Lou Romano

Friday, March 23, 2007

Aaaaaaand.... we're back!!

What a wonderful trip to California. Thanks to all those that helped make it such a pleasant experience. Highlight of the trip had to have been cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA. Highly recommended.

Thanks to Dominic Bilodeau at Dream Works for giving us a place to stay when we first got to LA. He gave us a tour of DW and introduced us to Nicolas Marlet. One of our favorite character designers of all time. Boy, this man can draw!! Thanks Nicholas for sparing some time to talk with us and showing us your fabulous art.

Big thanks goes out to the Silver family for inviting us to stay with them during the last week of our trip. Heidi and Stephen were great to hang out with and their kids are just non stop entertainment! hehehe...

Alberto Ruiz - Always a pleasure to talk with you. Your stories and wisdom make it such a joy for us to listen to.

David Coleman - Thanks again for lunch and the tour of Cartoon Network. It was a real treat my friend!

Also shouts out to
Patrick Morgan - Always a pleasure to hang out with this man. See you in Calgary!
Sean "Cheeks" Galloway - Almost spit out my drink when Cheeks started speaking Chinese to me!! Multi-talented and full of surprises.
Lord Mesa and Marlena - awesome people with the horniest dog I've ever seen.
Jose Lopez - didn't get to talk too much this time but still always a pleasure
Justin Ridge - Always great to see our friend Justin. One of the nicest guys in the business.
Mr.Scribbles - great to meet you in SF!
Urban Barbarian - great to meet you as well. I promise to post more subway sketches :)
Dean Yeagle - Always a pleasure!
Ed Costa - Wish I could have stayed for more drinks but there's always next time!
Hope I didn't miss anyone!!

Here's a pic I did for an upcoming issue of Imagine FX. I splashed some loose color on top.

As much as we loved our trip to Cali, it's great to be home in Canada! Next stop will be Calgary Comicon April 29th. Hope to see you there!


I'll Fix You Good!

Character of the week, for Rick's character design blog--a mechanic:

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I started off with a very rough pen sketch, which I scanned and inked over in Photoshop. The colors are a bit lackluster, and I think if I had to do it again, I'd leave the line art in black. I am a man of few words today. Go, and be merry, dear Reader!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flight of the...

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Those who know me have probably been baffled and confused that my blog has been so primarily focused on the world of He-Man. Indeed, even I am shocked that it has taken almost three full months for an illustration of a full-fledged Transformer to show up here (sorry Battle Beasts, being a part of the Transformers universe isn't the same as being a Transformer).

Bumblebee was the fresh-faced rookie of the original Transformers cartoon--he transformed from a Volkswagen Beetle into a robot. Since then, there have been, like, a million iterations of him in the toyline, but I won't get into that. A new version of the character is also going to be one of the main characters in the upcoming Transformers live-action movie.

My sketch is a pretty faithful rendition of the original cartoon version, and I was able to complete most of the drawing without needing to look at reference. Whether that's sad or awesome, I leave to you, dear reader. My pencil drawing was a little tighter, and therefore the inks were as well. The coloring on this one was fast and simple (but maybe a little bit plain and flat)--you'll note that I have left the black lines intact for the most part. The type treatment just sort of came to life on its own after the drawing was done. All in all, this was smooth-going, and I wish all my pieces came together this easily!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu 2 Extra Class this Thursday

Sheridan College students enrolled in Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu 2. This thursday March the 22nd there will be an extra class to make up for the second class that was cancelled due to the storm.
Hope to see you all there.

Bobby and Jordan

Some more wolves...


Thursday, March 15, 2007

SCARCE COCO NIMROD FEZ is an anagram for...

Zodac, Cosmic Enforcer!

(Posted early because I don't know if I'm going to be sitting in front of my computer when midnight hits. I just might be unconscious with fatigue.)

This He-Man action figure was originally billed as being "evil." The cartoon, however, made it pretty obvious that he was a neutral figure who leaned very heavily towards the side of good. As far as characterization goes, I take most of my cues from the cartoon, so I'm filing him under the good guys.

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This time, the static pose was actually intentional--meant to emphasize his supposed neutrality. The holographic globe (which is meant to emphasize his cosmic nature) is just something I came up with, as far as I know. It's possible that my brain pulled it out of the subliminal depths of long forgotten He-Man episodes from my misspent youth. But those episodes won't be forgotten for long--I do plan on completeing my He-Man DVD collection soon.

The costume tweaks that I made on this design are rather similar to the modifications that I made in my illustration of Tri-Klops--I consolidated the harness from his chest plate with his belt to avoid a redundant-looking double-belt, and I 'covered' his neck. The covered neck on Zodac, as with Tri-Klops, is inspired by the 200x version. The rest of the costume is pretty much straight up from the original.

This was posted on the fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

For more anagrams:

Monday, March 12, 2007

Hobo By J.Ho

Posted early while I'm at work, because my DSL is down at home...

Character of the week, for Rick's character design blog--a hobo:

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I definitely took a different approach this time--this one was completely digital. I just started sketching in Photoshop, without knowing where I was going to end up. I refined the line art for the hobo in a separate layer and started shading the hobo and rendering the background in the original layer. For the final touches, I used a half-tone filter on the shading/background layer, adjusted the hue/saturation on the whole thing to get a sort-of sepia color, and then dropped in my signature and URL in an old-timey font.

There are some bad tangents and clutter where the hobo's upper lip eclipses part of his left hand... I need to be more aware of that kind of stuff in the early stages of sketching, because by the time I noticed it, I was too lazy to go back and re-do that whole section of the drawing.

Not a style that I'll be going with all the time, but this was quick and fun. It's good to mix it up so I don't feel like my stuff is getting stale.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Mekaneck's Wife Is Hott!

Re-design challenge at the fan-art forums for the first half of March--my post is here and the original thread is here. The voting thread is here--I snagged a first-place vote... sweet!

The subject today, is the mother of Mekaneck's son Philip. I phrase it like that because she is a character who was neither seen nor referenced in the old He-Man cartoon. The only inference of her existence is the existence of Philip. In fact we don't even know if Philip is Mekaneck's biological son. But for the sake of my entry, I make the assumption that Philip is the biological son of Mekaneck and this classy lady:

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The design of "Mekorset" is really just based on pre-existing elements. Her armor and goggles are extrapolated from Mekaneck himself, and the rest of the costume elements are swiped from Teela/Evil-Lyn. The club and pistol are weapons from Man-At-Arms and Zodac, respectively, re-colored to match Mekaneck's club, and modified just slightly. The name "Mekorset" is a contraction of "mechanical" and "corset," the same way Mekaneck's name is a contraction of "mechanical" and "neck." Where Mekaneck has the ability to extend his neck, his better half can extend her midriff. Pretty clever, yes? No? Right.

What you are looking at is essentially the very first drawing I did of this character. I'm pleased with how it turned out--yes, it's a typical static girl-pose that you would expect from me, but something about her stance is natural and relaxed (well, relatively relaxed, considering that she's armed to the teeth). And it's always nice when you get something on the first try.

The colors, on the other hand, are pretty bland, I think. The colors of her uniform follow Mekaneck pretty closely, and she has blonde hair to match her son. The lighting is even less dynamic than usual, but I didn't want to spend a ton of time on a really obscure character who's the estranged wife of a second-stringer. How do I know that she's estranged, you say? I'm glad you asked--read on for some background info, nerdily composed by yours truly!

* * *

PROFILE: In her public life, MEKORSET is a steadfast yet just authority figure, well-loved in the territories that she oversees. In her personal life she is fiercely devoted to her family. She is equipped with a bionic midriff that can extend up to 10 feet--beyond making her a "human periscope" like her husband, she also uses the ability to enhance her hand-to-hand combat abilities. Her goggles provide her with a variety of enhanced visual senses--telescopic vision, nightvision, thermal vision, video recording and transmission etcetera. Her light battle bludgeon is standard issue to Eternian military, but her sidearm is a special model engineered by Man-At-Arms from off-world technology. In close and ranged combat, Mekorset is surpassed by few.

HISTORY: Mekorset and her husband Mekaneck, were both injured when trying to to track their son Philip through a violent storm generated by the evil sorcerer Count Marzo, who had kidnapped Philip. The couple each received bionic prostheses which not only saved their lives, but gave them new powers. However, the loss of their son, compounded with the fact that they had married at a very young age, caused excessive strain on their marriage. Mekorset, as she was now called, became one of the King's wardens, and transferred to a distant outpost, overseeing some of the King's territories on the frontier.

In the aftermath of Mekaneck discovering and rescuing Philip from Count Marzo, Mekorset has reunited with her son and her estranged spouse. By decree of King Randor and Queen Marlena, Mekorset was transferred to an outpost closer to the Eternian capitol (roughly half a day's ride on a Stridor unit) where she remains one of the King's most trusted Wardens. Mekaneck, who still serves as a special agent in the reconaissance division of the Royal Guard, now lives with his wife and son at the outpost. Mekorset and Mekaneck are currently seeing a marriage counselor, and seem to be well on their way to rebuilding their family. Their son Philip recently became a junior recruit in the Royal Guard.

* * *

Further Tangential Fan Speculation Regarding Mekaneck's Family: Some folks on the forums pointed out that another Philip who showed up might be the same Philip as Mechaneck's son, though no reference is made to corroborate this.

Also: Yes, I realize this is all ridiculous, but as you ought to have guessed, I have unsurpassed affection for nerdy and obscure things. IT'S JUST WHO I AM... O_O

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Don't Go In There--It's A Trap (Jaw)!

The subject of today's mega-nerdy post is Trap Jaw, another henchman of Skeletor, described on as "Evil and Armed For Combat." (Unfortunately, Wikipedia lives up to its reputation for inaccuracy in this instance--"Trap Jaw" is not hyphenated. Shameful.)

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"Evil and armed for combat" is all good and fine, but as you can see, I changed Trap Jaw's blurb to "Evil Master of Arms." I prefer it because it's a title rather than a description, plus it has a pun in there, which is always good for a He-Man character (Trap Jaw has a prosthetic arm with interchangable attachments, for those of you who don't know).

The pose gave me quite a bit of trouble this time around... this is actually my third go at Trap Jaw. I got as far as starting inks on the two previous attempts, but they were really very awkward. I ended up with a pretty static pose (a trap that I fall into frequently), but since the goal of this sketch blog is completion, speed, and productivity rather than perfection, I was willing to make the sacrifice. Better to finish it off and move on to the next one!

The details of the drawing are pretty faithful to the toy. In fact--not being an owner of the original Trap Jaw action figure, I never realized that his left arm is almost completely armored. However, my obsessive internet search for reference rectified this oversight. I'm pretty surprised that I have not previously come across any Trap Jaw art depicting him with an armored arm. The tubes and wires coming from the blaster on his prosthetic arm were completely fabricated by me.

I took more creative liberty with the colors than I usually do--burgundy has more of a presence in his color scheme as a nod to the cartoon, but I scaled it back just a little bit, so that there wouldn't be large masses of one uninterrupted color.

This was posted on the fan-art forums. My post is here, the entire thread (including some of my previous sketches) is here.

Monday, March 5, 2007

So long San Fran. Hello LA Wizard Con!

Thank you SF Wondercon for such a fabulous experience! We met many new friends as well as saw some old ones! Can't wait to come back next year. Dinner at Osha was amazing... if you like Thai food I definitely recommend it.

Kei and I are just about to head out now... we rented a sweet little convertible and we're going to go cruise the coast. Next stop LA Wizard World March 16-18! Come out and visit if you're in the area.

Bobby & Kei

Here's a collaboration sketch by Kei and I

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Subway Sketching News

Hi everyone,
eventhough Bobby and Kei are in California subway sketching is still running as usual. I hope I'll see you there.


Friday, March 2, 2007

Character of the Week: Headhunter!

Just a quick note to those who have written comments: thank you very much for taking the time to leave me feedback--I do respond to most of the comments, but sometimes it takes me a few days--so if you wrote up a detailed critique, made an obscure reference to a Disney Afternoon cartoon, typed something in Mandarin, asked for a book recommendation, just dropped by to say "hi," etcetera, please check the comments for my responses.

For this week's challenge over there at Rick's character design blog, a headhunter:

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I'm happy with how this turned out... am I too self-congratulatory on this blog? Should there be more "artistic" self-loathing? Rest assured, dear readers, I am merely putting on a brave front for you. This bravado, this devil-may-care attitude, this John Wayne-like swagger--an act, all of it. Inside, I am suffering like the most neurotic of nebbishes... But nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. There are some problems with perspective (which is sadly standard for me) but I set out to do something with a bit more action and to mix it up with the colors, and I think I accomplished those goals. Admittedly, the all-cool color scheme is something that was inspired by Jacob's mime from last week's challenge.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thursday March 1st: Digital Painting with Bobby Chiu 2 CANCELLED

Hi everyone,
unfortunately, the digital painting class of tonight will be cancelled. Just got a call from Sheridan College saying that the school is closed due to the snow storm.