Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hey Tuff Guy

Been crosshatching a lot of monsters lately, and this fella is one of em. He won that belt being the tuffest drawer this side of town.

Original Recipe

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Adoration Of The Captain

Every year Carol And John's Comic Shop (our drink and draw sponsor and pals) have a giant christmas party.  This year that includes an art raffle benefiting the Cleveland Food Bank.  

It's a riff on Adoration Of The Shepards, and I think I broke my hand drawing all those tiny stupid little lines. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Round 40: A Pig who can't fly is just a pig

I love "Porco Rosso".  
In writing this "brief" description I find myself writing some, stopping and re-writing, gushing like a fanboy and not getting anywhere near "brief".  SO suffice it to say I love "Porco Rosso" and you should check it out.  It's as much about adventure, slapstick and nostalgia as it is about love, longing and coping with grief and loss.  It's so much more than it seems, much more than a flying pig movie!

This piece is not at all what I intended, it started out a sketch while I was rewatching the movie and turned into this.  Kinda inspired by some of the pics of Charles Lindbergh on this one.  Every last bit of it, colored pencil on toned paper.  The piece I intended my still happen someday, if it does check back here!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tim's Thursday Post (better late then never)

11"x14" Black ballpoint pen

So, I didn't realize that YESTERDAY was Thursday ( it felt like Wednesday all day), and totally forgot to post something up here.

Since today is actually Friday, we (my fellow Rust Belters and I ) are part of Cleveland Exotic Dance Studio's annual "Winter Soirée" party tonight, there will be dance performances, live art being made, and an art show (we are only participating in 2 out of the 3 of those...), this piece is my contribution.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ben: Prepare the Baby's Room!

The times are changing, and the monsters are multiplying.  And with new monsters comes new opportunities.  Its with that in mind that I decided to create a painting for my daughter's bedroom.  With the help of fellow monster, Craig Worrell, we set out to create something special for my unborn child.  Follow along as you see a day worth of painting compressed into less than a minute.  Enjoy.

The Finished Product and my Happy Wife, Courtney.

The Original Sketch

The color treatment

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Hey kids, mid week post because I know how you folks like the superheroes. I'll see you on Saturday, stay cool. 

Happy Birthday Jim!

Yesterday was Jim Giar's Birthday.
Jim is many things.... a lover of white wine, a master of ink, a snazzy dresser, an amazing family man, and one of the wisest men I know. AND, on top of all that, he's a Monster! We are so lucky.
Happy Birthday Sir!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ben Hale Presents: The Reverand

I couldn't let Craig have all of the fun.  Happy Birthday to our own Jim Giar.  Your work constantly fascinates me.  You have a way of translating your style and technique to a large scale that I never quite figured out.  There are no tricks, no compromises, just a steady hand and confidence that I one day hope to have.  I'm honored to call you my friend, monster, and a few other things behind your back.  Have a great birthday!

-Ben Hale

Monday, December 2, 2013

Our very own Revolutionary

A portrait of V.I. Lenin?
 Today we celebrate the birthday of our pal Jim Giar!  
Whenever we are nose to mural I like to look down the line, see what everyone is working on and to see everyone's hard at work face.  It looks painful!  My wife regularly asks me what I am mad at when she catches a glimpse of my work face.  Jim's look is all focus, where I would say I look mad and confused, Jim is working on shooting lasers from his eyes!  Downright awe inspiring!  
It only seemed right to do a portrait of Jim using as many inks as I could get my hands on.  Bic pen, Black India ink, color India ink and white ink.  
Happiest of birthdays my friend, I'm looking forward to many, many more!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Your Hand Looks Weird

Draw a hand turkey was last week's contest at the Cleveland Drink And Draw Social Club. It took me a few days to finish mine off, because I've clearly got no idea what a turkey looks like, or even how it's spelled. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Painting In Progress

Working on a new painting, something a bit more experimental then usual. This is one, like many, that I started without a clear vision for the final piece. I like working this way, it's a totally a paint-by-gut-feeling sorta process. Hopefully it'll turn out well, fingers crossed!

 This composition is actually square, but the whole thing wouldn't fit on my scanner (hence the blurry image). So far, this has markers, colored pencil, gesso and watercolor on it. More to come.
Hope all of you out there have a wonderful Thanksgiving or (like in my case) THANKSGIVAKKUH: the best holiday of all time!
Can't wait to stuff my turkeys with latkes.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ben Ushers In The Winds Of Change

Inspired by Jim's post last week detailing his process, I thought I would show that (despite my missing last week) I've been kind of busy.  As I've posted in the past, I have a little superhero/video game project that I work on in my spare time.  Its fun because it lets me stretch my muscles and work on animation, digital painting, and a brand of problem solving that I don't normally get to do. 

Well, I've had a rush of motivation as of late and started roughing out the character animations for the player's character.  I've done some in the past, but nothing too intensive.  A run cycle that's a few years old now, a jump animation, idle animation, and some flying.  Nothing too terrible, but the difficult work was coming shortly.

Rough Lift Animation (objects from the ground)
It was while I was working on new flight poses, that the lingering doubts about my character's design began to swell up.  I originally drew him 3 years ago.  I've evolved quite a bit from the artist I was and the older style wasn't working as well for me.  First of all, while his stocky build was working for strength, it didn't play as well when he was flying.  Particularly when he was tipped on his side with his stubby legs looking ridiculous.  All of that was annoying, but the worst of it was that I would immediately get comparisons to Superman.  It didn't used to bother me, but not it does... a lot.

My first instinct was to add gauntlets and a hair color change.  I figured that way I could keep my existing animation and just add these extra assets on top of it.  

Test Thumbnail Gestures with Arm Gauntlets
I did some variations, shrunk the character to give him that old school "sprited" look, and then placed the variations throughout the level to see how they worked.

It was then that I started to ask myself what I would do different if I could start over.  I'm a better artist now and I'm much more familiar with the software.  What were some of the older ideas that I had dis-guarded?  Well, one of them was my idea to have the characters light and shadow be effected in real time by the direction they were facing.  I would make normal maps (mainly used for CG graphics) and use them to give the effect of the shadow falling either on the front or back of the character depending on which direction they were facing.

Below Left: Doctored artwork (normal map) used to direct shadows
Below Right: Original art no longer containing shadows or highlights.

Now I can direct the light in a level and have it affect the characters.  I've never seen that in a game and am excited about it.  If you are sitting at a computer, you can actually test the effect not.  The yellow box represents the light and will follow your mouse.  Go here to try the effect out.

So I've committed to redesigning my player art slightly.  I plan on tweaking the costume, changing the colors, and adjusting the proportions.  I don't have to redo everything as the cape animations can be reused.  Below is a potential redesign idea.

Potential Redesign

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out in the end and am excited about this new direction.  I'll post more when I have it.


Original Sketch for Cover Art

First pass at Gauntlet design.  Might lose ridges.  Pretty sure they won't show up when the art is shrunk anyways.

Monday, November 25, 2013

(hand) Jive Turkey!

Got busy getting ready for Thanksgiving and nearly forgot my Monday post!  Remembered last weeks'  Drink and Draw Social Club Cleveland (which is awesome, you should go, find us on Facebook), and threw down this sketch!  That night I didn't have paper large enough for my hand for this challenge, plus was deep in conversations about proton packs so I thought I would make up for it tonight!  Turns out, it's still pretty fun to draw a hand turkey, you should try.

A very happy Thanksgiving to all!  Safe travels for all traveling around the holiday and to my Jewish pals enjoy the epicness that is, Thanksgivukkah!!!! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tim's figure Drawing Thursday Post

Here are a few quick sketches from a figure drawing in Akron last night. All of these were drawn in Black Ball point pen in my sketchbook, all them between 5-20 minutes.


Monday, November 18, 2013

If You've Got The Digital Time, We've Got The Beer

Ever since I quit drinking, I've been drawing a lot of things getting drunk. I dunno if there's any correlation, but let's not get into why I draw so many half naked ladies. 

This is not the world

Once upon a time I wrote and illustrated a tiny book.  
A three inch tall sketchbook to be precise.  As part of the Art House Co-Op's ongoing The Sketchbook Project I was one of many Artists from all over the world who tackled the topic "How do you save the world?"  My lil' book made it to the show in Atlanta and is now in a private collection but in the spirit of the season I thought I might share an overview.

Where do you even start to save the world?  By defining what the heck the world is anyway.  I consulted Merriam Webster.

So that's huge.  After a few pages of exploring how vast that is I decided it was far too big for such a small book so back to the dictionary I went.

This proved WAY more manageable.  If the world is people, how do you go about saving the world?  Learn from history of course!  Some have had the best of intentions but their actions proved excessive, even destructive.  I.E. Old Moldery himself, John Brown.

Some chose more more peaceful methods and by doing so STILL influence productive change.

I love history and I could have gone down this path for quite some time but alas I was running out of pages in my tiny book so I was forced to come to my point.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ben: Round 40: Porco Rosso

All good things must come to an end.  And so the life of a dogfighting, half man-half pig could only lead to the likely conclusion of "down on his luck commercial pilot".  Well, maybe Porco Rosso's future isn't set in stone, and I'm sure Miyazaki could paint a beautiful picture to match the wonder and spectacle of his film, but this is the first thing that popped in my head.  

Sketched in pencil and inked in Manga Studio.  Color and rendering in Photoshop.  

Feel free to check out the original sketch and work in progress at my personal blog: and follow me on Twitter @NeedYourDisease 

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm Thorry...oh so Thorry

In celebration of the new Thor flick we did a draw off at this weeks Drink and Draw Social held in Great Lakes Brewing Co. I liked this sketch enough to add colors. Bic pen, pen and ink, markers in my sketchbook

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


It's been an amazing and busy year for us here at the RBMC; tons more opportunities for live murals, our first gallery show, winning multiple best of's around the city we love and call home, all-in-all, getting out there and making art for people with our friends has kept us busy and away form our regular rounds.  But fear not! Round 40 is on it's way!
We love all things Miyazaki, from "Castle Cagliostro" and "Nausica and the Valley of the Wind" to "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away".  For years Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli has entertained us in comics and film and we thought it high time to show the love. So make sure to check back for our tribute to all things Miyazaki!