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!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sudden Change

Few years ago a friend of mine approached me with a logo job for his band.  I heard the name, heard the idea for the image and it made me laugh.  The band's name, Sudden Change.  This would indeed be a sudden change. It's grim, it's a very metal concept and a fun image to do.  SO if Sudden Change is in the area GO SEE THEM!

Holier Than Thou

    Angels to save our souls after the ghouls and ghosts of October. 
DRUNK angels, because I didnt wan't our souls TOO saved. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

A peek ahead...BROKEN

Greetings and salutations..
Today I thought I give you a peek inside my sketch book as I work on the forthcoming comic, Mark Bertolini's BROKEN. Mark had a situation where the artist on issue 1 was unable to continue. I've known Mark for some time and we've always wanted to work together. However the stars never seemed to line up in our favor...until now.
BROKEN is a crime drama. And I've been dying to sink my teeth into such a story. BROKEN is the tale of a child Quinn, who witnesses the death of his parents at the hands of hoodlums. The leader of this pack, a mob enforcer by the name of Big Mike Murphy, takes the child in to care for him, teaching him the skills to survive on the streets. If you get a chance you can check out the first issue.
Whenever I begin a project I normally spend a few weeks gathering material...references..and begin sketching characters. In this case the previous artist had already established the look of the characters, making my job much easier. But to get the true feel for them I seek out people that may resemble attempt to ground them in my reality.
The character of Big Mike was based on several actors...more notably Brendon Gleeson. Minus the hair of course.
Mob boss Rossi was based on actor Jon Polito...a guy you just love to hate.
The main character of Quinn...the child growing up under the wing of Big Mike, took me a bit of time to lock down. Since we follow Quinn from childhood, to teen and then adulthood. I settled on child actor Rider Strong, who I felt had the childlike innocence, but could pull off the cold blooded look of a killer as he ages. Check out the film Borderlands if you doubt me. 

And I neglected to add that RBMC's own Tim Switalski will be joining me again...adding his bad ass colors. I'll be posting things as I go along....with Marks approval first of course. I leave you with my tighter sketch of Big Mike Murphy. Stay frosty.