Wednesday, March 31, 2010

K #3

Like I said when I talked about the middle act of this play by Crisse and Ramos, I started losing interest when things became more metaphysical, which would be early in the second issue. In this last chapter of the story, everything turns out to be a struggle between gods with cataclysmic consequences: universes are destroyed, dimensions are crossed, and civilizations go extinct as they get caught in the midst of the eternal battle between incredibly powerful beings. Well, there might be an audience for this kind of story, but it sure isn't me, which is a shame, because the artwork and (especially) the colors are really neat. Anyway… Anybody interested in buying these from me?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Second Pig

This is the picture that I drew after sketching the first pig and before actually finishing it. I like it better than my first attempt, but I think it doesn't look kid-friendly at all, which is why I went back to the first sketch and finished it. After seeing both pictures finished, I started considering perhaps drawing a third pig to give to my student, but I didn't feel like drawing yet another pig, so, after thinking about it for a couple of days, I ended up giving her the first one, and I kept this one for my personal files. Let me know which one you like best!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Go Go Battle Shrimp!

The Battle Shrimp is back in a new adventure! Or something along those lines… I drew this picture during one of my Cartooning Club sessions. One of the girls asked me to draw a monkey, and I thought "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to draw my old friend the Battle Shrimp?" And as it turned out, it was a lot of fun. I hope you like it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Witchblade #134

Issue #134 guest stars Aphrodite IV, who looks great in that black suit Stjepan Sejic drew her in. Aphrodite IV had already been seen in Witchblade a few moths ago, and this time she is back with a vengeance. This issue is the first part of the Almost Human story arc, which seems to revolve around Aphrodite IV. As Sara tries to determine who she is, more and more information is revealed, and different elements from the old Top Cow universe are brought back in a neat an interesting way along with some newer characters, such as Argent from Hunter/Killer. More on this soon!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Living Bacon

One of my girls wanted me to draw her a pig, and this is what I came up with. Actually, I abandoned this picture halfway through, and started a second porcine drawing. After finishing that one, I came back to this one and finished it as well. I kind of like it, but I think I like the second one better. If you would like to judge, all you have to do is wait for the second pig to grace this blog very soon. Enjoy!

Friday, March 26, 2010

K #2

I read the first issue of K back in December 2006, and, as I told you then, I loved it. Well, it's taken me over three years to read the second issue of this series written by Crisse and illustrated by Humberto Ramos, and, unfortunately, I didn't like it nearly as much as the first issue.

The artwork is still great, and the colors by Eduardo Olea are the strong suit of the book. However, the story starts getting more and more metaphysical, and I hardly ever enjoy that kind of tale. When you have characters getting into other characters' minds, and the whole world is about to be destroyed by some strange galactic cataclysm, that's when I start losing interest. I was sad to see how what I thought was going to be a fun story after reading issue 1 became something I didn't care much for. And things would only get worse in the third and last issue of the series. Oh, well...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ring Again

I love The Ring. I have it on DVD, and I think it's a really cool movie. However, I had never seen the sequel, which I had heard wasn't all that good. Well, they were right.

My girlfriend and I watched The Ring Two, and we both were pretty underwhelmed. She had seen it before, but all she remembered was the scene with the (obviously CGI'd) deer, and I wasn't even sure whether or not I had seen it. As it turned out, I hadn't, but I hadn't been missing much. I didn't care too much for the characters, and the ultra creepy kid (who, incidentally, my girlfriend thought was cute) didn't move me in the slightest. The dead girl wants to take over his body? Fine by me.

Still, the movie managed to be somewhat entertaining, but there were a handful of loose ends that bothered me. (Who found the doctor? Who was blamed for that? Did they go look for the kid who had simply walked out of the hospital? What about Max?) Therefore, I must say I wouldn't really recommend this movie unless you don't mind chatting with your girlfriend while watching it, as the less attention you pay to the film the better time you'll have watching it. A contradiction, you say? Perhaps, perhaps...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Under the Sea

One of my girls wanted a mermaid, and I spent way too much time working on the stupid scales and the even stupider chunk of rock. At least, I am reasonably happy with the result, so I guess it was worth slaving over the little details. Anyway, I hope you like it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You've Been Hexed

I had never read a single issue of Jonah Hex before, but the combination of a cool cover, the continued praise the series gets from the 11 O'Clock Comics guys, and the upcoming movie with Josh Brolin and Megan Fox made me want to try this issue.

From what little I know about the series, it seems like issue 53 is a good representative of the adventures of bounty hunter Jonah Hex. This done-in-one written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray was quite an enjoyable read, and the art by Bill Tucci was very nice, especially when complemented with the colors by Paul Mounts. I could definitely enjoy the story without having read the previous 52 issues, and I don't feel I need to get the book next month to find out what happens next. All in all, ish 53 was a good purchase, and I wouldn't mind reading more about the character!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Deep in the Caribbean

I probably don't even need to say this, do I? This, as you have surely guessed by now, is yet another picture I drew for one of my girls. I really like this one, and it might just be my favorite so far along with the elephant. For those of you who might be interested, this is supposed to be a Caribbean flamingo, whose very distinctive reddish pink color makes them not only stand out but also super cool --at least in my book. I hope you like it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bookdreamer

Do bloggers dream of electronic books? Perhaps, perhaps. I broke out my watercolors for this daydreaming depiction of yours truly, and I must say I think it turned out rather cute. I think the tie is my favorite part of the picture, but that might just be because it's purple. Obviously, I was trying to go for a Peter de Sève look, but the master is the master for a reason, and I am but a mere amateur. Still, I think I might be on to something here, so perhaps I'll persevere. At any rate, this picture was meant to become a bookmark, which also turned out rather cute, so I guess I achieved what I set out to accomplish. Let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stripy

The zebra is finished! Woohoo! After showing you the work in progress, here you have the finished picture. I think it turned out really cute, and my girl liked it a lot, so everyone was happy. Let me know what you think!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Witchblade #133

My Witchblade issues had been piling up for the last three months, and I couldn't wait to get back to reading this outstanding series. I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to the book when Ron Marz leaves, so I hope he never, ever stops writing this book. If I see him in San Diego this year, I mean to beg him to stay forever.

At any rate, issue 133 is the conclusion to the two-part The Bridge story, and it doesn't end like I thought it would. As usual, Marz had a neat twist ready, and I don't know about you guys, but I did not see it coming at all.

Needless to say, Stjepan Sejic does a wonderful job illustrating the book, and I really liked his depiction of the troll under the bridge. As with Marz, I hope Sejic never leaves Witchblade, and even though I know never is a long time, a man can dream, can't he?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Glambert

Here you have a picture one of my girls asked me to draw. She gave me a photograph of a couple of creepy dudes and asked me to turn it into a picture, which I did without even knowing who the people in the picture were. Halfway through the illustration I realized it was Adam Lambert, but that didn't really affect the way I drew him. Plus, I still don't know who the other dude is. Any light you could shed would be most welcome.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On Horror

I've been reading Stephen King's Danse Macabre for longer than I care to admit. He wrote this essay on horror about thirty years ago, and I must confess I haven't enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. There are lots of autobiographical information, and that is great. (Let's not forget On Writing is my favorite book of all time.) However, most of the book deals with old sci-fi and horror movies, old sci-fi and horror books, old sci-fi and horror radio shows, and old sci-fi and horror TV shows, and this, even though it sounds like something that'd be right up my alley, gets tiresome after a while.

I think there are two interconnected reasons for this. (1) The works King discusses were created in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, which means (2) I haven't seen or read most of them, and I find it hard to care about his in-depth analysis when I don't know the characters, the plot, or even the authors he is talking about. Still, I can see all the thought and passion he's put into this, and it certainly is a sprawling enterprise packed with information and amusing sidelines which are worth reading --if you are familiar with the books and movies and stories he comments on. And still, for the most part, I had a good time reading the book, but I wish I had been more knowledgeable in the field to better enjoy the book. I guess I could always go watch all those films and read all those stories and then come back and re-read the book, but I doubt that will ever happen. However, if you consider yourself an old sci-fi and horror connoisseur, by all means pick up this book: you will absolutely love it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Earn Your Stripes

Here you have yet another picture I drew for one of my girls. She wanted a zebra, and I was happy to oblige. Today you can see the work in progress, as I think it's kind of cool how the body is inked but the stripes are still in pencil. But fear not: you'll get a chance to see the finished product very soon. Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Wanna Be Like Him

Peter de Sève is a genius of unrivaled skill, let me make that very clear. I finally got A Sketchy Past, the book showcasing illustrations by de Sève, and my jaw came unhinged. Every single illustration in this book is gold, a feat of impossible skill, a triumph of a master. Am I gushing too much? Maybe I am, but de Sève's artwork is incredible, and I want to be like him. Of course, I doubt I'll ever achieve anything resembling this level of dexterity with a brush (or pencils, or pens), but I really want to try. That is one of the best things about somebody else's work blowing your mind: that it inspires you and challenges you and makes you want to be better. The downside is that it probably won't happen, but man am I excited to try.

This book is expensive, but it is worth every single penny and twice that, so if you are interested in enjoying a comprehensive look at de Sève's career, go buy this book now. There is no way you will regret it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Creepy Fun

Just like I did with Platinum Grit, I bought The Unearthed Cemetery Blues having only seen the cover and having only read what it was about. Fortunately, and unlike my miserable experience with PG, I thoroughly enjoyed TUCB. The story about Ridley and Falstaff, two slacker monster hunters, is funny and entertaining as written by Ryan Rubio, and the artwork by Thomas Boatwright is expressive and fits the story perfectly. While neither story nor artwork blew me away, I found both of them good enough to keep me reading, and even though this is far from my favorite book of all time, you could do worse than reading this collection. You could read Platinum Grit, for instance.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Finished Present

In the end, I decided not to ink this picture, as I really liked the line work. Instead, I polished it, and let it be. The one thing I did change was the tree, which was supposed to have leaves and look less creepy. However, since I had started to draw too far away from the bottom of the page, the composition looked wrong if the tree was too big, as it either wouldn't have fit on the page, or it would have been way too close to the top. To solve this problem, I opted for leaving it leafless, and hoped for the best. At any rate, I hope you guys like it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Big Mistake

That's what buying Platinum Grit sight unseen was: a big mistake. I really want to try to stay positive, but there simply wasn't anything in this book that I enjoyed. The story by Trudy Cooper and Danny Murphy was barely intelligible, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Nothing seemed to make sense, and, to make things worse, there were several spelling mistakes scattered through the book. The most egregious offense was the writer's certainty that "descend" was spelled "decent". Guess what, Ms. Cooper? It isn't.

The artwork wasn't my cup of tea either, with what struck me as poorly rendered characters and backgrounds. It had a certain cartoony look that I thought I was going to find appealing, but that was also a mistake. I'm glad Ms. Cooper is making some money with her drawings, but she certainly won't be getting any more from me.

All in all, Platinum Grit was boring, baffling, and not enjoyable at all, but maybe I am missing the point, because all the Amazon customer reviews say it is great. If you ask me though, I'd say don't ever read it. Not even for free, which you can actually do, as this was originally published as a webcomic. It's time of your life you will never get back.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Grave Misunderstanding

I went to see Corpse Bride when it opened, back in 2005, but I hadn't seen it ever since. I remembered I had enjoyed it a lot, so when I saw it on sale for five bucks, I couldn't help myself --I had to buy it.

Watching it at home was as much fun as I expected it to be. The visuals are simply stunning, especially for a stop-motion animation movie. To think that all this was done by hand blows my mind, and one of the documentaries about making the puppets and working with them is simply fascinating. Their tiny little faces, the tricks they used to make them walk, how they managed to create the illusion of wind… I could go on and on, and I wouldn't do justice to these people's genius, so I'll stop now. However, I'm sure you've all seen the movie by now, so please leave a comment and let us know what you thought about it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Sketchy Past

One of my girls asked me for an elephant, and I told her I'd be glad to do one for her. I had recently tried my hand at drawing this creature in my Cartooning Club, but I wanted to go with a more realistic approach this time around. Therefore, I did an image search on the Internet, sat down (as opposed to last time), and started working on the picture. For the past couple of months, I have been trying to develop a more curvy and expressive line, and I think you can see some of that in this picture. I am still debating whether or not I want to ink it, so please let me know what you guys think. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Pretty But

You know I was eagerly anticipating Tim Burton's take on Alice in Woderland. I usually like Burton's films, and I love all things Alice. I love Johnny Depp, and the trailer looked great. It seemed like all the planets were aligned for this movie to be amazing, right?

The visuals were, hands down, the best thing in the movie. The costumes and backgrounds and make-up were great, wildly imaginative, whimsical, and masterfully conceived. At the same time, they were incredibly true to the illustrations in the book, which blew me away. The Jabberwocky looked just like the picture from the book, and the drawing of Alice facing him with the sword is taken directly from the book. The dodo (cane included!) makes an appearance, Twidledee and Twidledum carry their wooden swords, the hybrids of rocking horse and pegasus show up, the Gryphon is there, the butler toads… Basically, the characters either look almost exactly like they do in the book, or their design has been improved. Wonderland is a feast of shapes and colors, of creatures and crazy architecture, and that was a lot of fun to look at.

The acting was also great, and everyone in the movie did a very good job portraying their characters. Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter reminded me of Jack Sparrow a couple of times, though, but that is forgivable (as opposed to his little dance, which isn't). Helena Bonham Carter ruled as the Red Queen and looked freakish in a good way, but Anne Hathaway (who looked freakish in a bad way) didn't move me nearly as much. Mia Wasikowska did an excellent job as Alice, and Stephen Fry's Cheshire Cat was extraordinary.

Here comes the but, though. The movie was pretty to look at, granted, and everyone involved convinced me this world was real and the characters were real. Unfortunately, the story was horribly lacking, and that ruined the movie for me. It is not that the story was missing something; there simply was no story to speak of. As soon as Alice lands in Wonderland (and I'm not spoiling anything by saying this), we learn she is supposed to slay the Jabberwocky with the vorpal blade. However, what follows that revelation is basically an hour and a half of touring Wonderland until the elements to fulfill the prophecy come together and she can take a crack at it. That's it. All the character development takes place right at the end of the movie, all the growing Alice does and the realizations she comes to happen right at the end of the film instead of through her time and adventures in Wonderland. During her travels, Alice is simply thrown from one place to the next so that the audience can see this bizarre land and meet its even more bizarre dwellers. It's an hour an a half of pretty scenery and nothing else, a pretty package with no present inside. And that, in my opinion, is a bad idea and a worse film. If this is supposed to be a journey of self-discovery, said discovery of the self should happen throughout the story, not in a mere five seconds right at the end. If felt more like an afterthought, as if the creators of the film, busy as they were giving us a tour of the place, had forgotten all about it, and then realized their oversight and tried to put something together in a hurry.

I hope you have noticed I am not discussing how faithful Linda Woolverton's screenplay is to the books, because that is not relevant. The movie is true enough to the spirit of the books to render that point moot, but there is no story in this movie, no progression, no evolution, and that's what I take exception to. If this is the Alice Tim Burton is satisfied with, well, that makes one of us. What a missed opportunity to craft a memorable tale.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Ruined Weekend

My girlfriend loves horror movies, and she had already told me a few times I had to watch Eden Lake. Next thing you know, she showed up at my place with the movie, so we sat down to watch it and enjoy it.

I think the scariest thing about the movie is that it could be real. This could be based on actual events, and I am sure something like this has happened more than once. Add to this the great acting by a bunch of unknown faces (Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly are the best-known actors in the film), and Eden Lake is terrifying because it's so close to real. This could happen to you and your girlfriend, and your wonderful weekend at the lake could turn into a horrible nightmare just like it happens to the protagonist couple. So, if you're in the mood for a horror flick, go rent Eden Lake, and let me know what you think!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Disturbing Behavior

I wasn't sure how much I was going to like The Crazies, but it turned out to be a very enjoyable film. I liked the fact that the "conflict" happened pretty much at the beginning, and the movie was a rollercoaster from then on. I also liked how it kept me guessing, and every time I thought it was about to end, something else would happen and the action would continue until the next "end scene", which would once again turn out not to be the end at all.

Something my girlfriend pointed out and that I agree with is the way the audience gets to like the characters. Usually, what you get is a set of characters you are introduced to and that you already like before the bad stuff starts to happen. In The Crazies, you're really not sure whether or not you like them when things start going awry, and it's through their actions then that you find yourself liking or disliking the characters.

Also, for a horror movie, The Crazies wasn't all that bloody or gory, which I thought was especially interesting after I found out George A. Romero was the executive producer. And maybe that's why the film was so much fun, since having an old pro like Romero exec producing this remake sure can't hurt your movie.

To sum it up, The Crazies was packed with tension, thrills, and suspense, and I doubt anyone looking for those traits in a movie would be disappointed at all. Highly recommendable!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Savanna Sunrise

Here you have a picture I drew for one of my girls. She wanted a giraffe, an animal I don't think I had drawn in over twenty years, so I got some photo reference and got down to work. I think it turned out really cute, and she definitely liked it, but I'd like to know what you guys think. Hopefully, it will be positive!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Repeat That

I enjoyed Vantage Point, even though the rewind gimmick got a little bit old after a while. Also, there were a couple of plot threads that either didn't get resolved or I missed them completely. (And I confess I was texting at some point during the movie, so maybe this is my fault.) Still, it was fun to see Matthew Fox play somebody else other than the illustrious Dr. Jack Shepard, and the movie was short enough to keep its momentum going and not overstay its welcome. Therefore, and while there won't be any glowing praise coming from yours truly, I'd still recommend the film to anyone in the mood for an enjoyable action thriller. Let me know what you think if you watch it!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Bentley II

Last week I showed you the quick drawing I did of Bentley, one of my girlfriend's dogs. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the result, and I resolved to tackle the topic again, allowing myself more time than I did the first time around. You can see how this new picture turned out, and whether or not you like it better than the original, I certainly do. And still, I don't think it captures his personality all that well. I think a third attempt is out of the question, but you never know. Anyway, I hope you like it!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Analogous

I recently got one of those funny emails people forward more often than they should. This one, however, was comedic gold, and I thought I'd share it with you. Enjoy!

"Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.


1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.


2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.


3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.


4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.


5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.


6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.


7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.


8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.


9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.


10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.


11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. Instead of 7:30.


12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.


13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.


14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 PM. Traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 PM, at a speed of 35 mph.


15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.


16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.


17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.


18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.


19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.


20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.


21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.


22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was

actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.


23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.


24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.


25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up."

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Keep Walkin'

We celebrate the MS Walk every year to raise money to find a cure for this disease. I've been co-
sponsoring this event for two or three years now, and this time one of the girls suggested I drew the flyer. Needless to say, I immediately agreed to do it, and this is the picture I came up with. I left a lot of space on the left for the text, which I later added using Photoshop. I think the picture turned out really cute, and I had a great time drawing it. Several girls have also told me they liked it a lot, which made me very happy, and so I hope you like it too!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Cryptalicious

My girlfriend gave me the first two seasons of Tales from the Crypt for Valentine's Day, and we started watching season 1 immediately. As it turns out, we both used to watch the show when we were little, and we both loved it, so we were eager to see how the reality of the show compared to the fondness of our memories.

This first season is only six episodes, and since each episode lasts for about 25 minutes, we went through the show pretty quickly. There was plenty of camp, plenty of bad acting, and plenty of 80's hair, yet I found each episode supremely entertaining. The best two were probably And All Through the House, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and Dig That Cat… He's Real Gone, directed by Richard Donner, but I had a blast watching them all.

Fortunately, season two boasts 18 episodes, so it will keep me entertained for considerably longer. But before I get to those, I hope I can get through the first season of Chuck. And yet the Crypt Keeper keeps calling my name. How can I say no to him?