As I wrote last winter I’ve never been happy with the Batgirl cut-paper sculpt that I put together five or six years ago so it should be no surprise that I am up to my elbows making a new version, based on the original sketch. As I was taking pictures my Beautiful Saxon Princess suggested that I make a video presentation about my technique…and I think it’s a good idea. I’m in the “baby-steps” stage of planning right now, still researching video production and funding options like Patreon but it may be that this is the direction my teaching career will take now that I am no longer in the classroom.
…but for now I will share a snap of the work in progress, which starts with a drawing that I cut up to use for templates when making the individual parts.
f you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time it is painfully obvious that I am comics fan. I’m not a universal fan – I pick and choose my books carefully for content and (mostly) art. It should also be no surprise that super-heroes and (again mostly) super-heroines figure prominently in my sketch book.
What might be a surprise is that I love watch ice-skating as much as reading comics…but then again given my Alaskan boyhood it shouldn’t be THAT much of surprise. How much do I love skating? I would literally break into tears whenever Kristi Yamaguichi got up on the ice during her all-too-short career.
…so that’s why drawings like today’s image show up in my sketchbook.
Reworked Hansen’s trooper with a bit of color added. Fairly easy undertaking when you’re working with winter camouflage!
I had no idea what I was getting into when I started my training as a “commercial artist”. Few schools offered any sort of specialized training, but I was lucky enough to snag a spot in Richard Bird’s ground-breaking design program when it first started up at Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in the mid-1970s. Despite my good fortune I remained essentially clueless – while Richard was refining a traditional illustration and graphic design program I was aiming for more adventuresome forms of expression featured in comics and the covers of books and record albums.
…and when I say clueless I mean clueless. I’d struggle with an overwhelming sense of despair as I looked through my collection of cover illustrations knowing that I’d never be able to render such tiny yet perfect images like the ones rendered by Frank Frazetta…never realizing that those gems were the phot0graphically reduced copies of larger and more manageable works.
While my first tentative efforts were heavily influenced by Frazetta and his contemporaries I made no conscious effort to emulate that work to the exclusion of other styles. I just thought it looked cool and I wanted to see more of the same, even if I had to make the stuff myself. Sometimes there was some actual risk involved. The vivid colors you see in this drawing were made by Flo-masters inks…which I don’t think are legal to use anymore. The intensity of the colors stemmed from the use of several exotic solvents in the ink’s preparation.
…just to give you a hint of what I was working with: the pens had interchangeable nibs, and when I’d put a used nib back into it’s slot in the carrying case the ink would spot-weld that used nib in place.
I normally don’t share the “letter pages” – the left-hand side information that supplements rather than tells the story – but this drawing turned out kind of nice. It’s a pirate sub by the name of Crimson Cod and is central to a plot twist in DKJ&SS.
This latest installment in Dog King John and The Stolen Syrup depicts a Bony Express Glider.
For those of you just tuning into our program: Dog King John is story I am writing for my grandchildren, but when I finish the story I am planning on publishing a book version either through Amazon or Kickstarter. The story actually has two types of pages, with the story being told on the right-hand pages and background material presented on left-hand pages. Right now I’m only sharing the right-hand pages – a move that is both a marketing measure for the eventual book as well as a way to keep things special for the grandkids.
Spacing out the pages also gives me a chance to correct/tweak details as ideas come to me throughout the process – which makes each book I make for the kids an artists proof.
One change will be a subtitle: printed below Dog King John and The Stolen Syrup will be a line that states “a story for the precocious fifth-grader in us all.”
No need to dig out the old Hanna-Barbera VHS tapes – there is no “Jadex” among the Herculoids, at least anywhere outside of the Deitrick household. My Star Pupil and I spent last Saturday morning doing what Saturdays were made for: watching cartoons. We spent a lot of time with the old H/B action shows like “Herculoids”, “Jonny Quest” and “Space Ghost” and once I was able to muzzle the internal critic complaining about the absence of all three Laws of Thermodynamics we had a good time
We were at most seven minutes into our session when it became evident the team needed an extra member bearing a strong resemblance to my Star Pupil.
These members of the Monastery of the Mendicant Equine Brotherhood of Mary our Lady of Garound will figure prominently in Dog King John and the Stolen Syrup…
…where they are often referred to as “The Poor Horsemen of Notre Dame”
“May you live in interesting times”.
It’s allegedly an old Chinese saying and has been alternately described as a blessing or a curse, but in this case it’s more of an observation. This past year has been interesting but I managed to survive and learn a little bit. I’ve inched up the scale on my cripple-ometer but the new upstairs studio continues to be a blessing and losing my job at the college has turned out to be a much better development than I anticipated, if for nothing else than all the URI’s (upper respiratory infections) I’m NOT getting.
My blog-world has changed for the better as well with many more followers and some genuine friendships into the bargain so I’d like to extend a gift of sorts in return
The four symbols below were developed as a feature of a deck of cards designed in grad school years ago. Instead of the traditional heart/club/diamond/spade designations I divided my deck into winter/spring/summer/autumn suits. I also designed the royalty figures (king/queen/jack) to age from suit to suit – spring: youth, summer: adolescence . autumn: adulthood and winter: elderly. (I’ll show the art another time.)
The images from those new suits can be found below and I’m sharing with you all today as tattoo patterns – if you read this blog you’re welcome to use them in that manner. Some of the solid black areas have washed out a bit (perils of using designers’ markers on unfamiliar vellum) but they’re still great patterns to work from. There’s no need for any kind of payment – all I ask is that you keep karma in mind when you do use them i.e. don’t steal credit for their creation, don’t take unfair advantage using them for profit and don’t use them for something other than tattoo art.
I’d be happy to answer any questions and I’d love to see photos as long as they’re in good taste. I’d rather not have to explain a tramp-stamp to my grandson.
One of the reasons I embarked on my long-term figure drawing program in the early 2000’s was a comment I once received about the drawing this image replaces.
“Oh – it’s a female figure? I never realized that!”
Granted, field operations leaves little time for beauty care, but I never made a mistake identifying gender when I was in the military myselfr so the comment stung a little…and that’s probably why my female figures are now a little more glam. True, the uniform on this particular cone-rifleman is a tad more snug than the way it was in the original drawing, but I did forego high-heel combat boots.
Original 1986 version: