Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beardo McBeardsALot

In ancient times, the old ones would draw on a primitive material called "paper" whenever they couldn't get their computers working properly.  Sometimes, in an attempt to re-connect with the ancestry of my people, I will draw on similar material using sticks with bits of graphite in the middle of them.  And then, invigorated from communing with the old ones, I'll hunt for hamburger out in the wild and bring it home to cook it on the Weber.

"Of all the manly professions, surely there's no manlier than the mighty illustrator."

-Ernesto Hemingway

Friday, March 15, 2013


Apparently, Jim Cramer recently said "The markets have faith in Bernanke."  This is information I received second-hand, so I can't vouch for its accuracy.  But at any rate, that's the source material for this comic, which ties in that statement with the recent election of a new Pope.

I really like the way this week's Investing.com comic turned out (just like every week, the idea was theirs and the drawing was mine).  Even though I've drawn Ben Bernanke's face 15 times (yeah, I counted), the expression in this version made it enjoyable.  "The soul of beatific," as Kerouac said.  I even like the composition, in spite of the fact that the focal point is dead center and the proportions are all wrong (Bernanke wouldn't fit through the door of the Fed if he were really that big).  But somehow it works and I'm satisfied, so I'm not going to nitpick too much.


Long ago (a couple of weeks, maybe), it was decided that some illustrations would be needed to make a sweet 404 page.  And yea, I was contacted, for I am local and someone was nice enough to recommend me.  It was the Web Developer, me the illustrator, and a nice lady who does contracts for the University.  And so The Fellowship of This Particular Project was formed and an epic journey began.

The University's website gets all sorts of traffic and requests.  Sometimes those requests don't work out, so people get sent to a 404 page where they're asked to try again.  Someone had the idea to gussy up the page a bit and to include Joe Vandal in the gussying-up process.

So here's the result:

As you might have guessed, this project was a blast.  I've been a big middle earth fan since, like, forever (middle school when I started reading the Shannara series) and any opportunity I have to draw subject matter from that genre is an opportunity I will taketh, baby.  I was even allowed to re-imagine Joe's body and uniform to a certain extent (though not his face, as you can see from the concept sketches).

It was great good fun.



Look, new Decagon work!  This one is fresh from the drawing board.  Like, TODAY fresh.  The instrument is called the VP3, and it measures humidity, temperature and vapor pressure.


Nothing to Write Home to Mom About

This is the Investing.com comic from two weeks ago.  I've been super swamped and haven't had much of an opportunity to post recently, hence the delayed introduction of this comic.  Not that you were missing much.  The idea of this comic is sound enough (as always, thought up by the folks at Investing.com).  It has to do with the new "record" set by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (btw: this record is apparently not adjusted for inflation, so it's not REALLY a record).  But the illustration is a bit weak.

There.  I said it.

It's just not particularly well-executed.  It's boring.  There's no real focal point.  The perspectives are all a bit off.  And I really dislike the pole vaulter's face.  His features are those I use often when I'm not referencing anything.  I should stop drawing people without any kind of reference.  Because it turns out like this guy and it's not great.

I could give you an excuse, of course.  I literally had 30 minutes of sleep the night before.  But still.  I don't want to make a habit of turning out mediocre work.  Even if it is partially due to exhaustion.  Next week's comic will be better.  I promise.  I can make this promise because I was so late in posting this comic that the next comic already exists.



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ben Bearnanke

Here's the most recent comic for Investing.com.  This week's subject (authored by the crew at Investing.com) deals with the effect Ben Bernanke is having on the markets. I think the comic suggests that the markets are primed to fall and would be doing so if Bernanke wasn't using quantitative easing to influence things. I'm afraid I'm not informed enough about quantitative easing in order to posit a coherent opinion about the matter.

I do, however, have an opinion about the illustration itself: I think it turned out nicely. At this point, it's probably even money as to whether or not I'm going to like my drawing of the Investing.com comics from week to week.  The past couple of weeks haven't been my favorite.  Of course, my excuse is that I don't always have the time to draw the comics as well as I would like.  A second excuse is that, because I don't choose the subject or the elements of the cartoons, I'm further removed from control over the outcome.  But ultimately I'm in control of the quality of the illustration itself.  This means not only how well the subjects are drawn, but also little details like facial expressions, body language, scenery details, etc.  So in those respects, I have both a literal and a metaphorical hand in the quality of the comics.

It's interesting to see a body of work develop, as in the case of the Forex/Investing.com comics.  I can look at all the comics done so far (I think there are around 35 at this point) and notice aesthetic/artistic changes between the oldest and newest drawings.  I'm more comfortable experimenting with certain elements (the color of the sky, for instance, used to only be blue.  Blue blue blue, as if that was the only color the sky ever was).

But it's also interesting for me to think about what it means to draw a comic every week over a long period of time.  I mentioned earlier how I'm not always satisfied with the result of the financial comics.  This is partially the result of drawing on schedule.  I'm still appreciative to have the work and excited that I get to draw for a living.  But I don't always wake up Wednesday mornings and feel excited or even ready to draw.  However, because I don't have a choice, sometimes that effects the quality of the illustration.  Or, at least it can have an effect on how I feel about the quality of the illustration.  This kind of relationship with drawing is a new one for me, and it's a work in progress.  I want to always love drawing and always love the way my drawings turn out.  Not just for my own amusement, but also because when I have a great time drawing something it means I hand over a better quality illustration to my clients.

Ok.  Enough exposition.  Here's the sketch and the final.  What I like: Bernanke's expression (in particular, the fact that he looks like he's preoccupied with what he's doing), the bears' expressions, and the twilight sky.