Friday, November 28, 2014

Drawing Cyber Force

Eat lots of food, drank and played games, and did this drawing. I wanted to take a little break from Steamroma, so did this Cyber Force drawing. 

Marc Silvestri is one of my favorite artists of all time. I've included the in progress drawing too. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Comic art has always been an art form I was interested in. I started drawing due in part because of comics. I found most interesting was the different styles that were produced in comic art. Why did I like certain styles over others? Sometimes it was due to knowledge of anatomy and other times it was consistency. Bart Sears had an interesting style, and he clearly understood anatomy. I didn’t like his work as much as I liked Todd McFarlane, and it had nothing to do with anatomy or consistency. It was simply an appealing style. I would find myself negating the story over the visuals. I’d study his work as if somehow I’d figure out his secret formula. Each page was an explosive exploration of dynamics and detail. Today I can remember the art more than the story.

Today I draw comics with the mindset completely opposite of Todd’s detailed work. Though this approach is different than what I’ve done in the past, it has stuck with me all the more now that I’ve been working on the same project for over a year. I feel that there are stories that require the kind of attention to detail as Todd’s work implores, but for Steamroma it is important to keep the art simple and direct. I think this is something I never considered as an artist. I always assumed once I find my style I just stick with it no matter what. But for now that’s not how I approach a project.

At the moment I’m working on Steamroma the most. I have the other project I’m doing with a friend called Rock Slingers and that story I believe can more closely resemble a more detailed art form, not like Todd’s work, but something with more detail to give the sense of adventure in the story. While Steamroma seems to be more about the people in the place they are in, Rock Slingers is a story about the future and potential of space travel. I think both projects will be a challenge if I continue to draw them at the same time, as I am now. I’ll have to put my brain in a different mindset to keep each of the stories from spilling over into each other.

Here are some pages from Steamroma.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rock Slingers cover pencil

Still making corrections, but I think we're almost ready for inking. Now I just have to get some time to do it. I'm working on Steamroma as always and in between work and other work, I'm drawing Rock Slingers. Still I think we are good to get the first book done this year.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

This is a sketch of JJ and Becky, the main characters to a side project called Rock Slingers I'm working on, which is going to be a Kickstarter in the next month or so.

Doing the math for my kickstarter is below.

I'm in the process of starting a Kickstarter for a writer that has hired me. This is a side project from my regular gig, so it's just one shot 26 page comic.
I started doing the math and remembered some of the finance math I learned in college.
I thought this might help anyone that is starting a kickstarter.
Using the formula px = vx + FC + Profit
p is the price per unit (the price you're selling the comic $10.00)
x is the number of units, (we're trying to solve for this, which is how many comics you have to sell to break even)
v is variable cost per unit (this is the cost of printing the comic, shipping it to you from printer and then to the customer)
FC is total fixed cost (paying the artists, writer, etc.)
I used Ka-blam to get my printing costs.
For a 26 page comic the price is $2.20 or $1.77 if you put their ad in the comic. I chose not to get the discount, so $2.20 is the printing cost.
Going to USPS and getting a flat rate 3-5 day standard large envelope with a weight of 5 ounces is about $1.82. I put in several different zip codes too. One from Seattle, Washington to Boston, MA and still was the same price. Now you have to add the price of the envelope and handling charges too, so I was averaging $4.00 for shipping each comic within the US. The charge of shipping the comics to me, from Ka-blam averages around .20 cents.
The variable costs are as follows $2.20 + 4.00 + .20 = $6.40
I’m selling the comic for $10.00, which includes the shipping costs. So the customer is paying a flat rate of $10.00 for one comic.
Finally the fixed costs (FC) is how much it costs to make the comic. For art it is $1,300 and other charges are $260, which equals $1,560.
Putting the formula to work written to solve for x is FC/(p-v), $1,560/($10.00-$6.40) = 437.
X = 437
That means in order to pay for the shipping and all the other stuff I need to sell at least 437 comic books to break even.
Since each comic is being sold for $10.00 the total funding I need to ask for is $4,370.
If I want to add international charges I would need to add more for international pricing. I’ve seen pricing from $6.00 to $10.00. That is no insurance, first class and no tracking.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Pinup WIP of a book I'm doing called Rock Slingers. It is a slow going project that won't see completion for several month, because I'm plugging away with Steamroma. This is a pinup of the two main characters.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A little exercise in styles. I was reading Inhumans and I felt like sketching one of Joe's drawings and then I decided to draw a similar pose with my own style. I think it is interesting looking at the difference in technique and whatnot.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Here is the first page to the comic I just finished called Steamroma. I've started on the next installment for the story. This is going to be big. It's been a lot of fun so far and I'm looking forward to what comes next. I'll post more pages as the week progresses.

Friday, March 14, 2014

It shouldn't be hard for me to update my blog, but I find I'm updating this site far less than other sites I frequent, like deviantart, facebook and some of the forums I visit. Here is a big update, I'm in Imagine FX April edition.

April Issue 107

Please pick it up or get the digital copy. I found one mistake where they called me Todd in one of the articles, but no big deal.

Here is a panel from Steamroma.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friday, December 13, 2013

If I had a time machine and could talk to my younger self

Dear 12 year old self,

Wow, look how young I look, I mean you look. Look, first off, shut up. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Sorry, I’m old and frustrated with all the mistakes I’ve made, which you hopefully will avoid. Now, you’re going to make mistakes in your general life, but that will lead you to some of the greatest times too, so don’t worry about that. All I’m here to talk about is your art.

This might be a shocker, but you don’t draw comics for a living. You make some good money drawing part time, but I’m better off working a day job and drawing comics at night. At least that’s how it worked out for me. Maybe that will be different for you. You’ll end up meeting and seeing a lot of great talent throughout your life, but don’t get frustrated or turned off because you’re not as good as they are. They can be helpful in inspiring you to do better. They don’t have more talent, they have just figured out some things you haven’t yet and their art is the result of hard work and dedication. 90% of an artist’s craft is hard work, the rest is talent. Everyone has a little talent, what we do with it is the important thing.

Draw what you like, not what you think others will like. Don’t worry about everyone liking your work. There are those who will hate it, love it, and some will just not care about it. You don’t have to please everyone, and more importantly you have to like it. That’s how you grow as an artist. Do what you love and put in 100% of your effort into each piece. Finally, and this is an important one, be patient. Your time will come soon enough. Live life, be with your family, enjoy the time you have, and never stop drawing. Even if you’re not doing it seriously for a long time, once you do get back into it your muscle memory will kick in and you’ll be back in action in no time.

Let’s go back to patience. Every piece of art should be thought out and executed with precision. You should put your work down before you’re finished with each stage of its construction. Each time you come back to the drawing you’ll find something you can correct, make better or keep the same. This can help to mold your thought process too. You’ve always inked your work, from day one, so keep doing that. Keep experimenting with different kinds of brushes, nibs and pens. Once you get a feel for the style you love you’ll find the right tools for the job.

Lastly, you will not miss out on anything. Every missed chance you have to break into the industry will not be the last. There are always opportunities around the corner waiting to present themselves. You just need to focus on the art. Keep pushing your boundaries, from comic art to fine art. That’s right, you end up getting a fine art degree, but that comes much later.

Obviously I can’t tell my younger self this stuff, but I am reminding myself of what I’ve learned over the years and hopefully someone will read this and get something good from it.


This is a sketch of Archimedes, who you'll see in the lastest comic I'm working on.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good...

Twas the night before Christmas, there was not a blog post in sight.

I've been working on a two projects. One is a Roman Steampunk story called Steamroma® and the other, well that is slow going so we'll talk about that some other time. I've finished a six page short for the Roman story and I'm already working on another 35 pages. My guess is that this story will start on the internet and then move into published works later on when there is more to offer.

The pages take me awhile to do, so this project will be going on throughout next year.


Friday, September 27, 2013


I've been busy at work on two project (a third I haven't started yet, but its going to be big), and only one of which I can talk about. Boosterville is one of the comics I'm working on, though we may change the name due to the URL availability. It has been coming along nicely and once I have some more images to post I will.


Monday, September 16, 2013

NDK update

These are in no particular order. They are the sketches I did at the convention. Some were repeat customers, but mostly new faces. I haven't been to a con for a while, so I'm hoping they come back for more next time I'm there. I'm planning to do most of the cons coming up in Denver, so I can get my name out there. I'll be bringing prints next time, because some of my friends really did well with prints.

Finally, I sold lots of my stock books. I've had many books for years and they sold like they were new, which they were to those who had not read them. I'm really happy to be back in the con circuit and I hope it is as successful as NDK if not more in the future.

Thank you all for stopping by my table and just saying hi, and extra thanks to those who bought a book and/or sketch. I really appreciate the support.

Con update forthcoming.

I had a great time at NDK. I have lots of stuff to share, commissions, people I met and old friends I've connected with again. I'll try to have this up today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sketch Cards at Denver's NDK

Hi all,

Here are some sketch cards I'm doing for NDK. I'll be selling these at my table in artist alley. Please stop by and say hi. I'll have some of my comic books.



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Marvel Comic's Storm: redesigned

Here is a redesign I did of Storm. It is really funny, but when I started drawing this my daughter, whose 3, became infatuated with her and now she's always imagines that she's Storm. I did this for a contest that was due on the 13th. I had already drawn it a few weeks ago and just needed to finish coloring it, so that is what I did last night. I think the colors took me about three hours.


Saturday, September 7, 2013


So, I have begun making the web comic, Boosterville. I have started drawing the characters and I have drawn two strips so far. I'll be adding posts periodically with updates. I have been given the go ahead to draw, ink, pencil, color and letter the first ten pages. Hopefully it works out, as this really has a lot of potential.

This is Becky. More to come.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm working on creating a webcomic with a guy that lives in the same city as I do, Colorado Springs. We met over the internet and we have been discussing the making of a webcomic that I'm really starting to like the possibilities it has. He is paying me, but I feel like it is both our creation, since I'm drawing the style of the art, creating the look of the characters, and building the overall visual aspects of the story. It is his creation first and foremost, though. This is J.J. Ink on card stock blue 8.5 x 11 inches.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day

This was my attempt at inking with a brush. I don't do it often anymore, because it's more convenient to ink with a pen/marker. I am possibly going to be working on a web comic soon and I think the work is more of a style that needs a brush stroke rather than the pen style. I may have to keep playing around with it before I'm ready to start inking the strip.


Friday, August 9, 2013

There is a redesign contest going on for Marvel's Storm. I was thinking about her as a character and she is definitely African, so I found some cool African female models to reference from. I came up with this idea on a whim and I'm thinking of doing something more African on the final image. It is due I think in mid-September.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

I'm finished with school and life is finally getting back to normal. I'm getting ready to go to comic book conventions again, so it is about time I get some comic art done. The above is a digital painting I did the other day. This took me about two hours all together. I remember it taking less time when I was doing this stuff regularly.

Now that I'm finished with school I thought of posting on a regular basis. First thing I want to do is just draw stuff I'm interested in—nothing for work. I have a book cover I need to do that has been bought and paid for, so I really should get to that, but I just want to take a little break from the work stuff and draw for fun.

I thought of reflecting on the last 2.5 years and what it means to me, but I really need to reflect on the last 16 years to really understand what the last 2.5 years has meant. First off, I went back to school because I went to school for an art degree back in 97, but got distracted by a number of things going on in my life. I started off taking various music classes and art classes, but I ended up getting married and moving to Colorado Springs to pursue a career in law enforcement in 99. I did this because I thought having a stable career was better than being a full time artist. After I finished the academy and got POST certified I realized being a police officer is not my forte. I ended up taking a job as a machinist and worked in that field for about 3 years, before I was laid off (didn't turn out to be very stable after all). Then I decided to work in IT. I worked for Gateway for six months before getting laid off again. This time I took a job with T-Mobile and stuck with it for over 2 years before I had to leave due to a tragic life event—divorce. In itself it is not a big deal, but my daughters were 2 and 4 at the time and it was just us for about five years before I got married again. After the divorce life was kind of a blur. For five years I just wondered with little direction, worked for Verizon Wireless, Microsoft helpdesk and finally got a great job working for Progressive. I did end up finishing an associate’s degree during this period of time, though.

After I met my current wife life started over for me. I'm the father of four daughters, one of which is starting high school next year. Life is moving right along. So, 2.5 years ago I thought life was at a good point to go back to school to finish what I started way back in 97. I thought "I have a stable job, my wife and I are doing fine, and my daughters should have a father who at least has a Bachelor's degree". Now I'm finished with a BA in Visual Art from UCCS and it is time for me to get back to doing what I love, making comic book art.

I am a different artist now. I’m a cross between a contemporary artist and comic artist, which makes it difficult to explain what I do exactly. I draw comic books, but my art goes in galleries and I say things like, “I’m exploring the way sequential panels juxtaposed with each other can create movement and meaning for a narrative.” I imagine it is difficult to understand what that means to someone who reads comic books for the entertainment factor, but for the academic side of art it means my work has a little more meaning than entertainment, but in contrast it is not just about how the content works with form or theme.

Ultimately, my audience is both the fine art world (mostly academic audiences) and the comic book reader. I consider myself one of the general comic book readers myself. I don’t teach and I have no interest at this time in getting into that field of work. What I want my audience to get from my work is twofold. If you’re a teacher, I want you to learn about comic books. How they can function and how in different ways they can communicate ideas. If you’re a comic book reader I want you to be entertained and learn something about the contemporary art world. I want you to see how comic books can be pop culture and how they can teach us about ourselves. Whether I succeed in my goal or not, I hope everyone enjoys my work.