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oceanlines painting

I first drew these battleships back in 2015 and haven’t forgotten about them. (Though a lot has happened in the last almost six years since i first got them down in my sketchbook.

For the last month or so I’ve been trying to paint more. Mostly digital.

I knew I wanted to tackle these giant, exaggerated, battleship like structures in paint.

I didn’t quite grasp the energy of the sketch, but it’s a start.

dream comic

I’ve been recording my dreams for the last few months.

Why?

I’m not sure, exactly, but it feels foolish not to pay dreams any attention at all.

I’m also trying to improve my painting skills, both digital and analog. So, here’s a recent dream sequence in painted comix form.

What does it mean?

Who knows?

Enjoy!

P.S. For some incredible dream comix check out ‘roarin rick’s rare bit fiends.’

unlimited wonder comics lab january challenge day 8

unlimited wonder comics lab january challenge continues with day 8 prompt: pajamas

i think the only panel here that i love is panel 4 with the bat – signal. the rest are just ok.

inking is hard. i want to keep my ink lines loose and energetic, but inking seems to demand precision.

maybe tomorrow’s will be a little better

inktober 2020 day 23

Last night when I showed the pencils to my 5 year old I accidentally called Captain Kirk, Captain Cork, and I think it's the greatest thing ever.
It's a little known fact the Gorn species is considered some of the finest garment-makers in the quadrant. It's also widely-known that I just made that up.

rip

If you’re just discovering us today, please visit all of my Star Trek Themed Inktober Comics here.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve modified my posting schedule to every other day. This means my Star Trek themed Inktober will continue sometime into November.

With day 23’s prompt, ‘rip,’ we have the return of the Gorn, previously seen having McCoy work on his teeth on day 8.

process

By the time I’ve drawn the finished strip, I’ve drawn it a few times already.

Here’s the initial idea I drew in my September sketchbook. (You can also see the early sketches for day 22, chef, right above the day 23 sketches.)

I love these childlike scribbles. One day I will figure out how to get this energy into the final ink drawings.

You can see it’s really just gestures and a couple of facial expressions. You might be able to make out a gorn-like creature making some slash marks in the first image, and see his arm lashing out in the second image. The third image is Kirk reacting and the fourth image is the Gorn sewing up the uniform. But these drawings really only make sense if you know what it is already. They’re very childlike in that way. You might not know what a toddler has drawn, but as soon as they explain it to you, you can see it. Same with these early gestures.

Than a few days ago I further refined the idea in my October sketchbook. You can see I’m still working out the timing of everything.

Kirk's belly-button is probably the funniest thing I've ever drawn.

Finally I’m drawing the pencils on the bristol board.

I inked directly over these but wasn’t happy with the results, so I grabbed another sheet of bristol board and traced the final copy which is what you at the top of the post.

If any of you have read this far, thank you.

You can also visit past Inktobers I’ve done.

There’s my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month.

In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 22

chef

I continue to fall behind, but also continue to carry on.

Day 22’s prompt is ‘chef’ starring Neelix, from Star Trek Voyager, who took over in the ship’s kitchen. I think they decided to have a cook in order to reserve replicator power? I haven’t seen many episodes of Voyager.

And I just realized I forgot to add the dots on his left cheek in panel 2.

If this is your first visit here you can catch up on all of my Star Tre Inktobers so at this link.

You can also visit past Inktobers I’ve done.

There’s my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month.

In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 21

sleep

Maybe trying to show the different approaches to sleep, or sleeplessness, rather, that different captains have.

pencils

Here’s a shot of the pencils before I inked the page.

For the captain’s quarters, I found this great resource.

For Kirk’s image, I referenced Star Trek VI, and in particular this great read on the movie, which highlights a moment where Kirk is in his quarters sleeping off too much Romulan Ale.

catch up on my star trek intober here

I created a collection to house all of this year’s Star Trek Inktobers, so you can easily browse your favorites and skip over the clunkers. It’s easy!

read past inktobers

I compiled past inktobers into easy to read comics collections.

There’s my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month.

In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 20

coral

Another of those Inktober drawings where I had just a single image but didn’t know the story.

This time the idea was from the point of view of Livingston, the fish in the aquarium of Picard’s ready room, looking out at the captain.

I doodled ideas in my sketchbook. Lynda Barry, I think, talks about the magic that happens when you just start moving the pen or pencil. Ideas show up.

First I had Data peeking in at Livingston, then Q.

I tried to shape the story around the two images I now had. Picard drinking tea. Q peering in at Livingston.

A day in Picard’s ready room. You can see the nighttime shot in the last thumbnail.

Then when looking for Livingston reference shots, I saw Hugh, the reluctant Borg, observing Livingston, and I knew that was it. Not only would the Borg be more recognizable as a big headed comix character, but it also felt more…alien.

Rather than an empty ready room, I decided to begin and end the comic with Picard looking out at space sipping from the tea. Though the gesture was the same, maybe Picard was a little different.

research

In the sketchbook page above you can see I made some notes.

Study: MC Escher, Fisheye, Lionfish.

These were a reminder to research these aspects before I could begin drawing the strip proper.

Escher & fisheye

I knew I wanted Livingston’s aquarium sphere to warp the light and image of the ready room, to give it that ‘Fisheye Lens’ look.

So I looked to MC Escher’s brilliant self-portrait of him holding a reflective sphere as my guide. I doubt the properties of the glass are actually the same as the reflective sphere but the effect is convincing enough.

And once again this image laying out the geography of Picard’s ready room has proved invaluable.

As did an image search of Hugh, the reluctant Borg.

inking

I always get nervous once I’ve got the pencils done and before I put down any ink.

Since day 17 I’ve exclusively been using a brush, which has allowed me to get a much thinner line. But man, I’m wobbly.

Here’s a shot of panel 2, partially inked.

I love the look of this so much. The combination of loose pencils lines with the inked foreground. I’d love to figure out how to do a story with this look.

For all of the thousands of comic books I’ve read, and countless inking books, I still don’t know how to use the black areas to direct the eye where it needs to go. The final comic is just so…busy.

lionfish

The shots of Livingston that I’ve found over the last month or so from Next Generation, aren’t great, so I needed to research what Lionfish look like.

catch up on my star trek intober here

I created a collection to house all of this year’s Star Trek Inktobers, so you can easily browse your favorites and skip over the clunkers. It’s easy!

read past inktobers

I compiled past inkotbers into easy to read comics collections.

There’s my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month.

In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 19

dizzy

This was another of those ideas that took a long time to come up with.

Back in September when I was first thinking about these ideas, all I had was a few notes in the sketchbook like ‘Picard ice skating?’

Just yesterday I hit upon the idea of the bridge crew doing donuts in the Enterprise in interstellar space.

reference

I find drawing spaceships hard, and the Enterprise in particular very difficult.

I bought a little NCC-1701 model off of Amazon to use for reference, but then it occurred to me to look for a 3d model online, which has been much handier.

Here’s the one I used for reference for today’s (yesterday’s?) comic.

Thank you morenostenanuto for taking the time to build this.

catch up on my star trek inktober 2020

I created a collection to house all of this year’s Star Trek Inktobers, so you can easily browse your favorites and skip over the clunkers. It’s easy!

visit past inktobers

You can visit (or revisit) my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month. In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 18

Trap

Today’s gag (I don’t love that word, gag, does anybody have a suggestion for what to call the twist or story in a comic? Maybe turn, how about turn. Let’s try turn. Maybe it will stick.) came from the idea that everybody and I mean everybody is there waiting for Admiral Ackbar, when he utters his now-iconic line.

How many characters from different storytelling universes can you identify?

Attribution

Today’s (yesterday’s) comic wouldn’t have been possible without the work done by http://www.merzo.net/indexSD.html. Though I paid no attention to the actual scale researched here, it did give me lots of ideas on who to include. The site is a lot of fun to browse. Go. Browse.

Also a big help was this 3d model of Admiral Ackbar’s ship from Return of the Jedi, which I’ve now learned is called Home One.

Story Behind the Turn

I originally had the last two panels reversed when I sketched out the story idea. See the sketch below.

My friend Whitley suggested switching the order of the last two panels, and he was right. Since I was going to have so many different ships and characters there waiting for Ackbar, that was the joke, so that needed to be last, to show how this ‘trap’ was different from previous traps.

Thanks, Whitley. I’m lucky to have a fellow writer to workshop silly ideas with.

(It only now occurred to me as I write this post inside a Discount Tire while I wait for my tire to be repaired on a cold and sleety fall day, that I forgot to give Ackbar a huge head. Sheesh.)

Inktober 2020 Will Be Different

I was talking to a friend last week about last year’s Inktobers. I couldn’t remember why I fizzled out before the month’s halfway mark in 2019.

Last night working on yesterday’s strip, I realized what it was.

As I go along through the month, the strips begin to take longer and longer to craft.

I become more patient, I do more research, I become more ambitious with the storytelling, and start drawing backgrounds. The comic takes longer to make as I get more confident in making it.

This year’s inktober is no different. Compare today’s comic to day one. What makes this year different, though, is that I’m going to keep going, even if my Inktober stretches into November and beyond.

Hopefully, you’ll stick with me.

Browse Star Trek Inktober

I created a collection to house all of this year’s Star Trek Inktobers, so you can easily browse your favorites and skip over the clunkers. It’s easy!

Inktobers Past

You can visit (or revisit) my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month. In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

inktober 2020 day 17

Storm

Last night I hit a wall of exhaustion after drawing the strip and just couldn’t get to the inks, so today’s inktober is arriving a little late in the day.

I’m starting to spend longer on each strip, too. The last two have taken me about 4 hours each, from drawing to completed inks, so it makes it harder to get one of these done a day.

Here’s a look at the pencils from today’s strip, before I inked them. I always like to take a photo because I’m worried I’m going to screw up a perfectly good drawing.

Like Day 8, I originally thought this might be just a single image of Picard, sipping a cup of tea, while an ion storm rages outside his ready room window.

Brilliant cartoonist Ivan Brunetti talks, somewhere in his brilliant book Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice, about not having to change each drawing much. That idea really tuned me in to looking for small moments when doing my own comics.

At that point I thought, ‘maybe it will be two images.’ Just Picard holding the glass, then taking a sip of tea. (Having two moments like that are great for turning an image into an animated loop, perfect for making a gif. I may get to that one day with this idea.)

Then I thought a flash of lightning from the storm would be fun to play with. (I have no idea what an ion storm might look like, or whether there would be lightning as we know it, but it feels right.)

Now I’ve got three panels. I could probably end the strip there.

  • Panel 1: Picard in his ready room holding a cup of tea while he looks out his window where an ion storm rages on.
  • Panel 2: Picard takes a careful sip from the tea.
  • Panel 3: A bright flash of lightning surprise the captain.

Beginning. Middle. End.

However since reading Brunetti, and cartoonist Lynda Barry’s books over the last few years, I’ve really fallen in love with the 4 panel strip. I use it in my strip Steps, and have used it in all but one of these Star Trek Inktober comics.

There’s something lovely about the timing of the 4 panel strip that I’m sure Brunetti and Barry have a far more eloquent way of describing than I can.

Once I had my 4 moments, I had some research to do.

Research

First I found this sketch of Picard’s ready room. (You may have to scroll down a bit.)

Then I had to find reference for Livingston, Picard’s fish.

But the aspect of the strip I was most concerned about was the lighting. I needed to establish that the only light in the room was coming from the storm outside; that Picard was watching with the lights turned down. I also needed to convey how the flash of ion storm lightning would change the lighting of the room.

I hadn’t really tried to convey lighting before, at least not this year. All just been pretty flat, but I knew I needed something like this for the flash of lightning.

Now, looking at the strip, I’m a little worried that not only did I not convey that this is a flash of lightning, but I’m worried that the storm doesn’t even look like a storm. (Is it successful? Let me know in the comments.)

Ah well. Onward. I’ve got to figure out something for ‘Trap’ tomorrow.

You can easily browse all of this year’s Inktobers, here. What’s nice about that link is you don’t have me droning on and on about how each strip was made.

You can also visit (or revisit) my Zelda themed Inktober 2019, where I did some strong work but ran out of steam and time halfway during the month. In 2018 I completed a Metal Gear themed Inktober, and 2017 was my first themed Inktober. It featured the world’s greatest detective.

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