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Jan. 2nd, 2013


Stan Sakai and Jeff Smith

Some time ago, I posted a couple of paper figures of Brian Hurtt and Cullen Bunn, the writer and artist of the Sixth Gun (I would have drawn colorist Bill Crabtree, too, but we've never met and I don't know what he looks like!).  Well, these were only two of a much larger batch of paper figures that I was intending to post weeks ago... and I got too busy to finish them.  Well, I'm still busy, but they're all drawn, and I can spare the five-ten minutes it takes to color them if I only do one a day.  So that's how I'm gonna do it.  I'm not posting the print file until the whole thing is done, but I'll post up the drawings over the next week or so.

So, here's the first (if you don't count Cullen and Brian) in the CARTOONISTS I LIKE set!  I had a few rules for myself when making these:

1. I only allowed myself to do people whose work I was a fan of before I ever met them.  There are way too many people whose comics I've come to know through knowing them first, and I figured that it would be weird to draw some of my friends and not others (not to say that some of the ones I've drawn haven't become friends in recent years, and that those are friendships that I treasure, only that I was a fan of the ones I'm doing here before I had the chance to make any of their acquaintances).

2. I'm somewhat loose in my definition of cartoonist.  Many of these folks are cartoonists, but some are writers or artists who rarely if ever dabble in the other field.

I think that's it.  Anyway, here's a couple to start you off.  These guys are first up because, of this whole bunch, these are the ones with whose work I was first familiar, and who are in many ways responsible for me doing comics, at least in the way that I do them.

Stan Sakai is the creator of the long-running (almost thirty years!!!) comics series Usagi Yojimbo, an epic story set in feudal Japan and using animals as its cast.  I can never say enough good things about Usagi.  If you're interested, I had the good fortune to get to interview Stan as part of the Comics Journal's "Conversations" series a few years ago, and you can read it here.
Currently, Stan is taking a break from Usagi to draw the story of the 47 Ronin.

Jeff Smith is the creator of a few comics now, but the one that first grabbed my attention (and everyone else's was the comic/fantasy BONE. Jeff's aesthetic was a huge influence on me when I started out, and I still read and reread his work whenever I get the chance.  He recently completed his second big creator-owned series RASL, a science-fiction noir story.

Dec. 13th, 2012


Finally getting some CROGAN work done!

Well, it's taken me FAR too long, but I'm finally finished with a Crogan Adventure short story that I've been working on. It's called "The Black Brigade," and it'll be out next year as part of the GRAPHIC TEXTBOOK, a compendium of comics designed to be used as part of a standard core curriculum. I'll have some available for sale on the website when they come out, I think. In the meantime, here's your first taste of what Crogan's looks like in color!

I hope you feel the cold here.

I find myself drawing the backsides of horses more and more these days.
(click image for bigger view)

An action scene.  'Cause there's gotta be at least a LITTLE action.

(click image for bigger view)

Nov. 19th, 2012


Temple design for CROGAN'S ESCAPE

Work on Crogan's Escape has been on hold since mid-summer as I've been swamped with other work (some of it Crogan-related) and school prep, but winter break is finally here and I'm finally back to business.

A number of upcoming scenes take place in a village that has a temple in it, and both the village and the temple itself are pretty important parts of the plot so far as their layout is concerned.  I'd been fiddling with the designs for the temple for the last week or two, filling up half a sketchbook and slowly getting closer to a design that I could be happy with, which I've posted here.

The building draws from a number of architectural inspirations (including some Taiwanese stuff, given the story's proximity to the China/Taiwan border), but it's not based much on any one place.  It had to conform physically to allow for a number of story elements, which is why it gave me such a headache.

Click the image for a full-sized version

Nov. 7th, 2012


Class storyboarding demos

One of the courses that I'm teaching this quarter is an animation preproduction class (Character Design and Storyboarding), and the students are doing a storyboard assignment for their final.  I did these as a demo in class to show the level of detail expected, and the amount of time it should hopefully take you.  Simple and quick, but hopefully clear in what they’re meant to communicate.

Oct. 15th, 2012


HARRY POTTER Paper Figure Set

(as always, click the images for full sized version)

This week's paper figure set is certainly the most grandiose: there are fifty-five figures total.  Presenting, the characters of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, for you to download, print out, and assemble yourself!  Absolutely free, of course.  Click here to download the file.  Depending on your browser, you may need to right click and choose "save link as."  It's big - 66mb, I think - so don't do it on your phone unless you've got a heck of a data plan.

I put a new figure set up every Monday.  Feel free to check out the other ones.

Except in the cases of the Defense Against the Dark Arts professors, each of whom is depicted roughly during their tenure as a teacher, everyone is more or less circa the sixth Harry Potter novel, The Half Blood Prince.  'Cause I wanted all the kids in their school clothes.  It's just more iconic to me.

I tried to stay away from the movie's visuals as much as possible, but was unable to do so in the case of Voldemort.  The book's "red eyes" combined with the green of the Adava Kedavra curse made him look way too Christmasy, and the film design  was so, so good.  I gave him snake lips and longer fingers/toes, but otherwise it's pretty much the movie version.  Likewise, Sirius Black has a mustache rather than a bear, another nod to an excellent film design decision.  Otherwise, though, I think the choices are mostly my interpretations of Rowling's descriptions,

Oh!  There are two exclusive figures that you can't get here!  One is at School Library Journal's GOOD COMICS FOR KIDS section, the other is on BLEEDING COOL.  So if you want Moaning Myrtle or Buckbeak, scurry that way, too.

Oct. 8th, 2012



Click HERE to download you own paper figure set.

This week's paper figure set comes from John Wilcox's FONTHILL novels, a historical adventure series set throughout the British Empire in the late 1870s and 1880s.  I read the first book, Horns of the Buffalo, to get a flavor for the Zulu Wars that would serve as the backdrop for the upcoming Crogan Adventures audio drama "The Kimberly Pit" (coming May 15, 2013) and kept reading because, well, I liked 'em a lot.  There's a Four Feathers-esque narrative arc in the first book in which the protagonist is afraid of being afraid, and the stiffness that this creates (while essential for the longer series development) makes it a little hard to invest oneself fully in his exploits, but the supporting character/sidekick Jenkins 352 is one of the most enjoyable characters to read that I've ever happened across, right up there with Rooster Cogburn and Captain Good, and he gives you reason enough to care about what happens from the get-go.  From the second book onwards, Fonthill himself does a fine job of carrying the narrative, so Jenkins is pure bonus.

Anyway, if you've the slightest inclination towards meticulously researched colonial Africa yarns, like I do, I recommend them.  They're also available in audiobook form, so if you've got an audible account, give 'em a go.

As with the other paper figure sets (available to download here, and always free), you simply download the file (on some browsers, you may need to right click and choose "save link as"), print it out, and cut and assemble them to either display or play with.  The characters aren't mine (unless they're from the Crogan Adventures books); they're the intellectual property of their respective authors.  I just make 'em as a hobby, because I like the properties.

Click HERE to download you own paper figure set.

Oct. 1st, 2012



(click image for full-sized version)

(Click here to download the print file so that you can make these yourself for free)
If you're using Chrome or some other applications, right click and choose "save link location.

This week's set is an admittedly small one, with just two figures: lead-booted physician Stephen Maturin and obese sanguinite Lucky Jack Aubrey, complete with battle-lost ear.

If you haven't read the Aubrey/Maturin books, you should.  They're truly incredible, though in truth I've only read the first four.  Reading them was getting me excited about doing another nautical book, this one putting much more emphasis on getting the rigging right, but my editor told me that it was "too soon to return to the pirate trough" having done the pirate-themed Crogan's Vengeance only a couple of books ago, and so I must wait.  I'm holding off on reading the remainder of the Patrick O'Brian novels until that time.

Just a reminder that I post a new paper figure set each Monday, and that other paper figure sets can be found here.

(Click here to download the Master and Commander print file so that you can make these yourself for free)

Sep. 24th, 2012


PORCO ROSSO Paper Figure Set

(Click here to download the print file)

(click the images for full-sized versions)

When it comes to Miyazaki movies, everyone has a different favorite.  Mine is Porco Rosso, the story of a former WWI flying ace who takes up bounty hunting amidst seaplane pirates in the Adriatic Sea in the 1920s.  Oh, and he's been turned into a pig, because it's a Miyazaki movie.  I mean, really, what else could you want?

I'm always surprised at the number of folks who haven't seen this one, even though they may love other Ghibli films.  Well, consider this an invitation to get to it, friends!

So, print these out and assemble 'em yourselves.  Play with them.  Put them on your desk at work.  Give them to a child whose love of animation, anthropomorphism, or aviation you want to foster.  The print file download is, of course, free.

Also, feel free to check out the OTHER PAPER FIGURE SETS I'VE MADE.  I'll be putting a new one up every Monday for the rest of 2012.

And to keep in the giveaway spirit of last week's post, any tumblr reblogs will be entered to win a prize: TWO professionally printed copies of the Porco Rosso figure set (one for you and one to give to a friend).  Reblogs only... "likes" don't count towards the giveaway, though they are appreciated.  The winner will be announced October 8th.  You don't have to follow me to win, but be sure to check back if you're not following to see if there are prize updates.


Sep. 22nd, 2012


Crogan watercolors

A couple of CROGAN commissions:

First up, a couple of characters from an upcoming book (VERY upcoming... probably 2016 or 2017, and tentatively titled Crogan's Wings)

Second, a picture of Catfoot Crogan, circa 1718ish.

Both illustrate some changes in my approaches to drawing that I'll go into more detail with in a future post.

Sep. 17th, 2012


Sherlock Paper Figures

So I’ve been making these paper figures for myself for a while (they’re lining the walls of my studio), and I thought I’d make them available to everyone else.  For free. Every Monday.  Print the figures out yourself on your own printer, or you can take them to your local print shop (that’s what I do) for the best quality.

I figured I’d start with a set of figures from the BBC show SHERLOCK.  If you're one of the few folks who haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and fix that!

I don’t usually do backgrounds, but this set comes with a Baker Street diorama, because come on, Baker Street.

Anyway, click here to download the print file.  It's a little shy of 27MB, which isn't HUGE, but it probably better suited to a laptop or a desktop than a phone.  If you want to get OTHER paper figure sets, just go to the paper figure page at CroganAdventures.com and pick out the set(s) you want.

Also, keep in mind that I'm doing a big

on tumblr.  You can read the details here, but know that one of the prizes is a free paper figure commission.  I know, I know... you may not be ON tumblr.  I'm sorry, if that's the case!  You can always sign up - it's free - if you want to enter this contest. 

Anyway, enjoy the figures, and check back each Monday!

As always, collectors can find the original art for this and other things on my original art page.

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