Thursday, December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! What, it's still Christmas week, right? And there are still some cookies left. So it's still Christmas in my book. So have a scene of festive and ornamental adventure for the occasion! From my webcomic, The Wayward Queen!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sketchy Sunday: Snowy Owl

Whee, it's snowing in time for Christmas! So sketches of snowy owls might be appropriate, no? This guy was stalking around on big fuzzy feet on a log at a raptor rescue center. I think he was somewhat outside the usual range for snowy owls. (These were done in the same session as the owl series I posted earlier... So yeah, sketched several years ago. Still cute, though.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Character Development Special: The Singlebeeste

The Singlebeeste, currently wreaking havoc in my webcomic "The Wayward Queen", is so named because there is only one of it. And one is enough. This tenacious creature has a bottomless appetite, and can be found raiding kitchens, larders, and pantries wherever food is left unguarded. Once installed in a kitchen, it can be quite difficult to remove.

Yes, those are totally ear-wings. Yep, like Dumbo. Six limbs seemed strange, so I figured "hey, why not evolve ear-wings?" aaaand... yeah. This happened.
The Singlebeeste is another character with a rather long history. Like the Queen and Vitalia, it goes back to an earlier story I dabbled with as a sophomore in college. In its earliest form, it was a rather vague camel-like creature (actually, it changed every week, but the camel-form is all I have records of.) Here's an ancient tiny doodle, and some early comic pages from a short-lived comic based on the early story (yes, Vitalia was pretty obnoxious back then.) (And a princess.) The Singlebeeste was originally "tamed" by the then Princess Vitalia, and became sort of a companion and mount... How and why it was tamed never really made sense, but most of that story made no sense anyway.
Later, when I started developing the Wayward Queen around 2005-2006, the Singlebeeste happened to fit nicely into the plot, so I added it in. And redesigned it completely. Here's some of the development doodles for the current Singlebeeste... It seems to have changed from a winged-camel-thing to some sort of horned-dog-bear with ear wings... I'm not sure which version is more goofy and implausible, but this one's cuter.
And somewhere along the line I toyed with the idea of having Vitalia ride around on the thing again... Unfortunately this doesn't seem to fit the current plot. But I reserve the right to make it happen sometime, somewhere! Because, this scenario is too cute:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Character Development Special: Slope and Mrs. Bailiwick-Stout

Time for another Character Development Special! This is Slope, the Royal Publicity Manager, and Mrs. Cornelia Bailiwick-Stout, head of the QPC (Queen Preservation Committee.) Both of them made their first official appearance on page ten of The Wayward Queen. The QPC is ostensibly dedicated to preserving the Queen’s safety, but their real agenda is to prevent the Queen from wandering, concerned that she endangers herself and the stability of the realm by continually straying from the palace. Their efforts have so far had no effect whatever. Slope is in agreement with the Queen that government ought to be entertaining. Between them they probably present a considerable hazard to the good management of the realm.
Slope goes back pretty far, to the very first story featuring the Queen... The first two doodles are from waaaay back (the mini color cut-out Slope was part of a set I made to track the cast of the old story.) The weird hat and rotund figure made an appearance early on. The other doodles were ideas I was knocking around while developing the plot for The Wayward Queen. In the end, Slope ended up being based pretty heavily on a guy who used to run a local business in my 'hood - the dude had a way of looking totally mellow and unfazed no matter what chaos was going on round him. I thought that was perfect for Slope. The last sketch in this bunch was the first official version of Slope, which I used when I started drawing the comic. I've changed his outfit since then, but for Chapter One he's wearing the old outfit, obviously. (I don't think he'll have an opportunity to change before Chapter Two.)
Mrs. Cornelia Bailiwick-Stout was one of those rare cases where I pretty much drew one doodle and said "yeah, that's it." (Granted, this was back in 2006 when I had a more slap-happy approach to development - nowadays I would probably do a few more doodles just to be sure.) So here's doodle #1 and the first official version based on that. She hasn't changed much.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Figure Friday: Final Life Studies for "Moving Target"

All right, we had the unused life studies for my "Moving Target" cover back in this post and this post, so here's the later studies that were actually used for the final cover. And if you want to compare, the finished cover and progress shots were posted here. (Ha, yes, I did totally wing it on the smallest figure. Yep. No studies for him!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Figure Friday: Unused Life Studies for "Moving Target"

Here's a batch of life studies I did for my "Moving Target" cover... These are the older studies based on the first round of sketches. Those sketches were later supplanted by a totally revised composition, so none of these poses ended up being used in the final painting... But I thought it would be neat to show the process anyway! I'll post the studies for the final poses later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sketchy Sunday: Hawk Owl

Last of the sketchy owl series! Drawn at the same time as all the previous owls, at a raptor rescue center years ago... This guy is a hawk owl. He had a perpetually irate look (and yes, he really did look like a cartoon!) If you stared at his back he would turn his head all the way around and stare back at you.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Or Happy Thanksgiving Recuperation Day! Or in the case of the Queen, it looks like it's going to be Thanksgiving Recapture Day, as dinner has evidently been purloined by the Singlebeeste… (This totally ties in with the latest comic page.) Thanksgiving dinner naturally consists of turkey, sausages, cornbread, pumpkin pie, apple pie, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, and muffins. The Queen is Not Amused.

(Okay, so it’s really the day after Thanksgiving now, but there’s probably still some turkey and stuffing left, right?)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sketchy Sunday: Screech Owl

More owls! From the same session as all the previous owls, sketched at a raptor rescue center. This is a little bitty screech owl being shown off by a trainer... He was ridiculously cute (the owl, not the trainer.)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Figure Friday: Hand Studies

Figure Friday! I know, I haven't posted one in a while, have I... Too many specialty posts, I guess. Anyway, here's a bunch of hand studies I did while figuring out the sketches for this painting here - these are all related to the earlier sketches, so they didn't really get used for the final. But hey, I like drawing hands, so why not.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sketchy Sunday: Great Grey Owl

Sorta late Sketchy Sunday, may as well continue the owl series... Here's a great grey owl (on a grey post.) Part of the same batch as the previous owl sketches, all done a while ago at a raptor rescue center.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whatever Wednesday: Super Pop!

A card I made for my dad on the occasion of getting his second hip successfully replaced... Now he has New Improved Super Hips and can go anywhere! Congrats, Pop! (Here's the card he got when the first hip was replaced...)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Character Development Special! Vitalia

Another Character Development Special! In which we unearth the ancient doodles that eventually became Vitalia! (The doofus currently starring in Chapter One of The Wayward Queen...) Vitalia is a rather dorky, kinda nerdy slacker girl who is about to find herself in the center of unimaginable chaos... (Heeee. This is going to be FUN.) (Well, maybe not for her...) FUN FACT: Her name was chosen by randomly browsing a seed catalogue looking for name ideas (I often use seed catalogues for ideas.) I happened on the entry for Vidalia onions and liked the sound, but changed the d to a t. I only learned later that Vitalia is in fact a valid name.

Vitalia doesn't go back nearly as far as Queen Gwenevere, but her development is... rather interesting. At one point she was two separate people, a boy and a girl. She started life as part of the rambling make-it-up-as-you-go-along story I devised during sophomore year of art school (the same story that once featured the Queen.) Full confession: at the very beginning, she had more than a bit of me in her, but soon drifted off and developed into her own character.

In her first incarnation, Vitalia was an incredibly snooty princess and daughter of the Queen. (There never was a king involved, but never mind that. Ahem.) She took after her mother in her tendency to ramble off on adventures and boss people around (although her bossiness was rarely obeyed.) Here's a rather grisly sketch of the first version of Princess Vitalia in regal armor (drawn when I was going through a really BAD case of big-hand-itis. Dear lord. Those proportions.) And two ancient comic pages from an early attempt to draw the rambling story in comic form (it never really got beyond ten pages or so.) Also a mini-Vitalia I made as part of keeping track of the cast.
Much later, when I started developing the "Wayward Queen" webcomic around 2005-2006, Vitalia lingered on as a snooty adventurous princess, but a new character was introduced - a geeky boy named Uno. He more or less occupied Vitalia's current role. Here's a mess of the doodles I generated as I tried to sort out both Vitalia and this Uno dude. (That long-haired girl standing behind Vitalia is Saralactra... At one point she was a sort of vague rival to Vitalia, but now - well, we'll find out later!)
Well, after quite a lot of noodling around with Vitalia and Uno and endless wrestling with the plot, I came to the conclusion that neither Uno nor the Princess were working out, plot-wise. At this point they kind of spontaneously merged into the current Vitalia, and lo and behold, the plot magically worked! So here we have my later attempts to solidify the new Vitalia-Uno character, and the inked sketch that served as my first official character sheet. (Then I entered Vitalia in an original character tournament, and she evolved some more... But that's another story!)

The mysterious gizmo that keeps cropping up in the Vitalia/Uno designs is important. Yes indeed. Keep an eye on that gizmo.