Thursday, December 2, 2010

Follow the Long and Exhausting Yellow Brick Road

I know I'm a week late on my post. I fell victim to holiday procrastination. I was still drawing everyday but I never got around to writing anything. Since I missed last week's post, I am treating (or subjecting) you to two projects.

Don't tell my wife but while I was home for Thanksgiving, I fell in love! Actually, she knows...she paid for her. Get your minds out of the gutter!! I'm talking about a new toy I picked up while Christmas shopping for my daughter. We went to Commercial Art Supply to look for an easel for my little one, a budding artist at the age of 2. A quick aside...My daughter really surprised me today, she actually drew me a picture of the moon and it was recognizable. It blew me away! For those of us parents, we see the art our kids produce and at that age and generally it looks like something a blind ape would make with poo on a wall. Even though I have no idea what her creations are, I find it heartbreaking to get rid of them. I have boxes of her art in the closet and in my attic.

Anyway, back to the story. While we were shopping I decided to look around for a decent art pen. I was getting ready to purchase a standard studio pen (sort of like a fine tip Sharpie) when I decided at the last minute to ask one of the store reps about what they recommend to use for illustration. He asks me, "Have you ever tried a fountain pen?" I said, "No, not since 8th grade art class...and I hated it!" He suggested I give it another try. So he takes me to this counter with a glass case, kind of like what you would see in a jewelry store. He pulls out an assortment of pens and told me to give one a try. The lines these pens created were fantastic. The pen were light and comfortable. The heavens opened up, birds sang, and a unicorn came out from around the corner and told me that I was destined to own this pen. I was in love. Then I saw the price tag...$30!!! FOR ONE PEN??? I felt like asking him if this pen requires gold ink. So I look over at my wife, who I might add looked absolutely gorgeous and radiant (wink, wink), and gave her my most pathetic look. She said, "Go ahead and get it." Have I mentioned how much I love her??
This leads me to my latest project. Marvel comics recently released a comic version of the Wizard of Oz.

I decided to purchase this book because I liked the art and I was inspired to create something for my daughter's room. Basically I wanted to replace Dorothy with my daughter and draw her and the other characters on the yellow brick road. I did a bunch of sketches to figure out how to draw these characters. I can definitely tell I am improving because when I look at the art of others, I am immediately breaking it down to simple shapes and quickly recreating them. The characters were surprisingly easy to draw. Once I mastered the look and style of the characters I decided to create my own layout and do a smaller draft version (below).
Pen and Ink draft

I have to say that I am really happy with how this turned out. I love the lines that my new pen makes. This was so much fun I spent another 9 HOURS yesterday recreating this on a 20x30 illustration board using water color pencils and ink (below). In retrospect, I kind of like the ink version better but it was more fun to do the big project.

I haven't done a marathon session like that since I was in college...actually, I don't think I have every did that when I was in my prime. I actually felt like my brain ran a marathon. It was an insane feeling... I kept telling myself to stop because I'd done enough already, but every time I looked at the picture, I kept adding and adding. Afterward, I couldn't focus on anything. I tried to read and couldn't get past one page. I don't know how professionals do this all day, everyday.
Final 20x30 Illustration Board Water Color Pencil

Anyway, I'm spent. I need a day or so to decompress and think about my next project. See you all next week!


  1. Is that Max I see standing next to the Tin Woodsman? That must be one old dog.

  2. Oh, and by the way, that's a really excellent piece. I'm glad to see you getting back into your art. And I'm sure it's good for your daughter to see you working at it as well. Anyway, once school ends for the semester, we can chat about you doing some sketches for my graphic novel.

  3. Love it! And I think I MUST go get one of those pens. Is it waterproof ink? Did you talk to Paul at Commercial art? He's great. I have to be careful when he's in there... he makes me want to buy EVERYTHING. Looks like your project was tons of fun. You really did a great job with the expressions.


  4. Thanks, Tara! Here is the pen that I got:

    So far I absolutely love it. I don't remember the guy's name that sold it to me, I remember he was wearing glasses and a super nice guy.

  5. Dave, I was thinking of Max when I drew the dog..If it were him, he would be peeing on the Tin Woodsman's leg. Definitely let me know when you want to talk about doing some sketches!

  6. That's amazing man. Like wow that is great. And excellent choice of source material. Young is a stellar artist.

    And Dave, Hey Man! *waves*