Tuesday, 7 October 2014


First of all, my apologies for my last statement of posting every 3 weeks, which was unfortunately 6 months ago. Harder habit to get into it seems. I'll strive to do better.
Attached is a sketch I did tonight after being puzzled and frustrated about the GMO's in our foods. I try to read up on as much as I can but frankly that usually just creates more frustration that it releases.
Hard to think a corporation would willfully risk the worlds health for a profit. But after thinking that I realize how gullible that sounds.
Well, this image came into my head so thought I'd share it.
Any comments are always welcome.
Looking at it now I wish I had added more black to the pant leg. May go do that and repost. If it looks better that is.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Problems of drawing muscle mass

      A big problem many artists have with drawing muscles is the correct mass to character ratio. I used to see these problems as a kid reading comic books. One in particular was of an old meek and feeble genius who was ripped off by his partner, so he became a super villain to get revenge. Somehow he developed these crazy muscles as soon as he donned his costume. It didn't ruin the story but it did ruin the believability and took me out of the story. Albeit briefly, it's not what we want to have happen in any media of storytelling.
    So it's not just a student or amateur's problem, many professionals run into it as well. Which I think made me determined to be able to draw different musculatures.
    One thing many artists fail to do is reference. They and myself included have all been guilty of being lazy and making do or hoping for the best. Not sure if it's a feeling of guilt as if we're cheating if we use reference or not but it isn't. As long as we're not taking it directly line for line, image for image.
     The biggest problem isn't always the drawing of the muscle it's the massing of it. In other words drawing them too big. Every day people, children and the elderly having muscles like Superman somewhat takes the believability out of it as you can imagine.
     The main reason for this I find is that many of us learn from comic books as well as muscle mags since the models in them are shirtless and was well physiques so we pick up on bulging rounded muscles.. But how many mags show shirtless elderly people and if there were who would want to buy them except artists?
       My friend and mentor Werner Zimmermann always teaches his students to look at the muscles as cables. I've found this to be the best approach and have drawn up some illustrations to hopefully show how it works.

      Above left is a sketch of the skeletal leg front and profile views. To its right muscles drawn as cables which is more accurate to the real thing as most of our curves come from fat and flesh over the muscles.
 Why this works for skinny forms is obvious but overlooked, skinny forms do not have much muscle or fat, there few curves.
     To the left is a drawing with muscles of an average athletic person, again even though they don't appear large there will be fat and flesh covering them which will add to the size and give more curves.
 Below is heavily muscled which has curves we're used to seeing in muscle mags and superhero comics. One thing to note is the bodybuilders you see in the mags are generally working their way to competition so their body fat is low which let's us see the separation of the muscles more clearly.

The above sketches side by side.
  I have included here some sketches I did to show various skinny legs.
 A couple of goblin legs next to a more athletic leg (foots a little large now that I look at it, another reason to never wait til the last minute to do your work, a fresh eye always reveals mistakes like this)
 Thin legs. Unfortunately they look like mine.(not really, mine are bowlegged  and hairier)
If possible one of the best artists to reference for these statures is Heinrich Kley. You'll learn an incredible amount from studying his anatomy, movement, acting and line work. 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Comics and Animatics

Like most kids who grew up before video games, I read comic books and watched cartoons. I evolved in my tastes, from the basic good guy vs bad guy super heroes in tights to ruthless bandit barbarians to the anti-heroes of the Watchmen.
 The thing I like most of the comic world evolution is the incredible range of story telling, writing and of course the art work, which is the same for animation.
   My cousin who is an amazing writer and producer in Hollywood (NCIS Los Angeles, Jag, E.R. to name a few) was writing a script for a live action series and asked if I could do a comic book teaser. I immediately jumped at the chance.
 I can't go into it too much (confidentiality things) but it's set in WWII. I'm a history buff so I really got into researching the uniforms, equipment and settings.
The challenge was converting a script for live action to comic book.
That and doing it using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop. I prefer traditional pencil and paper but thought this would be faster. Took a few pages before I got the hang of it. Went for a more realistic rough feel over the more traditional north American style in hopes of the viewers easier seeing it as live action.
  After that was done (10 pages) my brother (also an artist/animator and director) took the comic and made it into an animatic which I have included below.

So here's a few pages ofwhat I've done and the animatic made by my brother.
Hope you like it.



Sunday, 16 March 2014


  My apologies for not posting sooner, has been a hectic few months. I plan to never be this absent again.
    I've always been a huge fan of the classic horror stories. Not sure why but I think they were scarier but also had a human element to them, they seemed to be more the victims in a sense.
Frankenstein or should I say his monster was the perfect example of that. Gentle being turned monster from the mistreatment and ignorance of others.
     The real scary part of it for me is the idea of bringing life back to the dead (even though we all might wish we could at some point in our lives.) Most of us I'm sure wouldn't want to use remains of different people to do it.
   But the idea does have artistic curiosities (Now I'm seeing where the scientists get their urges from)
So I've been sketching some ideas for a monster which I've posted below.
Much of my inspiration comes from the novel Frankenstein's Diary. Fantastic view from the Doctors perspective.
As always I welcome any comments.
Hope you enjoy it.

   "I am Legion, for I am many."   (from Frankenstein the True Story in reference to his being made of different people.) 
                                           The monster, learning to walk using apparatus.

                                        Had fun researching physicians tools of the 1800's.
A great way to learn anatomy.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The cost of making money & A Gentleman and his Sheep

I'm attempting a lot of things out of my comfort to be able to do the things I want to do full time instead of as a hobby. As many of you know I'm tired of the animation industry after 20+ yrs and feel it's time for a change. Looking to get into different things. One is to simply sell my own artwork. 
       The only thing wrong with that sentence is the word 'simply'. I spent almost $500 to have three paintings photographed and set up for printing and I don't know how many hours setting up an account with Etsy to sell them on. I launched today so who knows, with some luck I'll get things sold as my popularity increases. Finally as I've mentioned before, I'm getting the idea of what they mean when they say, 'get out there'.  
       However I didn't realize that even outside of an education, supplies, etc. it costs a lot of money to try to make some money.  As scary as it sounds it's nice to know I'm learning new ways to make a living. Even if they're meagre for now, experience is priceless, and I'm getting lots of that. 

     The wonderful thing about being an artist is that you're never limited in your abilities to produce great art or a great living. As long as you realize you're never too old to learn or do anything.
  BTW below are the paintings I'm selling on Etsy for now. 
    Have had a lot of interest in them, we'll see how that interest holds when it parts with contents of ones pocket book.
 A Gentleman and his Sheep
 A Gentleman and his Sheep in the Rain
A Gentleman and his Sheep in the Snow 
 I have written a short story based on the two of them. 
It's a love story. 
But not what you're thinking.
Til then.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

ROM visit

On Friday Nov, 29th I went to the Royal Ontario Museum with my first semester Illustration class from Seneca college. We drew dinosaur bones and other animals. They produced some really nice work, I look forward to continuing with them next semester. I'll see if I can post some of their work on here.
The ROM is such an invaluable source for artists, any artist who wants to excel at their craft should go as often as they can. Their artistic ability will increase immensely.
Sabertooth tiger
 (pencil and white conte on pastel paper)

Stag moose approx. 12000 yrs old
(pencil and white conte on pastel paper)
Christmas is coming so I had to attempt to sketch a reindeer.
Didn't turn out as I had hoped but better than I had at first thanks to my friend and mentor Werner Zimmermann. To see amazing art check out his blog Man4art. Well worth it.
Beautiful animal, I'll have to go back before Christmas and try again.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013


   I've never been a fan of modern technology, even though I'm still rather young,  computers and such never held any interest. Even things like power boats and fast cars. I always preferred the more traditional methods, canoes, pen and paper over email, I do have a car but it's just something to get me places I can't walk to in decent time.
  Especially as an artist I've always been a traditionalist. I think I just prefer to be able to hold art, smell it, feel it as opposed to just looking at it on a computer screen or a print out. Even though I dislike using computers for art I have found it useful to do quick samples when deadlines are crazy.
  One aspect of art I never grasped was the business end. I was always told, "You have to get out there." I had no clue what that meant. Still don't but I think I'm getting the hang of it. And from some prodding by students combined with my own frustration of 'not being out there', I've taken to creating this blog. So bear with me, it could be a while before it's as smooth as others on here.
  But in any case I hope you enjoy it and give me feedback. Who knows maybe I'll get pretty good at this computer stuff. I tell my daughter and my students to never stop learning. So with some hesitation I'm attempting to continue in practicing what I preach, even if it isn't considered traditional to me, as far as the internet goes I guess it is.

   These are pen sketches I did about 12 yrs ago. Typical of me I didn't have my sketchbook handy so used a napkin. 
  Always a fan of our history these are ideas I had while reading about the 1812 war between Canada and the U.S.....I wonder where that napkin went?

Below is a small rough oil painting on wood of a trench raid during WWI. Not sure why I opened with these, maybe because Remembrance Day was just a couple of weeks ago.