Tuesday, April 23, 2024

 Worked on this tonight and it came together remarkably fast. Thing is, I'm not sure if there should be some kind of texture or some other detail added or not. Going to sit on this overnight just to see.

 I was looking through Instagram and came across something by Sainer Koloor, a painter I know almost nothing about. But I appreciate his very bold use of color. I've done some bright things in the past but I don't think I've had his kind of control over what I was doing. So I decided to try and keep the palette narrow but bright. And I think I really like it. One other thing I did was to not texturize the background at all, and I think I like that, too. Just glad I still like to experiment. Though really, it's all down to me getting bored.

 Forgot to upload this the other day, a portrait playing with that more stretched, painterly style. I kind of like it in black and white. Don't know if I'll color it or not. I even like the plain background which I usually don't do. Might tinker with it a bit.

 Last minute update: changed the color of the text. It just wasn't prominent enough.

Sunday, April 21, 2024

 And finished. It's a low key page, echoing the page that started this song. It's meant to be a little dream-like. Had to throw in some tags by the rotten mice. They get everywhere.

 Sunday is usually podcast editing day, and so it was. Later, we're heading off to friends for dinner. But in between, I managed to squeeze in a little time for this. Still playing with the colors, but this one, so far, makes the figure stand out enough that I think it works. The hard part is going to be to get the text to fit. We'll see. That's the trouble of working without a plan. And the fun.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

 Decided that the last page was done and posted it. Worked all day, but had some time this evening to throw some things together. As it turns out, I'm pretty happy with this first pass. The Silas was the second inked version I did the other day but painted, the background was from a ref photo I took in Boston a couple years ago. I can keep things rough but still representational. Needs adjustments but I'm happy so far.

Friday, April 19, 2024

 Had a little time tonight and took some time with this. Might be done. I want to sleep on it, but I like the change in style a lot. We'll see. Night night.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

 And I got started on the next page. Keeping to the style from the earlier pages, though perhaps pushing it a bit further, I really like how this is starting. It feels like a batik print and I will likely try and do the spray paint, not in a spray paint brush but using the same brush and making it feel like what I've already done. We'll see.

 Lots of adjustments on the text, added an outline to Silas, had also added a shadow on his back but took it out as it only added complication, nothing else. I'm good with this. Almost feels like he's about to walk out into Oz. He's going to be disappointed. Page 184-ish.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

 Felt lazy but I guess I did a bunch of things today. Went and bought underwear (big deal), did the laundry, watched this week's movie, wrote this week's script, threw this page together and still managed to play some Zelda, listen to a couple of records and nap. Trust me, though, I am a lazy bastard. This page came together almost too easily so I'm going to sit on it over night before posting it just in case. But I like the idea of him walking through his own sketch/scribbles of testing out signature after signature. I wonder if we all did that, graffiti artist or not, in high school. I know I did. I even tried to change my handwriting then right after I stopped using my first name. Didn't last. Was too much a pain in the ass.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

 Did a little experiment today, something you can't really see here. I bought a texture screen cover for my iPad, meant to give it a feeling more like drawing on paper. It doesn't feel like paper, but it does slow me down and make me feel like I have more control, especially when making thinner lines. The top image was done with the cover on, the bottom was done earlier before I got it. I know the top one was warped but I still feel there's more control, especially where lines need to change width. It will likely sand down the tips of my pencil, but they're not expensive and it's worth it to get a better result or at least a better feel.

Friday, April 12, 2024

 Finished. This is the new page 183. The old one was so dull. The whole point of act 3 is for Silas to get out and shake things up in hopes of making a splash in the 'art world,' so it seemed silly sticking to the old style and having things so staid. I will see if I can continue to use this for at least this coming track.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

 This was started as page 184, a silent following of the previous page's lyrics. But then I wondered if it might not make a better solution to that more boring layout on 183. So I started down that path. If it's going to truly fit, there'll have to be some line work done and I need something to fill those annoying, blank spaces. But it's a lot more dynamic. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

 One last distraction of the day. This feels like one of those styles that I really like and no one else will. Still might show up again in the comic.

 Not the most interesting page of the comic but after the craziness of the end of act 2, I thought maybe a quieter moment as Silas tries to psych himself up to start things anew would work ok. Let's hope so. Page 183-ish.

 Distractions! I was looking through old City Silent stuff when preparing to get back into it and I saw some distorted images I'd used of Digby a couple years ago. And I really liked the approach. So I wondered if I could push it a little further. I did a Smatt. I distorted the ref photo, then distorted the pencil sketch and distorted the final image one last time to get some more movement and attitude from it. Then I wondered if I could apply this approach to portraiture. I took an old ref photo of me and did the same thing. While I don't think it's good for every portrait, I like the ideas enough to want to play more with them. Which is not helping me get the comic done.

Sunday, April 07, 2024

 Sunday is usually sound editing day for the podcast, so that comes first. But after that, before we take a little trip to visit the in-laws, I managed to get some work finished on the comic. The top page was bothering me because the angle of Silas and the bed was just so off between that page and the one after. So I removed the drawing I originally had there and copied the color fields from page 181, shrunk them, fiddled with them and now it makes more visual sense. Trust me. Page 182 was easy enough to finish as it just needed some shadow and highlight work done. I suppose I COULD add the book and cans into the preceding pages but the jump is a common enough cut in comics that I think it works fine, and adds to the slight wonkiness one feels as one gets up. And as Silas is sort of struggling to get out the door, there will likely be a bit more of that. So, five pages in two days. Not bad. Wish the schedule was always this good.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

 And, with a little time before log off, I managed to get the next page started as well. Amazing what you can get done when you don't have to work that day. Working is stupid. There has to be a better way.

So it's cheating, in a way to call this "four pages done in a day," as the top two are variations on the same page using elements I've used many times before but hey, I'll take the page count. Of course, I have no idea if the page numbers are even correct because THAT is all fucked up. The full page count is over 190 but it includes the curtain pages which aren't numbered and...well, eventually I'll figure it out. And eventually I'll have to go back and fix the pages with the curtains being pulled as the graffiti 'magically' disappears (i.e. I'm too lazy to warp it and, to be fair, those tools did not exist when I started). But, four pages is four pages. So good for me. I hope I keep up the interest and pace.

 Got some work done on the next page for "City Silent' today. It's not the first page as I didn't decide exactly what I wanted when the curtain opened until I started drawing this. Still, it's a start. The colors are not final at all but might be in the right direction. One of the things Scott McCloud told me was that I wasn't drawing enough attention to Silas' head. And he's right. As it stands, the eye is drawn towards the orange. So while I want to keep a brighter night sky, I need to do something that pulls you back to Silas. And there's lettering to do. But I started, I feel good about it and that's important.

Friday, April 05, 2024

 Haven't touched the comic in months. I also came across an old post on FB where I apparently gave up comics for good four years ago, citing a lack of drive. Well, that didn't work out. I did finish the first half of "City Silent," so I guess I'd better finish it. Every year, the holidays take a little more out of me and it's harder to bounce back creatively. I did a couple portraits here and there but really nothing major. Last night, for the first time in awhile, I sketched some Silas stuff. It's not much but it's inching in the right direction. I got a surprise day off tomorrow so I'm going to try and at least start act 3 and get this thing going again. There is no way I'll finish by my original goal, before I'm 60 but that doesn't matter as long as I actually finish. Looking through it again, -I- like it and I can honestly say there's nothing else like it out there. That has to be worth something, even if it's only to me.

Friday, March 29, 2024

 So I ended up doing two versions. What's odd to me is that this and the previous version don't really look like each other but, to me, they both look like me. In a way, I think this one looks more like me. Perhaps it's because it was all freehand. Maybe I should trust my own drawing more. I don't know. I think there are things to be said for both color schemes. The top one fits the setting more, giving off a more comic book feel and the lower one is my usual Rembrandt palette. So hey, two versions.

So far, this has not been a great year for art. I'm having trouble finding the energy and interest. Well, the energy. I do have the interest. And so, when I know I want to create and feel aimless, I fall back on that old favorite, the self portrait. The top version is a freehand one made distorted on purpose. I originally tried working with that, cutting down on the distortion but I didn't like it. So I did a quick and dirty version where I did a 30 second 'trace,' noting the position of features only, no real drawing and then 'painted' directly without a sketch. And that part went pretty well though maybe it lacks some feeling? The background I fully admit tracing because the lettering would be a pain in the ass. And I do like the final. I think the approach, without drawing felt more like a painting and came together decently. That being said, I think I will go back and directly use the original drawing and do the lettering by hand and see what happens. All too soon, I will have more than enough self portraits for a book. It is NOT because I think I'm a great subject, I just don't care what I do with my own image which gives a freedom I don't have with any other subject.

Saturday, March 16, 2024

 I know this isn't art but you CAN see some art on the walls! This is my beast of a stereo set up, something that was given to me by in-laws a couple of years ago. The whole thing, cabinet included dates back to 1975. I had to have the receiver and turntable refurbished as they'd sat in a basement unused for over 20 years. But the system works beautifully even if it weighs an absolute ton. I got back into, or really INTO vinyl about 3 years ago and have over 250 records. I never listened to music much as a kid or even a teen. Once I started at the Picnic, I slowly got into a few bands, like The Police, Michael Penn and a few others. Music was one of the ways my partner and I first bonded over long distance. I gave him Counting Crows, he gave me Ani DiFranco and Melissa Etheridge. There is something just...cool about that behemoth with all its switches and knobs, the FM tuner lighting up in a soft yellow light. I often listen to music when drawing and I'm sure it informs what I'm doing.

One the things that's changed is my tastes in music. My old ones are still there, but I've also got into some jazz, some punk, psych rock, prog and funk. While a good deal of it's old, there are some new artists I really like as well. I'm really trying to expand. A lot of folks find their tastes and stick with them forever. I want to find new things. I think it helps keep me young and inquisitive. And really, music hits me emotionally like nothing else does. So yah, a post about my stereo. Why the hell not?

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

 Got a pleasant surprise from my old boss, Tony Davis the other day. Seems that the Iron Man story I did for Tom Devlin's "Coober Skeeber: Marvel Benefit Issue" was donated along with a lot of other old comic art stuff to...the Library of Congress! I sold the story to Greg Bennett just after the comic came out and haven't thought about it in years. Apparently I drew on the envelope I sent it in and wrote a letter which he not only kept but was sent along with the story. I've been told Mr. Bennett has moved to Denmark which is why he donated his comic art. So hey, somewhere, buried deep, likely never to be seen again, my work is being safeguarded by Congress. Kind of cool?

Thursday, March 07, 2024

 I went back and forth on this one a lot. Originally, I thought the shadows, especially on the arm were too vague and wouldn't be read as shadows. So I did a version, the second above, where I removed most of them. But it lacked some of the drama and made the subject look a bit too...large for my tastes. So I redid the shadows, tightened up the shirt and spots, his arm. And this time, I decided to leave the shadows in. The top version is the finished one. I retitled it, "The Comedian," removing the subject's name as this isn't the most complimentary portrait I've ever done. But I like the feeling with it and the fact that I did a bit more of my style of drawing on this one than usual.

Monday, March 04, 2024

 This is another piece from a photo I took of Patton Oswalt when I saw him in Boston. It's a common pose for him as he simply can't face the stupidity of the modern world. If you don't know him, I guess it could come off as anguish. I tried something 'clever,' in that I simply erased anywhere there was shadows and let the background show through. I'm not sure it works on that right side arm. I'll have to sleep on it and see. Tried to do more of my own drawing style in this one and I do like how that comes off, especially in the hand. Not final.

Sunday, March 03, 2024

 Did some work on this today. I think it's done but I want to sit on it for a bit. I sometimes release things a little too early before they've really had a chance to simmer in my head. Redid the lines for the hands, redid the color for the tongue and the mic stand and his rings. Added a floor. None of these are huge but they matter. So, maybe final, maybe not.

Saturday, March 02, 2024

 Managed to sneak in the body, at least the first cut. I think I want to do a little something more with the background but so far, I'm pretty happy with the way it's going. It gives the feeling I want. We'll see. It felt good to be making again.

 Well, that was a quick month. I just haven't been able to get myself to draw much of anything. Part of that is because I made two trips to Boston, which were great. Part is because of the growing weight of AI, knowing that it's meant to crush the creative folks, a direct attack from the corporate world. Gods, I hate it. While in Boston, I got to see Patton Oswalt. And, seeing the opportunity, especially as I was so close to the stage, I took some photos in hopes I could turn something into a portrait. And so I've started. This will be either a full body or a 3/4, I haven't decided. I want to do more with gesture and to back up a bit, if I can capture the subject in a natural pose. I think I managed with Patton. Thing is, if it's anything like the 3/4 one I did of myself, the head's going to be a lot more detailed than the body. As such, it makes sense to do the head separately and add it to the body when done. Trust me, it does. So here's a WIP of the head. I can already note a couple of changes I have to make. That being said, I think it's coming along well enough. Those facial lines on the left, thicker because of shadows, have to be thinned out as they just look weighty. And the highlights might need lightening, too. But at least I'm creating again.

Monday, February 05, 2024

 First off, one complaint about Procreate; I wish the last brush selected wasn't a global thing but a document thing so I could figure out which goddamned brush I'd used for something in the past. Oh well...

Haven't done a Harlon in a long while. But an article today about how Zuckerburg, one of the worst humans in charge of anything at this particular point of history has decided that all posts made to "Meta" sites belong to Meta so that he can shovel everything we've shard into his giant AI monstrosity just really got to me. My audience is already tiny. Very tiny. And now he's saying that any time I reached out, tried to connect with one of my fellow human beings, that reach is just food for his big ol' AI which will then spew out content that takes the place of the things I was making in the first place. So now I'll have no audience but my art will be part of an amalgam that does. Gee, thanks. Tell me again why AI is such a great idea? It makes me equal parts angry and depressed and there's SHIT I can do about it. Except keep on keeping on, doing it for me, hearing the echoes diminish until I'm done. I guess. This is the most depressing Harlon ever but hey, I discovered and even more depressing one on my iPad that I never finished. So there's that. Fuck the Zuck. And the Beez. And most of all, the Musk.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

I've felt I've been in a kind of artistic funk lately. I haven't wanted to draw...no, that's not right, I've WANTED to draw but don't know what I should draw. Sure, I could start back up with the comic, but I'm not in the mood. I'm more in a portrait mood. So, when all else fails, do a self portrait. The top one I did tonight. The bottom I did a couple days ago and forgot to post here. A friend of mine on FB really liked the bright one I did a couple weeks ago, so why not try to appease SOMEONE that actually likes the work? Besides, self portraits allow me to have some fun. So, these. And I like them for different reasons.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

 So I redid the whole thing. I wasn't really fully happy with the old one and decided to something a good deal more rough, expressly chunkier, less fussy. It's still not my favorite mostly as the reference photo just has a slightly weird expression. Thing is, it does look like him. I just wish he were in the middle of something as Dan was when I did his. At some point, I'll get a better photo. I like it better than the first one I did of Max, more then ten years ago. That, too was a terrible photo. So, I guess a poor craftsman blames his tools, etc. Whatever. But now I lay this one to rest so I can get back to that other thing I'm supposed to be working on.

And...Max didn't see himself in it at all. Well, won't be posting this one. I didn't think it was bad, but when the subject can't see himself, well, that's not a good sign. It is what it is. I move on.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

 I played around with that sketch a lot. And my initial feelings were that this wasn't going to work. To be fair, it's really hard to get a photo of Max where he looks decent AND he doesn't know. Like me, he hates photos of himself. I closed AD and wondered if I'd even come back to it. Then, later, I went in, turned some layers off, recolored some and...am liking it better. It's all Rembrandt browns which will have to be adjusted to give some more contrast but...I think it looks a good deal better than it did. Not finished at all. We'll see.

 Still dragging my feet on that landscape. Instead, I'm working on a portrait of my bestie, Max. Did a quick sketch start tonight. It's not the best photo of him but he's really hard to get photos of as he hates them nearly as much as I do. This is him in his natural habitat; watching movies.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

 And the winner is... by an overwhelming majority, the one I like least is the winner. People liked the muted color palette better. My partner said that it helped imply her personality better and that the one I liked, greens and yellows felt too 'poppy,' which is funny as the palette came from a Van Gogh painting. This was a good experiment if only to try and learn how others see work. I suppose, as an artist, I should stand by my choices, which I have on flickr. In this case, I'm happy enough to have the engagement. I pulled a bunch of people who wouldn't otherwise comment on my work out and that's something.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

 Three Judis. I did some tweaking on a couple of the layers and some of the colors. I showed them to my partner who likes the top version better. I prefer the second version, based on a portrait of Roulin, I believe. The third I made today and is from a palette made from another, much toned down Van Gogh portrait. It might be a compromise between the top two in that it has some more color but isn't as bright as the middle one. I could play this game forever, and it IS fun but it's not getting me anywhere. I think that I'm going to toss them all up and ask for opinions. At the very least, it gets me to play with colors and look  at them in a new way, which is always a good thing. Otherwise, it's done. Thanks, Miss Dench, not that you'll ever know.