The lower part of the page (7/27/08) was done when I was beginning to run out of room in my sketchbook & I drew on incomplete pages. That day I happened to attend a signing for Ben Balistreri's new book SEAWEED. I just finished reading my copy of the book & wanted to try drawing Capt. Seaweed myself (which I rushed to draw & failed miserably). I'll go into more detail about SEAWEED in my next post, but while your at it, check out Ben's blog using the link on the right.
The bottom image reflects on what happened a few days prior: On Friday, when I first met up with Chris Zito, he had this 13-16 year old kid following him around. For about 2 hours, this kid followed us like a stalker throughout the whole entire convention center. As far as I know, the kid crossed paths with Chris at the Newgrounds booth earlier that day, overheard who he was & decided to follow him around. He gave off this real creepy vibe, & Chris & I felt really awkward, like he was a vulture circling overhead or something. We finally lost the kid (probably lost our trail through the crowds & shuffle of the Con), but his eerie stalker vibe didn't go away for a little while after. We needed a mental shower to wash off the negative aura he gave off.
Since everybody (including my family & friends) knows me as the "Bird Guy" or "The Guy Who Draws Birds All the Time", I tried to break away from the birds for a few minutes & tried to draw something else. After drawing a real sloppy beaver (middle of page) I couldn't help sketching at least one bird. I started off with one (the turkey), then another (the Big Bird-esque on on the left) & before I knew it the page was fulla birds again! At least I tried to draw some different looking styled birds, like the two on the top left.
I don't know why, but I can't help drawing birds. For some reason, birds are very interesting & fun to draw, probably because there's such a wide variety of 'em. Size, shape, color... they're all very unique. There seems to be an unlimited amount of bird species to draw or cobble together. Same with fish, too.
When I run out of ideas, I just like to take one drawing & run with it 'til it reaches complete & utter chaos. That's what happened with the John Dilworth looking birds up at the top of this page. At points, I do go a bit nuts with my drawings, & I usually like to take a few liberties & risks in my sketches. This is a perfect example of the aftermath of combining these things & just running with them.
Back in my hotel room, I had another 3 hour drawing session. Out of the 15-20 pages I drew, only a few I considered worthy to put up. Like I said before, after reading SEAWEED, I was compelled to draw stuff based off it, including pelicans, fish & other sea life. The pelican boxer seems to pop up a lot in this sketchbook, & the one devilishly grinning one above it to the left looks a bit too much like a feathery version of ZigZag from the Thief & the Cobbler.
To me, octopi are also really fun to draw, but the 8 tentacles do get out of hand after a while. Sure, squids have 2 less tentacles, but they never seem as fun to draw as an octopus. It's all it the head too. An octopus looks like it's wearing an X-tra large Rastafarian hat.
Ah... another doodle page. God these make me smile....
Another thing I like about jumbled doodle pages like this is that it's almost like a game of I Spy. What & where is this drawing, & why is it here? Where else will you find a demented cat, a Bloody Mary, woman's bare lower half, a dripping chicken tongue & a duck punching the daylights out of something all in one place?
Don't try looking for Waldo though. I've checked, he ain't here.
On my last full day of the trip, when the Comic-Con was finally over & everyone was gone, I took a little ride over to Balboa Park to visit the San Diego Zoo. What a place! I wish I brought a small folding chair so I could sit & draw the animals all day!
While I tried to draw these animals as realistically as possible, they all ended up looking like crap to me. It could be because I find it hard & uncomfortable to draw while standing up.... it could be the heat of the sun bearing down, making me rush to go into the shade.....it could be the people crossing my path or crowding around my immediate area.... I don't know for sure.
While a few drawings came out alright, like the peacocks, the horn bill & the panther, the rest of them are junkie to me. Hopefully next time I go there I'll have studied up & improved to the point where those things don't affect me anymore. 'Til then, practice, practice, practice.
After I got back from the zoo, I ordered a pizza & drew for a few more hours again. I've been practicing on posing & exaggerating poses. There's noting worse than really weak posing, especially in comics. While I usually sketch (& sometimes ink) very sketchy & sloppy, I always try to put energy & "oomph" into my work.
Since I didn't have "free" access to the internet, I later sat down for about 10 minutes at one of the pay-computers in the hotel lobby. After checking my mail & looking over my main site stops, I checked John Sanford's Chippy & Loopus to see if there was anything new. In his newest comic, he snuck Ogo & Mr. Stuffings from Chris Sanders' Kiskaloo in the background of one of he panels. Later on, when I went back up to my room, I drew my own interpretation of that scene, but with not only Kiskaloo characters, but also from SEAWEED. You can spot them on the left near the middle of the page.
When I fill up a page, I usually only ink the drawings I think are "inkable" or good enough to be inked. Some drawings look really good in pencil, so I keep them that way & don't mess with them anymore. One small yet permanent black line can ruin a whole drawing, so I try to avoid it when I feel I need to.
On the last day before I left my hotel for the airport, I went down to breakfast & drew while I waited for my eggs & toast to come out. Like many diners or restaurants, they had a muted flat-screen TV over the counter, playing ESPN, NASCAR or Fox News. After watching the sports highlights, I drew the trio performing various sports. The boxing & golf ones came out alright, but the soccer & basketball ones I feel are a bit too weak. My food came out halfway through the hockey drawing, so I never finished it.
After a quick taxi ride & a long spiel through security at the airport, I finally settled down at my gate & took out my sketchbook again. Like I did at JFK, I drew the people sitting around me at the terminal, only this time I also tried to caricature the people a bit too. I only saw the balding man with the glasses from the back, so when I caricatured him I winged his face.
While I was drawing, the Chino Hills quake occurred. While the shock supposedly could be felt as far south as I was at the time, I didn't feel even the slightest bump or vibration. The most frequently-asked question I got when I got back to New York was if I felt it or not.
Once I got on the plane, I only had about 3-4 pages left in the book, so I drew sparingly throughout the 4 hour flight. When I did draw, I tried to time things out right & take a bit more time in my drawing. The dragons took me about 5-6 minutes to draw & ink each, while the sailor pelican took about 10 because of the complexity of the wheel.
By that time, my last Size 1 Ink Pen was nearly dried out, so I switched to the Brush pen, which unfortunately had a frayed edge. I hate it when the pen tips become frayed, it makes double lines & prevents me from drawing smooth, thin lines. I gotta practice pulling my lines down & not inking them upward. It's like brushing a dog or cat the wrong way, it's just not good.
Eitherway, I dealt with what I had. My last few drawings were quickly drawn, but retained the spontaneity I really like to keep.
My last drawing on the trip was done when I was really in the mood for some ice cream. I love Steve-O's expression at the bottom. That chocolate's never gonna come out.