Thursday, February 18, 2010


Alright ... I know, I've been tragically ignoring this blog ... hopefully that will change sometime soon when i have something more to say here.

In the meantime, though, I'm afraid I've had to turn off anonymous posting. I apologize if this inconveniences anyone, but I was getting tired of having to come in and delete obvious spam comments every two or three days.

Oh, by the way, happy 2010, everyone! Wondercon is coming up in a few weeks ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

This blog's been feeling a bit neglected with everything going on, but I aim to correct that in the new year, I promise.

In the meantime ... Happy Holidays to everyone, and here's looking forward to a joyous 2009! (Hope springs eternal, anyway!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

San Diego ComicCon, Ahead Ahoy!

Wow, this blog has been left idle for much too long. I'll have to take care of that soon, I promise.

Today I'm trying to finish up a bit of freelance work and then get packed for my annual trip to San Diego Comic-Con. My flight leaves early Wednesday morning, so I'll be there from Wednesday night all the way through to Sunday. At least part of the time I'll be helping my friends at the Sofawolf booth (G10), so if you're looking for me, that'd be a good place to start. But mostly I'll be wandering the exhibitor's hall, seeing what new and interesting projects are being produced, meeting up with old friends and acquaintances, and hopefully getting all fired up and inspired like I usually do at these events. If you happen to see me or catch me at the table, please say hello!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Elliott Ingonyama I

Just a quick posting to keep this blog alive. :) I recently discovered, which helps me keep an eye out for updates to a wide range of blogs out there ... there are so many terrific artists in this community who are inspiring to watch.

This was just a quick sketch I did for a friend, to help promote a party he's throwing later this summer.

Hopefully I'll be back soon with more to post. :)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Book Review: The Art of Animal Character Design by David Colman

At San Diego ComicCon last year, I met an artist named David Colman, and bought a few of his sketchbooks, including a 36-page color booklet called "The Art of Animal Character Design: Little Brother Edition." The booklet was, according to its own foreward, "a 'teaser' or 'trailer' to the full color hardcover edition due out in the near future." The sketches and concepts breifly mentioned on it were fascinating; so when I stumbled onto David's blog a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to find the hardcover would be first available at WonderCon, only an hour away in San Francisco.

During setup at the con Friday morning, I discovered David's booth just down the aisle from ours, where he was stacking books in preparation for a hopefully busy weekend. Hopefully I wasn't too annoying when I immediately slapped down $40 on his table, but that did make me officially the first book sale of the convention. ;) David himself proved incredibly personable and friendly; our path to the cafe and washrooms went right past his table, and each time I walked by he would offer a cheerful greeting. He seemed to have a good convention, and I hope he did enjoy it.

The Art of Animal Character Design, by David Colman
David's Doodles, 2007

The book is a good size, just over 9" high and 11" wide, hardcover, and runs 174 full color and well-designed pages. The cover is a tasteful design in red and orange earthtones. It looks elegant; it makes as good a coffee table book as it does a reference guide.

According to the back cover, David is considered a top character designer and teacher in the animation industry, well known for his animal drawing expertise. The contents of the book leave no doubt about his talents. The text is short and succinct; the entire book could be read in under an hour, although you'll want to take much more time than that to study the hundreds of life drawings, development sketches, concept paintings, and character designs that fill the pages. And while the text is not verbose, it does speak powerfully to big ideas and important concepts any artist must consider in their own drawing.

The book is loosely divided into sections. The first part talks about the importance of drawing from life, and gives hints and examples of what to think about when sketching at the zoo. This leads to a discussion of character discovery -- in essence, drawing not just what you see, but what you feel to be the character or personality of the animal. Other sections discuss memory sketching (to absorb and incorporate what you've learned from life drawing), and design fundamentals such as shape exploitation, volume redundancy, and visual landmarks. One chapter is devoted to creating fantasy creatures. Then the book comes full circle, re-stressing the value of life drawing.

One thing this book is definitely not is a how-to-draw animals book. Nor, I suspect, is it meant to be one; there are plenty of books and classes available for that. The Art of Animal Character Design is instead an inspiring and fascinating examination of the creative process; a guidebook of concepts and suggestions to keep in mind when drawing. Besides that, it's an amazing collection of great art from a master in the field. And it's also a reminder that true talent is not just an inborn gift; it must be worked at and nurtured ceaselessly to achieve full potential. The book is a bit pricey at $40, but it's an invaluable resource for artists and art appreciators alike.

The Art of Animal Character Design is available now through the DavidDoodle store. Please check it out!

Now, to go find a local zoo and secure a membership ...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Crowd Sketches from Wondercon, 2007

I attended WonderCon up in San Franciso this weekend, to help my friends at Sofawolf Press man their booth. Had a blast there ... among many other artists and fans, I got to meet David Colman and talk to him about his new design book, and sat next to Sean "Cheeks" Galloway at the next table, who I talked to quite a bit inbetween his customers about art and comics and the industry.

Overall the convention was incredibly inspiring for me, and made me realize I need to keep working and stop neglecting my blog and my DeviantArt account so much. So watch in the coming months for updates on both those fronts, as well as, hopefully, some revisions on my web site and some progress on some of my other art and comic projects.

In the spirit of sharing, though, I figured I'd post the four pages of doodles I did while sitting at our table during the con. (Slightly rearranged for composition after scanning.) When I wasn't busy I'd spend ten minutes here and there just scanning the crowd walking by, looking for interesting faces to try to capture with a few seconds of doodling. This is the total result; some are good, some bad, but all are included. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Book Review: Making Comics by Scott McCloud

Even though this will eventually be an art blog, I'll be throwing in the occasional book or movie review and other commentaries from time to time. I just picked up this book last week, so I might as well review it now.

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels, by Scott McCloud
HarperCollins, 2006

McCloud's 1993 book on the subject of comics, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, was revolutionary, probably the most comprehensive examination of comics to date. Following in Wil Eisner's footsteps, McCloud analyzed and deconstructed comics as a visual art and a literary art, studying its history and its evolution, examining the psychology of how static symbols on the page are interpreted and understood by the reader. The book ended with an optimistic prediction about the future potential of comics as a popular and legitimate art and literary form.

Unfortunately, a variety of market and cultural forces prevented the kind of comics golden era McCloud and others were hoping for through the rest of the decade. McCloud's next book, Reinventing Comics in 2000, likewise was a bit of a disappointment. The first half of the book seemed like a somewhat bitter recounting of all that had gone wrong since the publication of Understanding Comics; the second half was very forward-thinking speculation on the future technology and economics of comics on the internet, interesting in theory, but most of it impractical or impossible in the present day.

The new book, Making Comics, falls happily between the two: Not as groundbreaking as the original book, but much more practical and optimistic than the second book. Like the previous two, this book is written as a comic book, but with extensive notes written at the end of each chapter. The first several chapters expand on some of the concepts from Understanding Comics, refining or updating ideas as it adds new concepts to the mix. Later chapters cover such practical matters as traditional and digital tools, the comics market, working as a professional artist ... but always with an eye on the abstract and intellectual angle.

This is not a "how-to" book in the traditional sense, like the scores of hastily put-together "draw comics!" or "draw manga!" manuals filling the shelves these days. McCloud seems to be not so much telling the reader "This is how you do this," so much as "This is how you find out how you will want to do this." He is giving the reader big thoughts to consider as they find and pursue their own unique path; and his explicit hope is to inspire the next generation of artists to push comics in all directions into a new era.

Overall I recommend this book, whether as a supplement to Understanding Comics, or as a pick-me-up after Reinventing Comics.

Now, to apply some of this know-how to my own comics ... :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Welcome to Yammering Griffins!

Welcome to the Yammering Griffins!, the Griffin Park Studio Blog. (I'm hoping to find a more interesting title.) There's not much here now, but sometime soon I'll be using this as a place to post rough sketches and development art for projects I'm working on, discussions of art or story technique, and pointers to interesting art-related things I find on the Internet. So please, stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's a sketch I recently drew for an actor I had the pleasure of meeting, who had performed in Les Miserables.

EDIT: For now, I've made the name of the blog "Yammering Griffins!", rather than the lamely generic "Griffin Park Studio Blog."