minicomics??, post 27: late night brontosauruses

Late night, as in Charles Knight,  the late great scientific illustrator whose paintings will always be “the way dinosaurs look” to the the children of the 50s, 60s  and 70s.  629bea5a244181d4939d08b876a9a7b3I looked at a lot of modern illustrations that are more anatomically correct, and I’ll share some of them later, but for now, good night from whatever they call the new Dinosaur Hall at the Field Museum.  The dinosaurs themselves are up to date, but the great Knight paintings still hang there in places of honor.  (I don’t think they still sell this postcard, though.)588a8fb3f740e02c21df210240c9cdde

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minicomics ??, post 26: the last of the scribbles

These have actually been done for a while; I was just waiting to be home and at my desk at the same time the internet was working.  Go back to the script and see how I have added a tiny scenelet between Nina and Murphy to make the final page splash of the full sized sidewalk drawing a bit more interesting. brontosaurus-page14-scribble-blog brontosaurus-page15-scribble-blogIt all started out as a way to justify placing the Time Viewer vertically on the page, which is the best use of the space in the panel.  But the question about pushing the button adds another of those little Kekionga twisty bits– is the Time Viewer really a Thing after all?

I had originally placed Nina’s question at the end of page 14 and spent a really ridiculous amount of time trying to get it to work.  I took a break and came back a few hours later and it was so obvious that putting it on page 15 made both pages better.

Next big step will be pencils starting tomorrow, but you may get a few brontosauruses before bedtime tonight.  Nothing nicer than a brontosaurus at bedtime.

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minicomics ??, post 25, thoughts on spit’s stingray

When biking, Mr. Spit (the junior hero of the neighborhood and general purpose bad boy with a heart of gold) rocks a vintage Schwinn Stingray from tbe late 60s or early 70s.  This is an established canon fact, and I’m sure there’s a story there somewhere, one that almost certainly involves the junkyard.

But for now my interest is primarily in learning to draw this bike in continuity,  and that means collecting references.  And in that research I found these way cool period ads. 086da8c4981573bcf11c32139640bf3b41b4feec230db018d7edeeb62b1f218f I think Mr. Spit’s goal in life is to be as little like these guys as possible.

Cool bike, though.

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minicomics ??, post 24: back cover scribble

The end!  Of the scribbles, anyway.  This is the back cover, which I have decided to make into a sort of mini poster, with a psuedo scientific “illustration” of a brontosaurus, and the story of the comic in old fashioned lettering, which I am probably going to typeset in my word processor and paste on, for what I hope is kind of Victorian circus poster effect.  Since several of you claim to be able to read my notehand, I won’t transliterate the text.brontosaurus-page 16-scribble-blogBut, wait.  What happened to pages 14 and 15?  That’s a good question, and I will answer it as soon as I can.  If you are guessing there has been a last minute rewrite of the final scene, you are on the right track.

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minicomics ??, post 23: scribbles on the edge of a cliff

Here are the scribbles for the rest of the Cliffside scene.brontosaurus-page 10-scribble-blog brontosaurus-page 11-scribble-blog brontosaurus-page 12-scribble-blogI didn’t realize until I made these scribbles that maybe Josef jumps over the cliff after the apple that Mr. Spit tosses to the dinosaurs.  I suppose that’s as good a motivation as any, knowing Josef.   In the first tier of page 11, I may move the nose-to-nose inset to the lower left instead of the upper right to punch that aspect up.

Then there’s page 12.  On one hand I’m really looking forward to drawing the Moody Anpu portrait, but on the other I’m shakingly anxious because I seem to have committed myself to drawing one of the major settings, Duke’s Market for the first time.  At least it’s a small panel and not a detailed splash, so a thumbnail image is all that’s needed.  Still, how has this much major worldbuilding  ended up in what started out to be a simple super short?

Kekionga, as a series, was created exactly this way; it’s an artifact of improvised, if not entirely accidental, worldbuilding.

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minicomics ??, post 22: a drawing of josef and anpu

Yesterdays (poor, lonely, single) scribble of page 9 posed an awkward question regarding exactly how much or how little Josef (the model of both the mysterious animal and the horrible creature) and Anpu (retired god) resemble each other.  I decided to make a drawing of the two of them together that emphasized both the similarities and the differences.sketch-josefandanpuAnubis as you see him in ancient art is always depicted as a slender, powerful being with the head of a jackal and the body of an athletic man in his late twenties. Anpu today is still godlike in his physique, but it’s a god in his late 40s or early 50s who eats a lot of cheese steaks and drinks a lot of single malt whisky and walks for exercise.  (I sometimes draw him a bit fatter than he is here.)

Josef is slinky, stinky, and slightly otherworldly creature.  He is designed to play the part of the dog in the Kekionga stories, obviously, but he also has lizardy or even somewhat draconic qualities.  He is supposed to be cute and fun, but also somewhat unsettling.  He is from another dimension and can eat an entire deer in one sitting, after all, and one of my goals in drawing him is to make sure the reader is always reminded of that.

So what they have in common is the shape and color of their ears, and their large, glowing, and somewhat inexpressive eyes.  These two are beings of mystery.  But their heads and bodies have very different shapes, as do their personalities.  They both have human levels of intelligence, but unhuman points of view.  (Whether Anpu still has godlike levels of power is a question I’ve never answered. If he does, he consistently chooses not to use them.  Don’t let the trick with the cigarette fool you; Kekionga is full of more or less ordinary people who can raise a small flame without a lighter.)

If they had their mouths open in this drawing you would see a major difference between the two:  Josef has rows of very sharp but undifferentiated teeth, like an alligator or a shark, while Anpu’s teeth are exactly like a dog’s.

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minicomics ??, post 21: scribbles in red

Scribbles are almost done, and I am posting when I can: stay tuned.  This is page 9 of our more or less “live” minicomic, “Day of the Brontosaurus”.brontosaurus-page 9-scribble-blogAnd if you think its odd how much Anpu and Josef look alike in some of these sketches, you may be right.  I’ve drawn them together before and never really felt they were anymore alike than any two characters with large black ears, so it no doubt has something to do with how quickly I am moving in these scribbles.  (While I normally like the way Josef comes out in a quick sketch, the one of him at the lower left is, as it says in the note “the stupidest drawing of Josef ever.)

This scribble is also a good example of why it’s wise to draw this stage of the project in a color other than black.  Admittedly, it would be much more typical to see this type of drawing in blue, or even green, than the “porto” or mahogany red* that I’ve been using for most of my notes and sketches the last couple of years. but the theory is the same.  As you see in the right hand section of the first panel, if you mess up a face or two in the colored drawing phase, you can go back into the art with black lines and make a correction or add something without having to trash the entire sketch.  Murphy’s face is corrected in black since I got his expression entirely wrong, and Josef was just plain added to scene.  I drew him over a previously existing note, and added the black to make it clear what was actually going to be happening in that space on the final page.

* I am just crazy about this maroon or dark red pen and the way it looks on yellow legal paper.  It’s a Zebra “Sarasa” gel pen in 0.7 nib size.  Staples called this color “porto” when they carried it, while Jet Pens calls it “mahogany”.  Either way, it’s a great cheap pen in a cool color.


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minicomics ?? post 21: the cliffside motor inn

cliffside motor inn sign
Here’s the sketch of the final version of the sign for the Cliffside Motor Inn.  There was never any reason for the Cliffside to be where it is–surrounded by farms, far off the main road and not near any tourist sights of note, but there’s no reason to think it wasn’t a thriving business in its day: a sturdy little cinderblock u plan drive up motel with a pool in the courtyard.  The sign was originally a fairly expensive one with bright lights and some neon.

By the time of story present, the Cliffside has been out of business for years, although recently the young steampunk engineer who calls himself Edison has taken it over and is converting it into his Radio Laboratory.  I am not sure whether this story takes place before or after Edison’s takeover, but my guess is he just doesn’t happen to be home on this particular afternoon.

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minicomics ??, post 20, a scribble in two drafts

The scribble for page 8 of “Day of the Brontosaurus” went through two drafts.  This is sort of unusual– while I often have to try two or more basic layouts before I “finish” one, I very seldom make two versions of the same layout.  The larger image is the second and final draft, the two small ones are details I kept from the first.  The design of the Cliffside Motor Inn sign is actually quite important in canon, and I just had a better idea anyway, which I will share with you later.brontosaurus-page8-scribble--blog

I really dig Anpu’s hand in the second bit.

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minicomics ??, post 19: a special double sized scribble

And one more set of scribbles, this one long delayed … brontosaurus-pages 6and7-scribble-blogbut it’s a big one: a two page spread with a complex (for me) semi symmetrical composition and lots of weird notes and personal comments and whining. How exactly did I fail to realize that I had written myself into the highly awkward position of having to draw three different bicycles in three identically sized panels??? I hate drawing bicycles.

I think the time has come for me to learn how to draw a bicycle in a highly simplified way, because it looks like this situation is going to happen every few years or so no matter how much I try to avoid it when I am paying attention. Stupid small town characters living in compact small town settings where bicycles are a sensible and practical means of transportation. Even if they are hard to draw.

I do not want to think about the whole issue of Anpu’s motorcycle. Not yet.

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