Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gotham Adventures 33, "World Without Batman", Page 1

For the next 22 days I will be serially posting each page from Gotham Adventures #33, published by DC Comics in February, 2001. I will be posting Ed Brubaker’s script, my roughs, pencils and printed versions of each page.

Gotham Adventures #33 was my first time working with editor Bob Schreck since we collaborated on “The Mark: In America” for Dark Horse Comics in 1993 (the mini-series was published in early 1994). It was the spring of 2000 when I heard that Bob had been hired as a group editor at DC Comics and I called him with the happy news that I was available to do comics. He was receptive , told me he would keep me in mind.

At the time, I was a staff storyboard artist at Disney Television on the series version of their recent hit movie, “Tarzan”. Bob called me, told me he needed an inventory book in a month for the Gotham Knights series. I accepted the job even though I had, by this time, developed a policy against doing free-lance while working a day job. But it was a chance to do comics for DC once again, so I over-road my misgivings and accepted the assignment. After all, it was a chance to do Batman in a style other than that of the animated TV series.

I discovered to my disappointment that the story was for the Gotham Adventures book, not Gotham Knights, which I had mistaking understood Bob to have said. Oh well, maybe t’was for the best, since I had a better chance making the precipitous deadline with the simple Batman Animated style than a more realistic style for the regular Batboys.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hanna Barbarians

I found these ink and watercolor sketches in my sketchbook/journal from 12.12.92 to 06.23.93. The first one that I now title “Wilma Warthog” is dated 12.23.92 so I assume that the rest were done around that time. For the sake of filing them I’ve named the characters. I’m not trademarking or copyriting them because they’re obvious mash-ups of other corporation’s properties.

                      WILMA WARTHOG

                        WOODY GATOR

                     LA CONEJA FATALE

                           DAFFY LION

                     CATTY  STILTSKIN

Credit where it's due: I vaguely recall a Scott Shaw cartoon in the "Buyer's Guide For Comics Fandom" back in the 70's or 80's mashing up Fred Flintstone and Conan called "Fred the Hanna Barbarian" or something like that. Am I correct, Scott?

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Another sketch from 1993. I imagine her inked by Jaime Hernandez.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Nude Medusa

More sketches found in a sketchbook/journal from 1992/1993. These appear to be of Medusa, the queen of the Inhumans, based off Anouk Aimee (possibly).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Day Laborer" & "Judy in St. Louis"; More New Drawings

These drawings are extremely new; in fact, I did them last night while watching “Meet Me In St. Louis”. 

The first drawing is a copy of last week’s LA Weekly cover. I was struck by the photo, a frontal close-up of a supposed day laborer looking directly at camera. “Ooh, hot man”, I thought to myself, and resolved, at some near point, to make a drawing of that photo. 

Having accomplished this, I was still antsy, felt the need to draw Judy as she was appearing in MMiSL. Since this was regular cable tv (and I don’t have Tivo) I couldn’t freeze frame and had to approach the drawing as I do when I’m sketching public events where the subjects don’t know they’re being sketched: when they change position I stop, possibly working on another drawing, and wait for them to momentarily return to a similar pose. I think it worked out surprisingly well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hulk Pose Aggressively

This is a recent sketch (done at the CAPS meeting on Thursday, January 12, 2017). I colored it in with  Prismacolors and White-out pen Sunday night while watching “The Lady Killers”, starring Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom, last night on Turner Classic Movies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

More Recent Drawings

These are drawings I’ve done in my recently completed sketchbook/journal for the second half of 2016.

                                                    Submariner Upside Down

                                                      Frank Zappa Head Shots

                                               A.T. Center Window, Xmas 2016

Monday, January 16, 2017

Coming To A Head

I found this drawing in the same file as the artwork for Gotham Adventures #33. I don’t recall doing it. Given where it was stored, it must have been done  in 2001, possibly as a try-out for the Catwoman book, which was available after Darwyn Cooke left it to develop “The New Frontier”. This drawing is a re-do of one of the climactic panels from “Batman:  Born on the Fourth of July” which I had illustrated for DC’s special projects division back in 1994.

The primary difference between this illustration and the panel in BBotFoJ is that Catwoman is drawn in the (then) new costume designed by Darwyn Cooke rather than the (then) old one designed by Bruce Timm.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Smog Check, Girl's Soccer, Muscle Bird; Recent Drawings

Here are some recent drawings:
                                                                  SMOG CHECK


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bill Ward, Motion Picture Comics 106, Page 30

This is my latest acquisition. It is page 30 from Motion Picture Comics 106, adapting Columbia Picture’s Western drama, “The Texas Rangers”, starring George Montgomery and Gale Storm. The comic was published by Fawcett Publications in 1951. The artwork is “attributed to Bill Ward”, by Heritage Auctions, where I made the winning bid on December 26, 2016. The hammer price was $130.00. I feel that I got a bargain.  Heritage had been auctioning off a page a week from this book for the previous month prior, and I had let all of them slip through my fingers. Oh well, one can’t buy everything.

In my opinion, Ward's pages for this book compare favorably to then-contemporary  work by the team of Severin and Elder. Bill Ward’s Wikipedia bio says that he took over the “Blackhawks” comic from Reed Crandall; I can believe it. He seems like a good stylistic fit. It’s trip to think that this book was illustrated by Bill Ward, mostly known for his “gird girl” art on “Torchy” and “Humorama” from the mid-50’s onward. 

Panel 1: The pose on the man on the left looks like early 50’s John Romita Sr. I really like the inking on this figure, especially the way rim lighting is subtly suggested. I love the subtle use of dry brush, especially on the chaps.

Panel 2: I’m not wild about the posing but, again, I really like the inking, the way back/double lighting is subtly suggested in the modeling of the drapery and the occasional use of dry brush. 

Panel 3: Yeah, it’s a train, whatever. Yawn. The inks for the background elements aren’t as good as on the figures, so panels like this suffer.

Panel 4: Cool composition, good use of eye-read. The inks on the figures are great, the BG elements less so. Nice dry brush on the horse. But those BG cliffs are gnarly.

Panel 5: Cool panel, great composition. It would make a cool postcard.

Panel 6: Hmmm. Cool is some ways. Good composition, but needs tweaking. The left gunman’s gun disappears into the train’s cow catcher. The inks on the BG train are more dynamic than the FG horsemen. Ditto with the rock/cactus grouping in mid-panel; more dynamic than the horsemen. Nice inks on the horse haunches though.

Oh well, I guess Ward isn’t as good as Severin and Elder. Still, there’s many things I like in this page.

Friday, January 13, 2017

More Lauren Bacall

While digging through a sketchbook/journal, I found the originals to the Lauren Bacall portrait sketches I posted on January 8, 2017. The images I posted on the 8th were taken from photocopies I had made using the Warner Animation copy machine, hence the high quality. Apparently I hadn’t bothered to copy these two pages, not feeling them to be of sufficient quality. I rather like them now, especially the first one.

I’ve discover recently that I frequently like old artwork better than I did originally; at the time of production I tend to be hung up on how well artworks match either the object I’m trying to reproduce or what I saw in my head. At a remove of several years, I no longer remember those things and so am free to appreciate the works on their own merits. Unless I draw better now than I did then. Which stopped being the case around 1987. I don’t draw any better now than I did then, but I can draw more things and draw them faster and with greater ease. I guess that’s around the time that I gained mastery as a draftsman.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

John Callahan, 1993

I found this drawing in a sketchbook/journal from 1993. This drawing is of my late husband, John Callahan (technically speaking, we became legal domestic partners in 2000, but never actually tied the knot). At the time I drew him, he would have been in his mid/late 40’s, 10 years younger than I am now.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Bette Davis, Jezebel

I found this in a sketchbook/journal from 1993. It’s a sketch from a freeze-frame of Bette Davis from the movie “Jezebel”. I believe it was done with a Japanese fountain brush dispensing water based ink, hence the artful smearing.

I saw “Jezebel” for the first time in 1981, at the New Beverly Theatre in Los Angeles. Earlier in the day,  I had done my weekly comics buy, which included the then-latest issue of Frank Miller’s “Daredevil”, which I hadn’t had time to read before going to the movies. 

I mention this because it goes a long way toward demonstrating how one’s tastes can change over time. I was so uninvolved in “Jezebel”, and so into what Miller was doing on “Daredevil”, that I left the theatre in the middle of the movie, went out to the lobby to read the comic book, then went back into the theatre to watch the remainder of the movie. 

Nowadays, I find it difficult to look at Miller’s artwork, and “Jezebel” is one of my favorite movies. The director, William Wyler, is one of my 10 favorite directors, especially for the movies he made with Bette Davis (“Jezebel”, “Little Foxes”, and “The Letter”).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Robin Podolsky, 1993

This drawing was found in a sketchbook/journal I kept in 1993. My friend, Robin Podolsky.

Monday, January 9, 2017


I'm scanning images from old sketchbooks/journals. This one is from 1993.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lauren Bacall Sketches (Batman/ Mask of the Phantasm)

In Friday’s post, I mentioned that Andrea Beaumont, Bruce Wayne’s love interest in the “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” animated feature film was based off Lauren Bacall. I further mentioned (or meant to mention) that I didn’t find her design “Lauren” enough, so I spent an evening sketching freeze frames of Ms. Bacall from a laser disc of “Cobweb” that I rented for the purpose. These are those sketches, along with a model of the character and a couple of screen shots I found on the web.

Upon reflection, I have to admit that there’s a reason why straight male “good girl” artists tend to draw women that all basically look the same:  the requirements of “pretty” tend to enforce a certain conformity. Small nose, minimal wrinkles, a certain kind of chin, eyes set not-too-high-not-too-low in face. More pertinently, it’s one thing to sketch from a laser disc; it’s something else to design a functional animation model. All the little lines I noodled to indicate the planes of Ms. Bacall’s face would make her look like a hag if I put them in an animation model. But if I redraw without all those little lines, she starts to look pretty generic.

Also there’s the issue of how to design woman’s (i.e., long} hair for animation, a nut that I have not yet cracked.

I storyboarded most of the “City of the Future” sequences, including the climactic fight scene between Andrea/Phantasm and the Joker. I deeply regret not having taken the time to pull a copy of my storyboard for “Batman: Masque of the Phantasm” before I turned it in. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Warner Brothers Batman Animated TV Series, Episode /"Off Balance" (Day 23)

Nice touches abound in this remaining section of storyboard.
 I like, in scene C86, where Talia has to shift her weight when taking the sonic drill from Batman. 

I like the cape animation on Batman in scene C88/ C90. 

The pissed-off close-ups on Batman in scenes C87 and C92 are fun but probably off model, especially the gritted teeth and showing-gums on C92. If I had the patience, I’d watch the cartoon again to see how it was changed in layout.

I believe this is one of the final boards I did before going on hiatus to draw “The Batman Adventures” issues 4, 5 and 6.

This is the final in a series of posts about my storyboard for the Batman: The Animated Series, episode 406 550, entitled “Off Balance”. I did this storyboard, I believe, in 1992, and it was aired on November 23, 1992 as the 44th  episode. I boarded much of Act 1, part of Act 2 and most of Act 3. 

Today I am posting pages 66 through 69 of  “Off Balance”, Act 3. 

Blog Archive