Visualizing what you’re reading.

I love reading sci-fi.  Something about those fantastic, new worlds where anything can exist just makes my day.  After reading so much of it, though, I notice that it’s hard to surprise me anymore.  One of the best ways to keep my imagination engaged is to feed me a little information without overdoing the details.  You know it’s a good sci-fi story when the characters development is strong enough to carry the reader along without a full description.  I noticed this in Dan Simmon’s Hyperion/Endymion books and even to some degree in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.

Even the best writers can leave you wanting though, and I desperately want to know what the aliens look like in John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” series of books.  Specifically, what the hell do the Obin look like?!

I finally gave up trying to find a detailed description or image online and just made my own.  This is how I picture the Obin when I read Scalzi’s books, which are really great.

Obin

They’re described in the books only as a cross between a hermaphroditic spider and a giraffe, but they often send the human characters into a fearful tizzy. Picture these guys speaking in humorless monotones, fearless, but with hearts of gold.  Kind of…

Digital love

The past month has been very busy. I wish I could say that it was all drawing, but it was just the opposite. Very quickly, my girlfriend I decided to quit our jobs, pack up everything in our San Francisco apartment, and move out east into a cute little house in Rochester, NY. So, I’m pretty far behind on several projects. I always tell myself that I’ll draw en route and bring lots of supplies with me, but I rarely do. Here’s what happens when I try to draw on my iPad while traveling:

IMG_0203.JPG

Reggie is ready.

Working on issue #4 of Father Robot, and I had need to whip up this little piece to reference Reggie facing straight at the viewer.  Just thought I’d share…

Reggie_forward

Beneath the helmet.

One of the biggest hurdles to humans traveling the stars is radiation.  Unless we’re willing to line our spaceships with lead, all our interplanetary travelers will be continuously subject to high doses of cosmic energy.  I guess one way to keep people safe would be… better space suits!

To that end , I have set out to design the perfect cover for those poor, over-exposed solar sailors.  If you look through this blog you’ll see some of my better concepts.  However, this is not one of them:

spacesuit_9

As you can see, this unfortunate astronaut seems to gotten the worse of it somewhere.  I was afraid to ask him whether the seals failed, letting in zero gee flames, or maybe the radiation protection wasn’t thorough enough.  Either way, I’m afraid he’s suffered…

Still alive, though!

New, deluxe model.

With this rig, you’d be ready for anything.

I wanted this space suit to have the look of “too much” room inside the helmet.  One thing that always bugs me about the space suits I see in movies, comics, and even my own artwork is that it always looks like the person’s head is going to bounce off the inside of the helmet if they got a good shakin’.  Unless the neck is being secured by some kind of collar, there’s still many degrees of head movement, and in the rough environments these suits are made for, one is going to end up getting a bruise from numerous smacks against that protective covering.

This design would not only keep that from happening, but leaves lots of room for screens, cushioning, windows, and communication equipment.  Since the technology involved with such suits would be able to see the surroundings better than the human eye (through thick glass), the front-facing port is above the wearers head and service a camera.  The person inside has a screen in center-view, and would be able to take advantage of a range of vision types.

spacesuit_8_finish

I got the look I wanted for this one by drawing the suit by hand, scanning it into the digital realm, and then printing out several copies of the lifework on marker paper.  I then did the value and local color separately, with Copic markers, combined them in Photoshop, and did a little clean-up and tweaking to get the image you see here.  It was lots of fun.

What to wear?

I know you’ve all been asking, “how can I look casual, yet knowledgeable of the independent arts?”  Well, the answer is here:

FR tshirt 3FR tshirt

Supplies are limited, as fashion-conscious robots keep looting my studio.  So, get ‘em while you can…

More doodles…

If they didn’t want me to draw while in a staff meeting, they shouldn’t give me such cool Sharpies… or access to the office scanner.  Look at the nice “dot texture” the crappy scanner adds to the thing:

flower

Father Robot tries self awareness.

Issue #3 is just about ready for mass consumption.  In this chapter, FR comes face-to-face with the reality of his identity, and both he and Reggie have to make sense of the robot’s truth of existence.  What will Clarabelle do?  Can they all escape becoming casualties of war?!

cover_3_linework

I collaborated with the mega-talented Cody Hagman on this one.  I did the line work and Cody brought life to the drawing with awesome, digital colors.

Get back to work!

It’s so damn easy to tell when I’m not paying attention at work.  I get very focused on my distractions and totally tune out coworkers and clients to the point of ridiculousness.  No where is this more true than in staff meetings.  With no computer or portable device to play with, I start doodling on any paper I can reach.  I’m sure everyone remembers this from high school, drawing in the margins of notebooks.  For me, it quickly become a fascination scenario, and I become unable to notice that everyone else is watching me instead of the meeting.  Oops.

Here’s one from yesterday’s meeting.  That’s supposed to be some kind of mutant squirrel…

Squirrel

I still have my job, but just barely.

Shit.

Long, cool Alien in space suit.

I love a good comic convention, but I sure do hate having to go back to work after a day full of traveling.  Sigh…

Back to the grind it is, though.  My time spent at Rose City Comic Con was worth it, because I feel rejuvenated to draw more cool stuff and post it here for you cool folks.  Here’s a little sketch I did at the table on Sunday, augmented with a helmet/bubble in good ol’ Photoshop…

alien

He started off with shorter legs, but after looking around at all the great work I was surrounded with at the convention, I decided to try and break the “proportional mold” I often fin myself stuck drawing in.  So, long legs for you, fatty. You can’t tell it in this sketch, but this good-lookin’ fella is a total jerk.  He would steal your keys just for a laugh.

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