Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hero Forgotten

Hi everyone. It's that time again. Yes, that's right, it's time for a rather late sketch-a-day posting.

Tonight's sketch is of one of my favorite characters that seems to have been lost to time. When I was in middle school, Valiant Comics jumped into the public eye moving from the modestly popular alternative comics press in thanks to two media vehicles that I was aware of. The first was that they released a trading card set for their Unity story line. And the second is that Wizard magazine really fell in love with their comics and started covering them quite heavily.

The books were super hero books, but they were real people. The art wasn't the super, over the top drawings that the major publishers were putting out at the time. But the art was as honest as their stories. And while everyone else was moving to use computers to color their books, Valiant continued to use traditional ink washes for their colors.
And their books were stunning. Solar. X-O Manowar. Rai. The Eternal Warrior. Archer & Armstrong. The list goes on.

Rai was a character that stuck in my head. The Rai that the comic series followed was the most recent bearer of the Rai mantle, and huge weight on his shoulders of being Japan's protector. Now, Japan is now a city built on the back of a giant dragon robot and has left earth. And the biggest twist is that, every time Rai tried to save people, they always end up attacking him vocally calling him a menace instead of a hero. It's a really moving story to see a character try to help a country that he loves so much, but they in turn hate him. And seeing how he goes on.

If you've never read any Valiant comics, get online and hunt down the trade paperbacks for Rai, X-O Manowar or Harbinger. These books are outstanding and if you're feeling really up for a read, hunt down the multiple Unity TPBs and that way you are introduced to every major character in their universe at the time.

Well, I'm off to bed. See you online tomorrow everyone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Matthias, finally realized...

Hi everyone, and welcome back to an all new sketch-a-day. Once again I decided to do another pencil on paper sketch.

I wanted to try my hand at drawing Brian Jacques' character Matthias again. I had sketched out a humanistic mouse character around 4 years ago in a sketchbook, and I found that sketch recently. Which seems to be good timing, as I've been thinking about the Redwall books lately. They were such wonderfully crafted stories, with vivid characters, and you could tell that the author really loved the world he was creating.

I had the opportunity to meet Brian Jacques when I was in middle school. I had a friend able to go to his presentation, due to the fact that he was in honors english. Actually, I believe the rest of the kids that attended the presentation were in honors classes as well. I was bummed out a little, as his bio sounded interesting and I had a strange feeling like I had seen his books before. And that's when I heard the intercom in my Science room turn on and ask my teacher if I was there. He said I was, and the squakbox on the wall then said that I was to be released for the Brian Jacques presentation. At that time I realized that my mother, who was a lunch duty at my middle school and working on getting into the Special Education department as an aid, pulled some strings and got me into something that she thought I'd really enjoy. I never really thanked her for that. And I think I will the next time I see her.

He was utterly charming. His british accent was so real. His jokes were so dry. But he loved being there, talking to us. It was refreshing to listen to an adult talking to a room of 6th graders, and it was clear that he honestly loved talking to us and telling us about being a writer.

I started reading his books that day and kept reading them for a full year. Maybe more. And it's because of that I wanted to try my hand at drawing his character Matthias. Hope you all enjoy it, and if you get the chance please read Redwall. You won't regret it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

An older sketch to avoid another lackluster week

Hi everyone. Since I didn't get around to doing a sketch today (I had a business lunch and a condo board meeting after work that went rather late) so instead I bring to you a page of complete random. It was from quite a few years ago. Maybe 2004, 2005?

As you can tell it started with a sketch of The Who's famous child savant Tommy. Which made me think of another remarkable blind guy, so I drew a very anatomically incorrect Daredevil.

And to complete the page, a girl. And Batman.

Like I said, it's completely random. Hope it makes you giggle a little. I'll get a new sketch done tomorrow for sure. Till then, have a good night.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bod and Silas

Good evening everyone. Here is that sketch I promised yesterday. I managed to get some rough pencils over my layout sketches earlier today, and I'm fairly happy with how it came out. I am reading through The Graveyard Book again and I must say, Neil is one heck of a storyteller.
People often tend to label him as a writer, or a novelist. And while those are both very true descriptions of what he does for a living, but the truth of the matter is that he is a storyteller. His books never read like a typical novel. They have a life of their own, and the narration is as fluid and easy going as someone reading it to you when you're tucked into bed. Or sitting by a camp fire. Or in the dark with a flashlight. Or just with someone that you can listen to for hours.

Even though I bought the book in hardcover when it first came out, I'm really tempted to purchase the audio book as well since he is reading it himself. If you haven't had the chance to listen to him read his own stories aloud, you are missing out on something fantastic. I could listen to him read an entry on wikipedia (so long as he wrote the original posting that is, otherwise it would seriously lack his humor and subtleties).

At any rate, this is a sketch of his young character Bod and his guardian Silas. I hope you all like it and I'll get another posting up tomorrow. I double dog promise. Whatever that means.

Good night everyone.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gonna pass out now...

Hi there. I have a sketch started. But I'm feeling really crummy, so I'm gonna take a shot of NyQuil and get a good, hard sleep.

I will scan in the new picture inspired by Neil Gaiman's amazing novel The Graveyard Book. And I'll probably have another sketch inspired by karate as well, as I watched part of the UFC 104 preview tonight and damnit if Machida doesn't make me want to put on the old gi and run through my katas (well, those that I still remember that is). It all depends on if the construction workers need access to my unit or not. We'll see what happens.

Good night everyone. Be well, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Where's Ninjaboy?

Hi everyone.

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. And yes, no updates since Thursday. What gives?

Well, I'm on vacation this week. And wouldn't you know it the three of us (girlfriend, daughter and I) caught a cold over the weekend. And on top of that construction has started up on my building once again. I'll try to get some sketches made today, since I'm just hanging out at the condo, pounding tea and OJ and resting up to kick this bug. Oh yeah, and possibly interacting with construction workers coming in and tearing out some windows as well.

Not exactly what I had in mind for my vacation. But hey, I'll take what I can get. I hope to have some nifty sketches for you all to see later this evening.

Till then, stay healthy and warm.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Witching Hour

Welcome back for a Thursday edition of ninjaboy's sketch-a-day. Pencil on paper week continues with a sketch inspired by one of my favorite three issue mini-series. The Witching Hour, by Jeph Loeb and Chris Bachalo. It came out while I was attending the Art Institute, and I remember the day I bought the first issue. My roomie and I walked to Zanadu Comics and it started raining pretty hard. But we still had to run an errand up to a local print shop to pick up some work for a class. The entire time we were walking around I was doing my best to make sure that our newly purchased comics were staying dry. And we succeeded. They remained nice and dry, while we were completely drenched.
We returned to the apartment with the class work unharmed, and began reading our new funny books.

I loved the tone of the first issue. I hadn't read anything like it in quite some time. And it was honestly my first encounter with Loeb's writing. Little would I know that he would become one of my favorite comic writers. And Bachalo's art was just outstanding. His use of screen tones as a filter, more than a shading tool was so unique. I'd never seen anything like it.

And it never fails, every year when Halloween grows near I have the sudden desire to read those books again. But since they are buried underneath everything in the condo as we prepare for the rest of the construction on the building, I decided to do a sketch of the main character. Ms White.

Hope you all like it, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for the last traditional sketch of the week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, on a Wednesday

Good evening everybody. Once again I bring you another in a week long series of traditional media sketches.

This evening's sketch is of an older friend. One we haven't seen, since a sudden defeat in the Octagon. Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together for Tuesday Sketch!

We finally get a glimpse of what he has been up to since his defeat a couple of months ago. And that is training, training, training. There's no denying that Tuesday has some powerful hands. He staggered his opponent with a straight right that opened up a cut over his eye. But his ground work was a little lacking. So he's decided to begin studying Jujutsu honestly and legitimately. I'm not at liberty to divulge the dojo/outfit that he's training in right now, but I can say that he has been working very hard and is about to test for his green belt. His instructors have all said that his determination, and work ethic are incredible and he has come a long way in a short amount of time. The word off the mat is that he'll be a fierce contender when he returns to the octagon. He is still under contract, but no official fight has been announced at this time.

Stay tuned in and I'm sure we'll see this promising fighter under the bright lights again soon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What'll it be?

Hi everyone. Welcome back to another version of pencil on paper sketch-a-day.

I often find it amusing to see what I end up drawing when I sit down without an agenda. I mean, I was watching some Bizzare World, and UFC, and what do I sketch? An old fashioned bartender. I often have the urge to find an old bar, with deep lighting, a well worn counter and a bartender wearing the button up shirt, vest and slacks as seen in the old black and white movies. I entertain notions of ordering a scotch on the rocks, telling the barkeep about my day as he listens on without being either fully invested in the conversation, nor disregarding it. Then retiring to a booth upholstered in leather that has aged into the most comfortable seating that you could ever ask for.
While there I work in my sketchbook, being inspired by the undeniable ambience from the surroundings.

Man, I would love to find a bar like that. Oh well. In the meantime, I'll just have to create it for myself in sketch form.

Hope you all get a kick out of this. And I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It may be late, but it's still Monday

Hi everyone. Hope you all had a great Monday.

I didn't get a chance to do my daily sketch during lunch today, and I forgot to bring home my Bamboo tablet, so tonight's sketch(es) are done the traditional way. Pencil on paper. In this case, cover stock.
And it really makes me realize that I have to do more traditional sketching. So much so that I may make this week, pencil on paper week to hone my chops again.

I was spending the evening watching Bizzare World and No Reservations, looking in an old sketchbook and remembering some really good ideas (that I plan on revisiting on this blog) and looking at the late, great Mike Wieringo's deviantart page with a sheaf of paper on my lap and a few pencils in hand. And you know what? I had a great time. It took me back to when I graduated from the Art Institute.

Anyway, Wieringo inspired the first sketch. It is of a 'space girl' venturing out onto another strange, alien landscape. What will she find? Who will she encounter?

And the next page of sketches actually is me recreating a page from an old sketchbook. A grizzled, sailor/dockworker and the younger version of a character that I created back in 20001. I wanted to do a story of a young boy who becomes adopted by a famous martial arts instructor, who also happens to be a ninja to a Daimyo. Something bad happens, and the boy is forced to grow up very quickly, then we flash forward quite a few years and we encounter him as a grown man and a notorious ninja himself.
This sketch is of him training as a boy, under the strict (and often times humorous) watch of his sensei.

Anyway, I'm off to bed. Hope you all enjoy the sketches and I'll see you again tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

She'll cut you quick...

Hi everyone. Yes, it's the Friday edition of ninjaboy's sketch-a-day.

Today's sketch is another one of Sin City's little kunoichi, Miho. I only had a few minutes for a sketch today, and as soon as I started putting my digital pen to digital tablet apparently I wanted to sketch Miho.

She is one of my favorite characters in the Sin City books. Like so many other fans of the series I'm sure. Without her, Dwight would have had a very short story indeed.

This time I decided to sketch her about to dish out some Old Town justice on a poor sap who didn't know the rules with the girls. Or if he did, he (stupidly) thought that he would be able to handle whatever the girls decided to dish out.

The sketch was done in CS3 on my MacBook using the trusty Bamboo tablet. Hope you all dig it and I'll see you back here next week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Empty Hand

Hi everyone, and welcome back to the Thursday installment of sketch-a-day.

Today's sketch is of a karateka. I wanted to do a very loose sketch, with heavy black lines to try and emulate a brush loaded with black ink. I felt that this style of freeform sketching really lends it's self well to martial arts sketches.

The inspiration for the sketch actually came from watching the commercial for the upcoming UFC 104 featuring Loyoto "the Dragon" Machida defending his belt. I didn't really know much about Machida, I had been out of the UFC scene for a while while he was making a name for himself but he became a name to follow for me when I heard that he knocked out Rashad Evans. But more importantly, that he has a karate background. It should be no surprise that I tend to navigate more to the Okinowan arts, and their practitioners, but I remember thinking "allright, a karateka just knocked out the Light Heavyweight champion. Time to give karate a little more respect MMA."

And during the commercial for 104 it shows Machida practicing some forms and kicks in his karate gi. After seeing that three or four times while watching TUF episode 4, I ended up looking Machida up online and found out some very interesting facts about him. He comes from a very famous karate family, and not only is he excellent at karate, but he also started practicing, and competing in Sumo and Jiujutsu as well! How awesome is that! Sumo!

The Dragon is now a fighter that I will be following a lot more closely.

Anyway, one of the stances he was in during the commercial reminded me of a Kyokushin stance, so I decided to draw this sketch based of that imagery. It was created in CS3 on my MacBook using my Bamboo tablet.

Hope you all dig it, and I'll see you back here tomorrow for yet another Friday sketch.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Here's Mud in Your Eye

Why, hello there everyone. Welcome back to the Wednesday edition of ninjaboy's sketch-a-day.

Today's sketch is of Gotham City's Dark Knight, engaged in battle with Clayface. I remember some of the first Batman books that my brother and I really got into were a series of Detective Comics when Batman was trying to hunt down Clayface and some people who have the same body as his.
We got these issues as part of either a Christmas present, or maybe a birthday present. The gift was a giant 'grab bag' of comics. Most of which were DC books. Actually, now that I think about it, they were all DC books. There was a handful of almost all of the major titles at that time. And the Batman books that really grabbed our attention were these Mud Pack issues, as well as a series of comics where Batman was trying to apprehend a much darker version of the Riddler.

These were easily the reason why Batman became one of my favorite comic book characters of all time. I remember reading them and feeling, nervous, scared even. These were books to read in a dimly light room. Following the caped crusader through the gritty and violent city of Gotham as he uses his detective skills to track his prey.

Anyway, I hope you all get a kick out of today's sketch. I know I had fun drawing it. As usual it was created in CS3 on the good ol' MacBook using my Bamboo tablet.

See you all back here tomorrow for another new sketch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A double shot of Gung Fu

Hi everyone. Welcome to another installment of barely in time sketch-a-day.

Today I present to you two very loose sketches inspired by Gung Fu. In particular, the staff forms of Gung Fu. While I did enjoy practicing the Bo forms in the Karate style I practiced, as well as the Jo movements I learned from friends who have dan ranks in Aikido, watching the staff movements from various Gung Fu styles and movies is hands down more entertaining. The staff is almost a perfect representation of the martial arts. It's movements are fast and fluid. Weaving natural patterns and lines around the practitioner. All while delivering incredible force and strength with each strike.

Both the Gung Fu staff and spear movements are incredible to watch, and I can imagine, practice as well.

Some of my favorite Gung Fu spear fighting seen in film is at the beginning of The Drunken Master 2. The sword & spear fight that takes place under and around the train car (part of which can be seen at the end of this video clip) is just fantastic. One of the many reasons why that is my favorite Jackie Chan movie.

Anyway, I hope you all get a kick (no pun intended) out of these, very rough, sketches. Both of which were created in CS3 on my MacBook using the good ol' Bamboo.

PS: Yes, I'm aware that I didn't get these in before midnight. So I guess you'll all just get a tripple shot Wednesday.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Two minutes to go...

Hi everyone. Super fast post today. I have 2 minutes to get my Monday sketch up before it becomes Tuesday and thusly, a day late.

Anyway to(night)day's sketch is of everyone's favorite princess saving, dungeon crawling hero. Link.

We join Link as he is looking over his map (probably just after clearing a new room and has just finished updating it).

Hope you all dig it. See you back here for Tuesday's sketch.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Hi everyone. It's Friday. Let's all get out of here for a good weekend.

Today's sketch is another character one shot. This time of a Samurai. It is a very fast sketch, that came together in much the same way that yesterday's sketch emerged onto the digital page. I started as a rough gesture for a figure, then built on top of that using layers.

This time, I decided to add more than just a flat color I decided to use an actual kimono pattern for the background frame.

In hindsight, I probably should have used a less busy pattern since it takes the attention away from the character. Then again, the character isn't exactly well rendered so I guess I don't mind anyway.

Oh well. Hope you all get a kick out of it, and I'll see you back here on Monday with a new sketch.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chinese Character Sketch

Hi everyone. Welcome back to ninjaboy's sketch-a-day. Thursday edition.

I'm not exactly sure why I decided to draw a chinese 'period piece' styled character. I was looking at some Sean Galloway sketches and for some reason decided to do a character sketch in a similar style.

But this time I decided to return to a sketching style I was using a couple of months ago, and have since completely forgotten about. I laid out a rough character gesture on a layer, then went in on top of it, fleshing out the character. I'm surprised that I stopped doing this as it really let me get work done faster than I have been. I'll have to employ this tactic more often.

anyway, the character pose and some of the lines were inspired by how Sean draws his characters and costumes. I love how his costumes have such weight on a figure, while staying completely cartoony at the same time. Just awesome.

Anyway, hope you all dig and I'll see you back here tomorrow for another Friday sketch.

Later gaters.