I’ve been on a real tear doing commissions lately. One I did recently I had the presence of mind to take progress shots of. It was a request for The Maxx. The Maxx was a pretty great indy comic that became a cartoon on MTV.
I think that was in the late 90s? I’m not exactly sure, everything is a blur since 5th grade…was I f*cking married at some point? I was…and I remember owning a car with a racing strip on it. What happened to her and that car?…did I lose them both at the same time, like in a car accident? I don’t remember…I’m sure it was my fault whatever happened to them. Anyways, I think IDW Publishing brought the series back, I dunno. I don’t read other peoples comics for fun anymore, that’s a by product of working on comics for 50 hours a week. But I did like the Maxx when I did read for fun…If you don’t remember The Maxx, He looks like this…
actually, that’s the cartoon version, isn’t it? Lemme show you a pic of him from his comic
that…is pretty tough to tell what he looks like. Let’s try a different cover…
Yeah, that doesn’t help much. He was made up by Sam Keith who has an amazing ability to not give you any clear idea of what size the character is or what body type. He’s very…abstract for a comic book illustrator. His page layouts are wild and inventive ( which is great for storytelling but not so great when you just want a picture of the f*cker to use a reference). Think of Simon Bisley mixed with Mike Mignolia…actually if you don’t know who the Maxx is you probably don’t know either of those guys…this is one of the dilemmas of have a fans base that spans beyond just comic book readers. hmm…well, either of those guys are worth looking up. Mignolia made Hellboy and Bisley has done a lot of freelance stuff but for my money his run on Lobo is one of the greatest things DC has ever put out.
I’m just gonna use that cartoon version example for you.
and here he is with Sarah, his social worker…
You know, I read every issue of the Maxx for a good part of the run and saw every episode. But as I was doing this commission I realized I forgot pretty much everything about it other than she is a social worker and there was a bad guy who got his head stepped on by a kid.
…it’s a tragedy that I can’t remember more..I gotta go read those issues again because I remember really liking it.
Should I get an MRI or something? Does lack of vitamin D affect your memory?
ANYWAYS…here’s the first step, the thumbnail sketch
He liked it, so off I go to draw it up actual size
After blowing something up to full size, you start to notice mistakes or things that are off. I didn’t like how Sarah looked or The Maxx’s arm…so I did those again a few times until I got a version that was decent.
I decided to light table the fucker rather than risk trying to get it that good twice in a row.
You align the satisfactory drawing up with the rest, trace it up and there we are…
Next I get out the ole compass to make sure the moon is an actual circle AND to get that circle nice and dark so there is no second guessing when I ink it. I’ll be inking this whole thing with a brush.
Let’s take a step back for a second and I’ll show you something with the vanishing points…
For this shot, I need on for the left
One for the top since this camera angle has the building getting closer , visually, towards the bottom.
Then…a point for the right. We only see one side of the building so we really don’t need it . BUT I kind of want the clouds to contribute to the composition. so..yeah…I have a vanishing point for the clouds…it’s not surgical I just want them to add to the forward movement everything else has.
also I’m going to use some of those clouds to break up the outside line of the moon. This way I don’t have to deal with inking as much of the circle in one shot ( pro tip!!! use stuff to break up sections of longer lines. hahaha)
Okay…enough fooling around. Let’s ink this fucker.
As per usual I start with organic stuff, short lines, stuff that cracked or broken…anything where a mistake adds to the charm. I do this type stuff while I’m getting used to what kind of day it’s going to be with the brush ( some days it is fussier than others)
from here on out it’s just chipping away. Inking the lines I’m confident on…building the confidence to handle tougher ones.
About this point I noticed I made an error of sorts when inking the bricks. I went all the way up against the window line…which isn’t awful, but I wanted that to be a double line, to give the window sill a little depth and separation from the bricks. They are two different surfaces of two different textures after all.
So I dabbed a bit of white out by each of those…one off the benefits of using a brush is that it won’t dig into white out or scrap on it…it just glides over it. The brush does not GAF if the surface changes.
and on we go…
That’s pretty much it,but since this is for a fellow steemian I’ll add a few more details here and there, textures on the bricks and whatnot.
and that’s that.
But…while I’m at it, I might as well show you a couple of others I did ( didn’t take progress shots of these, which is a shame)
Here’s a nice on of Frankenstein ( or Frankenstein’s monster depending on how militant you are about that whole thing)…wait…did I show you this already?
and then there’s this! The request was for Voodoo Joe and Ike vs Hulk Hogan and Randy Macho man Savage…with guest referee Reid Fleming the World’s Toughest Milkman. Whew….that’s a lotta stuff..but I think it turned out pretty good.
If you want a commission, winter’s a good time to get one as it gives me even more of an excuse to not leave the house.
douglaspasz at arseniclullabies.com
When Douglas is not complaining, he and his work can be found here
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